It has been around four years since the last offering from Bolton’s finest band of troubadours Limbs. They tell me they have been hard at work writing lots of music over the last couple of years and new release “Expose Myself” is the first thing to actually be recorded from that period and is to be shared with the world from January 1st 2020 on Bandcamp. I am also advised that there is much more to come, and on the basis of this new five track release, and previous efforts, this is something to look forward to.
All the elements of Limbs music are in place, piano lead chansons, combining the charm of Muswell Hillbillies era Kinks, the theatricality of Bertolt Brecht, a nod towards Jacques Brel, and, the best traditions of English popular music.
On the face of it this might sound/feel like jolly music but detailed examination of the lyrical content reveals subjects varying between criminality, the excesses of rich and powerful men and their sexual peccadilloes, through the loss of traditional landscapes, to relationships and death.
Guest vocalist Helen Taylor (of the uniquely named “Smoking Gives You Big Tits”) provides a perfect foil to Michael Chadwick during the rich and evocative “Love Like Ours” which drips with latest sensuality in the best traditions of Noosha Fox, and is the stand out track on the EP. Having said that the closing “Bad Funeral Poetry” is a tour de force with astute lyrics and a tongue in cheek epic ballad feel to it.
If you need a break from the usual tosh pumped out on the 6Music playlist and wish to bathe in luxurious well written popular song-craft then I recommend you seek this out. While you are at it check out the previous releases from this talented group of musicians.
After around a three years hiatus Monster Island are back with a line-up change and two new EPs which follow on swiftly-ish from February’s one off “S.P.G.” single.
The EPs are entitled The New Vernacular & King of the Minglers and are released on August 28th on “made up” label Ballast Records. They are digital only releases.
“in a panorama of partisan land the king of the minglers idly stands and pleasures himself by the endless fences…”
The band describe themselves as a “low motion branding disaster” in the “blurb drafted ” for these releases. For those of you who are not aware of them they have been around since 2007 (roughly), which they describe as “an insensible length of time”. Constant member Stephen Waddicor (guitar, vocals) is joined by Wesley Emmison drummer, who came back into the fold earlier this year (an original member who left for a while) and the surname less Ryan and Brendan (who appear to be from Dundalk) make up the rest of the line-up.
Although none of the above is completely clear and whilst Stephen has said I can send him some questions quite frankly me doing a “Smash Hits” or “Mojo” on the band doesn’t seem quite the done thing, and, I would much rather they retained at least some of their obtuse anonymity. Suffice to say they are based within the M60 ring and deliver unique and compelling music which I have whittered on about endlessly on previous occasions – see below for a comprehensive discography which is all available on Bandcamp. In any event most of what has happened recently is written down here for you to absorb at your own leisure and excuses me from making up some flowery prose to enlighten you.
The blurb says:
“king of the minglers stares inwards and sings of physical, mental and spiritual disintegration. It speaks with absolute certainty of anxiety, celebrity, sophistry, lethargy and dentistry.
the new vernacular squints straight ahead through prescription shades and asserts that there’ll never be a more effective rendering of the western alphabet than “badges for the boring”
Just to wander off topic for a moment I was at the “launch” of the Cherry Red Compilation of Manchester Music (7 CD Box Set) at Piccadilly Records yesterday and it struck me whilst listening to the some of the speakers and chatting to some of the musicians and record company folk that had gathered for the event that it remains my role to continue to reveal/expose/describe bands like Monster Island to you. It’s also very apparent to me through my other “job” of co-running German Shepherd Records that it is a continuous struggle to get “outsider” music some sort of air-time in a world where there are more bands than ever, and perhaps more depressingly there are more tribute bands than ever. Great music can get lost in the Tower of Babel of Social Media and digital promotion. Chatting this through with Matt Davies (Factory Acts) and Emily Oldfield (Louder Than War) in Night & Day after the launch thing Matt suggested a plan for a second musical revolution but I had had my second pint of 5% lager by then and my attention was wandering somewhat but I think I know what he means, and anyhow, Emily is writing an article about the new musical movements that are emerging and no doubt she will be far more erudite than I am in describing what is happening. However, I digress, Matt asked me if there were any new bands that he should be aware of and I did mention the new Charlie Marshall album but it strikes me in hindsight that I should have brought Monster Island to his attention. And in that respect I must point out Monster Island to my other DJ colleagues out there (I am calling on Messrs Cain and Hammond in particular) so that there is at least some exposure to the music in these new releases in other places than the peoples republic of Eccles.
