Fascinating Things : Issue 58

For those of us born in the latter half of the last century, and growing up in the mad musical world of the 70s and 80s it is chastening that a lot of our musical heroes are moving on to the great gig in the sky in 2016. There have been many tributes over the last month or so, and I suppose I should get use to this happening. One such tribute is from the mighty Periscope, who has been somewhat quiet of late, who has worked with Monica Ward to release a cover of Bowie and Eno’s “Heroes”. It has the usual excellent Periscope wall of sound treatment and they do make a good job of honoring Bowie’s passing and legacy.

Following the very recent arrival of their ‘Questions’, single Southampton’s (UK) Circle Of Reason are now back with their latest video single titled ‘Colours’. Showcasing another metallic and emotive rock track, ‘Colours’ is an epic anthem taken from the bands forthcoming album “Faith Or Theory”.

Manon Meurt, one of the foremost shoegaze groups from Eastern Europe, who have played alongside The Raveonettes, The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, LSD and the Search for God, and My Bloody Valentine,  report that  their debut EP will be issued on white vinyl in May thanks to Canada’s Label Obscura. Here’s a taster.

The Battles Of Winter release new single and video ‘Love’s White Thread’ on Ruby Music on 27th May. ‘Love’s White Thread’ is the first release from the forthcoming album “At Once With Tattered Sails”. A great bass line on this and great layers of vocals and guitar.

Russia’s Sounds of Sputnik is releasing their single ‘Light Scheme (Fran Ashcroft Remix)’ from their debut LP ‘New Born’ feat. Ummagma, which also gets a re-release in early May through hallmark U.S. shoegaze label Moon Sounds Records. UK producer Fran Ashcroft, widely known for his work in the psych rock scene, has also worked with Damon Albarn (Blur) and Lords of Acid. The single comes with a new video, produced and directed by Latvia/UK experimental filmmaker Dariy Karyakin and featuring actors Nadine Andreeva and Egon Skakun.

Brighton’s (UK) post-punk fuelled alternative rock outfit Come The Spring release their official video for their latest single ’24’. Featuring live footage of the band showcasing their renowned high energy performances, 24 is taken from their REVIVE EP available through UK independent label Engineer Records. Having formed in late 2012 from the ashes of cult-following UK rock bands, Come The Spring members bring their vast experience and creativity to produce emotionally charged and anthemic songs. Consisting of Sam Craddock (Vox), David Gamage (Guitar), Simon Goodrick (Guitar), Mark Wilkinson (Bass) and Jamie Donbroski (Drums), the allies of uncompromised guitar driven rock have previously shared stages with the likes of Green Day, No FX, Texas Is The Reason, Braid and many more.

On the trail of their recent single ‘It Was Nothing’, Canadian synthwave duo Meter Bridge have announced they will be releasing their latest EP “Filter / Kite” through WEATNU Records. It includes three tracks – Filter’, ‘Kite’ and a Mind Veneration Remix by Mark LaFountain. Sound wise ‘Filter’ is very reminiscent of Severed Heads which got my attention straight away.

Check out Johann Kloos’s new one “Behind The Net Curtain”, which includes his usual eclectic mix of material and is as always well worthy of your attention.

Some news snippets:

  • Dylan Carlson is to officially self-release “Falling With A Thousand Stars and other Wonders From The House Of Albion” on 25th June. It is a solo album which is described as ” …..droning 6 and 12-string guitars, reinterpreting traditional old English and Scottish folk ballads into sombre instrumental pieces”.
  • Chester-based alt-electronic act, The Ladder  release their new single, “Down” on May 30th  via York label, Anonymous Records. The Ladder are production duo Addz Vindicare [vocals, bass, production] and Danny Ryder [synths, vocals] – ‘Down’ as a track moves The Ladder beyond the trappings of pure industrial-EBM, and incorporates elements of shoegaze.
  • Southern Lord has confirmed the impending release of Total Destruction (1999-2006) the collected discography of now defunct thrash rockers, Asschapel.
  • Zublue are a high energy three piece Garage Rock band from Essex, UK. Influenced by the likes of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Sonic Youth, the band’s debut EP ‘Change the Channel’ is an angst-ridden examination of a modern world controlled by the media. Well worth a listen say I.

Fascinating Things : Issue 56

The cricket season has started which means that quite often i’m out of the loop for four days in any week, which in turn results in things backing up. So we’ll keep it punchy for this one in order to catch-up with some good stuff and news that has been sent through.

