Fascinating Things : Issue 58

For those of us born in the latter half of the last century, and growing up in the mad musical world of the 70s and 80s it is chastening that a lot of our musical heroes are moving on to the great gig in the sky in 2016. There have been many tributes over the last month or so, and I suppose I should get use to this happening. One such tribute is from the mighty Periscope, who has been somewhat quiet of late, who has worked with Monica Ward to release a cover of Bowie and Eno’s “Heroes”. It has the usual excellent Periscope wall of sound treatment and they do make a good job of honoring Bowie’s passing and legacy.

Following the very recent arrival of their ‘Questions’, single Southampton’s (UK) Circle Of Reason are now back with their latest video single titled ‘Colours’. Showcasing another metallic and emotive rock track, ‘Colours’ is an epic anthem taken from the bands forthcoming album “Faith Or Theory”.

Manon Meurt, one of the foremost shoegaze groups from Eastern Europe, who have played alongside The Raveonettes, The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, LSD and the Search for God, and My Bloody Valentine,  report that  their debut EP will be issued on white vinyl in May thanks to Canada’s Label Obscura. Here’s a taster.

The Battles Of Winter release new single and video ‘Love’s White Thread’ on Ruby Music on 27th May. ‘Love’s White Thread’ is the first release from the forthcoming album “At Once With Tattered Sails”. A great bass line on this and great layers of vocals and guitar.

Russia’s Sounds of Sputnik is releasing their single ‘Light Scheme (Fran Ashcroft Remix)’ from their debut LP ‘New Born’ feat. Ummagma, which also gets a re-release in early May through hallmark U.S. shoegaze label Moon Sounds Records. UK producer Fran Ashcroft, widely known for his work in the psych rock scene, has also worked with Damon Albarn (Blur) and Lords of Acid. The single comes with a new video, produced and directed by Latvia/UK experimental filmmaker Dariy Karyakin and featuring actors Nadine Andreeva and Egon Skakun.

Brighton’s (UK) post-punk fuelled alternative rock outfit Come The Spring release their official video for their latest single ’24’. Featuring live footage of the band showcasing their renowned high energy performances, 24 is taken from their REVIVE EP available through UK independent label Engineer Records. Having formed in late 2012 from the ashes of cult-following UK rock bands, Come The Spring members bring their vast experience and creativity to produce emotionally charged and anthemic songs. Consisting of Sam Craddock (Vox), David Gamage (Guitar), Simon Goodrick (Guitar), Mark Wilkinson (Bass) and Jamie Donbroski (Drums), the allies of uncompromised guitar driven rock have previously shared stages with the likes of Green Day, No FX, Texas Is The Reason, Braid and many more.

On the trail of their recent single ‘It Was Nothing’, Canadian synthwave duo Meter Bridge have announced they will be releasing their latest EP “Filter / Kite” through WEATNU Records. It includes three tracks – Filter’, ‘Kite’ and a Mind Veneration Remix by Mark LaFountain. Sound wise ‘Filter’ is very reminiscent of Severed Heads which got my attention straight away.

Check out Johann Kloos’s new one “Behind The Net Curtain”, which includes his usual eclectic mix of material and is as always well worthy of your attention.

Some news snippets:

  • Dylan Carlson is to officially self-release “Falling With A Thousand Stars and other Wonders From The House Of Albion” on 25th June. It is a solo album which is described as ” …..droning 6 and 12-string guitars, reinterpreting traditional old English and Scottish folk ballads into sombre instrumental pieces”.
  • Chester-based alt-electronic act, The Ladder  release their new single, “Down” on May 30th  via York label, Anonymous Records. The Ladder are production duo Addz Vindicare [vocals, bass, production] and Danny Ryder [synths, vocals] – ‘Down’ as a track moves The Ladder beyond the trappings of pure industrial-EBM, and incorporates elements of shoegaze.
  • Southern Lord has confirmed the impending release of Total Destruction (1999-2006) the collected discography of now defunct thrash rockers, Asschapel.
  • Zublue are a high energy three piece Garage Rock band from Essex, UK. Influenced by the likes of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Sonic Youth, the band’s debut EP ‘Change the Channel’ is an angst-ridden examination of a modern world controlled by the media. Well worth a listen say I.
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Glitch, deep house, shoegaze, EBM and other matters of note

This weeks recommended listens:

Thriftworks – Fader – Bandcamp – 17th November 2014 :  34 tracks washed with rich synths and ‘glitchy’ melodies, featuring a few collaborations with fellow Californian producer Russ Liquid.

