Consequences of Sound

A more than acceptable week of new music over the last seven days with some exceptional albums coming in for evaluation and podcasting. Some of these have been trailed in an earlier post……

First up the latest from Earth  “Primitive and Deadly” which is released on September 1st on Southern Lord.  Carlson has gone back to his early work for this one – a blistering set of rock oriented  tunes which are  dynamic, epic and packing a guitar driven punch that few can match. Add guest vocals from Mark Laneghan and Rabia Shaheen Qazi (Rose Windows) and you have something special indeed.  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 Adrienne  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). Thick, dense and overdriven, melodically rich & enveloping, “Primitive and Deadly” is Earth reaffirming their position as leaders in guitar based music.

CST106cover_900px

It’s safe to call Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche a bit of a Montreal supergroup, its members having been active in the city’s experimental rock communities for well over a decade, including participation in Panopticon Eyelids, Pas Chic Chic, Red Mass, Set Fire to Flames, and, from the Constellation roster, Fly Pan Am.  Avec le soleil has solidified over the past year into a tight four-piece unit, and moved towards mastery of a highly original, deeply satisfying, giddy and heady mix of prog,  post-rock, math-rock and funk  The pair of  20-minute pieces featured on the album “Zubberdust!” is the culmination of the group’s first two years of development. (The pieces are subdivided into sections for CD and digital track IDs.) This is (mostly) instrumental rock that  blends a primitivist  repetition with organic ever-shifting electronic overlays – along with the occasional full-stop and 180 degree turn. JS Truchy’s wordless lead vocals (and his choral arrangement on “Face à l’instant”) add compelling textural and melodic counterpoints while lending the music an especially timeless feel. Pretty hard to fit this in a specific genre basket given the variety of things going on but overall a damn fine album which might have a slight touch of Zeuhl about it. It’s released on Constellation on 29th September.

As trailed a couple of weeks back Last Ex is the new instrumental rock ensemble led by Simon Trottier and Olivier Fairfield.  In addition to duties in various groups orbiting Fairfield’s E-Tron Records (including H. de Heutz, Ferriswheel and many others), the two are perhaps best known as core members of Timber Timbre, which spawned the Last Ex project. When Timber Timbre’s ambient music for a horror film went unused back in 2012, Trottier and Fairfield began revisiting the sound palette they had built up for the soundtrack at Fairfield’s studio in Hull, expanding on their techniques and textures, adding drums, bass and various other instruments. The duo found that they had dug into some very fertile territory, writing additional songs throughout 2013 and bringing their obsessions with sound collage, tape-based music concrète and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to bear on the cinematic lyricism of the initial widescreen guitar- and string-based material. Derived from the title of the abandoned film, Simon and Olivier dubbed their new project Last Ex. With its combination of assured lyricism, cinematic guitars, dusky analog atmospherics and taut percussion, this is a vivid, concise and expressive instrumental album that sits snugly between fellow label acts Do Make Say Think and Exhaust on the one hand, Hrsta, Tindersticks and Evangelista on the other. The self-titled album is released on Constellation on 13th October and makes for a fascinating listen.

Ought

Montreal four-piece post-punk group Ought has been gathering momentum the old-fashioned way, with a humble and deceptively unassuming debut album (as reviewed here) that’s been worming its way into many many ears thanks to its combination of intelligence, authenticity, directness, simplicity and energy. Constellation are releasing  a vinyl- and digital-only EP  “Once More With Feeling” which corrals a couple of selections from the band’s older songbook, re-recorded this Spring at Hotel2Tango to reflect some of the ways they’ve grown and evolved over the past year or so. It’s a very fine set of tunes that highlights and brings fans up to date with Ought’s first two years of songwriting, revealing additional facets of the band, including its ability to play with nostalgia and balladry (“Pill”), feverish Iggy Stooge like revival-tent testifying (“New Calm Pt. 2”), and improv/abstraction (“New Calm Pt. 3”).  Out on 27th October from Constellation and highly recommended by the Eccles judge.

