Fascinating Things : Issue 30

Some meandering thoughts this time around….I do have a pile of new things to go through but I have been otherwise distracted on getting things sorted for the forthcoming Hamsters EP, which is rather good.  Not many pictures or sounds this week either but plenty of vague utterances……

I don’t know about you but I get confused by genres. I’ve mentioned this before of course, when I was moaning on about the incorrect labelling of MP3s. But if you take a wider look at things there is a propensity these days toward over-elaborate genre classification, Bands get tagged with multiple descriptors which vary between the common place and the obscure.  I struggle to put some bands into genre boxes, for example where would you put Dave Graney in terms of genres?  “Alternative” is such a wide catch-all that it completely fails to describe his wide body of work on any number of levels. “Lounge” merely touches on some aspects of what he does. “Rock” or “Rock ‘n’ Roll” is what he does sometimes, and occasionally a bit of “Jazz” sneaks in as does some “Blues” and “Soul” and “Country”.  So with one artist you could apply so many differing tags and still not get close to the essence of what the man does. The “Fearful Wiggings” album is a case in point, how the hell do you describe what he is doing on that release? It’s utterly unique, and Dave steadfastly refuses to be shoe-horned into any convenient box, good for him say I. So in attempting to catalogue the myriad of new music that comes my way I’ve given up with genre labels as all they do is confuse and annoy.

I was thinking of Dave Graney in the context of both his forthcoming Demos album, and in that context the city of Melbourne,  which seems to have a disproportionately large amount of excellent output coming from its’ music scene. Every week I seem to come across a fine band from the city, this week, courtesy of the always reliable Tony Thornborough, I was introduced to Empat Lima

Anyhow, back to this genre thing, and what sparked off the ramblings at the start of all this, I noted that the new EP from Rodney Cromwell was described as a  “futuristic feast of analogue synth disco”, and elsewhere in the same promo his last album “Age of Anxiety” was described as “the best new New Order album this year”. All of that is fair enough, other than the “futuristic” tag,  it’s more retro than futurist with clear nods towards Moroder arpeggios, Guy Called Gerald vocal samples, Hooky like bass lines and song structures that would not have been out of place on Factory in the mid to late-80s. Now I don’t know about you but I’m not a big nostalgia buff, I can’t see the point of tribute bands and I do like it when musicians try to strike out on their own and create a new sound,  so,  whilst I like listening to the Cromwell EP,  i’m also left with a slight niggle that maybe he could have tried pushing the envelope a little more, I love filter sweeps but perhaps someone could try and do something different with them? The remix of “Barry Was An Arms Dealer” on the EP is so very Kraftwerk morphing into OMD  that it would fit easily into either one of their albums. Mr Cromwell is obviously a very talented guy, and there is nothing offensive about this release but I hope he turns his talents to creating his own sound in future releases.

Now then, talking of creating your own sound I was mightily impressed by the new single from ex-Stereolabber Morgane Lhote who is operating under the pseudonym Hologram Teen for a two tracker released on Deep Distance on 9th November. Whilst there are clear electronica tropes (airy Kawai K1M choirs for example) there are also so fascinating new ideas mingling under a series of synth layers. The dreamy “Post Apocalyptic Teacakes” cleverly uses differing elements to  create a unique sound. The other track “Tracksuit Minotaur” is a little more obvious with a sort of heavy Kraftwerk vibe mingled with a Goldfrapp rhythm to give it a sort of Tom Ellard/Severed Heads feel. The vocoder repetition is a bit clunky but generally this cuts the mustard as something new to listen to.

Disappears  embark on a European tour during November and December. The tour will see the band perform at Utrecht’s Le Guess Who Festival, before travelling through Belgium, the UK, France, Switzerland and Italy. London fans will be in for a special treat as – for one night only – Disappears will perform David Bowie’s Low in its entirety at the 100 Club. This corresponds to their upcoming live release, their reinterpretation of this classic album,  on 20th November via Sonic Cathedral. You can find more information and pre-order links for this release over at the Sonic Cathedral website. The only other UK  date is in Manchester at the Soup Kitchen on 24th November. Always an excellent band and well worth seeing live I would suggest.

Explosive, unapologetic and infectious, Mickey 9s are four friends from Glasgow who have been playing together since their school days. They describe seeing Daft Punk’s Alive Tour as “a spiritual-like encounter” that inspired them to try to make dance music without synths. After much experimentation, the band found their sound and everything else soon fell into place, right down to the enigmatic image of their masked lead singer, known as St. Cool. Having always chosen the unconventional route, Mickey 9s launched themselves by releasing fun music videos and comic strips to accompany their music as well as organising secret gigs, raves, and all-day pop-up festivals. Word soon spread about their blistering live performances, leading to Mickey 9s winning the 2014 Scottish Alternative Music Award for Best Live Act. After two years of gigging and unorthodox releases, the time has come for them to launch their highly anticipated debut album ‘The Party Manifesto’. The second single to come from the album is ‘Computer Inventor’, a perfect introduction to Mickey 9s’ big basslines, four to the floor pounding drums, cool riffs and intelligent, sharp vocals.

