Richard's Record Roundup - March 2014

A review in which your CUNT of a reviewer tells you that there are only 20 of these CDs (I got #7, so just like those Big Eyed Beans from Venus, there’s a limited supply) and they’re FROM SOMEONE HE VAGUELY KNOWS....

Currently my life is not my own to lead. Lost in the middle of research for an MA thesis, I’ve hardly had time to burn my toast as floods of new music piled up in the Incendiary in-tray. Being brought up on firm Northern traditions about not wasting things that are essentially free (the sort of behaviour that once saw me trying to eat all the prawn mayonnaise sandwiches at a buffet in a Soho club) I have tried to listen in. Of course this made things worse. I felt guilty about turning stuff away that I initially liked then questioned, (but should have given another listen), half liked and forgot about, didn’t like but kept playing , or just didn’t get round to. (A related point; given that we’re just a little blog, rumbling along the bottom, minding our own business,  the amount of promos/links/mails/LPs I have received in the last two years has increased massively. There's a huge amount  - or so it seems – of people making music. I’m not sure why this is). ANYWAY in an attempt to try and kill a number of promos/links/mails/LPs with 5 lines of prose, I’m starting to do overviews of stuff that tickled me, even if at times it does my nut.

 

Afterveins – The Afterveins  http://www.theafterveins.com   

They’ve released a debut LP on Rotterdam’s YCR records, and they sent me this mad package in black with lots of bumpf, replete with some weird English phraseology; and the sentimentalist in me thought, ah they’ve tried hard here, that’s really cool. And it IS cool. But it’s a frustrating record. For all the stabs and slashes of a genuinely interesting melodic band, using guitars in a really nice, pointed searching way, the Madchester references elsewhere knock the charm of this record out cold. I think there’s this thing in Holland where Dutch band members think it’s cool to over-reference British and American bands. I can’t understand this at all.  OK they’re all about 20, and may think it’s great to do this but... lads. Take it from me. You’ve wrecked a really good, psychedelic workout in W.F.L. by erm, switching amidships INTO the original Wrote For Luck. We don’t need two Shaun Ryders. One was enough. And the bit where the band covers Warsaw is a total waste of everyone’s time.  The good bits (namely the instrumentals, like Interlude #2 which show real promise or opener The Places) sound perversely enough like Fire in the Village James, or a bit like The Loft but PLEASE, Afterveins, don’t look this up,  do your own thing, free your minds and your collective ass will follow.

 

Evan Parker & Joe McPhee –What/If/They Both Could Fly http://www.runegrammofon.com

Could any words make your heart sink faster than “Recorded live at Kongsberg Jazz festival Stockholm, by Kristian”? Outside of “North Korea has just declared war on the world”, I think not. But wait there, hep cats, this is a bruising exploration from two established “jazz legends” (argh I’ve used THAT in MY magazine) and well worth your time.  Even if, like me, you don’t like despise jazz. OK, I am susceptible to a bit of Coltrane, even Parker at a pinch, (when I’m not looking), Han Bennink and Su Ra – and Miles Davies’s electric records (cos Copey said they were cool, and they are, and they feel more “rock”) but that is really as far as it goes. And now this; because, mainly of the spirit of it. From the off, it feels fresh, juicy, zingy, and bursting with vitamins. It also displays some incredible turns of tone and mood, at times sounding like a Charlie Parker record (must be the sax lines). It’s mostly a free form work out, but at times it really, really sounds like they’re deconstructing something that they’d worked on for years. But if you imagine they haven’t, after a while you end up laughing at the brilliant interplay and intuitive guesswork; just listen in from about 6 minutes on What. Mad stuff.

 

Cian Nugent & The Cosmos – Born With The Caul (No Quarter)

Now for a record I’ve been playing LOADS and something that is really worth your time, BUT isn’t worth a review. How come? Well, it’s so damned RAGA it’s impossible to write about before you start describing natural scenery. Name me a writer who, when confronted by stuff like this majestic LP, doesn’t fall back on stuff like “erm it sounds like the erm wind gently brushing through the beech wood”. Which, friends, The Grass Above My Head on this record does.  This is a superb meditational record; a mix of light, bluesey explorations that sometimes switch into a minor key. We also get jazzy whirls and rootsy, Cajun elements. But never elements that overpower, for this, like a lot of John Marty’s work, say is something that floats through the ether. At other times we get a tremendous desert blues work out in Double Horse that takes hold of the musical structure of (horrible overblown old gasbag dry wankout) The End by the Doors and kick it into true spiritual  notes . The immensely spiritual 23 minute work-out Houses of Parliament is worth your money alone. Seek out.

