TBONES taking you for the first leap into NEW MUSIC FRIDAY
and while you think things are s-l-o-w-i-n-g down, we are here with the fresh new releases to share and talk about (at a safe distance of course.)
THE WYTCHES - Three Mile Ditch [LP/CD](Cable Code UK)
Where their first two albums were a mix of spooky elements and tight garagey Rock, "Three Mile Ditch" finds the band in transition. Bringing their production back from the depths of reverb, The Wytches are sharpening their sound while slightly altering the formula of their writing. Previous peaks like the organ-tinged barbaric howl of "Ghost House" (from 2016's "All Your Happy Life") have been sanded down on grinders like "Meat Chuck." The more evocative cuts are the standouts. Like "A Dead Night Again" (with a big yet Big Star-ish chorus,) and the dark ballad "A Love You'll Never Know" is howlingly great. "White Cliffs" downplays its rage in favor of a neat chord progression that switches to bleak in a flash. "Three Mile Ditch" with its brighter production and songwriting finally allows this promising Brighton band to show all the shades of black they can.
CAYKH - Ou [LP](Akuphone FR)
Nicolas Sheikholeslami's Caykh project takes World music to that Eno-esque point of using it as the ground level to create an EP that is both mysterious and otherworldly. For its three tracks, "Ou" mesmerizingly swings its sounds in and out around insistent but unfamiliar rhythms. Each cut is around ten minutes in length, but the array of ideas that Sheikholeslami hurls at you keeps you enthralled. Opener "Moumbai" is hypnotic, only setting up the main course of the heavenly "Soumatra" to cast its spell on you. Finally, the sonic journey of "Mogadishou" expands and then contracts to let you know you will be landing safely. So much of Ambient and Electronic music is rooted in patterns, "Caykh" works because it is a structured look at something that is largely unstructured. The worldly samples remind you of the early minimalism of Steve Reich ("It's Gonna Rain,") but Sheikholeslami's elaborate rhythmic backdrops are honestly like nothing else you have heard yet.
ANTHROPROPHH - German Oak [LP](Feeding Tube)
In the annals of Stoner Rock, the 1995 album "Relaxing With.." from Bristol's The Heads is one of those gold-standard neck snappers from the early years. For one thing, The Heads (more so than other early Stoner Rock) point at the importance of the out-of-this-world qualities Hawkwind brings to the table. Twenty-odd years later and we discover that Heads lead guitarist Paul Allen is leading an assault on music again as Anthropropph. Between their albums for Rocket in the UK and some more song-oriented EP's in the States (this year's "Toilet Circuit" is recommended,) Allen and his mighty space-music wranglers have created a massive sidelong f-r-e-a-k-o-u-t. "German Oak" is all huge drums (think Grant Hart on "Reoccuring Dreams" from "Zen Arcade,") warped basses crawling up the neck and guitars buzzing, humming, shrieking, and swirling around you. "German Oak" is Metallic/Motorik/Space/Music Kosmiche. And its buzz will last long after the record stops turning.
TOLD SLANT - Point the Flashlight and Walk [LP/CD](Double Double Whammy/Redeye)
One of the overused ingredients of many of today's one-person solo endeavors is that they must be about love/a labor of love/remembrance of lost love. What once actually forced you to pay closer attention to an album has become a bit of a punch line. Here to straighten that problem out single-handedly (and before post-COVID projects become over-laborious with love) is Felix Walworth. The songs of "Point the Flashlight and Walk" carry that ache from the first Postal Service as delivered by a young Conor Oberst writing his own music just to get that Springsteen fix. Walworth changes his voice from a confident, omniscient narrator (lower registers on the near symphonic centerpiece "Family Still" and the beautiful single "Flashlight On.") to an uncertain almost-frightened character (the quivering middle registers on the Jose Gonzalez-esque "Whirlpool.") "Point The Flashlight and Walk" carries a definite narrative feel that perfectly dovetails from the benedictory "Moon and Sea" into the hopeful and more mature "Fog On The Glass" before leading you toward where one can only guess the next album is taking us.
COIL - A Guide For Beginners: The Voice of Silver/Finishers: A Hair of Gold [2CD](Cold Spring UK)
Throbbing Gristle belongs in their own dark, demented and noisy corner of the pantheon of music. Over their tenure they saw so much change erupt around them, they had no choice but to isolate those feelings in songs that frightened, imploded from their construction, and even grew into several indispensable danceable jams. When TG dissolved in 1981, their members went in several different directions to continue to make effective and affecting music. Peter Christopherson joined with journalist and fellow Psychic TV member John Balance for a series of recordings that have finally come into respect. Coil's catalog is so vast and varied it can seem daunting just to find a place to dive in. 1986's "Horse Rotovator" is primitive drums and deathly jams pushed to the limit. "Love's Secret Domain" is acid-tinged synth dance music that looks to transport you. 1999's twin volumes of "Musick To Play In the Dark" have blossomed into classics that link the industrial past with its glitch-driven present.
This pair of once highly elusive Russian compilations is THE starting point for your journey into Coil. "Beginners/Finishers" best illustrates their shifting comfort/discomfort axis through cuts like the aggressive "A.Y.O.R" or the updated Acid House of "First Dark Ride" which made them the secret weapon of many dance music DJ’s. Then the sonic curtain that falls on chillers like "Scope" and "At The Heart of It All" (with cold pianos and icy sax) then set you adrift to mindfields untouched. As this pair of releases are brought together to form a "Greatest Hits," it really demonstrates the myriad of patterns their dense and rich catalog can fit together. In addition, its growing presence opens up new dark vistas for contemporaries like Current 93, Oval, and Nurse With Wound - even leading backward to the mighty TG. Consider this your open invitation to the unforgettable world of Coil.
GUSTAF - "Mine" [7"](Royal Mountain/PIAS)
Brooklyn's Gustaf combines the rhythmic clatter of Post-Punk with some early 90's speak/singing to seat themselves on the cusp of becoming a new standout B-52's-esque band. Insistent bass and scratchy guitar establish a lot of space for wide-eyed lead singer Lydia Gammill to bark out just what is "Mine." Gammill has the ease of a standup comedian as she switches from the slogan-slinging chorus to a laundry list of things that are…well you know. Over these two songs, the rest of the band continues growing tighter and more confident. With a few more songs like this one, "Design" and the swishy "Book," Gustaf will be ready to wow us all in 2021.
LAURA GROVES - A Private Road EP [LP/CD](Bella Union)
South London singer/songwriter/producer Laura Groves uses her unique voice to test the limits of everyone's current fascination with Eighties Pop (and production.) Her six-song EP opens with the very "One Track Mind" (Darkplace fans? Anyone?) of "Infinite Wisdom" which she neatly turns a few different directions showing how well she can sing with her inventive chord changes. If that turns out to be Groves' secret weapon, check out how skillfully she uses her bell-like voice on the Air-ish textures of "Faking It" and the could-be-a-Pop hit "Foolish Game."
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