Pyroclasts

Sunn O))) have announced the release of Pyroclasts,  via Southern Lord on 25th October in LP and Digital formats.

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The new album is the result of a daily practice which was regularly performed each morning, or evening during the sessions for the previous album Life Metal. The music was laid down ar Electrical Audio during July 2018, when all of the days musical participants would gather and work through a 12 minute improvised modal drone at the start and or end of the day’s work. The piece performed was timed with a stopwatch and tracked to two inch tape, it was an exercise and a chance to dig into a deep opening or closing of the days session in a comprehensive musical way with all of the participants. The aim was to connect/reconnect, liberate the creative mind a bit and greet each other and the space through the practice of sound immersion. The players across the four pieces of Pyroclasts are Tim Midyett, T.O.S., Hildur Guðnadóttir, and as always Stephen O’Malley & Greg Anderson.

The music on Pyroclasts is inextricably linked to Life Metal. It exists on the very same tape reels, and was  recorded by Steve Albini.  It is a sister, or perhaps a shadow album.  Sunn O)))  invite and encourage the listener to use Pyroclasts as a lens to review and reexperience the complexity of the Life Metal album, and even to interrupt its sequence with Pyroclasts.

O’Malley and Anderson have dedicated thie album to the memories of Ron Guardipee, Kerstin Daley & Scott Walker.

Nettle Rash

Third album time from a band that has visibly evolved over the last three years.

Four Candles is a band comprising of ex Hamsters / Resist bassist Jon Rowlinson , ex Resist Drummer Phil Peak , Middlesbrough’s finest export Mark Taylor on guitar and ex Hamsters vocalist Ian ” Moët” Moss. They formed in June 2016 and it was soon evident the creative chemicals were flowing between the four individuals producing vibrant exciting music. Low on funds they scraped together enough cash for sixteen hours studio time in November , in five hours  ten tracks were recorded in one or two takes with minimal overdubs , the next eleven hours saw the album mixed, April 2017 saw the release of  “Killing The Image”.

Birthed in punk and post-punk the band expanded their genre reach with the deliberately shorter second 2018 album “Spiritual Rapture” embracing more rock elements and funky bass lines as well as bringing in the sax of David Wilkinson and keyboards from  engineer Simon “Ding” Archer.

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The third album from the band, “Nettle Rash”  finds them moving on further  and expanding their repertoire with the presence of Mark Taylor’s guitar coming to the fore, and Ian Moss’s words taking on a broad range of subjects from Climate Change, through political issues including the badger cull, to an exploration of the seamier side of sexual entanglements. There is humour in there as well to temper the more dystopian aspects of the album.  With guest vocalists Anne and Julia from the band Matthew Hopkins and again keyboards from engineer  Archer the aural palette of the band has been expanded. This is their strongest album yet.

The live energy of the band has been effectively captured with this release with Moss exorcising several kinds of demons over a tight and driving band. The added value of “The Matches” i.e. Anne and Julia as a counterpoint to Moss’s attack gives the band a whole new feel which builds on and enhances their reputation. The value and impact of the album is further enhanced by Mike Kerins stunning cover art.

German Shepherd Records subscribers will receive an additional exclusive track “Like Sheep”

 

A Cow In A Field….

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…..a strange way to promote an album of eclectic popular music?

A lonely cow standing wistfully in a field in Cambridgeshire.

Odd, you might think, and in that context their is nothing run of the mill about Lizard Brain.

They have not come off of the Cowell conveyor belt. They are not being lauded as the next big thing on 6Music by Lamacq or Robinson (soon to be rectified I hope  with a quick tram journey down to the Quays to shove some memory sticks into the eager paws of some DJs). They are probably, at this stage only going to get airplay around Cambridge and in some select radio shows in the German Shepherd orbit. They probably won’t get on Joolz Hootenanny although they damn well ought to be on their as they wipe the floor with the tired old industry hacks that populate that show.

I am hoping this review gets them some more exposure as they deserve it.

