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

Kiss This Noise

What a glorious Monday with brand new vids from some of my fave rockin’ teen combos…..

First AAAK with a single release of the very memorable “Sweet Sweet Kiss”……

and then the return of Flies On You with the astringent post punkery of “Can You Smell That Burning Noise” (from the highly anticipated new album “etcetera”)

and to conclude a little bit of Staggs mischief……






I know what time it is……..

As Able As Kane



8th July 2013

Time flies by so quickly in this music world we inhabit. It hardly seems like yesterday since “Totalitarian Tip Toe” came out but here we are 51 weeks later with a brand new waxing from the ever excellent As Able As Kane, or AAAK as their mothers call them.

And things have moved on somewhat on the musical front.  Here we have twelve songs in two parts…..essentially new stuff over the first six, and then re-imaginings of the original release, from 25 years back, with the current band members.

The line up album for the album is Paul R on vocals, Ding on bass and keys, Tamsin on vocals, Seth Leppard aka Neil R on guitar and Adam Buckeridge on drums. For live purposes Dan Woolfie has subsequently filled the drum shoes with Adam focusing on Bobbie Peru with Ding and Bert – but that’s another story.

Now then this is somewhat different from what has gone before – and as I remarked on their performance at the Salford Music Festival  last September – after supporting Red Hot Chilli Peppers in Europe – the band has taken a slight change in direction with a little more “rock” in the EBM than hitherto. This is no doubt due to Mr Archer putting more live bass and drums into the mix.

The core of the AAAK approach is still there with Paul delivering his rapid fire wordplay, counterbalanced and supported by memorable vocals from Tamsin, but the addition of “real” drums, instead those brewed in a Roland Drum Machine (or equivalent), and Ding delivering his consummate bass performance, coupled with measured guitar from Neil – together with the usual intelligent use of synths and found sounds makes for a development and improvement in the bands work.

There is, specifically, I think a funkier feel to the music – evidenced on “Enjoy Your Moment” and the reworking of “Time” – but also the willingness to experiment with the soundscape as it moves from the expected to the unexpected within the scope of one song. The opening of the eponymous “BuildingscapebeatXXV” which is sparse and compelling leads into a manic piece of dance music built around a seductive bass part and eastern scales from Neil, with sculptured synth squelches from Ding. All too short in my opinion and I trust there will a longer 12″ vinyl mix somewhere in the recording studio?

AAAK Cover

However there is also a punkier/rockier feel to the music demonstrated ably by the scabrous “Memorial Song” which is an angry beast of a thing. Fast, unwilling to take prisoners, and rather marvellous.

Always great to see the great metropolis of Salford name-checked in any tune and the heart of the old city gets plenty of attention with the tasty “Ordsall Calling”, and its motorik rhythms coupled with dirty bass line, and hair-raising backing vox from Tamsin, make it the stand-out track on the album for me. Having said that opener “Never Stop Me” comes a close second with Paul’s rising vocal menace and the excellent break downs during the song.

Listening to the six re-workings of the older tunes I am reminded of that gig at The Crescent and how much more the bands material is honed and enhanced by the traditional rhythm section approach.  A superb “Sharpshooter” has always been a particular favourite, and as mentioned above the excellent “Time” would not be out of place in a Parliament/Funkadelic set list. “Cruise Control” is brutal, unforgiving and rather special, coming across like a mutant prog-dance piece. “What Are We Here For” brings back the more traditional dance elements, almost no-wave in it’s approach, with various sounds chittering in and out of the mix around a bubbling bass riff.  “Brain Drain” is perhaps the only track of the half dozen where I actually prefer the simplicity of the original version – perhaps a little too mutant disco for my tender ears.  To conclude “Outland” appears to be the most radical of the changes to the original material taking on a more epic feel and adding to an already excellent original piece.

I very much doubt if there is another band out there doing material like this – it is unique, effectively delivered and memorable.

The album will be launched at Ruby Lounge in Manchester on 23rd August. More info on Facebook.

Highly recommended.