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…..so 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
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Fascinating Things : Issue 27

This time around a pulling together of things that have been nestling in my in-box:

Since being championed by John Peel way back in 1986, The James Taylor Quartet have set the standard for the coolest sounds in funky acid jazz. On dozens of mighty albums and at their legendary gigs at home and around the world, they’ve become a byword for distinguished British creativity. The internationally-acclaimed titans of funk will work through their considerable back catalogue as well as showcasing new material. Renowned for their live performances, this will be a treat. Band of the Wall. Manchester 17th October, 19:30

Whomadewho drummer Tomas Barfod’s returns to the  Friends of Friends label with Glory, featuring friends new and old and a sound bristling with youthful energy and slightly off-kilter dance floor rhythms. Kill J, Fine and Nina K feature as the record bounces from shimmering Scandinavian pop to dance floor numbers. A follow up to Barfod’s breakout ‘Salton Sea’ LP (FoF 2012 it releases on 16th November 2015.

Know How To Carry A Whip is the imminent new studio release from , Corrections House. A nine-track, forty-five-minute record it was captured by the band’s own Sanford Parker (Buried At Sea) alongside “recently institutionalized minister of propaganda”, Seward Fairbury, in a subterranean bunker complex in Vietnam.
Deeper, darker, and far more fluid than 2013’s excellent Last City Zero debut, Know How To Carry A Whip featurwa a guest appearance by Negative Soldier. The record finds Corrections House — Parker, Fairbury, Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) and Mike IX Williams (Eyehategod) — at their most intense.  Releases 23rd October on Neurot.

Pseudo/Sentai‘s Bansheeface is clearly the work of deranged individuals. Coming across like a mix of The Residents, Todd Rundgren  and Gentle Giant working on the soundtrack to a Troma movie. There’s also nod towards The Mars Volta and Zappa in terms of structure, dynamics and  bombast but generally speaking this is unique and very refreshing and the comparisons are merely reference points. The best current comparison is my near neighbours Trojan Horse. It is released on 16th October independently.  Check out the pre-order and while you are at it have a rummage through their back catalogue. So nice to hear a band that sounds completely unlike any of their contemporaries.

Talking of deranged the completely unhinged Die Choking have a new one out on 8th October. Eleven tracks in thirteen minutes sort of gives a clue as to what to expect. You get elements of hardcore punk and crust with  speed/grind metal. Impossibly fast and completely up and in your face. It is called III which is not unexpected as it is their third release.

Forthcoming recommended gigs in Manchester

DEAD FADER  – 01/10/15 – Salford, Islington Mill
DISAPPEARS –   24/11/15 – Manchester, Soup Kitchen
DOPE BODY – 08/09/15 – Manchester, Academy
MELVINS  – 09/10/15 – Manchester, Gorilla
OUGHT – 02/09/15 – Manchester, Deaf Institute
UFOMAMMUT  – 08/10/15 – Manchester, Soup Kitchen

A couple of digital charity singles from those busy chaps at German Shepherd records. The first Socialists (are back) is in aid of he MSF Yemen Emergency Fund, the second The Unforgiving Streets will help local homeless charities. A couple of pungent Electro Punk ditties which are most suitable for leaping around to.

A reason for a Celebration

Ought 

Sun Coming Down

Constellation

18th September 2015

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Ought are back with their second full-length album Sun Coming Down, following a very successful first year for the Montréal based  quartet that saw its 2014 debut More Than Any Other Day make well-deserved waves for its blend of no wave jangly post punk and no-nonsense jittery rhythmic approach.  WIth a “Best New Music” nod from Pitchfork and appearances on a wide range of year-end lists they gained a serious amount of critical acclaim.

Having spent most of 2014 on the road pleasing audiences with a blend of post-punk and the feverishly observational testifying of singer/guitarist Tim Darcy (who officially changed his name from Tim Beeler this year), Ought spent the first few months of 2015 writing, playing the occasional local gig, and eventually heading back to the Hotel2Tango recording studio in the spring to lay down a batch of fresh tunes.

Sun Coming Down keeps the band’s tight, twitchy and economical sound, with the unfussy, understated rhythm section of drummer Tim Keen and bassist Ben Stidworthy anchoring Tim Darcy’s electric guitar and Matt May’s fuzzed-out keys .

Opener “Men for Miles” adopts a feverish/frenetic approach mirroring the amphetamine rush of early 80s Fall and sets the scene for the rest of the platter. “Passionate Turn” marries early a  moody VU feel with arty ’77 Talking Heads changes, and Verlaine insouciance. Darcy is on fine form throughout with a bitter-sweet feel to his vocals. “The Combo” hits you with an unrelenting wall of sound moving from a rolling guitar thrash to a purposeful two chord shift, and then a tasty little riff section, I’m minded of the unrelenting scabrousness of Slates mixed with Bunnymen melodies.  Darcy declaims like a good ‘un and it’s all very satisfying,

The title track continues the mood with edge of madness guitars thrashing over a rhythmic wash, both repetitive and dynamic there is a hypnotic quality to this music which is instantly compelling, and there are enough changes in form and structure to make it stand out against any contemporaries.

