Archive for the ‘Singles and EPs’ Category

Christopher Nosnibor

Videostore – the lo-fi indie duo consisting of Argonaut members Nathan and Lorna – are on a major roll at the moment, and their latest effort – pitched as a ‘love song for the apocalypse… channelling Stooges, Suede and Spacemen 3 guitars against a relentless drum machine and Atari samples’ – is their strongest to date.

It kicks in hard and that vintage mechanised drum track pumps away like a piston all the way through to the finish: no fills, nothing fancy, nothing but uptempo motoric 4/4 with that classic Roland-type snare sound.

The guitars are big and fizzy and when the extra distortion kicks in, it hits that treble explosion sweet spot that takes the top off your head, and you just don’t get that buzzsaw bliss with slick studio production.

The dual vocals contrast Lorna’s sassy drawl with Nathan’s blank monotone croak and the end result comes on like a riot grrrl rendition of a Pixies song covered by Metal Urbain.

Yet for all the retro, ‘My Back’ is very much a song for now: these are dark, paranoid times and it feels like we’re on the edge of the abyss, and this guitar-driven blitzkrieg is the perfect soundtrack.

James Wells

Largely eclipsed by the vast melting pot that is Leeds, York tends to exist some way off the musical radar. Years of acoustic blues and middling indie acts probably didn’t do much to promote the city, either, but lately, some interesting and angry bands have emerged, with Old Selves being the latest to throw down some fiery post-hardcore with debut single ‘Strength In Four’.

It’s 3’33” of roaring fury, which throws lashings of loathing inwards and out. It’s tightly structured, and pins down a nice alternating loud / quiet verse / chorus before erupting into a driving mid-section propelled by a springy bass. It’s solid, and says these guys are an exciting prospect for 2020.

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December 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

Having recently ben reduced to a two-piece, you might be forgiven for expecting Yur Mum to have gone quiet, but hell no. Having only released their debut single, ‘Road Rage’ in April 2018, they’ve packed in over 200 shows since their inception and won Tom Robinson’s backing with ‘Sweatshop’, the lead single from this self-released five-tracker.

They’re a band on the up in every sense, drawing reams of positive attention and for all the right reasons: they first came to my attention in their original triangular configuration while touring ‘Road Rage’ and supporting Svetlanas, and no two ways about it, they were outstanding and more than held their own even in the company of the ferocious firestorm of the Russian headliners.

This EP doesn’t disappoint, and is the sound of an act firing on all cylinders, and it blasts off in riffy style with ‘What Do You Want?’, which tears from the speakers with all the overdrive and locks into a hefty grunging groove. There’s grit and swagger and the incendiary guitar blisters and peels while Anelise Kunz delivers a full-throated roar and thunderous bass runs.

Aforementioned single ‘Sweatshop’ starts with a churning bass reminiscent of Shellac, and then the drums drive in and they pound at it, hard, for a hard-hutting two-minutes and twenty. This is grungy punk rock at its most exhilarating.

There’s no let-up with the title track, either, and if there’s a metal-edged 90s alt-rock tinge to it, then it’s al to the good: it’s les about originality and more about delivery, and Yur Mum showcase a knack for a strong delivery. Make no mistake: they’re pretty sodding heavy, and there isn’t a second where they sacrifice weight for melody, and ‘Rotten’ goes full L7/In Utero era Nirvana with roaring angst.

‘Closure’ does finally display a softer side, and there’s a pop aspect to it – in the same way Hole’s Live Through This had a pop aspect to it, blending dynamic range and a clear sense of tune with a gut-punching rhythm section and a raw edge.

Fuck it, for my last review of the year, and of the decade, I’ll put it out there: 2020 is going to be Yur Mum’s year. And if it isn’t, then I give up.

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MamaSkull

Christopher Nosnibor

8th November 2019

The bio bit tells me that ‘NAUT is a 5 piece dark rock band from Bristol, whose shared love of classic rock and metal, alongside reverence for the post-punk pioneers of the late 70s and 80s makes itself known from the start. Their songs switch from raw tribal tom beats to uplifting anthemic synth in a moment, but always stay danceable and perhaps most dangerously, catchy’.

Fan comments on their bandcamp shed a little more light on their sound, observing the band’s ‘unique ability to recreate the original sound and feeling of 80’s uk goth rock. Sisters, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, the Rose of Avalanche, early Nephilim…’ and their offering ‘the perfect mix of Post Punk with old school Goth Rock… Killing Joke meet The Wake & Love Like Blood.’

It’s no secret that I’m a rabid Sisters / Lorries / Nephs / KJ fan, but it’s equally documented that I consider most of the bands who’ve taken them as influences are generic and derivative, and that includes the mid-late 80s acts like Rose of Avalanche who traded in diluted forms of blueprint-based accessible alternative rock. This means I’ve no idea who The Wake or Love Like Blood are, but judging by the referential monikers, I probably don’t need to.

The EP’s title track kicks things off with a classically ‘gothy’ rhythm that’s dominated by a quickfire snare attack and defined by spindly guitars, trebly and awash with chorus. And talking of Chorus, it does boast a strong, hooky chorus, and there’s real energy behind it, which pushes it over the line from template-based to credible and sufficiently possessed of a band identity while still very much drawing well-studied inspiration from their precursors.

