News – local and international

There has been a lot happening in the last seven days so here is a quick bullet point round-up of some of the news which has been brought to my attention:

  • Monster Island have a new album – their fifth – called “House of Lancaster”  out on Monday 25th August – which is excellent news for lovers of their particularly fascinating approach to music
  • Mr Heart have got a new bassist to replace Sophie Lord – she is Amy Spray – and they have a gig in Bolton on 30th August at the Blind Tiger with Coroner for the Police
  • German Shepherd records have a new EP out by a band called Scratchings, No Gravy – it’s called “Eccles Cross Breakdown” and you can get it here. The next releases on the label will be a new EP from Modal Roberts and the re-release of the excellent album from The Bacillus called “I Can’t Adapt To This Prison You Call Society”
  • In further German Shepherd news the label is co-curating a gig with Louder Than War signings Kill Pretty at Dulcimer, Chorlton, Manchester on 12th and 19th September. Kill Pretty headline both nights and have special guests – West Coast Sick Line, Indian Pale Male and Poppycock on the 12th, and 2 Koi Karp, Andy T plus As Able As Kane on the 19th. Advance tickets are available with a booking fee from here. All of those purchasing advance tickets will get a free set of Kill Pretty badges when they arrive at the gig!
  • Earth‘s brand new full-length studio LP, Primitive And Deadly, the album shall be released in less than two weeks through Southern Lord. With founding guitarist Dylan Carlson weaving his slow-motion, organic dirges throughout the amazingly restrained percussion of his longtime cohort Adrienne Davies, the duo are here joined by bassist Bill Herzog (Sunn O))), Joel RL Phelps, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter) and additional guitarists Brett Netson (Built To Spill, Caustic Resin) and Jodie Cox (Narrows). Rabia Shaheen Qazi of Rose Windows lends her angelic voice to the album’s third composition, “From The Zodiacal Light,” as heard in recent weeks, while the fifth track, “Rooks Across The Gate” and second track, “There Is a Serpent Coming,” feature evocative vocal contributions from Mark Lanegan previously of Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age, Mad Season and more. The lyrics for “Rooks…” were written by Dylan Carlson and the lyrics for “Serpent..” by Lanegan.
  • Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche is a bit of a Montreal supergroup, its members having been active in this city’s experimental rock communities for well over a decade, including participation in Panopticon Eyelids, Pas Chic Chic, Red Mass, Set Fire to Flames, and, from the Constellation roster, Fly Pan Am. Avec le soleil has solidified over the past year into a tight four-piece unit, and moved towards mastery of a highly original, deeply satisfying, giddy and heady avant-funk. They have an album out on Constellation on 29th September. Looks interesting from the notes I have seen.
  • Last Ex is the new instrumental rock ensemble led by Simon Trottier and Olivier Fairfield, both longtime fixtures of experimental/punk scenes rooted in the cross-province hub of Hull/Ottawa (straddling the border of Quebec and Ontario, respectively). In addition to duties in various groups orbiting Fairfield’s E-Tron Records (including H. de Heutz, Ferriswheel and many others), the two are perhaps best known as core members of haunted blues-folk ensemble Timber Timbre, which spawned the Last Ex project. When Timber Timbre’s ambient music for a horror film went unused back in 2012, Trottier and Fairfield began revisiting the sound palette they had built up for the soundtrack at Fairfield’s studio in Hull, expanding on their techniques and textures, adding drums, bass and various other instruments. The duo found that they had dug into some very fertile territory, writing additional songs throughout 2013 and bringing their obsessions with sound collage, tape-based music concrète and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to bear on the cinematic lyricism of the initial widescreen guitar- and string-based material. Derived from the title of the abandoned film, Simon and Olivier dubbed their new project Last Ex. It is released on Constellation on 13th October.
  • Montreal four-piece post-punk group Ought has been gathering momentum the old-fashioned way, with a humble and deceptively unassuming debut album that’s been worming its way into many many ears thanks to its combination of intelligence, authenticity, directness, simplicity and energy; and with live performances in which it is reported that  the band’s channeling of genuine passion, politics and charisma are consistently connecting with and exuberantly galvanizing audiences. While they continue their relentless touring across North America and Europe this Autumn, Constellation will be releasing a vinyl- and digital-only EP which corrals a couple of selections from the band’s older songbook, re-recorded this Spring at Hotel2Tango to reflect some of the ways they’ve grown and evolved over the past year or so.   Ought will be doing a full UK tour in November. The EP is called “Once More With Feeling” and is released on 27th October.



Mr Heart with their new line-up
Mr Heart with their new line-up

Aural Delights Radio Show – 22nd August 2012

On this show…. listen here…..just for clarity the Andy T album is called Life At Tethers End……not as announced on the show…..

