Fascinating Things : Issue 67

Apologies for the small hiatus but I have been busy on record label business. We have a fun packed few months coming up, most of this I cannot tell you about yet, but suffice to say it involves gigs and releases, and all will be revealed soon. What I can tell you is i’ve been asked to facilitate a gig in Salford for Belgium based US  artist in exile Georgio “The Dove” Valentino in support of his soon to be released 7″ which was made in collaboration with Mick Harvey, David McClymont, Dave Graney and Clare Moore. The gig will be at the Eagle in Salford on December 3rd and we have two local bands supporting. The excellent Adventures of Salvador, whose new album “Chocolate & Drugs” is bloomin’ marvellous, plus the ethereal Rose & The Diamond Hand whose debut EP drops on 12th August, together with a launch gig on 13th August at the self-same Eagle. The whole thing is only £5 and you can book your e-ticket here. Here’s a taster of what to expect:

GTDV Promo Poster

Anyhow, enough of this self-promotion, what else is going on in the wacky world of music?

TESA are a guitar trio from Latvia. They have a new album called “Ghost” released via My Proud Mountain on August 5th.

 

Described as a cross between Tame Impala and Buddy Holly the cleverly named Gringo Star have a new album out called “The Sides and In Between”. It’s a curates egg of a thing with some very high highs and some slightly dull bits but overall very good indeed. Here are two samples. It’s out on August 26th via Pitchfork.

‘Together, As One’ is the third album as a leader from British award-winning trumpet player, composer and band-leader Laura Jurd and her debut with newly named band Dinosaur. Featuring Laura’s regular collaborators, friends and creative cohorts Elliot Galvin, Conor Chaplin and Corrie Dick, ‘Together, As One’ is a coherently powerful and bold album that not only confirms her promise as one of the most important young musicians to emerge from the UK jazz scene in recent years but is also a statement that will launch her music into the international jazz world.

 

Southern Lord will be releasing the brand new LP “Plague” from Bay Area, California hardcore band Lies on August 26th, as well as a CD release that combines the record with their previous EP, 2014’s “Abuse”.

A productive period for Limbs head honcho Michael Chadwick with a couple of new releases. Packed with the usual quirky and witty perspectives on life, highly recommended.

Hailing from Warsaw (Poland) the quartet White Crosses, featuring the creative partnership of Konrad Sloka (Vox/Guitar), Sebastian Prokop (Guitar), Stefan Banaszynski (Bass) and Marcin Plocha (Drums), produced big waves in their native country with their acclaimed EP release ‘Native Handshakes’ in 2015. Releasing ‘Dead Souls’ as a taste of things to come from their forthcoming EP ‘Anchorless’, White Crosses are armed to bring their music to an international audience.

 

Fascinating Things : Issue 43

There are not really enough hours in the day to absorb the vast array of new musical offerings that are emerging in 2016. Because of the veritable flood of news this time around this issue is more of a series of snippets of information, and passing thoughts. rather than more considered reviews…..

Out now

Great 21 track sampler out of Portland, Oregon – a lot of variety with a good mix of garage punk and psych leaning rock, with some real sonic curve balls in the mix.

Interesting stuff out of New York on the Loveless label from Claremont. Some cutting edge use of percussion and samples, and it’s free!

I know little of AM but I really like this album. Great tunes, light airy indie pop music. Highly recommended!

Some forthcoming releases

14th February 2016 – Ten Thousand Miles Of Arteries – Even Spilled Seed Crawls Toward The Womb – Annihilvs Power Electronix label has just started out and this is another one from that stable. A solo project from label owner, NLC,  this is dense industrial noise in a supposedly a doom metal context. The execution is interesting, vast swathes of sound buried in reverb/echo is the main thrust. At 30 minutes it’s more an EP than an album and this is just about the right length as I think any more would tax the auditory canals somewhat. Perhaps a little too unforgiving for casual listening but generally a good addition to an emerging genre which blends the morbid insistence of doom with the complex landscape of industrial rock.

