Fascinating Things : Issue 43

There are not really enough hours in the day to absorb the vast array of new musical offerings that are emerging in 2016. Because of the veritable flood of news this time around this issue is more of a series of snippets of information, and passing thoughts. rather than more considered reviews…..

Out now

Great 21 track sampler out of Portland, Oregon – a lot of variety with a good mix of garage punk and psych leaning rock, with some real sonic curve balls in the mix.

Interesting stuff out of New York on the Loveless label from Claremont. Some cutting edge use of percussion and samples, and it’s free!

I know little of AM but I really like this album. Great tunes, light airy indie pop music. Highly recommended!

Some forthcoming releases

14th February 2016 – Ten Thousand Miles Of Arteries – Even Spilled Seed Crawls Toward The Womb – Annihilvs Power Electronix label has just started out and this is another one from that stable. A solo project from label owner, NLC,  this is dense industrial noise in a supposedly a doom metal context. The execution is interesting, vast swathes of sound buried in reverb/echo is the main thrust. At 30 minutes it’s more an EP than an album and this is just about the right length as I think any more would tax the auditory canals somewhat. Perhaps a little too unforgiving for casual listening but generally a good addition to an emerging genre which blends the morbid insistence of doom with the complex landscape of industrial rock.

14th February 2016 – Whorid – Bloated Pig Carcass In A Shallow Wake – as mentioned above Annihilvs Power Electronix are on a mission to fill your ears with disturbing sounds. This one, the first release on the label is from  the Philadelphia based  “self-harm electronics” act Whorid – the solo project of Daniel Suffering, who is also a core contributing member of the excellent  Theologian. Coming across like a more unforgiving version of early Cabaret Voltaire in partnership with a noise band, the opening track alone blisters the ear drums with buried and fractured spoken word mingling uncomfortably with white noise and chittering percussion. You can file this with Merzbow and Wolf Eyes in that “difficult” part of your collection. This sort of stuff both intrigues and compels in equal measure and your average punter will be reaching for the off switch after a minute, it fascinates me.

19th February 2016 – Rangda – The Heretics Bargain – Sir Richard Bishop, Ben Chasny and Chris Corsano cooking up a storm with some great twin guitar workoutswho i. Corsano is a great drummer and maintains a perfect pulse for the two exceptional string-smiths to ply their trade. Their third studio album kicks off with Masada like klezmer before more exploring more traditional forms. Damn fine and it makes the best of the year list with ease.

26th February 2016 – Conny Ochs – Future Fables – an interesting mix of bluesy soulful alternative song-writing with Ochs clear voice demanding attention. More of an “american” feel than his previous work I feel.

Late February – Okkultokrati – Snakereigns/Night Jerks – Southern Lord re-release two albums from the Belgian band as a precursor to releasing their fourth full length. There is something remarkably  life affirming about young men with copious hair head-banging away, it’s like 1972 all over again.!

4th March 2016 – Soon – Vol. 1 – singer/guitarist Stuart McLamb and drummer Thomas Simpson of indie band The Love Language in a wholly different setting. Punishing metal sounds with epic melodic indie voices is the best description, although there is time for some folky more contemplative stuff. Working with bassist Rob Walsh (Bitter Resolve) and guitarist Mark Connor (Grohg) they create a highly enjoyable hard rock experience. This one easily makes the best of the year list. Reminiscent of the juxtaposition of rock and folk in mid period Zeppelin.

4th March 2016 – Diminished Men – Vision In Crime –  featuring Steve Schmitt on guitars, drummer Dave Abramson, and Simon Henneman on Bass with a great album echoing Naked City era John Zorn. Marvellous!