This September, two years after the remarkable “Atma”, doom trio powerhouse YOB  release “Clearing The Path To Ascend”, an aptly titled album for what is a crowning achievement for a band whose journey now nears two decades of creating music.  As commanding as it is cathartic, as is the YOB way, the four tracks on this album don’t simply offer the usual riff-soaked doom genre. YOB break barriers, clearing the way for genuinely visceral listening experience. There are some clear   influences such as Cathedral, Sleep, Electric Wizard, and Black Sabbath – however they have distilled this into their own sound with threads of progressive rock and drone melding in with the heavy rock elements. With a ferocity that’s as completely unhinged as it is utterly focused this is a remarkable hour and two minutes of music . Drummer Travis Foster wields his signature rhythmic furore  while bassist Aaron Rieseberg, provides unforgiving pulse – all the while in a impressive  synchronicity with Mike Scheidt’s uncanny vocal range and signature guitar sound. Released on Neurot on September 1st.

Upcoming ………

The Melvins return with “Hold It In” (Ipecac) , their first studio album as a quartet since 2010’s “The Bride Screams Murder”, on October 14th. Joining Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover for the 12-song outing are Butthole Surfers‘ guitar player Paul Leary and bass player JD Pinkus. Hold It In was recorded in both Los Angeles and Austin earlier this year. “Hold It In is a refreshing piece of fiction in a boring world of fact and bullsh*t,” said Osborne. “Paul is one of the best guitar players I have ever heard and Pinkus has an outside the box type of approach to both guitar and bass that you just have to let it ride. I can’t believe this actually happened. I’m thrilled.” “It’s very rare you get a chance to work with three folks from the ‘Break A Wish’ foundation, all at the same time,” said Pinkus. “I believe they’ll remember their experience with me forever (or until they finally all lose their fight with S.I.D.S).”

Here’s a preview

Torch Runner are back in no time with news of their forthcoming LP, titled “Endless Nothing”.  On it, the North Carolina trio set off rabid grind, repellent metallic clout and hardline vocal harangue in an uncontrolled explosion, which will attract lovers of  bands  like Napalm Death, Converge and Nails. It  is due for a 29th September release, available as CD and limited edition vinyl formats on Southern Lord.  Here is an example of what you will get:

Other highly recommended releases coming soon, or indeed out now:

  • Dead Sea Apes – Thermionic Emissions Vol 2 – Bandcamp (Out Now)
  • Society Sucker – Society Sucker  – Get This Right Records (16th September)
  • Sounds of Sputnik – New Born featuring Ummagma – Ear to Ear Records (Out Now)
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News – local and international

There has been a lot happening in the last seven days so here is a quick bullet point round-up of some of the news which has been brought to my attention:

