Posts Tagged ‘Album’

Divide and Dissolve members Takiaya Reed (saxophone, guitar, live effects/ (Black & Tsalagi [Cherokee]) and Sylvie Nehill (drums, live effects/ (Māori) are very excited to announce the signing to Invada Records.

Today they release their new single and video for “We Are Really Worried About You”, from their forthcoming album Gas Lit,  which is produced by Ruban Nielson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and set for release in late January 2021.

Watch the video here:

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About the new single, Divide and Dissolve comment:

‘We Are really worried about you’ is a call to transformation and freedom. This song and video seek to undermine and destroy the white supremacist colonial framework. We are weaving together our fight for Indigenous Sovereignty, Black and Indigenous Liberation, Water, Earth, and Indigenous land given back. Decolonise now.

At the start of the song, Takiaya’s formidable saxophone sound resonates strikingly like a siren song, beautiful with an undertone of danger. This gives way to a sudden surge of crushing percussion courtesy of Sylvie, and heavy guitar riffs, revealing the magnitude of their exhilarating multidimensional sonic, and powerful expression of their message.

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Photo credit: Billy Eyers

USA Nails release their fifth album “Character Stop” on October 23rd 2020 through Hex Records (USA) and Bigout Records (Europe).

The record was tracked live over 4 days at Bear Bites Horse in London with producer Wayne Adams. Though “Character Stop” still features the pummelling noise-punk that USA Nails have become renowned for, it’s balanced with more sober, downbeat moments. On it they explore identity – like the online personas of aggressive twitter users, influencers and vloggers, as well as more introspective takes on mental health, giving up on dreams, the joy (and despair) of being a part-timer, and contemplating who they would be if they decided to hang up their guitars for good. Guitarist Gareth Thomas comments,

"For me "Character Stop" is the best album USA Nails have ever made by miles. It’s more varied than anything we’ve ever done before and I think it’s stronger for it. I feel like it’s more fully realised, and more complete as a collection of songs. Everytime we get in a room together and write, the dynamic of our relationship as writers (and mates) develops a bit further, we get better at anticipating and complimenting each other. We’ve always tried to be efficient in our creativity, to do what feels natural and just let things flow. I’m obviously still really happy with all the music we’ve written up to this point, but on this record everything seemed to come together so sweetly. “

Frontman Steven Hodson describes first single ‘Revolution Worker’ as ‘about not knowing how long you have left at being in a band and life in general. My Dad died quite young and now I’m a father it’s something I think about quite a lot. It’s also about balancing time between family, work and band. All that grim stuff is wrapped up in a hell of a catchy riff, feedback and woodblocks.’

Ahead of the album, they’ve unveiled the video for ‘Revolution Worker’ . Watch it here:

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BlackLab, ‘the dark witch doom duo from Osaka, Japan’ are poised to return with their new long playing record Abyss.

Recorded under a full moon over three intense days, the album has the ‘off the leash’ abandon of ‘Fun House’ era ‘Stooges’ and is marked by a fat dose of doom meets slowed down hardcore punk; filled with loud, ultra distorted guitar, and yet, a surprising amount of melody as well.

In fact, Yuko has said that the band’s name is a combination of Black Sabbath and Stereolab, well here on Abyss is where that strange mix begins to make musical sense.

The band haven’t lost their love of lo-fi or ‘Riot Grrrl’ attitude.

The guitars are loud and heavily gnarled to the point of chaos.

Vocals go from shoegaze melodic to hardcore screams (in fact rarely has a vocalist in this genre screamed so musically as Yuko does) and underneath all this, Chia batters the skins, all rolling and tumbling thunder amidst the riffs.

Yes there is a smattering of ‘Sabbathy Wizarding’ of course, but submerged within dark, deep fuzz and punk rock crank and grind.

In truth the vibe is closer to both the arty heaviness of early Boris, and the sweet savagery of My Bloody Valentine, than any kind of ‘doom’ tropes. And in many ways, Blacklab are continuing the long tradition of Japanese experimental noise that bands like Melt Banana and Bordeoms exemplify. Ultimately though, it’s a sound that is undoubtedly BlackLab’s own.

So over 8 tracks, clocking in at around 42 mins, you get the current Blacklab world view.

