Admit it. From the album artwork and the font style alone, you’re probably expecting some kind of death metal or similarly edgy dark guitar orientated music right? I mean, any album cover with a skull still brandishing a head of hair, set against a entagled, near illegible font, gives a morose impression of the music to come, yes? Actually, not even close. While the imagery is somewhat misleading, what you’re actually getting is the mastermind of Swedish one man, self-confessed ‘stoner punk’ outfit John Strömshed a.k.a. Lightsabres. This is in essence is punk rock done correctly, at its absolute rawest, most low fidelity, recorded in a garage best. You couldn’t get a purer listening experience if you tried. It encapsulates everything about the original outbreak in the 70’s, the attitude, the killer guitar playing, the fuck-you vocals… Just with one man instead of four of them, and distributed in bite-size chunks that leave you craving for so much more. Spitting Blood may not be ground-breaking, but everything you could ever want from punk you can find right here and there is true excellence in this underground gem.
As luck would have it, tracks from his new album Beheaded went live on this day, it’s sounding slower and murkier, but still nice to listen to. The full album is now out, so yeah, that in addition to Spitting Blood and first album Demons are all up on his Bandcamp, in either digital or vinyl format. The vinyl supply is limited so hurry. Additional merch is also available via his webstore.
While Rob Swire ponders over whether a new Pendulum release is worth his time, there still in some respects remains a massive void to fill in the dance crossover kingdom. Manumit, a multi-talented producer and instrumentalist from Bridgend, is among a trickling of such acts into a bigger pond, but one that has the kind of passion and melodic structural integrity that rekindles the same thoughts and feelings of the aforementioned drum ‘n’ bass rock juggernaut. Taken from last year’s debut album Digital & Hostile, fourth track Everything Changes is a melancholy-tinged belter, filled with infectious synth lines, ever-present guitar, a very strong vocal performance, expertly tuned drums and delicate tones of piano for emotional impact. This is the craft on a man on a mission, and while he is currently in the process of a sophomore long-player, the talent already on display is enough to suggest that the emergence to the surface of that pond, is already well under way.
I don’t quite know how deliberate it was, but these German gentlemen came up with a bloody fine abbreviation of BBQ. Their forte is a mixed assault of stoner sensibilities and a somewhere between hard rock and metal execution, which leads to some interesting results. In just four songs, the self-titled EP delivers on the potential of the many different directions Bleeding Beach Quartet can explore in their hopefully extensive lifespan. The Code, a touch of the blues with a buzzsaw of guitar, exhibiting the dynamics of the vocals capable. Light, a slow, stalking menace taking cues from doom, that pounces like a overpowering predator in the chorus. End, almost thrash-like in nature, but with an infusion of 70’s prog if it were played by metalcore kids. And Harvest, deep grooves a la Kyuss, with a killer hook of a chorus that bellows skyward at all challengers forthcoming, and a screaming guitar solo to boot. An absolutely stellar four piece worthy of your attention that seemingly have plenty of bases covered musically.
If you’re a fan of metal, then there’s a very good chance you’re aware of Metallica’s S&M album, a live album of their recorded material, performed with the aid of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. It should be held in higher regard for how evocative and incredible an impact it has for a live album and although not live, London’s The Devil, a group shrouded in mystery, strike upon a similar chord with their self-titled album, though with James Hetfield’s grizzled cries, traded for media audio samples. The clarity of these samples being taken from significant events in recent history such as the moon landings, 9/11 and JFK’s assassination, in the context of a stirring symphonic display and with a simple yet effective heavy metal arrangement underneath it, is surprisingly unnerving, almost intimidating in some respects. Illuminati is led in by melancholic piano, hard-hitting power chords and excerpts from Bush Sr.’s New World Order speech from 1991. Whilst this album was clearly forged for the purpose of soundtracks and scores, as a cultural artefact on its own two feet, it makes for a very endearing listen.
There’s a lyric in the Bloc Party song ‘Song For Clay (Disappear Here)’ that states, ‘Live the dream like the 80’s never happened,’ which in my personal opinion is one of the most terrifying things I have ever heard. It would make for an interesting case of future shock then if Australia’s Neuropa had bought last year’s Resistor album out, had the 80’s never happened. It’s almost if an interdimensional being ripped through space and time, to pilfer a finished album out of the back pockets of Duran Duran, Depeche Mode or any great synthpop band of the era. And that is in all means a compliment of the highest regard. In an album crammed full of earworms, hooks and consistent foot-tappers, Confession has the memorable synth-lead, snapping snare, popstar voice and infectious chorus perfected, in five minutes of nostalgia that is still as refreshing 30 years later.
Whilst I hope primary source inspiration comes from the well-noted notorious efforts of the pirates of the titular nation, their music contains more an air of mysticism, than of gung-ho, ragtag buccaneers. Hailing from Ukraine which may disappoint some of you, Somali Yacht Club craft sprawling journeys of ambient, doom-tinged psychedelic distortion, backed by a set of vocals that echoes across oceans. While their debut album The Sun only consists of five songs, none of which falling below the seven minute mark, their reputation as formidable musicians and curators of a captivating live performance has already won them fans from all over the globe. Lead track Loom charts a course with a rock-solid riff foundation, introduced by a swirling mist of guitar phasing, showcased by wailing solos and commanded by daring battle cries to any onlookers and spectators. Alestorm may have the pirate lifestyle down to a tee in their music, but it’s bands like Somali Yacht Club that bring the high seas to life through their stirring musicianship.
Another of those fine occasions were taking a chance on a creative, interesting band name pays off, this Belgian quartet blur the boundaries between stoner rock, sludge metal and hardcore so smoothly, you could market it as the next model of Gillette. Although that razor comparison is no joke. There is a sizeable sharpness and danger that Grizzlyncher pack, whether it’s between bulldozing hardcore pace, sunshine-soaked riff exhibitions, hazy ambience, meatier-than-a-butcher’s-shop guitar tones and dense breakdowns, this mighty jigsaw is well worth investing your time and effort into, and the final pay-off is as satisfying. Umbrellas Are For Lovers encapsulates all of these elements into a five minute tour-de-force, showcasing the absolute best that their self-titled album has to offer, and as a premonition for what their sophomore long-player O’Cetacean has in store for the uninitiated.
This is a bit of a special post. Reason being this is the 100th blog post I have done in two years of trying (and in some ways failing) to maintain a blog, and because this band holds a special place in my heart for a slightly, but not so bizarre reason. You see, if you ask me what my favourite album ever is, I will say Mer De Noms by A Perfect Circle. But if you ask me what the best album I’ve ever listened to is, I will say Exegesis by Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster. I wrote a comprehensive guide to that album some years ago now, have had the pleasure of seeing them live twice, the first of those times booking them for a live gig at university and for my money, are one of the best bands in the UK right now.
What you are getting is a stunning kaleidoscopic sonic representation of the universe and life as we know it, through a series of seminal, unnervingly beautiful, atmospheric instrumental masterpieces, akin with the same intricacy shown by trailblazers Tool and Pelican. Their devotion to their craft and unquestionable talent words can do little to summarise. Their music is nothing short of phenomenal. Also, one of my favourite moments of theirs is after sound techs said, ‘Do you have any two minute songs?’ their response was, ‘We have a six minute one.’ Maybe that’s only funny to post-rock/metal fans… I don’t know. To save my myself any further embarrassment of trying to describe them, here are three of my favourite choice cuts and you can draw your own conclusions. Music has never sounded so faultless.