  • Monster Island have a new album – their fifth – called “House of Lancaster”  out on Monday 25th August – which is excellent news for lovers of their particularly fascinating approach to music
  • Mr Heart have got a new bassist to replace Sophie Lord – she is Amy Spray – and they have a gig in Bolton on 30th August at the Blind Tiger with Coroner for the Police
  • German Shepherd records have a new EP out by a band called Scratchings, No Gravy – it’s called “Eccles Cross Breakdown” and you can get it here. The next releases on the label will be a new EP from Modal Roberts and the re-release of the excellent album from The Bacillus called “I Can’t Adapt To This Prison You Call Society”
  • In further German Shepherd news the label is co-curating a gig with Louder Than War signings Kill Pretty at Dulcimer, Chorlton, Manchester on 12th and 19th September. Kill Pretty headline both nights and have special guests – West Coast Sick Line, Indian Pale Male and Poppycock on the 12th, and 2 Koi Karp, Andy T plus As Able As Kane on the 19th. Advance tickets are available with a booking fee from here. All of those purchasing advance tickets will get a free set of Kill Pretty badges when they arrive at the gig!
  • Earth‘s brand new full-length studio LP, Primitive And Deadly, the album shall be released in less than two weeks through Southern Lord. With founding guitarist Dylan Carlson weaving his slow-motion, organic dirges throughout the amazingly restrained percussion of his longtime cohort Adrienne Davies, the duo are here joined by bassist Bill Herzog (Sunn O))), Joel RL Phelps, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter) and additional guitarists Brett Netson (Built To Spill, Caustic Resin) and Jodie Cox (Narrows). Rabia Shaheen Qazi of Rose Windows lends her angelic voice to the album’s third composition, “From The Zodiacal Light,” as heard in recent weeks, while the fifth track, “Rooks Across The Gate” and second track, “There Is a Serpent Coming,” feature evocative vocal contributions from Mark Lanegan previously of Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age, Mad Season and more. The lyrics for “Rooks…” were written by Dylan Carlson and the lyrics for “Serpent..” by Lanegan.
  • Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche is a bit of a Montreal supergroup, its members having been active in this city’s experimental rock communities for well over a decade, including participation in Panopticon Eyelids, Pas Chic Chic, Red Mass, Set Fire to Flames, and, from the Constellation roster, Fly Pan Am. Avec le soleil has solidified over the past year into a tight four-piece unit, and moved towards mastery of a highly original, deeply satisfying, giddy and heady avant-funk. They have an album out on Constellation on 29th September. Looks interesting from the notes I have seen.
  • Last Ex is the new instrumental rock ensemble led by Simon Trottier and Olivier Fairfield, both longtime fixtures of experimental/punk scenes rooted in the cross-province hub of Hull/Ottawa (straddling the border of Quebec and Ontario, respectively). In addition to duties in various groups orbiting Fairfield’s E-Tron Records (including H. de Heutz, Ferriswheel and many others), the two are perhaps best known as core members of haunted blues-folk ensemble Timber Timbre, which spawned the Last Ex project. When Timber Timbre’s ambient music for a horror film went unused back in 2012, Trottier and Fairfield began revisiting the sound palette they had built up for the soundtrack at Fairfield’s studio in Hull, expanding on their techniques and textures, adding drums, bass and various other instruments. The duo found that they had dug into some very fertile territory, writing additional songs throughout 2013 and bringing their obsessions with sound collage, tape-based music concrète and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to bear on the cinematic lyricism of the initial widescreen guitar- and string-based material. Derived from the title of the abandoned film, Simon and Olivier dubbed their new project Last Ex. It is released on Constellation on 13th October.
  • Montreal four-piece post-punk group Ought has been gathering momentum the old-fashioned way, with a humble and deceptively unassuming debut album that’s been worming its way into many many ears thanks to its combination of intelligence, authenticity, directness, simplicity and energy; and with live performances in which it is reported that  the band’s channeling of genuine passion, politics and charisma are consistently connecting with and exuberantly galvanizing audiences. While they continue their relentless touring across North America and Europe this Autumn, Constellation will be releasing a vinyl- and digital-only EP which corrals a couple of selections from the band’s older songbook, re-recorded this Spring at Hotel2Tango to reflect some of the ways they’ve grown and evolved over the past year or so.   Ought will be doing a full UK tour in November. The EP is called “Once More With Feeling” and is released on 27th October.

 

 

Mr Heart with their new line-up
Mr Heart with their new line-up

Mud, Rubble and Rock n Roll

A rather fine evening (Saturday 28th June) at the Bank Top Tavern in Oldham with a stunning set from Factory Acts, and an admittedly ramshackle but rather joyous affair from Kill Pretty rounded off a busy week musical. Bank Top Tavern is a good venue, and there was a good crowd, many plaudits to Jeff Grainger for organising the whole thing. Highly recommended as a place to watch live music.

Talking of live music there are a pile of gigs coming up if you like the sort of stuff I play on my Podcasts……

Yob
Yob photo credit ©James Rexroad

Yob and Pallbearer are embarking on a tour of titanic proportions this September, both performing in support of their respective new albums. The tour date  confirmed for the Greater Mancunia area is Friday, September 05, at The Roadhouse. They are at the Brudenall in Leeds on the 7th if you cannot make the Manchester date.  For Pallbearer, who recently announced the arrival of their much anticipated new full length Foundations Of Burden (to be released on Profound Lore in August), this marks their first full European tour. The band have said that they are “beyond thrilled” to announce these dates opening for the mighty Yob. Supporting their monumental new album, Clearing The Path To Ascend (which Neurot Recordings are releasing in September) Yob are excited to be returning to the UK and Europe, and both bands couldn’t have picked a better time to share their new material.

