NEW MUSIC FRIDAY here for you with a bouquet of 16 fascinating music releases from all corners of the Earth.
and spectrums of sound. and genres. The newest of the new. Reissues. Undiscovered gems. Lifeguard on duty here, feel free to dive right in.
CURRENT JOYS - Voyager [LP/CD](Secretly Canadian/AMPED)
Nick Rattigan's Eighties Pop-meets-Nineties Alt. Pop is refreshing on his seventh album. "Voyager" is billed as a journey, but Rattigan has grown wise enough to let the music of his songs swell around him ("American Honey" which grows from a lonesome-voiced guitar lope into a lush, string-driven wordless chorus that you never want to end.) While "Money Making Machine" capitalizes on its Cure associations and Breakfast Club-era danceability, "Amateur" is a Pavement-esque surprise with a lovely circular piano melody. "Voyager" is a great discovery of Rattigan further discovering himself.
YARD ACT - Dark Days [12”](Zen FC UK)
All the talk about other cities in Britain, time to give the edgy music from Leeds some credit. With their Yorkshire accent and a blistering sense of humor, Yard Act is the latest Post-Punk band to carry that mostly recited/bass-heavy ROCK into the arena. On their two previous singles, Yard Act shred the competition with the singer James Smith spitting venom like a certain Post-Punk idol to all. Smith is not ripping off MES. The journal entries that become songs here come off like hyperbolic voyages that are ripe to become standup bits (“The Trapper’s Pelts” winds all of its around a punky riff.) The band themselves clearly ride the groove (“Dark Days” is danceable but you will be raising your fists at the same time) and even when abstract (“Peanuts” and the near Clash-like barking of Smith) the band focuses in on the song and goes after it ruthlessly. With just four songs, Yard Act is poised to follow all those other Brits to US success.
MATT BERRY - The Blue Elephant [LP/CD](Acid Jazz UK)
On his sixth album, the ever-reliable Matt Berry takes on Psychedelia. While he carries all the songs (playing everything except drums) on his back, "The Blue Elephant" maintains its light feeling and a heady effervescence. "Summer Sun" could be a "Toast of London" song if the show decided to travel back into the late Sixties. While "Like Stone" swings like London '66 and bounces like Seventies Funk, Berry does his best work on the heavier Prog compositions that hearken back to his first albums with Acid Jazz.
MATTHEW E.WHITE/LONNIE HOLLEY - Broken Mirror: A Selfie Reflection [LP](Spacebomb/Secretly)
With just five compositions, multi-instrumentalist and producer Matthew E.White uses a myriad of instruments and sounds (the fuzz bass on "I Cried Space Dust/Composition 12" is amazing) to loft vocalist/artist Lonnie Holley into space. The journey is very Sun Ra in nature as the naked polyrhythms, the sick Crumar-sounding synths in the background, and Holley's multi-tracked voice create some lofty comparisons. However, the fact is the funk is what makes these recordings stand out. "I'm Not Tripping/Composition 8" is a fantastic mystical yet almost Suicide-ian blues. Holley's expressive voice and the twang of his accent combine well with White's backdrops. Even when the pair really reach for the stratosphere on the chaotic "This Here Jungle of Moderness/Composition 14" (where Holley is "calculating my emotion,") it still retains that booming funk at its roots. "Broken Mirror" is an experience that you must have a few times to really inhale the essence of its interplanetary adventure.
JESU - Never EP [LP/CD](Avalanche Records UK)
Justin Broadrick's post-Godflesh project plunges headfirst into looping (the mesmeric standout "Never There For You,") while keeping the churning, chiming, drone-effected guitars in play. Think of it as a different sum of the same parts. The crisp, lows of the deathly riff guitar remain, but they are reconfigured to lend the watery bottom to his shoegazing. The beats are also still as insistent as metal beats can be - just played through drum machines for a more EDM bent. The Goth-ish title track would sound cataclysmic if played with more Doomy guitars (especially with those weird vocal loops,) but as a light, ethereal track - convinces you perhaps "Never" is more about haunting than death.
BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT - Paint The Sky With Blood EP [10" LP](Napalm)
The Finnish Metallers Children of Bodom complete the career of lead singer/guitarist Alexi Laiho who died last December. Having formed a new incarnation of the band (and given them the new moniker,) Laiho set out to make a record. What was recorded is here in three blistering tracks. The title cut blends speed and symphonic touches to make the already full riffs even more of a gut punch. However, between the thunderous main riff and the bridge, 'Paint" is a can't miss. On the spiraling "Payback's a Bitch," there are several great sections but the crushing bridge and wild solo leap out the most. Joined by the Metallica-esque 3/4 swing of "Where Dead Angels Lie," Bodom After Midnight closes the book on 30 years with a powerful conclusion.
