Fascinating Things : Issue 11

Sounding a bit like Robert Forster singing with The Smiths Band of Holy Joy have a new  download single “Isn’t that just the life”  out on Stereogram on August 10th. A video accompanies the download and there will be a select number of dates across the UK. An album follows in September.

Isn't that just the Life - Download Artwork

I have been hand selected by  The Working Man (lead by the hardest man in Blackburn) to listen to their  new track “Big Bad John”. They advise me that they are not going to bore me on how  they  ‘merge different genres’ and ‘can’t be put into any category’ – they  appreciate , like themselves, that I am  very busy. A fascinating melange of differing things makes for a damn fine listen. It comes from a soon to be released album called “Lancashizer”. You can catch them at the Bierkellar in that Manchester on July 30th.

Ancient River‘s new album ‘Keeper of the Dawn’ stems from band founder James Burreto’s love of Italian horror films and the music of David Axelrod – some tracks are led by the vocals, others by the drums. The latest in a string of interesting albums the overall feel is airy psychedelia with space rock, shoegaze, and touches of Americana.  Opening track “This is the Time” is a bit of a stunner.

Steve Hauschildt has  announced his first new album since the late 2012 release of “Sequitur. Where All Is Fled” . It will be released via kranky on 25th September. Titled “Although Where All Is Fled” it sonically refers back to his earlier albums such as “Rapt for Liquid Minister” and “Tragedy & Geometry”, but on detailed listening it slowly becomes apparent that it is also a divergence from those recordings.

“Both the artwork and the music on this new work were heavily inspired by surrealist landscape paintings, early alchemical emblems, and recurring visions Steve had from dreams. The result is a pristine series of cascading melodies, fantastical terrains of layered lattices, and overlapping patterns of synthesizers superimposed with orchestral instrumentation. Hidden in the crevices of the album are processed crowd sounds, re-sampled text-to-speech synthesis, piano, and animal noises which reveal themselves after repeated listens and blur together notions of artificial and natural sound. While slowly unfurling, each sound is given it’s own place and space, never hurried, never cluttered.”

Helen is a pop group from Oregon featuring members of Grouper and Eternal Tapestry. Liz Harris (vocals/lead guitar), Jed Bindeman (drums/tambourine), Scott Simmons (bass/guitar), and Helen (back up vocals).  Originally started with the intention of being a thrash band, it turned into something else entirely.  “The Original Faces” was recorded over a period of several years in Portland by the band members, their friends Nick, Chris and, largely, Justin Higgins.  The record was written together, with some songs based on Liz and Scottʼs demos.

And finally for this edition of Fascinating Things

Rock Back for Nepal is the first in a 3-part series of disaster relief compilations being released by U.S. indie label Patetico Recordings. The label is partnering with nearly 60 independent artists and several small indie labels around the globe to make this happen. They have all come together in order to raise funds for victims of the recent catastrophic earthquakes in Nepal. All money raised will go directly to the relief efforts.
The compilations are being supported by several luminaries of the independent rock and shoegaze scene, among others. Whenever Tom Lugo reaches out to his musical family, you know it’s for a crucial and essential cause. The Rock Back for Nepal CD compilation is no exception,” explains Dean Garcia of seminal shoegaze bands Curve and SPC ECO. “I’m proud to be part of this relief effort / fund raiser for anyone affected by the recent earthquake disaster in Nepal and if I can help or contribute in some way to aid support and assistance to the many displaced people, I will without question. Please support this cause and donate as generously as you can.”

Perhaps one of the most renowned personalities in the shoegaze / noise rock spheres, Oliver Ackermann (A Place To Bury Strangers, Skywave) has also lent his support to the cause. “It is a horrible tragedy this destruction of culture and life. I feel lucky that I can use my craft and contribute a song to this fund to help them raise money for relief. If we can all do something to help and give relief for the people of Nepal we should do it now.”

“It’s great to be among this sparkling array of brilliant artists, taking action in support of a great cause,” says Marc Joy of Welsh outfit Lights That Change.  Alexx Kretov of Canadian-Ukrainian duo Ummagma is also hopeful.”May the common freebie attitude fall to the wayside for this project. We really hope that people will support a higher cause by spending a few dollars and spreading this music far and wide.”
All three volumes are being released at the same time, and will be available through Bandcamp and Amazon.com exclusively, both digitally and on CD.The album artwork and design is by Gardy Perez.
The concept of the Rock Back compilation series was born in 2011 when disaster hit Japan and Tom Lugo, owner of Patetico Recordings, acted on his empathy for charitable causes and non-profit organizations by reaching out to the community of artists in his network. They collectively put together a compilation and the profits were donated to relief efforts. The response was overwhelming, with over 100 artists from across the globe joining in the efforts. What was to be a single CD compilation grew into the 8-disc compilation Rock Back for Japan. The compilation series hit the top 10 Indie Rock releases on Amazon.com’s chart for several weeks, with certain volumes holding the number 1 spot.