Thursday, 30 September 2010
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
You've got to like things minimal sometimes. There was one band back in 2007 that did it better than any other, Prinzhorn Dance School - and now they're back with new material.
Seed, Crop, Harvest is the duo's new 7" out October 11th on DFA but you can have a taste for free from the band's site here. It's quite the same Fall-esque stripped back minimalism as the band's self-titled debut but it seems the band is spreading its wings just a touch, itll be interesting to have them back. There was a one off gig at the Lexington a few weeks back and more dates to follow soon.
Prinzhorn Dance School - Seed, Crop, Harvest
I would be remiss if I didnt mention that Fowl, whilst incessantly brutal, is an achingly beautiful affair, a result of the core songwriting duties baton being passed from drummer Damian Coward to guitarist Brent Stegeman. Anyone who is a fan of this genre will recognize this - who the structures of these songs, when done correctly, caresses rather than just bludgeons. Whilst 'Dust' spends over half its 8 minutes slowly building tension before breaking into a storm of noise that is pinioned by the incessant monotonal drumming (which is a compliment by the way) - a la later Godflesh - tracks such as 'Mother' and 'Drain' provide a one-two punch of perfectly orchestrated maelstroms of emotive white noise, closing the album in an immense and - aptly - draining fashion. They have not played rote Isis material here - they have maintained the dark ferocity that this genre expects - nay, demands - and by opening themselves to its cousins, post rock and industrial rock, and a noticeably darker slant on electronic programming, they have provided themselves with a wider sound palette, certain nuances, sound structures and electronic preamble, than many of their contemporaries - Red Sparowes, Mogwai and Trent Reznor are touchstones here, particularly at the tail end of the record...
Released by Denovali Records (home to Her Name Is Calla, worriedaboutsatan, September Malevolence, and Kodiak) Fowl is a behemoth of a record, a pugilistic triumph of the senses. Every member of Heirs is in the right place - its precise, its meticulous, its haunting, its ear-shattering. And regardless of what story its telling - the perverse nature of feeding on filth for entertainment, to sate our hunger, to gratify our sexual appetite, to facilitate our survival - the end result is that at the end of this ride, you will be bruised, battered - and enlightened.
Fowl is out now in Australia in CD form. The UK has to wait a few weeks til October 15th to get it, unless like me you sent away for it - but its better to pre-order here, so you can get vinyl versions - and there are three different packs - yellow/white vinyl (150pcs), yellow/black vinyl (150pcs), and good ol black (300pcs). The rest of the world will have to wait until November, so we have first dibs. Also (and this is great news), Heirs are touring Europe in October, starting off in the Netherlands on the 6th. They make their way to England, where they play not one but TWO shows in London - plus some random outer capital drops - here are the dates/venues:
14/10 - Green Park Tavern, Bath
15/10 - The Unicorn, London
16/10 - Harry's Bar, Stoke-on-Trent
17/10 - The Criterion, Leceister
18/10 - Dublin Castle, Camden
These are mental venues to see an act of this magnitude (AKA small seedy metal venues). I, for one, cannae wait.
Heirs - Dust
Heirs - Burrow
Love the .gif like cover art too.
Heavy Hawaii - Beacons
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Last month I posted about Candy Claws' hazy dreamscape summer pop showcased on their second L.P Hidden Lands. To me they were the perfect summer band back then - but what would be the perfect Autumn band? Beckoning the icy rush of September's darker nights and the endless drop of crisp leaves, I give you Strange Forces.
The three piece from Brisbane are currently based in Berlin, which might explain why the 'psychedelic spaceman drone rock' has a dark brooding resonance, like you're listening to the last days of the sun as it fights its final moments before plunging into the swell and blackness of another reality altogether. Psychotropic vocals beckon you in as layers of driving drone smother you. Its dark, its tribal, its utterly mesmerizing.
Strange Forces have a long player, Hypervisions, dropping soon, it might be the best thing about the end of summer. Check out their blog here.
Strange Forces - Soul Window
Strange Forces - Shizer In The Shadows
Pissed Jeans - False Jesii Pt 2
Pissed Jeans - Ive Still Got You (Ice Cream)
Yet another good Brooklyn band, Night Manager. Although these guys have a twist in that they're not actually from Brooklyn but are all over the States and Paris apparently. Im not sure what difference that makes to their sound, but its all slapping drums, fuzzy groaning guitars, echo stretched vocals and unfulfilled aggression, hence the Blackout Sex - but I'm only guessing.
