First up, an all female band from Sweden who are described by the promo people as “punk” when they more probably “post-punk”. The video attempts to shock in an early 80s way, which seems appropriate given the music. There are a lot of bands around at the moment sounding a bit like this which means they must have been listening to their mums and dads record collection – it’s a generational thing folks. Which tends to imply their will be a “New Romantic” revival on the way, heaven forfend! Anyhow they are called Dolores Haze and their new album “The Haze Is Forever” which is described as “a brightly burning collection of top-heavy punk tracks that come with a sinister bite”, will be available for purchase and download from Friday 13th November.
“My Name is Dessie Warren” is the forthcoming single, taken from Ian Prowse’s new album “Companeros”. The promo says “An acoustic and sultry electric guitar hugging the vocals from the start with a restrained but pungent bass line of the Alun Parry classic.” If I knew who Alun Parry was I’d be a bit wiser I guess. Google tells me his is a folky from the other end of the M62 (no not Hull, the other place). Dessie Warren was of course one of the Shrewsbury Two alongside Ricky Tomlinson, and the tune is a Billy Braggish type polemical thing, It does make we wonder if the “left” needs to rethink the type of tune it uses to espouse causes, rather than continue in the Woody Guthrie “man with a guitar” methodology. A banging dance tune perchance as delivered here?
Anyway Ian has a tour on at the moment with Amsterdam, eleven dates in all, including the refurbished Gullivers in sunny Manchester on 14th November if you like that type of thing.
The previously trailed appearance of sound magician Loscil at the Eagle in the Blackfriars area of sunny Salford on 23rd November is nearly upon us so one not to be missed I would venture. As one of only three UK dates a bit of a coup for the city. krankyrecently released his fourth album, “Plume”, for the first time on vinyl format. Next up, JAZ records will be releasing the second in the Sine Studies series of 7″ vinyl. Sine Studies II is Loscil’s continuation of the challenge set forth in Sine Studies 1- namely, to generate music derived from computer generated sine waves and no other sound source. It will be available for mail order via the new JAZ site when it’s ready. Limited copies will be available on the tour, which is the first official European tour since the release of Loscil’s most recent album “Sea Island”:
.House of Mythology label will be releasing the new Ulver gatefold double album vinyl (also available on CD), with over 80 minutes worth of material on January 22nd. The album consists of multitracked and studio-enhanced live, mostly improvisational, rock and electronic soundscapes, 2/3 of which has never been heard before. The basis for the release which is called “ATGCLVLSSCAP” – which the band has been working with under the moniker ‘12’ – arrives from recordings made at twelve different live shows that Ulver performed in February 2014, in which they utilised an improvisatory approach to their performance. As Kristoffer Rygg, the prime mover of the band since its inception puts it wryly, “The tour was to be an experiment, kind of loose and scary for a band as ‘set in their ways’ as us.”
Genre hopping sound manipulators IKMRAO release a single on November 13th. The double A-Side “Hedgehog/Gobstopper” delivers one tune of progressive electronic meandering and a brutal attack on homelessness and animal cruelty, the other is a bass driven funk workout about personal revenge. You can get it from German Shepherd records.
All The King’s Men were formed 12 months ago by Matthew Holland, Tino Caine and Ben Robinson. Growing up together against the backdrop of Manchester’s “vibrant and world renowned music scene” they were “quickly inspired to start making music spending time honing their skills by playing in various local bands”. Matthew left for California, returning a year later with a lyric book and his Les Paul. Joining forces with Tino on bass and Ben on drums they recruited fellow musicians on the Manchester circuit to help them lay tracks and fine tune their sound. Their EP “Making My Escape” is out on Angel Hill Records on 27th November 2015. Typical Manc brit-rock stuff as evidenced below.
As Mr Moss once said “Strap yourself in, it could be a rough ride…..”, welcome to another bumper edition of some Fascinating Things sent to me by those lovely promo people…..there is a curious mixture of things this week from sprightly pop, via electro, ethereal drones to more heavy stuff.
