Fascinating Things : Issue 68

It’s been a busy old year and as we are well into the second half thereof there doesn’t appear to be any slackening of pace of new and exciting outsider music. Whilst the mainstream seems obsessed with churning out the same old clones of increasingly irrelevant music or raking over the work of deceased stars, if you get below that into the real world of music you will find lots of exciting things…..

I’m pleased to announce we will be putting on two shows as part of this years Salford Music Festival. On 3oth September and 1st October we are at the excellent Eagle Inn on Collier Street in Salford, just off the Inner Relief Road, and have two excellent line-ups. Both gigs are free entry, Friday will see Cambridge bands Bouquet of Dead Crows and The Scissors up for a visit, as well as techno guru The Junta, and the increasingly legendary Manc/Salf stalwarts Kit B.  Saturday sees Rose and the Diamond Hand, Taser Puppets, Poppycock, JD Meatyard and West Coast Sick Line. More details of the rest of this years Salford Music Festival will follow.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (At The Drive In/Mars Volta) has premiered the video for ‘Running Away’ from the latest in his ongoing series of solo albums, “Corazones”.

The film, which was directed by Violeta Felix and shot by Adrian Blanco, features Omar in a series of Los Angeles-based encounters with friends who might not be terribly happy to see him. Guests include Buzz Osborne, Teri Gender Bender, John Frusciante, Robin Laananen, Tatiana Velazquez, Aura T-09 and Eva Gardner.

Omar, in partnership with Ipecac Recordings, recently announced the release of a series of solo albums, which kicked off on July 15 with “Sworn Virgins”. The previously unreleased albums were recorded from 2008 to 2013, while he lived in Zapopan, Mexico and continued when he returned to El Paso. The titles are released on a bi-weekly basis with the first spate of albums running through the end of the year. Each album will see a digital release with a limited number of physical copies (CD) available on Rodriguez-Lopez’s various live outings. A limited edition CD/LP box set will become available in 2017, once the full run of releases are available.

The releases can be purchased via Bandcamp  and iTunes.

New York City synthesis trio Forma have shared the title track from their third LP, “Physicalist”, which is released via kranky on September 23rd.

Since their acclaimed self-titled debut in 2011, Forma have been perfecting a distinctive style of improvised kosmische and minimalism that blends swirling arpeggios, ambient soundscapes, and driving motorik beats. “Physicalist” is described as a sprawling, double LP journey featuring new member and multi-instrumentalist John Also Bennett, who replaced Sophie Lam in 2014. The first Forma album to include acoustic instrumentation, Physicalist owes more to American composers like Harold Budd or Terry Riley than Klaus Schulze and other Krautrock visionaries. The album was recorded during marathon sessions at Brooklyn’s Gary’s Electric studio, and is packaged in a gatefold jacket with original artwork by Robert Beatty and a liner notes essay by writer and critic Michael Barron. Physicalist was mastered by Bob Weston.

Formed in 2010 by Mark Dwinell in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Forma released their first two full-length LPs on John Elliot’s influential Editions Mego imprint, Spectrum Spools. Physicalist is the first full-length statement from the new lineup, which also includes founding member and percussionist George Bennett. The double LP contains two distinct halves; the first consisting of rhythmic compositions derived from the trio’s formidable array of modular and vintage synthesizers, and the second breaking from the grid with ambient, free-flowing experiments on piano, flute and acoustic percussion. The album marks a departure from “Cool Haptics”, the group’s techno-leaning 2014 EP on The Bunker New York.

Barry Adamson is back in Manchester, he is co-curating and presenting along with Jason Wood (Artistic Director: Film at HOME and Professor of Film at Manchester Metropolitan University) a series of films for HOME’s Soundtrack Season. Commencing on Aug 5th with a screening of David Lynch’s Lost Highway (1997), He will be taking part in an interview and Q&A with Jason to discuss his involvement with David Lynch and the working processes utilsed to score the film. On Aug 6th he will be introducing a screening of Johnathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013) and talking about the score by Micachu and the Shapes composer Mica Levi. Check out the other films set to be screened over the next month below and book your tickets HERE.

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On September 23rd, Neurosis release their eleventh full-length, “Fires Within Fires”. Three decades in the making, and following 2012’s Honor Found In Decay, the album is a testament both to the history and future of Neurosis. In true Ouroborean style, Fires Within Fires gives due to its predecessors while progressing forward into the unfamiliar and formidable. Striking the band’s signature balance between light and dark, beauty and repulsion, dense sonic heaviness and reflective space. Fires Within Fires is succinct, raw and deeply soulful, an all-encompassing reminder that transfiguration in sound remains their most commanding and inimitable strength. The first and only glimpse of the music on this record, prior to release date, is sampled in a new video which has emerged, here you can also marvel at the exquisite album artwork from the renowned Thomas Hooper…

“Listening Matter” is the sixth kranky album from Thomas Meluch under the nom de plume Benoît Pioulard. It arrives on the 10th anniversary of his first LP “Précis”, and offers a rekindled focus on self-examination, as well as a return to vocal-based pop structures following the mostly instrumental “Sonnet” (2015). Recording for the Listening Matter began during a period of grief, turmoil and self-medication, and continued throughout two years of growth and healing. Reflections on vice (“Layette”, “Anchor as the muse”), virtue (“Narcologue”) and death (“A mantle for Charon”) feature equally in this concise release.