‘Abyss’ is an album that is as raw and alive as it gets.

It’s refreshingly free of artifice, and it doesn’t arse around. What more can you want.

Say hello to the Osaka underground and watch the video for new single ‘Insanity’ now.

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead are returning after six years with their 10th full-length studio album X: The Godless Void and Other Stories – due out on 17th January 2020 on InsideOutMusic. The new LP comes as the band enters their 25th year together and along with the news today the band is releasing the first single and official video for “Don’t Look Down”.

Watch the video for the single here (2020 tour dates below):

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Sun 09 Feb 2020 Dunquerque, France, Les Quatre Ecluses

Mon 10 Feb 2020 Paris, France, Le Petit Bain

Wed 12 Feb 2020 Cologne, Germany, Stadtgarten

Thu 13 Feb 2020 Bielefeld, Germany, Forum

Fri 14 Feb 2020 Basel, Switzerland, Sommercasino

Sun 16 Feb 2020 Reutlingen, Germany, Franz.K

Mon 17 Feb 2020 Munich, Germany, Strom

Tue 18 Feb 2020 Vienna, Austria, Flex

Wed 19 Feb 2020 Berlin, Germany, Festsaal Kreuzberg

Fri 21 Feb 2020 Hamburg, Germany, The Stage Club

Sat 22 Feb 2020 Copenhagen, Denmark, Loppen

Sun 23 Feb 2020 Stockholm, Sweden, Stockholm Nalen Klubb

Mon 24 Feb 2020 Oslo, Norway, Vulkan Arena 

Wed 26 Feb 2020 Amsterdam, Netherlands, Melkweg

Thu 27 Feb 2020 Nijmegen, Netherlands, Doornroosje

Fri 28 Feb 2020 Brussels, Belgium, Botanique

Sat 29 Feb 2020 Brighton, Sussex, England, Patterns

Sun 01 Mar 2020 Bristol, England, The Exchange

Mon 02 Mar 2020 Nottingham, England, The Bodega Social Club

Tue 03 Mar 2020 Edinburgh, Scotland, The Mash House

Wed 04 Mar 2020 Manchester, England, Night & Day

Thu 05 Mar 2020 Newcastle upon Tyne, England, Riverside

Sat 07 Mar 2020 Leicester, England, The Cookie

Sun 08 Mar 2020 Huddersfield, England, The Parish

Tue 10 Mar 2020 London, England, The Dome

Wed 11 Mar 2020 St Albans, England, The Horn

Teeth of the Sea… where to begin?

Who can say when, or how, the Wraiths began to make their presence felt. Yet when Teeth Of The Sea entered their base of operations The Facility to begin work in Autumn 2017 on their fifth album – the follow-up to 2015’s Highly Deadly Black Tarantula – it seemed hard to deny that these ghostly interruptions were at play. By November, all three members were in agreement that the disturbances were tangible and impossible to ignore.

It wasn’t just the more familiar spectres of the band’s collective and overactive imagination – the unruly morass of ‘80s horror and sci-fi movies, industrial ballast, 2000AD terror, ‘70s-damaged experimental brinksmanship and atmospheric grandeur that they’d somehow conspire to sculpt into coherent structures. For as much as the band were determined to create a vivid and maximalist work that threw all of the wildest imagination into sharp relief, what resulted summarily went beyond anything they could have expected.

The Wraith is out in February. Meanwhile, you can watch ‘Hirareth’, which we highly recommend:

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Teeth of the Sea

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

‘Taxonomy Of Illusions’ is the opening track to Amplify Human Vibration, a full length soundtrack from Brighton cinematic post-rock duo Nordic Giants.

Amplify Human Vibration is the soundtrack to an upcoming short film, directed by the duo, that hopes to shed a positive light on the everyday world we live in. The crowd-funded film will be proceeded by the soundtrack, released on CD & Vinyl with the film given away online for free at a later date. The opening track of the soundtrack, ‘The Taxonomy of Illusions’ is named after and features a speech given by Terence McKenna at UC Berkeley in 1993.

