A rush of blood to the head

So here is a pile of new albums, these days they come as regular as some right wing rag having a go at Jeremy Corbyn about something he said 30 years ago taken totally out of context.  So in an uncharacteristic attempt at doing every all in the one sitting  and after a vast 8 hour listening session here are some brief notes on some of the better recent releases.

To kick off, I’m somewhat confused. If you are a Mogwai fan no doubt you will have most or all of their stuff, or if you wanted to get into the band a triple CD/six album collection comprising over three and a half hours of material might be just a little too much as a primer. So I don’t quite see the logic of “Central Belters”. Post rock is something I have to take in small doses and trying to absorb thirty four tracks worth of the scottish bands material is a long way out of my comfort zone, After Slint and Godspeed I guess they are one of the most influential groups in the sub-genre, and the vast bulk of the material in the set is their finest work, but i’m sure I want consume it all in one sitting.

Gold Class, yet another band from the fertile music city of Melbourne, sound like they should have been around Sheffield or Manchester in the early 1980s. Their new one “It’s You” came out in September but has only just made it’s way to me.  Adam Curley has a distinctive vocal style and their marriage of early Smith’s jangling and Slint (them again) dynamics make for a damn fine listening.

Atlas Revolt is the brainchild of Toronto bassist Bret Higgins and created as a vehicle for his original instrumental compositions. Formed in 2013 the group explores genre defying instrumental music that draws inspiration largely from film scores, jazz, orchestral, pop, rock, and elements of Eastern European and South American music. Their first CD was released on John Zorn’s Tzadik Records where the klezmer oriented violin and John Tuhas’ surf guitar, that occasionally punctuate the jazz-rock-funk grooves, fits perfectly.  Fans of Pachora and Zorn’s lighter lounge work will enjoy this.

Back to post-rock for Inventions, and back to me moaning about bad genre labelling, if this one is post-rock then it’s moved on a few dozen steps from what I know.  Inventions is the collaboration of long time friends Matthew Cooper of Eluvium, and Mark T. (Not E) Smith of Explosions In The Sky. The second album “Maze of Woods” is fine example of modern mood music with a variety of textures mixing with glitchy, off- kilter rhythms to create a very more-ish soundscape. OK it does drift off into epic post-rockery in places but for the most part it is inventive (pun intended) and slightly shoe-gazey.

Dave Heumann is the chap from Arboretum, “Here in the Deep” is his debut solo album.  Cited as being markedly different Arbouretum’s output, I struggled to agree with that proposition. OK it is less obviously fuzzy folky than the main band but there’s not a serious amount of difference. It reminds me of some of those folk-rock bands that were hanging about in the early 70s that weren’t Steeleye Span or the Fairports. There are some interesting little stylistic excursions during the 41 minutes so it’s worth a listen.

In sort of the same area are The Black Lillies who manage on their new one “Hard To Please”  to be soulful at the same time as hitting those Americana roots in blues and country.  If you are from Knoxville, Tennessee I guess this is what you are going to sound like.  After a while this type of music tends to get a bit blurry in my mind as there are hooks, motifs and changes that carry over and around. Beautifully played and recorded and often hitting a high note, especially track 2 “That’s The Way It Goes Down” which builds from a country track to a nice little rocker.

Rabit (Eric Burton) is from Texas, and though his music has generally maintained a loose association with UK grime, His new one “Communion” is an unrelenting attack on the senses with samples, percussion and synths creating a disturbing sound. In the spirit of Throbbing Gristle and Coil, this is the most ground-breaking release of the set of albums considered in this review. Definitely an album that requires repeat listening if only to try and absorb the many different things going on in the soundscape.  Very interesting.





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