North London based band West Of The Sun return with a new single “Siberian Hysteria” to be released on the 6th May via Phoney War Records.

Norwegian band Okkultokrati are reissuing their 2012 album “Snakereigns” and 2014’s “Night Jerks” LPs via Southern Lord in May (originally released via Fysisk Format). These releases precede their fourth full-length, which will be recorded later this month, also to be released through Southern Lord.

The new ‘Galacticon’ single from Ummagma,  which takes you on a trip to some fascinating places, including the historic town of Kremenets (in Western Ukraine) with it’s landmark Bona castle ruins and breathtaking landscape, is from the band’s ‘Frequency’ EP, which features contributions from Cocteau Twins frontman Robin Guthrie and OMD’s Malcolm Holmes.

Following their European tour and jaw-dropping appearance at Berlin’s CTM festival earlier this year, The Dwarfs of East Agouza share ‘Clean Shahin’ the second track from their upcoming debut double album “Bes” which is set for worldwide release on 29 April 2016.

The Poisoned Glass (the duo of Stuart Dahlquist and Edgy59) have shared another piece from their debut album, 10 SWORDS which was released on April 22nd via Ritual Productions.

Another great release from garage punkers Regular Boys from Perth is well worth a listen

Toronto based nTTx is back with a new video ‘Bastion’ from the “Objective” EP.

Southampton quartet Circle Of Reason, release a track from their new album “Faith Or Theory”.

The second Moff Skellington album for 2016 “Owlish Perspicacity” is out in a couple of weeks, here’s a taster.

 

Textured depths of sound

A few recent and not so recent things to wrap your ears around……..

Wet Drag are a post punk trio from Oakland, California comprising Max Nordile – Bass/Vox , Marissa Magic – Guitar/Vox and Lillian Maring – Drums/Vox.  They released this little beauty in February and it’s rather lovely.

Loscil is back with a new release on Kranky on 17th November. Sea Island is a collection of new material composed and recorded over the past two years. While many of these compositions were performed live extensively prior to recording, others were constructed in the studio and are being heard for the first time on the new album. Musically, the album consists a range of compositional approaches. Murky, densely textured depths of sound are explored with subtle pulses and pings woven within, contrasted with composed or improvised moments of acoustic instrumentation making a move into the foreground. Certain tracks , such as album opener Ahull, make rhythm their focus by using subtle poly-rhythms and periods of repetition with evolving variation to create a hypnotic effect. Though electronic at its core, instruments such as vibraphone and piano make an appearance, and layers of live playing with improvisation emerge within the looped and layered beds of manipulated sound recordings. A varied cast of players appear in the Loscil “ensemble”, some familiar collaborators from the past such as Jason Zumpano on rhodes and Josh Lindstrom on vibraphone, and others new to the mix such as Fieldhead‘s Elaine Reynolds who provides violin on Catalina 1943, and Ashley Pitre contributing vocals on the stand out track Bleeding Ink. Seattle pianist Kelly Wyse, who collaborated with Loscil on his 2013 edition of piano-centric reworks Intervalo, performs on the tracks Sea Island, Murders and En Masse. At times the music sounds like Tortoise, which is no bad thing. Generally reflective and ambient the album is the best of Scott Morgan’s releases under this brand to date. There are some genuine aural surprises here, and a degree of inventiveness that moves this particular genre of music forward considerably.

31st October saw the release, again on Kranky, of Liz Harris’s latest Grouper album. Entitled Ruins she says of the album “…..it was made in Aljezur, Portugal in 2011 on a residency set up by Galeria Ze´ dos Bois. I recorded everything there except the last song, which I did at mother’s house in 2004. I’m still surprised by what I wound up with. It was the first time I’d 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 wasn’t 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.”  This a stunning album. Found sounds, field recordings weave in between sparse and delicate songs with Harris’ vocal barely audible over the piano. PJ Harvey‘s White Chalk immediately comes to mind when listening to this beautiful collection of songs.

Turning to matters a little louder Phoenix, Arizona sludge doom outfit Gale have self-released their debut, Vol. 1. Recorded in nearly one take by Jalipaz Nelson at Audioconfusion in Mesa, Arizona, while not a concept record, the album and its lyrical basis primarily deals with existentialism and the darkness that can be revealed from self-analysis. With a brutal tone likely  to grab the ears of fans of other Arizona bands Godhunter, Sorxe, Methra and the like, the ultra-amplified output of the  group reflects, but does not copy,  the works of Yob, Melvins, Crowbar, Neurosis and Sleep.  Each member of the four-piece line-up contributes a different style of vocals to the mix,  in addition to their respective instruments. A physical version of Vol. 1 will be released in the future and the band has already begun the planning stages on additional material which will see release through several new works throughout 2015.

