Fascinating Things : Issue 51

Another ramble through the eclectic mixture of things that are sent my way. Amidst a mass of tedious clone music that some commentators are describing as the “big new thing” there are, once in a while. some nuggets that stand out…..

Oakland-based dark punk collective Alaric are set to release their new full length “End Of Mirrors” on May 6th, available on CD, vinyl and digitally via Neurot Recordings and on cassette via Sentient Ruin. Album closer “Angel” is presented below…..somehow it feels a bit like going back to the mid 80s but it has some spark which appeals.

The forthcoming collaboration between Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Bitchin Bajas is very interesting indeed and here is a fascinating video of a track from the album “Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties”…..

Chelsea Wolfe has recently announced the release of the “Hypnos/Flame” 7 inch. It is available from April 1st via Sargent House, the tracks being  from her most recent album “Abyss”. Here is the video for the ethereal and delightful ‘Hypnos’.

Former Foxes front man Nigel Thomas has just released his solo album “Travelling Man” which is a good set of songs and to my mind improves on his previous work with the band. High quality English pop music is the best description, there’s a delightful charm about the set and I recommend it to you. An accompanying video for the track “Que Sera” employs the new 360 degree video technology, which is a bit of fun.

‘Rainmaker’ is the second single from Sarah Williams White’s debut album “Of The New World”. The South London born-and-bred singer and producer is part of the  musical community from her corner of the capital that includes the likes of Henry Wu, Mo Kolours and her brother Paul White. A multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Sarah cites influences including Jamie Liddell, Erykah Badu and PJ Harvey as well as more contemporary acts such as Jamie Woon and Thundercat. A nice jazzy soul thing which you can grab from the peoples republic of Bandcamp.

New Manchester band Ghosts Of Social Networks release debut AA single ‘Love Potion’ / ‘Mockingbirds’ through Integrity Records on 6th May 2016. They sound like the love child of Joy Division and Stone Roses with a smattering of the Jesus & Mary Chain. Can’t find out much about them on-line so I am as much in the dark as you are. Produced by the ubiqitous Gavin Monaghan  ‘Love Potion’ is a dark tale of unrequited love and the use of alcohol to get close to someone. In the most part I like it but it does tend towards the Bonoesque at the end which is a bit off-putting.

The “drum machine gospel” of the lovely Vienna Ditto will be back soon – place your pre-order at Bandcamp. The album is called “Ticks” and releases on May 13th, unfortunately there are no previews available at this point in time.

Mr Mouse and His Space Museum launch their first full length album on April 8th – it’s called “Flags” and finds the duo exploring new sonic avenues. It will be a digital download on German Shepherd Records. Here’s a taster….

 

 

Fascinating Things : Issue 12

So I majored on American artist Sterling Witt back in in August 2013 on Aural Delights 40 and his previous stuff is readily accessible at Bandcamp. He has just announced a pledge campaign for his new 13 track album, “Satyagraha”, which was recently recorded with Steve Albini. He has made the first single from it available. Loads more information can be found on Sterling’s website.

Cavemouth are a primal lo-fi funk four-piece who sound as though they live on the wilds of Exmoor on a strict diet of roadkill, making music to keep the neighbours away and lure the foxes in. Their gritty original sound blends blues, funk and hip-hop with African-influenced tunes and mind-altering lyrics. Fronted by Sketchy Lex on filthy guitar and vocals, Wreckless Richie on drums, Ms. Mo on funked-up bass and vocals and Mr. Duncan ‘The Hook’ Hook on Saxophone, the band have known each other for years. Growing up in rural Devon, they had to make their own entertainment by putting on their own raves and free parties, a past that has certainly helped to shape their sound. Inspired by everything around them from politics and religion to nature, Cave Mouth are influenced by Prince, ESG, Busta Rhymes, Leadbelly, Jack White, Queens of the Stone-age and Jethro Tull.

