Posts Tagged ‘New Album’

Emma Ruth Rundle’s forthcoming Engine of Hell is stark, intimate, and unflinching. For anyone that’s endured trauma and grief, there’s a beautiful solace in hearing Rundle articulate and humanise that particular type of pain not only with her words, but with her particular mysterious language of melody and timbre. The album captures a moment where a masterful songwriter strips away all flourishes and embellishments in order to make every note and word hit with maximum impact, leaving little to hide behind.

A gentle melancholy piano line introduces album opener and lead single “Return,” and when Rundle finally sings, every syllable guided with the utmost intention, she unleashes the ominously cryptic opening lines “A rich belief that no one sees you / Your ribbon cut from all the fates and / Some hound of Hell looking for handouts / The breath between things no one says.” The ambiguity may obscure the muse, but it doesn’t diminish its heaviness.

“Return” is available today via Sargent House and comes accompanied with a striking and introspective video directed by Rundle herself. The visual was heavily inspired by Jean Cocteau’s ‘Orpheus’ and Wim Wenders’ ‘Wings of Desire’, and gives nods to other films and images. Of “Return”, Rundle unfolds, “An examination of the existential. A fractured poem. Trying to quantify what something is definitely about or pontificating on its concrete meaning defeats the purpose of art making. I’m not a writer. I make music and images to express things that my words cannot convey or emote. I’ve been studying ballet and the practice of expression through movement, which I incorporated into the video. I choreographed a dance to the song – some of which you see. Pieces show through. Since completing ‘Engine of Hell’, I’ve stepped away from music more and more and into things like dance, painting and working on ideas for videos or little films. ‘Return’ is the result of the efforts.”

Watch the video here:

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Album artwork. Photo by George Clarke

Oakland-based heavy music savants Kowloon Walled City have announced Piecework, the quartet’s first album in six years, confirmed for an October 8th release via Neurot Recordings and Gilead Media. Since forming 15 years ago, the band has increasingly refined its deconstructed approach to noise rock, math rock, and post-hardcore, embracing dynamics and negative space to a degree that few others in the world of heavy music match. With Piecework Kowloon Walled City has managed even greater levels of restraint: songs are bleak and slow, but also shorter and more concise; counterpointing moments of austere beauty with stretches of near silence. While the band has always operated under the MO that less is more, it has doubled down on that ethos for Piecework. Singer/guitarist Scott Evans and guitarist Jon Howell, the main songwriters, self-imposed restrictions to push themselves creatively—“restraining ourselves into oblivion,” as Howell puts it.

The negative space amplifies the ruptures of heady aggressiveness that anchor Piecework. Angular guitar notes from Howell skew off the neck, dissolving into space. Ian Miller’s bass lines churn in the muck. Drums and cymbal smashing by Dan Sneddon punctuate dead air. (Sneddon, formerly of Early Graves, makes his recording debut with the band five years after joining.) There’s sadness and anger in Evans’ shouted vocals, but also a desire for something better; hints of perseverance and hope pushing through the resignation and regret. Piecework feels not only like an artistic accomplishment, but a triumph of resolve and vision.

Evans was dealing with the loss of his father during the writing of the album. He found strength in the women in his life, especially his maternal grandmother, who worked at a shirt factory in Kentucky for 40 years while raising five kids. The album name (and title track) is a nod to her line of work—and her quiet resilience. The themes of absence and death, surrendering to aging, and familial strength and love are all encapsulated in album artwork by photographer Melyssa Anishnabie—the tattered beauty of an abandoned home reveals the faint edges of where life used to be. Evans likens it to watching a grandparents’ house fall into disrepair. As with all previous KWC releases, Evans recorded and mixed Piecework (his impressive recording CV includes Thrice, Yautja, Great Falls, Ghoul, Town Portal, and many others) and like previous albums Container Ships (2012) and Grievances (2015) the tracks were recorded live at Oakland’s Sharkbite Studios, with minimal overdubs.

Watch ‘Piecework’ here:

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Photo Credit: Scott Evans

Dungeon synth pioneer, MORTIIS has announced the release of  Transmissions From The Western Walls Of Time – a live recording from 1997.