SPECIAL INTEREST - Trust No Wave: The 2016 Demos [LP](Disciples UK/Redeye)
The demos from the New Orleans Noise/Aggro/No Wave/Industrial quartet highlight the band figuring out the extremes of their sound and plumbing its depths. The Wax Trax kick in the solar plexus of “ATC” gives you their pattern of growth, let the instruments fight it out, and utilize singer Alli Logout like an instrument. Where “ATC” frightens like lost Giallo horror music, “Disease” is even more shocking with its guttural shrieks, Throbbing Gristle-esque electronics, and Butthole Surfers-ian samples and pitch bending. While their pinnacle “The Passion Of” is more refined and separated, it is really something to hear them all struggle for air together.
PATRICK BELAGA - Blutt [LP](Pan GER)
Patrick Belaga’s mixture of classical-trained cello and electronics is a real dream. His compositions aim for either the heart (the lament “Unsoft”) or the mind (the spellbinding synth loops on “A Tunnel Is A Tower.”) “Blutt” pushes all the buttons of a minimal EDM record (the gurgling on “Slowly”) but his long, legato work on the cello mixes beautifully with the electronics or even looping (especially when his notes drop.) Belaga is borrowing from the traditions of Folk music, however “Blutt” truly sounds like entrancing ritual music of a future civilization.
TRIOSK MEETS JAN JELINEK - 1+3+1 [LP](Faitiche DEN)
When Jazz took parts of its influence from Post-Rock of its heyday, it found a way to sound fresh and futuristic (think Tortoise, especially with the vibes of Adrian Klumpes on the opener “Mis-Leader,”) yet definitely owing a huge debt to that fruitful period where Miles brought Fusion out of Jazz/Free Jazz (think “Bitches Brew” because thanks to drummer Laurence Pike - the groove is everything on “1+3+1.”) Now it gets bold and original, using samples from Jan Jelinek and various small clicks, pops and additions to the sound, Triosk basks in the Electronic pattern of bringing in one part over another and another and so forth until the structure of their track makes you jump back a little. “Track 2” even swings around abstract inserts. Triosk made this nearly 20 years ago. When you listen a few times, “1+3+1” still manages to sound so untested and new.
MARY ANNE'S POLAR RIG - Makes You Happy [LP](Feverish/Please Like It SWE)
This Swedish band tackles Rock in that Nineties manner of starting their song with a sort of jangly Pop. Then singer Malin Hofvander draws you in with her heartfelt singing. As their stories unfold, the hints of past desperation and mourned mistakes (their six-minute epic "Loose Threads") are there. Before you know it, MAPR is wailing away with guitars on crunch, driving beats, and Hofvander's sweet Juliana Hatfield-ish coo has become a wail. These songs (written over four years) trace their progress pretty well. "Sorry" and its unkempt Dinosaur Jr. solo and acoustic tumbledown of "Crash" are the standouts. With more tracks that build and expand like these, Mary Anne's Polar Rig will make a lot of people very happy.
KING AZAZ - Forever Green [LP/CD](Get Better/Redeye)
Philadelphia's RAWK duo dive without a net into punky, confessional songs that are not afraid to wield their hooks (the electric thrust of "Takoma") or find odd rhythms as well. Christo Johnson (on guitar/bass/vocals) and drummer Sarah Schardt play off of each other very well. Each song on "Forever Green" quickly finds its place and slowly builds from there, with Schardt always chugging away as the engine. In fact, when King Azaz just drives a song like they are heading off a cliff ("Honey For Mud") - they are unstoppable. Prediction: King Azaz will be unstoppable.
THE LUCID DREAM - The Deep End [LP](Holy Are You Records UK)
The UK's dance music/Rock group The Lucid Dream uses every available moment to drown you in effects, their riffs and beats. This is not to overwhelm. This is to first get you in sync with their world of a more Rock-based Working Men's Club-type Post-Punk (the lengthy opener needs to unfold over ten minutes - hence its name "Coalesescence.") Once they lay down the first groove on "CHI-O3," "Leave Me In The Dark" bleeds into an effective effects-drenched conclusion. The Lucid Dream's music is very late 80's early Alternative. They pound those deep beats out like Love & Rockets ("Fight To Survive") while semi-sing/chanting on top like a Madchester group. However, after they unleash the sequencers on "Sunrise," they surprise you with a big rock anthemic closer in "High And Wild." The Lucid Dream can vault between their stylistic ideas (even within a song,) and are seated on the cusp of fusing Dance music and Rock for another generation of Anglophiles.
