Fascinating Things : Issue 43

There are not really enough hours in the day to absorb the vast array of new musical offerings that are emerging in 2016. Because of the veritable flood of news this time around this issue is more of a series of snippets of information, and passing thoughts. rather than more considered reviews…..

Out now

Great 21 track sampler out of Portland, Oregon – a lot of variety with a good mix of garage punk and psych leaning rock, with some real sonic curve balls in the mix.

Interesting stuff out of New York on the Loveless label from Claremont. Some cutting edge use of percussion and samples, and it’s free!

I know little of AM but I really like this album. Great tunes, light airy indie pop music. Highly recommended!

Some forthcoming releases

14th February 2016 – Ten Thousand Miles Of Arteries – Even Spilled Seed Crawls Toward The Womb – Annihilvs Power Electronix label has just started out and this is another one from that stable. A solo project from label owner, NLC,  this is dense industrial noise in a supposedly a doom metal context. The execution is interesting, vast swathes of sound buried in reverb/echo is the main thrust. At 30 minutes it’s more an EP than an album and this is just about the right length as I think any more would tax the auditory canals somewhat. Perhaps a little too unforgiving for casual listening but generally a good addition to an emerging genre which blends the morbid insistence of doom with the complex landscape of industrial rock.

14th February 2016 – Whorid – Bloated Pig Carcass In A Shallow Wake – as mentioned above Annihilvs Power Electronix are on a mission to fill your ears with disturbing sounds. This one, the first release on the label is from  the Philadelphia based  “self-harm electronics” act Whorid – the solo project of Daniel Suffering, who is also a core contributing member of the excellent  Theologian. Coming across like a more unforgiving version of early Cabaret Voltaire in partnership with a noise band, the opening track alone blisters the ear drums with buried and fractured spoken word mingling uncomfortably with white noise and chittering percussion. You can file this with Merzbow and Wolf Eyes in that “difficult” part of your collection. This sort of stuff both intrigues and compels in equal measure and your average punter will be reaching for the off switch after a minute, it fascinates me.

19th February 2016 – Rangda – The Heretics Bargain – Sir Richard Bishop, Ben Chasny and Chris Corsano cooking up a storm with some great twin guitar workoutswho i. Corsano is a great drummer and maintains a perfect pulse for the two exceptional string-smiths to ply their trade. Their third studio album kicks off with Masada like klezmer before more exploring more traditional forms. Damn fine and it makes the best of the year list with ease.

26th February 2016 – Conny Ochs – Future Fables – an interesting mix of bluesy soulful alternative song-writing with Ochs clear voice demanding attention. More of an “american” feel than his previous work I feel.

Late February – Okkultokrati – Snakereigns/Night Jerks – Southern Lord re-release two albums from the Belgian band as a precursor to releasing their fourth full length. There is something remarkably  life affirming about young men with copious hair head-banging away, it’s like 1972 all over again.!

4th March 2016 – Soon – Vol. 1 – singer/guitarist Stuart McLamb and drummer Thomas Simpson of indie band The Love Language in a wholly different setting. Punishing metal sounds with epic melodic indie voices is the best description, although there is time for some folky more contemplative stuff. Working with bassist Rob Walsh (Bitter Resolve) and guitarist Mark Connor (Grohg) they create a highly enjoyable hard rock experience. This one easily makes the best of the year list. Reminiscent of the juxtaposition of rock and folk in mid period Zeppelin.

4th March 2016 – Diminished Men – Vision In Crime –  featuring Steve Schmitt on guitars, drummer Dave Abramson, and Simon Henneman on Bass with a great album echoing Naked City era John Zorn. Marvellous!

11th March 2016 – The Brian Jonestown Massacre – La Facon Don’t La Machine Va Vers I´Arrière – limited edition (500) 7″ vinyl – includes a B Side Remix by DJ Shadow – pre-order

11th March 2016 – Spazz – Sweatin’ To The Oldies/Skatin’, Satan & Katon  – my pal SD pointed out quite correctly that this band could be seen as having an inappropriate name. This got me thinking and I did some research into the potential for perhaps a different transatlantic usage of the word. The “Urban Dictionary” sort of lets them off the hook in that original nasty use of the word seems to have been adopted as more of a catch-all of general overactive behaviour. I’m not sure they get away with it but in any event what we have two albums of reissues from the supposedly influential Californian powerviolence trio which mines their back catalogue. With 64 and 67 tracks respectively  at just around an hour each the format gives you a clue of what you are going to get – short, sharp, badly recorded and intense slabs of punk. Notwithstanding the name it was all a bit too much for my ears but if you are a collector of extreme American punk you will no doubt lap this up. Out on the Tankcrimes label.

