Fascinating Things : Issue 17

Montréal chamber rock ensemble Esmerine return with the new full-length album “Lost Voices”, described as  “the most dynamic and incendiary record of the group’s career”, following its highly-acclaimed and Juno award-winning 2013 release Dalmak. Led by co-founders Bruce Cawdron (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) on various mallet instruments and Rebecca Foon (Thee Silver Mt. Zion, Saltland) on cello, Esmerine also includes drummer/percussionist Jamie Thompson (The Unicorns, Islands, Little Scream) and multi-instrumentalist Brian Sanderson.

Lost Voices is the result of multiple recording sessions led by Vid Cousins (Kid Koala, Amon Tobin, Colin Stetson) and was mixed/produced by Jace Lasek (The Besnard Lakes) at his Breakglass Studio in Montréal. The album features several tracks that are hands down among the band’s most rocking, making newfound use of electric guitars (courtesy a variety of guest players) alongside the group’s nucleus of marimba, strings and percussion. Expanding from Dalmak’s core quartet, Esmerine also welcomes bassist Jeremi Roy (who began touring with the group in 2013) as an official member; his contrabass work adds potent low-end to the heavier and more muscular jams on the new album. Lost Voices is equally notable for the appearance of GY!BE/Silver Mt. Zion violinist Sophie Trudeau as a featured guest.

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It is released on Constellation on October 16th, here is a link to a  taster with the track Neighbourhoods Rise

Esmerine

With only a few weeks to go until Helen’s debut LP “The Original Faces” is released, the band have shared a second teaser from the album in the form of ‘Violet’. ‘Violet’ perfectly captures the dreamy pop-rock essence of Helen, with Harris’ airy vocals dancing atop the fuzzy guitar textures and rhythmic bass tones.

Helen is a pop group from Oregon. Liz Harris (vocals/lead guitar), Jed Bindeman (drums/tambourine), Scott Simmons (bass/guitar), and Helen (back up vocals).

Originally started with the intention of being a thrash band, it turned into something else entirely. The Original Faces was recorded over a period of several years in Portland by the band members, their friends Nick, Chris and, largely, Justin Higgins. The record was written together, with some songs based on Liz and Scottʼs demos.

The Original Faces will be released 4th September via kranky.

I don’t normally post jazz related things in this part of the blog but Dave Douglas‘ new one “High Risk” contains sufficient elements of improvised music to warrant a look. It’s been out a month now, and it will be a strong front runner for my jazz album of the year. The band is Dave on trumpet with DJ producer Shigeto, bassist Jonathan Maron, and drummer Mark Guilianah, The video below, of the excellent “Tied Together”, contains a great tune which marries Dave’s warm tones with some fascinating electronica from Shigeto and a great rhythm section performance. Note the use of echo on the trumpet in places to great effect. Nils Petter Molvaer has been doing similar for years so it’s not exactly ground-breaking (despite some critics getting a little tipsy about it) but Dave always brings something new to the table and that’s certainly true of this album.

Excellent work by Tony Thornborough here below in capturing the excellent Flies On You live at The Crescent in Salford. As I have posted. at length, previously Tony and Steve Nicholson are putting on some great nights at the venue and Jim Watts has to be best sound man in the conurbation at the moment.

PPNW Records have announced the release of “13 O’CLOCK”, a limited-edition compilation album that you CAN’T download from iTunes! Lovingly compiled by the Atlanta-based company, it stand for Post Punk New Wave Records, “13 O’Clock” revives the spirit of 80’s DIY, a sound & aesthetic which can still be heard today in Franz Ferdinand, The Horrors, The Bravery, Ladytron and many more…

Featuring exciting previously unreleased tracks from 80’s cult favourites Uur Daughters Wedding (recorded live!), European hit makers B-Movie and French electro-punk pioneers Metal Urbain, the album also features the post-punk classic “Agent Orange” by Ski Patrol (w/Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman) and the EPIC track “Galapagos” by European music collective Family Fodder (full tracklisting below).

The label has taken the bold move of not making the album available on iTunes, and is available exclusively as a limited-edition CD (500 copies only!) via the PPNW Records website.

 

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Fascinating Things : Issue 11

Sounding a bit like Robert Forster singing with The Smiths Band of Holy Joy have a new  download single “Isn’t that just the life”  out on Stereogram on August 10th. A video accompanies the download and there will be a select number of dates across the UK. An album follows in September.