Back on topic – there are 13 songs lasting just over 40 minutes over the two releases. The band deliver that particular “northern” sound (a matter of some discussion at the Piccadilly Records thing – the consensus was that it was a Greater Manchester Sound I think) which defies genre specificity, and in doing so becomes progressively more interesting. At the heart is Waddicor’s vocal delivery which retains its uniqueness, it is quintessentially Lancastrian, and that adds to the attraction. Regional accents are always far more interesting in music and much more preferable than the constant stream of sub Blink 182 translantic whining that pops through my virtual letter box on a daily basis (and perversely is described as ground-breaking – why “Jason from Hemel Hempstead” would want to sound like Matt Skiba or Mark Hoppus is a constant mystery to me).
This is interesting music, there will be riffs and structures that you are aware of and recognise from particular movements, but the band take those elements to create an overall sound which is unique and that I find compelling. There are contrapuntal lines of music which have a recognisable root in the back of Don Van Vliets head, and there are drum patterns that Klaus Dinger would have delivered 40 odd years ago. There is an insistence and urgency about the music, it is brash and abstract at times, and the words are rich and evocative – the band achieve a creative career high with “Badges for the Boring” from The New Vernacular which gets its genesis in Blakewater Delta Blues. David Thomas and Peter Laughner would no doubt feel that the exceptional “Dig for Victory” was derived in Cleveland with its bubbling and hypnotic beat. At times though the band sound completely unique with tracks like “La Danza” which defy comparison – incomparable riffing and changes. Matters also move in a David Byrne direction with the almost funky “Island Psychosis” that’s until the band completely flip the structure and do their own thing.
Anyhow I’ve whittered on enough, have a listen to the title track of the New Vernacular below, which is rather marvellous, and tune into my Aural Delights show on August 5th to hear four tracks from a unique and rather special band.
Let me say from the outset that The Strays are going to have DJs rushing for the bleep button so if you don’t like blunt anglo-saxon language then you would need to avoid their debut short form release “Explicit Content” which manages to utilise the f, c and w words in the opening two tracks.
In the best traditions of northern lo-fi electro-punk bands like “A Witness” and “Bogshed” the duo deliver short, sharp, and unambiguous tirades against any number of deserving targets. This is drum machine driven electro punk delivered in a stripped backed punchy fashion with vocals that betray their northern location, also, The Strays manage (I believe) to be only the second known unit in musical history to use the word “mither” in the title of a tune (the first being The Fall of course).
The stand out track is the rather marvellous “Wind Your Neck In” which manages to use the -ing version of the f-word more times than Sicknurse managed to use in their classic tune “……my Best Friends Wife”. For the more nervous Ofcom spooked DJs out there you can showcase “TV Dinner” which has a rightly has a go at the paucity of talent on current broadcast channels as it only has one “f-ing” in it.
Refreshingly honest and reminding me somewhat of The Ramones in attitude if not style, the band throw a curve ball with the 70s disco vibe of the closer “Death In The Viper Room” which is the safest for radio but not wholly representative of the rest of the 18 minute 7 song collection.
This release cheered me up immensely in a week of submissions from sub-Blink 182 guitar dominated outfits (the modern equivalent of Four Skinny Indie Kids) peddling vacuous riffs under anodyne vocals. The Strays are well worth less than 20 minutes of your time and the price of a pint to give them some support and to encourage them to continue their attack on the sort of targets that need calling out.
Thanks to Neil Malcontent ex of The Ascension for bringing this excellent combo to my attention.
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.
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.
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…
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:
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.
Apologies for the lack of posts recently but it has been a rather busy time with all sorts of German Shepherd Records stuff going on in the background and with some exciting gig news coming soon…..so inevitably there is a backlog of things to bring to your attention, better get straight to it…..
Continuing his run of “one single a month” releases in 2016 Dave Graney is back with Clare Moore, of course, plus guests Will Hindmarsh and Emily Jarrett of Go Go Sapien on backing vocals. This one is pretty short for a DG tune but manages to pack in enough cool sounds within it’s 2:59 to satisfy any lover of fine music. It’s undoubtedly Dave and Clare with it’s smoky late night vibe but there’s a freshness to this one indicating yet another variation in direction and development. This run of singles from Graney and Moore has been exceptional, can’t wait to hear the next one….
The new EP from 50FOOTWAVE is absolutely stunning. Rob Ahlers, Bernard Georges and Kristin Hersh are in fine muscular form powering through six new tunes. Kristin’s raw emotional vocals are at their very best and the band delivers intelligent, well crafted tunes. It’s called “Bath White” and you really should listen…..plus a crowdfunding drive has kicked off to support the publication of ‘Nerve Endings’, a book featuring selected lyrics from across her career as a musician and songwriter. For more information on the book and available pledge levels, visit the project page at Unbound: https://unbound.co.uk/books/Kristin-Hersh.