Songs like ‘Beautiful Blue Sky’ with a more-ish bass riff,  and ‘Never Better’  build  from simple beginnings into huge repeating waves of music and vocals. Darcy’s voice and lyrics continue to make the key difference between the band and the rest of the known universe: his blend of  seemingly detached irony, insistent proselytizing  , fragmented wordplay, and the occasional breaking of the fourth wall, mirror and improve on a Smith, a Bramah or a Byrne at the height of their powers.

Sun Coming Down confirms the distinctive qualities of this band and they pass the second album test with no problems.

Highly recommended.

Fascinating Things : Issue 13

Another one from the forthcoming second Ought album, “Sun Coming Down”, which is out on Constellation on September 18th.

Forthcoming UK dates are:

01.09.15 London – Village Underground
02.09.15 Manchester – The Deaf Institute
03.09.15 Birmingham – Hare and Hounds
04.09.15 Dorset – End of the Road Festival, Larmer Tree Gardens

Space are back with a new single ‘Strange World’. The band will also embark on an extensive UK tour of the same name throughout October and November 2015. ‘Strange World’ combines Space’s signature sound with a Mariachi vibe, creating a record that could serve as the soundtrack to a David Lynch film. This is Space at their finest, a record set to delight their army of fans as well as winning many more.

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The new single from London-based Silver Shields,  who are upholding the Shoegaze tradition,  is called “I Wonder If You’re Thinking Of Me Now”.  Release date is 21st August 2015.

If melodically charged garage rock is to be the soundtrack to your summer, then UK trio  Monster Jaw  have an offer that may fulfil your needs. The British rock act are offering their full EP releases from 2013 – 2015 as completely free downloads until the 1st September 2015. This includes all their EP releases to date – ‘Get A Tattoo’, ‘Losing All My Friends’ and their recent lo-fi and self-produced ‘Basement Sessions’.

Grab your downloads here

Fascinating ambient sounds and off kilter rhythmic constructions from the ever busy Mark Corrin on his latest in a series of EPs. Dreamy but also slightly disturbing.

Songwriter Hannah Curwood originates from the stark, remote region of Central Otago in New Zealand. Now based in London, Hannah in the Wars is the result of working alongside Roger O’Donnell of The Cure and a handpicked group of musicians.

Hannah in the Wars‘ eponymous debut album, released earlier this year, is a collection of beautifully written melodies and emotionally engaging narratives, taking inspiration from life’s trials and triumphs and perfectly showcasing Curwood’s distinctive and powerful vocals.

Both ‘Only Wanna Be’ and B-side ‘Sweet Release’, lifted from the critically acclaimed album, were written following the breakdown of a relationship and Curwood’s decision to move half way around the world to start afresh. Of the songs, she says their creation came easily and, despite the subject matter, they have come to occupy a positive space in her mind, particularly after seeing them so well received by audiences on her recent two month tour across the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Berlin.

The new Locrian album sounds like it is rather fine indeed if this preview track is anything to go by – what a great racket!

More big and long notes from Hope Drone from the album “Cloak of Ash” sounds like God Speed You Black Emperor on industrial grade steroids.

Pureland is Silverbird‘s debut album and is released on September 18th 2015. Songwriter Tim Barr founded Silverbird after spending several years on New York’s vibrant music scene playing gigs as part of Lana Del Rey’s band, opening for The Blow, and studying and playing with Dizzy Gillespie’s pianist protegee Mike Longo.

Barr and English producer Kristopher Harris recorded Silverbird’s debut EP ‘Surface Life’, released in May 2014 to critical acclaim. Joined by Corey Davis on bass, Dan Whaley on lead guitar and Jacob Schuab on drums, Silverbird were soon selling out venues across NYC. With influences as diverse as Wilco, Heartless Bastards, and Sparklehorse, their music strides fearlessly through an ever changing emotional landscape. Infectious melodies and swirling, intricate rhythms combine to provide an absolutely enchanting soundscape.

A remarkably fine album.

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Swirling, dreamy pop hooks accentuated with the haunting sounds of a Farfisa organ cloak the sombre and sardonic musings of former Fuck Knights guitarist and Nightinghales front man Ben Bachman in his new project, High Tiny Hairs.

This EP lays bare and showcases Bachman’s stylistic influences, the likes of Alex Chilton, Brian Eno and Syd Barrett, with a short set of self-produced releases.

The songs, bouncing between sixties Baroque pop and the new psychedelic movement of the early eighties, are mesmerisingly elegant and poetically dark, yet quirky, and romantic. The Minneapolis based singer/songwriter evokes a hazy, late night tête-à-tête with his ghosts.

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Kowloon Walled City will 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.
  “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.
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. Preorders to be announced in the coming weeks.

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.

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.

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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)

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