“This opening track highlights some of the great illusions most of us have unwillingly accepted as our reality. The toxic consequences are now clear for everyone to see, so its really up to us to face our issues -not tomorrow, but today! The message of this song is not to create any more fear or negativity but to help realise our problems so we can empower ourselves and step out from this illusion/delusion we are living in,” say the band.

Listen here:

Amplify Human Vibration  is released on October 22nd.

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Young God Records – 28th April 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

The great Swans back catalogue reappraisal and re-release continues with a brace of albums from near the end of the band’s initial incarnation. The latest pairs Swans’ 1995 album The Great Annihilator with Gira’s simultaneous solo release, Drainland. 1995 was a fertile year: Jarboe also released Sacrificial Cake through Alternative Tentacles in the same year, in some respects mirroring the period eight years previous, when two different Skin albums – effectively Gia and Jarboe solo releases – appeared in 1987 and 1988 in near synchronicity with Swans’ pivotal Children of God. Indeed, while the ‘definitive’ reissue programme is both extremely welcome and is a genuine boon for Swans fans both new and old, it does highlight the complexity of the band’s back catalogue. Precisely which album sits with which is a question which will never find an easy resolution, but on balance, Gira and Young God have made a decent fist of presenting a cohesive and linear recataloguing of the band’s initial history.

The Swans album The Great Annihilator arrived some three years after the epic twin salvoes of Love of Life and White Light from the Mouth of Infinity, which had represented both an evolution and a return to form following The Burning World in 1989. And while The Great Annihilator clearly belonged to the same broad phase as its immediate predecessors, it also felt more focused and more intense. It also stands as a transitionary album, the last studio release before the immense, everything-through-the-wringer churning mash of Soundtracks for the Blind, at which point the first phase of Swans collapsed and terminated.

Soundtracks perhaps hinted at the direction the reincarnated Swans would take on their return, but lacks the immensity of the sound they would produce on their post-millennial return, and equally lacks the focus of The Great Annihilator, and in this context, it’s this album which stands as such a significant document of the band in the later years of their first phase. The 2002 reissue saw the album augmented with a six-minutelive recording of ‘I Am the Sun’, which is also included here. However, this version is more about presenting a ‘restored’ version, returning to the recently-excavated original tapes to deliver the album as intended.

Great Annihilator / Drainland (Remastered 2017) - PRE ORDER

By this point Gira had perfected the cavernous, monotone drone which is now his signature: emerging on Children of God and honed over the course of White Light and Love of Life, on The Great Annihilator and Drainland the dark, bleak detachment conveyed in that vocal is as terrifying as any of the growling, barking threats of violence contained on Filth and Cop. He may have sounded brutal in his rage on those releases, but here Gira affects a demeanour which is altogether calmer, and consequently all the more dangerous in its psychopathy. He no longer sounds like a tortured, tormented human soul: he sounds like he’s detached himself from humanity.

What makes The Great Annihilator such a strong album is its range, which is equalled by its force and its cinematic production, balancing slow, repetitive, hypnotic tracks with explosive, percussion driven compositions. As such, it’s a perfect encapsulation of the ugly / beautiful juxtaposition which characterises the Swans ethos. The raw, visceral Jarboe-led ‘Mother/Father’ is gruelling in its intensity and contrasts with the mesmeric ‘Killing for Company’ and the expansive, uplifting ‘Where Does a Body End?’ (which stand among some of my all-time favourite songs by Swans – although, if truth be told, in the scheme of their vast output, it would be easy to fill a double album with my favourite songs by Swans).

‘I Am the Sun’ shares common ground with previous percussion-led tracks like ‘Power and Sacrifice’ (which stand a world away from earlier percussion-led tracks as featured on their albums prior to Children of God, which very much marked a turning point for the band), but at the same time, offers the first hints of what the band would evolve to produce during their second, post-millennium phase. Elsewhere, ‘Mind/Body/Sound/Light’ and ‘Celebrity Lifestyle’ display a certain newfound commercialism (beyond the folk leanings of The Burning World), magnificently counterpointed by Gira’s monotone baritone drone. And who else could succeed with a line like ‘she’ just a drug addiction, a self-reflecting image of a narcotized mind’? ‘Alcohol the Seed’, meanwhile, is sparse, stark and harrowing, the direct, declarative lyrics standing at the point where art and life intersect to deliver maximum discomfort to the receiver. ‘Killing for Company’ is delicate yet beyond dark, a song which reflects Gira’s interest in serial killers and takes its title from Brian Masters’ 1993 biography of Dennis Nielsen.

