Archive for the ‘Previews and Editorial’ Category

Cruel Nature Recordings – 2nd October 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

If ever a band’s name perfectly encapsulated their sound, it has to be Lump Hammer. The Tyneside trio go all-out on sludgy sonic bludgeoning. Similarly, Beast lives up to its name, with nine tracks and a running time of one hour, two minutes and 48 seconds, it’s a monster of epic proportions, and man, it’s fucking ugly.

‘Alarm’ sounds the album’s arrival in the dankest, grimiest of fashions. A downtuned chord, dense and dirty tears from the speakers gradually picking up pace to become a proper riff, before everything gets truly fucked-up and mangled, as if the mixing desk was suddenly buried in a landslide. It sets the bleak, monotonous tone perfectly.

If you’re after variety, you’ll be disappointed: Lump Hammer’s approach to songwriting consists of taking a simple riff and driving away at it until they stop. Sometimes, it’s a long time till they stop, and sometimes it’s a very long time. The eleven-and-a-half minute closer, ‘Gravy (Beef)’ crawls into the space between Sunn O))) and Earth. Each chord is a whirling vortex of overdrive, its colossal density and mass utterly crushing. The pace is very much in the mid-to-low tempo range, accentuating the monstrous weight of the music. And there are probably words, but mostly Watts’ vocals are indecipherable, elongated guttural growls.

There are some quieter, more subtle moments, as evidenced by the first half of the gloomy nine-minute ‘Where’, which carves a trough of claustrophobic isolation – but it’s all just a protracted build-up to the next megalithic deluge of noise.

With Beast, Lump Hammer continue the trajectory of their two previous outings, the eponymous EP from 2017 and February’s split album with Bodies on Everest: you wouldn’t really call it an evolution, beyond the fact that this time they’ve gone one louder, and over the duration of a full-length outing, the cumulative effect of their relentless grinding trudgery achieves optimum impact. Beast is blunt forced trauma manifested in sound.

Beast is their first album for Cruel Nature and is available on 2 October as a limited-edition cassette and digital download, and will be released on CD by Inverted Grim-Mill Recordings. The release coincides with the band’s performance at Tusk Virtual 2020 online festival. It’s available to order from today, but you can stream it EXCLUSIVELY in its entirely now, here:

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AdderStone Records, the label started by internationally acclaimed composer and virtuoso cellist Jo Quail, have announced the deluxe vinyl reissue of her 2016 album ‘Five Incantations’ on 20th November. Jo comments,

‘With the original CD format being sold out for a few years, I am delighted to be able to now present to you a very special edition of Five Incantations, this time as a beautiful double vinyl with two colour variants to choose from. The detailed sleeve and inserts feature photography by Ake Tireland, and includes a special bonus track of ‘The Breathing Hand’ recorded live with the choir of Cappella Gedanensis and Alicja Lach-Owsiany (cello) in Gdansk. The lyrics of this track are written by Mohan Rana, as a direct response to the original piece of music, and are included in the sleeve in Hindi, English and Polish.’

The origins of the album began to emerge in the spring of 2015 during Jo’s fourth tour of Australia where she felt especially connected at that time to a vital or spiritual source, opening her mind to wonder from both a personal and archetypal understanding. Jo adds,

‘Whether practically this was due to an intense focus on music minus the day to day existence, the remoteness of being a mum away from my family, or myriad other reasons I cannot guess, but I felt swept away by this sensation and immediately began to write what became ‘Five Incantations’. The album is a suite of interlinked movements, each individual yet essentially drawn from one theme. It has been recorded and will be performed at 432hz. Each movement describes a personal reflection on one of the four cardinal points, with the fifth aspect being Spirit.’

‘Five Incantations’ is the 2nd release on AdderStone Records which was originally set up in 2019 with the initial aim of reissuing Jo’s back catalogue on vinyl. The first being a release of her 2018 album ‘Exsolve’ which led to Jo picking up the Limelight Award at the Progressive Music Awards last year.