Kranky have announced plans to release the fourth Loscil album, “Plume” for the first time on vinyl format. This classic record, originally released May 2006, will be released via the label on double LP 16th October. This news arrives as Loscil aka Scott Morgan also reveals tour dates in November, which marks the first official European tour since the release of the most recent album “Sea Island”. For those of you who live near me he is on at The Eagle in the Blackfriars area of Sunny Salford on November 23rd, one of only three UK dates, so a bit of a coup for us lot round these parts.
Scottish four piece Proud Honey launches new single ‘Weekend Millionaire’ out on the 17th October 2015, Influenced by a credit card fuelled stag do on which the band members went out on the town and spent ‘ridiculous amounts of money we didn’t have’, Already nominated for best British band 2015 by Pure M magazine (never heard of it but I don’t suppose they’ve heard of me), the band have also been compared to the varied and brilliant likes of The Stone Roses, The Verve, Primal Scream, Oasis, the Charlatans and many more classic British bands. Of course they sound absolutely nothing like any of them – I was reminded of the blues rock bands I used to go and see in the early 1970s…..Stray, UFO etc
“Mississippi Beat” is the first single from forthcoming album ‘Companeros’ from Ian Prowse. A duet between Prowse and legendary Irish Gaelic singer Pauline Scanlon. Mississippi Beat is a break-up song. The two singers became firm friends after performing together at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall with Dublin legend Damien Dempsey. Prowse also tours with his band Amsterdam later this year and will play Gullivers. Manchester on 14th November.
“The Camel, The Lion, The Child” is the eight-track, near hour-long sound excursion from Seattle-based progressive doomgaze collective, He Whose Ox Is Gored. Tracked at Red Room and Ex Ex Audio in Seattle by Robert Cheek (Serial Hawk, Noise-A-Tron etc.) with additional recording at Avast Studios with Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Earth, Wolves In The Throne Room etc.), mixed by Matt Bayles (Isis, Mastodon etc.) and mastered by frequent collaborator, Blake Bickel, The Camel, The Lion, The Child is sonically and conceptually very interesting indeed. The band – members Brian McClelland (guitar, vocals), Lisa Mungo (synths, keyboards, vocals), Mike Sparks (bass) and John O’Connell (drums) – transcend musical boundaries with a meticulous amalgamation of technical guitar structures and atmospheric synth over a pummeling rhythm section, the end result yielding a unique cinematic soundscape. Check it out on the Sonic Attack podcast.
Irata’s second album, “Sweet Loris”, will see release through Kylesa’s label, Retro Futurist, on October 9th, 2015. The sound of Greensboro, North Carolina-based trio dodges genre barriers with dexterous, infectious grooves influenced by a variety of underground rock and metal scenes. Once an instrumental act, the lineup has shifted from a trio to a duo and back, and following several lineup shifts since their inception eight years ago, the band has solidified things with its most impressive recording yet. With nearly forty minutes of material packed into seven new tracks, Sweet Loris was recorded by the band at The Jam Room, produced by Phillip Cope and engineered by Cope and Zac Thomas, and the record completed with artwork by Santos and design by Phillip Yeary. A fairly pungent release with a lot of energy echoing early Sabbath in parts – most enjoyable.
Transcendental Canadian duo, The Visit — comprised of cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne (Musk Ox, Woods Of Ypres session) and vocalist Heather Sita Black -release their debut on October 9th. Fittingly titled Through “Darkness Into Light”, the album was recorded and mixed by Leon Taheny (Owen Pallett, Ohbijou) at Union Sound Company in Toronto, mastered by Alan Douches (Between The Buried And Me, Martyr) at West West Side Music in New Windsor, New York and offers up a five-track, hour-long journey that is both hauntingly beautiful and epic in scope. A musical dialogue that transcends genres and idioms, the duo’s sound is characterized by long, compositions which can be compared to sacred music in their form and delivery.
The Visit have received virtually unanimous praise for their live performances as well as their debut recording “Between Worlds”. The band secured coveted slots at Nouvelle Prague Festival in Prague, Czech Republic, Ottawa’s RBC Bluesfest, and the Royal Conservatory’s esteemed 21C Festival in Toronto. After refining their craft and sharing stages with artists of all genres, only one element was missing: an album. Combining the structures and instrumentation of classical chamber music with the intricacy of Middle Eastern and Persian music and the emotional and rhythmic weight of metal, their lengthy, through-composed pieces conjure sonic worlds in which listeners can immerse themselves. I don’t think anyone else will release anything remotely like this at any other time. It is completely unique, a partnership between a fragile voice and a riffed/bowed/plucked cello. Stark and uncompromising it demands your attention.