One to keep tabs on for sure.
Night Manager - Blackout Sex
Night Manager - Wolf Pyramid
Monday, 27 September 2010
As Brendan pointed out recently Sonic Masala (especially me) likes a good old manic mess sometimes. Sometimes you have to forget all the niceties and subtle touches and make a bloody great noise, all raw energy and detuned angst. Ideally it comes with a mosh pit in a small, packed sweaty dive of a venue and frankly you're in a small corner of Sonic Masala heaven, and Leeds trio Slowcoaches fit that bill.
Unfortunately I missed Slowcoaches when they played Upset The Rhythm's Yes Way, gutted all round, as their mess of distorted, laid back girl vocals and thrashed out guitar squiggles would have been a perfect fit for any gig with such an emphasis on lo-fi DIY fun. That'll do nicely.
Slowcoaches - Fuzzy Felt
I'll be honest here and admit that I've been a bit slow off the mark when its come to Twin Sister's Colour Your Life E.P. And with the ruffled feathers from Brendan's Frankie Rose and the Outs post you might have thought we would lay off the girl fronted bands for a while - no sir! Its an interesting conversation that should be had, seeing as this blog started 'cos of a bunch of mates talking about music, and different opinions lie at the heart of that. We would love to hear yours, comments are always welcome at Sonic Masala.
Right, first off I like Twin Sister. I like them a lot, although that may surprise some people. Personally Twin Sister is not a band to be taken on the strengths or weaknesses of a single song or a track in isolation. Across the six songs that make up Colour Your Life there are headline grabbing, dream pop master class tracks such as 'All Around and Away We Go' or 'Lady Daydream' with their slick electro tinted bliss, and of course the joyous haunting whisper that is Andrea Estella's vocals. Its all very fresh and slick but with a touch of melancholy that keeps you a bit spooked.
'Phenomenons' follow a similar recipe and if this was Twin Sister's blueprint then it would be easy to call the band just perfect dream pop. But that's not the case. Tracks 'Galaxy Plateau' and 'The Other Side of Your Face' point to Twin Sister's many facets and thus making them so much more intriguing - here soundscapes and static take over, rhythm and vocals creep into life and its these drawn out forays into a dream pop netherworld that really point to an more experimental nature that could promise so much and consistently surprise. Here's hoping that Twin Sister's debut L.P, when ever it drops, treads a similar path.
Twin Sister - The Other Side of Your Face
The Young's Voyagers of Legend is definitely a creeper.
I heard this Austin Texas band first over at Raven Sings The Blues via the track 'Phoebis Cluster', which is also featured below. I was immediately intrigued - the song has that eerie vibe that the Pixies' 'Gouge Away' has, that Lynchian noir nightmare that slinks along in the shadows before jumping all over you. I delved into the band a little more, and there isnt much to be gleaned, other than they are signed to the great Mexican Summer, which helped put out the LP. So I scoured the WWW to find the album, and whilst the player I found on a nondescript site (which no longer seems to work) wasn't altogether functioning properly, it was enough to get me a couple listens to it.
Voyagers of Legend is definitely a time capsule album, taking me back to the early 90s. But instead of focusing on high school slacker ennui a la Japandroids, this is delving more into the flannel shirts of the grunge generation with more than a pinch of the aforementioned Pixies (a commonly held belief that they were the genesis of grunge as it were). 'Bird In The Bush' to me is the single track on this album that comes across as proper single material, and yet it is the weakest, whilst tracks like 'Smiling God' and Sunburst' rollick along like a burnished black steam train with roadkill in its grill.
Good luck find much on the Web about The Young - just do yourself a favour, head over to Mexican Summer and get the album. Ive got the itch to hear it again - its crept inside me and it will not let go.
The Young - Phoebis Cluster
Sex Church - Paralyze from crystal lake on Vimeo.
So when he develops new material I just about lose my shit every time. Therefore Im losing my shit as I type this, and have been since the weekend, as I have started dipping my toes in the water that is Young's next opus, Le Noise. It is a unique record for Young as there is no band in any way - it is just Neil on guitar, in a room, using lots of dub overlays and effects, with consummate producer Daniel Lanois fiddling the knobs.
