Posts Tagged ‘Stereolab’

7ebra are a new duo consisting of 25-year-old twin sisters from Malmö, who grew up playing music together. Inez plays electric guitar and sings, Ella plays a keyboard, organ and Mellotron – whilst manually playing drum samples with her feet – as they both sing haunting harmonies in a way that only twins can.

Beautiful but punk, minimalist but epic. The duo have already made their mark on the Swedish music scene with support slots for Bob Hund and The Dandy Warhols. ‘If I Ask Her’ is the addictive debut single and the first taste of their Tore Johansson (The Cardigans, Franz Ferdinand) produced debut album that will be out early 2023 on PNKSLM Recordings.

Listen here:

Live
Aug 25 – Stockholm, Sweden – Hus 7 – w/ Ghost Woman
Aug 27 – London, UK – The Shacklewell Arms
Aug 28 – London, UK – TBA
Oct 20-22 – Rotterdam, Netherlands – Left of the Dial Festival
Dec 2-3 – Gothenburg – Viva Sounds Festival
(more dates TBA)

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Doom metal meets dreampop on ‘Crows, Sparrows and Cats’ by Blacklab, the self-proclaimed ‘Doom Witch Duo from Osaka, Japan’. Featuring a lead vocal by Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, the Hawkwind riffs, motorik heavy stomp and fuzz fat guitars coupled with that cool pop vocal is a surprising combination that hits the spot.

Hot on its heels comes a new video, featuring Hanaka the thirteen year old daughter of Blacklab drummer Chia, who creates her own dance routine for the track whilst footage (from their recent stay in London) is projected ‘Liquid Len’ like, for full psychedelic overload.

Watch the video now:

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‘Crows, Sparrows and Cats’ is taken from their latest album ‘In A Bizarre Dream’ which is out this Friday (New Heavy Sounds).

Their debut ‘Under the Strawberry Moon 2.0’ saw them taking Sabbath inspired doom, mashing it with a Japanese sensibility and a fuzzed-up groove. It certainly caused a stir, but only hinted at their potential.

Album two ‘Abyss’ added to the mix. A Stooges like squalor to the riffs, dollops of lo-fi hardcore punk and loose riffing, pointing the way towards a signature sound.

So what of the ‘difficult’ third album? Not so difficult at all it seems.  ‘In A Bizarre Dream’ ups the ante considerably, to let rip and define what Blacklab are about.

The combined talents of Jun Morino on production and Wayne Adams (Big Lad, Green Lung, Pet Brick, John, Cold In Berlin) on the mix have conspired to produce a towering beast of a record. A real step forward for the ‘Doom Witch Duo’.

The drums have a humungous ‘Fugazi’ like welly, and the guitars are a boiling maelstrom of fuzz dense riffola and warped psychedelics, with added synth. Yuko’s throat shredding snarls are as mean as a pissed off Satan, and melodious, often within the same song.

This is doom meets hardcore punk, hooky melodies, and killer riffs, all cranked up to the max. Japan has always had a special take on ‘noise’ and ‘heavy’ and with ‘In A Bizarre Dream’ Blacklab add their own spin to that tradition.

Gone is the lo-fi approach, here is Blacklab in full effect.

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Blacklab are back. The self-proclaimed ‘Doom witch, duo from Osaka’ are set to drop their third album ‘In A Bizarre Dream’ this summer. 

Their debut ‘Under the Strawberry Moon 2.0’ saw them taking Sabbath inspired doom, mashing it with a Japanese sensibility and a fuzzed-up groove. It certainly caused a stir, but only hinted at their potential.

Album two ‘Abyss’ added to the mix. A Stooges like squalor to the riffs, dollops of lo-fi hardcore punk and loose riffing, pointing the way towards a signature sound.

So what of the ‘difficult’ third album? Not so difficult at all it seems.  ‘In A Bizarre Dream’ ups the ante considerably, to let rip and define what Blacklab are about.

The combined talents of Jun Morino on production and Wayne Adams (Big Lad, Green Lung, Pet Brick, John, Cold In Berlin) on the mix have conspired to produce a towering beast of a record. A real step forward for the ‘Doom Witch Duo’.

The drums have a humungous ‘Fugazi’ like welly, and the guitars are a boiling maelstrom of fuzz dense riffola and warped psychedelics, with added synth. Yuko’s throat shredding snarls are as mean as a pissed off Satan, and melodious, often within the same song.

This is doom meets hardcore punk, hooky melodies, and killer riffs, all cranked up to the max. Japan has always had a special take on ‘noise’ and ‘heavy’ and with ‘In A Bizarre Dream’ Blacklab add their own spin to that tradition.