A new studio album from SUNN O))), “Kannon”, will be released officially on 4th December 2015 via Southern Lord. Composed in the after-shadow of SUNN O)))’s most recent successful collaborations (the group worked with Scott Walker on Soused, Ulver on Terrestrials in 2013 and 2014) and also from the success of their Monoliths & Dimensions album, “Kannon” emerged both independently as a conceptual entity and with roots in the legacies of those projects, yet was fully realised years later, in 2015. The album consists of three pieces : Kannon 1, 2 and 3.
The album celebrates many SUNN O))) traditions; Kannon was recorded and mixed with SUNN O)))’s close colleague and co-producer Randall Dunn in Seattle, in Studio Litho, Aleph and Avast!; and the LP includes performances by long term allies and collaborators Attila Csihar, Oren Ambarchi, Rex Ritter, and Steve Moore to name a few. At the core, the composition centres around the dynamic and intense guitar and bass interplay of SUNN O)))’s founders: Stephen O’Malley & Greg Anderson.
Southern Lord say:
“It is possibly the most figurative album SUNN O))) has created, which is unusual as they usually dwell in layers of abstraction and subjectivity. On the other hand the album is the most outright “metal” in years, drawing personal associations and memories of cherished albums like Panzerfaust and Twilight of the Gods again to the forefront of consciousness. Kannon is also very close to the cyclical character of mantra which the band has evolved into as a living creature, the enormity of intense sensate detail and manifestation of the live in concert element of SUNN O))), the organism that has flourished, metamorphosed and transcended tremendously over the past ten years.”
Kannon will be available on gatefold LP, CD and digital formats worldwide on 4 December, with a limited number of clear vinyl available on Black Friday RSD, Friday 27 November.
Nina Schofield is a London-based singer-songwriter who’s hard work and DIY attitude have gained her a pretty impressive music CV. She’s co-written and co-worked with Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winners and nominees including a striking list of names such as Morrisey’s Richard Niles, Gabrielle Aplin’s Tom Wilding, Usher’s Angelo Valentino and Orbital’s Lloyd Perrin.
After casually self-releasing one of her singles, Nina instantly charted on number 4 on iTunes which got her a buffet of industry individuals wanting to get behind her as an artist. Totally by chance Nina’s paths crossed with a BMG/Chrysalis writer/producer Jo Pereira, known for his ‘out there’ way of thinking and ‘behind-the-scenes’ approach in production. The outcome of their collaboration comes in the shape of Nina’s upcoming new single Come Down.
Sounding like the perfect lovechild between Sky Ferreira, Ella Eyre and Major Lazer, Come Down is current, cool, edgy, memorable and worthy of everyone’s attention. Why, I hear you ask? Well, first of all, Nina’s vocals literally sound like silk covering a ticking bomb pulsating in the background. Then with the help of gritty synth bassline and powerful arrangements, the track explodes massively in each chorus whilst quickly becoming an unforgettable pinnacle to any listener’s ear.
The contrasting sonic spectrum of vulnerability and perseverance makes Come Down a powerful track and will be available for sale and download via 23rd Precinct/ Notting Hill Music on the 6th November 2015.
Stockholm’s Jenny Hansen’s new record “River” is a subtle blend of electro and pop. Down tempo, minimal electronic music powerfully led by a lush vocal arrangement echoes Bjork during her Medulla period. There’s enough glitchy things going on and a blues tinged soulful vocal makes this stand out, ‘River’ will be released on Monday 26th October.
Album Nº3 from Christina Vantzou is the result of a two-year process of composing, arranging, rearranging, experimenting, and melding classical instruments with synths and electronics. Recorded in Belgium with a 15-piece ensemble of strings, horns, woodwinds and micro-choir, the tracks vacillate between orchestral, ambient soundscapes and more structured works that the composer refers to as “pillars.” The internal core of the record is a series of drones surrounded by soft, subtle and sometimes intense clusters of sound.