Over the past few years Jo has been touring extensively across Europe performing alongside the likes of Boris, Emma Ruth Rundle, Amenra, Caspian, God is an Astronaut, Myrkur, MONO, Årabrot, Battles and Winterfylleth. Festival performances include ArcTanGent, WGT, Dunk!, Tramlines Festival, Handmade Festival, Hellfest and Damnation and two separate concerts at the invitation of Robert Smith for his curation of the Southbank’s Meltdown Festival. 

To support the release Jo Quail will perform an exclusive limited capacity live streamed show from The Black Heart on Hotel Radio’s Pay-Per-View platform on 19th November. More info and tickets are available here:

Streaming tickets: www.hotel-radio.com/pay-per-view

Live show tickets: http://ourblackheart.com/

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Japanese instrumental rock band MONO will return to Europe in 2021. Hoping to reunite everyone through music again as they prepare for their new album, lead guitarist Taka comments:

"We’re excited to be able to return and give you live music again after then, almost a year-long of an unfortunate global health crisis. Through the real loud live experience, we hope to re-connect, share hope and rejoice again with you all.

The tour will be supported by A.A. Williams.

Tickets on sale Friday 17th July from: www.monoofjapan.com

MONO w/ A.A Williams:

18/03 – NO Oslo, Jakob

19/03 – SE Stockholm, Sodra Teatern

20/03 – DK Copenhagen, Pumpehuset

21/03 – DE Hamburg, Uebel & Gefahrlich

22/03 – DE Berlin, Columbia Theater

23/03 – DE Cologne, Luxor

24/03 – CH Zurich, Mascotte

25/03 – CH Bulle, Ebolition

26/03 – FR Toulouse, Le Rex

27/03 – FR Biarritz, Atabal

29/03 – PT Porto, Hard Club

30/03 – PT Lisbon, LAV

31/03 – ES Seville, Custom

01/04 – ES Murcia, Garaj

02/04 – ES Madrid, Cats

03/04 – ES Barcelona, Apolo 2

05/04 – FR Besancon, L’Antonnoir

06/04 – FR Paris, Trabendo

07/04 – BE Antwerp, Zappa

08/04 – FR Lille, Aeronef

10/04 – UK London, Lafayette

11/04 – UK London, EartH

13/04 – UK Glasgow, Oran Mor

14/04 – UK Leeds, City Varieties

Recorded with producer Steve Albini, Mono released their 10th album ‘Nowhere Now Here’ in January 2019 via Pelagic Records before ending the year with ‘Beyond The Past’ 20th anniversary shows in London in December.

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As part of their fundraising efforts, Wakefield’s Long Division Festival – which has now been postponed until 2021 – have announced two new records available to order as part of this Friday’s Bandcamp fee-free day.

The first is  ‘A Romantic Destination’ – a live album by Jamie Lockhart, leader of critically acclaimed DIY Wakefield band Mi Mye. Recorded at Long Division 2018, ‘A Romantic Destination’’ see’s the songwriter and producer reimagining music from a book of songs that has been passed down by his family in Skerray in the Highlands for 166 years.

A songbook from 1851 used by two brothers; one a folk songwriter, the other the 1st Piper To Queen Victoria was passed down six generations before ending up in Jamie’s hands – accompanied by Mi Mye bandmate Morgan Evans, ‘A Romantic Destination’ captures this incredibly special one-off and sold out performance.

The second of these new albums is ‘New Additions: Vol 2’ – the second in a run of compilations from Long Division Festival, ‘New Additions’ features brand new songs and recordings from artists who had been scheduled to play at this year’s Long Division Festival.

Pressed onto 12” vinyl thanks to support from independent label ‘Last Night From Glasgow’ , New Additions features 10 new songs from a host of exciting new artists including Priestgate, Cowgirl and Mt. Doubt with all proceeds distributed evenly amongst the artists.

Full Track listing:

· Cowgirl – Wasn’t Listening

· Priestgate – Now

· Life Model – Walking Backwards

· Lemon Drink – Manic

· Mt. Doubt – Stairwell Songs

· HerTiltedMoons – Orange Grove

· In The Morning Lights – Milk And Honey

· Bunkerpop – C’est Comme De Robots N’est Pas

· Macroscope – Reveal

· The State Of Georgia – Little Tiny Ones

Both records are available to buy now from Bandcamp: https://longdivisionfestival.bandcamp.com

Long Division’s Crowdfunder is sitting just below 50% of its goal after its first week, more information on the fund, how it will be spent and how you can contribute can be found here.

