Friday 30 July 2010

A field of Caribou

I'm off to Field Day tomorrow and Caribou, as always, is looking like a highlight and this brilliantly shot live vid, by Fay Buzzard, of the track Odessa at Heaven last month is a reminder of why.

Friday Cover Up - just dancing?

Despite my complete failure, again, to provide you with any heads up for yet another festival, 1234 the victim this time, this weeks Friday cover up comes courtesy of the Vivian Girls. Inspired by the trio's 1234 set, pics below, here's their cover of David Bowie's John, I'm Only Dancing. A perfect fit for cover up fun I'm sure you'll agree.

Vivian Girls - John, I'm Just Dancing

Shots after the drop...

Let the Sound Unwind

I actually don't know how I came to know about Unwound. There is no definitive timing; no event, person, place that comes to mind. I cant even place them in that 'strike of lightning' moment of giving a band a chance based on a piece of artwork, or a photograph, or a snippet of article or sound bite. I just heard their final album, Leaves Turn Inside You, at some stage, somewhere, under muffled tones earlier this year, and now it is my current soundtrack.

Unwound were a noise band from Washington, existing for about a decade before dissolving in 2002. A mainstay of Kill Rock Stars, Unwound continued to redefine their sound throughout each release, something I have only come to realise in the past week as I hunt down their previous musical departures. Of course, having heard Leaves Turn Inside You makes that the watershed album for me, and the benchmark for all following albums, but its true to say that Unwound are an unheralded act, their angular attack on guitar rock at once a notion of its time and place within a 'scene', emblematic of an aggressive collective outlook on music that mirrored that of their forebears and able-minded peers (anywhere from Sonic Youth to Fugazi/Minor Threat to Shellac to Drive Like Jehu to Gang Of Four - traversing a number of genres whilst sticking steadfastly to 'louder is more'), and unique to the point of being criminally undervalued and ignored. Furthermore, it makes me wonder if these types of bands will ever exist again - truly agressive, angular guitar rock... And yet their legacy does live on through devoted kudos given by the likes of ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead and Cave In. This 3-piece should be listened to, ad nauseum, post haste. Thus it is my pick of the day, week, and month.

Here are a list of reviews for Leaves Turn Inside You, and a few tracks to cut your teeth on. Sincerely, get this album. It is fucking amazing. A true album's album - not as post-hardcore as previous offerings, but a fully immersive effort, I can't say enough about this album

Unwound - Off This Century
Unwound - Scarlette

And, just to diversify, here's a track from their 1996 album, Repetition. Every album is different, every album rules. I can't say enough about this band.

Unwound - For Your Entertainment

Hidden No Longer

Another email, another gem. This comes from solo artist Joseph Scott, whose EP You Keep Me Hidden is a compartmentalised prism of electronic sound - each of the four songs a glass room of noise that captures a texture, that when combines offers up a whole of Scott's parts. There is melancholia and hope enmeshed in a M86 atmosphere that makes it at once accessible and impenetrable. By Scott's own admission he's immersed himself in the disparate waters of Lou Reed, John Coltrane, and Thurston Moore, with the histrionics of dance music the intrinsic factor that links them all.

So what does it all add up to? One hell of an intriguing listen, with the ambient sensibilities at odds with the frenetic soundbites that rise around it. Definitely warranting a wider audience at the very least. See what you think, and leave your comments at the door.

Joseph Scott - Celeste

In Between Days For Not Much Longer

Superchunk have taken their sweet arse time to follow up 2002's great power-pop treat Here's To Shutting Up, but they are about to do just that, with new LP Majesty Shredding out via Merge in just over a month (September 14 to be exact). We have highlighted the lead single, but here's something that will get Chunk-ites into a further feeding frenzy. The quartet headed over to the AV Club, covering The Cure's 'In Between Days' and rocking it royally for good measure.

Superchunk - In Between Days (The Cure cover)

Thursday 29 July 2010

Parting With The Chimp?

Its been a hectic week for me - and will be a hectic month, and none of it in a good way - so even though the posts come thick and fast, a few slip through the keeper. One I really meant to do was to promote a gig thats on tonight at the Luminaire - twas meant to be a TODD headliner, but now the honours go to Rock Action stalwarts Part Chimp, ably supported by Sloath and the aforementioned very exciting up and comers Gum Takes Tooth. Its going to be a loud one for all you noise fantasists out there, but is somewhat special for a rather sad reason. Rumour has it that Part Chimp are parting ways come year's end. This is a massively sad state of affairs, and Ill try to find out more. But in the meantime, this is a song that a few of my friends really enjoy, and get yourself down there, 8 squid on the door.

Part Chimp - 30 Billion People

GRAND SALE!!!! MEGALO MEGALO MEGALO!!! And other polyester product placements...