The structured tracks mark a new direction for Vantzou. Whereas 100% of the music on albums Nº1 and Nº2 was composed without time structure or steady click, the pieces on Nº3 adhere to a solid mathematical scheme. Nº3’s virtual instruments and voice samples hearken back to Vantzou’s time with The Dead Texan, specifically tracks like “Aegina AIrlines” and “When I see scissors I cannot help but think of you”. The synths on Nº3 were given special attention and were recorded over a 2 week period using a DX7, Yamaha CS20, Roland Juno-6, and a selection of eurorack modular synths, making Nº3 very much a hybrid record, both symphonic and synth-based.
It’s her best work yet.
Kowloon Walled City release their long-awaited new full-length this Autumn. “Grievances”, their third album and first for Neurot Recordings, finds the San Francisco band at its artistic peak, having moved even further away from its sludgy, post-hardcore origins and toward a more sparse, more melancholic detuned heaviness.
This shift began with 2012’s critically successful Container Ships, which Lambgoat described as “spacious” and “hypnotic,” with a “Shellac-like use of dead time and instrumentation,” and The Obelisk called “cerebral in approach.” On Grievances, the band takes these elements to even greater extremes. The strings rattle. The guitars crackle and blister. The notes ring out, at turns bleak and beautiful — sometimes both at once.
“We dug into this expansive, less distorted vibe. The songs are mostly slow and bummed out but we still want them to push, to have energy,” said vocalist/guitarist Scott Evans.
Evans, together with guitarist Jon Howell, bassist Ian Miller, and drummer Jeff Fagundes spent over two years working on the seven songs for Grievances. The intense editing process weeded out about two albums’ worth of songs. Howell’s unusual chord changes and discordant aesthetic channel Unwound and Slint. Miller’s gritty bass adds a surprising layer of depth and melody, while Fagundes’ drums resonate in what sounds like an impossibly large room. Evans’ shouted vocals are raw with frustration and disappointment, but without the typical veneer of macho aggression.
“We’re not interested in doing something that’s good enough — we want to do something that we believe is good,” said Miller. “With Scott’s concept and sonics and Jon’s playing and our rhythm section, we feel like should be able to do something interesting. But it’s hard work.”
The concept of work forms the thematic foundation of the entire record, from the cover art to the title and the lyrics. Whereas previous Kowloon Walled City releases were largely inspired by the band’s hometown of San Francisco, Grievances focuses its attention on our complex relationships with work and the power our employment — and employers — have over us.
As with Kowloon Walled City’s previous releases, Evans recorded and mixed, starting in Sharkbite Studios and finishing in his own Antisleep Audio, both in Oakland. “We’re not a fancy band. There are no effects to speak of, no reverb, no delays,” said Evans. “We each play one guitar, one pedal, one amp. So there’s not much to hide behind. I try to respect that in our recording process and our recordings.”
Kowloon Walled City formed in 2007 and has released an EP, Turk Street (Wordclock, 2008), and two full-length albums, Gambling On The Richter Scale (Perpetual Motion Machine, 2009) and Container Ships (Brutal Panda, 2012), as well as two splits. Among the bands it has shared stages with are Neurosis, Tragedy, Sleep, Thou, Coliseum, Zozobra, Fight Amp, Roomrunner, The Body, and Helms Alee.
Grievances will be released worldwide on October 9th, 2015 on Neurot Recordings, with vinyl on Gilead Media.
A few recent and not so recent things to wrap your ears around……..
Wet Drag are a post punk trio from Oakland, California comprising Max Nordile – Bass/Vox , Marissa Magic – Guitar/Vox and Lillian Maring – Drums/Vox. They released this little beauty in February and it’s rather lovely.