14th February 2016 – Whorid – Bloated Pig Carcass In A Shallow Wake – as mentioned above Annihilvs Power Electronix are on a mission to fill your ears with disturbing sounds. This one, the first release on the label is from  the Philadelphia based  “self-harm electronics” act Whorid – the solo project of Daniel Suffering, who is also a core contributing member of the excellent  Theologian. Coming across like a more unforgiving version of early Cabaret Voltaire in partnership with a noise band, the opening track alone blisters the ear drums with buried and fractured spoken word mingling uncomfortably with white noise and chittering percussion. You can file this with Merzbow and Wolf Eyes in that “difficult” part of your collection. This sort of stuff both intrigues and compels in equal measure and your average punter will be reaching for the off switch after a minute, it fascinates me.

19th February 2016 – Rangda – The Heretics Bargain – Sir Richard Bishop, Ben Chasny and Chris Corsano cooking up a storm with some great twin guitar workoutswho i. Corsano is a great drummer and maintains a perfect pulse for the two exceptional string-smiths to ply their trade. Their third studio album kicks off with Masada like klezmer before more exploring more traditional forms. Damn fine and it makes the best of the year list with ease.

26th February 2016 – Conny Ochs – Future Fables – an interesting mix of bluesy soulful alternative song-writing with Ochs clear voice demanding attention. More of an “american” feel than his previous work I feel.

Late February – Okkultokrati – Snakereigns/Night Jerks – Southern Lord re-release two albums from the Belgian band as a precursor to releasing their fourth full length. There is something remarkably  life affirming about young men with copious hair head-banging away, it’s like 1972 all over again.!

4th March 2016 – Soon – Vol. 1 – singer/guitarist Stuart McLamb and drummer Thomas Simpson of indie band The Love Language in a wholly different setting. Punishing metal sounds with epic melodic indie voices is the best description, although there is time for some folky more contemplative stuff. Working with bassist Rob Walsh (Bitter Resolve) and guitarist Mark Connor (Grohg) they create a highly enjoyable hard rock experience. This one easily makes the best of the year list. Reminiscent of the juxtaposition of rock and folk in mid period Zeppelin.

4th March 2016 – Diminished Men – Vision In Crime –  featuring Steve Schmitt on guitars, drummer Dave Abramson, and Simon Henneman on Bass with a great album echoing Naked City era John Zorn. Marvellous!

11th March 2016 – The Brian Jonestown Massacre – La Facon Don’t La Machine Va Vers I´Arrière – limited edition (500) 7″ vinyl – includes a B Side Remix by DJ Shadow – pre-order

11th March 2016 – Spazz – Sweatin’ To The Oldies/Skatin’, Satan & Katon  – my pal SD pointed out quite correctly that this band could be seen as having an inappropriate name. This got me thinking and I did some research into the potential for perhaps a different transatlantic usage of the word. The “Urban Dictionary” sort of lets them off the hook in that original nasty use of the word seems to have been adopted as more of a catch-all of general overactive behaviour. I’m not sure they get away with it but in any event what we have two albums of reissues from the supposedly influential Californian powerviolence trio which mines their back catalogue. With 64 and 67 tracks respectively  at just around an hour each the format gives you a clue of what you are going to get – short, sharp, badly recorded and intense slabs of punk. Notwithstanding the name it was all a bit too much for my ears but if you are a collector of extreme American punk you will no doubt lap this up. Out on the Tankcrimes label.

11th March – Richard J. Birkin’s – Vigils – as a brief respite from all the noisy stuff this preview from Birkin’s new album is a lovely thing. Great video as well

11th March 2016 – a sizeable pile of new things from the ever excellent Cardinal Fuzz has arrived via the ether.

Dreamtime – Self Titled/Sun – heavy psychedelic rock from Brisbane. In the spirit of the raft of new Antipodean bands doing this sort of stuff.

Shooting Guns – Born to deal in magic/Spectral Laundromat –  from Saskatoon in the heart of the Canadian prairies, Sabbath are clearly an influence but there is also a touch of kraut-rock in there as well. Copious use of fuzz pedal and long sonic explorations.

Foul Tip – Forever Driftin’ – American Drums and Guitar duo with a relentless rock sound with a touch of slacker. Apparently this is one of fourteen albums they have made. It’s got that sloppy feel that Alex Chilton indulged in at times. Great sound and in your face attitude. Well worth checking out.

