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.
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Lords of the South and other news

Bowl Ethereal announce the official release of a 7″ this summer via Southern Lord. This release is an expansion of their digital only debut Five Minutes which they gave away last year as a free download via their website.

Bowl Ethereal are a duo from Virginia comprising Brian Metz (Amish Control Tower) on guitar, bass and production, and influential math metal luminary Pen Rollings (Honor Role, Breadwinner, Loincloth) on drums and also arrangement and deconstruction duties.

On this Brad Boatright mastered 7″, the band opt for brevity, offering up 6 songs in 6 minutes (adding one more song to the original five). However don’t let briefness belie their brawn. Bowl Ethereal load each track with crushingly heavy riffs and sturdy rhythms, displaying absolute precision, where every drum beat, every guitar riff and every unexpected musical corner they turn, is calculated for maximum impact. The resulting record might be short, but it is unpredictably dynamic and commanding, crying out for immediate consumption and repeated listens.

This 7″ is limited to 600 copies and shall be available at this link http://southernlordeurope.com/store/view/s-t-7 and here’s a link to find out more http://southernlord.com/bands/view/bowl-ethereal

Southern Lord have also revealed their latest new addition to their raging summer schedule, with progressive hardcore band Gust, hailing from Trollhättan, Sweden.

The fierce four piece skillfully combines pounding D­beat rhythms with a classic hardcore punk directness, and bring forth a maelstrom of metallic riffs, amalgamating into one brutal and arresting sonic assault, fans of Cursed and Rise And Fall especially will swarm to.

With one demo, one LP and four European tours already under their belt, and with a fifth tour beginning the 24th of June, Gust will release their brand new, and self titled album through Southern Lord Recordings this August. This second LP was self recorded at Fvck Life Studios and is mastered by and features guest vocals by Brad Boatright (Warcry, From Ashes Rise, Deathreat, Audiosiege Engineering) on the track “Humility In Disguise”.

Their incoming ten track keeps their fire burning, exploding with lyrical angst and musical fury from the get-go, bombarding the listener with catchy riffs and spot-on political statements. From this second LP it is clear that Gust are a force to be reckoned with.

Gold is the first major soundtrack work from Dylan Carlson, composed for a foreign language western of the same name. A story of German pioneers traversing the Canadian west. Carlson’s score, which revolves around key guitar motifs and their dialog with drone, repetition and loose improvisation, echoes the vast landscapes and almost existential “otherness” captured in the films juxtaposition of traditional western tropes to places and peoples not normally associated with the genre. This slight remove from genre has been a trademark of Carlson’s approach to guitar and songwriting throughout his career. Whether that be applying the writings of La Monte Young to Black Sabbath sized riffing in Earth’s earliest incarnations or his re-appropriations of country, jazz and folk during it’s second act.

Across the arc of the album’s 24 tracks (designed to be listened to as one suite), Carlson’s lyrical playing dissolves structures into abstraction, stretching out each repetition til you’re left with only the sound of buzzing or scraped strings. It is an inversion of the work of Earth. Stripping away where they would layer. It is an immersive experience. For the first time Carlson’s guitar is presented, bare, alone, with only minimal percussion, fore-fronting his evocative, lyrical control of the instrument in a language that transcends tired “cinematic” adjectives and places you directly into the landscape.

Carlson (founder, guitarist and sole continual member of drone-doom pioneers Earth) began performing under the name DRCARLSONALBION in 2011, primarily as an outlet to explore in greater depth elements he only touched upon with the Earth “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light” series. Initially the project focused on the folklore and musical heritage of England with early releases devoted thematically to the Pendle witch trials of 1612 and to the music of the 60’s British folk revivalists (particularly Fairport Convention). Carlson filters these reference points through his unique, meditative and personal search for the purity of the riff. An expressive, improvisational approach that serves as a counterbalance to the repetitive force of Earth.