Solid District – Moon Anomalies – Emerald and Doreen –  Release Date Unknown : Cancun’s Fernando Mendoza is fascinated by the moon and its effects on mankind, this release reflects that. “Lunar Madness” is a  psychedelic deep house opener that makes clear that somebody’s “thinking of you”. The answer is an “Automatik Reaktion”, a Statickman-esque synth-house roller with cowbells & handclaps . “Thyone” is a slow, heavy, techy-funky space house chugger. “Lunar Madness” gets two remixes. Headpocket provides a beautifully progressive cosmic Balearic Kraut trip with a smoothly rolling bassline, the stand-out track on the release. Airsouth provide a twisted, fragmented and strangely amazing piece of dubstep-infused electronica.

Sounds of Sputnik – New Born – Ear to Ear Records – 21st November 2014 :  Sounds of Sputnik (aka Roman Kalitkin) redefines his listeners’ expectations of Russian music by tastefully mixing post-rock, shoegaze, dream pop, and noise. With a love for The Jesus and Mary Chain, Ride, Sonic Youth, Happy Mondays, and Slowdive, these bands have exerted their influences over Kalitkin’s own compositions, forged through twenty years spent in various post-punk, alternative and shoegaze bands.

Atomzero – Symbioisis – Analogue Trash – December 2014 – was initially a UK-based music project by Peter Godziszewski.  A 3-track demo was recorded in 2001 with the track “Metaverse” included on Elektrauma Vol.6 compilation released in 2002. Relocated to Canada the project continued with remix work for other bands and further compilation contributions, culminating in Gord Clement joining forces with Peter in 2004 and a new phase of Atomzero was born. Drawing the best elements from influences such as Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Front 242, Nitzer Ebb among others, the new songwriting partnership brought strong vocals, thoughtfully-crafted lyrics and a more melody-driven brand of electronic music, fusing classic electronic influences of early electro-pop, industrial and EBM into a polished and modern mix. After self-releasing Symbiosis in May of 2014 to positive reviews from the alternative music press and fans alike, Atomzero signed a European label deal in September 2014 with Manchester-based independent label AnalogueTrash Records to release a special edition of their debut album in December.  The European edition of Symbiosis contains sixteen tracks including ten tracks from the original edition of the album, two exclusive original songs and an array of remixes from Assemblage 23, SkinjoB and label-mates Advance and Neonsol.

….and watch out for the following in forthcoming weeks, months and indeed new year….

  • alansmithee feat. Marklar – Checking Out/Plain Sailing – Flowers In The Dustbin
  • Six Organs of Admittance – Hexadic – Drag City – 16th February 2015 (herein a preview thereof)
  • Klozapin – Klozapin – Conquest of Noise – 5th January 2015 (check them out here)
  • Moff Skellington – Marine Sugars (locally glimpsed) – German Shepherd Records – 5th December 2014
  • KP2 – A Cabinet of Curiosities – German Shepherd – 5th December 2014
  • West Coast Sick Line – Wasp In The Car – German Shepherd – 28th November 2014

UC  Marine Sugars- Cover

 

 

 

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)

Forget Nostalgia – Listen To New Music

Some very good new things have arrived already this week……a mixed bag of genre’s which suits me

Vancouver’s Baptists share the first new track from their upcoming second album, Bloodmines, which is due for release via Southern Lord on 13th October.

Arriving at the album’s mid point, ‘Harm Induction’ is a volatile, high speed, turbo-charged rager. As the guitar riffs scale to an ear-splitting climax, the vocals also reach the peak of absolute seething anger. Harm Induction is unrelenting, near suffocating, and highly cathartic.

Le Butcherettes have joined Ipecac Recordings’ roster and will release their second album release, Cry Is For The Flies, on Sept. 29 via the label in conjunction with Nadie Sound.

“Since I created Le Butcherettes in Guadalajara, I’ve always yearned for the band to be part of a label/community that helps and supports artists to act fearlessly and help serve the music.” explained fiery Le Butcherettes front-woman Teri Gender Bender. “So happy beyond words that we’ve found a family in Ipecac. Dream come true.”

“We are EXTREMELY excited to be working with Le Butcherettes,” said Ipecac Recordings Co-Owner Greg Werckman. “Teresa is a dynamic front person and a perfect fit with the Ipecac family. Not a band to miss on record or live.”

The eleven-song release had previously been available exclusively as a digital download via producer Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s label Nadie Sound’s website but, as of September 29th, will be made available on physical formats (CD/vinyl) as well as through various digital service providers including iTunes.

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Teri said of the subject matter on Cry Is For The Flies: “There are so many demons I have inside – they’re little gods. There’s a god of evil, the god of good, the god of sex, the god of lust. With music, I tap into those god demons. It’s therapy.”

Cry Is For The Flies was recorded at Infrasonic and Kingsize Studios in Los Angeles. The album features guests Henry Rollins (“Moment of Guilt”) and Shirley Manson (“Shame, You’re All I’ve Got”). Le Butcherettes is Teri Gender Bender (vocals, guitar, keys) and Lia Braswell (drums). They shall be touring the album in support of Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s band Antemasque.

Black Earth are a four piece band from Sheffield whose influences includes Joy Division and QOTSA. Heavy drumbeats and strong guitar riffs are the perfect back drop for a dark and often mysterious vocal creating a sound that draws you in. Three tracks are available via their Bandcamp page – worth checking out…..

At long last a new album from Monster Island – a band always worth checking out if only for Stephen Waddicor’s particular utterings about the world – they do not disappoint with their latest offering called The House of Lancaster  which appears on first hearing to be even more unhinged than previous releases. Bloomin’ marvellous say I. They will be playing songs from the new album etc. on 3rd September at The Castle, Oldham Street, Manchester with Locean (who I must check out)  and Un Deux Trois.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based demolition union, Die Choking , is prepared to shove their second wave of hyperactive, earthmoving grind/thrash down the world’s collective throat, with II on September 29th – expect some airplay on the Sonic Attack Podcast around and about that time.  Five tracks in 5m 57s gives a sense of the content – scabrous vocals, impossibly fast D-Beat drumming and confrontational bass and guitar make for fascinating listening.

New Born, the debut album from Moscow’s Sounds of Sputnik, is a kaleidoscope of reverb-soaked guitar, calculated drums, thick bass, and angular guitars intertwined with ethereal vocals. This is extraordinary noise-pop, with layered harmonies, interlacing synth and distorted guitars. Sounds of Sputnik paired up with Canadian-Ukrainian duo Ummagma to co-write, produce, and record this album, to be released on UK label Ear to Ear Records. Ummagma’s Shauna McLarnon and Alexx Kretov both contribute mesmerizing vocals.

Following their 2013 reunion, the Californian hardcore/thrash metal crossover band Excel have since teamed up with Southern Lord and are reissuing their debut album, Split Image (originally released through Suicidal and Caroline records). Widely regarded as a classic album, Split Image was produced by Randy Burns (Death, Possessed, Megadeth, Kreator, Suicidal Tendencies). The reissue shall be officially released on 29 September.

Remastered by Brad Boatright (Bl’ast!, Sleep, Obituary, Black Breath) the Split Image Southern Lord issue comes with a massive amount of bonus material including the Welcome to Venice comp tracks, Personal Onslaught Demo & Refuse to Quit Demo). The LP Includes a 32 page 7”X7” booklet with tons of photos from the era and a 11” x 17” poster of the original Michael Seiff album cover artwork. The CD contains bonus demo material (Personal Onslaught & Refuse to Quit Demos). Also including a booklet with many rare/unseen photos. A crucial documentation of an essential crossover band.

Having formed in 1984, they released three studio albums as well as a number of demos and singles.  Equally informed by punk rock’s attitude and heavy metal’s riffs, their  fast, grinding and heavy sounds, combined with their intelligent lyrics, set them apart as a genre defining band of the era.    The current line-up includes Dan Clements on vocals, Shaun Ross on bass, Mike Cosgrove on drums and Alex Barreto (Chain Of Strength) on guitar.

A new Grouper album is news, highly anticipated and  best introduced in Liz Harris’ own words, here’s the story…

 “Ruins was made in Aljezur, Portugal in 2011 on a residency set up by Galeria Zé dos Bois. I recorded everything there except the last song, which I did at mother’s house in 2004. Iʼm still surprised by what I wound up with. It was the first time Iʼd 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 wasnʼt 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.”

Grouper

As the release of  Yob‘s forthcoming album Clearing The Path To Ascend dawns, the band reveal one of the four tracks on it, the brutally heavy “Unmask The Spectre”. The band have already revealed snippets of the track via their album trailer, now it is time to hear the whole thing. Here’s what Mike Scheidt has to say about the song…”This part of the album gets dark, but it also has a sense of beauty and resolve. The mood and atmosphere nod equal parts to old and new YOB. It’s one of my favorite things we’ve ever done.

 

 
  
(photo credit: David Lee Dailey)
 

In celebration of Old World New Wave, the impending new release from Ides Of Gemini, here is the first official sampling of the record with “The Chalice & The Blade.”

Relays singer/bassist Sera Timms of the tune, “The main riff [guitarist] J [Bennett] brought in for ‘…Chalice…’ marches in as a transcendent assault with [drummer] Kelly [Johnston-Gibson]’s oppressive, jagged beat moving it forward like some re-animated corpse. A mechanized shamanic trance that sent me straight into the underworld lyrically.”

The follow-up to the band’s 2012 Constantinople debut, Old World New Wave was recorded at Valley Recording in Burbank, California, engineered and mixed by Chris Rakestraw (Danzig), mastered by Grammy award winning producer Matt Hyde (Slayer) and boasts the striking hand-drawn cover art of Kelly Johnston-Gibson.