Archive for May, 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

Having – what feels like an eternity ago – raved about The Holy Orders, I find myself with front man Matt Edible’s sort-of solo album. It’s a fair bit less fiery and more introspective than his work with the band (who recently made their live return and look like getting their shit together again before too long) – to re point that it’s largely mellow and melodic, and draws on laid-back 70s rock for its stylistic touchstones. It’s also quite poppy in places. This isn’t a criticism, but an observation…and unexpected. But then, I’m unfamiliar with Matt’s original musical vehicle, Edible 5ft Smiths, who apparently made ‘one and a half of the greatest undiscovered albums of the noughties before burning up in a small blaze of glory’, and of which the music on this album represents something of a continuation of a trajectory.

‘Advent Beard’ surfaced on-line a couple of years, and as Christmas-themed breakup tunes delivered with roustabout energy and a certain ragged charm. Hearing it in the context of an album, in mid-May when I’m sweltering in some quite unseasonal heat and feeling hayfevery feels a bit incongruous. But on reflection, it’s a song about the sentiment rather than the season, and while Stairgazing isn’t a wet, sentimental album, it is fairly reflective and introspective and – dare I say it – emotional in its tone and content.

The title track is a frenzied fury of angular guitars and vocals that are the sound of a man at every last one of his limits. And then it comes on a bit Dinosaur Jr, which is even better. Elsewhere, ‘Nightclubbing’ (not a cover of either David Essex or Iggy Pop) is a light, folksy-indie effort, and the sparse, piano-led ‘The Healing’, which ventures into post-rock grandeur, with its multi-layered vocals and epic, proggy instrumental play-out, offers another facet of Edible’s songwriting skills.

It’s Matt’s voice that really makes it, perhaps more than the material itself. The man has range, effortlessly moving between gritty and grungy, and soaring sort-of falsetto. In part comparable to James Dean Bradfield in tone and timbre, Edible simply has a great voice: affecting, versatile, listenable and affecting in all the right places,

Stairgazing doesn’t have the rock ‘n’ roll punch of anything by The Holy Orders, but that isn’t grounds for criticism: Matt Edible as delivered a solid and entertaining album that’s quite different, and all the better for it.

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With their debut album Valley of Thorns having landed last week and attendant single ‘Mind Games’ actually breaking the UK charts, it’s been a big few days for The Kut. And they’ve now announced an extensive UK tour in support of the album. We’re excited.

The dates are below, and you can watch the video to ‘Mind Games’ here:

Tour Dates –

27/07 – B2 – Norwich

28/07 – Mama Liz’s Voodoo Lounge – Stamford

29/07 – The Green Door Store – Brighton

31/07 – The Joiner’s Arm – Southampton

1/08 – Mole’s Club – Bath

03/08 – The Zanzibar – Liverpool

04/08 – The Bread Shed – Manchester

07/08 – TBC – Glasgow

08/08 – Bannerman’s Edinburgh – Edinburgh 

09/08 – The Brickyard – Carlisle

10/08 – Trillian’s Rock Bar – Newcastle Upon Tyne

11/08 – The Soundhouse – Leicester

12/08 – The Verve – Leeds

13/08 – West Street Live – Sheffield

14/08 – Arches Venue – Coventry

15/08 – The Castle and Falcon – Birmingham

16/08 – The Chelsea In – Bristol

17/08 – The Moon – Cardiff

The Kut

KSCOPE – 8th June 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

Mansun’s Six stands as one of my favourite albums of all time. It came at a particular time of life and in an era where anything remotely proggy was so out of vogue that it was amazing a major label would even release it. While not nearly as outré by comparison, it’s predecessor and the band’s debut, Attack of the Grey Lantern was a long way out of step with the rest of the indie / Britpop scene. It probably achieved success – and a reputation which has endured remarkably, as this reissue which marks its twenty-first anniversary attests – because of its idiosyncratic nature, rather than in spite of it. Its hitting the top of the charts seems as remarkable now as it did then: it’s a mixed-bag mish-mash of ideas, an oddball half-attempt at a concept album that collects a bunch of singles / EP lead tracks with material that was penned specifically for the all-important debut album. It shouldn’t work. It should never have worked.

It perhaps goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: this is very much one for the fans, and lovely as it is, does come with a whiff of cash-in, especially as it’s not even the first reissue the album’s been subject to. You may be forgiven for thinking the 2010 3-disc ‘collector’s edition’, which gathered all of the B-sides from the various attendant EPs and a bundle of acoustic versions, etc., had it more than covered, especially in the wake of the 2004 3-disc retrospective Kleptomania did a fair job of gathering EP B-sides and rarities alongside the material tat had been in development for the band’s fourth album, which was abandoned prior to completion.

Having kept Six on (albeit infrequent) rotation over the last (mumble) years (being inundated with material for review means I often struggle to find time to listen to my own collection. This has, over time, created a strange separation between music for work and music for pleasure, despite the fact the two very often become one and the same. I would also add that not only have I developed an unquenchable thirst for the new, but my difficult relationship with notions of nostalgia often keeps me away from the albums I played the grooves off in my more formative years, not necessarily because they’re painful or even because they’ve dated, but because they’ve become so ingrained in my psyche, I don’t actually need to hear them for them to be floating around in my head on spontaneous recall), I only revisited Attack of the Grey Lantern a few months back for the first time in a good five years.

From the bond-inspired string intro to ‘The Chad Who Loved Me’ through the brash indie-pop of ‘Egg-Shaped Fred’ to the instant classic that was ‘Wide Open Space’, it still stands up as a great album. The aching, soaring strings and unusual arrangements set something of a template, and if the rolling piano and orchestral layers of ‘Dark Mavis’ sound somewhat cliché in 2018, it’s important to remember that songs simply didn’t sound like this in 97 – and in terms of execution, they remain leagues above of those who attempted to emulate them. It was all in the extraneous and sometimes quite unusual details, the quirks and kinks that Mansun showed themselves to be different.