11th March 2016 – The Brian Jonestown Massacre – La Facon Don’t La Machine Va Vers I´Arrière – limited edition (500) 7″ vinyl – includes a B Side Remix by DJ Shadow – pre-order

11th March 2016 – Spazz – Sweatin’ To The Oldies/Skatin’, Satan & Katon  – my pal SD pointed out quite correctly that this band could be seen as having an inappropriate name. This got me thinking and I did some research into the potential for perhaps a different transatlantic usage of the word. The “Urban Dictionary” sort of lets them off the hook in that original nasty use of the word seems to have been adopted as more of a catch-all of general overactive behaviour. I’m not sure they get away with it but in any event what we have two albums of reissues from the supposedly influential Californian powerviolence trio which mines their back catalogue. With 64 and 67 tracks respectively  at just around an hour each the format gives you a clue of what you are going to get – short, sharp, badly recorded and intense slabs of punk. Notwithstanding the name it was all a bit too much for my ears but if you are a collector of extreme American punk you will no doubt lap this up. Out on the Tankcrimes label.

11th March – Richard J. Birkin’s – Vigils – as a brief respite from all the noisy stuff this preview from Birkin’s new album is a lovely thing. Great video as well

11th March 2016 – a sizeable pile of new things from the ever excellent Cardinal Fuzz has arrived via the ether.

Dreamtime – Self Titled/Sun – heavy psychedelic rock from Brisbane. In the spirit of the raft of new Antipodean bands doing this sort of stuff.

Shooting Guns – Born to deal in magic/Spectral Laundromat –  from Saskatoon in the heart of the Canadian prairies, Sabbath are clearly an influence but there is also a touch of kraut-rock in there as well. Copious use of fuzz pedal and long sonic explorations.

Foul Tip – Forever Driftin’ – American Drums and Guitar duo with a relentless rock sound with a touch of slacker. Apparently this is one of fourteen albums they have made. It’s got that sloppy feel that Alex Chilton indulged in at times. Great sound and in your face attitude. Well worth checking out.

25th March 2016 – The Body & Full Of Hell – One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache – as trailed in the last edition of Fascinating Things here’s a further primer from what appears to be an experiment in mutual sonic self destruction. As one commentator on Soundcloud put it “Holy Shit”. Not for the faint hearted, it is relentlessly cathartic, and violent. You have been warned!

 

 

 

 

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Fascinating Things : Issue 41

A slight hiatus due to busy times at German Shepherd Records means things have slipped slightly so here is a rather hefty chunky catch-up of things incoming in the last week. After a quiet turn of the year things are starting to motor on the news and release front. This is part one of two FT’s for this week due to the vast amount of new tuneage.

Brazilian psychedelic rocker Headless Buddha releases a new single on 5th February – have a listen….I think it’s rather good…it’s from their forthcoming second album. The band is the work of Rio De Janiero based multi-instrumentalist Mauro Sanches.

Calgary, Alberta-based band, Wake, release their third full-length album, “Sowing The Seeds Of A Worthless Tomorrow”, on 26th February via  an international alliance of independent labels. Putatively a grindcore outfit this new release strays into a variety of differing sub-genres including black metal, crust, d-beat, noise, sludge, and post-hardcore. Short and memorable the band packs eight tracks into just over eighteen minutes of music. Not for the faint-hearted, very intense and cathartic say I.

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Chicago’s  post-metal trio, Snow Burial , self-release their debut full-length, “Victory In Ruin” on 1st February. It mixes up sludge, thrash, shoegaze and math rock coming across a little like the bastard offspring of Fucked Up, “Red” era King Crimson and The Melvins. With  former members of Hoss, Canyon, Doctor This Virus Is Silence the band self-financed and released two EPs entitled Oxblood Siren and Oxblood Tides in 2014. They make a very impressive noise for a three piece and must have one of the dirtiest bass sounds in the known cosmos. The album kicks a lot of butt and manages to balance the melodic, the progressive and the downright noisy into an impressive set. Recommended!

