What We've Been Listening To This Week...IDLES, Squid, Bilk, Courting, Kooba Tercu and the Owed Summer, Stay Home and Group Therapy Compilations
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This week has mostly been spent listening to three great compilation albums - Owed Summer from Joint Effort / Sour Grapes Records, Stay Home from Independent Musicians Against COVID19 (which you can read about here and Group Therapy Vol 1 (which you can read about here). Profits from all three compilations (120 tracks across all of them!) will be donated to NHS charities as well as music charities so you get to help some very worthwhile causes as well as get some great music added to your Bandcamp collections.
Another album that really merits talking about is Proto Tekno by Kooba Tercu, released on Friday by Rocket Recordings. I won’t go into too much details as you can read about it here, but it is rather special and already a contender for album of the year.
On the singles front we profiled the new single by Courting and had an interview with front man Sean yesterday which you can read about here. Needless to say, ‘David Byrne’s Bad Side’ is yet another top tune from the band that bought us ‘Football’ earlier this year. Another promising young band Bilk released a new single I got knocked out the same night as England, which sees them returning to their punky roots with great effect.
Possibly one of the most keenly anticipated new singles of the week was ‘Mr Motivator’ from IDLES, the lead track from their forthcoming album. Judging by some of the comments on one of the IDLES Facebook groups, opinions of the song have been split, with some loving it and others dismissive. Comments from the detractors included a suggestion that the song is a pastiche of the band, that it’s got a ‘crap chorus’ and so on. Personally, I think it’s superb, a real rabble rouser, full of energy and a great taster for the album, although I've only started getting into the band over the last year or so. We also had an interview with Mark Bowen of the band last week, talking about in how he’s finding life in Lockdown, which you can read here.
Last but not least on the new releases front is the new single from Squid, Broadcaster. Broadcaster reveals a more electronic, experimental side to the band, perhaps giving some indication of why they signed recently to Warp Records. It’s very good though. Broadcaster is to be released on 10-inch vinyl, with previous digital single release Sludge at the end of the month. We’ll have to wait until sometime next year for their debut album though.
By Jon Milton
Those lovely people at Rocket Recordings have an amazing knack of unearthing talent from across the world. Gnoomes from Russia, Och (and others) from Sweden, Lay Llamas from Italy and so on. Their latest offering is Kooba Cercu of Greece and their new album ‘Proto Tekno’ which might just be one of the albums of the year.
Proto Tekno manages to bring together krautrock, psych, industrial, electronica and more in a soundtrack to an imagined dystopia, which they describe as ‘a potent and pulverising collection of incendiary jams fuelled by the modern age yet transcending it with vicious style’.
The album starts with the thrashy ‘Benzoberry’, a powerful mix of early Dinosaur Jr, Killing Joke and Nirvana submerged in feedback, with the Killing Joke influence continuing in ‘Cemento Mori’ like a present-day ‘War Dance’ having a ruck with the Chemical Brothers.
Filter Feeder provides a change in direction, away from post punk and rock to industrial percussive beats and grinding bass, as a momentary release from the deep immersion, which the powerful dirge Qasan draws you straight back in with its hypnotic tribal drumming and chanting.
The chanting continues with Kamehameha and Fair Game, low slung bass, percussion and noise combining wonderfully. Penultimate track Boiler is harsh and hypnotic with final track Puppy Pile like an awakening from a trance.
I love the way the album ebbs and flows, the inventive drumming driving the music and allowing for the range of sounds to come together. Music really takes centre stage in Proto Tekno with vocals used both cleverly and sparingly throughout. This makes for a proper listening experience, a shamanic journey through sound and space.
Proto Tekno is different, excellent and an album that stands out amongst the crowd. You can listen and buy it here.
By Jon Milton
Contemplating David Byrne’s Bad Side is not something I’ve readily done, but I guess on reflection there’s a lot to be concerned about. He’s freely talked about being a French speaking Psycho Killer, burning down the house and being wicked and lazy. He also has friends, a lot of them going by the sheer volume of collaborations he’s made over his 50-year recording career. But why is he the subject of the new single by fresh-faced Liverpudlian indie starlets Courting?