 

Pampers – Pampers http://www.intheredrecords.com

Upoyne Whiche pointe, My Lord, it is Thyme for a Noise More enervating, methinks. This Pampers record is a riot. Man, if the US Military ever need to smoke out a dictator from his house by playing Loud Rock Musickes, I think I’m the man for the job. Get me Obama on the line! I’ll get down to that Crimea place and play this, and watch shit go up in smoke.  Or I might go into Utrecht and annoy the beardy folkies.  I have about 34786`5464574858456374`3484-53645-534534`22 records in my collection that sound like this, but the Pampers release is the epitome of crunching scuzzy Ramones played through a jet engine noise. Guitars are thickly spread on your bread and the yelping above the top is muezzin-like. I dig. Most fruitfully. And, outside of nodding furiously along to every track - which of course sounds the same - albeit using the classic, Garage punk three gear change speeds, (and if it didn’t it’d be a shit LP), there’s not much else I can do, or indeed say.

 

Mowgli – Mr Lies (Lefse Records) http://misterlies.bandcamp.com/album/mowgli

Lefse make some ACE records and I hardly ever review them. I really don’t know why; maybe cos I get them as white CD promos with fuck all else. Yes, that whole white label record conceit transferred to a CD is a cool concept, but it doth the reviewer forgetful make. ANYWAY, Mowgli is also known as Nick Zanca. And this LP is a brilliant mix of beats and sounds. It’s a difficult record to pin down as it does jump about a lot, stylistically; from that sappy, drowsy Endtroducing vibe as heard on the two opening tracks; Ashore (with its mad Laurel Halo style ending) and Dionysian. Elsewhere it’s a record that does make you feel like you’ve fallen through a crack in time and sit suspended looking at a number of worlds through a Plexiglas prism. What I’m trying to say is, the bloody thing comes at you from a host of different angles from thick, gloopy disco (with a hint of Detroit) in Align to off-kilter soundscapes like Canaan. It’s a supremely atmospheric record and broad in scope. The creepy, disjointed Hounded is great too.

 

FRKWYS Vol. 10 - David Van Tieghem x Ten Fits & Starts

http://igetrvng.com/shop/frkwys-vol-10-david-van-tieghem-x-ten-fits-starts/

OK, turn away now if you don’t like listening to weirdo noises, bumps, hisses and groans for 40 minutes of your time. There’s no shame attached. If you DO like listening to something that sounds like a tube train groaning with the exquisite melancholy of the knowledge of its own existence in the dark hours of the night; then this new collaboration, between acclaimed sonic innovator, David Van Tieghem and ten young pups is for you. This album is, in many respects, an absolute belter; the opening build ups on the first two tracks coming on like a bit from Prokovief’s Romeo and Juliet, or that dizzying bit in Irrlicht when Klaus Schultze told the freaked out orchestra to go all the way… If those references don’t grab you, well, it sounds like the quiet, broody bits of a symphony played in another room of a Baroque palace. Or some fucker playing the pipes in an old town house. I bet listening to this live would have been immense (I think this is an edited and remastered live performance).  And I’m not going to cheat in cobbling a review from the press release, but the story behind this record is extraordinary and well worth you checking out. There’s a YouTube clip there too. http://igetrvng.com/shop/frkwys-vol-10-david-van-tieghem-x-ten-fits-starts/ Immense shit, fellow cowboys, and track two is a weird funk delight. 

 

Beggar Brahim – Untitled https://soundcloud.com/beggarbrahim

Ah… balm to the soul! OK. A review in which your CUNT of a reviewer tells you that there are only 20 of these CDs (I got #7, so just like those Big Eyed Beans from Venus, there’s a limited supply) and they’re FROM SOMEONE HE VAGUELY KNOWS and if you want one you’ll have to come to Leiden, Netherlands. But gentle people, stay with me, seek out Beggar Brahim, they make fantastic looped sounds that come on like teardrops in a pool, rippling out towards the world’s end. Their music is total Zen. It’s lost in a sea of absolute nothingness and floats like a leaf on the canal. Or it’s preserved in aspic, or stuck like one of those poor prehistoric flies, in amber, sat there mute and immobile, its one remaining purpose to be contemplated by the idle and the curious. I think they’ve been hanging out at the Siebold Huis in Leiden too (http://www.sieboldhuis.org/), so should you actually.

 

New War – New War (All Tomorrows Parties Records)

The promo cover says New War. The band is called New War. The LP is called New War.  As if we haven’t had enough old wars to stuff military museums with exhibits the world over. But no, we have a new one. Boldly displayed, the title "New War" put me off. And I’m a dabbling military historian. Leave war to us book bound tweedophiles eh? And the opener is called Game of Love. Who are they, the Alarm? OK, we’ll play it. And wahaddaya know? It could be the Alarm in places, but a REALLY GOOD Alarm. It’s a cracking, pulsating thing, throbbing with intent. It’s surprisingly open, and poppy too; Game of Love being a Mission-esque wind and water proclamation, and the singer’s voice having something of a crooning Mike Scott. This is the sort of drubbing, atmospheric noise that Sacred Bones have been peddling with great effect, but on this record that particular sound feels unfashionable, unloved, and unhip.  But it’s the sort of ugly thing that nevertheless makes you interested, mainly because the singer keeps it incredibly simple and that’s damned brave in my opinion.  This lot are NEVER going to come on like Indonesian 60s girl garage band the Meklight Sisters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01p4Iuu9GJU) but what who cares? Worth a sly listen.