Did it need remastering? Listening to an MP3 promo doesn’t reveal a world of difference from the original. And that’s ok: there wasn’t anything wrong with the original. It just means that the remastered aspect is perhaps less of a purchase incentive than the additional unreleased material.

The demos are interesting: the drum-machine led version of ‘Dark Mavis’, which borders on goth stands as one of the most ‘in progress’ recordings, although many aren’t radically different from the final versions beyond being a bit rougher. As for the radio sessions… going back to the band’s October 95 Peel session proves informative, and contextualises the ban’s evolution, as well as demonstrating just how rapidly they developed from brash, bratty indie into a different kind of beast altogether. Draper’s at his most nasal and whoopy on ‘Skin Up Pin Up’ and melodic signatures which would resurface in later songs are evident here. Songs like ‘Naked Twister’ are delivered in classic session style – recorded quickly, they’re less polished but more direct than their official studio counterparts. And then there’s the fourth disc, the DVD…

With 21 years elapsed, the timing feels right, and seeing Paul Draper’s solo return being positively received, there’s a sense that the Mansun revival is well under way, and deservedly so. This, however, is unlikely to win any new converts: the mere cost and overwhelming volume of material on a four-disc version of an album is simply beyond the casually interested or the passing fan. Whether it’s satisfying a need or milking the existing fan-base I wouldn’t like to say, but as reissues go, this one is at least comprehensive and well-assembled.

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Mansun - Attack

ZU93 is the effectively named new collaboration between David Tibet and the ever changing Italian group Zu, centred around Massimo Pupillo and Luca Mai. House of Mythology are proud to release their debut album Mirror Emperor on the 6th July.

“The album is the closing of a long circle for me,” comments Massimo Pupillo…“I’ve been following David’s work since the early days and count Current 93 as one of the main inspirations behind my work with Zu. For me his poetry and music is like a light in the depths of human experience, a soundtrack for one’s personal descent into the unconscious fields”. Tibet says of their union,  “Zu made something very beautiful and very powerful for me to skip into. I love this album,”  Mirror Emperor adds another chapter in Tibet’s ever expanding oblique vision, personal, dense and hallucinatory. A voice through a cloud, indeed.

On Mirror Emperor, the demiurge of our demise hides in the cracks of a broken world, beneath stones and moss, among the comets, in tears and things and on BloodBoats, as if a “cosmic melancholy” (Ligotti) is being articulated. More mourning than light. Tibet explains: "We all carry different faces, different masks, and all of them will be taken from us. We were born free, and fell through the Mirror into a UnWorld, a Mirror Empire. In this Mirror Empire we are under the Mirror Emperor, and there are MANY Bad Moons Rising. At the final curtain there is scant applause."

Ahead of the album, they’re streaming ‘The Absence of the Mirror Emperor’ as a taster. Get your lugs round it here:

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Dead Cross, the SoCal hardcore outfit featuring Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Misfits), Mike Patton (Faith No More, Tomahawk), Justin Pearson (The Locust, Retox) and Michael Crain (Retox, Festival of Dead Deer), have released a self-titled, four-track EP via Ipecac Recordings.

News of the EP arrives as the band premieres a video for ‘My Perfect Prisoner’. The clip was produced by Eric Livingston who also created the cover art for both the band’s full-length debut and this EP.

“I think part of Dead Cross’ motives are to bridge gaps between useless genres and definitions. Part also might be to just burn that shit down. It’s in our collective DNA. Either way, as long as people love it or hate it, we succeed.” – Justin Pearson.

Watch the vid for ‘My Perfect Prisoner’ here:

20th April 2018

James Wells

Adrena Adrena is an experimental audiovisual duo consisting of. E-da Kazuhisa (Boredoms, Seefeel) and artist Daisy Dickinson, and they’re pitched as being for fans of Can, Faust, Wire, etc. According to their press release, ‘the duo cut a raw blend of drums, noise and organic visual work, featuring in their performances an eight-foot white sphere that hangs above Kazuhisa’s drum kit and which Dickinson maps videos on to.’

Naturally, the organic visual work doesn’t translate to the medium of recoded sound, but nevertheless, it’s a multisensory experience, which resonates on various levels, at least half of which are subliminal.

‘Cybals’ is a mess of murky noise, thumping, tone-shifting drums muffled by bass and mid-range and drowning in a sea of reverb. It’s industrial in strength, with echoes of Revolting Cocks’ ‘Beers, Steers and Queers’ bouncing angrily around an electro space. There’s some pretty aggressive modulation, not to mention savage treble going on.

‘Toys’ may have playful connotations in its title, and it’s a fair bit less abrasive than its counterpart, with a twittering see-saw motif dragging and quavering over a simple, repetitive beat. But the fills are dubby, clattering and laced with heavy echo, and thick ripples of bass cut through like squelchy, booming foghorn pulses. The effect is one of a certain resonant dissonance, a sonic collision.

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Based in Nottingham, UK, Bone Cult are a ‘Death-Electronic’ duo. To mark the fifth anniversary of the band, Bone Cult are re-releasing a selection of their standout tracks that follow the evolution of their sound.

‘Healed’ originally appeared on their debut EP Liber Phasma in 2014, but has remained one of their most popular songs, despite never being released as a single. The track recently featured in the online game Avakin Life where digital models of the band performed the track inside a virtual venue.

Listen to ‘Healed’ here:

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Bone Cult