The Sneaky Nixons describe themselves as an angry, semi-political, semi-religious, part-feminist sloppy activist group who play riotous, steam-train guitar music. They have declared war on electronic dance music, guns, promoters, and non-believers of their Rock-n-Roll terrorism. Flashy, arrogant and with a startling superiority complex , the band say they have no time whatsoever for humdrum normality, preferring the out of control, dangerous and volatile, in order to live their lives in a brutal, riotous and rock-n-roll fashion. The Sneaky Nixons’ ‘Sex’ is taken from the forthcoming eponymous compliation album from Across the Ocean Waves Productions, which features the most exciting bands active on Liverpool’s vibrant music scene. All the tracks on the album have been produced by label owner Carlo Variola .

After a fast-paced year touring the UK and Europe, Hull (UK) based Counting Coins are to release ‘All That I Need’ as the second single from their forthcoming self-titled album on the 23rd of November.
The previous single ‘Don’t Look Down’ received airplay both in Europe and the U.S, with rave reviews from a range of music magazines and blogs. Follow-up ‘All That I Need’ is an infectiously upbeat ska/punk song with a bouncy feel and singalong chorus. It will be available across a global range of digital platforms including iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer. Counting Coins are set to continue spreading their music with their forthcoming European tour in late October followed by further UK dates being booked in for 2015 and into 2016.

….and that’s your lot for this week

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Fascinating Things : Issue 27

This time around a pulling together of things that have been nestling in my in-box:

Since being championed by John Peel way back in 1986, The James Taylor Quartet have set the standard for the coolest sounds in funky acid jazz. On dozens of mighty albums and at their legendary gigs at home and around the world, they’ve become a byword for distinguished British creativity. The internationally-acclaimed titans of funk will work through their considerable back catalogue as well as showcasing new material. Renowned for their live performances, this will be a treat. Band of the Wall. Manchester 17th October, 19:30

Whomadewho drummer Tomas Barfod’s returns to the  Friends of Friends label with Glory, featuring friends new and old and a sound bristling with youthful energy and slightly off-kilter dance floor rhythms. Kill J, Fine and Nina K feature as the record bounces from shimmering Scandinavian pop to dance floor numbers. A follow up to Barfod’s breakout ‘Salton Sea’ LP (FoF 2012 it releases on 16th November 2015.

Know How To Carry A Whip is the imminent new studio release from , Corrections House. A nine-track, forty-five-minute record it was captured by the band’s own Sanford Parker (Buried At Sea) alongside “recently institutionalized minister of propaganda”, Seward Fairbury, in a subterranean bunker complex in Vietnam.
Deeper, darker, and far more fluid than 2013’s excellent Last City Zero debut, Know How To Carry A Whip featurwa a guest appearance by Negative Soldier. The record finds Corrections House — Parker, Fairbury, Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) and Mike IX Williams (Eyehategod) — at their most intense.  Releases 23rd October on Neurot.

Pseudo/Sentai‘s Bansheeface is clearly the work of deranged individuals. Coming across like a mix of The Residents, Todd Rundgren  and Gentle Giant working on the soundtrack to a Troma movie. There’s also nod towards The Mars Volta and Zappa in terms of structure, dynamics and  bombast but generally speaking this is unique and very refreshing and the comparisons are merely reference points. The best current comparison is my near neighbours Trojan Horse. It is released on 16th October independently.  Check out the pre-order and while you are at it have a rummage through their back catalogue. So nice to hear a band that sounds completely unlike any of their contemporaries.

Talking of deranged the completely unhinged Die Choking have a new one out on 8th October. Eleven tracks in thirteen minutes sort of gives a clue as to what to expect. You get elements of hardcore punk and crust with  speed/grind metal. Impossibly fast and completely up and in your face. It is called III which is not unexpected as it is their third release.

Forthcoming recommended gigs in Manchester

DEAD FADER  – 01/10/15 – Salford, Islington Mill
DISAPPEARS –   24/11/15 – Manchester, Soup Kitchen
DOPE BODY – 08/09/15 – Manchester, Academy
MELVINS  – 09/10/15 – Manchester, Gorilla
OUGHT – 02/09/15 – Manchester, Deaf Institute
UFOMAMMUT  – 08/10/15 – Manchester, Soup Kitchen

A couple of digital charity singles from those busy chaps at German Shepherd records. The first Socialists (are back) is in aid of he MSF Yemen Emergency Fund, the second The Unforgiving Streets will help local homeless charities. A couple of pungent Electro Punk ditties which are most suitable for leaping around to.

