It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on here. Don’t be fooled by my absence, I’m still digging away trying to devour as much musical output from the dark depths of sound as humanly possible. Most of my time has been concentrating on my fortnightly radio show on Basic.Fm: Unknown Surroundings. It feels like a fresh way for me to share the sounds that I’ve amassed and I’m enjoying every minute of it. Other than that, I’m starting a tape label. First few tapes are in the pipeline and should arrive soon(isn). Check it out: Invisible City Record.

HAIKAI NO KU - ULTRA HIGH DIMENSIONALITY cover

Back to reviewing things for now though. This landed in my inbox a few days ago and is something I’ve been waiting an age to hear. Massive delays at pressing plants, rejected test presses and it’s finally almost ready to go. A new Haikai No Ku LP on Box Records and what a gem it is.

The northeast has a very strong, highly creative musical output and within that lies a close knit community pushing the boundaries of sound. Mooch around certain categories (Noise, Doom, Drone etc.) and certain names are bound to keep popping up. On of those will be Mike Vest as he’s played in pretty much every NE underground band worth mentioning. In Haikai No Ku he’s joined by Jerome Smith (Charles Dexter Ward) and Sam Booth (Foot Hair). There you have some pretty hefty credentials to get the ball rolling. Thankfully, it lives up to the hype i’ve attributed to it. Ultra High Dimensionality is a sparse wasteland of slow burning, primitive rhythm and maximalist guitar worship. All levels are pushed right to the top. Fuzz is turned up high and there’s a heavy handed helping of wah abuse. This all leads to a heady concoction of psychedelic noise. 40 minutes of pure, unadulterated sound that acts as the perfect way to switch off and get lost. File alongside Les Rallizes Dénudés and Mainliner. Definitely one for those who are partial to excessive feedback and traditional styles pushed beyond any conceivable recognition. Highly recommended.

Ultra High Dimensionality is up for pre order via Box Records now.
300 copies on vinyl & digital download. Due for release on 20/08/2014.

Hear a track form the album now if you need more convincing.

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Nope – Walker

May 25, 2014

nopewalker

I’m excited to be hearing new music from Nope. Featuring members of other highly regarded band in the Leeds/Bradford area, Nope are a somewhat supergroup of riffs and repetition.

The basic formula for the band is Neu meets guitar crunch. There’s a beautifully meditative, hypnotic motorik drum beat that feels like a freight train, running throughout the entire album. Then on top of that there’s some mean as hell, super muscular riffs that, at times, feel like they’ve come straight from the mind of Buzz Osbourne. Exceptionally well realised and despite my basic description, still has so much depth in the 40 minute running time.

Building on sounds explored on their previous album (2012’s Revision), this is another perfect slice of a post hardcore/kraut/psych rock genre amalgamation. There’s an exciting headspace which this album invites you to become part of. The repetition draws you in, leaves you lost in the infinite wisdom and lets you bask in the glory of riff worship. of course there’s a wealth of opportunity for intense head nodding and leg shaking which is surely the tell tale sign of an infectious racket. As usual, this comes strongly recommended. It’s due out 9th June via both Obscene Baby Auction & The Audacious Art Experiment. Until then, you can stream the whole thing on Bandcamp.

If you’re from Newcastle, you can catch them playing at The Star and Shadow on 15th June playing with Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs.
Facebook event here.

 

 

BLOWN OUT

March 14, 2014

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Seems like there’s quite a few new bands popping up around Newcastle. This one, not surprisingly, features Mike Vest who is in around 90% of underground bands in the city. Alongside him are Matt Baty and John-Michael Hedley who you’ll have probably seen in the likes of Khuunt, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs or Spokes. Take parts of each of those bands, put them through a mincer and the mess you have on the other side somewhat resembles the music you hear now.

Strong but mellow bass lines paired with cymbal heavy drums keep the whole thing together. A central line for everything else to hook onto, making sure that the music doesn’t descend into self indulgent amp worship. That being said, the guitars here are drugged out, hazy waves of distortion, feedback and wah that feel like a bottomless hole. Dark, damp basements, blurred lights, spinning heads, massive amounts of psychedelics. It’s all a beautiful subterranean melting pot of delicious liquid noise. They’ve only been a band for a short while but already have two EP’s out. That’s a pretty impressive feat, especially since there’s so much substance to them. Go on, take a ling, hard look into the sinkhole that is your life and rejoice in the hazy bliss.

split

New slab of wax incoming featuring the first physical release by Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs who I’ve mentioned on here before. A split 12″ with the other half being taken up by Glasgow’s The Cosmic Dead.

The Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs side is a track they’ve already put into the world via the wonders of technology, but now it’s being made available as a physical artifact, which is always a pleasure. A 22 minute barrage of motorik drum beats, crunchy, riff heavy guitars and zoned out vocal wails. All ticks in boxes for me.

The Cosmic Dead give us a mellow offering that feels like it could be lifted straight from an unreleased Can record. That lush, repetitive bass line that carries us from the start all the way through to the end is as comforting as it is engaging. Expect 22 minutes of slow, eyes closed head nodding goodness. Various elements hang of this mainstay: psyched out guitar echoes, barely real vocals grumbles and a fill heavy drum presence. It all works well, really well in fact. That bass line is so tasty though, it just makes me feel warm inside.

