Sunday 18 October 2015
I don't know about you, but I feel like frying my Sunday night with some cosmic kosmiche. Die Verboten (featuring members of Soulwax) have just released this 13 minute sonic implosion, 'E40'. It has a kaleidoscopic hypnosis imbued in its swirling delirium. It's named after a highway in Belgium near Ghent - imagine driving in the gloaming hour, overhead fluorescents bouncing off the windshield in metronomic increments, and the krautrock rhythms become a humming synthetic heartbeat, a radiant robotic pulse. It's fantastic - continental Europe taking us on the motorikway once more. Good night.
Friday 16 October 2015
Been listening to Parts Primitive a bit this week. It's the loose jangle punk album of London group Primitive Parts, out now through Trouble In Mind Records. There is a solid pedigree here - featuring members of Sauna Youth, Male Bonding and Monotony - and the album is littered with irascible earworms burrowing down into your soul. What I love about this band is blurring of musical history and geography - 'Troubles' could be a song from the British 80s, while 'Miracle Skin' has been likened to Antipodeans such as The UV Race and The Cannanes, while the artwork mirrors either place, looking at the displaced and abandoned nether regions of urban sprawl. Quality bent slacker ephemera, you can get Parts Primitive here.
Let's finish off the week with a roaring cover of Fugazi, shall we? Ontario rabblerousers The Dirty Nil are off on a North American tour this month, and are dragging their rendition of 'Provisional' in their wake. It's a quite faithful cover, fed with raucous energy. Sure it doesn't have the same sinuous intensity that the original has, but no one can touch those guys. The Dirty Nil though go for broke, as they do on all efforts - it's worth your while catching one of their shows if you are Stateside.
Thursday 15 October 2015
As if I could resist finishing off the week with 'Box Batteries', the latest single from Superchunk's Mac McCaughan. This isn't an overly new song, or film clip - it's been out for over a month - but I have just picked up my ticket to see him play the Courtyard Theatre here in London on November 11, supported by the excellent Al McKay of Dick Diver. And these facial expressions - it runs the gamut of my week to be honest. Combine this song with Dan Friel's 'Rattler', and my weekend soundtrack is set to noise pop sugar rush saturation meltdown.
Wednesday 14 October 2015
Bristol's electroid nihilists Giant Swan continue to stretch the nebulous noise, as can be witnessed on this great remix of Mamuthones' 'Symphony For The Devil'. They are taking part in the Simple Things Festival in Bristol in a couple weeks time - and it's about time people got on board here. Their show at the first Sonic Masala: London showcase was a killer event, and these pedal smashers are only growing in stature. Maniacal genius.
Tuesday 13 October 2015
There is an absolute corker of a tour hitting the UK next month. One of my all time favourite bands, Lightning Bolt, is playing a show at Electric Ballroom in London alongside the excellent doomers Om. But the tour continues throughout Europe with another excellent act - the playful noisenik Dan Friel. He has proven his acrobatic musical chops with Parts & Labor, but there is something with the way Friel's frenetic effects burn and fizz in aural technicolour that ups the ante considerably - imagine a Final Fantasy game scored by by a fried and gagged Dan Deacon. What's more, his new album Life includes a Joanna Gruesome cover - how great is that! Oh, you want even more awesomeness. The new video for 'Rattler' includes a bunch of toddlers losing their shit, an infant glitter rave in Heaven. Pre-order Life here.
I mentioned Glasgow band Spinning Coin's tape from earlier this year - well these four rad dudes are releasing an EP today, coinciding with a gig down at Brixton Windmill with Breakfast Muff, Seeds of Doubt and Dead Arm. The self-titled EP, out through Fuzzkill, is five tracks of desiccated slacker punk. You can hear it over at Clash Music here, and head down to see a top-notch band just starting to hit their straps.
Monday 12 October 2015
I have been the sole inhabitant on Planet Masala for some time now – Paul and Ani fled some time ago, and Fred is too busy playing with the cool kids to hang out in the basement (AKA life). That said, Fred still lurks around the Records side of things, and I always hope to entice him into doing the rare obtuse review. One of the first he did for Sonic Masala was for Edinburgh band The Spook School. They return this month with new record Try To Be Hopeful (out through Fire Records) and it stays true to form, offering cantankerous guitar pop that still focuses squarely on being different, and how that is awesome. Having thrashed things out in the bustling UK queer punk scene (which sees the likes of Teenage Caveman and As Ondas plying their trade), it is clear that the four-piece are just as indebted to Joanna Gruesome and C86 navel-gazing, especially on the buoyant noise that permeates hook-laden tracks like ‘Friday Night’. The album opens with ominous named ‘Burn Masculinity’, but isn’t as subversive and evasive as this may sound – it’s a blast. Yes, The Spook School is being more upfront lyrically when it comes to exploring sexual identity and how labels can be still so arduously constricting and caustic. This is evident in vocalist Nye Todd's physical presence too - going through a trans identity transference, which has seen his voice change over the course of the recording process. A true transformation in more ways than one, Try To Be Hopeful is ebullient, a joyous kicking out at the pricks and embracing of the awkward, the marginalised, and being proud of it. This is mostly encompassed by 'Binary', a propulsive rocker gem that questions gender norms and embraces the messiness of it all. I'm thinking that I'm hexadecimal, indeed.
