Another month nearly gone, and another month crammed with some rather fantastic music!
I am going to start off with a couple of records I need to say thank you to Jericho at Symbiotic Reviews for highlighting; Disappears and Doc Waffles. Two very different acts, both unknown to me at the time of discovery, but I am rather glad I found them.
Disappears – Pre Language (Kranky)
Hailing from Chicago, this is Disappears third album of Krautrock tinged garage rock. They have a love of Neu-esque repetition but flavoured with the sweaty post punk garage rock of bands such as Obits, Wire, The Stooges or Mission of Burma. At thirty five minutes (their longest so far, 2010’s Lux was 29 minutes and 2011’s Guider was 30!) it is over rather quickly leaving me wanting to put it back in again. In fact the brevity of their releases allowed me to catch up with their back catalogue pretty quickly! It is a paradox that music that uses repetition can be so rewarding and addictive.
Doc Waffles – How To Shoot Quail (self released)
Doc Waffles (aka Ben Ness) is a hip-hop artist from Detroit and How To Shoot Quail is his debut full length release (available for any amount you choose at his Bandcamp site, link above). Filled with samples, literary references and slightly surreal imagery, it reminds me a bit of Buck 65 in that although he raps and spits rhymes with the best of ’em his original choices of subject matter make him stand out above your average hip-hop MC, to these usually guitar loving Brit ears anyway![youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rf4Reocl38]
MAKE – Trephine (self released)
From hip-hop to heaviness! For this one I need to say thanks to The Quietus and their Columnus Metallicus. Mentioning post-metal and post-rock in a review these days can potentially drive people away from what is sometimes seen as a tired, overdone genre. But I am still a big fan and the column was quick to point out that Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s MAKE, er, make music that as well as the aforementioned post- stuff also has a strong flavour of Melvins style sludge, Kyuss style stoner rock, gravel vocals so low in the mix they are barely audible and so many powerful, head nodding riffs my horns were in the air and my neck was getting a work out before the album was half way through its 59 minutes! Whole album streaming below, the Bandcamp link is in the title if you want to go and purchase it, which of course, if you have any metal in your veins you should, post haste!
Orbital – Wonky (ACP)
The Hartnoll brothers’ last album, The Blue album was released in 2004 and was a bit of a lacklustre affair. So much so that their subsequent end/hiatus was seen as probably a good thing. But their return to the live arena in 2009 gained a rapturous response and in 2010 we heard the first new material in six years, single Don’t Stop Me/The Gun is Good. The sound was pure Orbital but after this it went quiet again. Then this month we saw the release of Wonky their first full album in eight years. I have to say, the title did not really endear me and was quite apprehensive on first listen, but there was no need, although sounding like Orbital, especially the opening track with its jumbled voice samples and twinkly synth notes, it had the urgency that was so painfully missing on the Blue album. It’s great to have you back lads![youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9USCcjfNm8]
I Like Trains – The Shallows (ILR)
As mentioned last month this is not physically released for a couple of weeks but for pre-orderers there was an immediate download available so I have been giving this regular listens over the last few weeks and it is fast becoming one of the best albums I have heard so far this year, it is definitely my favourite of theirs since the mini album Progress:Reform. First track Beacons made me realise this is the third record this year from established guitar based bands that has really embraced the synth in its sound, those other albums being The Twilight Sad’s latest and the fantastic Mark Lanegan album. Lead single Mnemosyne got played on BBC 6Music, so here’s hoping it opens up a much wider audience for these lovely, tea loving, Leeds lads![youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERT6U7_P6QM] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQyPGf87wks]
Blacklisters – BLKLSTRS (Brew)
Starting off your debut album with a song titled “Clubfoot by Kasabian” is a master stroke! I would love to know how many hipster kids have listened to it thinking they are about to hear a Kasabian cover version getting their unexpecting face shredded by vocalist Billy Mason Wood’s indecipherable screaming! Blacklisters hail from Leeds and I have had the privilege of seeing their chaotic live show a couple of times, the first time I was immediately struck by the feeling that here were The Jesus Lizard’s natural successors, Mason Wood’s swaggering and leaping about the stage wrapping the mic cord around his head and neck, his distorted mumbled moaned/screamed vocals reminding me a lot of a certain David Yow. The insistant bass and choppy guitar also bring Albini’s Shellac or Big Black to mind. This is a record that is not trying to be acceptable to the common populace, it puts itself out there and dares you to come in and join in the noisy, messy party! This is conveyed better than words ever could by their new video for single “Trickfuck” (they’re clearly not aiming for radio play either!), it’s odd, disturbing, NSFW and not pretty, but I think it acts a great introduction to a band with more excitement and heart than a hell of a lot of more ‘successful’ bands out there. Open wide and say aaarrgghh![youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh0IJDb3KBY]