Fascinating Things : Issue 48

It has been strange old week with winter overstaying its’ welcome a little too much for my liking, i’m grateful therefore for the veritable cornucopia of new things to listen to . And in the light of that  lets start off with some shameless self-promotion for the parallel universe that inhabits this space called German Shepherd Records…..

Franco Bandini released a stunning EP last year which I waxed lyrically about. Since them Franco has been to Spain and back, done a handful of live shows, and an informative radio appearance with my good friend Mr Stephen Doyle. The outcome of the latter is an impressive four track EP with an FB tune, two covers and a traditional blues. It’s a free download so why not fill your boots? His version of ‘St James Infirmary’ is particularly good with the lyrics changed to reflect the local landscape.

Whilst we are on matters of a German Shepherd nature I am pleased to record that the new Taser Puppets EP ‘Fossil’, which is rather special and which I featured a video of last time out,  is now available for pre-order with the title track being there for your listening pleasure……

Summer Heart is the solo project of Swedish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist David Alexander. Best known for a nostalgic low-fi sound, David’s sun- bleached latest track ‘The Forbidden’ is “just the thing for those pesky winter blues” according to the promo people. This drifting dream-pop transcends the usual fodder that we are fed as hip and stands on it’s own Cocteauish reverb soaked feet. There is an interesting mixing effect in parts which increases the density of the soundscape and provides an intriguing listening experience.

I’ve been neglecting local turn Eugene The Oceanographer, mainly I guess because I was put off by the name, which is a little remiss of me. However I couldn’t really ignore the latest Bandcamp release which is a fascinating amalgam of sound collage, plunderphonics, sampling and such like. Themed around the 1988 Seoul Olympics the collection is in the spirit of the latest rush of found sound escapades mixed with a Manc (Sub) Pop sensibility, and some great, and sometimes surprising, guest vocals. It all takes me back to the early 80s in parts with nods towards Heaven 17 and Eno. Well worth a look and it’s pay what you want.

Following the success of Ulver‘s ATGCLVLSSCAP and KKKMO‘s Are You Land or Water, newly established UK label House of Mythology will soon be putting out their two next releases, Laniakea‘s A Pot of Powdered Nettles (featuring members of Ulver and Zu), and multiple award-winning Norwegian guitarist Stian Westerhus‘ (recently seen with Nils Petter Molvaer) new solo album, Amputation. Both albums are scheduled for April 29th.  HoM have commissioned a set of teaser videos, the first installments of which can be found below.

I featured The Boho‘s great new single ‘Leaders Don’t Love You” on the Aural Delights Podcast a couple of weeks back, the video has turned up and is worth a watch. It’s out on March 14th.

London four-piece, The Lazlo Device who are a dreamy indie mix of melodic guitars and contemplative vocals have a new single. Taking inspiration from the likes of Radiohead, Joy Division and Arcade Fire, they count Dominic Howard (Muse) and Howard Donald (Take That) amongst their fans already, not that influences my thinking in any way. Band member Ross works as a studio manager at Radio 1 and Dan has been a successful filmmaker for the BBC over the last few years, with their music set to be featured on a forthcoming BBC documentary about the Black Panthers. ‘Looking Glass’ is their latest single out March 4th from album ‘Duelism’ which will be out later in the year. A catchy little chorus gave it the edge in this instance but generally I wouldn’t go for this sort of fey four skinny indie kids type of stuff.

 

Turning to things that will be emerging on future editions of the Sonic Attack podcast there are a few things to attack your lugholes with:

  • As Southern Lord prepares for the March release of ‘II’ — the second LP from  Chicago-based, described as a death metal band,  Like Rats – founded by members of Weekend Nachos, the initial single of the album’s final track, “Grief Incarnate.” has been shared but it is not embeddable so you’ll have to leap over there yourself – impressive hard sound and have listen. Doesn’t sound like Death Metal to me – more hard rock with a gritty edge. On the basis of that album is something to look forward to. Interesting contemplative solo piano coda.
Like Rates
Like Rats – photo by Peter Nelson
  • Swedish band , Extermination Temple, release their first vinyl with the ‘Lifeless Forms’ 7” EP in early March. The band is another project from the same artist who creates the music for  hardcore band Broken Cross. The self-titled 2014 cassette demo was an equal mix of black and death metal,  but the impending Lifeless Forms 7″ is undoubtedly overall more death metal. There’s a good punk speed to it mind you.

Extermination Temple promo photo

  • Oakland-based old-school death metal band Necrot, which features current and former members of Acephalix, Vastum, Saviours, Watch Them Die and Atrament, has joined the Tankcrimes Records roster for the release of their ‘The Labyrinth’ full-length. Featuring eight tracks garnered from three hard-to-find and long out-of-print demo tapes,the album was recorded at Lennon Studios by the late great Jef “Leppard” Davis (Abscess, Acephalix, Vastum) and at Earhammer Studios with Greg Wilkinson (Brainoil, Annihilation Time, Noothgrush), mastered at Mammoth Sound by Dan Randall (Ghoul, Toxic Holocaust) and will see release on April 15th on CD, digitally and deluxe, foil-stamped LP. They make a lot of noise for a trio, it’s abrasive and unforgiving stuff, and rather enjoyable.

Necrot_photo1

  • Tankcrimes are also putting out  the new LP from long-running Stockholm hardcore band, Victims, with the April release of the band’s sixth album, ‘Sirens’.  With twelve tracks in just under thirty minutes this high quality, solid, punk metal at its’ best, although the drums could have been mixed a tad higher for my tastes. There are some good fist pumping anthems here!

Victims

  • Ventura, California-based technical death metal unit, Inherit Disease, release their third full-length on April 8 via Unique Leader Records. Titled ‘Ephemeral’, the follow-up to 2010’s seminal Visceral Transcendence was recorded at Seahorse Sound Studios by Samur Khouja (Condemned, Arkaik, Flesh Consumed) and features mixing/mastering by Sasha Borovykh (Epicardiectomy, Cerebral Effusion) from Tsun Tsun Productions. This is mad stuff, completely stone bonkers insane, the drumming is d-beat in extremis and the vocals sound like the plumbing in my bathroom when the pipes are blocked up. The guitars are mysteriously way back in the mix as the gurgling vocals dominate, and the drum sound is most peculiar. Not sure I get it and want to listen to the thing all the way through but it’s certainly unique.

InheritDisease2012.jpg

  • Highlight of this recent slew of metal is the new one from Mannheim’s Black Shape of Nexus called ‘Carrier’.  A fantastic album continuing the bands run of quality releases. Balancing pretty scary intense doom with more restrained passages of bluesy guitar figures it’s a series of stylistic contradictions which work perfectly well in the round. This is a band willing to explore new corners, and avenues, and able to put the disparate elements together to create a compelling soundscape.

 

Fascinating Things : Issue 42

Part two of this weeks rush of new material…..

Neurot Recordings have announced a full-length collaborative debut between apocalyptic doom duo, The Body, and grindcore/harsh noise outfit, Full Of Hell, this March. Fittingly titled “One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache”, the album includes eight new offerings along with two bonus tracks.

2015 was a busy year for SUNN O))). Following the recent release of  “Kannon” – their first full length album since 2009’s “Monoliths and Dimensions” – a series of European appearances, culminating in their curation of four days at Utrecht’s Le Guess Who? festival, news has emerged that their live album DØMKI RKE will be re-released 5th February 2016.

Kannon, in its earliest incarnation, was inspired from live compositions of SUNN O))); elements of which were present at DØMKIRKE. DØMKIRKE was recorded at the Bergen Cathedral in Bergen, Norway during the Borealis Festival in 2007. The four-song double album was initially released in September 2008 and is available on vinyl only, with one track featuring on each side of the records. This performance features intrinsic members of SUNN O)))’s line-up, including Attila Csihar (vocals), Tos Nieuwenhuizen (Moog), Lasse Marhaug (noise), Steve Moore (organ, trombone) with Greg Anderson (guitar) and Stephen O’Malley (guitar) vitally remaining at the centre of the SUNN O))) constellation.

Sunn 00000
Artwork by Tania Stene

The sixth Black Market Karma album “The Sixth Time Around” is now out and is very good……

Ritual Productions follow up their signing announcement of Helsinki’s primitive elementalists Horse Latitudes with the first insight into the sound of their forthcoming full-length, “Primal Gnosis”, by way of an album trailer. The Finnish four piece are known for their slow, primordial and powerful music, combining suffocating doom, black metal and hypnotic psychedelic repetition.

The near seven-minute trailer offers sonic snippets of three songs – ‘Incantation’, ‘Spirals’ and ‘New Dawn’. The dark ambient textures and solemn, sombre moods are cut with pummelling bass lines and howling. Very atmospheric.

Beauty Sleep, a new 3-piece from Belfast have been drawn to my attention. Born at a local house party, the three musicians bonded over spelling naughty words on a fridge magnet crossword. Made up of Ryan McGroarty, Cheylene Murphy and Aimee Williamson, the naughty words led to musical discussions that required further investigation, post-hangover. The hashtag says “dreampop”, and it’s one of those annoying ones that your forebrain says you shouldn’t be liking but your hindbrain says keep listening,

‘Facepunch Transport Layer’ sounds like a name Mark E.Smith would have come up with in around 1982 and is the appropriately-titled first single to see public release from Black Shape Of Nexus’ impending fourth LP, “Carrier”.  The best description is probably slightly unhinged, and rather flippin’ marvellous, a bit like Arthur Brown with a motorik bass line. Unfortunately it’s one of those occasions where Soundcloud hasn’t got an embed option but you can listen to it here. I recommend you do.

photo credit: Bernhard Hoell
photo credit: Bernhard Hoell

Conny Ochs‘ forthcoming third solo album, “Future Fables” – set for release in late February via Exile On Mainstream – has been trailed, Interesting stuff. Future Fables will see release through Exile On Mainstream on February 26th, 2016. Preorders have been made available through the label, on both CD and LP

Mamiffer (the duo of Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner) forthcoming LP, “The World Unseen”, is officially confirmed for release via SIGE Records on 1st April. Here’s a snippet from the album, Ethereal and dreamy with a hint of GSYBE, Sadly no embed again  but have a gander here.

A few snippets of forthcoming releases from German Shepherd Records to close….

One half of Staggs, m.t. scott  has a new release.   Pending new Staggs material he has delved into his archive and enhanced a collection of excellent tunes which merge trip-hop, ambient, cinema soundtracks and sprinklings of guitar and piano. Blessed with the usual Scott world weary and sardonic narrative the songs capture a feel somewhere between Before and After Science era Eno, John Barry and european neo-realism.  Entitled “The Broken EP” it will be released on 19th February via Bandcamp and the  usual digital outlets.

Intelligent, emotional and thought-provoking this is one not to be missed for lovers of fine music.

Iron Mouse (formerly Ion-Morph) and Space Museum celebrate the next phase in their partnership with a five track EP “Treatments” released on February 12th. This is their first release under the new name.

The duo’s usual obsessions are in play with tunes about the treatment of mental patients, abusive patriarchs, religion, retro music and cover bands, and politics/duplicity, all wrapped up in layered post-rock electronica.

Here’s a video of lead track “Treatments”,

Salford/Manchester/Chester band Kit B will be releasing an EP  this year.  Featuring “The Junta” aka Monty on bass as well as other local music legends Danny Cusick (The Hidden Gem), Mike Powell (Exchange, Night Operations) and Peter Slater (Vee V V, Tunnelvision) the band deliver cutting edge Manchester indie and are gaining a growing reputation since their self-released EP “Be Your Own God” from 2015. It will feature this track “It Always Rains (On Sunday)”.

In the parallel universe where the folks who run German Shepherd live Moff Skellington is a national treasure, spoken of in the same hushed tones as such notables as Ivor Cutler, Vivian Stanshall, and Mr Fong who used to run the chinese chippy on Lower Broughton Road in Salford (probably the best Spring Rolls in the known universe). In the “normal” world he is steadfastly ignored by the great unwashed mass of Adele. Coldplay and Mumford fans. I firmly believe this must change . “Neither Whiff Nor Spoor” is Moff’s 28th album and continues the tradition of the blend of music, art and performance known as Eddodi. Bringing together such diverse influences as Pere Ubu, Tom Waits, The Fall, The Mothmen, and Captain Beefheart with his own particular form of traditional english music, Moff once again delivers a heady stew of words, sounds and emotions. Simply put there is no other artist in the world who is producing material like this. The subject matter is. as usual wide and varied, and very unique. Here is a preview track.