Very few audio documents exist of the handful of shows MORTIIS did in the    90s, and this is one of the few we were able to dig up. This recording was captured by an unknown person, bringing a video camera or cassette recorder to the show. The show was at the Transmission Theatre, now defunct, in San Francisco, November 12, 1997.

Transmissions From The Western Walls Of Time was released on limited edition classic black vinyl, and a strictly limited edition silver vinyl, which is now sold out. Both vinyl versions include an A2 sized poster. It is also available on Digipack CD.
The silver vinyl, was offered to members of the Fan Club/Patreon group Cult Of Thee Black Wizards which is a subscription based Fan Club style group. Membership includes free download of around 40 releases, studio updates, priority ordering of limited edition releases, exclusive merchandise, a monthly/bi-monthly video chat for members only (via a private members only Facebook Group).

Click the image for links:

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AMENRA announce their Relapse Records full-length debut De Doorn coming June 25th. Watch the official video for ‘De Evenmens’, directed by Dehn Sora, here:

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Amenra vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout comments:

“We are only here for a split second in history. This song is about finding the answer within the question, man’s search for his place here on earth. A journey of sorrow with mere moments of beauty and happiness and this all in relation to his or her fellowman. To accept what is. Our brother Dehn Sora sculpted the digital world where Everman dwells, protected by its thorns, wounded by the others. Sacrificing blood of gold.”

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PHOTO CREDIT: STEFAAN TEMMERMAN

Ahead of the release of her second album on March 12th, The Anchoress has announced her new single, the title track from ‘The Art of Losing’ out Jan 22nd, following its premiere by Steve Lamacq on BBC 6Music and the NME.

It’s accompanied by a striking video riffing on ‘fake news’ and the role the media play in reporting tragedy. The new single updates the optimistic new wave pop sound of David Bowie, Depeche Mode, and Talk Talk, and is produced by Davies and mixed by Grammy award winning Bowie collaborator Mario McNulty. Watch the video here:

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Mr. Bungle, who a year ago today announced their first live outings in two decades, have announced the release of The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny Demo on Oct. 30th via Ipecac Recordings.

As was the case with the live performances, original Mr. Bungle members Trevor Dunn, Mike Patton, and Trey Spruance are joined by Scott Ian (Anthrax, S.O.D.) and Dave Lombardo (Dead Cross, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies).

The 11-song release features tracks written by the Eureka, Calif.-born band for their 1986 cassette only demo as well as a reimagined cover of the S.O.D. classic “Hypocrites / Habla Español O Muere” (a.k.a. “Speak English or Die”) and Corrosion of Conformity’s “Loss For Words.” The album was produced by Mr. Bungle, recorded by Husky Höskulds at Studio 606, and mixed by Jay Ruston. Rhea Perlman narrates “Anarchy Up Your Anus.”

Watch the video for “Raping Your Mind” here:

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Photo credit: Eric Larsen

For nearly twenty years, Gazpacho have reigned as the kings of atmospheric and affective art rock. That’s certainly no small feat, as the subgenre is full of wonderfully moody, ornate, and emotional artists; yet, none of them manage to achieve the same level of exquisite baroque resonance and hypnotically introspective weight as the Norwegian sextet. As a result, they never fail to provide awe-inspiring examinations of the human condition, and their latest observation, Fireworker, is no exception. It is undoubtedly among their greatest achievements, as well as one of the most profound pieces of music you’ll hear in 2020.

Listen to ‘Fireworker’ here:

 

Conceptually, the album follows the band’s tradition of blending grand philosophical quandaries, stimulating literary leanings, and haunting personal turmoil. In a way, it acts as the culmination of the themes and techniques that’ve decorated earlier collections, combining the fatalistic isolation of Night and Missa Atropos; the ill-fated narrative drama of Tick Tock and Soyuz; and the hefty theological/scientific contemplations of Demon and Molok. Beyond that, its central premise (that humanity has always been controlled by an infallible and omniscient creature determined to propagate at any cost) means that Fireworker comes across like the overarching umbrella under which all of its predecessors occur.