An act that are thrashing their way around the dirty backwater dives of Melbourne is Franco Cozzo. These terrorists pulled their moniker from an Italian/Australian businessman, self made, self funded - including the advertisements... These guys have nothing in common, other than being self made and for being loud. They certainly aren't making squillions, but what they are making is a bloodied porridge of noise pastiches that homage many bands of yore and of now - there is as much early Sonic Youth as there is current My Disco in their short bursts of violent static electricity. Its always threatening to fall apart, to implode, and yet somehow stays afloat on the raging black seas, holding your head under water just long enough to see black spots before allowing you to breathe again. I hope they keep at it - its great.

Franco Cozzo - Passionfruit of the Christ
Franco Cozzo - Debbie Rochon & the Tunnel of Love
Franco Cozzo - ####

Desperate Times Calls for Desperate Folk

Got an email from Michael over at The Decibel Tolls, extolling (ah, sorry...) the virtues of one of his 'peeps' (AKA pushing the wares of one of his label charges), J Irvin Dally. I had a quick perusal of the Decibel Tolls write-up, and was suitably impressed...until I read the similar bands section. Fairport Convention are never going to be filling my top 10, 20, 50, 100 bands of all time - they're ok, but loads are better in my opinion. So to pin the hopes of success on a 'nothing' band was a little offputting, especially as another band, The Incredible String Band, whilst good, arent exactly somthing to excite the massess either (again strictly my opinion - which is always right).

But Michael hassled me, so i listened to the Despistado EP thats hitting any second now - and it is great. Really really good. Think freakonica - think the inevitable Animal Collective comparisons, think jazzed up Jim James, but toned down with a more down home twang. I cant agree more when stated that Dally's gear sounds like Devendra Banhart before he found Jesus in the bright light that is celebdom. But even that is something of a disservice, as Despistado has its own iconic feel, bereft of flounce and flair, ponce and parading about. This mild-mannered multi-instrumentalist has instead crafted a delightful EP that is so intellegent with its structure, the way in which the field sounds, the electronics, the rattling bottles, weave in with Dally's soaring vocals and surreptitious finger pickings to create a pastiche of SoCal desert meanderings so sweet that a cup of salt might be all it takes to bring you back to earth.

I am very impressed with this stuff. And believe you me that if Sonic Masala had a label up and running instead of in the beer clouded dreamstates of not so much reality, we'd be snatching this guy up pronto. As it stands, Michael's Crash Avenue Publicity is looking after him, so get in touch big wigs. Enough of the self-professed genuises and give a real one a crack - it might make the world a better place.

J Irvin Dally - Salt Water
J Irvin Dally - Brasil (Adelir de Carli)

Drum Eyes Wide Open

I think I've now seen Drum Eyes live, I think, but Gira Gira is the first time that I've had the pleasure of really listening properly to the insane creative maelstrom that is DJ Scotch Egg's Drum Eyes, and frankly that's a crime I should pay a heavy toll for. When I've seen Drum Eyes they've been playing a supporting role and they've been supporting some big hitters, Lightning Bolt for example, and at the time I must admit I was a touch distracted by the great masks drum god himself, but enough of my short comings, Gira Gira...

Out on Upset the Rhythm, (who else?) Gira Gira is frankly a twisted and ridiculous record, throwing nearly everything from krautrock, to punk, to ambience, to thrash, and back again, into melting pot of doom laden insanity. You could tell me that every one of the six slices of craziness on this L.P was by a different band and I would completely believe you. But at the same time it works solely as a whole, creating one twisted all consuming musical beast, that will leave your brain a frazzled mess demanding more. It rockets straight to my top ten of the year. I'm not sure I'll survive repeated listens for others to challenge it. A must.

Woven Bones Make Dulcet Tones @ Insound Thrones

Woven Bones released a very impressive debut LP this year after threatening to destroy via a series of smaller releases over the past 12 months. In And Out And Back Again had everything you expect from them (and HoZaC Records to be honest) - their iridescent hazy pop grime smashes through your defences, seducing you, defiling you, then leaving you in quick succession with nothing but a ringing in your ears left behind.

Well, the folks over at Insound Studios let us in on their recent session they did with the Texans when they roared into NYC recently on their continued long distance trawl through the US, playing with the likes of Happy Birthday, Woodsman, Crocodiles and a little band called Pavement...

And just to add to the saliva already forging forth over the crest of your lips, here's a new Woven Bones track!