Saturday 10 October 2015
There is probably a lot I could say about Melbourne rabblerousing guitar top-o-the-popsters Rolling Blackouts and their new EP Talk Tight. I could wax lyrical about the laconic sun-drenched meandering jangle of 'Tender Is The Neck', reminiscent as it is of the backwards-looking-forward warm fuzz that The Ocean Party happily inhabit. I could ramble on about the heady motorik rhythms and wavering effects that propel the rumbling rock of 'Wide Eyes', a track that has country twang, psych circularity and garage grit bashing out in a dingy basement bar, a gleeful blast that is as much a jailbreak run for the sun as it is a jam spilling into the early hours of a drunken bender. I could embrace wholeheartedly the upbeat canter of 'Wither With You', a sparkling bit of rough guitar pop that evokes a jagged Jonathan Richman or a young and carefree Paul Kelly, riding a steam engine of melancholy into the heart of the sun, the warm explosion masking the chagrin. I could even talk about the rambling on of 'Heard You're Moving', an Ocker Boss-type, maybe an Outback town Elvis Costello, revelling in adolescent masculine misadventures, the big fish frying in the small pond, as the wall comes down. But I can't keep hitting on 'Clean Slate' and wiping the slate clean, a raucous belter that starts off a little like Eddy Current's 'Rush To Relax' before we enter more parochial, golden-age Aussie rock realms, a shambolic jam (still...) that is the way I want to start every day.
Shit, I did say a lot, didn't I? Enough then. Get addicted to Talk Tight (through Ivy League) now.
Friday 9 October 2015
It's Friday, and I've been dormant for a week. So let's really kick this party in the guts. Visceral doomsayers The Melvins teamed up with Le Butcherettes' own throat-tearer Teri Gender Bender to smash a cover of Bikini Kill's 'Rebel Girl' to smithereens, which was then swept up and burnt into vinyl form by Joyful Noise. It is everything you could expect from these mammoth maestros - a blasted bit of rawk.
Sunday 4 October 2015
Another of the acts we have on Tuesday's Sonic Masala showcase, Roman Typo is a new London band that have me champing at the bit. It's clear the trio have that post-punk angularity etched into their DNA, but rather than the Joy Division route, or even the Wire route, we have a cross-Atlantic reference that we don't hear too much these days - that of seminal band Fugazi. Sure, the vocals share a tonal affinity with Mackaye and Picciotto, but there is a languid fluidity to the grooves that are laid down before things blast through the breakers. The inflections, the dragged notes, the melodies that feel ominous - it is all there, fermenting.
Saturday 3 October 2015
On Tuesday is the next Sonic Masala showcase at Power Lunches. Joining us all the way from Melbourne is powerful, sinuous instrumental duo Fraudband, on their European tour launching their album Many Ways In...One Way Out. It's a great record too - there are moments of sparseness, and the entire album floats in its own fermented space, even when things get loose-limbed and frenetic. It reminds me of Dirty Three, without Warren Ellis but with his ghost infiltrating the elegant mass left behind, filtered through by crossroad blues, cathartic caterwauls and genuflecting nuance. It's a nebulous work that feeds off impulse and intuition, knowing when to slip into and out of a rhythm, when to stay clean and run roughshod over a build-up, when to hold back and when to purge. It's a classy yet rambunctious affair, and I cannot wait to see it heat up that small mirrored room next week. Buy Many Ways In...One Way Out through Kasumuen Records here.
Friday 2 October 2015
Holy shit this is abusive. Brooklyn noiseheads Dreamcrusher aren’t satisfied with crushing your dreams on their EP Hackers All Of Them Hackers (out through Fire Talk) – they want to smash your sense of reality and render you senseless, gibbering incoherently in the gutter. The metallic white noise meltdowns inherent in these tracks are headache inducing, yet the genius lies in the insidious beats and hooks buried under this ear-bleeding and blasted surface. Take ‘Adore’ for example – there is an almost imperceptibly gentle hum to the beats here, something that would be almost a warm embrace if it weren’t for the bracing skree that continues scarring the soundscape over it. That is the subversive MO of these self-ascribed nihilist queer revolt musikniks – creating electronic abrasion for our sonic emancipation. It takes a special kind of endurance to last out these tracks, with their intent to destroy the inner ear, but the Syren sounds emanating from the mangled wrecks are irresistible. Buy Hackers All Of Them Hackers here.
Thursday 1 October 2015
Swashbuckling Hobo loves their trashy, thrashy rock, and The Busymen are at the top of that particular pile. They have just released Under Attack Of The Busymen, a 10” that embraces dumpster garage echoes, 60s rock organ, and drunken snarls with aplomb. It rolls along at a rampant pace, and is equal parts silly and sordid. Mission accomplished.