A young persons guide to……

The Cryin' Queerwolf
The Cryin’ Queerwolf

The Cryin’ Queerwolf has been in touch with a preview of the beast’s forthcoming releases – I am advised that a new  download ep “The Queer Can’t Help It” including original studio versions of ‘Mr Melty Head’, ‘Sewing Circle’ ‘Brandy Boys’ and ‘Handbag’ plus new tune ‘Shemale’s Secret’ is on its’ way. A new album “Legends”, which I have heard early mixes of, is due soon also, once some wrinkles have been ironed in the sonic area. All of the aforementioned will be featured at some point on a future Aural Delights Podcast. The subject matter is very interesting indeed and introduced me to some historical matters of which I was not previously aware. There is also a very special appearance on the album – I shall leave you on tenterhooks on that one!

The second album in the homage series praising the works of the celebrated American country/folk singer-songwriter, “Songs Of Townes Van Zandt Vol II”, includes nine new covers featuring contributions provided by a wide cast of musicians. The prime collaborators for the album are Mike Scheidt (YOB, VHÖL), John Baizley (Baroness) and Nate Hall (USX), with additional contributions from Katie Jones, Stevie Floyd (Dark Castle, Taurus) and Dorthia Cottrell (Windhand). It is released on 10th March on My Proud Mountain.

The opening track to Songs of Townes Van Zandt Vol II, a solo rendition of “To Live Is To Fly” performed by Mike Scheidt is the latest audio insight into this new release. Scheidt, whose main act, YOB, recently signed to Neurot Recordings (releasing Songs Of Townes Van Zandt Vol II in the US), recalls where he first learned of Townes Van Zandt and became part of the man’s obsessive fanbase…

“I worked in a fantastic guitar shop called Mckenzie River Music in Eugene Oregon from 1996-2003,” Scheidt begins. “This dusty, cluttered guitar shop was no ordinary shop. We had the best of the best. Pre-World War II Martin and Gibson acoustic and electric guitars, vintage 50s/60s Fender guitars and amps, the most valuable and collectable gear you could buy, along with player’s priced quality gear. It was Dick Gunn, the shop’s senior salesman and RIPPING country picker, who first turned me on to Townes. It was a gift for Christmas, a CD with both High Low And In Between, and The Late Great Townes Van Zandt. Upon first listen, I knew I was listening to something that wasn’t just great. It smacked of Truth, capital T. Whether that truth be tender and lighthearted, or take you to places so low that you could hardly pick yourself back up, it was so heavy. The way he combined language and guitar chords is one of a kind. Untouchable. Dick Gunn passed away in 2007, and I have yet to still reconcile his loss inside of myself. He taught me so much, gave me everything he had to teach as a player and a human. Listening to Townes functions on multiple levels for me. One of the most treasured experiences of listening to Townes is remembering my friend Dick Gunn, how we picked together, how we talked about Townes and knew that we knew that we knew he was THE BEST. Through and through.”

My head has been pretty fritzed up by the new Dead Rider album “Chills On Glass” which is an amazing mix of genres/styles etc. A fascinating amalgam of rock bits and pieces all chucked in with glitchy percussives etc. Dead Rider, comprises  Matthew Espy (drums, conga, percussion), Andrea Faught (synth, piano, trumpet, trombone, vocals), Thymme Jones (synth, trumpet, vocals) and Todd Rittmann (vocals, guitar, drums). It was self-recorded, produced and mastered in the otherwise-unnamed Dead Rider studio suites, and its’ Rittman’s third outing under this badge. It’s all  a bit hard to describe really, being so unique,  so to help me explain here is their vid-chip of “Blank Screen” from the album. Recommended if you like your aural fayre to be challenging!

East (Coast) meets West (Coast) in noise rock: Whores and Rabbits have joined together to release a split 7″. And it is rather fine indeed – i’m especially fond of the Whores tune. It is released by Eolian Empire/Brutal Panda and came out on 18th February. The vinyl version, limited to 500 copies — 100 on pink/400 on black — the EP is housed in a full color fold-over jacket featuring art by Went Knipe and Josh Hughes.  The Whores “Jumping Someone Else’s Train,” takes said train on a insanely heavy ride, the main riff stretched into a hypnotic groove forever beat into your brain. Rabbits open with the stark “A Reflection” before cranking out an uncaged, claustrophobic version of “Give Me It.”  All three tracks will be on a future edition of the Sonic Attack podcast.

Isis Panopt

After last year’s reissue of their debut album, “Celestial”,  attention has been turned to Isis‘s third full-length release, Panopticon – which has been remastered and comes complete with new artwork in a 12-page booklet – due for an April 28th release in the UK/Europe on Ipecac. This is an opportunity to revisit (or indeed, discover) an album which showcases the legendary band at their most confident. Originally released in 2004 the album melds the raw intensity of metal with  post-rock structures. Ground-breaking in both interpretations of the word, the band took the promise of Slint‘s “Spiderland” and carried it somewhere very interesting indeed. Wrongly labelled as metalcore in my opinion this band were far more important than the narrow confines of genre specificity. They manage to bring together a sense of the epic without drenching it in pomposity or excess.

About the reissue, drummer Aaron Harris comments, “I got the check disk from the manufacturer the other day and listened to Panopticon all the way through to make sure things were good to go. It was like taking a journey back in time. When ISIS was playing these songs regularly I wasn’t able to enjoy them as a listener. Now that I haven’t played these songs in years they’ve taken on a whole new identity for me. Mika Jussila did an amazing job with the remaster. The record has more detail and dynamics now. I feel that remasters sometime ruin the integrity of records, but I feel that fans will really appreciate this remaster, and maybe find a new appreciation for Panopticon, as I have.”

Vocalist Aaron Turner continues…“After some years away from the material Panopticon now feels like the most optimistic of all the ISIS albums, dark as the subject mater may be. Giving voice to my concerns about the loss of privacy and the deterioration of personal freedom through the lyrics on the album made those subjects weigh less heavily on my mind. Something about the sound of the songs feels open and bright to me as well – post-millennial depression and pre-apocalyptic paranoia hadn’t yet taken hold I suppose. Panopticon also feels like a turning point to me in the trajectory of ISIS, and serves as a personal place-marker for me in terms of how the world of music and music consumption was shifting radically around that time. Things have certainly become cloudier since then and more uncertain – in that way the subject matter of Panopticon also now seems a bit premonitory.”

I have not got the remastered version through yet – pending that I’ll feature some music from the original release in a future edition of Sonic Attack.

MSA Face

I made a lot of fuss about Mummy Short Arms a couple of years back – their excellent ‘Cigarette Smuggling’ was an instant must listen and the accompanying album “Old Jack’s Windowless Playhouse” proved to be just as excellent. They have a new single out called ‘Face Full Of Sand’ which continues their good work. ‘Face Full of Sand’ is out 14th April on Glasgow based label Flowers In The Dustbin, available from itunes and all major digital stores. The single includes a remix by JMX.

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