Woven Bones - Wanna Tell Ya

Common, Rough, Black Tambourine

Brendan posted about Whirl recently, a softer sided shoegaze slice, and with all the rough around the edges garage pop kicking about I couldnt help but be reminded of Black Tambourine, the influential indie-pop band form the early 90s. It probably also helped jog my memory that Slumberland Records put out a new compilation, self titled Black Tambourine, back in March. Considering the band only ever put a small handful of releases in their day, its an extensive overview of the short but influential life span of the band and even includes new additions to 1999's Complete Recordings. So next time you're listening to a new band high on a feedback-enshrouded collision of blissed out noise and pop, aka Vivian Girls, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Wavves or Dum Dum Girls, just remember that these bands owe at least a nod or two to Black Tambourine... oh, and probably The Vaselines too, but who's counting!

Black Tambourine - For Ex-Lovers Only
Black Tambourine - Throw Aggi Off The Bridge
Black Tambourine - Pack You Up

Check the priceless Super-8 footage below, shot by Daniel Searing Jr back in the day, at the band's WMUC radio session, 1990, and just to prove a point the Dum Dum Girls cover of Throw Aggi Off The Bridge.

Black Tambourine "For Ex-Lovers Only" from Slumberland Records on Vimeo.

Dum Dum Girls - Throw Aggi Off The Bridge

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Black Mountain Let Down Their Hair

Another cut off Black Mountain's forthcoming LP Wilderness Heart, entitled 'The Hair Song'. I have a feeling there will be a great number of people who wont enjoy this one - this has much more of the fuzzy country rock vibe than the psychedelia that the Canadians are more reknowned for. Maybe Lightning Dust and Pink Mountaintops, the band's other projects, are enforcing themselves more wholeheartedly on this trip? Anyway, some one mentioned The Black Crowes when I played this for em, and whilst that is somewhat accurate, I dont think it is a derogatory thing. Anyway, I think its rollicking, and here it is for you to make your own call. Wilderness Heart comes out in September via Jagjaguwar. And don't forget the gig featuring Black Mountain and the Black Angels in October!!!

Black Mountain - The Hair Song

They Shoot Strangers, Don't They?

I was lamenting the lack of new material A Place To Bury Strangers had put out of recent times, mainly cos I love em and was in dire need of a fix that wasn't remix related. Well, Michael over at Austrian videoblog They Shoot Music, Don't They? has shot us an email about the acoustic work they did with the noiseniks, one of the songs which you can watch below. Very interesting, a stripped back version of these songs wouldnt appear to work normally, but it does here...

Post Rock Custom Made From Korea

Frenzy - not the most imaginative name in the world, but still - they are a band from South Korea that are thrashing out instrumental noise and are railing against their captive northern brethren through sonic weaponry (presumably...) They have just released an album, Nein Songs, that has moments of true genius. Again, when you take a frontal guitar assault on post rock, there are limited avenues that one can take and make their own. Therefore Frenzy run the risk of being cast off as being too Mono or too Explosions in their delivery (I havent placed Mogwai in here as I feel that no one has amply offered a sonic equivalent - nay, even an imitation - of their sound palette - but I am incredibly biased), and unless you have something new to bring to the table, beware...

However, I am a massive advocate for instrumental music in general, and rock in particular, and much can still be gleaned from Frenzy. 'Lily' is a slowburner with elegant moments, '안녕' is understated in its modest math rock rhythms, and songs like 'Sundance' and '소멸하는 밤 Part.2' offer some searing walls of sound and distortion that washes over you in such a way that rather than be deafened, it clears your mind to take in the quieter, more uplifting elements of the tracks.

Nein Songs is out now through TuneTable.

Frenzy - 소멸하는 밤 Part.2

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Rare Grooves = Maximum Wattage

Got an email last week from Andrew of Papermade Records about these guys. Rare Grooves is the collective works of Danny, Tabor and Chris. They used to be called The Widow Babies. They pump out syncopated beats, twanging guitar lines, slacker ranted vocals, and a strong sense of how to create a slow-burn rock sound. They are releasing a 7" called Cause For Concern. The bass lines have been pumped out by none other than perennial musical workhorse Mike Watt. The two songs that fill out the 7" run into each other beautifully, so much so that I have been playing them back to back, over and over, since putting it on - half an hour ago. Buy it now for $5. Its very rad. Fin.

Rare Grooves - Cause For Concern
Rare Grooves - No Garden

There Be Heathens...

Grinderman have their new album out in just under two months, and Ive told you and shown you the various bits of info that Nick Cave and his ill brethren have released thus far. Well, today we have their first single from the album, 'Heathen Child', for your listening displeasure. It has a different feel than its predecessor, but is no less squallid, diseased, filthy, and oh so seductive...

Heathen Child by MuteRecords

Foxy Doll parts

Italy's Kitsunetsuki are set to drop their debut single 'Doll To Doll' in September. Ive been reading as much about these guys as I can, but all I get on various blogs are their press release - which is goddamn lazy. So Ill give you a quick link to the track (below), and just say what I think - that they are quite good, that their name (which roughly stands for a human taking on the possessed state of a fox) is brilliant, and their influences - from Sonic Youth to My Bloody Valentine to Jesus & Mary Chain - are evident and welcomed. Furthermore, Marco Kitsune's Robert Smith-lite looks add some panache to their general 'look' - whether that's a good thing or not remains to be seen, although he can at least lay claim to hailing back to a younger, fresh-faced Smith rather than the Smith we've become accustomed to of late. They are planning some UK shows to support this, so that's exciting too. Check em out.