Courting’s front man Sean explains that the track is more about class tourism and the petty prejudices that exist in Britain today, with David Byrne as the protagonist, known for outspoken views on those that are not polite, ‘hating on the casual racists and general nasty people who you encounter on a day to day basis’. The same people that, in the current lockdown would be ‘undoubtedly going down the beach with their mates, protesting about the other people who are doing the same, and claiming they’re the problem’.
DBBS is the third single from the band, who released ‘Not Yr Man’ last year and ‘Football’ earlier this year, with the latter gaining a lot of attention, so much so that in the week of DBBS being released they’ve managed to appear on Steve Lamacq’s show, which Sean describes as ‘feeling really good and an absolute honour’.
DBBS is another absolutely top-quality tune from these four lads from Liverpool, and one they are particularly pleased with, and rightly so. Normally you’d expect them to be out touring with the single, but instead the band have been using the lockdown to focus on writing and demoing new songs and being creative. For Sean ‘the real shame is that we can’t play the new tracks live which is the best bit’ although he remains positive, describing how the lockdown ‘feels like we’re all united in a lack of things to do right now, so it’s hard to complain’.
Up next for the band is ‘either an EP or a reality TV show, whichever comes first’. Personally I’d prefer the latter, but either way Courting are definitely a band to watch out for.
You can listen to David Byrne's Bad Side here.
By Jon Milton
Another great compilation raising money for NHS Charities and The Music Venue Trust. Group Therapy describe themselves as 'a London based collective working with the aim of bringing previously unheard music from a range of incredible talent to your homes during lock down and beyond whilst raising money for charity' and they've done a great job with this release.
For just £7 you get 65 demo's, remixes, live versions, covers and unreleased tracks covering a really broad and intoxicating array of music. The album starts off chilled with Porridge Radio and then builds momentum slowly, taking in lo-fi indie, post punk, electronica, experimental and more, finishing with the charming Platonica Erotica tune, fittingly titled 'The End'. Highlights for these ears are Treeboy and Arc, Sleep Eaters, The Lounge Society, Mystic Peach, Pet Shimmers, Dirty Streethearts, Sorry, Ricky Stanstead & Seamus O'Reagan, Hotel Lux, Lice, PVA and POZI, but that is literally just scratching the surface.
Since the album was released 24 hours ago the album has raised £2k already for charity, which is a great achievement, and if you haven't already put your hand in your pocket and grabbed this beauty, you can do so here. This album and the Stay Home and Owed Summer compilations that I spoke of yesterday make a great soundtrack for the bank holiday weekend for an extremely modest outlay, and they contribute to a great cause. Its a no-brainer: aural edification and support for a good cause, what more could you ask for?
By Jon Milton
Earlier this week I posted in social media about there being quite a few excellent charity compilations out there now, supporting NHS Charities and other causes such as #saveourscene. The subject of that post was ‘Owed Summer’, a fantastic compilation of 10 very promising bands from Manchester, which you can buy here.
Today marks the release of two more quality compilations ‘Stay Home: Independent Musicians Against Covid-19’ and Group Therapy Vol. 1. Both bring together a substantially larger collection of artists, with the former the debut release on the Fishbowl Events label, and the latter one that I’ll cover separately in its own right at a later date. The ‘Stay Home’ album straddles a wide range of alternative music genres, including indie, punk, psychedelic, pop and more, bringing together unreleased material, live performances, demos and old releases. For a paltry £8 (digital) or £15 (CD + Digital), you get a massive 42 tracks and exposure to some excellent new artists, and most importantly you’ll be helping NHS Charities at the time when they most need you, as all profits from the project will be going their way.
Five established artists that immediately catch the eye are Helicon, Kundalini Genie, Black Market Karma, Psychic Lemon and Black Doldrums who all contribute excellent tunes, but there is also a veritable feast of other quality psychedelia to gorge yourself on in Ghost Dance Collective, Hey Bulldog, Vulpine Smile, Dorothy Vallens, Frankie Teardrop Dead, Snakes Don’t Belong in Alaska, Ghost Patterns and Eastwood’s Eye.
Other highlights include the art rock of Sherbert Files and the lively indie of Sophie Kilburn, Pet Hates, Daniel Armstrong and Dorcha. The album also has the good sense to end with some experimentation from Forest Mourning.
At a guess there must be over 3 hours of tuneage here, which is an absolute bargain. Here’s the bandcamp link, what are you waiting for?