Austin, Texas-based Bellringer, founded by guitarist/vocalist Mark Deutrom, releases new album “Jettison” on August 26th. The live vehicle for the music of Deutrom – formerly of West Coast hardcore punk outfit, Clown Alley, and Melvins, and others – the bandcurrently also incldues the contributions of musicians James Flores, Aaron Lack, Monique Ortiz, and Brian Ramirez. Recorded in Austin earlier this year, the album was fully written and produced by Deutrom. The six  tracks cover several genres with nearly forty minutes of action, fusing elements of psychedelic and exploratory rock with bluesy and jazzy jam elements, all coalescing in the signature Deutrom style.

Flying Machines play emotive and dramatic music, drawing upon influences as diverse as jazz, pop, progressive rock and metal to create an utterly unique and modern sound. Formed by guitarist Alex Munk in 2014, Flying Machines feature some of the most innovative young musicians to emerge in recent years from the UK jazz scene – Matt Robinson on piano/keyboards, Conor Chaplin on electric bass and Dave Hamblett on drums. Centred on Munk’s unique compositional approach, the band fuse visceral improvisation with anthemic melodies and lusciously textured soundscapes. A decadent mash up of prog rock energy, free-wheeling improvisations and ambient meditations that never detract from the emotive lyricism at the music’s core. Their eponymous debut is released on 14th October coupled with a gig at the Vortex. A lengthy tour follows in the New Year with a gig at The Wonder Hill on Shudehill in Manchester on 16th February.

Shoegaze electronic crossover trio Vibrissae have signed to Italian label Vipchoyo Sound Factory to release their debut LP ‘Somewhere Away’. In advance of the album’s release, they are releasing their first reverb-filled driven single ‘Need’. Formed and are based in Portland, Oregon,but the three members of Vibrissae hail from different continents. Vocalist Imber Lingard comes from Australia, Emma Bell was born in Malaysia, and Aaron Bell is native to the USA. The trio found common ground in their shared love of shoegaze, electronic music, and modern rock, . Vibrissae’s debut output is the result of over three years of rehearsal and recording. Their music crosses over multiple genres, combining and alternating elements from electronic rock, synth pop, dark wave and shoegaze.

And finally I’ve been working closely with Manchester musician Boz Hayward to promote the latest release from his excellent Bozchestra project Watch this space for more details pending that here’s a taster.

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Fascinating Things : Issue 66

July already, where is the year going?

There’s some exciting things coming up over the next few months including a brand new Van Der Graaf Generator album which I have naturally pre-ordered and a raft of gigs associated with our little record label including a show case event at the Eagle in Salford on 12th August which will feature, all the way from Modena Italy, the sensational Saint Lawrence Verge , the debut of Ian “Moet” Moss’s new band Four Candles (who look very promising from rehearsal recordings) , from Cambridge an acoustic set from the exceptional Bouquet of Dead Crows, and the remarkable Poppycock  as headliners. The Italian boys will be travelling down to Cambridge the following day for a gig at the Corner House with the Dead Crows and a visit from The Junta. We also have a presence at The Eagle on the Saturday with an EP launch from Rose and the Diamond Hand  and a guest appearance from the very talented Alana Bondi.

Anyway enough of this manic self-publication here some new things that might pique your interest……

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez  of At The Drive In/Mars Volta fame is to release a series of solo albums via Ipecac Recordings, with the first release, Sworn Virgins, available digitally on July 15. The previously unreleased albums were recorded from 2008 to 2013, while Rodriguez-Lopez lived in Zapopan, Mexico and  El Paso. The titles will be released on a bi-weekly basis with the first spate of albums running through the end of the year. Each album will see a digital release with a limited number of physical copies (CD) available on Rodriguez-Lopez’s various live outings. Following the initial run of releases, a limited edition CD/LP box set will become available.

Photo credit : Robin Laananen

Pixies have  announced a new album, “Head Carrier” which is available for pre-order at http://www.pixiesmusic.com. ‘Head Carrier’ is released on September 30th, 2016, on
Limited Edition Box Set, Heavyweight Vinyl in Gatefold Sleeve, and CD Digipack.  They have also announced a new continental European tour for November 2016 with UK dates to be announced very soon. Here’s the single ‘Um Chagga Lagga’.

It appears that Indie is making a comeback, did it ever go away I ask myself. with the new single from Blush. It has all the intensity of The Wedding Present with a transatlantic vocal shtick which sticks in the mind.

Hovering somewhere between Ray Davies, Dylan and The Byrds Glasgow’s The Echo Session have a new single. ‘But I’m Scared’ out. It is a live studio recording from the Echo Session vaults, mastered by Dave Cook. The single will be available from all the usual digital outlets, including the Flowers in the Dustbin bandcamp store. It’s seven years since their last single apparently.

Having burst wild-eyed from the stalls of a buzzing monthly club residency in deepest Hackney and with a lot of interest for debut single ‘Shakin’ Like the Leaves on the Trees’, blues-tinged tearaways Mollys Daggers are gearing up for the release of their debut album “Prima Materia” alongside 2nd single ‘Zin-uru’. It kicks off sounding like Rory Gallagher, which is fine by me, and a welcome respite from the Mumford clones that litter my in-box of late. Expect to hear cuts from the album on Aural Delights Podcast over the next few weeks.

If my Tardis was working (sadly the temporal synchro-mesh is off line) I’d be hopping over to the Corner Hotel in Melbourne round about now to catch Dave Graney ‘n’ The Coral Snakes. I’ll have to make do with the excellent PBS radio session from a couple of days back which was stuffed with classic Snakes tunes like Warren Oates. I’m pleased to be able to share this video from the session. What a band!