Gone is the lo-fi approach, here is Blacklab in full effect.

‘Cold Rain’ and ‘Abyss Woods’ (debuted at their storming set at London’s Desert Fest and appearing here in its full version) are two nuggets of epic fuzz heavy doom with added screamo and a neat and canny grasp of melody at its core. Very much a Blacklab trademark.

‘Dark Clouds’ is D-beat fuelled hardcore, fierce and ferocious, with Chia’s rolling thunder drumming underpinning the distorted guitar. It’s pretty exhilarating stuff that shifts the mood perfectly.

‘Evil I’ is just that, a riff as evil as it gets, morphing into a chugging punk wig out. Then followed by ‘Evil II’ a breather, almost mellow, melancholy, with layers of dark overdrive threatening to explode beneath a sweet yet menacing vocal.

Then, the mid-point of the album drops a real surprise. Yuko has said before that the band’s name is a combination of her two favourite bands, Black Sabbath and Stereolab. Odd bedfellows to be sure, but if you want to know what that combination might sound like … here it is.

‘Crows, Sparrows and Cats’ actually features Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab, no less, providing the lead vocal, adding a layer of cool over Blacklab’s Hawkwind meets krautrock sludge. Listen now:

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Blacklab

San Diego’s Wild Wild Wets continue to roll out singles off their upcoming new album ‘Love Always.’

The latest, ‘The Seer,’ is accompanied by a fully-animated music video (premiering today) created by Michael Turi, frontman and co-founder of Wild Wild Wets.

The track itself features backup vocals by Shelbi Bennett (The Midnight Pine and The Havnauts), and while the single version was cut to a stoney 4:20 minutes, the album version is 8 minutes long and includes nearly 4 minutes of added takeoff time that echoes Stereolab’s ‘kraut-rock’ sensibility with Turi & his bandmate and co-frontman Taejon Romanik sharing in the masterful quilting of noise and melody.

Turi explains, "I championed this track to be recorded and it eventually grew to become one of our favorite tracks on the new album, "Love Always". The song was written about a mixture between the writing process, a love for that along with the mantra that comes with completing your art, but also acts as a mantra for living, in general. I am and have always been obsessed with cartoons and it’s been a long-time dream to animate something of my own. Cosmically, I was able to use the last year of off-and-on pandemic scares to finally sink my teeth into the process. So many late nights of delirium spike this colorful dose of weirdness. I learned a lot during this creation process and once I’m over enjoying the time away from animating this I look forward to finishing my next project."

Romanik adds, “The Seer is an ethereal and cathartic pop song about writing pop songs. A story of the creative process and seeing things through to the end. Harmony vocals were performed by Shelbi Bennett of the Midnight Pine and The Havnauts. The Seer is the 3rd single from our 3rd LP ‘Love Always.’ It may be the catchiest song we have ever written."

Watch the video here:

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Bearsuit Records – 12th November 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s unusual to open an album with a B-side from the lead single, but there’s nothing usual about Eamon the Destroyer or Bearsuit Records, and the scratchy soporific drone and distorted / filtered vocals of ‘Silver Shadow’ – which reference the ‘small blue car’ to which the album owes its name – makes for a worthy introduction by means of introverted minimalism. It’s largely representative of an album that’s slow sparse, minimal and somewhat lugubrious.

I take the nom de guerre Eamon the Destroyer ironically. That may be wrong, it may be some unpleasant prejudice, and if so, I do apologise. This isn’t a PC matter or issue. But names come with certain associations, and the connotations of Eamon aren’t particularly warlord, at least to my mind. No diss to any Eamons, but the name is about as warlord as Gavin, Kevin, or Craig. No doubt there are some brutal twats by the name of Kevin, but, well, y’know, it doesn’t evince fear. The concept of ‘the destroyer’ is one of something harsh, brutal, obliterative, too, but that also isn’t the case here. Consider Ah Puch the Destroyer, Mayan god of death and disaster whose coming would mark the end of days. There is nothing explosive or devastating about A Small Blue Car – it is not a violent sonic blast of earth-shattering, annihilative proportions, yet it does, strangely, evoke a sense of near-finality. There is an all-pervading sadness that hangs over the album’s entirety, a sadness that’s slow-creeping and heavy, like a weight that pulls you down, bending your back with the effort

‘Humanity is Coming’ is downbeat, gloomy, and things get particularly dark and dense on the short instrumental ‘The Conjuring Stops’, with a heavily phased synth yielding a pulsating throb in the style of Suicide. ‘The Avalanche’ also brings some weight, with lots of granular sounds and bolds bursts of sweeping synths in the choruses that contrast with the woozy drone and is perhaps how Leonard Cohen might have sounded in the early years of his career if he’s chosen Moods instead of an acoustic guitar. The end result, musically, is like Stereolab on Ketamine.