Gira’s solo debut, Drainland, has always stood as a singular release, both stylistically and in overall terms of the Swans / Gira oeuvre. It also seems to be one of those releases which has been somewhat overlooked.

The first track, ‘You See Through Me’, which features a serrated, grating, oscillating drone and haunting piano provide the musical backdrop to a recording of Gira, drunk, nasty, arguing with his then-partner Jarboe over money and his alcohol problem. It’s one of those works which crosses a line that will never be readily acceptable, where art transgresses the boundaries of the personal and the public. This, of course, is art of the highest order, that demands the receiver face uncomfortable and painful realities. Simultaneously, Gira, in his capacity or artist, dismantles all sense of persona and lay himself bare in the most unfiltered way imaginable.

It paves the way for what is a difficult album on every level, as he trawls the darkest recesses of his psyche: the lyrics may not be as visceral as those contained on early Swans releases, but they’re every bit as gut-wrenching in their impact, not least of all because they’re so intensely personal.

Great Annihilator / Drainland (Remastered 2017) - PRE ORDER

It’s a dark, stark album, which makes for uncomfortable listening on many occasions: even the more overtly post-Children of God tracks, where Gira spins hypnotic, opiate-hazed acoustic strums, as on ‘Unreal’, it’s more nightmarish than dream-like. And then there are jarring, nauseatingly difficult loop-led nightmare dirges like ‘Fan Letter’. And yet, the album contains moments of true beauty. Songs like ‘Why I Ate My Wife’ (which again alludes to Gira’s serial killer fascination and also draws on, and shares its title with, a piece from 1993 which appeared in Gira’s book of collected prose, The Consumer (1994)), dark as they may be lyrically, are also truly magnificent, and as touching – and well-crafted – as anything Gira has done during his long career.

The mastering seems comparatively quiet, but that’s largely on account of the fact everything tends to be mastered so damn loud and so damn bright these days that much of the dynamic range is lost. The very purpose of this remaster is about audio fidelity and unravelling knots in the original processing. Sonically, this remaster feels richer, denser than the original releases, although it would take obsessive comparison and a lot of time to draw out all of the detail. Most importantly, this release makes two classic Swans / related albums (one being something of a lost or unsung classic at that) readily available once more, and on vinyl, too – The Great Annihilator has been commanding obscene prices on the second-hand market for a long time now, while Drainland was only released in the US packaged with Jarboe’s Sacrificial Cake and is again expensive and hard to come by: as such, it all adds up to an essential release.

2nd September 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

With seven tracks and a running time in excess of half an hour, it’s one hell of an EP. ‘Elderflower’ is also a whole lot more than the prescriptive ‘post-rock’ tag attached to the duo. Much as I appreciate labelling as much as the next time-pressed music journo struggling to place a band and clutching for pointers for pitching a band in a review, and much as I like a lot of what slots into the post-rock bracket, Defy the Ocean are a band who create music that simply cannot be readily classified on their expansive and accomplished new release.

For a start, it’s more rock than post rock. It’s pretty loud. It’s pretty heavy. There are a lot of vocals. None of these are bad things, and ‘Elderflower’ is a work of depth, range and power. From the get-go, they demonstrate a knack for shifting between segments and moods with real panche, dragging the listener along with them: ‘Rest’, the first track may only clock in at two minutes and fifty-five, but it’s got more twists and turns and ideas and emotional range than some bands’ entire albums.

‘Veils’ is restrained, darkly atmospheric, moody and is perhaps the most post-rock track of the set. But it’s got a bleak, metallic edge that also tips a nod to the mid 90s alternative rock sound.