And I can safely say its his greatest album in a long, long time.
As I have only listened to it once all the way through, Ill let some more knowledgeable critic tell you what to expect over at TONEAudio. Needless to say, it is a continuation of Young's mesmeric career to take his music where no one expects him to, always willing to make brash and unorthodox decisions in that quest to tell his story, the way he wants to tell it. And apparently this album (unsurprisingly) was MADE for vinyl, so make sure you pre-order it from the source here.
But in the meantime, you can have at it - stream Le Noise over at NPR here.
Enjoy this start of the week...
Sunday, 26 September 2010
Let's Go On And On And On And On With HAM1 is actually a befitting album title, as this LP, although clocking in at about 45 minutes, is one that deserves many repeated listens due to its diversity. For folk psych troubadours, there are no less than three instrumentals, as well as many parts that up the ante in the rock department. Jim Willingham continues his skewed search for the American Gothic of his Athens, Georgia homeland, his narratives remain exuberant and woozily literate, but this time around high production values and some amazing compositional play has heightened the propensity for HAM1 to strike a nerve, to caress the soul, to get you to sit back on that stool and drink another pint as these dusky ballads unravel. Highly rated indeed.
The Boxing Lesson - Eight
So what is Tandoori Knights all about? Ill let the clearly cuckoo (and awesome) Khan speak for himslef...
"It hit like frightnin' lightnin' - WE MUST BE THE TANDOORI KNIGHTS!...And paint our skins as red as possible...put the IN back into Indian rock'n'roll...just bend over and let the sun shine in!"
Uh-huh... It is good though. Especially the opening 10 seconds of 'Bandstand'...
Saturday, 25 September 2010
Weed Diamond - All Of Denver Is Wasted
Weed Diamond - Mint In My Mouth
And an older release from a split 7" with another rad Bridgetown export, Ancient Crux...
Weed Diamond - Nothing To Write Home About
And its a rainy Saturday afternoon, so Ill continue the love - here's a vid!
Friday, 24 September 2010
School Knights - Bullies
Schooli Knights - Prom Queen
School Knights - Recess
Its feels good to get a Friday Cover Up out on a Friday for once and this one is a bit different. Last Friday (sorry about being slow) Wild Animal Kingdom put super limited cassette compilation Guided by Guided by Voices, featuring some of SA's favorite bands of the moment covering some of Guided by Voices best tracks. Unfortunately its totally sold out now, but below is Eternal Summers' version of A Salty Salute, Pill Wonder's clattering take on My Valuable Hunting Knife and Fluffy Lumbers' rather haunting effort on Club Molluska, the likes of Real Estate and Big Troubles also put in an showing. If you were sharper than me and got a copy, well done you, the rest of us will just have to settle for the tastes below.
Eternal Summers - A Salty Salute
Pill Wonder - My Valuable Hunting Knife
Fluffy Lumbers - Club Molluska by Death And Taxes
Massive call, right? Well, it has all the hallmarks of a classic psychedelic rock album - the ritualistic stillness of opener 'The Greatest Hits By God', to the 70s rawk-ness of 'Set Out Alone' and the trapped in amber stoned warble of 'In The Place Of A Storm'. Each song sets out with a purpose and sticks it out to its fiery end, not displaying the schizophrenic sonic shifts in tracks that some of their modern equivalents are prone to. And that isn't meant as a particular negative - many bands thrive in the altered time signature changes and shifts in tempo and velocity, but it is also somewhat refreshing to have a band show their different shadings spread out over an entire album rather than on a single song.
Quest For Fire didn't get enough praise for the brazen sun-kissed blasts of distorted waves they cut on last year's self-titled debut, but fingers crossed that Lights From Paradise does them justice, as it is awesome. And if you doubted the Toronto band's pedigree, two of them tour as the backing band for Black Mountain side-project Pink Mountaintops, whilst they are now supporting Black Mountain in a series of dates. Oh, and A Silver Mt Zion's Sophie Trudeau makes a guest appearance on the record. So yeah...buy it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (NB Hold yr horses - its not out until November 8 through Tee Pee Records - I'm just lucky enough to promo it! Still, get the debut, pre-order the newie, and drop out in glory).
