Monday, 10 September 2012

Little Dreamers - Release The Kraken

It's the beginning of Spring, and it's getting ridiculous. I am writing more and more articles for various publications on top of putting on gigs, doing live reviews and my "day job" - and Sonic Masala is suffering a little as a consequence. My listening pile is overflowing - there is stuff here from May! So it's time for a bit of a cull. But before I do that, here are a bunch of tracks and releases from bands I've "discovered" over the past two and a half years that I think really deserve attention.

King Dude blew me away with his Gothic country-folk dirge on My Beloved Guest and Tonight's Special Death (out through the great Bathetic label). Since then the Seattle native has kept the ball rolling with another great LP entitled Love and a 7" release. He is showing no signs of slowing down either, with the imminent release of his next LP Burning Daylight on Dias in October. Really looking forward to this one, he is an underground cult figure of his own invention, and Im waiting for the exact moment when the penny drops and everyone realises how much of a genius he is.

King Dude - Jesus In The Courtyard

Sheffield nutbars Best Friends had a rad EP earlier this year called Throwing Up, and they have kept vomiting breakneck hits since. They put out a track with a grafittied (I think...) photo of Edward Furlong called 'If you think too much your brain will fall out', a single ('Surf Bitches') is coming out under the Too Pure Singles Club (an intiative that's seeing Aussie brats Step-Panther put out a 7" on too), and have a cassette split with Grazes in tow. You can listen to all and sundry below. A great little band, I think you'd agree. They are touring around the UK as we speak, popping into London's Old Blue Last this Friday. GET THERE!

Best Friends - If You Think Too Much Your Brain Will Fall Out

Brooklyn/San Fran collective Bad Bibles had a deliciously dark EP out in January, and have returned armed with 'Nearsighted'. Continuing with the tarot card imagery and post-punk skewered roiling and toiling, these guys sound like they are only just now finding their feet. This track is a big leap forward.

Bad Bibles - Nearsighted

Honey were throwing their shoegaze sounds around last year, and I quite liked it. Emphasis on the were, because they have just changed their name to The Early Morning Satellites. But they released an EP Fantasist before the changeover, and it's a doozie. Sonorous shoegaze, you had me at noisy and sexy as all hell.

Honey - Fantasist
Honey - Cape Canaveral

Mrs Magician brought out the There Is No God 7" (the titular track is SOOOOOO awesome!), which I really enjoyed - but their debut record and I didn't know about it??? The shame! Furthermore its out on the excellent Swami Records. Strange Heaven sees the San Diego band in fantastic form, so much better in less than 12 months, and the album has had to be repressed so people must be lapping it up, which is excellent news. Listen to it below, then pick it up here.

Mrs Magician - There Is No God

Minneapolis outfit Phantom Vibration had a great warbled pop EP in Kids back in 2011, followed it up with the great Growing Up and are now here with third extended player Aged. Ah, continuity, hey? You need to get it all and play it in chronological order. Love the last track in particular. Grab all three here.

Phantom Vibration - River Rock

Yeesh really blew me away with their Little Stabs At Happiness cassette, and here is the first taste of new material, verbose silly title and all. It's big emotive rawk with the requisite twist in the tail. I can't wait to hear what comes next.

Yeesh - Because Johnny Depp Always Wanted To Be A Rockstar, And Because I Always Wanted To Be Johnny Depp

I hammered on about the eclectic, electric brutality of LA's Wreck & Reference, and a little while back they upped the ante with No Youth. At times obtuse, at others bludgeoning, and with some spaciousness in between, the ten tracks on offer really are wrestling with demons the likes you nor I have ever witnessed, nor would want to. I'm not sure this is a record I could put on all the time, but when it clicks - prepare yourself for a industrial flaying.

Wreck & Reference - Nausea
Wreck & Reference - The Solstitial

Dogson, LA enigma Plant Magic Man's collection of recordings from 2008-2010, was an interesting exercise in tape-warped hypnagogic malaise. A plethora of releases later, and nothing much has changed on new EP Groo. Whoever this is, they keep as low a profile as possible, which adds to the mystique but also frustration. I want more damn you! Have at all of Plant Magic Man's releases here.

Plant Magic Man - I'm At War

Ann Arbor duo Dreampeter haven't had much new on the move (other than the Boneglow/Delusions split, which is basically Dreampeter in their solo guises) since they released 'Mason Jar' last year, but there is this deliciously warped track 'Bluebeard'. Makes me remember why I was enamoured with these dudes in the first place - hell, it's dedicated to Kurt Vonnegut! Good stuff indeed.

Dreampeter - Bluebeard

Now for some haunting folk from the UK, jah? The Skeleton Dead are a duo who I really connected with, especially after my hasty departure from the UK. At the end of my stay I was staying at my girlfriend's house, and her housemate was in love with cooking, hash and Mark Kozalek. Three great things to be in love with. I got to see Kozalek earlier this year, which was lovely, but back to the story. The Skeleton Dead's self titled LP came into my inbox at this time and slipped seamlessly into the fold. Recently they released Two Days In February, two tracks written and recorded in the winter just fled (well it was the beginning of the year for these guys), and hearing these tracks reminds me of those times. Cold, warm inside, drinking ale and smoking cigarettes in the snow, roast chicken and puppy dogs at the Coach & Horses, Bloody Mary's and cracked ice. Strange, eclectic memories, but they warm the cockles.

The Skeleton Dead - True To Our Name
The Skeleton Dead - Life Goes On

After writing about Glenn Branca I received an email from a man from the Republic of Macedonia. His self-recorded pieces were guitar explorations that examined sinuous form and abrasive noise under the moniker fydhws were exciting. Now as Sferi, he has released a concept sound collage based on the 8 planets of the solar system, and it is - sorry - otherworldly. Ranging from space ambient/rock to psychedelia and drone music, Sound Of The Spheres is actually very impressive - see Sferi's explanation of it all here - and is an album you should definitely delve into, preferably with expensive headphones on...

Sferi - Merkur

Back to Brooklyn to see what Life Size Maps are up to. The trio have just launched Excavate, a five track EP that also marks a new lineup for the poppy noiseniks. They play around with Gary Numan-esque structure and 8-bit shenanigans, whilst still holding precariously onto the shoegaze shtick they first burst out with. Its a growing bliss bomb of a release, and promises much more on the horizon.

Now this one is only a stop-gap, as Im sure Ill be mentioning more about this release as it comes to hand. Yet Cambridge, Massachusetts trio Night Fruit, who brought the graceful Dark Horse 7" last year, have a new release that is preceding an album, it's called 'Human Touch', and it's bloody great. The music speaks for itself. Stay tuned!!

Night Fruit - Human Touch

Here is another artist you will hear more of soon. Guilty Ghosts AKA Tristan O'Donnell brought a great release in his self-titled debut in 2010, excellently followed up by last year's VEILS, but if 'All Flesh Is Grass' is anything to go by, his next EP Tresspasser will easily surpass them. I love this track, and Im pretty sure you will too. You can pre-order the EP here.

Guilty Ghosts - All Flesh Is Grass

And finally we have Thor AKA Just Another Snake Cult from Iceland, whose freak pop tapestries often defy expectation and categorisation. He has just finished a new EP of minimal electronic / dream pop material called Birds Carried your Song Through The Night. It actually took me a bit to warm to, but when these tracks sink in, its impressive. You can grab the release in cassette form here. Worth every penny, especially when the title track kicks in.

Just Another Snake Cult - Birds Carried Your Song Through The Night

Phew! Fly my pretties, fly! Well, they grow up so fast don't they?

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