Disappears play Manchester and cover Kraftwerk

In what promises to be one of the gigs of November in Manchester-land  the excellent Disappears play Deaf Institute on Monday 25th November.

Disappears could well be one of the most prolific bands on the planet, certainly their frequent output of albums, 12″ records and 7″ singles would back up this theory. I got a little excited about the release of their fourth album, “Era”  on Kranky in August and reviewed it  here,

The Manchester gig nestles between a three gig run in the UK with Brighton and London also being the lucky places to receive a visit.

Era sees the band further refining their love of dub, minimalism and repetition into their most original and stark set yet, venturing deeper into insular and dark musical terrain. It harks back to the early 80ʻs post punk period, when almost anything seemed possible with the classic two guitar, bass and drums lineup, and exploration and expansion of what could be done with these elements was at the fore. Dueling wiry and squalling guitars lead the way while a lock-down rhythm section provides the perpetual forward motion. You can hear examples of their recent album on Aural Delights Podcast 35.

In support of the upcoming tour, the Sonic Cathedral label, are putting out a limited 7″ split single by Disappears and Kranky labelmates, Cloudland Canyon. On this AA side, Disappears take on “Trans Europa Express” which I can share with you below:

Disappears

Post-Punk-Kraut Dub……?

Disappears

Kone 12″

Self-released

Release: 16 April 2013

The band is self releasing this three track EP, which features more than 30 minutes of expertly crafted, intense, post-punk leaning  experimental guitar driven sounds.

Abstract and fascinating, Disappears use the 12” format to it’s full potential – and takes chances and gets weird in places. Recorded in Chicago at Minbal and mixed in Dallas by John Congleton the bands music has moved on from the garage-rock/shoegaze of “Guider” and “Pre-Language” to an altogether different place. The line-up currently comprises  Brian Case, Damon Carruesco, Jonathan van Herik, and Noah Leger.

Disappears_12__art

“Kone” starts with the title track, an extended “glid” guitar work-out kicks it off (although it’s “glid” with a more scabrous and unearthly feel than earlier proponents of the technique). A dubby back-beat kicks in after a couple of minutes and the overall feel is hypnotic, unrelenting and all-consuming, especially when the band moves into a riffy dark post-punk/Velvet Underground place with scribbles of very interesting guitar sounds popping in and out every now and then, and a baleful repetitive vocal.

Second track “Kontakt” is very much in the kraut-rock field with a slow motorik martial beat and inter-weaving guitars bedding under intense vocals….reminiscent of Tuxedomoon vocally and Can musically, that’s until a mysterious surf-guitar appears about three minutes in, to great effect I have to say. Excellent!

Third track is an edit of “Kone” which is all about shimmering guitars and a slightly lighter sound but is just as compelling as the fuller version.

A most enjoyable 30 minute listen – highly recommended.

PH6A9116 - Version 3 - Zoran Orlic

Music Diary #41 – Still Life

A lot of news has filtered through whilst I have been lying in bed with the lurgy……. the big story of the day is…….

Peter Hook And The Light perform “ Still ”, the third and final of Joy Division’s releases live, sequentially and in its entirety for the first ever time at The Factory in Manchester on Friday 18 th May andSaturday 19 th May 2012 .  “Still” was released as a double album in October 1981 to counter the slew of unofficial and bootleg releases which followed Ian Curtis’ death,  The first disc comprised studio out-takes and mainly unreleased or lesser heard tracks while the second album is a live recording of Joy Divisions’ last ever concert at High Hall, Birmingham on 2 nd May 1980.   At the concert Hooky and The Light are to perform each disc separately, first the studio recording and then replicate the final ever Joy Division concert in a double header which has been long awaited and anticipated by fans and devotees of the band. 

Tickets : £20.12 (Includes Charity Donation) available from   12 noon Friday 2nd   March 2012 at www.factorymanchester.com / www.skiddle.com / www.fatsoma.com  

24 Hour Credit Card Hotline – 08444 77 10000 and In Person – Piccadilly Records / Vinyl Exchange / Fopp / Gaffs

Support for both concerts comes from Kevin Hewick who will soon be releasing his “All Was Numbered” album on Hacienda Records.

More info here www.peterhook.co.uk / www.facebook.com/peterhookandthelight

Supporting Charities – Mind & Forever Manchester Involvement

As has been customary with the previous album debut concerts at The Factory in May, the “Still” gigs benefit two charities, Mind , the mental health charity and Forever Manchester , a local Manchester charity which supports numerous community based initiatives

On the concerts continuing involvement with Mind , Chief Executive Paul Farmer said “ Once again, we are indebted to Peter Hook for his continued support of Mind through these incredible gigs. For a third successive year, his efforts to raise vital funds and awareness will help us to continue to provide support and advice for anyone experiencing a mental health problem.”