Loscil is back with a new release on Kranky on 17th November. Sea Island is a collection of new material composed and recorded over the past two years. While many of these compositions were performed live extensively prior to recording, others were constructed in the studio and are being heard for the first time on the new album. Musically, the album consists a range of compositional approaches. Murky, densely textured depths of sound are explored with subtle pulses and pings woven within, contrasted with composed or improvised moments of acoustic instrumentation making a move into the foreground. Certain tracks , such as album opener Ahull, make rhythm their focus by using subtle poly-rhythms and periods of repetition with evolving variation to create a hypnotic effect. Though electronic at its core, instruments such as vibraphone and piano make an appearance, and layers of live playing with improvisation emerge within the looped and layered beds of manipulated sound recordings. A varied cast of players appear in the Loscil “ensemble”, some familiar collaborators from the past such as Jason Zumpano on rhodes and Josh Lindstrom on vibraphone, and others new to the mix such as Fieldhead‘s Elaine Reynolds who provides violin on Catalina 1943, and Ashley Pitre contributing vocals on the stand out track Bleeding Ink. Seattle pianist Kelly Wyse, who collaborated with Loscil on his 2013 edition of piano-centric reworks Intervalo, performs on the tracks Sea Island, Murders and En Masse. At times the music sounds like Tortoise, which is no bad thing. Generally reflective and ambient the album is the best of Scott Morgan’s releases under this brand to date. There are some genuine aural surprises here, and a degree of inventiveness that moves this particular genre of music forward considerably.
31st October saw the release, again on Kranky, of Liz Harris’s latest Grouper album. Entitled Ruins she says of the album “…..it was made in Aljezur, Portugal in 2011 on a residency set up by Galeria Ze´ dos Bois. I recorded everything there except the last song, which I did at mother’s house in 2004. I’m still surprised by what I wound up with. It was the first time I’d sat still for a few years; processed a lot of political anger and emotional garbage. Recorded pretty simply, with a portable 4-track ,Sony stereo mic and an upright piano. When I wasn’t recording songs I was hiking several miles to the beach. The path wound through the ruins of several old estates and a small village. The album is a document. A nod to that daily walk. Failed structures. Living in the remains of love. I left the songs the way they came (microwave beep from when power went out after a storm); I hope that the album bears some resemblance to the place that I was in.” This a stunning album. Found sounds, field recordings weave in between sparse and delicate songs with Harris’ vocal barely audible over the piano. PJ Harvey‘s White Chalk immediately comes to mind when listening to this beautiful collection of songs.
Turning to matters a little louder Phoenix, Arizona sludge doom outfit Gale have self-released their debut, Vol. 1. Recorded in nearly one take by Jalipaz Nelson at Audioconfusion in Mesa, Arizona, while not a concept record, the album and its lyrical basis primarily deals with existentialism and the darkness that can be revealed from self-analysis. With a brutal tone likely to grab the ears of fans of other Arizona bands Godhunter, Sorxe, Methra and the like, the ultra-amplified output of the group reflects, but does not copy, the works of Yob, Melvins, Crowbar, Neurosis and Sleep. Each member of the four-piece line-up contributes a different style of vocals to the mix, in addition to their respective instruments. A physical version of Vol. 1 will be released in the future and the band has already begun the planning stages on additional material which will see release through several new works throughout 2015.
Six Organs of Admittance‘s Ben Chasny has devised his very own system of musical composition, The Hexadic System, which is the basis for an upcoming new album, entitled Hexadic and to be released on Drag City in February 2015. Ben Chasny’s restless intellect has regularly guided the progress of his creation. A lyrical mastery of acoustic finger-picking would be enough to build a body of work for most musicians; this is just the stepping-off point for Ben. From the earliest days of private-press psych home recordings, Six Organs of Admittance has sought out alternative spaces in which to make music and challenge audiences to keep up with his rapid advances into new areas. Over the last two years Ben has been assembling a comprehensive system of musical composition. Designed to free sound and language from rational order and replace calculation with indeterminacy, The Hexadic System is a catalyst to extinguish patterns and generate new means of chord progressions and choices. Though it was not his intention upon creating this unique system, the structures it was generating were so compelling, they soon became the bones of the next Six Organs record. This is the longest time between Six Organs records since Ben started making them in 1998.