 

Stone Jack Jones – Ancestor (Western Vinyl)

I looked at the cover and thought, naw, not for me. The name, the art,  the song titles, the whole thing screamed beardy loner in a WOODEN SHACK in some place in the States singing songs of leaves and racoons and homebrew and the moon. And the opening bars of O Child (banjo, solo, argh) seemed to confirm my dark fears. But, wait, the thing jumps into life with weird piano, groovy synths and a voice that sounds more acid fried groover than squirrel eater. This is an immensely enjoyable record and like the Cian Nugent review (above), difficult to write about because it totally takes over; you can’t spar with it or throw interesting observations its way. There’s an enormous amount of Lord Syd of Barrett here too; the stumbling beat, the toy town synths, the off-kilter melodies and maybe weird tunings… Hell, for a brief nanosecond,  Jackson even starts like a lofi take on Interstellar Overdrive before settling down to a sort of Tom Waits Bone Machine rumble. It’s a hilariously great reworking of that ol’ Johnny-June classic. Ach, I could go on. And there are loads of tracks I could mention, like Red Red Rose or Marvelous but I’d be saying the same thing in describing them; suffice to say it’s a dark, seedy, funny and very, very accessible record, and deserves a lot of attention, especially for its late 60s, acid troubadour groove. Yessir!

 

Kiln – Meadow: Watt (Ghostly) https://soundcloud.com/ghostly/sets/kiln-meadow-watt/

This record is great if you don’t try to listen. OK I know that sounds a bit stupid but it is some of the best background music I’ve heard in yonks. Kiln’s Meadow: Watt enforces its presence courtesy of an incredibly rich sound that uses gradations of beat and texture as a sort of top layer. The cover’s a giveaway too; in that it has the feel of a layer of chocolate cake or some sort of wood varnish. These gloopy beats and rich washes of processed sound continually reassemble themselves  throughout the record’s duration, and actually, given that, it’s a heavy listen, it can get overpowering if you pay it too much attention. You feel as if you’re getting sucked into some thick syrupy morass. Some bits remind me of a lot of the weirdo noises being regurgitated over at Oslo’s Smalltownsupersound; you know, these ants-in-yer-pants, microscopic grooves that are given a big stage to play on. But whatever, it’s a must for those who dig stuff like Toulouse Low Trax or Moebius and Plank. I can see this LP quietly sound tracking my summer.

 

Diane Coffee – My Friend Fish (Western Vinyl)

WHO SAID GLAM IS DEAD? Not Diane Coffee, who comes on like some souped up, soul-glam-Ted Richard Strange-athon; with some admittedly killer pop tunes, full of snarl and pout. You’ve heard every lick before I will grant you, but somehow the greasepaint and the whole “sons of the stage” routine pays off in spades here, because it’s a very smart record, and one where Coffee’s phrasing is impeccable. You see, it’s all about timing. And however preposterous the lyrics of Hymn and WWWoman Isa Sin are, (and they are) you’ve got to give it to Coffee. Even when you think, ah come off it man, not again.  That’s why you all still go to the panto to see some fat lump from a popular soap oggle through a whole host of Bowie-esque Widow Twankyisms. Isn’t it? And I can’t get enough of that reedy, taproom organ sound. 96 Tears? Absolutely.

 

Madensuyu – Stabat Mater http://www.madensuyu.be

The cover of this record looks like a sample for a floor covering. (See top illustration, M'Lud). This is not cool. The fact that the band is from Belgium is no excuse either. I’m just not having it. Actually what is infuriating is, my CD cover IS MADE OF FUCKING WOOD. Idiot Belges! Look, René François Ghislain Magritte, I will give you. But this CD cover is just a glorified coaster.  This is one of the reasons I overlooked this record; but more fool me this is one of my favourite “under the radar” releases of recent times. It’s kicking. It’s a belting, full-lunged attack, a rollicking, over-the-top charge with lots and lots of early Stereolab noises in there, especially that lovely, grainy, sub-Jaki, mid tempo, meditative stomp that propels you on and on. There are some great slowies too; On The Long Run and Days and a Day show serious/serial bores Radiohead how to write a maudlin song properly, and I defy you NOT to love Triple Dot, Mute Song or Dolorosa.