Isn't that just the Life - Download Artwork

I have been hand selected by  The Working Man (lead by the hardest man in Blackburn) to listen to their  new track “Big Bad John”. They advise me that they are not going to bore me on how  they  ‘merge different genres’ and ‘can’t be put into any category’ – they  appreciate , like themselves, that I am  very busy. A fascinating melange of differing things makes for a damn fine listen. It comes from a soon to be released album called “Lancashizer”. You can catch them at the Bierkellar in that Manchester on July 30th.

Ancient River‘s new album ‘Keeper of the Dawn’ stems from band founder James Burreto’s love of Italian horror films and the music of David Axelrod – some tracks are led by the vocals, others by the drums. The latest in a string of interesting albums the overall feel is airy psychedelia with space rock, shoegaze, and touches of Americana.  Opening track “This is the Time” is a bit of a stunner.

Steve Hauschildt has  announced his first new album since the late 2012 release of “Sequitur. Where All Is Fled” . It will be released via kranky on 25th September. Titled “Although Where All Is Fled” it sonically refers back to his earlier albums such as “Rapt for Liquid Minister” and “Tragedy & Geometry”, but on detailed listening it slowly becomes apparent that it is also a divergence from those recordings.

“Both the artwork and the music on this new work were heavily inspired by surrealist landscape paintings, early alchemical emblems, and recurring visions Steve had from dreams. The result is a pristine series of cascading melodies, fantastical terrains of layered lattices, and overlapping patterns of synthesizers superimposed with orchestral instrumentation. Hidden in the crevices of the album are processed crowd sounds, re-sampled text-to-speech synthesis, piano, and animal noises which reveal themselves after repeated listens and blur together notions of artificial and natural sound. While slowly unfurling, each sound is given it’s own place and space, never hurried, never cluttered.”

Helen is a pop group from Oregon featuring members of Grouper and Eternal Tapestry. Liz Harris (vocals/lead guitar), Jed Bindeman (drums/tambourine), Scott Simmons (bass/guitar), and Helen (back up vocals).  Originally started with the intention of being a thrash band, it turned into something else entirely.  “The Original Faces” was recorded over a period of several years in Portland by the band members, their friends Nick, Chris and, largely, Justin Higgins.  The record was written together, with some songs based on Liz and Scottʼs demos.

And finally for this edition of Fascinating Things

Rock Back for Nepal is the first in a 3-part series of disaster relief compilations being released by U.S. indie label Patetico Recordings. The label is partnering with nearly 60 independent artists and several small indie labels around the globe to make this happen. They have all come together in order to raise funds for victims of the recent catastrophic earthquakes in Nepal. All money raised will go directly to the relief efforts.
The compilations are being supported by several luminaries of the independent rock and shoegaze scene, among others. Whenever Tom Lugo reaches out to his musical family, you know it’s for a crucial and essential cause. The Rock Back for Nepal CD compilation is no exception,” explains Dean Garcia of seminal shoegaze bands Curve and SPC ECO. “I’m proud to be part of this relief effort / fund raiser for anyone affected by the recent earthquake disaster in Nepal and if I can help or contribute in some way to aid support and assistance to the many displaced people, I will without question. Please support this cause and donate as generously as you can.”

Perhaps one of the most renowned personalities in the shoegaze / noise rock spheres, Oliver Ackermann (A Place To Bury Strangers, Skywave) has also lent his support to the cause. “It is a horrible tragedy this destruction of culture and life. I feel lucky that I can use my craft and contribute a song to this fund to help them raise money for relief. If we can all do something to help and give relief for the people of Nepal we should do it now.”

“It’s great to be among this sparkling array of brilliant artists, taking action in support of a great cause,” says Marc Joy of Welsh outfit Lights That Change.  Alexx Kretov of Canadian-Ukrainian duo Ummagma is also hopeful.”May the common freebie attitude fall to the wayside for this project. We really hope that people will support a higher cause by spending a few dollars and spreading this music far and wide.”
All three volumes are being released at the same time, and will be available through Bandcamp and Amazon.com exclusively, both digitally and on CD.The album artwork and design is by Gardy Perez.
The concept of the Rock Back compilation series was born in 2011 when disaster hit Japan and Tom Lugo, owner of Patetico Recordings, acted on his empathy for charitable causes and non-profit organizations by reaching out to the community of artists in his network. They collectively put together a compilation and the profits were donated to relief efforts. The response was overwhelming, with over 100 artists from across the globe joining in the efforts. What was to be a single CD compilation grew into the 8-disc compilation Rock Back for Japan. The compilation series hit the top 10 Indie Rock releases on Amazon.com’s chart for several weeks, with certain volumes holding the number 1 spot.

