So, 2013 is well upon us, in fact it’s nearly February, shit! And as is the way of things there are already a stack of new releases I’m working my way through and as it’s pretty much the end of the month I will do my first round up of good stuff I’ve heard.
The first couple of weeks of January followed the usual pattern of hearing some stuff I missed last year, specifically the second album by BATS “The Sleep of Reason” that, had I heard it last year, would have likely found itself in the top ten! Seriously, its a cracking, spiky, disjointed slice of pop-punk/math rock/hardcore covering such diverse subjects as stem cell research (Stem Cells), the dwindling of bee populations (The Fall of Bees), a song about the discoverer of petrol (Thomas Midgely Jr) and more. Makes a refreshing change from endless songs about relationships I guess! Anyway you should definitely check it out.
Ok, on with the new 2013 stuff I’ve heard so far, and I’ll start off with the welcome second album by a band I was very glad to have stumbled across a couple of years ago;
Fat Goth – Stud
As I explain in this post from 2011 I came across Dundee’s Fat Goth almost by accident after the vocalist Fraser put a post on a music forum I happened to be perusing linking to their Bandcamp page. After hearing just a few tracks I was hooked, elements of The Jesus Lizard, Future of the Left, McLusky, Mr Bungle and even the Foo Fighters were obvious from the outset and their witty (but not all out comedy) lyrical approach reminded me of Half Man Half Biscuit. So, the news of a new album (with new bassist, when I wrote my post the original bassist had left for Australia leaving the band in uncertainty) came as welcome news towards the end of last year. Monday this week saw the album available to download via their Bandcamp page or other usual digital outlets (no physical release is currently planned) and I was listening to it before lunchtime! Two of the album’s tracks (Debbie’s Dirty Harry and Creepy Lounge) had been made available for free d/load last year and on their evidence the album was looking to be another cracker. First listen proved this to be correct, early highlights are You’ll Find Me In Da Club (and to be perfectly frank, I’m having a cracking time!) and I Am Leg End. Having had a fair bit of airplay on Scottish radio, via the championing of Vic Galloway on BBC Radio Scotland no less, 2013 could well be their year. I for one really hope so![youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pw-13vfhDs]
The Night Marchers – Allez Allez
Ah, good old Speedo (aka John Reis), this was a nice surprise, I’d forgotten this album was coming! Anybody who is remotely familiar with his seminal band Rocket From The Crypt would do well to not miss out on The Night Marchers, his most recent project featuring members of his (other) old band Hot Snakes, as they sound pretty much the same just with a bit less horn and a bite more bite! This their second album also has similarities to his old Drive Like Jehu/Hot Snakes bandmate Rick Froberg and his current band Obits. Starting off at breakneck pace with the double hitter of Tropical Depression and Loud Dumb and Mean, and, apart from a brief respite with the more gentle Pain, it never really lets up until the storming finisher Fisting The Fan Base. I can see this album getting a lot of replays this year!
Cult of Luna – Vertikal
It’s been five years since Sweden’s post-metal behemoths released their last long player Eternal Kingdom, and after such a wait it is gratifying to see that Vertikal is a huge hour long beast that will take me a number of happy listens to fully ingest! Ranging from synth driven atmospheric pieces like the opener The One to epic post-metal odysseys like the near 19 minute Vicarious Redemption and apparently following a concept of industrialisation and machines loosely based on Fritz Laing’s silent epic Metropolis, the first listen is an initially slightly imposing prospect, but you’re soon swept away on tides of roared vocals and riffs fit to rip your face off! When Isis announced their split the other year I was hugely disappointed, but as long as Cult of Luna keep putting out stuff as strong as this I can carry on! 😉[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkHSvwKgJQA]
A couple more albums deserve a quick mention, Welsh indie rockers The Joy Formidable released their second album Wolf’s Law this month, I have given it a couple if listens and it follows on well from their debut The Big Roar in 2011 being an album of ‘big’ sounding highly produced indie/alt rock, however that album rode high in my listening for a pretty brief period before tailing off into “not heard it for ages” territory, so I’m being a bit more circumspect about this one. Check out the single This Ladder Is Ours anyway, see what you think.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_t4s-HX3z0]
Finally Mike Patton’s Tomahawk release Oddfellows this month but I have not yet managed to get round to giving it a listen. I have high hopes so you may see something about that album on here in the near future. I also listened to the first disc of Biffy Clyro’s new album, Opposites, but judging by how uninterested by it I was (not bothered checking the second disc yet) it’s unlikely I’ll be penning anything about it anytime soon! In my heart I know they will never produce an album like Infinityland again, but I keep listening to the new stuff each time only to be disappointed again and again. Ah well, they’re filling stadiums which few “alternative” bands manage to do, so fair play to them I guess.