Quest For Fire - Set Out Alone
Quest For Fire - Strange Vacation
Brendan previously posted the mp3 here.
Thanks to Gorilla Vs Bear for the heads up on this. White Denim have just put out a new E.P of sorts going by the name of Last Day of Summer, how apt! The Texas trio are offering it free here, although a small donation wouldn't go a miss 'cos its well worth it. In the bands words...
“…this record is something we made as a little summer retreat from our ongoing work on the third full length. many of these tunes have been bouncing around since the formation of the band back in 06. we were super pumped to utilize a few fresh and casual musical approaches on this record. we hope that you find something that satisfies you within this body of work. if you enjoy the music and feel compelled to support the group, please notice the support button beneath the download link and the image. we are going to be heading out on the roads this october and would greatly appreciate anything that you would feel comfortable contributing.”
Taste below but download the whole thing here.
White Denim - Champ
White Denim - Tony Fatti
Thursday, 23 September 2010
Foot Village - Lovers With Iraqis
NB - this is the MP3 version, not what you get on the 7". How do I know? Because Foot Village ensure to tell us, in the song, that it is the MP3 version. So...there.
Ever danced a samba with the devil? Ever moshed to Lucifer's loose ska? Ever jigged with Satan's Orkestar while his guitar wielding noise minions shredded your face?
No, neither have I, but I think Liverpool's Stig Noise MMX are treading on the Dark One's toes. I was witness to this raucous depravity of a live set when Stig Noise MMX supported Bletchley's finest, Action Beat, at the Macbeth a couple of weeks back. Live it is insane massive screaming noise - recorded its like be toyed with. Driving rhythms and brass push intense, experimental hooks ever onwards, changing pace and direction on whim. You'll dance like a puppet on strings made of sick brutal joy slime. This band has more ideas and twisted fun in one set than most bands manage in a lifetime, its great stuff.
Stig Noise MMX also have a healthy DIY edge, seemingly only recording splits or Vs with other bands. Their current split 12" with Barberos can be downloaded here for only £3, or you can order the 12" here. Its a must and its meager five tracks are enough to have kept me happy for weeks.
Stig Noise MMX - Streetcow.Stigg
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Way back in the barmy warmish days of May when summer was looming like a fuzzy giant on a distant soft horizon, we dropped the debut single from the LA/Montreal shoegaze pop spinners No Joy. Now the duo have a long player, Ghost Blonde, due out in November on Mexican Summer. Below is a new taste from said album, 'Heedless', and just to prove that these kids really do move with the seasons 'Heedless' sports a subtle harder edge to their sound, a blissful din like a cold snap biting at your sleeve reminding that the September nights are drawing in. Pre-order it here.
No Joy - Heedless
I've been sitting on this post so long its practically on the verge of evolving...
Back in August on one of my lunchtime trips down to Ladbroke Grove to hunt vinyl with my mate Joel (Intoxica is my favorite haunt), I picked up this stupidly limited 12" by Austin's When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth from Rough Trade West (I prefer West, reminds me of the old Rough Trade shop).
Super limited to 100 copies, out on Black Labs (an off shoot to Riot Season), When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth's third L.P Peaced signals a bit of a move on for the now five-piece. The band have seemed to take a free-form turn towards noise, drenching their early work in swamp like reverb and swathes of static, rhythm, and chaos. Nice to see a band plunging head first into mess rather than clean up their act, its a dream. I couldn't put it better than the band in their own words...
"This album was recorded in our practice space in the month of April 2010. We were very drunk, and very stoned. We've recorded quite a bit of stuff before, but this recording actually captures realistically what we do and how we do it. Cheap, loud, and drunk."
You can still pick up a copy direct here, I think, taste below.
When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth - Closet Athlete
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Ive avoided the incessant hype that has built like a malevolent and impenetrable fugue around Daniel Lopatin. Oh sorry - Oneohtrix Point Never. Or as I have said on a number of times (and im sure it was drunkenly and unimaginatively too...) Oneohtrix Point Whatever...
But this is it. I have avoided the hype, because I havent listened to him. Nup. Not one second of his work has entered my ears. So its easy to write someone off when you live under a rock. And I was quite happy with that.
