Sunday 21 February 2016

Hits From The Box #124 - Midlands Running

It's good to get outta town for a while. The past week I have been cooped up at home, watching Wallander and The League episodes and Timothy Olyphant and Gaspar Noe films (gotta love disparate viewing), listening to a lot of records, playing Papers, Please on my new phone, reading The Walking Dead again. I'm doing this because - you guessed it - I am broke, like the rest of you. So this weekend I ducked into the Midlands. It's been nice, clean(ish - beer, curry, steaks bought, cracked, cooked and consumed) living. And I finished it with a half-marathon. I didn't run of course - I just watched. In Sleaford of all places. Why not? You only live once. Safely home now, and prepping for heading back to work, what's a guy to do? Launch into another Hits From The Box, that's what.

I think a great place to start is with Bambara, a Brooklyn band whose Ben Greenberg (The Men, Dream Police)-produced record Swarm is out next month. From the first two songs to be heard off it (listen below), it promises to be dark sworl of monochrome reverb, eviscerated psyches, cavernous Morricone swathes, Birthday Party nihilism and implosive squalls. I haven't heard much about this band before, but these two tracks alone have me mighty excited for Swarm to spread across this fetid land. It comes out on Nighthawk Records, pre-order it here.

Leeds brooding psychniks Chaika played with The Telescopes in Leeds on Friday (sorry about the late notice - only found out about it myself today) - and after listening to this two track release such a pairing makes a hell of a lot of sense. Pregnant with feverish paranoia, the swirling menace of 'The Mirror' and 'Untied' are two tracks that linger in the membrane well after the cacophony dies away. Noir psych? Yes please.

Deleter love their shades of purple.  They also love their angular, shapeshifting post-punk. From the spiked venom of 'Dysphoria (Dictionary Definition)', the opening track to their album Oblique Seasons, to the Wire-meets-Television-meets-latter Die! Die! Die of 'Seclusion', the noir Waits-esque bulk of 'A Ridiculous Man' and the 'Echo Beach' echo on 'Militant Idiot', there is a lot to sink your teeth into - and a lot to disappear in. Favourite cuts is the opening track, (surprisingly for me at least) the anthemic punk stylings of the title track, and the RFTC blast of 'Lab Rats Revolt'. See, told you it was a shapeshifter of a record...You can grab Oblique Seasons on multi-coloured vinyl here.

Lafayette outfit Brass Bed bring out their new album In The Yellow Leaf in April, and 'I Am Just A Whisper' has a heady pace about it that I really love. It has something of the faster-paced early Antics Interpol about it (which I maintain is a very good thing), alongside an Akron/Family weird-worldliness and a rippling motorik intensity throughout, it is an excellent start. I have listened to this song over and over the past week. It's a good'un.

We can hop over to New Orleans now and to Val Hollie, a dude who loves his gifs (head to his FB page to see what I mean - picked up some goods there ma man) and has in 'Siberian Summer' ripped out a languorous psych drawl that will keep me high and dry forever. It bleeds out in relentless dronal waves, an inexorable sonorous delight that submerges ad infinitum. I would gladly hit this on repeat and forget about the world for a couple months/years. I'm a damn Val Hollie addict now.

And finally to disappear down the rabbit hole with Stockholm freestyle spazz-jazz killers Eye Make The Horizon. The Walls Do The Talking is a three-song sacrificial offering to the improv gods, what the trio like to call "horizontal free rock". The saxophone is bloodshot eyes and sweatstains feverish, the drums a trashcan symphony that never loses sight of the middle distance, while the guitar roils and rolls almost in another plane, barely anchored to the noise being propagated here. It's mayhem; it's

Happy Sunday everyone!

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