FASCINATING THINGS : ISSUE 07

 Le Butcherettes  are giving fans an early preview of the music from the trio’s previously mentioned forthcoming album, A Raw Youth (released Sept. 18, via Ipecac Recordings), with a stream of the delightfully titled “They Fuck You Over”….

Brisbane shoegaze duo Forevr (sic) has released their debut EP after recording it in April of this year. The duo  is  Donovan Miller (No Anchor, Roku Music) and Sam George-Allen (Mega Ogre, Low Season).

Demonstration’ is their first recorded material. The four-track EP was recorded live at Tym Guitars in Brisbane, using programmed drums, dense synthesiser and cavernous, shimmering guitar. They wanted to make loud, beautiful music. ‘Demonstration’ is what happened.

Channelling the lush textures of My Bloody Valentine and the romance of the Cocteau Twins, FOREVR have adopted an electronic foundation – drum machines, audio sampling and synth bass – that places them at the forefront of modern shoegaze. ‘Demonstration’ has received praise from music press in Australia and abroad, including Triple J and international radio stations Primal Radio and DKFM. Triple J’s Nat Tencic calls their music “perfect shoegaze” and Primal Radio describes their sound as “sinister decadence”.

‘Demonstration’ is evocative, textural, beautiful and best played loud. The EP is available as a name-your-price download and on black CD, and has just been released as a limited edition gold cassette tape (for mailout this week). A full length album is currently in production.

Ought have announced a new album on Constellation which is released 18 September 2015 and is called ‘Sun Coming Down’. Here is a preview track. Sounds as good as the last one:

Helen is a pop group from Oregon. Liz Harris (vocals/lead guitar), Jed Bindeman (drums/tambourine), Scott Simmons (bass/guitar), and Helen (back up vocals).

Originally started with the intention of being a thrash band, it turned into something else entirely. The Original Faces was recorded over a period of several years in Portland by the band members, their friends Nick, Chris and, largely, Justin Higgins. The record was written together, with some songs based on Liz and Scottʼs demos.

You can hear the first excerpt from the record, which will be released 4th September via kranky, below.

I reviewed the new album from Liberez a couple of weeks back they have uploaded a video of the excellent “419 Chop Your $” from it recently. Release date is 24th July.

IIVII is the new solo project by visual artist, multi-instrumentalist and composer, Josh Graham. Founding member of Red Sparowes and Battle Of Mice, Graham currently plays in A Storm Of Light, and has made appearances with Jarboe, Blood And Time, Tombs, Syndrome, Fallen Black Deer, and Tribes Of Neurot.

On IIVII’s debut “Colony”, Graham focuses on sonically engulfing and moody soundscapes, layered with a science-fiction edge. This approach has allowed Graham to expand upon his sonic body of work and traverse new electronic territory, focusing on the subtle orchestration and manipulation of dense sonic atmospheres.

Depicting a derelict space colony in view of Saturn, the artwork was also completed by Graham, who currently serves as art director to Soundgarden, and has also worked with many bands including, Neurosis, Jesu, Shrinebuilder, Sleep, Vattnet Viskar, and ISIS.

Live shows will fuse guitar, analogue and digital keyboards, cassette loops, and more. Select live performances also welcome multi-instrumentalist Will Lindsay to the mix. Lindsay is a longtime collaborator in A Storm of Light, and his resume includes Indian, Wolves In The Throne Room, Bloodyminded, Lord Mantis, Anatomy Of Habit and more.

Check out a preview on You Tube.

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“GODHUNTER vs. DESTROYER OF LIGHT: Endsville” presents a collection of brand new end-time material from both acts. Additionally, the bands will collaborate on a major widespread tour together, which will see them both playing the East Coast US for the first time.

The release includes twenty minutes of new material and a cover track from each band. Tucson/Vancouver based sludge band, Godhunter, captured the tunes for their platter at WaveLab Studios in Tucson by Dana Fehr (North, Juarez), the newest in a steady line of titles since their 2014-released debut LP, City Of Dust, including their GH/OST:S split LP with Secrets Of The Sky and The Outer Dark collaborative 7” with Amigo The Devil.

The parallel release by Austin-based psychedelic doom outfit, Destroyer of Light, follows the band’s 2012-released self-titled debut album and 2014’s Bizarre Tales Vol. II EP, recorded at Orb Recording Studios in Austin, engineered and mixed by Matt Meli. The entire album was then mastered by James Plotkin.

The two 12” EPs will be united in a gatefold setup on two different colors of vinyl, in addition to a digital release, the cover artwork to feature custom sculpture art by Bestia Dentro and photography by Andrew Weiss. Endsville will see a collaborative release via Battleground Records and Heavy Friends Records on July 28th.