They are  a remarkably talented set of musicians, writers and producers who have delivered a third album which bears comparison with Godley, Creme, Gouldman and Stewart at their peak. I first heard them in session on Dave Hammond’s Smelly Flowerpot show on Cambridge 105 and you can hear the band talking about this release on a recent edition of that show.

The new album “Stray” is pure pop music, UK style, at it’s best. It transcends trends and fads, it has been painstakingly produced over many months and honed to the point of perfection. It covers many genres but holds together as a cohesive collection. It is joyous, thoughtful, sad and in some cases a little disturbing.

Lizard Brain are:
Richard Jones: songs, keys, bass, vox, arrangements, production
Mark Fleet: songs, keys, arrangements, production
David Carter: songs, guitars, vox, bass, flute, sax, arrangements, production
Tony Jenkins: songs, vox, guitars, arrangements

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The 12 track collection finds the band delivering a heady cocktail of beautifully crafted and diverse songs. It was recorded in the purpose-built Lizard Lounge studio in Lode, Cambridge from late 2016 to late 2018. Album production was led by Richard and supported by Mark and David. Following on from their earlier albums Hold The Mind (2012) and That Has A Nice Ring To It (2016), the songs on the new collection emerged from a series of writing sessions using different combinations of band members whose wide musical influences resulted an album rich with variety.

The album kicks off with the Moroder drenched alt-disco groove of “Lost In Sound”, switches to the impassioned rock of “Gannets” and then swerves into Jamaican grooves with “Am I Just A Name Now”. In these three opening tracks the group evidence their skill and competence in delivering lyrically strong, well produced, quality material.

What follows is a varied menu of twangy psych pop, driving rock, Northern Soul, elegiac balladry, and an epic anthemic closer “Freedom”. Throughout there are strong melodies and hooks that will leave you going back for repeated listens.

If you like well crafted, intelligent and melodic popular music in the best UK tradition then you need to listen to this album. Straight into the albums of the year list for 2019!

You can hear the album on the Aural Delights Radio Show over the next few weeks or you can listen below.

More information about the band here

Motus Octo

Bouquet of Dead Crows return with their second full length and a fuller, more aggressive sound emerges, consolidating the tension between the hard rock of the music and Toni Cooper’s melodic vocals. The music takes on a much broader more orchestral sound, the riffs are heavier, the structures are more complex. The band have demonstrated a clear development of their sound in this release.

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The title (referring to the fact that there are eight tracks on the album), essentially means ‘eight movements’, or eight emotions.

Limited Edition Colour Vinyl Versions of the album plus T-Shirts and gig tickets are available at Music Glue . CD copies have completely sold out.

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Bouquet of Dead Crows are:

Antoinette Cooper : Vocals
Neil Bruce : Guitars
Graeme Clarke : Bass
Andrew Coxall : Drums, Percussion, Trumpet, Synths & Keys, & Backing vocals

The album was recorded and produced By Neil Haynes at the Parlour and artwork was by Stewart Harris

It releases November 23, 2018.

Tour dates to support this release….

NOVEMBER

15th – Esquires, Bedford
24th – Motus Octo launch at The Blue Moon, Cambridge
29th – Gringos, Norwich

DECEMBER

1st – Smokehouse, Ipswich
6th – Mama Liz’s Voodoo Lounge, Stamford

Of Mice, Men and Lumps

In this modern world where the bland and the safe seem to be more commercially acceptable than the cutting edge, and thought provoking work gets little traction, it’s hard to maintain a positive perspective on the music industry. Operating outside of the norms of that industry is one action which gives blessed relief from the mundane. Self releasing and self promoting is hard work, it will cost you money, and time, and it may not reap the financial results that might be deserved, but you will at least get your music out there. When we set up German Shepherd records nearly three years ago now we had no real plan, we had some ground rules, and some small objectives, but we didn’t have an end game. Perhaps that was a good thing. Expectations might have been too high. There is frustration in this. A sense of disappointment that music we genuinely feel deserves to be heard and enjoyed isn’t getting the sort of exposure that others are. But we carry on.  By Christmas we will have released 53 albums, EPs and singles this year. Some will say that is too much, they might be right, but it came in, we liked it and so we sent it out into the world.