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“Dominion Of Misery” is the forthcoming new album from Oregon-based technical death metal band , Omnihility.  It’s the follow-up to their 2014 release “Deathscapes Of The Subconscious”.  The opening “Intro” is a progressive cinematic piece which lulls the listener into a false sense of calm before the carnage that follows. Driven by light speed d-beats, and riffs that defy the anatomy of the human hand this is a challenging listen. Omnihility is defined as “the absolute belief in nothingness” which seems to be a contradiction given the density of the sound on the album. With ten tracks across forty one minutes this is one that requires stamina. Fascinating musicianship and a blunt force trauma soundscape with guitar playing that makes Steve Vai sound like a tortoise.

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It feels like it’s back to the 80s for the new single from Emporium,   released February 5th 2016 on Whimsical Records. It’s from the album ‘The Electric Emporium’, out the same day.

Geist have just released a new split 7″.

…and a new one from the wonderfully driven Inherit The Stars from Sheffield

Diminished Men – featuring Steve Schmitt on guitars, drummer Dave Abramson (member of Master Musicians of Bukkake) , and Simon Henneman on Bass VI – will be releasing a new album on February 26th. Titled “Vision In Crime”, the three piece’s latest recording is a feature length journey  through jazz and soundtrack territories. Their are similarities to the work of Pachora, the Tiny Bell Trio and John Zorn’s work. With guest appearances from  saxophonists Skerik (Critters Buggin, Garage-A-Trois, Wayne Horvitz) and Neil Welch (Bad Luck, King Tears Bat Trip) this is a remarkably fine album and comes with a big recommendation from this listener.

SOME TOUR NEWS

  • The legendary Tad Doyle is bringing his new trio Brothers of the Sonic Cloth over on a first european tour, sadly he is only playing one UK date – Black Heart in London on 2nd April.
  • Legendary Australian troubadour Dave Graney is over for the Stewart Lee curated ATP at Prestatyn in April – which has a stunning line-up – and I hope to have some news about further dates from Dave and the band, which will be Clare Moore, Stu Thomas and ex Josef K/Orange Juice man Malcolm Ross as a special guest for the tour.
  • 30th January 2016 – Monkeys In Love play Jefffest 3 at the Bank Top Tavern in Oldham 4pm onwards – free entry
  • 6th February 2016 – Monkeys In Love play The Sun Inn, Stockton on Tees
  • 8th February 2016 – The Sideshow – CB2 Basement (Acoustic) – Cambridge, Plus support from Simon West
  • 16th February 2016 – The Sideshow in session on Dave Hammonds Smelly Flowerpot Show on Cambridge 105
  • 19th February 2016 – Kit B play Dulcimer, Chorlton, Manchester with Factory Acts and Boxhead & Gloves
  • 28th February 2016 – The Sideshow play The Fleece – Bristol, All day event, more details to follow.
  • 12th March 2016 – JD Meatyard plays Holmfirth Picturedrome with Half Man Half Biscuit
  • 18th March 2016 – Taser Puppets, Monkeys In Love and Expelaires play Gullivers. Manchester
  • 18th March 2016 – Moff Skellington is doing a turn at Shangri-La, Prestwich (The Carlton Club)
  • 24th March 2016 – The Sideshow play Mama Liz’s Voodoo Rooms – Stamford, More details to follow.
  • April 8th – The Sideshow play The Portland Arms – Cambridge, Gavin Chappell-Bates album launch, support also from Horse Party. Neil and Graeme from Bouquet of Dead Crows will be part of Gavin’s backing band on the evening.
  • May 5th – The Sideshow play The Portland Arms – Cambridge, More details to follow.

Fascinating Things : Issue 37

The last few days has been dominated by bringing together, for German Shepherd records,  the much needed and anticipated release of the collected works of Southend’s Stripey Zebras. A  band that just about survived 1980/1, they were heavily influenced by The Fall,  and the album “We Are Mighty, We Are Stripey” combines the bulk of their historical recordings (and I use that word loosely as they are mostly mastered from a cassette). It will be released in January. It’s the sort of lo-fi post-punk DIY music that was around in those days and has a timeless charm. Musos will no doubt moan about lack of fidelity or “chops”, but I think it is wonderful. You should expect a more fulsome review in due course. It’s a 24 track release combining home and live recordings, with a hidden bonus for those who purchase.