11th March – Richard J. Birkin’s – Vigils – as a brief respite from all the noisy stuff this preview from Birkin’s new album is a lovely thing. Great video as well

11th March 2016 – a sizeable pile of new things from the ever excellent Cardinal Fuzz has arrived via the ether.

Dreamtime – Self Titled/Sun – heavy psychedelic rock from Brisbane. In the spirit of the raft of new Antipodean bands doing this sort of stuff.

Shooting Guns – Born to deal in magic/Spectral Laundromat –  from Saskatoon in the heart of the Canadian prairies, Sabbath are clearly an influence but there is also a touch of kraut-rock in there as well. Copious use of fuzz pedal and long sonic explorations.

Foul Tip – Forever Driftin’ – American Drums and Guitar duo with a relentless rock sound with a touch of slacker. Apparently this is one of fourteen albums they have made. It’s got that sloppy feel that Alex Chilton indulged in at times. Great sound and in your face attitude. Well worth checking out.

25th March 2016 – The Body & Full Of Hell – One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache – as trailed in the last edition of Fascinating Things here’s a further primer from what appears to be an experiment in mutual sonic self destruction. As one commentator on Soundcloud put it “Holy Shit”. Not for the faint hearted, it is relentlessly cathartic, and violent. You have been warned!

 

 

 

 

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Fascinating Things : Issue 39

And so into 2016 by mopping up the rear end of 2015 and running through my top twenty albums of the year.

Theologian’s latest is 70 minutes of industrial noise, buried drum machines, layers of ambience, occasional spoken word, howling guitars and menacing intent. Those bought up on a diet of  early Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle and Test Department will no doubt enjoy it. It’s a distracting enough listen to get me through a boring New Years Day afternoon with nowt good on the bad telly-v. Anyway it’s called “Dregs” and you can find it on Lee Bartow’s own Annihilvs Power Electronix label. With Bartow on this release are Daniel Suffering (Whorid, Slavernij) and Dave Brenner (Militia Men, Heidnik), together with vocal contributions from Gretchen Heinel, Faith Ciavarella, and additional percussion  by BJ Allen (Full Scale Riot). (to be featured on Aural Delights Podcast 163)

THEOLOGIAN-Devil's Night 2015-live2 [photo by Gretchen Heinel]
Photograph by Gretchen Heinel
Mark Corrin finished off his ambitious plan to release 12 EPs in 2015 with hours to spare. Number 11 is a remarkable trio of stark improvised pieces from a session in Istanbul.

He has saved the best to last with Number 12, a breezy, bright and compelling trio of electro-pop gems which demonstrate Mark’s more accessible side. A fantastic achievement across all 12 releases which demonstrate considerable variety, invention and quality.

A germ ridden Dr Kloos completes a busy year with a great live album from the Crescent in Salford. Containing some of his “greatest hits” the set, which was recorded on the 6th June 2015 by Jim Watts, is a great summary of Johann’s work to date.

I don’t know about a lot of this so-called “nu folk” stuff. Most of it leaves me pretty cold. This chaps voice has a quality and the lyrics are suitably interesting to grab my ear. He is Jamie Beau and this is the lead track from his debut album ‘Tales of the Earth, Tales of the Sea…’. I am reminded, to some degree, of John Martyn.

Richard J. Birkin, so called “sound artist, composer, live concert performer and creative technologist”, will release his  new 11-track album “Vigils” on March 11th 2016 via Reveal Records, which will be available in CD, LP and digital download formats. Here’s what he sounds like…

And to close my top twenty albums of 2015 starting with my best of the year…..

The Seven Twenty – The Seven Twenty

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Just Sit A Think And Sometimes I Just Think

The Holy Soul – Fortean Times

Alif – Aynama –Rtama

Monkeys In Love – Take The Biscuit (couldn’t find anything on You Tube from the album so here’s a classic)

Dave Graney & the mistLY – Play mistLY for me – live recordings vol 1

Moff Skellington – The Corkscrew Tongue

JD Meatyard – Taking The Asylum

Niche – Heading East

Flies On You – Etcetera

Heroin In Tahiti – Sun and Violence

Dilly Dally – Sore

Mammoth Penguins – Hide and Seek

The Lancashire Hustlers – What Made Him Run

Moff Skellington – Scribnalls

Robert Forster – Songs To Play

Dave Graney – Once I Loved The Torn Oceans Roar

Dead Sea Apes – Spectral Domain

The Masterbakers – Clouds Over Happy Town