In the past two years Carlson has released a cassette, two 7″s and an LP under the name DRCARLSONALBION supported by two European tours with percussive accompaniment from Rogier Smal. 2014 will see the release of the soundtrack he composed for Gold, his much delayed grand opus “Wonders From The House of Albion” and a new album and extensive touring from Earth. More at www.drcarlsonalbion.com

Southern Lord have also announced the impending Summer release of Total Funeral, the fully-comprehensive discography from raging Swedish raw punk act, Electric Funeral.

The vicious brainchild of Jocke D-takt – also of Paranoid, Desperat, Warvictims, Totalt Jävla Mörker and countless other acts – Electric Funeral’s pure angst-ridden style explodes out of the speakers with relentless noise, bursting with energy. The album surges with the sounds of Anti-Cimex, Gloom, Discharge and the like to blazing speeds in the vein of Disclose and Krömosom, and charges straight at the listener with unstoppable force from beginning to end of every single track recorded to date, all of which are now packed into Total Funeral.

Containing every filthy, d-beat anthem by Electric Funeral, the Total Funeral discography boasts over an hour-and-a-half of carnage with fifty-three tracks in total, including the Harvester Of Death, Make Noise Not War, D-Beat Noise Attack, The Face of War, Make A Change, Gröndalen, In League With Darkness and Order From Disorder releases, the split with Go Filth Go, and even several previously-unreleased and new/unreleased tracks.

Total Funeral shall be released on 21 July in the UK/EU in a massive blood red/beer stained 2LP package. Orders for the digital album and preorders for the wax can be placed at this link http://electricfuneralsl.bandcamp.com/releases

California technical death metal faction, Inanimate Existence, who feature within their ranks members of Brain Drill and Son Of Aurelius, will unleash their sophomore effort, A Never-Ending Cycle Of Atonement, this Summer via extreme metal merchants, Unique Leader Records. Tracked by Max Zigman (Son of Aurelius, Smaragos) at Parade Outrageous in Santa Cruz and produced by Zack Ohren (Light This City, All Shall Perish, First Blood, Cattle Decapitation, Warbringer et al) at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, A Never-Ending Cycle Of Atonement boasts eight conceptual tracks of progressive punishment. The follow-up to 2012’s Liberation Through Hearing, which MetalSucks championed for its “erie, psychedelic themes richly animated by the grandiose contrast between shamanic atmosphere and uncompromising brutality,” finds the band’s signature, over-the-top compositions elevated to an entirely new level of profundity. Each movement marvels at its own innovative density as intricate guitar structures coil seamlessly around complex rhythms and infernal vocal tirades all the while maintaining an absorbing magnetism that draws exploratory listeners in with each new measure. The record includes several guest musicians who offer female vocal accents, clarinet, bass flute, harp, bongos and other nuances to the proceedings, only adding to the record’s already confounding depth.

Southern Lord Recordings is also beyond excited to broadcast that influential, visionary metal act, Today Is The Day, has joined with the label’s roster for the release of their massively anticipated tenth studio album later this year. Early this year, Today Is The Day’s newest lineup was announced, as the foundation of the then unnamed album was taking shape. Guitarist/vocalist Steve Austin welcomed Sean Conkling (Regression, Burn Your Halo, Sprawl) on bass as well as returning member Jeff Lohrber (Enabler, ex-Harlots), Lohrber having previously handled touring drum duties for TITD many times in the past. Conkling and Lohrber tracked most of their sessions in December and January at the founding frontman’s own recording and mastering studio in Maine. Since, Austin has been painstakingly layering guitars, vocals and more, and as the final sessions for Today Is The Day’s tenth studio full-length will be taking place in June, the band happily reveals the name of the impending LP, as Animal Mother.