The title track breaks into full-on grunge mode, the quiet / loud dynamic and brooding atmosphere more Alice in Chains and Soundgarden than I Like Trains, and the crushing power chords are thick and heavy, and paired with a drawling vocal delivery, it calls to mind Melvins – the mellow piano breakdown notwithstanding. ‘Brine’ is serpentine, stripped back, and provides a distinct contrast with its chiming guitars which does call to mind I Like Trains – but then again, the burst of powerchords, distorted vocal and full driving climax, alludes to millennial progressive acts like Oceansize, Amplifier, Porcupine Tree, Anathema, and if anything, ‘Vessel’ amalgamates neoprog with the desert rock vibe of Queens of the Stone Age and their ilk. There’s a lot going on here, and it’s all well-assembled and musically articulate.

Everything about ‘Elderflower’ points to a band who aren’t confined to any one format or bank of instruments, which makes for a refreshingly varied collection of songs, and one which demands repeated listening in order to reveal its full richness.

 

Defy the Ocean EP

2nd September 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Gang of Four’s Entertainment! Still stands as one of the definitive post-punk albums, capturing the zeitgeist of the late 70s. ‘Left’ and ‘socialist’ weren’t terms spat derisively by the media. The early years of Thatcher’s dismantlement of the country in the pursuit of the neoliberalist dream was already finding many disenfranchised and angry, with musicians articulating the sentiments of a generation in voicing dissent and dissatisfaction. Sound familiar?

I’ve been listening to Gang of Four since I was in my teens: too young to appreciate them in their day (I was born in1975), I was hooked a good decade before Franz Ferdinand and others started namedropping them and their status as one of the most important bands of the era. This isn’t any kind of hip gloat – not least of all because it would be a pretty shit one if it was. But my experience of the band live until earlier this year was limited to a few shitty VHS recordings, and the not so shitty various artists compilation VHS from circa 1984 that I picked up at a car boot in the early 90s.

So finally seeing them play live in 2016, given that the current lineup only features one original member could have been a disappointment on a monumental scale. But it wasn’t. the current lineup not only sounds great, but still has that vital sense of tension, of danger, that was always the band’s trademark.

‘Live… in the Moment’ captures this perfectly, and is released in two different forms: During a year spent touring the world, the band recorded two of the best, namely their sold-out show at New York’s Irving Plaza (which will be available as a DVD or download) and their penultimate show of 2015, at London’s Islington Assembly Hall, which will be available as an audio CD, double coloured vinyl album and download. The DVD will be packaged with the CD. Both, it has to be said, are excellent.

As a live recording, the quality is good, but it’s not excessively crisp or polished, and doesn’t scream heavy EQing, mixing, overdubbing. No, this is an honest, real live album that captures the intensity and immediacy of being in a room with a band playing live at high volume. If sounds and feels like a live album: as it should: any act who sound exactly the same live as in the studio may be musically accomplished, but fails to make the live ‘experience’ an actual experience. What matters most is that the separation between the sinewy, choppy guitar lines and elastic, funk-infused stop/start bass grooves is spot on.

Similarly, the concert visuals, whole shot from a number of cameras, is straight-ahead: dark, murky, primarily from a lower, audience vantage point. Budget? Maybe, although I’d prefer to watch something that replicates the actual experience of the live show, rather than some ponced-up, glossy fixed-up representation. My only criticism of the footage lies not with the footage itself – I can handle the wobbles and slightly amateurish hand-held pans – but the editing: the cuts are simply too fast, and the zooms on fretboards, etc., simply too… zoomy. With multiple angles to choose from, they haven’t always picked the best. Still, it’s watchable enough in a way fits with the rough ‘n’ ready, ‘as it was’ approach. Moreover, it sits with the band’s general ethos: this is no major-label, big-money production and no corporate exec’s coining it at the expense of hard-working artists.

The track listing draws from across their albums with the exception of Mall, although no-one’s going to be disappointed to see that Entertainment! Is well-represented, with ‘Love Like Anthrax’, ‘Damaged Goods’, ‘At Home He’s a Tourist’, ‘History’s Not Made by Great Men’ and ‘I Found That Essence Rare’ all featuring. The DVD also features ‘Return the Gift’, which doesn’t appear on the CD, as well as non-CD cut ‘I Love a Man in a Uniform’. They all sound great, spiky and urgent, ‘To Hell With Poverty’ as pertinent now as 38 years ago. Irrespective of their influence, Live… In the Moment shows that Gang of Four are very much a going concern, and a band who aren’t only relevant after all this time, but a cracking live act.

 

Gang of Four Live