 

This split 12″ is released via The Old Noise on November 8th. They’ll also be having a release part of the newly revived Head of Steam. See you there?

 

Before you hear the full split, you can remind yourself of how good the Pigs side is by listening  to it now.

They’ve been around forever in some form or another but Kawabata Makoto’s Mainliner are back with a brand new album of loud, intense psychedelic guitar screechery.

It’s loud and it’s out of control, which is a wonderful thing. On the surface, we are faced with incredibly noisy guitar solos that reach the very limits of the noise spectrum, at times feeling poised and full and at others feeling like they’re drowning in a sea of feedback. I don’t know about you, but I like my music loud and this fits the bill perfectly. Listen to it through headphones, volume at it’s highest, for maximum pleasure.

Beneath all of the noise and insanity, there’s some beautifully composed psychedelic songwriting. Gentle, wispy vocals feel almost haunting beneath all of the noise. I mean the majority of you reading will already be aware of Mainliner in some shape of form, but if not then you’re in for a treat. The production is cleaner than some of their previous work but it feels like the noise has intensified over time. An experiment in maximal guitar playing. The juxtaposition between calm, soft vocals lines and heavy, assaulting guitars works in perfect harmony. I don’t really want to listen to music that’s made in any other way.

Revelation Space was released on 3rd June on Riot Season and is available as a CD, Cassette or LP.

They’re touring the UK and Ireland in September, of which one date is at Newcastle’s Think Tank. I’ll be there and hopefully you will too.

deathrowradio – Yummy

June 25, 2013

deathrowradio, who many of you will know as d_rradio, have a brand new album out and it’s an interesting listen.

Previously the band created slow, ambient soundscapes which tended to focus more on the subtleties of the music rather than creating a great force. This time round, they’ve come from a completely different direction and it works to staggering effect.

It’s a strange mix of ambience, post rock guitars and repetitive drumming. The three elements, among others, feel like a massive step away from their past lives but also feel like a move in the right direction. I’ve listened to it a number of times now and I feel more drawn with each play. While before it was the gentle drones that sucked you into their world, this record focuses heavily on repetition, submersing you in an entirely different way. All seven tracks will eventually make you feel separate from the world around you, allowing you to completely zone in on the various other intricacies the music has to offer.

All seven tracks tend to have the same overall feel but each one also feels like a world of it’s own. Tracks such as ‘A Little Less’ start out sounding like they’ll develop into an alt rock cliche, but soon manage to brush off that implication when they completely change direction. While the riffs are simple, they’re used to great effect. They feel like a base line, a starting point, a guide that all of the other subtle nuances latch onto throughout the journey. It just shows that while sometimes a change in music direction can be a terrible thing, do it right and it’s going to sound great.

Yummy is out now on Distraction Records as a download and an LP.

 

Base Ventura EP

July 31, 2012

Despite the awful pun, Base Ventura actually make some fairly promising music.

Fuzzed out psychedelic sounds reminiscent of 60’s garage rock, but with a little more WAH! This five track EP is, hopefully, just the start. It brings images of being transported back to an earlier age, dancing in a smoky, sweaty club after having taken numerous intoxicants where Base Ventura would be playing. There’s some similarities to fellow psych rockers Hookworms, but Base Ventura seem to do it in a more relaxed, gritty way. For that, I think I prefer it.

It’s being released on cassette via Manchester based label Twisted Tape on 6th August. I strongly recommend snapping up a copy before they all go and it becomes one of those long lost, highly sought after recordings you here about in legends.

 

 

Check out the video for 1:52

Base Ventura Tumblr

In a previous post, I got very excited about the line up of this years TUSK festival in Newcastle, partly due to the fact that Keiji Haino had been announced. But, TUSK being the brilliant people that they are have blown the original line up announcement out of the water. Yes, it’s Keiji Haino based but it’s a whole new world of wonderful. That’s right, as the title suggests, the legendary FUSHITSUSHA have been confirmed to grace the Star and Shadow cinemas stage this October.

I have a feeling I’m going to become obsessed and, until the day comes, sit endlessly searching through the strange but exhilarating recordings that Fushitsusha have to their name. I can’t wait to get lost in a haze of beautiful and outlandish noise.

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Seriosuly, Tusk Festival is going to be completely insane.

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Tusk Festival
Fushitsusha

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A new release from Newcastle based psychedelic outfit Haikai No Ku has caught my attention recently. Yet another outing from the busiest man in Newcastle; Mike Vest, this time with the help of Jerome Smith and Sam Booth.

It’s typically experimental and has that standard ‘underground’ feel, whatever that means. Extremely lo fi recording techniques are present throughout, as you would expect, but that’s probably why I like it so much. I always try to get myself involved with what’s going on in the world of DIY music, especially in Newcastle, but there is just so much I find it difficult to keep on top of it all. This is a gem though. The release is made up of three tracks, all with a very psychedelic outlook and a very spatial feel. The overloaded, feedback laden guitar guides us along a lengthy but ultimately enjoyable journey through sound. I could sit and listen to it for hours on end trying to pick apart every little noise or every single guitar part but instead I think you should judge it for yourself.

It’s been released as a CDr on Fuckin’ Amateurs who, in the past, have put out stuff by Bong & Jazzfinger.

More details here.