The slow rasp of single cut ‘My Drive’, with its whistle of feedback and detuned radio in the distance while the picked guitar – spacious and delicate – curls like smoke into the darkness, and it piles on the melancholy.

‘Uledaro’ follows, a dolorous jumble of discord. ‘Nothing Like Anything’ is conspicuous by its near-cheeriness ‘wake up / the sun is out / we’re almost home’, Eamon intones in a rare glimmer of optimism. There’s whistling and levity, and it’s almost, almost a pop song. But of course, it’s not. And perhaps it’s more me feeling autumnal, but the happiness only accentuates the sadness, as if the jollity is a mask to sorrow so inexplicably deep that it has to be covered up. The nights are dark, the world feels a very long way off and a long time ago. It’s time to hibernate, with A Small Blue Car for company.

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Christopher Nosnibor

Hailing from Hastings, Kids Love Surf came together during the eternal year of lockdown, coming together due to a shared love of dreampop to collaborate remotely from March 2020. Following on from debut single ‘OYO’ which found favour with BBC introducing.

‘Moment’ is everything its rainbow-hued cover art suggests: a dreamy drift of 90s shoegaze, with soft synths and guitars bathed in washes of reverb and effects. The drums are muffled beneath the layers while the bass strolls around amiably, not driving anything, not even holding it down, but simply wandering, and it’s a latticework of jangly guitars that layer away behind a vocal that’s low in the mix and kinda dreamy in a 90s indie sort of a way. There are hints of Stereolab and Disintegration-era Cure in the mix here, and it’s all very mellow and melodic.

As is so often the case with this style of music, I find there’s relatively little to say. That’s not a criticism or complaint, but more of an indication of how, on a personal level, I find myself detached and floating free, how I struggle to engage in the details beyond the effect, beyond the superficial. Because it seems to be less about ]engagement and more about atmosphere, how it speaks beyond words via the medium of music.

The mid-tempo ‘Moment’ is a soft wash of tripping indie that’s easy on the ear, and do you really need a message or much substance beyond that? I’m content to just let it glide….

Atypeek Muzik

Christopher Nosnibor

Apparently France’s One Arm is a ‘mythical’ band, although the newly unveiled existence of Mysore Pak, their first album which gathers a fill twenty years of work, suggests that’s not entirely true. There’s nothing like a bit of mythology and legend to bolster the status of an obscure cult act – and this particular cult act has managed to score a number of other cult performers to contribute to the recordings here, most notably Little Annie, who adds ‘kosmic vocals’ to ‘Space is the Place’.

Mysore Pak is, it would seem, a collection of recordings made over the last twenty years, but try to delve into the band’s history and details are nigh on impossible to locate or verify. Who said that it was impossible to hide in the age of the Internet? Anyway, Mysore Pak has a truly vintage sound, with touchstones going back far more than two decades, taking grabs from 60s psychedelic, post-punk, and early industrial.

The first song, the vaguely baggy ‘Real’ is dominated by the heavy clatter of two drummers and duelling basses and with its thumping motorik repetition, it calls to mind vintage Fall. ‘ESG’, meanwhile, locks into a slightly psychedelic groove – and with the airy female vocals, I;’m reminded more of the careening drift of Stereolab, as well as the more contemporary Modeerate Rebels who similarly spin classic indie with a Krautrock aesthetic. The slowed down, sedated ‘Space is the Place’ creeps and squirms stealthy around a primitive percussive clatter, and ‘City’ is a standout with it’s locked-in groove and discordant howls of wailing feedback.

Elsewhere, things get murkier and harder edge, as exemplified by the cutty, scrapy, hybrid trudge of jittery noise that is the eight-minute ‘Top Tone’. The guitars are sharp, there’s all the serpentine esotericism and eastern promise you could dream of, making this a dreamy, delirious meandered, and similarly, ‘Step 3’, which comes on like a head-on collision between Suicide and The Jesus and Marty Chain is a deeply compelling mess of noise. Closer ‘Virgule’, too, harks back to Psychocandy while plundering a seem much deeper and darker with its rippling flyaway synths and low-riding bass that meanders as it pleases while vintage snares crack in every whichway.

For the primitive production feel and the simplicity of basslines that just loop endlessly, Mysore Pak is so much more than a hipsterish replica of real life that skips along nicely. As accessible as this album is, it’s got more depth and more instant biteback than you would ever imagine. An album that steps out of time and spans infinite time and space, it’s got a lot going for it.