Doll To Doll - Kitsunetsuki by Sainted PR

Monday 26 July 2010

Autolux Supertoy Transit

A few weeks back I was speculating about the shape of the new Autolux album,  Transit Transit, and what direction would the much anticipated L.P might take? Well kids the wait is over with the first single, Supertoys, out today on ATP recording. There's and rather sweet looking limited 10" Coloured Vinyl vision too. Also below is the title track from the said L.P. Intriguing stuff, back to the good old days?

Autolux - Supertoys
Autolux - Transit Transit

Scottish mainstays release another slab of darkness

I only really have one experience with Arab Strap. When I lived in a small country town in Queensland, Australia, as a teenager, I remember seeing ther cover art for The Red Thread at the only music store (and a shit one at that) and being impressed, but not brave enough to buy on that aspect alone. I was yet to bloom musically, so would stick rigidly to what I knew.

About six years later I bought a Kingsbury Manx album based on its cover art, and whilst that wasn't the greatest success, it did remind me of that Arab Strap album. But once again, I shrugged my shoulders and moved on.

Fast forward to today, and the news that the Scottish institution known as Arab Strap have released a new track, 'Daughters of Darkness', for the box set Scenes Of A Sexual Nature. I like it a lot, and now that Chemikal Underground are reissuing their first two albums, now finally seems a good time to get depressed. Although I don't feel depressed when listening to this song...though I probably should. That's neither here nor there though - this song is amazing.

Arab Strap - Daughters of Darkness

And just in case you don't know it, this is the cover art that caught my attention all the way back in the 90s...

Anyone Up For Some Illegal Women?

I thought Id open the week with a blinder - but get in quick...

Im not sure how long we can keep this posted, but Im gonna have a stab at it anyway. A friend of mine (well, really an acquaintance - Ive only met him a couple times, even though we keep in semi-regular contact) in the US has handed me something that we at Sonic Masala are going to go apeshit over. Its the new Women album, Public Strain, which isnt due out until September. I think it emulates their scintillating and entirely underrated debut self-titled LP, if not supersedes it. We have already sampled with the closing track, 'Eyesore' - now just as a taster, here are two more tracks from the album. So awesome! And with cover art as displayed above, its going to be an important purchase - I pray that you are queuing with the rest of us!


Women - China Steps
Women - Drag Opens

Sunday 25 July 2010

Spectral Sisters Make A Lot Of Light Noise

Sisters are about to drop their debut LP Ghost Fits (Narnack Records, who have put out stuff for The Fall, Thee Oh Sees and Guitar Wolf, amongst others) late in September. The New York duo look set to continue on the snotty, boisterous ramshackle noise trail with this one, if sixth track 'Highway Scratch' is anything to go by. They certainly have a lot of fun banging pots and pans together, and want us in on the joke. Which is great. I like that bands like Sisters and Japandroids and their ilk can embrace the fun, the hilarity, the exuberance of being young, and somehow instil that into their songs, which then lands into your ear, regardless of ages, and lays eggs of youthful malaise, frivolity and angst into your brain.

Sisters - Highway Scratch

International salutation - interstellar communication

International Hello are tripped out sound sculptors who hail from California. Their loosely structured jams involve the obligatory guitar wig outs, but includes a lot of effects pedalling, squelching sounds and face melting mind fucks. With more than a twinge in their psych leanings towards the Japanese form, these guys manage to wring every last drop of warpedness out of their instruments, compress them into vinyl form and, with gloves firmly stamped onto hands, carefully place their radioactive produce onto the market, waiting with bated breath for the music world to go to DEFCON-5 over it all. It probably won't happen - but guaranteed that when you embrace this stuff, expect some Tardis-level altering of the space-time continuum. You have been warned. (Oh, and these guys are the remains of another psych group, Monoshock - check them out if you have a lick of sense).

International Hello - Someone's Coming

The self-titled LP is out now through Holy Mountain.

A preview of the new Zach Hill album

Drumming wunderkind Zach Hill (resurrect Hella, come on!) has been involved in anything and everything this year, as always, even finding time to be involved in the Boredoms' Boardrum exercise this year. Now he is bringing out his own album, Face Tat, out through Sargent House. We have to wait til October before it comes hurtling into our lives, so this vid for the fourth track off the LP, 'The Sacto Smile', is the best you can get right now. I don't know about you guys, but this girl scares the shit out of me - and Im totally in love.