Nefarious Industries release the self-titled debut EP from Chicago-based Mine Collapse ton July 22nd. Formed in the autumn of 2015 by two-thirds of now defunct punk/metal band Arbogast, the new band picks things up where the old one left off, with Aaron Roemig and Mike Rataj continuing a nearly decade-long collaboration. The sound is characterised by a heavy, jagged, sludge-punk sound featuring reverb-soaked vocals. At twenty-two minutes, the four-song EP includes of frantic noise rock and doom riffage stacked atop Rataj’s unique jazz-infused pummeling drum style. Influences range from contemporary heavy bands like Torche, Queens Of The Stone Age, Don Caballero, Boris, and The Austerity Program and old-school nineties AmRep bands à la Helmet, Jesus Lizard, and Unsane. Pre-order now here https://minecollapse.bandcamp.com/releases.
The excellent Yob are embarking on a European Tour in September/October with a raft of UK/Eire dates. The support for the six dates is Black Cobra.
Fri 07/10/2016 – Bristol, The Fleece
Sat 08/10/2016 – Glasgow, G2 Garage
Sun 09/10/2016 – Birmingham, The Rainbow Club
Mon 10/10/2016 – Manchester, Ruby Lounge
Tue 11/10/2016 – Dublin, Whelans
Thu 13/10/2016 – London, The Scala
Here’s a reminder of their remarkable album from 2014:
‘Church of Rock n Roll’ is taken from the album We Are The Ones. The debut solo album from Cambridge musician Gavin Chappell-Bates. It features 12 tracks, including previously released songs ‘95’, ‘We Are The Ones’ and ‘Black Holes’. Other tracks include the aforementioned aggressive adolescent punk of ‘Church Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’, the bright upbeat pop of ‘Dead End Disco Streets’, the shining sentimental ballad of ‘Starlight’, and ‘Refugee’ – a Manics-esque epic tinged with loneliness and loss. The album is the culmination of years of playing in bands, writing songs and gigging relentlessly. Friends, family and fans helped pick the final tracks to feature on the album. It was recorded and produced by James Coppolaro at Mix66 (Okiem Warmann, David Botrill, David Ellefson and Loretta Heywood) and features Rob Gibiaqui on drums (Sergey Lazarev, The Pinker Tones), Anna Scott on cello (Imogen Heap), Prue Ward on violin (The Willows) and the choir Full Score conducted by Ralph Woodward. For live purposes Gavin utilises German Shepherd’s very own Bouquet of Dead Crows. It’s a small world!.
Finally, for this issue, the Moss Brothers are back together again creating their left-field alt.pop with “Dark Snow” a dire warning to climate change deniers and self-serving politicians everywhere. With Neil’s wife Gaynor on backing vocals this is a step in a new direction for Ian and Neil. The single is pay what you want and all proceeds will go to Friends of The Earth.
The cricket season has started which means that quite often i’m out of the loop for four days in any week, which in turn results in things backing up. So we’ll keep it punchy for this one in order to catch-up with some good stuff and news that has been sent through.
North London based band West Of The Sun return with a new single “Siberian Hysteria” to be released on the 6th May via Phoney War Records.
Norwegian band Okkultokrati are reissuing their 2012 album “Snakereigns” and 2014’s “Night Jerks” LPs via Southern Lord in May (originally released via Fysisk Format). These releases precede their fourth full-length, which will be recorded later this month, also to be released through Southern Lord.
The new ‘Galacticon’ single from Ummagma, which takes you on a trip to some fascinating places, including the historic town of Kremenets (in Western Ukraine) with it’s landmark Bona castle ruins and breathtaking landscape, is from the band’s ‘Frequency’ EP, which features contributions from Cocteau Twins frontman Robin Guthrie and OMD’s Malcolm Holmes.
Following their European tour and jaw-dropping appearance at Berlin’s CTM festival earlier this year, The Dwarfs of East Agouza share ‘Clean Shahin’ the second track from their upcoming debut double album “Bes” which is set for worldwide release on 29 April 2016.
The Poisoned Glass (the duo of Stuart Dahlquist and Edgy59) have shared another piece from their debut album, 10 SWORDS which was released on April 22nd via Ritual Productions.
Another great release from garage punkers Regular Boys from Perth is well worth a listen
Toronto based nTTx is back with a new video ‘Bastion’ from the “Objective” EP.
Southampton quartet Circle Of Reason, release a track from their new album “Faith Or Theory”.
The second Moff Skellington album for 2016 “Owlish Perspicacity” is out in a couple of weeks, here’s a taster.