Fascinating Things : Issue 26

I suggest you make a brew and get comfy for this one, it has been an extremely busy week. For those out there that say that there is  no good new music out there, I beg to differ. A seriously eclectic selection awaits your visual and aural pleasure:

Father Murphy, the Italian duo comprised by Rev. Murphy and Chiara Lee who are troubling the underground since the early Noughties with a series of dark, disturbing recordings, this time team up with producer Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo (Larsen) for a 10” EP aptly titled Lamentations to be released by the avant-garde label Backwards on 20th November 2015. The release completes Father Murphy’s 2015 Trilogy of The Cross, which started with Calvary (a 10 minute long introductory piece released by Blue Tapes in January) and was followed by Croce (Father Murphy’s fifth album and first release for the San Francisco based label The Flenser, released back in March).

Recorded in Turin under the supervision of sound engineer Paul Beauchamp, Lamentations finds Father Murphy at a crossroad of sorts: instigated with the guidance of Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo, the core duo of Chiara and the Reverend opted for a slight alteration of their signature squalor-sound, whilst still remaining cheerfully focused on their thematic obsessions (namely: death, God, pain, forgiveness). Inspired by a tongue-in-cheek reading of the Book of Jeremiah, as well as the traditions that mark the orthodox Holy Week Lamentations, the band have produced two long compositions that Iam advised feel like classic Father Murphy material, yet are substantially enriched in respect to their usually spare sonic palette.

I will share this with you on the podcast when a review copy arrives.

Photo credit: Sara Xiayu
Photo credit: Sara Xiayu

Ritual Productions have announced the signing of The Poisoned Glass, a duo comprised of two members of the legendary doom band Burning Witch; vocalist Edgy59 and bassist G.Stuart Dahlquist.

After the demise of Burning Witch in 1998 and going their separate ways, the two kept in touch, occasionally making overtures towards working together and knowing that they would when it felt natural. The Poisoned Glass started with the song ‘Silent Vigil’, a twelve-tone progression Dahlquist had originally intended as a tonal bass solo. After experimenting, he felt that the resulting sound was heavier, more despondent and unforgiving than any of his existing projects and sent the rough mix to Edgy, who understood immediately that this music represented perfectly both voices as a unit. It came naturally, as though it was meant to be, and with that, the duo formed, and set out to record as The Poisoned Glass.

The instrumentation is exclusively centred around bass guitar, organ, and voice – nothing more. In spite of seemingly limiting instrumentation The Poisoned Glass is far from minimalist; the atmosphere is bleak but so dense it is virtually without air. Dahlquist’s unison bass and organ is massive, building, evolving and expanding, punctuated by Edgy’s unbridled tenor and the irregular jarring of one or two note dissonant harmonies.

The Poisoned Glass will release their self titled LP on Ritual Productions in spring of 2016. More details of that to follow in the coming months.

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Philadelphia psychedelic rock trio, Wizard Eye, release a self-titled new full-length on October 10th via Black Monk Records. Recorded in three days at Haddon Heights, New Jersey’s Gradwell House Studios with  Steve Poponi producing and mastering by Dave Downham, the  follow-up to the band’s 2010 Orbital Rites debut includes their signature brand of mind-bending riffs , bottom-heavy grooves, churning bass, otherworldly effects and raw vocals.  Their roots are planted firmly into the lysergic soil of ‘70s acts like Hawkwind, Budgie, Blue Cheer, Captain Beyond, Motörhead and Black Sabbath, Wizard Eye shows the band operating at the pinnacle of its creative and musical abilities.

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Paris’ based duo AaRON return with ‘Blouson Noir’, the first track to be lifted from their upcoming, self produced, third album ‘We Cut The Night’.  The duo’s debut ‘Artificials Animals Riding on Neverland’ came out in 2007, it sold over 400, 000 copies and is considered a classic by many. Years to follow saw the accolade of another chart topping album (Birds in the Storm) and the pair being awarded with a European Border Breaker Award followed by a sold out tour. ‘Blouson Noir’ tells a tale of a late, sleepless and very much lovelorn night in New York City; walking alone in the cutting darkness through the concrete, the buildings, the sirens and the overpowering nature of it all with nothing but the sounds of Grace Jones “Strange I’ve Seen That Face Before” playing. “

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The Insight deliver a stong post-punk sound with a Gallic tinge.  They release album White Noise on 25th September. Manc/Scouse influences are strong throughout, lots of flanged guitars and reverby drums with dramatic vocals. You can pre-order on Bandcamp.

Written whilst under the influence, the stomping new single “Kicking the Habit” out 12th October, finds Greg Hooper and Gordo Francis of The Lost Art in a playful, raucous mood.  The single comes from pair’s Special Edition version of their self-titled debut album set for release 2nd November. Included with the albumrelease are special remixed songs along with a fully notated score allowing fans to enjoy the duo’s music in a new and unique way. Mixing the old with the new, the varying cocktail of quirky remixes add extra flavour to this inspired thirst quencher of an album. It’s very good in a teetering on the edge of collapse way, sdaly however I have nothing to embed for you as the promo people seem to have neglected to send a link other than for the last single which seems a trifle odd. Anyhow it will be on next weeks Aural Delights so you can hear it then.

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To celebrate her signing to First Word Records and announce her forthcoming mini-album ‘Of The New World’ Sarah Williams White has released ‘Winter Sun’ as a free download.

Here’s a little background to the track from Sarah herself:

I wrote this track to gratify all these images from films I had in my mind like Empire of The Sun, Fist of The North Star… imagery of a post apocalyptic/war-torn world, but nature with it’s strength and beauty just standing it’s ground! The Sun, or that something at the end of the tunnel that gives hope through darker times..

All my new music seems to have this underlying theme of time and repair, and the awesomeness of earth. Its a bit of a theme throughout my upcoming record Of The New World.

‘Winter Sun’ started out as a li’l instrumental idea with my Hohner Pianet over a beat of Timmy’s (Timmy Rickard is the drummer and engineer I work with) – I’d been listening to a lot of Roy Ayers! Then it kinda filled itself out over time into a more spacey harmonic piece with the poem and vocals, new b-boy drum grooves from timmy and my juno 106 playing the glaring Sun.’
It was released on 17 September 2015 and is an inventive jazzy tune which improves on repeat listening.

SWW

Cheeky London chappies The Black Sparrows release a new single , they describe themselves as punk n roll, dapper flat caps and waistcoats would normally be a turn-off but this lot manage to grab my attention wth a sort of Libertines/Heartbreakers looseness.

Gabrielle Papillon is a Canadian singer-songwriter with a fantastic voice.  Her upcoming album The Tempest Of Old captures the pick-up-and-play honesty in her song writing with each track being beautifully produced alongside a yielding sense of time and place. The album , will be available for sale and download Friday 25th September 2015. Get You Well is the first single from the album.  This is her fifth album so I think a check on the back catalogue will be worthwhile given the quality of the new one.

The Melvins, who are currently in the midst of a European tour, flash back to their 2012 attempt at a world record setting tour of the United States (plus DC) with the Noember. 13th DVD release of Across The USA in 51 Days: The Movie! The tour launched on September .5th, 2012 from Anchorage, Alaska and wrapped up fifty-one days later, October. 25th, on the sunny shores of Honolulu, Hawaii. “We figured it was time for us to do something REALLY crazy,” Buzz Osborne said at the time of the band’s transcontinental trek. The band documented the outing via Spin (http://www.spin.com/tag/melvins-tour-diary/) and also through a collection of never-before-seen video footage. I’m putting together an Aural Delights special podcast on the Melvins to coincide with their Manchester appearance (October 9th at Gorilla)

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To be brutally honest I’m not sure Ben Chasney’s head is at these days.  Drag City release Six Organs Of Admittance‘s latest Hexadic II on November 20th.   The album appears to be an acoustic variation on the tunes on the preceding album, athough it’s best described as a transformational process rather than a faithful reinterpretation. It  took me a few listens but I began to get into this enjoy what he is up to. He ploughs his own furrow and does it well.

…and finally, I am most overjoyed to find that the ever excellent Monster Island have a seven song EP out hopefully later this year. They are down in that there London on 10th October for a gig at The Windmill Brixton for International John Peel day. Here’s a little reminder of how wonderful they are.

 

 

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Fascinating Things Issue 01

 This is the first of a semi-regular magazine format blog of new music that comes my way and gets featured on my podcasts. You will find a wide variety of music types here and hopefully something that piques your interest.

Chelsea Wolfe is set to release her newest full length album, Abyss, August 7th on Sargent House, here is the single release from the album :

Dead Rider have a series of European tour dates on the horizon in support of their new 7″ single New End b/w Uncomfy, and the  full length Chills On Glass which Drag City released last year.  UK dates are 17/6/15  London – Shacklewell Arms, 18/6/15 Glasgow – Bloc+
19/6/15  Edinburgh – Sneaky Petes, and 22/06/15 UK, Bristol -The Exchange.

In the year of shoegaze’s comeback, Ear to Ear Records presents you a free download international shoegaze compilation, involving 30 bands from 16 countries. In the words of Creation Records co-founder Joe Foster, this is as “an unprecedented spread of hope and art”, which has been embraced by members of such shoegaze pioneers as Swervedriver, Slowdive, The Telescopes, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Swallow.

The Melvins  released The Bulls & The Bees/Electroretard split on Ipecac Recordings, on 2nd June. This 13 song album features both releases on one CD.

Fresh from a BBC Radio 6 Music debut on 6 Music Recommends with Tom Ravenscroft, and a live appearance at Song By Toad’s , Andrew R. Burns & The Tropicanas“Paradise Palms Song by Toa d Dingus Rock Slop Fest” the ‘Dreamslop’ ep was released on Sunday 31st May, and is available from itunes and all major digital stores via Flowers In The Dustbin records.

FLOW is the new album from the Belgium based quartet Drifter, co-led by Finnish pianist Alexi Tuomarila and Belgium saxophonist Nicolas Kummert, who won huge praise and acclaim across Europe and Australia as the Alexi Tuomarila Quartet in the early 2000’s.

Inego are named after the Spaniard hell-bent on avenging the death of his father in the 80’s cult classic ‘The Princess Bride’ . The band released their ‘What Are You Waiting For?’ in May . Recorded at Magic Garden Studios and produced by Gavin Monaghan and Joe Murray. The Band play The Headlander Festival in Stockport on June 20th .

The Junta returns with a four track EP on German Shepherd Records on June 12th. Entitled Hydra the music inspired by the Marvel Universe baddies and the Agents of Shield TV Programme. A follow EP with remixes  by Night Operations, Captain Black, Space Museum, Passage of Time and The Junta himself will follow in July.

Austin, Texas’s Sungod have released a fantastic two track EP of their signature psych drone krautrock – highly recommended

Southern Lord have announce the signing of Montreal trio BIG|BRAVE. The three-piece play  long-form out-rock that ventures in to different directions – at times mournful and unsettling – “their music plays out in to moon-bleached grunge where serene vocals crumble over scraping guitars bled of melody.” A new album is penciled in for a late summer release, recorded with Efrim Menuck (Godspeed You! Black Emperor/Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra) at Hotel2Tango. This will add to a growing discography comprising their debut EP An Understanding Between People (2013) and the debut LP Feral Verdure, which they recorded at Paradise Studios with Jon Boles, and self-released in September 2014. There’s high expectation of great things to come.

nTTx is the new project of Gord Clement (former singer/songwriter in Atomzero). His new music is a melodic, vocal driven form of EBM, with some synthpop and disco influences. The new single is titled ‘Falls Beautiful’ with a b-side cover version of ‘New Dress’ (Depeche Mode). The single is now available as a free download to the public via his bandcamp page . It will also be available through iTunes, Amazon, and most streaming services.

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Catching up with groovy sounds

I have been otherwise distracted with German Shepherd Record label matters over the last 14 days, and I lost an evening of catching up time going to see Benefit State, Trojan Horse and The Fall at the Salford Music Festival last weekend so i’m way behind with stuff so this is by way of a nifty little catch-up to clear the in-box and get up to date:

  • Guano Padana are releasing an album on Ipecac on November 3rd called Americana. Here is a preview track:
  • tētēma, a new duo featuring Anthony Pateras and Mike Patton release their debut album, Geocidal, on December 8th via Ipecac Recordings.
  • A psychedelic Melbourne based core of musicians who invite in vocalists from all over the world to bring their songs to fruition, Transference have released new single Lady Isis
  • Los Angeles, California’s Goatsnake are back in a big way – having spent the summer at Rock Falcon studios in Franklin, Tennessee they are gearing up to release their first new full-length album since 2000’s Flower Of Disease. The new album, due for a release on Southern Lord next year, will feature the familiar faces of Greg Rogers (The Obsessed, Sonic Medusa), providing drums, Greg Anderson of Sunn O))) taking care of the riffs, Pete Stahl (Scream, Wool, Earthlings?) on vocals, and new bassist Scott Renner (Sonic Medusa, Sourvein). Joining them again on production duties is Nick Raskulinecz, who, since being introduced to Dave Grohl during the recording sessions of Flower of Disease, has gone on to work with seminal artists such as Rush, Alice in Chains, Deftones and Ghost, and has won Grammys with the Foo Fighters.
  • Matinée are an East London four piece indie band who return with their stunning new single These Days. The  single  produced  by  Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Carl Barat, Glasvegas) is a melody  driven  guitar  soaring  song  about  loves  broken  secrets  and  will  be released  this autumn on Neon Tetra Records and is a blistering indie track. You can hear the single at :
  • Hailing from Northampton and creating melodic and dynamic indie rock, An Army Of Lights create a lush sound using duelling harmonies and hooky guitars with tunes often ending in an epic blaze that takes the roof off. If you like The Walkmen, Bombay Bicycle Club, or Two Door Cinema Club then they are right up your street. The ‘An Army Of Lights’ boys have been busy on the live circuit this summer, and they have also been back in the studio. The result is a new single called ‘We Don’t Wanna Go’.
  • Keeping up a long-held tradition of bringing forth some of the heaviest music from the darkness of the Pacific NW, Seattle’s Tad Doyle (formerly of TAD, Hog Molly), delivers his strongest songwriting and playing with his newest band Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth. This powerful trio of musicians, with Tad on guitar/vocals, veteran bass player Peggy Doyle and drummer Dave French (The Annunaki) shall release their long-awaited debut LP in early 2015 on Neurot Recordings. Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth bring together the collective and extensive rock histories and the experience of the three members in the worlds of punk, hard rock and metal.
  • Grinding hardcore unit Full Of Hell will set loose an assuredly barren and hostile full-length written in collaboration with noise’s anti-hero Merzbow, released via Profound Lore Records on 24th November.
  • Chirping are an indie pop rock band  from Sweden. They release their much anticipated new single Ambitions on 27th October. Taking inspiration from the likes of The Cure, The Smiths, The Drums and The Strokes, the four-piece, consisting of Carl, Johan, Björn and Viktor, have a very strong DIY attitude. They spent a long period of time building their own rehearsal room and recording studio from scratch where they self-produced and self-mixed Ambitions. At the very last hurdle they had decided to bring in a mastering professional called Thomas Eberger who has worked with a countless amount of Swedish stars including The Hives.
  • In anticipation of its October 13th release via Ipecac, another track has been unleashed from Hold It In, the latest studio album from The Melvins, featuring Butthole Surfers players JD Pinkus and Paul Leary. Sesame Street Meat which nods to their Gluey Porch Treatments debut, encapsulates their great-humoured, gut-wrenching, riff-centric formulae, which has continued to evolve with each release.

 

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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)