Zach Hill - The Sacto Smile from Sargent House on Vimeo.

Saturday 24 July 2010

See Jesus Talking On Water!

Oh, the banshee/siren/beauty/devil that is Zola Jesus, how you have bewitched me with your spectral Gothic (note the big G?) breathings, screeching aural attacks and your brooding, seductive forms. You have me in thrall...

And now for three bits of topsy-turvy news. The first is that Souterain Transmissions has re-released her last EP Stridulum and added three new tracks, expounding the thematic content and thus creating an album length release, conveniently entitled Stridulum II, upon which you can find 'Sea Talk'. Its a European-only release. This song isn't necessarily 'new' - it can be found on her Tsar Bomba EP - but its been spit-shined and streamlined, and you can listen to the result below...

Secondly, Fucked Up are releasing the new section of their 12" series, Year Of The Ox, in September, which promises to feature a Zola Jesus appearance! Crazy but true. If you don't believe me, check out the streamed track here. (NB - this release deserves a post of its very own...BT)

And finally, the woman also known as Nika Rosa Danilova is plaguing London on September 1st at Camp Basement. Why does that date sound familiar, you ask? Because Women are playing the same night, that's why! Gah! Well, before you submerge yourself in the tepid bathtub water and wield that razor, she has been announced as the support act for Fever Rray - which for me has freed me up no end! What a Saturday morning, eh? Now to head off to 1234...

Zola Jesus - Sea Talk

An A to Z of 123...4

Paul alluded to promises unfulfilled when in his Bitches post he stated thatit was the first in a series of 1234 Shoreditch Festival preview posts. Nothing else has cropped up. So as I prepare for the festival (which you can still get tickets too - chase em down and get out there!) I thought Id live up to the SM bargain, and give you a full alphabetical taste of whats going down in Shoreditch town...

A - Action Beat. The self-proclaimed 'Noise Band From Bletchley' will be on at 1.30pm, ready to take apart all comers in a blitzkrieg of flailing arms and building kicks (thank you Terry Crewes) that will decimate the countryside...just in time for a trip to the bar.

B - Bitches/Bo Ningen. Bitches has already been previewed, so Im heading with Bo Ningen, Japanese prog punk banshees complete with long hair, wild actions and deafening sounds. They supported Pulled Apart By Horses and morethan held their own, so this will be impressive...

C - Civil Civic. The Aussie-via Barca and London duo will serve a hot noise palette that is going to titillate as much as it tortures, seduce as much as it serrates, that you will feel dirty, abused - and that you will never get it better.

D - Dark Horses. These guys are an anomaly, but have an undeniable hook - Lisa Elle. She has an amazing, amazing voice, that can call across the chasm and draw forth such beauty and such darkness in equal measures. With current social touchstones including The Kills, this may be a special part of the day that you will neck yourself over if you pass it up.

E - El Paso/Electricity Showrooms. Two of the venues that are holding afterparties, these two host disparate and yet very cool activities - El Paso with the likes of Not Cool and Bitches will rock the wee hours, while ES has DJs spinning all kinds of hard, ferocious, thrashy rock that you can think of. And all for the 1234 crowd and nobody else...

F - Fucked Up. Obvious one. Headliners of the festival. Aftershow party at Hoxton Bar and Grill. Fucking awesome hardcore act. Been hanging with the ever so hot n amazing Zola Jesus. Just see them, ok?

G - fuck, I knew Id hit a snag, and Im sure Ill hit more. So for now Ill say...Grolsch/Gaymers. Because alcohol is almost a bigger necessity than music today...

H - Human Hair. With members of Lovvers in the mix, fighting hard to offer discordant beats with Fall-esque banter, these guys should be a sight to behold. I haven't heard a single thing - so they might be shit. But we'll see. Vice are behind them. Which means they are good, are so tragically hip that half way through the set they'll disappear up their own arseholes. Yes, we will see...

I - Invasion. Saw these guys once. Thought it was funny. Heavy metal with Dio elements (their idea, not mine), Im still not sure how serious it all is. And after a few brews, I wont care.

J - Jagermeister. As one of the official sponsors of the Festival it was an easy choice. As one of the unofficial sponsors of Sonic Masala, it was a no brainer.

K - Kill The Dandies! These Czech garage rockers promise to be very loud, giving us Cramps before we float on down into a Velvet Underground. They claim to be nihilists and yet have a sickly sweet toxicity to them that is hard to resist. Definitely ones to keep an eye out for.

L - LA Shark. Not sure if Im happy adding these - this New Cross band comes across a little try-hardy. But they may be fun for a Saturday afternoon...and I didnt want to give props to Lee Denim, another sponsor. Oh shit, I just kinda did...Free jeans then, ok? (NB - just listened to Le Volume Courbe - I wish Id done that before the previous comments - she is pretty amazing...)