Yet another track from the forthcoming  Chelsea Wolfe album has emerged. I’ve got  a copy of the album now, and rather fine it is too. A more detailed appraisal will emerge shortly, Pending that have a listen to the haunting “Grey Days”.

Listening to the excellent Dave Hammond Smelly Flowerpot show on Cambridge 105 recently I was reminded of the excellent Violet Woods. They recently sent through a video of “The Dancer” from the excellent debut album. Excellent psyche  with a glorious keyboard sound. Rather groovy video as well. The album is highly recommended also – grab it on Bandcamp. Previously featured on Aural Delights 106.

Just caught up on this one again which I feel needs shouting about. Algeciras, Spain-based experimental space rock collective, Atavismo,  released their “Desintegración” debut Via Temple Of Torturous in June. Featuring within their ranks former members of Viaje a 800 and Mind!, their compositions are sprawling and consuming; echoing and hypnotic recalling the cosmic, jam-laden plumage of bands like Earthless, Motorpsycho, Wand and Dead Meadow.  Initially released on CD last year on Not On Label Records,  Desintegración was given the vinyl treatment via Temple Of Torturous on June 16, 2015 and comes in a gorgeous gatefold packaging limited to 300 copies. Previously featured on Sonic Attack 108.

Fell To Low was formed in 2009 in the sleepy town of Ojai, California, slowly honing their sound, creating angular ‘90s indie rock that takes cues from bands like Unwound, June Of 44 and Slint. Following the release of two successful 10” EPs and two 7” releases, “Low In The Dust” is the band’s debut full-length, and is a perfectly crafted record: every guitar note, every drum hit, every vocal howl has been painstakingly thought out and performed. Side A features four tracks that are at times heavy and technical, bringing to mind the more raucous moments of Drive Like Jehu with Side B featuring two tracks clocking in at over fourteen minutes each with a minimalist repetition made familiar by bands like Shellac. The record was mastered by Bob Weston of Shellac at Chicago Mastering to give it the perfect balance of cleanliness and grit, and is a testament to a band not willing to sacrifice quality over quantity in their output. Check out their previous releases on Bandcamp. The band is featured on Sonic Attack 114 this week.

Fell To Low live

The recent album from Luis Drayton “Inner Life” builds on the success of the excellent “Look Inside” release. Moving on from the more “punk” oriented nature of his previous work Luis has developed a driven electropop-sound (albeit with some punk elements), which when coupled with his voluble wordplay creates a heady mix.  The core Drayton menace is still in full effect but this time is contained within a rich electronic soundscape. Think Merrill Beth Nisker in faux fur, shades and a German Helmet and you are getting close.   Grab it from I-Tunes here.

Luis plays Settle Victoria Hall on August 1st , complete with lights, smoke machines and burlesque dancers he advises me- details below.

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Fascinating Things : Issue 05

There’s a degree of fuss being made about a band called Lake Malawi, and to their credit they have put together a small video to introduce themselves, which saves me having to do a lot of writing.

‘Young Blood’ and ‘Aubrey’ below are taken from their 5-track EP ‘We Are Making Love Again’, and both are available for sale and download now.

Comparisons with Split Enz/Crowded House have been made, and there is an echo of the Finn Brothers in there.

Chelsea Wolfe has released the stark black and white video for newest single, “Carrion Flowers,” (as featured in Fascinating Things 01) directed by Wolfe herself and bandmate Ben Chisholm, with all editing by Chisholm. Shot in California and New York state, Wolfe comments:

“The visuals in the video allude to the drought in California and frustration about corporations being allowed to pump out all the water, destroying environments and communities, just to sell it back. While writing Abyss, I lived near where the water is piped into Los Angeles, but the lakes were dried up and the mountains were burned from fires. During filming we were exploring cracked lake beds and washed out roads – at one point I was laying in the middle of an abandoned canyon road with no chance of a car coming, and it was very surreal and quiet. I closed my eyes for a moment and when I opened them there were vultures circling overhead like I was some exotic roadkill, so we filmed them too.

The scribbles and ropes in the video are about my own madness and self-doubt, and costume designer Jenni Hensler made me a human cocoon from this insane fabric – it represents a feeling of claustrophobia, like you just want to scratch your way out of it. And there is anger in this song; it’s got a sense of revenge for anyone who has suffered or died because of injustice.”

The track is also featured in the newly released official trailer for Dark Places, the upcoming film adapted from Gone Girl’s author Gillian Flynn, starring Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Christina Hendricks, Chloe Grace Moretz and more. Watch here.
Sleep paralysis plagues singer/songwriter Chelsea Wolfe, and that strange intersection of the conscious and the unconscious has inadvertently manifested itself within her work. Across the span of her first four albums, there is an underlying tension, a distorted and nebulous territory where dark shadows hover along the edges of the sublime and the graceful. But until now, Wolfe’s trials and tribulations with the boundaries between dreams and reality have only been a subconscious influence on her work. With her fifth album, Abyss, she deliberately confronts those boundaries and crafts a score to that realm she describes as the “hazy afterlife… an inverted thunderstorm… the dark backward… the abyss of time.”
Abyss arrives August 7th via Sargent House with pre-order links on iTunes and via the label, and fans can read the full statement behind the album here.

The Deadline Shakes have a new single out on June 28th keeping up their run of fine releases. It is available from itunes and all major digital stores via Scottish label Flowers In The Dustbin. Pre-order available now on bandcamp and itunes.

 

Hailing from Chile’s capital Santiago, Maff present their debut self-titled EP, featuring 8 tracks that immerse you in a whirlwind of such genres as shoegaze, alternative rock, noise pop and indie verging on grunge, but with a dose of electronica thrown in the blend. The bands they cite as their main influences are The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Pixies, Ride, Sonic Youth, and My Bloody Valentine.

Although a young band, their sound has made its way into some notable ears. Upon hearing them, celebrated dreampop duo Ummagma has embraced their music and even created a radio edit for ‘Walking on Fire’, which is premiering on The Record Stache. “It’s rare that music this good from as far away as Santiago, for instance, finds a place among your faves, but that is exactly what has happened here. This warms your skin and gives you goosebumps,” explains Ummagma.

Maff was originally founded in 2012 by Ricardo (Richi) Gómez (Vocals / Bass / Guitar) & Nicolás (Nek) Colombres (Drums), who have been friends since childhood and have previously played together in various punk rock bands. They were later joined by Martín Colombres (Guitar) and Gonzalo (Talo) Correa (Guitar / Bass / Vocals / Synth). Maff composed, recorded and produced this EP in their own studio, lovingly called ‘The Lab’ owing to the experimental output they concocted there. This album explores such themes as innocence, mysticism, true love, loss, drugs, freedom and timelessness.

 The Maff EP is available for pre-order on Bandcamp both digitally and on CD.

The cathartic reverberations of SUNN O))) have been documented and can now be accessed via their live bandcamp page. Compiled of taper and fan recordings, spanning from their 2002 show at the Blackbird in Portland up to their recent headlining show at Temples Festival 2015, these documents are presented in their raw and unedited beauty.
 SUNN O))) invite fans to contribute to this sonic archive…
 “SUNN O))) live archives. Unmixed, unmastered raw footage grabbed by underground tapers which we now present to you. We would like to invite you to also submit your own recordings of any of our concerts (even ones already posted) to this archives. If you have photos and visuals from the posted shows, please send them too.  Hail to our great fans!”
Having already announced a number of key festival appearances this summer, these offer an ample opportunity to add to this archive. Such appearances include the recently announced Le Guess Who? Festival whereby Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson will showcase their similar, adventurous musical inclinations with a very special four-day program titled SUNN O))) presents at Le Guess Who? Festival 2015. The program will include a performance by the legendary Annette Peacock, who will return to The Netherlands for the first time in over twenty tears.
Additionally, Southern Lord are repressing the following SUNN O))) titles; Black One in limited edition Clear vinyl,  øø Void in limited edition Green vinyl and SUNN O)))/Ulver, Terrestrials in Black vinyl. These are now available on the SUNN O))) store sunn.southernlord.com.
South-East (UK)s emerging commercial edged punk/rock band Miss Vincent  have a new single called  “How Much Further” out. The track is taken from their recently released EP ‘Reasons Not To Sleep’ (released through Engineer Records) and available from ITunes via this link.
 Mr Dave Graney  along with Clare Moore is re-releasing a series of his more recent albums via digital on Bandcamp. The most recent is the excellent “Keepin’ It Unreal” with Stu Thomas completing the line-up.
Originally released in 2006 Dave reflects:
“…… this was a representation of a certain type of live show we were doing around this time. “Hashish and Liquor” were albums that needed the right situations to playthem in. And Mark Fitzgibbon on deck all the time. That wasn’t always possible so we did shows in this trio style. Then we decided to record it. A way of approaching songs in a “remix” type of way but “mixing” the songs through the filters of different instruments. We did this again later with both “Supermodified” and “rock’n’roll is where I hide”.The songs came from all sorts of previous albums of ours. the earliest being ” a million dollars in a red velvet suit: from 1991’s “I was the hunter and I was the prey” and “there was a time” from 1994’s “you wanna be there but you don’t wanna travel”. we did a lot of touring with this setup. Vibes, bass and 12 string acoustic. It was very portable. Suited theatres the best.”
Contemporary with the excellent “Hashish & Liquor” album this is Graney & Moore at their very best, and well worthwhile for the great interpretations of earlier tracks and covers of Mose Allison, Suicide and M.

Fascinating Things Issue 01

 This is the first of a semi-regular magazine format blog of new music that comes my way and gets featured on my podcasts. You will find a wide variety of music types here and hopefully something that piques your interest.

Chelsea Wolfe is set to release her newest full length album, Abyss, August 7th on Sargent House, here is the single release from the album :

Dead Rider have a series of European tour dates on the horizon in support of their new 7″ single New End b/w Uncomfy, and the  full length Chills On Glass which Drag City released last year.  UK dates are 17/6/15  London – Shacklewell Arms, 18/6/15 Glasgow – Bloc+
19/6/15  Edinburgh – Sneaky Petes, and 22/06/15 UK, Bristol -The Exchange.

In the year of shoegaze’s comeback, Ear to Ear Records presents you a free download international shoegaze compilation, involving 30 bands from 16 countries. In the words of Creation Records co-founder Joe Foster, this is as “an unprecedented spread of hope and art”, which has been embraced by members of such shoegaze pioneers as Swervedriver, Slowdive, The Telescopes, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Swallow.

The Melvins  released The Bulls & The Bees/Electroretard split on Ipecac Recordings, on 2nd June. This 13 song album features both releases on one CD.

Fresh from a BBC Radio 6 Music debut on 6 Music Recommends with Tom Ravenscroft, and a live appearance at Song By Toad’s , Andrew R. Burns & The Tropicanas“Paradise Palms Song by Toa d Dingus Rock Slop Fest” the ‘Dreamslop’ ep was released on Sunday 31st May, and is available from itunes and all major digital stores via Flowers In The Dustbin records.

FLOW is the new album from the Belgium based quartet Drifter, co-led by Finnish pianist Alexi Tuomarila and Belgium saxophonist Nicolas Kummert, who won huge praise and acclaim across Europe and Australia as the Alexi Tuomarila Quartet in the early 2000’s.

Inego are named after the Spaniard hell-bent on avenging the death of his father in the 80’s cult classic ‘The Princess Bride’ . The band released their ‘What Are You Waiting For?’ in May . Recorded at Magic Garden Studios and produced by Gavin Monaghan and Joe Murray. The Band play The Headlander Festival in Stockport on June 20th .

The Junta returns with a four track EP on German Shepherd Records on June 12th. Entitled Hydra the music inspired by the Marvel Universe baddies and the Agents of Shield TV Programme. A follow EP with remixes  by Night Operations, Captain Black, Space Museum, Passage of Time and The Junta himself will follow in July.

Austin, Texas’s Sungod have released a fantastic two track EP of their signature psych drone krautrock – highly recommended

Southern Lord have announce the signing of Montreal trio BIG|BRAVE. The three-piece play  long-form out-rock that ventures in to different directions – at times mournful and unsettling – “their music plays out in to moon-bleached grunge where serene vocals crumble over scraping guitars bled of melody.” A new album is penciled in for a late summer release, recorded with Efrim Menuck (Godspeed You! Black Emperor/Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra) at Hotel2Tango. This will add to a growing discography comprising their debut EP An Understanding Between People (2013) and the debut LP Feral Verdure, which they recorded at Paradise Studios with Jon Boles, and self-released in September 2014. There’s high expectation of great things to come.

nTTx is the new project of Gord Clement (former singer/songwriter in Atomzero). His new music is a melodic, vocal driven form of EBM, with some synthpop and disco influences. The new single is titled ‘Falls Beautiful’ with a b-side cover version of ‘New Dress’ (Depeche Mode). The single is now available as a free download to the public via his bandcamp page . It will also be available through iTunes, Amazon, and most streaming services.

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Aural Delights Radio Show – 24th October 2012

Listen here

Featured on this show:

New Stuff – mid-October 2012 or “I should never have had that flu jab” ……

A general round-up as I have not done one for a while…….mainly due to the fact I’ve been busy plus at the moment I have the time as I am confined to the domicile due to the post flu jab nastiness that always besets me at this time of year……anyway enough of my medical nonsense , this is what has come in through the ether lately…..

  • Chelsea Wolfe has released a set of Rudimentary Peni covers – “Prayer for the Unborn” –  as part of Southern Records “Latitudes” series……similarly Bardo Pond have released a set of three improvs as part of the samepromo packshot series…..both very entertaining but Chelsea just about wins the race in terms of content and delivery…..
  • At the same time Chelsea has released a set of acoustic songs called “Unknown  Rooms” which compliments the “Live at Roadburn” album and demonstrates the quieter and more reflective side of her work.
  • Factory Acts are releasing their second self-released single “Senseless” (nice bit of alliteration there) on October 25th and rather marvellous it is too. No one else hitherto has quite managed to mingle electronica with dance and a post-punk feel in such a unique and arresting style. Excellent live and worthy of your listening time I would suggest.
  • The new Godspeed You Black Emperor album “‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!” is immense – well worth the ten year wait ……
  • The new album from Leeds band Me and My Friends is called “Breath A Level Head” is an excellent cornucopia of styles and influences – breathtakingly quirky and highly entertaining.
  • We’ve all been getting extremely excited about Flies on You and their album “Nothing to write home about” which is best described as a “modern post punk primer” packed with ideas and variety and loveliness.
  • In a similar vein Lost Cassettes from Huddersfield have released, on Bandcamp, a remarkably listenable EP called “What We Doing After?”. It’s free so why no have a gander? Punky and full energy – toe tappingly good say I.
  • Lola Dutronic’s album “Everyone’s A Star” is as perfect a slice of electro-pop you will hear all year – and the single Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead has some of the best lyrics i’ve heard all year.
  • Streetswimmers are Lee Goulden, John Hamlin, and Jay Hughes and blend various musical styles together to create a marvellous fresh sound with nods towards folk, rock and indie – check them out on Bandcamp.
  • Skeleton Suite appear to have emerged from the ashes of Hans Island and have posted a couple of tracks to date on Facebook – very good indie sound.
  • Very impressed by Uncle Paul  from Blackpool who have a unique and rather compelling sound – their EP is rather good and takes its’ title from a Fall lyric so they obviously know what they are on about.
  • Kit B  continue to deliver excellent tunes – someone find them a drummer so we can catch them live – the latest two are up to the high standard we expect.