Six Organs of Admittance‘s Ben Chasny has devised his very own system of musical composition, The Hexadic System, which is the basis for an upcoming new album, entitled Hexadic and to be released on Drag City in February 2015. Ben Chasny’s restless intellect has regularly guided the progress of his creation. A lyrical mastery of acoustic finger-picking would be enough to build a body of work for most musicians; this is just the stepping-off point for Ben. From the earliest days of private-press psych home recordings, Six Organs of Admittance has sought out alternative spaces in which to make music and challenge audiences to keep up with his rapid advances into new areas. Over the last two years Ben has been assembling a comprehensive system of musical composition. Designed to free sound and language from rational order and replace calculation with indeterminacy, The Hexadic System is a catalyst to extinguish patterns and generate new means of chord progressions and choices. Though it was not his intention upon creating this unique system, the structures it was generating were so compelling, they soon became the bones of the next Six Organs record. This is the longest time between Six Organs records since Ben started making them in 1998.

Michigan punk/metal misfits, Child Bite, release their Strange Waste EP via Housecore Records on 25th November.  Their self-proclaimed “music for losers,” nine-track was recorded at Russian Recording in Indianapolis, Indiana and produced by the band.  They extract elements  from various extreme ends of metal, noise, and hardcore without falling squarely into any of those genres. Refusing to slide comfortably into your neatly ordered collection, the music can lurch from synth-driven punk to yelping, sax-soaked art-rock to thundering, ugly sludge. It’s breathless stuff, squeezing every mode and expression out of the music and exhausting it before moving on to the next track. This is truly heavy rock music, saved from any namby-pamby genre qualifiers.  Despite clocking in at a mere nineteen minutes, Strange Waste contains so many twisted riffs, biting, guitar solos, clanking, chugging bass lines, splattering drum blasts and yowling vocals, that repeated listening is necessary. Fans of The Jesus Lizard, Black Flag, Faith No More, and Dead Kennedy’s will appreciate what is going on here. It made me smile any way.

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Out on Small Stone records on October 7th was a new one from Long-running Ohio riff rock peddlers, Lo-Pan,  called Colossus. Named after the Colossus of Rhodes — a ninety-six-foot statue of the Greek titan-god of the sun, Helios, constructed in 280 BC to mark a failed siege and the indomitable nature of the Greek city of Rhodes itself — their fourth album  mixes a heavy rock background with the more accessible vocals associated with indie bands like Amplifier together with a blues feel. In the three years since of the release of third long-player, Salvador, the Columbus four-piece have logged countless miles, crossing the USA multiple times over on headlining tours and supporting the likes of Torche, High on Fire, KENmode, Whores, Fu Manchu and Weedeater.  For the first time in their near decade-long existence, they knew exactly what they wanted when they hit the studio. They’d road-tested songs like “Eastern Seas” and the title track for over a year, and partnering with producer/engineer Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Rosetta, East Of The Wall et al) at his Translator Audio studio in Brooklyn they have recorded a great set of songs with an accessible feel which may allow them to cross-over to a wider audience. They cite their influences as Kyuss, Tool, Dozer, Torche, Disengage, Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, and Helmet – which I think gives you a sense of what they sound like.

Lo-PanPromo

In the lead up to completing fresh material for release in 2015, Southampton (UK) based alternative rock outfit Circle Of Reason are generously issuing a free download single each month from their catalogue of EP releases. They have selected their track ‘Silver Scene’ as November’s offering. Taken from their debut EP A Favour For A Stranger, the track was instrumental in bringing the British rock quartet to the attention of rock fans nationwide. Achieving early support from Kerrang! TV and Scuzz TV etc, ‘Silver Scene’ delivers guitar driven melodic alt – rock reminiscent of their peers – The Smashing Pumpkins, QOTSA, Muse and Biffy Clyro. Despite the present focus on writing & recording a new EP, they return to the live stage this November. Adding to an already impressive list of support slots with established artists (Marmozets, InMe, Neck Deep, Feed The Rhino etc) C.O.R shall be opening for Irish alternative/grunge legends ‘Kerbdog’ on 19th November at Talking Heads in Southampton (UK). You can get the free download at www.soundcloud.com/circleofreason/silver-scene

 

You will be able to hear most if not all of this music on upcoming podcasts at : http://bobosbornespodcasts.wordpress.com/