Ought have confirmed a tour with dates in the UK and Ireland this November, this follows the recent news of their two upcoming summer festival appearances at ATP’s Jabberwocky and Green Man. Given the praise for their recently released and thrilling debut album, More Than Any Other Day (Constellation Records), this promises to be a great run of shows.  They are playing Sound Control, Manchester on November 18th.

Angry Scousers Corrupt Moral Alter have their debut full length “Mechanical Tides” out on July18th via Season of Mist – they have a string of dates coming up, none of which in the Manchester area – nearest options are 23rd July Maguires, Liverpool and 24th July Packhorse, Leeds. The album is described as a mixture of sludge and punk – looking forward to getting an advance copy to share with you via podcast.

Late this Summer, Southern Lord will release all of the material from late 1980s Seattle hardcore band, Brotherhood, collecting the influential act’s demos and 7″ releases in one remastered, cohesive anthology entitled Till Death Brotherhood was formed during the West Coast Hardcore surge in the same days of Insted, Bl’ast, Chain Of Strength and Uniform Choice, the members all bred in the Northwest on The Accused, Poison Idea, The Melvins, and with East Coast threads born of SSD, DYS, Corrosion Of Conformity and Straight Ahead all comparatively woven into their sound. A straightedge hardcore band that confronted racism, sexism and intolerance, both in their lyrical delivery and on stage with ill-mannered show attendees, Brotherhood was a rare band of this scene as they were accepted in all of the subgenres of punk rock and hardcore, even receiving praise in the — at the time — very anti-straightedge publication MaximumRockNRoll, as they did in the many adamant straight edge fanzines of the time. This near universal acceptance can be clearly be attributed to the many years each member of the band had spent previous to Brotherhood in bands, publishing fanzines, booking shows and promoting bands as well as their strong desire to buck most trends that came their way and forge something new.

 

The band was founded in Seattle by Greg Anderson in 1987, who recruited former False Liberty drummer Victor Hart, friend Ken Hagel on bass and East Coast transplant and Open Your Eyes fanzine editor, John White on vocals. After years as a singer in False Liberty and Inner Strength, Greg picked up the guitar and started writing songs built upon the aforementioned influences. Following local shows and the opportunity to open for such legends as Youth Of Today, Angry Samoans and Fugazi, Brotherhood began to gain recognition on a much wider scale in the hardcore community. This initial lineup was not to last, as in 1988, Ron Guardipee Of Hateful Youth took over on vocals and Nate Mendel of Diddly Squat joined on bass. Having played many times together in their previous bands things quickly came together for this new and much more solid Brotherhood lineup and in November of that year the Music Bank recording session was conducted. Debuting this new lineup on the Pushead curated Thrasher Magazine’s Skate Rock Vol. 7 compilation Brotherhood soon also released their Of Friends demo, their No Tolerance For Ignorance 7″ on Skate Edge Records and Words Run… As Thick As Blood! 7″ on CR Records, all released in 1988 and 89. Playing throughout the Northwest US as well as a North American tour with (quite possibly the bands biggest influence) Seattle’s The Accused, by the end of 1989 Brotherhood came to an end. Their relatively short-lived run went on to inspire many of the seminal bands that have followed in Hardcore and Straight Edge such as Undertow, Unbroken, Champion, No Tolerance and many more.   Members of Brotherhood have since forged numerous other musical endeavours including, but by no means limited to, Christ On A Crutch, Sunny Day Real Estate, Foo Fighters, Resolution, Digh Down, Burning Witch, Engine Kid, Sunn O)) and Goatsnake.   Southern Lord will release Till Death in deluxe LP and digital download packages in September. A confirmed street date, preorders and more on the album will be made available in the coming weeks.

As Earth make their way through the South Pacific as part of their ongoing tour through Japan, New Zealand and Australia, building up to the release of their tenth studio collection, Primitive And Deadly, we are delighted to reveal the very first audio insight into the album, as an early surprise for the band’s vast international fanbase.  The third of the six movements on the hour-long Primitive And Deadly is the sprawling eleven-and-a-half minute “From The Zodiacal Light,” which you can listen to below. Check out my Earth retrospective podcast here.