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2nd October 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Having been brought into Talk Talk to assist with remixing on ‘It’s My Life’ in 1984, Tim Friese-Greene became an integral contributor to the band on their subsequent albums. Short Haired Domestic sees Tim come together with his wife, Lee, formerly of 90s act Sidi Bou Said and currently lead vocalist and guitar player for Pavlova.

As the liner notes explain, the vocals for each song are sung in a different language, and ‘have at their heart a breakbeat loop, sampled fragments, scratching, insistent funk and Latin rhythms, surprising appearances of acoustic guitar and just about every sound it’s possible to wring from a WASP synthesiser’.

This manifests as a collection of songs with a quirky charm to their style, which has something of a mainland European, vaguely gallic feel to it, and their touchstones of Stereolab and Francois Hardy, among others, sit comfortably. It’s so not my regular bag, but sometimes I need something to chill to, and a complete change of scene by way of a pallete-cleanser.

The titles are helpful in their explanatory nature but disclose little about the stance on the subjects being sung about – but that probably speaks more of a global Anglocentrism when it comes to song lyrics than anything – and also highlights that you don’t necessarily need words to appreciate a song.

It’s a laid-back sashaying groove and swinging beat that sets the scene with ‘A song in Latin about the importance of comfortable shoes’, and without a lyric sheet and translation, it’s hard to be certain, but it sounds like they rather like them. And who wouldn’t? Who says you can’t have style and comfort?

They hit an insistent funk groove of ‘A song in Spanish addressed to men who drive big cars’, and work it hard, while ‘A Song in Bulgrian for Lovers of Gin; is positively loungey in its laid-back jazziness, a head-nodding groove as smooth as the silkiest chocolate. Things get a bit Prince on ‘A song in Italian saluting his mother’, and there’s even a dash of piano reminiscent of Talk Talk on the slower, sparser head-nodding A song in Hindi for insomniacs’.

For their sugared pop coating of sunny melodies, these simple-sounding and accessible tunes are layered and steeped in experimentalism, and they pull it off with a deceptive ease.

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Short-Haired Domestic (album cover)

SpaceFest presents a brief documentary about the latest experience with Pure Phase Ensemble. In its current incarnation, the collective is led by a true legend: Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, along with with Emil Nikolaisen of Scandinavian rock band Serena Maneesh.

Filmed by RSU / Agencja Vizualna, this film presents a sneak preview of what is to come on the ‘Live at SpaceFest!’ album and the story behind Pure Phase Ensemble 6. Every December during Gdansk’s illustrious SpaceFest!, an eclectic group of musicians from across Poland are joined by a guest curator from abroad to form Pure Phase Ensemble. The group’s makeup constantly changes, guided by the artistic vision of a new curator every year and directed by Karol Schwarz of Nasiono Records who has been responsible for its musical cohesion from the very outset.

Through improvisation at a workshop organized by Nasiono Records and SpaceFest!, the musicians produce a set of unique songs during a week-long workshop ahead of the festival at the Laznia 2 Centre for Contemporary Art in the city’s Nowy Port district, seeking inspiration amidst its post-industrial atmosphere. The festival then culminates in this music being performed and recorded in real time for the inevitable album release.

Anton Newcombe espoused one rule for this experiment – that there are no rules when making music… and one standard… “get weirder… be heavy. and dreamy. but not pointless”.
Pure Phase Ensemble 6 is comprised of 8 musicians, including six from emerging Polish alternative bands: 
Karol Schwarz (7faz, KSAS) – guitar, vocals
Olga Myslowska (Polpo Motel) – vocals, keyboard
Maciej Karminski (Jesien) – drums
Marcin Lewandowski (Judy’s Funeral, Castlings, Soon) – bass guitar
Jakub Zwirello (Oslo Kill City, Szezlong) – guitar
Kacper Graczyk (Aiodine, coding) – electronic beats, synths, backing vocals

“I prefer to hear the sound bouncing off the walls and most festivals are outside and have time limits and various handicaps…I am more or less a jazz folk guy, I’m not an entertainer there to jump up and down and get you pumped…I just do as I feel…,”says Anton Newcombe. “I see myself as an idea person. I play like 80 instruments in as many ways as I can reinvent them because I am not a virtuoso… I want to contribute to Polish culture by writing at least one song that is worth listening to.”

In past incarnations of Pure Phase Ensemble, the group was curated by Mark Gardener (Ride), Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), Ray Dickaty (Spiritualized), Steve Hewitt (Placebo), Jaime Harding (Marion), Chris Olley (Six By Seven), and Hugo Race (The Bad Seeds, The True Spirit). Nasiono Records’ very own Karol Schwarz (7faz, KSAS) has been responsible for the Ensemble’s musical cohesion from the very outset.

You can watch a preview of the forthcoming documentry here: