Another particularly busy week, either I am a victim of my own success, or the summer is drawing to a close and people are getting busy. This selection, described below, is a demonstration, I think, that there is still interesting and varied music out there should you be minded to track it down – if I was to believe the nonsense a national newspaper sends me each week about what is hip and happening I think I would become quickly disillusioned. The variety and continuity of change here also perhaps reflecting my own mood and the desire to move on and away from one thing and transfer my attention to another. Recent decisions in respect of responsibilities have lifted a great weight allowing more time to absorb and enjoy this excellent music. Onwards!
First up is the new one from Ides of Gemini which is called “Old World New Wave”. It is released on Neurot on 15th September. The three band members—Sera Timms (vocals/bass), Kelly Johnston-Gibson (drums/backing vocals), and Jason Bennett (guitar/backing vocals) have managed to create something which hangs between Siouxsie Sioux inspired goth, and, metal. The follow-up to the band’s critically-adored “Constantinople” debut, was recorded at Valley Recording in Burbank, California, engineered and mixed by Chris Rakestraw (Danzig), mastered by Grammy award winning producer Matt Hyde (Slayer) and boasts the striking hand-drawn cover art of Johnston-Gibson. Here’s a preview track called Fememorde, i’d embed it to save you clicking but in this instance that facility appears to have been denied me. It’s not grabbing me the way that “Constantinople” did but it’s still a good listen.
A new EP from Manchester band Ill is about and around called “The Housewives’ Trilogy”. Originally a special session recorded for Jeff Grainger’s Dandelion Radio show, the release comprises three (obviously!) previously unreleased tracks and features the usual genre bending and obscene rhetoric that fans of ILL have come to expect. Hysteria, Diazepam and Secret Life noisily combat the myth of marital bliss and gender role satisfaction. Great for doing the ironing to allegedly. The groups development is palpable on this release, I am not sure about ironing more perhaps a desire to do a few groovy moves to some of this. Get it!
Old Man Gloom, the self-confessed experimental hardcore ‘supergroup who don’t suck’, are back with their sixth full-length, “The Ape of God”, due for a release on Profound Lore on November 17th. Their first record since the esteemed 2012 release, “No”, the experimental quartet have since cracked on with their quest to dismantle, disrobe and derail heavy progressive music as we know it. Apparently “The eight tracks on The Ape of God are laden thick with amorphous tone, seething noise and Mobius Strip riffs, deftly balancing colossal heaviness with ambient pedigree”. Formed in the late ‘90s in Santa Fe, New Mexico by Aaron Turner (Isis, Mamiffer) and drummer Santos Montano, Old Man Gloom was conceived as sonic experiment of sorts. Their “Meditations In B” debut was just a glimpse into the noisier and more experimental side within Turner’s musical repertoire, enabling him to explore his musical range a bit beyond what he was doing with Isis at the time (which was a time even before Isis really took off). Shortly after Nate Newton of Converge and Caleb Scofield of Cave In would join the band (with Luke Scarola on electronics), and Kurt Ballou of Converge would end up serving as the band’s longtime spomd engineer. The results of this union culminated in the “Seminar I” and “Seminar II” releases and the 2004 follow-up album “Christmas”, which helped in defining the band as one of the most influential in the genre of post-hardcore, alongside the band members’ main musical outlets who were obviously already heavyweights in the genre respectively. An extended period of inactivity for eight or so years would then commence with the band members focusing on their main bands at the time. That is until Turner (who by now had put Isis to rest), Montano, Newton, and Scofield secretly conspired Old Man Gloom’s resurrection unbeknownst to pretty much everyone, where in 2012, almost unannounced, they released their No album to an unsuspecting audience. The band would go on to do a series of sold out live shows and then immediately began writing and creating their massive follow-up. Old Man Gloom’s “reunion” wasn’t just a one-off thing, and here’s a taster to demonstrate why!
Insanely fast and somewhat barking mad the new album from Rings of Saturn “Lugal Ki En” is released October 17th in Europe via Unique Leader Records. It’s a cataclysmic, relentless nearly forty-five-minute display of text-book death metal/deathcore with some serious fast beats and guitar work. A conceptual release based on a story in which the Aliens wage war on the angels and demons of the universe after having conquered humanity, it was produced by Brette Ciamarra at Studio 344 (Kamikabe, Those Who Fear, Trophies) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The custom cover artwork was commissioned to Mark Cooper of Mind Rape Art, who also crafted the art for the band’s seminal “Dingir” album. Comments guitarist, Lucas Mann of the album concept, “The concept of the album in a nutshell is that long after the Aliens conquer humanity, they evolve to a point where they transcend space, time and reality to take their conquest into the realm of the gods where they wage war on angels and demons. The album title Lugal Ki En translates from ancient Sumerian cuneiform to mean ‘King Of The Earthlings, Lord Of The Cosmic World.’ The Sumerian cuneiform is visible behind the English pronunciation of the album title.” I have no doubt the unique vocal stylings and hyper-fast guitar sounds will alienate some – it’s a tad over the top in places – but well worth a listen if you are a fan of this genre.
Nazoranai comprises three gentleman, three friends and three fans of each others creative output. ‘the most painful time happens only once has it arrived already..?’ is their second release , the band members are Haino Keiji, Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O’Malley. Recorded by Chris Fullard at CCSO, Birmingham 9th July 2013 ‘the most painful time…’ expands the trio’s devastating explorations of improvised rock based shapes. Keiji Haino (of Fushitsusha) is a big part of the history of the experimental music of Japan with work spanning free improvisation, rock, noise, singer-songwriter, psychedelia, minimalism and drone. Working mostly with guitar and vocals his performances are intensely cathartic sonic events. Stephen O’Malley is the guitarist and founder of numerous seminal groups including Sunn O))), Khanate and Burning Witch. Oren Ambarchi is a multi-instrumentalist performer working outside conventional approaches to instruments and structure. He has collaborated with the likes of Jim O’Rourke, Sunn O))), Charlemagne Palestine, John Tilbury. Here’s a preview:
Grouper‘s new album “Ruins” is set to be released on October 31st via Kranky, and in anticipation of its release a new track entited “Call Across Rooms” has surfaced. In a brief interview with Vogue magazine Liz Harris explains the meaning behind this heady, gentle and beautifully subtle song…”Call Across Rooms was being about equal parts love and loss. The song is on one level very plain and literal, about a letter I wrote for someone I loved and could not get along with…One a more subconscious, poetic level, it is a letter to myself, as aspiration to love better.” About the album, Harris says…”Ruins was made in Aljezur, Portugal in 2011 on a residency set up by Galeria Zé dos Bois. I recorded everything there except the last song, which I did at mother’s house in 2004. Iʼm still surprised by what I wound up with. It was the first time Iʼd sat still for a few years; processed a lot of political anger and emotional garbage. Recorded pretty simply, with a portable 4-track, Sony stereo mic and an upright piano. When I wasnʼt recording songs I was hiking several miles to the beach. The path wound through the ruins of several old estates and a small village. The album is a document. A nod to that daily walk. Failed structures. Living in the remains of love. I left the songs the way they came (microwave beep from when power went out after a storm); I hope that the album bears some resemblance to the place that I was in.”
The culmination of four years writing and editing, Anjou marks the first collaboration between Labradford’s Robert Donne and Mark Nelson since the release of that group’s “fixed:context” LP. Combining modular synthesis, Max/MSP programming and live instrumentation, Anjou deftly weaves noise with gentle ambience and melody with texture. Guitar, bass and Steven Hess’ (Locrian, Fennesz, Pan American) live percussion give the eight pieces an immediacy and create a framework for the more abstract sounds of digital and analog synth programming. The product of twenty plus years of friendship, Anjou is refined and challenging. An extension of the Labradford sound-world but no mere victory lap, Anjou represents Donne and Nelson stepping out and forward, their eyes firmly focusing on the future. A delightful set of ambient/mood pieces which mixes textures, tones and glitches and which is both impressive and emotionally fulfilling. Highly recommended.
On September 15th Southern Lord will release all the recorded material from late 1980s Seattle hardcore band, Brotherhood, collecting the influential act’s demos and 7″ releases in one remastered, cohesive anthology entitled “Till Death”.
Brotherhood was formed during the West Coast Hardcore surge in the same days of Insted, Bl’ast, Chain Of Strength and Uniform Choice, the members all bred in the Northwest on The Accused, Poison Idea, The Melvins, and with East Coast threads born of SSD, DYS, Corrosion Of Conformity and Straight Ahead all woven into their sound. A straightedge hardcore band that confronted racism, sexism and intolerance, both in their lyrical delivery and on stage , Brotherhood was a rare band of that scene as they were accepted in all of the subgenres of punk rock and hardcore. The band was founded in Seattle by Greg Anderson in 1987, who recruited former False Liberty drummer Victor Hart, friend Ken Hagel on bass and East Coast transplant and Open Your Eyes fanzine editor, John White on vocals. After years as a singer in False Liberty and Inner Strength, Greg picked up the guitar and started writing songs built upon the aforementioned influences. Following local shows and the opportunity to open for such legends as Youth Of Today, Angry Samoans and Fugazi, Brotherhood began to gain recognition on a much wider scale in the hardcore community. This initial lineup was not to last, as in 1988, Ron Guardipee Of Hateful Youth took over on vocals and Nate Mendel of Diddly Squat joined on bass. Having played many times together in their previous bands things quickly came together for this new and much more solid Brotherhood lineup and in November of that year the Music Bank recording session was conducted. Debuting this new lineup on the Pushead curated Thrasher Magazine’s Skate Rock Vol. 7 compilation Brotherhood soon also released their Of Friends demo, their No Tolerance For Ignorance 7″ on Skate Edge Records and Words Run… As Thick As Blood! 7″ on CR Records, all released in 1988 and 89. Playing throughout the Northwest as well as a North American tour with (quite possibly the bands biggest influence) Seattle’s The Accused, by the end of 1989 Brotherhood came to an end. Their relatively short-lived run went on to inspire many of the seminal bands that have followed in Hardcore and Straight Edge such as Undertow, Unbroken, Champion, No Tolerance and many more. Members of Brotherhood have since forged numerous other musical endeavours including, but by no means limited to, Christ On A Crutch, Sunny Day Real Estate, Foo Fighters, Resolution, Digh Down, Burning Witch, Engine Kid, Sunn O)) and Goatsnake. Southern Lord will release Till Death in deluxe LP and digital download packages.