1 Phil Davis and the Ninja Smoke Bombs All Mixed Up Single
2 Toska Wilde and Luis Drayton Glamoflage Glamoflage
3 Led Er Est Divided Parallel The Diver
4 Bacchanal Party Champagne Lifestyle, Buckfast Wages Single
5 The Stagger Rats Fuzzy Fuzzy EP
6 Factory Acts Fantasy Fantasy
7 Six Organs of Admittance One Thousand Birds Ascent
8 Nuclear Death Terror Crisis Chaos Reigns
9 Moff Skellington Goodbye Changeless Town of Attics Eddodi
10 Dead Sea Apes Dead Fingers Talk Astral House
11 Andy T Wooden Curtains Life at Tethers End
12 Factory Acts Stock Exchange Fantasy
13 The Go-Betweens Twin Layers of Lightning Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express

Brownian Motion In The Mosh-Pit…..or the places Tom Tom takes you…….

It’s a toss between staying in to watch the Olympics or getting a lift from Chris and Josh to go see Kill Pretty in Hebden Bridge with a load of other bands….. I take about a millisecond to decide and then after a few texts I hop into Dutton Seniors’  motor and we are off – after a quick stop for petrol. After we leave the M62 motorway, and get past Rochdale going toward Halifax, it becomes obvious that the fairly straightforward route I had checked on Google Maps has been abandoned by Chris’s Tom Tom.

Indeed,  we leave the relative safety of the Halifax Road for a mind-blowing route through narrow country lanes, I begin to wonder if I’ve drifted back in time to some rural idyll…..notwithstanding this we arrive safely park up and find we are the first to arrive. We catch Evil Eye and then The Mob sound-checking – Moet and then Mike arrive and we sit and admire Dutton Seniors new Gibson as a set-list is worked out. The group settle on playing three of the new songs and a first performance of Kill Pretty (the song), plus a hark back to the days of the Hamsters with the inclusion of a classic- the reason being is it is 33 years to the day since the historic Stuff the Superstars gig at The Mayflower Club.

Aubergine Curry is eaten, beers are acquired and we sit down to listen to Evil Eye – a band not on my radar up until this show. Lead by the visually arresting “Lard Tramp” – who wears a cassock and is a memorable front man –  the band set the scene for the rest of the evening with a high powered punk rock. There is enough variety in the set list to maintain interest and there is  interesting dynamic in the performance. Any bass player wearing a Hunter S Thompson T-Shirt is OK with me.

Next up the utterly captivating Kill Pretty motor through a stunning set. Kicking off with a stunning rendition of “The Year of 13 Moons” which immediately gets some appreciative head nodding from the crowd. As mentioned we get the first live airing of the pop-tastic “Kill Pretty” which  is followed by two newer tunes “Clever Man” and “Breakdown” both great and coincidentally being recorded by the band for forthcoming releases the following day.  These are followed by a sparkling rendition of The Hamsters classic “I’m A C*nt” with guest vocals from Andy T and Mark Wilson from The Mob. A bit of a crowd pleaser. A blistering version of “Emperor’s New Clothes” with Moet in vein-popping form is followed by the jaunty “Rob a Bank”, then new track “Mirror Factory” (which is a bit special) and the set closes with superfast version of “Stress”. An appreciative crowd and a great performance from the guys.

By now it’s getting a bit warm as the place fills up so I switch from bitter to Peroni to cleanse the palate. The place is filling up nicely and the atmosphere is building well.
Next up are The Autonomads who play a fiercely mutant version of punk ska complete with some pretty intense polemic. The twin guitar and sax leads offer a unique sound and whilst the rhythm section is playing recognisable riffs and beats the  delivery overall is sufficiently different as to warrant further investigation (check out their split with Black Star Dub Collective here).

Andy T is up next with a selection of tracks from his excellent album “Life at Tethers End” which I acquire for Mr Doyle on the evening (excellent packaging and full of great images and words). The very excellent “Sophie Lancaster” is again the highlight for me and by now there is some serious moshing going on and the crowd are fully appreciative of Andy’s words and the fine musical backing. On my second time of seeing this band live and  I am growing to appreciate what he is all about.

The 80s Anarcho Punk Band The System have recently reformed and deliver a vital fist pumping set of classic tracks – at one point a punter climbs on stage and yells “I’ve waited 21 years for this….” – by now the brownian motian in the mosh pit is approaching chaotic levels with some serious fist pumping and pogoing. The band still retain the vitality they demonstrated thirty years ago – it does what it says on the tin – it’s punk at it’s most primal and evocative. I treat myself to the their album from the merch stall.