Forever Manchester ’s Chief Executive Nick Massey also commented “ It is fantastic that Hooky and The Light have involved us in these events. We will ensure that the money raised is put back into supporting the creativity, talent and passion found across   Manchester, to improve the lives of all the people here.”

www.mind.org.uk / http://forevermanchester.com/

I’ve been playing it for a few weeks but the Disappears album “Pre-Language” is out on March 5th and rather bloody good it is too…..highly recommended!

More stuff later today…..I have a bit of a backlog to wade through

 

Music Diary #37 – Aural Delights Radio Show – 15th February 2012

And here we are again with another Wednesday of music…..in through the ethergate in the last 24 hours music from

  • Manna – sort of a sultry version of PJ Harvey, on one of the tracks she sings with Mark Laneghan – interesting stuff and bears repeated listening
  • Pint Shot Riot –   new single “Starting to Fly” not bad but very much of its ilk – once it gets going ’tis quite impressive in some areas.
  • Torche – single off of the new album -which is on its way to me – noisy, loud guitars etc – v.good!
  • The Imogen Styles – fascinating art pop duo with a strong image and a DIY approach to music/vids. Something quite captivating about what they do….but I doubt if I would play it….there you go
  • Paul Weller – single called “That Dangerous Age” sounding somewhat like Ray Davies in parts – alright I suppose if you like that sort of thing….
  • The Finest Hour – good stuff – new single called Janey/Feel The Same

And on this weeks show a variety of newer things with a prog classic of the week, Moff moment and Farley Kiwi fumble…most of the bands are on Facebook and you can look them up there……listen here….

1 Disappears Love Drug Pre Language
2 Safari Doubt Single
3 The Explorers Collective Nothing at All Single
4 Et Tu Bruce This City Suburban Sunshine
5 Future Pilots Take It All Future Pilots EP
6 This Wicked Tongue Ray Mears vs Bear Grylls EP
7 The Coke Authority Malice Demo
8 Van Der Graaf Generator The Emperor in His War Room H to He Who Am The Only One
9 Safari Are We Ready Single
10 Comet Sands This Too Shall Pass Recordings and Live Demos
11 This Harbour Union Little Mountain Town This Harbour Union
12 Moff Skellington Life on the orb of Pangaea Pukes of  A Hot Cloister
13 The Statler Project Your Opinion My Opinion Your Opinion My Opinion

Music Diary #30 – 1st February & Aural Delights Radio Show

After the recent biblical amount of e-mails of late things have been relatively quiet today……so what have we got?

  • Recommendation of the day is the new Thee Silver Mt Zion release which hangs precariously between an EP and an album. It is called “The West Will Rise Again” (notebooks out Fall fans!!) and has all the usual TSMZ tropes i.e. Menucks angst ridden vocals, layers and layers of guitars and strings, and airy choral stuff in the background – very good indeed
  • The new Noel Gallagher single arrived – ho-hum…….
  • Lydia Loveless is an interesting americana punky country artiste with a good vocal style who nestles comfortably between Springsteen and Earle and has the right sort of attitude. Her “Indestructible Machine” album is worth a punt.
  • Alice Niamh has a new single out and it’s suitably non-Florence enough to get my interest. She is from Torquay, a place I visited many years ago.
  • Mightily impressed by a couple of older releases from Squadra Omega which have come my way. They mix kraut-rock, psyche and out-there jazz in a heady brew of mantra-rock which catches the old ossicles quite by surprise – there’s a touch of early Floyd/A Duul about them.
  • Tony T sent a couple of Leeds bands my way – Hookworks and Nope – both very good indeed, check them out on Bandcamp…….

And so to tonight’s radio offering…..listen in here…..

1 50 Foot Wave Radiant Addict With Love From The Men’s Room
2 The Sexual Objects Merrie England Cucumber
3 The King Blues Does Anyone Care About Us Single
4 The Coke Authority Act a Fool Demo
5 Disappears Fear of Darkness Pre Language
6 Moff Skellington The Perm Doctors Wife Pukes of  A Hot Cloister
7 The Hello Strangers Conococheague Introducing Max Schmidt
8 Hero and Leander One Mississippi Two Collider EP
9 The Go-Betweens Head Full of Steam Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express
10 The Umbilical Chords One Cool Panther Demo CD
11 The Sexual Objects Queen City of the 4th Dimension Cucumber
12 Moff Skellington Twixt the Leg Whispers Pukes of  A Hot Cloister
13 Crippled Black Phoenix Get Down And Live With It (Mankind) The Crafty Ape
14 The Tall Dwarfs Lowlands Let Them Eat Pavlova