Ethereal doom trio, Ides Of Gemini, are preparing to unveil their sophomore offering, Old World New Wave, via Neurot Recordings this September.

 

 Ides Of Gemini features guitarist Jason Bennett, drummer Kelly Johnston-Gibson and the haunting vocal prowess of singer/bassist Sera Timms, also of Los Angeles dark-psych conjurors Black Mare. The follow-up to the band’s 2012 Constantinople debut, which Pitchfork christened “darkly beautiful,” and Terrorizer likened to, “a metallic-filtered kinship to Cocteau Twins and Mazzy Star,” Old World New Wave was recorded at Valley Recording in Burbank, California, engineered and mixed by Chris Rakestraw (Danzig), mastered by Grammy award winning producer, Matt Hyde (Slayer) and boasts the striking hand-drawn cover art of Johnston-Gibson.

 

Comments Timms of the offering, “For Old World New Wave we all really coalesced as a band, and were able to work off one another’s strengths. J came up with the basic concept and musical framework of the album, and Kelly and I gave it form and identity. For me, my own personal musical identity, taste, preferences etc. were eclipsed by the power of the music which worked as an animate force unto itself-so much so that I cannot listen to any of it objectively, or tell you if it’s good or bad, but I can tell you that it’s distinctively Ides Of Gemini

 

Adds Johnston-Gibson of the images surrounding the record, “The artwork is an interpretation of Sera’s lyrical narrative, which carries over themes from Constantinople, as well as symbolic of transformations experienced by us as individuals and inevitably as a band. The minimalist, direct style of the cover and accompanying illustrations is indicative of our energies combined to create one clear, singular force, as experienced through the music, while the visual content has more to do with the story: essentially a conflict between opposing energies leading to destruction, therefore allowing a clean slate for integration of opposites into a resurrected whole.

 

Old World New Wave will be released on CD and digitally via Neurot Recordings and on vinyl via SIGE Records on September 15th, 2014. In the meantime, check out the teaser video

And finally, the productive Mr Stephen Evans has sent another tune to me, this time under his ZX+ name, it’s a short, sharp and rather fine tune, he says he has a bit more recording to do and then he will have a new release, looking foward to that ……in the mean time enjoy this one

 

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. 

Music Diary #11 – 11th January 2012 – Aural Delights Radio Show

A relatively quiet day on the new things in box so I will concentrate on this day’s show….which is notable for the large proportion of new things being played.

I would single out the new Disappears album (Pre-Language)  as something to look forward to – now with Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley on drums this new release has moved on considerably from last years “Guider”. Also pleased to see at last the album from Limbs (Olympics) which further demonstrates Mike Chadwick’s exceptional compositional skill – for fans of quirkly English music this is one to check out. The second part of Earths two-fer “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light” moves into a far more improvisational area – this is considered music, painfully slow at times, but rich with ideas and sentiment. With the exception of the closing Farley Kiwi Fumble and a classic from The Walkabouts the bulk of the rest is new and unsigned work from around the country. You can find all of these people on Facebook easily.

The playlist is…..and you can hear it here

1 The Cosmonauts The Howl EP
2 Limbs The Worms Want Blood Olympics
3 Streaming Lights Wait A Minute Single
4 Comet Sands The Beautiful and Damned Recordings and Live Demos
5 Curry Quiche Love Went With All The Rest Demo
6 Earth The Corascene Dog Angels of Darkness Demons of Light II
7 Disappears All Gone White Pre Language
8 Invoke Nothings Changed Single
9 Toska Wilde and Luis Drayton Forbidden Fruit EP
10 The Walkabouts Lazarus Heart Ended Up A Stranger
11 After The Ordeal We Divide Single
12 The Coke Authority Great Expectations Demo
13 Magnetic Island Acadia Magnetic Island
14 The Sunshine Fix Last Night I Had A Dream The Future History of the Sunshine Fix

Music Diary #5 – 5th January 2011

I have a feeling it is going to be a busy year music wise – literally deluged with stuff today…..which included….