M - I think Ill go with Mazes. Being very cryptic, they offer that they are meant to be a duo, are often a three piece, and sometimes a singular entity. Their music on Myspace has my interest piqued.

N - No Cars/Not Cool. Ive seen both acts, and they're both fun. nuff said.

O - O is for... optical brilliance? I don't know...

P - Peter Hook. Joy Division's (and later, New Order) bassist, Hook is revisiting Joy Division's seminal 1979 album Unknown Pleasures. Im not sure what will happen here, but unbridled excitement is the key...

Q - the Q I had for this was Queens of Noize - but they kinda suck, as in they are too interested in their own smugness for their own good. So Q is for Quick - get a goddamn ticket and get there! You have 2 and a bit hours...

R - I guess Rolo Tomassi? They are getting a lot of exposure at the present minute. Im not sure about these guys, but they give it their all, so it might prove to be a festival impression.

S - Spectrals/Still Corners. Spectrals are pretty cool; Still Corners are nice fuzzy popsters that had a single on Pitchfork...and are friends of friends. Gotta give props when they're due...

T - too many to mention! These New Puritans, The Silver Machine (a ridiculous super group including members of Primal Scream, Sex Pistols, and the Who doing covers), The Eyes In The Heat... All worthy.

U - Ulpa, hailing from Iceland, create experimental rock that looks to be a hell of a lot of fun...

V - Vivian Girls/Veronica Falls. Both massively hyped bands, both I am yet to see. Im wary of VG - as I do not like Dum Dum Girls anymore (hence no entry at D...), although they may impress. Veronica Falls have been putting in the hard yards, as they play everywhere and are touted by Upset The Rhythm. Worth checking out.

W - Wavves. This is a no brainer. Paul and I have tried to see them since about May last year, or even earlier. Old Blue Last was sold out - ended up at 93 Feet East watching The Vivians, thinking we were going to see the Vivian Girls - The Vivians are the worst band Ive seen in two years, hands down. SO Nathan Williams has a lot to make up for...and Im pretty sure he'll do the job.

XYZ - stands for the end of the night. Who knows what will happen. All i know is that it will be a rad day - and its all in the city! And all for a 20 note (or cheaper if you were on the money...) So hopefully you are convinced - so get there!

Friday 23 July 2010

No More Sitting In The Waiting Room

A three-peat of old-school bands that fucking rock - and here, Sara and I are in total agreement.

Nothing has to be said about Fugazi, the DC quartet that are one of THE best bands ever to walk this earth. The post is here because the guys have just announced that they are about to immerse the world's collective ear with gazillions of recorded live performances over their entire career. Dischord will update us all when its ready to be unleashed onto the world - which will be a matter of months. This is even bigger news than Wire (actually, much much MUCH bigger)... but make sure you take part in the live series that already can be partaken... Brilliant. Brilliant.


Fugazi - Waiting Room
Fugazi - Cashout

Still Clean After All These Years

Now for a post about a band that heavily impressed my sister heavily, just to even out the balance...

The Clean have been around since 1978, banging out their influential indie rock in Dunedin, New Zealand. They are responsible for floating the Titanic that is Flying Nun Records, put out some amazing music, disbanding and reforming time and again, influencing bands as diverse as Pavement and Yo La Tengo...they are an Antipodean - nay, a global - institution. They released a new album, Mister Pop, last year, but chase down their Anthology archive first - nothing short of amazing.

And they are back! They are touring heavily, and Sara caught them at both Pavement's curated ATP and Primavera. They are an amazingly approachable bunch - kinda like what you imagine your dad would be like if he was in a band. Tally-ho!

The Clean - Tallyho

New Wire In The Blood

Despite what my sister may think, I think Wire are pretty awesome. Sara likes Wire on record, but her assessment of their Primavera performance was less than underwhelming. However, they were one of the first bands I saw when I arrived in the UK, headling the Saturday night of 2008's Offset Festival, and they were brilliant. So I still get excited about any and all news about them - past, present and/or future.

So two itty bitty news bites piqued my interest.

Firstly, they have made available a vast array of bootleg material legally accessible (through their Pinkflag label), as well as reissuing their 2002 comeback album Send, as Send:Ultimate, which features rare material like the 12 Times U vinyl-only collector's item tracks, the unreleased track "DJ Fuckoff," plus alternate and album tracks from the two out-of-print Read and Burn EPs that didn't make it onto the original Send.

Secondly, the rumours persist that Wire will put out new material very soon - if not by Christmas, then in the shadow of the New Year. So get amongst the amazing performances (that probably dont include the aforementioned Primavera experience), and reminisce.

Wire - Fragile
Wire - Champs
Wire - Heartbeat

Thursday 22 July 2010

Pet Cemetery

I wrote about an act a couple months ago, Craft Spells. Well, when asked recently about his favourite band, he mentioned that they made him want to drink heavily and go on a rampage fucking shit up.