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The announcement from Relapse records about the new three track 25 minute release from Agoraphobic Nosebleed, complete with teaser video, is very tempting. Hopefully i’ll get a review copy. There work to date has been well above average and the snippets sound very exciting indeed. It’s called “Arc”.

Gordy Duncan Jr who happens also to be a member of the excellent Girobabies has a new solo album out – from the sampler track it sounds excellent.

The new Sugarmen single is good in a bouncy, indie, jagged guitar sort of way. It came out on Rooftop Records on December 4th.

Blackpool based instrumental rock band Goonies Never Say Die have finally released a mini album of material. Recorded from October 2012 to February 2013 the project was abandoned by the band who felt they were retreading old ground too much. The recording was recently listened back to and was deemed not to be as bad as they thought. The recording was made by one of the numerous previous line-ups of the band, the current line up are half way through writing a new album that will probably also be held back for 10 years and released on cassette tape delivered by pigeon one random rainy day!

Diminished Men – featuring Steve Schmitt on guitars, drummer Dave Abramson (Master Musicians of Bukkake, Eyvind Kang, Secret Chiefs 3, Climax Golden Twins, Grails, etc.), and Simon Henneman on bass, release a new album on February 26th. Titled Vision In Crime, the latest record from the three piece is a full length album that moves through jazz, ethnic  and soundtrack territories. Here is a taster:

The first German Shepherd release for 2016 will be a single from Loop-aznavour. Bury’s finest purveyor of theremin soaked punk will be delighting your ears with “The Dance of the Chicken Lady” and “Charles’ Neurotic Fear of Giraffes”.

Recommended newish releases received during  the last week are:

  • The Holy Soul – Fortean Times  – Sydney band with a stunning new album……really like this a lot, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a specific style by the first track it gets seriously different and interesting as it goes along. As heard on Dave Graney’s excellent Banana Lounge Broadcasting Radio Show this one immediately goes into the “Best of 2015” list
  • The Cavemen – The Cavemen  – WIld Cramps style garage rock with a punk edge, good for head-banging after six pints of industrial strength cider.
  • Kharlos – Don’t think about dying – more wild garage stuff…..pretty intense stuff!
  • Peacers – Peacers – Mike Donovan out of Sic Alps doing his usual slacker lo-fi pop thing, there’s a nod towards Don Van Vliet somewhere in the DNA of this type of music.
  • Holy – Stabs – Swedish band – lo-fi aesthetics, garage sensibilites, and soaring psychedelia it says in one review i’ve read. It’s  OK but it won’t change the world.
  • Heather Leigh – I Abused Animal – you’ll either love this or hate it. One woman with a pedal steel guitar and a voice doing amazing things. Heather is well known on the avant garde jazz improv circuit and to some extent this seeps into a remarkable album which combines acapella folk, mesmerising songs  and loud distorted guitar noodlings. A challenging listen but well worth it.

The last German Shepherd release of the year will be a single from the ever excellent Staggs  called “Funk Me Jesus” which includes a remix from Space Museum.  The band were recently described (by me) somewhat like this:

“Small fractures in the space-time continuum create sonic leakages leading to the release of snippets from the cultural whirlpool of late 20th/early 21st century music, art, film, politics, and television. Ridley and Scott curate a melting pot of these snippets of sound, add a tablespoon full of irony, an ounce of righteous anger, a liberal dose of self-deprecation, and a splash of good humour. They create an aural feast of unique and yet familiar sound. No one is safe from Scott’s viperish wit as the peccadillos of the great and good, and those who should know better are exposed, eviscerated and served with a delicious brandy butter sauce. The music of Staggs is socially relevant, robust, makes you laugh and what’s more you can dance the Watusi to it. Be safe and warm and listen to Staggs!”

Whereas The Shend came up with the more pithy  “Guaranteed floor-fillers at the Hieronymus Bosch Disco Fun Night”. Whatever they are best described as  their new single is great and I commend it to you.

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