  • Arctic Monkeys release ‘Black Treacle’, the new single from their ‘Suck It And See’ album on Monday the 23rd of January. ‘Black Treacle’ will be available on 7” (RUG449) and digitally (RUG449D). It’s OK but I can’t get excited about them these days – they seem to have gone a bit safe.
  • Finally got hold of the promo of the  new Earth album “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II”  which  is out on 13th February. It moves seamlessly on from Part 1 offering a totally different aspect to the original Earth sound – slow, meditative and built around Dylan Carlson’s minimal guitar work, this is not going to be for the mosh pit brigade. A lot more improvisation on this one and rather fine it is too.
  • The new Disappears album “Pre Language” is out on March 1st. They now have Steve Shelley (he of Sonic Youth as was) on the drums. It’s rather exceptional in a post punky guitar fixated sort of way.  In fact i’d say I was rather besotted by it.
  • The Umbilical Chords – arrived “Par Avion” from Paris or thereabouts…. interesting mix of post punk bass riffing and near spoken word delivery – some quite pungent lyricism – they will be supporting Gabrielle’s Wish at a Manchester date in March.
  • The Arcadian Kicks – new single “I wanna take you home” which has been produced by Mike Chapman (of Blondie fame) – powerful vocals from this Birmingham group – touring in Jan/Feb – interesting remix coupled with the single which is refreshingly nowt like the lead track.
  • Spent quite a while today catching up on the Walkabouts…..excellent band……particularly fond of the “Ended Up A Stranger” album from 2001.
  • Also polished off the poster for the giggage on 26th January – seems to be going quite well despite Tim Lyons insistence on creating a parallel promotional universe on Facebook which makes counting potential punters somewhat onerous….I will reprimand him severely when I see him next….;)
  • And the BIOGRAPHY of the  chap in the picture below is now on  sale on Lulu – i’ve read it and it is rather a gripping story – check it out – it’s written by Stephen Dobson…..

Aural Delights Radio Show – 7th December 2011 – Albums of the Year Part One

Yes folks it’s that time of year again where people huddle in darkened corners to make lists of the things they have been listening to during the year in an effort to remind you of the cool things you may have missed. Last year I did something like this but was a bit more specific and did radio shows on best gig, best act, best album etc – but I only had one show then so I was limited on what I could ram down your ears during the last few weeks of the year.

This year – with a little more air time available – I thought I would concentrate on albums for this show – so for this week and the next three in the run up to Christmas I am playing a track each from what I and a select bunch of chums (Fall Fans and DJs mostly) feel have been the best releases in the long form format during in 2011. This proved exceedingly difficult of course in that people are troublesome types and when you ask them to list their five favourite albums of the year they deliver lists which numerically vary between 0 and 30 odd albums. So I have to use my judgement and skill (don’t laugh) to get down to around 50 albums which at least made us smile amongst all of the Elbow/Muse/Coldplay clones out there in the wide and wacky world of rock and roll.

The criteria for getting on the list is that it must be a full album, not a re-release and have been released during 2011.

You are not going to see a great number of local bands in this list as they will be dealt with in a “review of the year” run of shows on Salford Music Scene.

So the first batch – in no particular order – as nominated are:

PJ Harvey – The Last Living Rose – Let England Shake (February) – I have to admit to initially being a bit disappointed with this after the magic of “White Chalk”, however it holds up well ten months later and at least she is back to her best on the words side of things after the dip in quality on the last album with John Parrish. This is probably her most political album to date and reflects the state of the nation quite effectively. There are one or two Polly Jean classics on here and the stripped down sound suits her best. Begs the question mind you where she goes next with her music.

Dave Graney – I’m Gonna Release Your  Soul – Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Where I Hide (April) —  an abiding obsession for me, wherein the high priest of coolness reinvents a number of tunes from his back catalogue.  The album was recorded at Soundpark in Melbourne by Graney and the Lurid Yellow Mist and mixed by Victor Van Vugt in New York.  It was released with Graney’s second book, 1001 Australian Nights, by Affirm Press, which concentrates on his life as an artist and performer, which I must track down and read – not had the time. The excellent track featured is actually an old Coral Snakes number from 1994 which was  released on the “You Wanna Be There But You Don’t Wanna Travel”  album (also on The Baddest compilation).