That band that caused such wanton destruction was Ghost Animal.

From the blazing sun soaked climes of LA, Ghost Animal are another two-piece drenching everything they can find with scuzz, fuzz, buzz and other shit that ends in uzz. The music sounds like a hell of a lot of fun. Not all the songs on the latest EP sound great - and 'In Your Room' has a little too much 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' for comfort - but it is the nuances that comes with some of Ghost Animal that sets them apart. Like the urgent, eerie psychedelia inherent in 'In Shrouds', or the Japandriods-like notion of incessant fun at all costs in the genetic makeup of most of their other tracks.

Ghost Animal - In Shrouds
Ghost Animal - Some Other Time

Revival of cox

 I'm only posting this track 'cos other blogs have already. There you go, layed it on the line. I'm sure by now that your aware that Deerhunter have a new album coming out in September entitled Halycon Digest, out on 4AD, and you may be aware of the 'send in a photo of you with the Deerhunter post-punk style fly' style launch tactics, website here. I for one thought it was a nice touch on the part of Mr Bradford Cox, design aesthetics and music go hand in hand in my world. Any way if you took part and did send in snap of your self with the flyer then, like me, you've been receiving emails with info about the new album, Halycon Digest, over the past couple of weeks, like the track list below...

But lets face it, we that made sent in snaps just wanted a track to reward our efforts. So here it is and it doesn't matter that I'm going behind the bands back 'cos you've already made the effort your self and sent in your own photo, haven't you? And hence why you already have the digital 7" Revival and have no need to download it from the link below. Promise?

Deerhunter - Revival

Halycon Digest track list:

Don't Cry
Memory Boy
Desire Lines
Basement Scene
Fountain Stairs
He Would Have Laughed

p.s of course the b-side Primitive 3D is a real gem too and well worth the effort of tacking one photo, and no I wont post it.

We Are Librarians

I thought Id squirt out a quick post about a band in Brisbane that's probably flown under your radar. In fact, LIBRARIANS have flown under everyone's radar. This is possibly due to the fact that they are so amazing they are physically, psychically and aurally invisible...or that they are yet to release anything, or even play a gig. Im gonna go with the former...?

LIBRARIANS is the afterbirth of Matty and Spandy, two dudes from opposite sides of the Atlantic that met in a rundown dairy, skimming flat stones off the surface of unprocessed, unpasteurised milk. It may have had a thick film over it, so technically the stones bounced rather than skimmed, but irregardless, an unholy matrimony was born. The guys make noise with synths, effects, guitars, and other stuff. Its pretty good. They, on the other hand, are not.

Let us at Sonic Masala know what you think...

Librarians - Heroine Goes To Thailand...She Fail

Dark Side Of The Sun

I had a brief chat with Will Weber yesterday which reap some rather glorious rewards...

Will Weber's alias is Sunspots. He is not a superhero (well, not that he's told me); instead he is a bedroom weaver of psychedelic dreams. He comes from a really great scene growing in Athens, Georgia. Not that Athens hasn't always had a nice scene... Recording since High School, somewhere along the line he got into psychedelic music. Each song is shaped by the resources at hand as much as any active attempts on his part to make them adhere to some specific idea and as a result there is a very nice connection between the songs in a live setting and the songs recorded. The live/recorded versions of the songs are each extensions of one another. The emphasis on the recordings leans into aesthetic territory while the live songs tend to lean towards high energy. To help bridge the gap between the two sometimes a loop pedal or a computer is utilised. He is currently working on recruiting some really talented musicians to turn Sunspots into a more collaborative effort in the future.

At a show you should expect two drummers, trumpets, synths, guitars, and perhaps a mask or two.

As for future releases, expect a 5 song Sunspots Ep by September. An album is in the works also...

Oh and the state is trying to prosecute Weber for possession of mushrooms. What a country eh?

Sunspots - Special Secrets

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Secret Abuse of your soul

All the noise stuff that's popped up SM recently got me thinking about the single man noise scape builder Jeff Witscher, better know as Secret Abuse. I guess Secret Abuse would fall under the Drone-noise remit but for me Secret Abuse has always been about building atmospheres and soundscapes, and then drowning them all under a sea of haunting noise. The man makes epic stuff. The 2008 L.P Violent Narcissus, on Not Not Fun, was some of Witscher's best work in my opinion, it had a more vicious edge to it, and although last year's The Immeasurable Gift explored new frontiers I still always find my self drawn back to one track Fly Away to Greater Pig Shit. It's vast sound scape of a song that builds to its own final destruction, like watching the on rush of nuclear fall out whilst standing in a perfect field flowers, kissed by a summer breeze. Total claim before the final storm. Personally I find cleansing, but then I would.