The 49th of those releases is from Moss Skellington. Those who know what we do will realise that this is a partnership between Ian “Moet” Moss (aka House Mouse) and Moff Skellington. The two have collaborated on two previous singles, and two live events, in the last 18 months. The time was right for an album.

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The methodology is fairly simple. Ian writes some words, and sometimes narrates them into a sound file. Moff builds a musical world around them with his battery of unique instruments. The component parts are then sent over to me for a degree of cutting, pasting, and fettling, and then Ian and Moff may add more vocals. The resulting whole is then mixed and mastered for sending out into the world. This eschews the need for expensive recording studios and other such trammels of the music industry. Most of it is done on a home studio, a phone, and a lap-top. These things are possible nowadays.

The album is called “The Lump” and comprises seven tracks. It represents two artists at their creative peak who are both cutting edge and thought provoking. The music is grounded in traditional folk forms but don’t be put off by that genre description. This is the folk of Comus and that ilk, not some chap in a woolly jumper with a finger in his ear. it is folk with bits added, a hint of Tom Waits, a smattering of Pere Ubu, a dusting of Fripp and Eno, an echo of Faust, a whimsy of Kevin Ayers, and nod towards modern urban forms like grime.  Moss’s well renowned vocals and lyrics are of course the centre piece, but the added value is Moff’s particular use of music to create new and vivid backdrops for the words.

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The subject matter is intriguing, the title track appears to be medical in it’s nature but on closer examination is revealed to have much deeper meaning. The combination of dark urban synth sounds, blues harmonica and squeeze box is utterly unique. “Chalk and Cheese”, which has a great call and response between the two protagonists, describes relationships in a honest way. “Look at the Fool”, with african rhythms from Moff,  is a piece of Moss biting wit which requires close hearing. “Posh Nosh” derides the current obsession with food in the “Masterchef” era. “Serial Killing” is a dark tale of murder and mayhem on the underground. The 17 minute “The Mouse Engine” is a magnum opus which takes you through a word-scape which Lewis Carroll would have been proud off, rich with imagery, and utterly marvellous. The album closes with the plaintive waltz “The Other Side of the Looking Glass” which offers a glimmer of hope for the future.

Exceptional , unique and stunning. It should be listened to and is a primer for outsider music. it is released via German Shepherd Records on 25th November 2016.

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Fascinating Things : Issue 75

Well chums there’s been an extremely eclectic mix of things in this week so without further ado lets look at some of the exciting new music coming your way….

Los Angeles-based Cleopatra Records and artist-run cassette label Practical Records present Rachel Mason‘s new album ‘Das Ram’ LP on November 18th…

Avec Le Soleil Sortant De Sa Bouche release their second studio album “Pas pire pop, I Love You So Much on January 20, 2017″…

Keeping up my Antipodean musical obsession I was recently contacted about Fraudband. They are a duo from Melbourne with their own, rhythm based take on psychedelic-rock. They steer clear of the typical sounds within this genre by leaning on influences such as Sonic Youth, Dirty Three and The Birthday Party and they sound like this…

Berlin-based trio The History of Colour TV is back with new music, presenting ‘Wreck’, the first single from their forthcoming third album ‘Something Like Eternity’. You can stream the single here.