Headliners The Mob have moved on a tad since I saw them in Bradford a couple of months back. Continuous touring and a trip to America has honed their craft down to a powerful and mesmerising wall of noise. Moet observes that the band seem more at ease with that they are doing – I have to concur – it’s a great set with the classics “Another Day, Another Death” (two versions), “Witch Hunt” and “No Doves Fly Here” extracting an ecstatic response from a frenzied audience. Curtis Youe delivers a mammoth bass sound which is the bedrock for Graham Fallows to drive a combined motorik/punk beat under Mark Wilson’s wall of sound guitar. Mark is one of the great rhythm guitar players and his vocal attack continues to impress. Two encores are delivered and we start to plot how we can get them a gig in Salford/Manchester.

Given we have to negotiate the windy roads and it looks like the heavens are going to open up at any minute we only catch a short bit of Pedagree Skum and are long gone before Total Bloody Chaos  hit the stage, however the latter have clearly got their marketing right as they are around earlier in the afternoon selling their new split with Touched By Nausea. 

Off into the increasingly damp night and back round the windy narrow roads which are even more scary in the pitch black we reflect on a great evenings entertainment.

Congratulations to Andy Thorley for making it happen and using an excellent venue in the Trades Club.

Is this the sound of the golden age This is the sound of my rage

Live at the Witch Hunt of 2012

I wasn’t going to go to this. I’m glad I did.

I had woken up with industrial scale Hay Fever and all of the associated lethargy that goes with it and frankly just wanted to lie around all day not doing very much. However a bit of fresh air and a pep talk from the “boss” and I was convinced to attend. SD and I were guests of Mr Leigh and Mr Moss and after picking Steve up from “Radio House”  a pleasant afternoons journey east across the hills to Yorkshire took us to Bradford and the 1 in 12 club – an excellent venue. We met up with another Kill Pretty fan who had undertaken a four and a half hour drive just to see the band – there’s a man after my own heart – and after a swift libation in a local pub decamped to the club to sound check and then avail ourselves of the free food that promoter had arranged – excellent cake. A good chat with the various members of “The Mob” and then downstairs to the impressive concert room to catch “Nu Pogodi!”.

The band appears to have been formed about seven weeks ago and is currently a three piece (guitar, bass, drums) but intend to add an extra guitar in due course. Their Facebook page describes them as “Anarcho Thrash/Punk Trash” I’d add a bit of hardcore/screamo into the mix and the occasional foray into doom.  They a have great look  and a great stage attack but with a degree of self-deprecation which adds charm to their relentless full-on performance. This is not music for the faint-hearted and I would guess you would have to be a fan of this particular sub-set of the world of punk to fully appreciate what they are up to but I was impressed with their energy and the use of fast/slow passages to deliver their message. In case you are wondering where the name comes from it’s a Russian Cartoon series. They have  not recorded anything yet – i’d be interested to hear what they sound like when a release becomes available.

Nu Pogodi!
Next up was Andy T from Rochdale – who delivers “spoken word” polemic in a style veering from world weary to angry. The lyrics and delivery are powerful and relentless with subjects as far apart as Animal Testing and Margaret Thatcher. He is backed by a very adept band who merge loose funk, reggae and post punk in an attractive aural package. Andy delivers a short solo piece between each of the musical numbers and whilst I wouldn’t normally want to stand through 45 minutes of politicised music of this nature there were enough high points to grab my attention and keep my interest.
Andy T
Third on the bill were the ever lovely “Kill Pretty” who have moved on a tad since I last saw them at the Kings Arms. Things are faster, more intense, and Josh Dutton appears to have increased his level of stage movement somewhat. We got classic deliveries of amongst others “Emperors New Clothes”  “Stress” , “Black Dig City Blues”, and “Stupid Club”. The crowd warmed to the increasingly enjoyable “Rob A Bank”  and the always excellent “Year of 13 Moons” was stunning (including a guest vocal appearance by a heavily dread-locked local). Mr Leigh was in fine form as usual (despite the backcloth falling on him half way through the set, and problems with his vocal microphone) and Mr Dutton (senior) is rapidly developing Thurston Moore like tendencies. “Moet” was his usual intense and impressive self – a commanding stage presence and excellent vocal performance.
The Mob reformed last year after a 28 years hiatus and deliver a relentless set of their classic punk tunes which gets the crowd moshing like mad. The original line up of Mark Wilson, Curtis Youe and Graham Fallows clearly know each other well and are very tight – at times I was reminded of Killing Joke – and they offer a set which moves from insistent slower numbers to faster paced punky tunes. What impressed me about them is that they are really nice friendly guys with none of the usual “rock star” aloofness.
All in all an excellent evening at a really good venue – we all remarked on the way back down the M62 that it would be great to get a place like that in the Salford/Manchester Area. A really nice friendly crowd who are clearly into their music.
Mr Doyle meets Mr Wilson of The Mob
Kill Pretty