Album Of The Year?

Yes it’s that time again……and with it being a very busy year I thought i’d better prepare the long-list early on… in no particular order the candidates for this years “Best Of…..” not jazz albums… I’ll whittle it down to a top ten in due course, and I may well include some other ones I have missed and some things in the pipeline which look like they make the list.

There are a couple of very strong front-runners at the moment and after that it all gets a bit difficult…………

  • The Seven Twenty – The Seven Twenty
  • Niche – Heading East
  • Heroin In Tahiti – Sun and Violence
  • Dilly Dally – Sore
  • The Holy Soul – Fortean Times
  • Mammoth Penguins – Hide and Seek
  • The Lancashire Hustlers – What Made Him Run
  • Moff Skellington – Scribnalls
  • Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Just Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Think
  • Robert Forster – Songs To Play
  • Bouquet of Dead Crows – Of The Night
  • Dave Graney – Once I Loved The Oceans Roar
  • Monkeys In Love – Take The Biscuit
  • Corrections House – Know How To Carry A Wip
  • Esmerine – Lost Voices
  • Dead Sea Apes – Spectral Domain
  • Moff Skellington – The Corkscrew Tongue
  • Liberez – All Tense Now Lax
  • Vienna Ditto – Circle
  • JD Meatyard – Taking The Asylum
  • Ken Mode – Success
  • Dead to Dying World – Litany
  • Myrkur – M
  • The Creeping Ivies – Your New Favourite Garage Band
  • Ought – Sun Coming Down
  • Big Brave – Au De La
  • The Happy Fallen – Lost and Found
  • Cryin’ Queerwolf – Diva
  • Alif – Aynama -Rtama
  • Dave Graney ‘n’ The Coral Snakes – Night of the Wolverine  (Expanded)
  • ZX+ Don’t Drink The Water
  • Author & Punisher -Melk En Honing
  • Dave Graney & the mistLY – Play mistLY for me – live recordings vol 1
  • Flies On You – Etcetera
  • Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – Brothers of the Sonic Cloth
  • The Go-Betweens – G stands for Go-Betweens : Volume One 1978-1984 (yes I know it’s a box set but it’s too good to ignore)
  • Moff Skellington – The Corduroy Bridge
  • The Fall – Sub Lingual Tablet
  • Minimi Deutsch – Minimi Deutsch
  • Anna Von Hauswolff – The Miraculous

Measures of Success

KEN mode


Season of Mist

15th June 2015


KEN mode have built a strong following over their last 15 years of fearsome and unaligned output, gaining fans from lovers of post-rock, hardcore, metal, and noise. Those who like their music concentrated, cut-throat and complex are drawn to the band’s direct and downright savage way of getting things done. This latest release  will take many by surprise with a bold move towards sounds that inspired them at their beginning sixteen years ago, and now doubly so, on their sixth full-length.

Recorded with legendary engineer Steve Albini (Nirvana, the Jesus Lizard, PJ Harvey and so many more) capturing the material in a fully live and analogue session, in the band’s home town of Winnepeg in November 2014, has resulted in the most raw, rock and roll sound the band has released to date. Combining rock, noise, math, indie in a mass of skewed rhythms, corrosive riffs and intense vocals, this is one hell of an album. The intensity grabs you from the outset and keeps your attention throughout.

I saw the question posed somewhere in the cyberpress “Is it time for a grunge revival?”.  One hopes not, if anything, this band has taken the legacy that encompasses the likes of Revelation Records, Dischord, Touch And Go, Sub Pop  with its’ inventive heavinesses and abandon and moved it on with this release. There is no need for a revival, the form has evolved and is intrinsically more exciting and compelling.

Sonically, and lyrically, a shift has been made from the classic hardcore sound, that the band has become known for, to a rawer, more mature, sometimes humorous, indie rock feel. “In April 2014, the band set out to pay tribute to where they come from: a salute to both their Canadian Prairie roots, and a time when they first started to care about making music; the burgeoning grunge; and Touch Go/Dischord scenes of the late 80s/early 90s, with bands like Nirvana, Big Black, Cop Shoot Cop, The Cows, Circus Lupus, and Drive Like Jehu impacting on their teenage minds. Lyrically, the band’s fascination with comedy spirals around classical western concepts of success; – from employment, sex, marriage, religion, socioeconomic standing, and particularly the many perceptions people have of how they, and those around them, happen to fit into the world.”

The current lineup of Jesse Matthewson (vocals, guitar), Shane Matthewson (drums) and Skot Hamilton (bass, vocals) are currently touring Europe delivering Success as it was recorded – live, primal, and in your face. It’s recommended that you experience it in the flesh.  Unfortunately they are only playing two UK dates which are:

May 31, 2015 – Bristol, UK – Temples Festival
June 1, 2015 – London, UK @ Macbeth

Photo by Brenda Faris
Photo by Brenda Faris

The band was formed in 1999  and has been actively touring Canada, the United States and Europe since 2002 with such acts as Russian Circles, Torche, Deafheaven, Norma Jean, Kylesa, Pelican, Daughters, Revocation, and Today is the Day, maintaining an unrelenting schedule for the past 5 years.

Previous releases:

  • Mongrel (2003)
  • Reprisal (2006)
  • Mennonite (2008)
  • Venerable (2011)
  • Entrench (2013).