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Hiphop pioneers Dälek will be touring this month for a week of live shows, following on from the release of their 2016 comeback LP, Asphalt For Eden (Profound Lore), the first new record from the NYC trio since 2009. Ahead of these shows, they have released a brand new track, ‘Molten’, and the wind-tunnel production and furious wordsmith delivery that have become the group’s calling card have been amped up to reflect the song’s theme… dates are

22/11 – The Louisiana, Bristol
23/11 – Saint Lukes, Glasgow
24/11 – Chunk, Leeds
25/11 – Thomas House, Dublin
26/11 – Corsica Studios, London
27/11 – Islington Mill, Sunny Salford

The Comet is Coming have released a new single, “Final Eclipse”, which you can stream and purchase now via Bandcamp. It is the first new music from the three-piece since the release of their critically acclaimed, Mercury Prize-nominated LP Channel The Spirits, though the band had also shared some remixes since it’s release. They are playing Band on the Wall on December 11th.

Lawrence English, composer, artist and Room40 curator returns with a brand new record “Cruel Optimism” on  17th February 2017, here’s a taster….

Camilla George is set to release “Isang” on Ubuntu Music early next year. This will be her debut album – the MOBO nominated saxophonist, composer and teacher is already an established musician on the jazz circuit ….not sure if this track is on the album but I’m having to use this rather than the ones I’ve been sent as they are can’t be shared at this stage. What i’ve heard sounds excellent so watch out for this artist…

Dallas shoegazers Bloodhounds On My Trail have released a single ‘Places Like This’ and announced  their ‘Haunted Isles’ EP….

Southern Lord are  reviving the music of Philadelphia’s lost punk heroes, Ruin. Long considered a treasured local delicacy of the city’s earlier hardcore scene, Ruin released two albums during their original run, 1984’s He-Ho and 1986’s Fiat Lux, both of which will be combined for a vinyl release this December.  The LP will see release on December 9th and pre orders are now live via the Southern Lord store.

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Photo Credit : Dan Long

Canada’s budding Label Obscura has announced that it will release a limited run vinyl reissue of ‘The Coastaline Fire’ LP – the final album by Ontario indie rockers Chore before they disbanded in the early 2000s. All tracks have been remastered for vinyl. It’s a damn fine album and is well worth checking out…

And finally, Friday 18th sees the release of the latest collaboration from Ian Moss and Andy Quayle as Moss Skellington. Following on from two well received singles the duo have now completed their first album “The Lump”. Characterised by Moff’s unique musical vision and Ian’s sharp polemic and biting wit with words, the album brings together two iconoclasts to create a unique musical vision. With subjects as diverse as posh food, murderers and sibling relationships the album provides a heady mix and includes the magnum opus the 17 minute “The Mouse Engine” which was premiered in Leeds earlier this year. The album was mixed by Space Museum who also contributed to the title track.

You’ll be able to download the album from midnight 18th November via Bandcamp

 

 

 

Wooarghhuurgh!

Southern Lord have just announced the signing Ohio-based band Crypt Rot for the release of their debut release, “Embryonic Devils” in early 2017. The group, formed by several current/former members of Homewrecker share have shared an early stream of album track “Chapters Of Torment” and also announced new live dates in the USA, including a set at The Power Of The Riff.

For the recording sessions of “Embryonic Devils”, the band enlisted Bill Korecky at the Mars Compound (Integrity, Ringworm, Homewrecker), the sample track reveals a ferocious high-gain sound which demands attention.

Beginning  in Ashtabula, Ohio in early 2016, Crypt Rot was formed by lead vocalist/guitarist Ryan Sposito (former frontman of Homewrecker), drummer/vocalist Matt Izzi (Homewrecker, Scorched), guitarist Joe Dedomenic, bassist Steve Cray (formerly of Homewrecker), and additional vocals from Allie Dioneff. The band is influenced by old-school Swedish death metal, punk, and hardcore, including bands like Carnage, Dismember, Death, Cannibal Corpse, Repugnant, Deicide, Dissection, and more. We are promised drop tuned aggression, full of tempo changes, scorching harmonies and relentless riffs, lyrically conveying a creative focus on life and death, politics, anti-religion, suffering, and personal insanity, with each song displaying a sense of destruction in a unique, and brutal form.

Sounds pretty epic and I shall share the album on podcasts when it arrives.

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