Ryan Adams – Chains of Love – Ashes and Fire (October) – back to his very best after a long lay-off. Incredibly laid back and a little less angry than he has been previously. Some commentators likened it to Bob Dylan in the 1970s which I think is a little lame frankly. This is an artist who, after many years of mis-direction, appears to have found his inner voice and how to express it coherently and cogently.

Earth – Old Black – Angels and Darkness, Demons of Light Volume 1 (February) – Dylan Carlson, like Ryan Adams, had been on an extended break (five years) and came back with a totally re-invented sound for Earth. The trademark drones are there but this is an altogether more ambient and laminal sound. The restrained tension in this music creates a unique listening experience and removes the band from the general melting pot of doom to create something rather special. A perfect example of less is more in music.

The Raveonettes – Recharge and Revolt – Raven Is The Grave (April) – the one album which caused the greatest amount of debate amongst the participants in this little exercise. Views varied from admiration to “I only play the first track” through to “very disappointing”. Given I came to this band late in their existence I found myself erring on the side of positive – the reviewers felt that the sound had got “more pop” and “less guitar” – coming at it cold, with no back history as such, I found it to be a good listen. The band have defined sound of their own which is well worth over a listen.

Rocket from the Tombs – Sister Love Train – Barfly (October) another gap between initial formation and release (however in this instance some 36 years) the band that would become Pere Ubu and The Dead Boys, returns with it’s debut album. Uniquely quirky and rather marvelous in a way that anything associated with David Thomas usually is. Sounds nothing like the original band of course, for any number of reasons, but mostly I guess the experience of the collected members from their other work has taken the initial plan and moved it on somewhat.

Atlas Sound – Mona Lisa – Parallax (November) – Bradford Cox, of Deerhunter of course, in his solo guise. The third “proper” album after the flurry of Bedroom Databank releases last year. There is a clearer link between his main bands work on this release which moves between a populist sound and the more experimental end of his work in this incarnation.

Grails – All the colors of the dark – Deep Politics (March) – a little self indulgence from me here as no-one else picked this album but I think it is so marvelous that it requires inclusion. The Portland bands back catalogue is replete with some excellent instrumental, and mostly post-rock, music – however in this instance they have upped their game considerable with some excellent writing – touching on an almost cinematic approach to their writing. This track alone is worth the price of the album.

Mogwai – San Pedro – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (February) – Ten albums in and the grandaddies of post-rock seem to have gone back to their initial agenda for an album which, whilst not their best, still kicks the bottom of most of the young pretenders out there. There is enough variety in here as well to keep the most jaded of listeners entertained.

The Ettes – Excuse – Wicked Will (August) – some would argue (and I would be one of them) that Greg Cartwright’s production on the predecessor to this release removed a lot of the primal cohones of The Ettes. This album gets us back to the core garage rock sound of the group. Thus demonstrating no doubt that recording garage rock in London works, but it completely fails in Nashville.

The Strange Boys – Punk’s Pajamas – Live  Music (October) – a group feted by the Alliance DJs on Salford City Radio after hearing their sophomore outing “Be Brave” in 2010. This is better and just as weird/strange/unique/wonderful as the first two albums. This can sound as though they are doing things without much effort until you start to burrow deeply into the layers of musical history that makes up this bands work.

Boston Spaceships – Tourist UFO – Let It Beard (August) – if you have immersed yourself into the music of Guided By Voices over the years then you are duty bound stick with Robert Pollard to see what madness he is going to deliver next. Pleased to say that five albums in to this ongoing  endeavour  with John Moen of The Decemberists and Chris Slusarenko of The Takeovers that he hasn’t lost his ability to be utterly unigue and surprise the listener. There are a fair few guest guitarists on this if you would to play spot the star – Colin Newman, Steve Wynn etc etc

65 Days of Static – Space Montage – Silent Running Rescore (November) – gone are the angry young men of the previously releases with their intense and breathtaking re-invention of math and post rock – instead we have an excellent soundtrack to an excellent movie. A band that deserves a lot more attention than it has got hitherto has grown up somewhat.

To listen to the show – click the link below