With their recent single ‘Going Nowhere’ taking a lunge into darker, surfy/gothy territory (while retaining the garage/grunge style of their debut album and the ‘In The Mouring’ EP), Weekend Recovery are a band who clearly aren’t content to stay in one place for too long – musically or geographically.

With their second album, False Company, just around the corner – and the indications are it’ll be a belter – the recently streamlined power-trio are hitting the road later this month with a handful of shows to showcase some new material. No doubt there’ll be a few older rabble-rousing favourites, too.

Since the release of their debut album, Get What You Came For in 2018, they’ve garnered radio play, played at Camden Rocks, and expanded a committed fanbase through some hard gigging. We’ve covered them enough times here at Aural Aggro to give a two-thumbs-up recommendation to get down and see them.

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Dates are as follows:

20 March – Blackpool, Bootleg Social (supporting Cut Glass Kings)

21 March – Leeds, Headrow House (w/support from Carry the Crown)

28 March – Manchester, Retro (main support to Joan the Wad)

Event details and tickets are on Weekend Recovery’s Facebook page.

CATTLE and Territorial Gobbing are joined at CHUNK in Leeds by Modern Technology (London), Lump Hammer (Newcastle) and …(something) ruined for a night of noise in aid of Mind and Shelter.

We’re proud to be involved in promoting the event.

Door at at 7pm. It’s £6 OTD and BYOB. Be there: it’s going to be a belter.

Event details here.

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We’ve been bigging up Modern Technology since the release of their eponymous EP – not just because it’s powerful musically and lyrically, but because the duo believe in trying to make a difference in a bleak world. And so we’re inordinately proud to be involved in the latest Human Worth charity fundraiser, which sees proceeds donated to Mind and Shelter, and which sees their first Leeds show in 9th February 2020. It’s headlined by percussion-heavy racketeers Cattle, and they’re joined by one of Newcastle’s heftiest, sludgiest bands in the form of Lump Hammer, Leeds’ finest maker of manic electronic noise, Territorial Gobbing, and relative newcomers, …(something) ruined, a brutal power electronics duo consisting of Paul Tone (Foldhead, Inverted Nepal) and one Christopher Nosnibor.

The event will be held at DIY venue CHUNK, and tickets are a mere £5.50, available via this link. There’s also a super limited run of Early Bird cheap tickets: just 15 in total, then onto Advance Tickets which saves money on door and guarantees entry.

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We usually review albums and live shows. Sometimes we preview them. Following our involvement in the recent Humankind show in London featuring Bruxa Maria, Modern Technology, and Christopher Nosnibor vs Cementimental, this extends the departure into hosting and promotion….

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Facebook event? Yep… https://www.facebook.com/events/346436192966478/

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead have announced a European headline tour for September / October 2019. These shows will be in support of their as-yet-untitled new album, due out later this year. The full list of dates is as follows:

14th September – Leffingeleuren, Leffinge, Belgium

15th September – Le Petit Bain, Paris, France

16th September – Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands

17th September – Doornroosje, Nijmegen, Netherlands

19th September – Stadtgarten, Cologne, Germany

20th September – Sommercasino, Basel, Switzerland

22nd September – La Santeria, Milan, Italy

23rd September – Strom, Munich, Germany

25th September – Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany

26th September – The Stage Club, Hamburg, Germany

27th September – Forum, Bielefeld, Germany

29th September – The Waterfront, Norwich, UK

30th September – The Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK

1st October – Oslo, London, UK

2nd October – The Cluny, Newcastle, UK

3rd October – The Caves, Edinburgh, UK

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead recently celebrated 20 years of the album ‘Madonna’ with a European tour in February, performing the album in its entirety.

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Russian Circles named their 2016 album Guidance in reference to the uncertainty of the future. It was a fitting title for the times, with the album coming out a few months before America’s tumultuous presidential election, but it was intended more as a reference to the band’s own absence of a blueprint as they navigated their second decade as a band than as a social commentary. If there were questions as to how to move forward as a musical unit or individual doubts as to how to continue toiling as artists in the underground, the three years of relentless touring on the album only served to reinforce the Sisyphean struggle of artists. With their latest album Blood Year, Russian Circles forsake the sonic crossroads of divergent musical paths found on albums like Guidance and Memorial to offer up the most direct and forceful collection of songs in their discography.