Michigan punk/metal misfits, Child Bite, release their Strange Waste EP via Housecore Records on 25th November. Their self-proclaimed “music for losers,” nine-track was recorded at Russian Recording in Indianapolis, Indiana and produced by the band. They extract elements from various extreme ends of metal, noise, and hardcore without falling squarely into any of those genres. Refusing to slide comfortably into your neatly ordered collection, the music can lurch from synth-driven punk to yelping, sax-soaked art-rock to thundering, ugly sludge. It’s breathless stuff, squeezing every mode and expression out of the music and exhausting it before moving on to the next track. This is truly heavy rock music, saved from any namby-pamby genre qualifiers. Despite clocking in at a mere nineteen minutes, Strange Waste contains so many twisted riffs, biting, guitar solos, clanking, chugging bass lines, splattering drum blasts and yowling vocals, that repeated listening is necessary. Fans of The Jesus Lizard, Black Flag, Faith No More, and Dead Kennedy’s will appreciate what is going on here. It made me smile any way.
Out on Small Stone records on October 7th was a new one from Long-running Ohio riff rock peddlers, Lo-Pan, called Colossus. Named after the Colossus of Rhodes — a ninety-six-foot statue of the Greek titan-god of the sun, Helios, constructed in 280 BC to mark a failed siege and the indomitable nature of the Greek city of Rhodes itself — their fourth album mixes a heavy rock background with the more accessible vocals associated with indie bands like Amplifier together with a blues feel. In the three years since of the release of third long-player, Salvador, the Columbus four-piece have logged countless miles, crossing the USA multiple times over on headlining tours and supporting the likes of Torche, High on Fire, KENmode, Whores, Fu Manchu and Weedeater. For the first time in their near decade-long existence, they knew exactly what they wanted when they hit the studio. They’d road-tested songs like “Eastern Seas” and the title track for over a year, and partnering with producer/engineer Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Rosetta, East Of The Wall et al) at his Translator Audio studio in Brooklyn they have recorded a great set of songs with an accessible feel which may allow them to cross-over to a wider audience. They cite their influences as Kyuss, Tool, Dozer, Torche, Disengage, Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, and Helmet – which I think gives you a sense of what they sound like.
In the lead up to completing fresh material for release in 2015, Southampton (UK) based alternative rock outfit Circle Of Reason are generously issuing a free download single each month from their catalogue of EP releases. They have selected their track ‘Silver Scene’ as November’s offering. Taken from their debut EP A Favour For A Stranger, the track was instrumental in bringing the British rock quartet to the attention of rock fans nationwide. Achieving early support from Kerrang! TV and Scuzz TV etc, ‘Silver Scene’ delivers guitar driven melodic alt – rock reminiscent of their peers – The Smashing Pumpkins, QOTSA, Muse and Biffy Clyro. Despite the present focus on writing & recording a new EP, they return to the live stage this November. Adding to an already impressive list of support slots with established artists (Marmozets, InMe, Neck Deep, Feed The Rhino etc) C.O.R shall be opening for Irish alternative/grunge legends ‘Kerbdog’ on 19th November at Talking Heads in Southampton (UK). You can get the free download at www.soundcloud.com/circleofreason/silver-scene
You will be able to hear most if not all of this music on upcoming podcasts at : http://bobosbornespodcasts.wordpress.com/
“Sea Island” is a collection of new material composed and recorded over the past two years by Loscil, it marks the first release on Kranky since 2012’s Sketches From New Brighton.
While many of these compositions were performed live extensively prior to recording, others were constructed in the studio and are being heard for the first time here. Musically, the album represents a range of compositional approaches. Murky, densely textured depths of sound are explored with subtle pulses and pings woven within, contrasted with composed or improvised moments of acoustic instrumentation making a move into the foreground. Certain tracks on Sea Island such as album opener “Ahull” make rhythm their focus by exploring subtle polyrhythms and investigating colliding moments of repetition and variation.
Though staunchly electronic at its core, instruments such as vibraphone and piano make appearances, and layers of live musicality, improvisation and detail appear in the looped and layered beds of manipulated sound recordings. A varied cast of players appear in the Loscil “ensemble”, some familiar collaborators from the past such as Jason Zumpano on rhodes and Josh Lindstrom on vibraphone, and others new to the mix such as Fieldheadʼs Elaine Reynolds who provides layered violin on “Catalina 1943”, and Ashley Pitre contributing vocals on “Bleeding Ink”. Seattle pianist Kelly Wyse, who collaborated with Loscil on his 2013 edition of piano-centric reworks Intervalo, performs on the tracks “Sea Island Murders” and “En Masse”.