Secret Abuse - Fly Away to Greater Pig Shit

Resurrection of the Devil

Murder City Devils are a Seattle band that did nothing by halves. Punch-ups, flammable liquids, spit, sweat, a bit of music - MCD gave it their all. And when they imploded back in 2001, spreading out to the likes of Modest Mouse and Pretty Girls Make Graves, especially with the success these bands had, it appeared that the whiskey-drenched dream was over.

But the devil never dies, and the guys have been playing around the traps for some time, on and off. Now I can give news that not only are the boys back together for a bit more than just a couple of gigs, lining up three national tours, but there's rumours of new material to boot! This is fucking amazing news - Murder City Devils are one of the best bands EVER. They are unheralded in their bruising organ-led rock n roll, and they are about to take you all down to their own level of hell.

Murder City Devils - Idle Hands

Murder City Devils - Rum To Whiskey
Murder City Devils - Midnight Service In The Mutter Museum


Making Friends From Enemies

Enemies. We all have em, whether we like it or not. Mine has to be the 60 year old lady two blocks away who always hits my shins with her stroller, takes the red pepper I had my eye on, and smells like formaldehyde.

And now there's more to add to the mix. The Irish math/post rock act Enemies have just released We've Been Talking, and whilst it doesn't hold any of that raw power and brute energy that compatriots And So I Watch You From Afar have when they step up to the plate (although there may be some rubbing of shoulders if you listen to the late breakdown of 'Nag Champa'), there are some nice curveballs, such as the slight moment of respite in the middle of 'Fierce Pit Bosses' or the growing intensity of 'Gingerly'. It has a wiry enthusiasm all its own, and would be electrifying live.

Enemies aren't making to tour the UK just yet, focusing instead on their homeland and Japan (huh?), but expect these guys to be giving you wedgies, wet willies and stealing your lunch money in the very near future - if not tripping you over in your attempt to get to the self-serve aisle at Tesco's... I really don't like that old lady...hag...

Enemies - Backaches & Cardigans
Enemies - Nag Champa

Interview - Fuji Kureta

This is a monumental post for Sonic Masala - our first interview! I caught up with Şahin Kureta from Turkish electro moodists Fuji Kureta to discuss some of the more interesting facets of the band.

(NB - this is literally my first interview, so my skills are quite lacking. That said I feel that it went ok - Şahin was happy with it at least! BT)

SONIC MASALA - I have to say that after you got into contact with us, I tried to search for all and any info on you - and it was a difficult task! Is this a deliberate ploy, to keep a mystique surrounding the band? Or is it just an English language breakdown?

ŞAHIN KURETA - Nothing deliberate actually, it must be an English breakdown. On the contrary, we are very willing to have our name everywhere on the Internet; so that more and more people would listen to our songs. Actually in German, Slovakian, Croatian, French and of course Turkish language there are some info about us.

SM - What caught me off-guard about your music on first listen was the bilingual nature of the lyrics. What is the main purpose of mixing up the languages used in each song?

Kureta - Because we are trying to reach everyone around the world, so we need to write our songs in English, but Deniz lived in France for 9 years and she likes to write lyrics in French. So we have songs in both languages. Maybe one day we will even write a song in Turkish.

SM - You are constantly referred to you as a 'down-tempo' band. Would you refer to yourself in that way?

Kureta - Well maybe not, because in “down-tempo” there is “down”. But we try to write positive songs, full of hope and happiness. We are definitely not depressed people, we love life. And we write some up beat songs for the new EP.

SM - New EP?

Kureta - Yes, we are currently working on a new EP, we hope to release it this autumn.
SM - What is the Turkish music scene like? Are there any local influences or 'scenes' that are prevalent or dominant in Istanbul?

Kureta - Istanbul has an important rock scene. There are a lot of Turkish rock bands. But since 5-6 years now there are more and more electronic music bands like Fecr-i Ati, Portecho, Solardip… And we are also a part of this emerging electronic scene and very glad to be a part of it. Mostly the West influences our music though; you can’t say it is “Turkish” or “eastern”. And we are not the only ones like this in our country. We grew up listening to some Turkish music, but also American, English and French music.

SM - What does the future immediately hold in store for Fuji Kureta?

Kureta - We have the new EP coming out soon, and also on September we will play in Germany for the second time, at KuRT Festival in Reutlingen, then we would like to play some gigs in France. One EP release and a small Germany-France tour would be perfect for this autumn.

SM - Perfect indeed! If you could support any band in the world, living or dead, who would it be, and where would it be?

Kureta - We’d love to support Radiohead in Transmusicales de Rennes, France.

SM - Finally, what IS sonic masala?

Kureta - “Masal” means “tale” in Turkish. So sonic masala is a sonic tale.

Couldn't have said it better myself...