25th March 2016 – The Body & Full Of Hell – One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache – as trailed in the last edition of Fascinating Things here’s a further primer from what appears to be an experiment in mutual sonic self destruction. As one commentator on Soundcloud put it “Holy Shit”. Not for the faint hearted, it is relentlessly cathartic, and violent. You have been warned!

 

 

 

 

Fascinating Things : Issue 33

First up, an all female band from Sweden who are described by the promo people as “punk” when they more probably “post-punk”. The video attempts to shock in an early 80s way, which seems appropriate given the music. There are a lot of bands around at the moment sounding a bit like this which means they must have been listening to their mums and dads record collection – it’s a generational thing folks. Which tends to imply their will be a “New Romantic” revival on the way, heaven forfend! Anyhow they are called Dolores Haze and their new album “The Haze Is Forever” which is described as “a brightly burning collection of top-heavy punk tracks that come with a sinister bite”,  will be  available for purchase and download from Friday 13th November.

“My Name is Dessie Warren” is the forthcoming single, taken from Ian Prowse’s new album “Companeros”. The promo says “An acoustic and sultry electric guitar hugging the vocals from the start with a restrained but pungent bass line of the Alun Parry classic.” If I knew who Alun Parry was I’d be a bit wiser I guess. Google tells me his is a folky from the other end of the M62 (no not Hull, the other place). Dessie Warren was of course one of the Shrewsbury Two alongside Ricky Tomlinson, and the tune is a Billy Braggish type polemical thing, It does make we wonder if the “left” needs to rethink the type of tune it uses to espouse causes, rather than continue in the Woody Guthrie “man with a guitar” methodology. A banging dance tune perchance as delivered here?

Anyway Ian has a tour on at the moment with Amsterdam, eleven dates in all, including the refurbished Gullivers in sunny Manchester on 14th November if you like that type of thing.

The previously trailed appearance of sound magician Loscil at the Eagle in the Blackfriars area of sunny Salford on 23rd November is nearly upon us so one not to be missed I would venture. As one of only three UK dates a bit of a coup for the city. kranky recently released his fourth album, “Plume”, for the first time on vinyl format. Next up, JAZ records will be releasing the second in the Sine Studies series of 7″ vinyl. Sine Studies II is Loscil’s continuation of the challenge set forth in Sine Studies 1- namely, to generate music derived from computer generated sine waves and no other sound source.   It will be available for mail order via the new JAZ site when it’s ready. Limited copies will be available on the tour, which is the first official European tour since the release of Loscil’s most recent album “Sea Island”:

(Photo credit: Krista Marshall)
(Photo credit: Krista Marshall)

.House of Mythology label will be releasing the new Ulver gatefold double album vinyl (also available on CD), with over 80 minutes worth of material on January 22nd. The  album consists of multitracked and studio-enhanced live, mostly improvisational, rock and electronic soundscapes, 2/3 of which has never been heard before.  The basis for the release which is called “ATGCLVLSSCAP” – which the band has been working with under the moniker ‘12’ – arrives from recordings made at twelve different live shows that Ulver performed in February 2014, in which they utilised an improvisatory approach to their performance. As Kristoffer Rygg, the prime mover of the band since its inception puts it wryly, “The tour was to be an experiment, kind of loose and scary for a band as ‘set in their ways’ as us.”

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Genre hopping sound manipulators IKMRAO release a single on November 13th. The double A-Side “Hedgehog/Gobstopper” delivers one tune of progressive electronic meandering and a brutal attack on homelessness and animal cruelty, the other is a bass driven funk workout about personal revenge. You can get it from German Shepherd records.

HEDGEHOG

All The King’s Men were formed 12 months ago by Matthew Holland, Tino Caine and Ben Robinson. Growing up together against the backdrop of Manchester’s “vibrant and world renowned music scene”  they were “quickly inspired to start making music spending time honing their skills by playing in various local bands”. Matthew left for California, returning a year later with a lyric book and his Les Paul. Joining forces with Tino on bass and Ben on drums they recruited fellow musicians on the Manchester circuit to help them lay tracks and fine tune their sound. Their EP “Making My Escape” is out on Angel Hill Records on 27th November 2015. Typical Manc brit-rock stuff as evidenced below.