Earth Hits Gorilla

EARTH REVEAL DETAILS OF THEIR TENTH STUDIO RECORDING, PRIMITIVE AND DEADLY; TO BE RELEASED VIA SOUTHERN LORD IN SEPTEMBER, PLUS TOUR DATES INCOMING INCLUDING A SHOW AT GORILLA, MANCHESTER ON AUGUST 15TH

Earth’s career, like its music, has always been a slow, deliberate progression. Each record slightly removed from the last, a constant refinement of a singular vision. Dylan Carlson has remained focused throughout on coaxing moments of strange beauty and reflection from “the riff”. This elemental foundation of rock is refracted, in their earliest recordings, through the prism of sheer volume & feedbacking drone or, in the twin Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light set from 2011 & 2012, via a sparse unravelling take on folk.

(photo credit Samantha Muljat)
(photo credit Samantha Muljat)

With Primitive and Deadly, Earth’s tenth studio collection, Carlson and long term drummer Adrienne Davies, manage to pull off the trick of completing a reative cycle, 25 years in the making, whilst exploring new directions in Earth’s music. For the first time in their diverse second period, they allow themselves to be a ROCK band, freed of adornment and embellishment. As much as Carlson’s guitar has always been the focal point of Earth’s music, it’s been surrounded by consistently diverse instrumentation. Here the dialog between Carlson and Davies drumming remains pivotal, underpinned by the sympathetic bass of Bill Herzog (Sunn 0))), Joel RL Phelps, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter) and thickened by additional layers of guitar from Brett Netson (Built To Spill, Caustic Resin) & Jodie Cox (Narrows). Perhaps the largest left turn on Primitive and Deadly, though, is prominence of guest vocalists Mark Lanegan and Rabia Shaheen Qazi (Rose Windows) who transform the traditionally free ranging meditations of Earth into something approaching traditional pop structures.

The tension between a band pushing themselves ever forward whilst surveying their history is reflected in the albums twin recording locales. The foundation of the record was laid in the mystic desert high lands of Joshua Tree, California where Earth recorded hour after hour of meditations on each tracks central theme at Rancho de la Luna. Upon returning to Seattle these were edited, arranged and expanded upon at Avast with the help of long-term collaborator Randall Dunn (who was previously at the helm for the Hex, The Bees Made Honey in the Lions Skull and Hibernaculum sessions).

Sounds pretty tasty – and I look forward to hearing it……..

SELECTED EARTH DISCOGRAPHY:
Extra Capsular Extraction (Sub Pop) 1991*
Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version (Sub Pop) 1993
Phase 3: Thrones and Dominions (Sub Pop) 1995
Pentastar: In the Style of Demons (Sub Pop) 1996
Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method (Southern Lord) 2005
Hibernaculum (Southern Lord) 2007
The Bees Made Honey in the Lions Skull (Southern Lord) 2008
Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I (Southern Lord) 2011
Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II (Southern Lord) 2012
Primitive and Deadly (Southern Lord) 2014
*re-issued as A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra Capsular Extraction (Southern Lord) 2010

Prior to the album’s release, on 24th June Southern Lord shall be reissuing Hex; Or Printing In The Infernal Method and The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull on LP. You can order from this link:  http://www.southernlord.com/store/search/name:/artist_id:30/format_id:

TOUR DATES:
July 31st – Katowice, Pl – Off Festival
August 1st – Leipzig, DE – UT Connewitz
August 2nd – Berlin, DE – Lido
August 4th – Sibenik, HR – Super Uho Festival
August 5th – Vienna, AT – Arena
August 7th – Wiesbaden, DE – Schlacthof
August 8th – Zurich, CH – Bogen F
August 9th – Paris, FR – Point Ephemere
August 10th – Antwerp, BE – Zuiderpershuis
August 11th – Utrecht, NL – Tivoli
August 13th – Dublin, IE – Whelans
August 14th – Glasgow, UK – CCA
August 15th – Manchester, UK – Gorilla
August 16th – London, UK – Jabberwocky Festival

There will be an aural delights special featuring Earth during week beginning 1st June to mark this release.