‘Spirit Horses’ steps down both the tempo and the individuality, and there’s a chord progression that’s lifted straight off The Sisters’ ‘Marian’, but the third and final track, which slows the pace further to a sluggish mid-tempo resembles ‘Blasting Off’ era Lorries, and works remarkably well with a looser feel but a grainy greyness that brings a certain weight.

On the strength of this outing, Naut are at their best when they go deeper and darker, and if they continue to evolve their songwriting in the directions demonstrated here, there’s a good chance they’ll break out beyond the trad-goth scene and into wider alternative circles.

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NAUT

8th December 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

The latest release from Yorkshire electronic noisemaker Foldhead comes with no information whatsoever. It features just one track, and laser synth sounds throb space-age pulsations into a void of distant dissonance and static air. Voices crackle somewhere almost subliminally as if tapping into the mutter line. Change the frequency. Same distorted, indecipherable message. Feedback. Hiss. Hum. Extraneous noise. Sounds like something… something indefinable. Something out of range. Something unsettling. Not painful, but uncomfortable.

At the four-minute mark: silence. Is that a low rumble or simply the heating and my laptop’s hard-drive?

The ponderance is disrupted by crawling, squalling extranea, a mess of feedback and treble, scrapes and hovers, a mid-range, mid-air act of defiance against comfort. The volume takes unexpected incrementals steps upward, while the stuttering rotary stammerings continue to churn and thrum. Faint trills of treble and low-level grinds emerge and fade. The swell of sound is increasingly unsettling as the volume and density increases… ad then, an abrupt end. Silence. This is how it ends. This is how everything ends.

Now, I like noise, but am often relieved in some sense when it ends. Foldhead’s latest isn’t as oppressive as that, but there is a certain sense or the pressure lifting after the end. It may only be ten minutes in duration, but Radio Dust MAG 4.wav has a certain sonic intensity from which there is no escape until that silence descends.

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Foldhead - Dust

Panurus Productions

Christopher Nosnibor

The text accompanying this ultra-limited and micro-niche release forewarns of ‘Blackened hardcore that follows three simple rules:

1. Do you remember earth, fluid, accident, stone and teleport? Perhaps

2. And the smell, a blade under the water three floors up, correct? Yes

3. And fresh marble lines submarine quarters, but they kept asking you about a garden you imagined some months ago now? A back garden in a terraced house, yes, built like stairwell, garden on each step

The figure, the face, the temple I knew of before recording this record. Some months post and now I understand why a mansion. Walking the body until it knows naturally to consume.’

The cryptic final paragraph, I don’t claim to comprehend, but the result is a five-track cassette with a running time of ten minutes with a lot of block caps. It’s also harsh, noisy, and brutal, and in the tradition of all things black and blackened, the production is from the toilet and the playing is at a thousand miles an hour. The result is a churning blur of gut-churning guitars and drumming d fast the individual beats melt into an oozing morass of pulverising thunder.

‘A VISION OF THE ROTATING MUSCLEMAN BETWEEN THREE COBRAS’ begins with some banal spoken-word monologue about trousers before exploding in a barrelling blast of dirty noise and shattering feedback.

The longest track has the longest title, and ‘A CELEBRATION OF THE CAREER OF A SKELETON THAT PLAYED BASEBALL AND BEAT PEOPLE UP AT THEIR HOMES’ is a brutal and blistering assault. It’s three minutes of battering, harsh noise that emerges from a billowing build-up of amorphous noise disturbance that churns and scrapes and glitches and funnels, before breaking into one final tumultuous thrashabout. There may even be vocals in the dank morass of overloading noise, or there may not: it all melts into a dingy sonic mudslide. Perfect.

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MINESHAFT – VENUM LUXDOR DISCOVERY SUPER NOVA

Everyday Life Recordings – 10th December 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

Just when I thought I couldn’t love Moderate Rebels any more, they drop a brand new song just in time for Christmas, and landing two days before the most highly-charged and heavily-weighted general election in memory, it’s bursting with anti-government sentiment:

How come there’s always money,

For bombs? But never any

money… For the old, Or the

young, Or anyone… who isn’t

strong?

Beware. Beware of the

cheats. Singing you

love songs, Sing you to

SLEEP.

Boiled down to a simple lyrical repetition, the vocals – airy yet monotone – combine with a sturdy, motorik beat and simple, cyclical chord sequence overlaid with analogue synth tones, it’s an ode to media narcotisation and a nation sleepwalking to its doom, and another quintessential  Moderate Rebels cut. They’re still moderate, and still rebellious, and the fact they’ve chosen to release this now – and only make it available until the end of December – makes a clear statement of where they stand and what they’re rebelling against.

Apparently, they have 30 new songs ready to go, and I both hope and expect that’s 30 more songs of the same as the two albums to date. But they can wait until 2020, when they can be the soundtrack to – hopefully – celebration, or, and it’s a terrifying and gloomy prospect – commiseration.

For now, listen to this on a loop, and use it to hypnotize anyone who’s on the fence or you suspect may be a secret Tory. It’s time to get the bastards out and end austerity. And once again, Moderate Rebels get my vote.

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Moderate Rebels Cheat Artwork ideas (1)