SCREAMERS - Demo Hollywood 1977 [LP](Superior Viaduct)
While Punk was screaming across the Atlantic from New York to London, Los Angeles' Screamers were embracing the bracing music and looking ahead to the next iteration with the addition of a squealing mono synth and electric piano routed through distortion pedals. If "Magazine Love" was slowed down and accompanied by the slow, martial pace of a Linn drum, it would be SynthPop. However, in the amphetamine mind of these Angelenos (read Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen's "We Got The Neutron Bomb” for the whole L.A.Punk story) they were first Electropunk (check the tense "Punish Or Be Damned") and then rebranded themselves as Technopunk. If their music and its swirling world of dystopic fear are not enough, The Screamers also pioneered the use of video before MTV or even a legendary local show like Peter Ivers' "New Wave Theatre." A pair of keyboard players, a fierce drummer, and singer Tomata du Plenty as a focal point, these five songs are a searing testament to their importance to both Punk and SynthPop. Five aggro songs that are still miles ahead of everyone else, "Screamers Demo Hollywood 1977" is a must for every Punk collection.
HUNDREDTH - Somewhere Nowhere [LP][(Diggers Factory)
This South Carolina has evolved from hardcore to synthpop. "Somewhere Nowhere" carries the melodic thrust of your Emo/Hardcore band, but envelopes it in warm electronic beats and fuzzy synthesizer textures. "Somewhere Nowhere" is definitely for fans of the 80's revival of Pop. Tracks like "Bottle It Up" and "Whatever" are definitely MTV-ready by their classic standards. The bonus for Hundredth is the delay-driven, chorused-out chiming guitars mixed with pumping bass that slices through ("Iridescent.") The layering of their songs is generally not so quick to reveal that massive hook and they always pitch that chorus that soars ("Burn Slow" probably has the most immediacy and establishing potential.) Hundredth is definitely going somewhere.
MARK FRY - Dreaming With Alice [LP](Now-Again/Stones Throw/Redeye)
Long lost enchanting, literate Hippie Folk from a 19-year old who walked into RCA's office in Italy and clearly wowed them all. As wispy as your expectations could be, but with a hint of darkness and some acidic lyrics ("The Witch.") The organization of "Dreaming" is even quite different from what you think a 1971 acoustic album would be. Instead of short Folk songs or long, exploratory mystical jams (the pastiche of "Mandolin Man" gets close but still feels oddly Beatlesque,) Fry breaks his songs up into pieces with the verses of the title track/magnum opus distributed between his songs. The effect takes some acclimation, but by the time you hit the beautiful chime of "Song For Wilde," you cannot stop. Recorded on two 4-tracks in a basement with Scottish musicians that Fry did not know, "Dreaming" is surprisingly cohesive especially in mixing the musicians in and out. Fry's performance is always front and center, but the warmth of the bass and the added spectacle of the violin, flute, and other Folk instruments tends to make the songs of "Dreaming" open like flowers blooming in Spring. So if you are one of those off-the-beaten-path English Folk fans (Michael Raven and Joan Mills or especially Ferdinando and Howell, Simon Finn) or you just cannot get enough Nick Drake, time from some "Dreaming" with Fry.
BOYSCOTT - Goose Bumps [LP/CD](Jealous Butcher)
In the seven years since this Connecticut band dropped the chiming but propulsive indie Rock of "Goose Bumps," a lot of similar artists have taken it upon themselves to make music where they are most comfortable. "Goose Bumps" has Boyscott willing to experiment a little and have fun a lot. For every large swelling dramatic moment, there is some small addition that is smile-inducing. Take "Nova Scotia 500" where the band takes their song through all of its paces. As it twists and turns, Boyscott adds small snatches of naive keyboards and even pushes their handclaps right upfront. This is not devil-may-care by any means. For every logical conclusion you feel as you listen, Boyscott takes the smallest left turn and surprises you. Still songs like "Sinking Down" hearken back to the days of Teen Beat when bands that you thought were "twee" (still not a fan of that adjective,) would just let a song spin and spin for their pleasure. Or even the sweltering drama of "Killer Whale" is somehow translated into martial beats and echo, or the built like Built To Spill denouement of "Sleepaway." Boyscott is a lost chapter in Indie Rock that is welcome anytime.
Burning the midnight oil. Lights are partially on. Large sound moving through speakers, hoping that you are moved too. This is the journey we take to parse those new releases down to a wealth of artistic endeavor and joyful release. Thank you. Share. Comment. Enjoy.
On a final note, T-BONES would like you to know that Record Store Day is coming in two drops - June 12th and July 17th. This list of exclusives, reissues, and just awesome products will be invading our time shared here for the next few weeks. However, it is just another guest at the party. There’s no slowing us down. Tell your friends about us.
Enjoy. Share. And check out the entire RSD list and even WISHLIST us if you like. RSD 21 with TBONES
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