But half an hour ago I heard 'Returnal' from his latest LP of same name, as reworked by Lapotin and Antony Hegarty. Now Antony (usually with his Johnsons) has never grabbed me either, although I have never been naive enough to ignore this man's innate vocal delivery, let alone to admit it is anything other than transcendental. That said - his music just doesn't appeal to me. For whatever reason, I put him in the same box as Jeff Buckley - great voice, liked (woulda liked) him as a kid, but now its beyond the realm of my senses... But here, a massive reinterpretation on the original, 'Returnal' takes on a dark, plaintive tone due to the sparseness of composition - only Lapotin's piano strokes and Hegarty's silken voice. The result? Magic. It truly is an electrifying ballad, something I didn't expect to hear, let alone like, let alone love. So it isnt standard Oneohtrix Point Never - the electronic glitches are kept to a minimum, mainly to denote crackles of an old track playing on a slightly dusty piece of black vinyl - but it is transfixing in its majesty. Im serious - this is an amazing track. Its been a good day...
Oneohtrix Point Never (feat Antony Hegarty) - Returnal
I listen to a lot of music. Pretty much par for the course really. And its hard to keep track of an act or album or track when you have new stuff flooding the earwaves every day. So Im going to admit that I have done something terribly remiss - I forgot about Soars. I heard their track 'Throw Yourself Apart' a couple months ago over at Massachusetts based blog Clicky Clicky Music. It is really, really good. I was immediately struck with the notion that had Blonde Redhead, on the cusp of writing and recording Misery Is A Butterfly, listened to Loveless ad nauseum, they would have created something like this. Then I absolutely dropped the ball - I was kind creaming over Women and Puffy Areolas then (double entendres a plenty there...) - and Soars floated away...
But Jessi over at Goldest Egg wouldn't let me forget, and its to her eternal gratitude I must bow. For the Philly brooders have released their self-titled debut on La Societe Expeditionnaire, and Im gaga over it. Honestly, I like a lot of stuff, and champion a lot of stuff, cos there's a lot of rad stuff out there to be liked and championed. But for me, Soars is rocking up into position for one of 2010's top albums. Don't let this be a forgotten gem! The album literally does soar - hinging on dark delayed reverb heavy guitar lines that menacingly caress, made more beguiling by the distant yet achingly beautiful delivery by vocalist Chris Giordani. Can you hear Fever Ray? Can you hear Zola Jesus? This is atmospheric Gothic shoegaze.
A thing of dark beauty, Soars comes out October 5th - buy it through Chicago Independent.
Soars - Throw Yourself Apart
Soars - Escape On High
Monday, 20 September 2010
Well that didn't last long - so much for being back on it with the posts! 'Lame duck chained to a desk' springs to mind... Anyway, cos I've been missing the Friday cover-up posts like a neglectful parent, I thought a cover-up/reunion post twinage would be a good start. So on with it...
Back in May I got some news. It was like 2005 coming back to haunt like some kind of sick pop joke. Fuck-Off Machete, the Glasgow art-rock three-piece have got back together, there seems to be some gigs coming up in November, Glasgow's King Tuts Wah Wah Hut on November 27th is already in the bag...
Ok, it might not be the worlds most earth shattering reunion news but back in 2005 Fuck-Off Machete did put a cracker of a cover of Physical, on the b-side of 7" What's The Signal, plastering Madonna's track with their lively brand of female led, angular indie pop. So it seems a good come back cover-up. Here's hoping for some new Fuck-Off Machete material soon.
Fuck-Off Machete - Physical
Fuck-Off Machete - What's The Signal
NOTE: Im unable to put downloads on here for the time being, but you can download this track from Soundcloud. Keep your eyes peeled for the release of HAM1's LP too.
It's Only a Dream Unto Itself by Deus Ex Machina Publicity
First cab off the ranks this week is Sheffield's Firesuite. The boys sent us a newly finished track called 'Amity' - listen to the streamed song below, then go snavvle it from their bandcamp page. Firesuite have taken pleasure from the art of layering sound and melody as a forceful dynamic, building emotion and suspense towardsa a satisfying climax. Nothing sexual here (well, maybe for some...), just nice lush orchestration and ambience that surges forth to reveal its true nature.