Keyboardist Thomas Andersen elucidates: “There’s an instinctual part of you that lives inside your mind, separate from your consciousness. I call it the ‘Fireworker’ or the ‘Lizard’ or the ‘Space Cowboy.’ It’s an eternal and unbroken lifeforce that’s survived every generation, with a new version in each of us. It’s evolved alongside our consciousness, and it can override us and control all of our actions.” In order to get us to do what it wants, he clarifies, the “Fireworker” will silence the parts of our mind that feel disgust or remorse so that we’re unable to stop it. The conscious part of our mind, Andersen notes, will actually “rationalize and legitimize” those thoughts and actions so that we never discover the beast behind-the-scenes. No matter how we feel about ourselves in terms of identity, accomplishments, and value, we’re all just vessels—or “Sapiens”—that the creature uses until it no longer needs us. “If you play along,” Andersen explains, “It’ll reward you like a puppy and let you feel fantastic; if you don’t, it’ll punish you severely.”

That 2020 has been relentlessly shit requires no qualification. Its shitness is almost as unprecedented as the unprecedented overuse of the word unprecedented. Only, you’d think that meant there’d never been a plague or viral pandemic before, but there has, so what’s unprecedented is the shitness of the way it’s been managed, on a global scale. Despite the unprecedented shitness, or perhaps because of it, it’s been a remarkable year for new music already, and it’s suddenly just got even better, with a new cut from Blacklisters, far and away one of the most outstanding noise rock bands of the last decade.

‘Sports Drinks’ prefaces the arrival of a long, long, long awaited new album, Fantastic Man, due out in August. And it’s a fucking belter. Check the video here:

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.

Tim Hecker shares the haunting new song ‘Keyed Out’ from his incoming, ninth full-length Konoyo, which is incoming via kranky on 28th September. Listen to it here:

Regarding ‘Keyed Out’, Hecker says: "The track "Keyed out" was written over several sessions and finished in a small temple on the outskirts of Tokyo, during one of our initial trips to record with Motonori. I wanted to resist the temptation to overload the music with layers and layers of hyper-edited texture, as if that would help the piece become more whole. The song is a lonely deteriorating synth line, refracted and isolated, played alongside a small court music ensemble on what was a crisp birdsong-filled November morning."

Tim Hecker announces more live dates including rare ensemble appearances in the US. Forthcoming performances for Konoyo will feature traditional Japanese Gagaku musicians on the shō, ryuteki and hichiriki in synergy with his own explorations of noise, dissonance, and melody, creating a hybrid of electronic abstraction and otherworldly minimalism, alternately heavy and gentle. Full dates below.

Tim Hecker + The Konoyo Ensemble

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October 2 – Tokyo, WWWX (Japan)

October 6 – London, Barbican Centre (UK)
October 4 – Lisbon, Culturgest (Portugal)

October 7 – Krakow, Unsound Festival (Poland)

October 9 – Berlin, Funkhaus (Germany)

JUST ANNOUNCED FOR 2019

February 18 – New York, National Sawdust

February 19 – New York, National Sawdust

February 22 – Los Angeles, Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

February 23 – Los Angeles, Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery [http://tinyurl.com/ycas9n4l]

Konoyo ("the world over here") was largely recorded during several trips to Japan where he collaborated with members of the gagaku ensemble Tokyo Gakuso, in a temple on the outskirts of Tokyo. Inspired by conversations with a recently deceased friend about negative space and a sense of music’s increasingly banal density, Hecker found himself drawn towards restraint and elegance, while making music both collectively and alone.

As with the Icelandic choir he arranged on 2016’s Love Streams, the heights of Hecker’s talent emerge in his manipulation of source material, bending and burnishing it into fantastical new forms. Keening strings are stretched into surreal, pixelated mirages; woodwinds warble and dissipate as fractal whispers of spatial haze; sparse gestures of percussion are chopped, isolated, and eroded, like disembodied signals from the afterlife. Both in texture and intent, Konoyo conjures a somber, ceremonial mood, suffused with ritual and regret. Visions flutter and fade; dreams gleam and decay.

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