The Chicago trio have always explored the dynamics of volume and timbre, with their albums vascilating between caustic attacks and blissful respites. Blood Year begins with the calm before the storm in “Hunter Moon”, where a few narcotic repetitions of guitarist Mike Sullivan’s melancholic plucked chords and woozy slide guitar usher in the first assault. “Arluck” charges out of the reverberating sustain of somber drones with Dave Turncrantz’s pounding rack and floor toms, expertly captured by Kurt Ballou at Electrical Audio in Chicago. The studio’s reputation for pristine drum tones is on full display in those opening bars, and when the drums break and Brian Cook’s grinding bass line forces its way into the mix it becomes evident as to why the band returned to Steve Albini’s world-famous recording studio where they’d tracked Enter, Geneva, and Memorial. Sullivan dives into the song with his signature finger-tapped leads and stacks loops of idiosyncratic harmonies on top of it. The song barrels through bottom heavy chugged guitar patterns and tightly wound noise-rock riffage before the rhythm section drops out to leave a lone guitar line in the ether. A second guitar line comes in on top of it. Then a third. The chasm fills with an orchestra of guitar loops before the drums and bass come back in and build to the song’s vicious conclusion.

With Sullivan, Turncrantz, and Cook all residing in different states, Russian Circles have typically crafted their albums by piecing together song fragments and home recordings into meticulous texture-rich studio productions. But after seven tours in North American and five trips to Europe in support of Guidance, the band made a conscious effort to approach the songs on Blood Year with the same organic feel of a live show. In an age where rock records are often built on a computerised grid, Russian Circles chose to track the foundations of the songs together in one room as complete takes without click tracks. The human pulse and unmetered energy is immediately obvious in the dissonant barrage of “Milano”. The no-frills wall of distortion and mid-tempo stomp of the song recalls some of Russian Circles’ most unrelentingly savage moments—Memorial’s “Burial”, Geneva’s title track, Empros’ “309”. The first half of Blood Year closes with “Kohokia”, a harrowing song that somehow manages to capture the unsettling negative space of Spiderland in one moment, the blurry clamor of ashen metal in the next, and ultimately arriving at a triumphant pinnacle of staccato bass chords, battering ram drums, and heroic tapped guitar leads.

Side two begins with one of the few reserved moments on the album in the slow fever-dream loop-stacked baritone guitar lines provided by Cook on “Ghost on High”. It’s less a song than a prelude to the tremolo-picked battle anthem “Sinaia”. Guitar overdubs were done at Ballou’s God City studio, and the engineer’s gift for rendering a variety of exquisite distorted tones can be heard in the timbre-rich medley of pastoral drones in the introduction, fury-of-Valhalla tremolo picking in the verses, scathing black metal-tinged snarl in the bridge, and cataclysmic chords in the finale. Russian Circles albums have typically ended with a comedown—the pensive “Xavii”, the folk ballads of “Praise Be Man” and “Memorial”, the delay-soaked ambience of “Philos”—but Blood Year ends on its most vengeful note, with the barbaric battery of “Quartered”.

If Guidance was meant to be an exploration of forking paths, Blood Year is an almost single-minded statement of authority. While it retains the dexterity, multi-faceted techniques, and dramatic compositions that have been a trademark of Russian Circles since day one, Blood Year fully embraces the most forceful aspects of the band’s repertoire.

Listen to ‘Arluck’ here (tour dates after):

USSIAN CIRCLES IRELAND/UK DATES

AUG 08 Dublin, IRE @ Button Factory *

AUG 09 Galway IRE @ Roisin Dubh *

AUG 10 Belfast UK @ Limelight 2 *

AUG 12 Glasgow, UK @ G2 +

AUG 13 Manchester, UK @ Gorilla +

AUG 14 London, UK @ Earth +

AUG 16 Bristol, UK @ ArcTanGent Festival +
Support from

* No Spill Blood 

+ A.A. Williams

With further European tour dates to be announced soon.