By Ian Smith
A live album recorded at the Thelka on the 6th of December 2001. This performance was part of the ‘The Gnostic Bash: A Tribute to Kenneth Anger’. Anger intended to make a film of Aleister Crowley’s Gnostic Mass and was looking to raise funds for the project.
This is really something. There are two tracks in total but that’s not important. The sound is overwhelming, loosely structured and freeform but nothing is wasted. The key word here is energy. This is a relentless assault on the senses; you can focus on the mayhem ensuing or drift off to your own world.
The Heads manage to create a soundscape where time is irrelevant. I could happily listen to these pieces if they were twice as long. Some acts have the ability to make time stand still and it’s good to know that there is still material to pillage from The Heads archive. Like Hawkwind on mandrax, the barrage of riffs is a joy to behold.
Subtlety. Allow the listener to form their own picture and pick out their own nuances to concentrate on. It’s in your face but standoffish. There are numerous Heads bootlegs and live performances available but this seems to encapsulate everything rather nicely (although I confess that I have not heard all of it, far from it). And I got through the whole review without mentioning ‘Psych’. Ah fuck.
You set the scene. Journeys without maps.
‘Reverberations Volume 2’ is out now on the ever-wonderful Cardinal Fuzz. Listen/Buy at
By Jon Milton
Up until recently it was believed that constrictor snakes kill by asphyxiating their prey, but recent research has suggested that they do this by stopping the flow of blood, otherwise known as circulatory arrest. This approach is so efficient that their prey cark it at an incredibly rapid pace, which for convenience we’ll say is around one and a half minutes, as this is roughly the length of Yammerer’s excellent new single, Boa Constrictor.
We profiled the band earlier this year, and they were one of the few bands that I managed to see in 2020 before the world went to pot. Boa Constrictor is their first bit of new music this year, which follows on from their excellent debut Reality Escape Resort EP and the RSD 2019 cassette only single Donnay Death Housing Cryssis, which is now out on Bandcamp. In keeping with the bands previous output, Boa Constrictor is gloriously deranged, motorik driven post-punk that sounds like a soundtrack to the snake taking hold of vocalist Jay Sunsea/J George JC and rapidly taking him out. Not that constrictors tend to kill humans that often of course, although it has been known...
Yammerer's label Restless Bear also have a powerful new track from Deh Yey out in a couple of weeks ‘I am Result’, which might just be the best thing they’ve done yet – more on that around release date.
Boa Constrictor is out now. You can listen/buy here.
By Jon Milton
Normally we feature noisy artists that straddle musical genres such as Krautrock, Post Punk, Psych rock, garage punk, noise rock and the like on this blog, but sometimes make an exception for indie rockers that make well crafted songs that stick in your head after a couple listens. One such example is Bobhowla, and more specifically their new single Midnight Fears, released today.
I must confess I do have a bit of a weakness for Tears for Fears and it certainly feels like there’s a hint of them on this single, along with the kind of vocal line Liam Gallagher would lap up. Midnight Fears also has a swerving rhythm that reminds me of something from the world of dance music that I can’t pin down (Slam maybe?) – the mark of a canny songwriter getting right into in your head of course.
Midnight Fears is taken from the band’s forthcoming debut album ‘Everything’s Wrong, but it’s Alright’ which launches at the end of next month. Newly assembled as a four piece, the band features singer/songwriter Howard Doupé and Rod Jones of Idlewild who also produced the album at Post Electric Studio. Doupé says of the album:
“This collection of songs have been a lifetime in creation. Working with broad group of musicians has meant the final product is a multi-coloured trip through pop sensibilities tinged with elements of folk and sonic ambience. With themes of yearning, presence, purpose, fears and the celebration of achievement, there’s an element of heart-felt honesty. Maybe the like not seen since the writings of Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison. For the first time in years, the time is right to present these tracks as they are. The current worldwide situation has directly affected both the recording and determination to support the emergence of new artists. Particularly during the uncertainty of live performances.”
What We've Been Listening To This Week...Deadletter, Cowgirl, Osees, Sunstack Jones, Shame, USA Nails, In Earnest
Home Counties and Lord Loud aside, last week week was pretty quiet for new music. Thankfully this week has been a bit more fruitful with some tasty new releases from Deadletter, Sunstack Jones, Cowgirl, In Earnest and Shame, as well as a couple more tracks released by Osees ahead of their new album being released next week.
First up we have the rather splendid ‘How it all Went Down’ by Sunstack Jones. Taken from their forthcoming album ‘Golden Repair’ which is out next month, ‘How...’ follows on from 'Glass Boat' released earlier this year and is another piece of shimmering psychedelic rock. Fans of The Verve will love this as it has their influence (and that of The Stone Roses, Primal Scream, the Stones, The Byrds and The Bees) all over it. That's no coincidence of course though, as its produced by Simon Jones (The Verve) and the band have also had Nick McCabe at the controls with earlier releases. The way the guitar glides along throughout is wonderful, and the song is beautifully crafted and thoroughly charming.
Staying with the sixties psychedelic vibe is the new single by York’s Cowgirl, a double a-side consisting of the excellent ‘Hold Me’ and ‘Only Lasts a Minute’. Something about ‘Hold Me’ (which is our pick of the two) reminds me of ‘Up in the Sky’ by Oasis from their debut album which can’t be too bad can it?
Moving on to post punk, Deadletter are a relatively new band who are also from Yorkshire but are now relocated to South London. The band released their new single ‘Fit for Work’ this week, a song about bureaucracy, and one say the band that ‘provides a mirror to the world, and specifically the Britain of today. The ideas explored within the track are seemingly exaggerated accounts of reality but, upon close examination, have worrying roots in true experience, with the track aiming to parallel the savagery of the narrator in the song with the actual brutality of our government.’. Musically the song leans on the Fall and Gang of Four, albeit frontman Zac Woolley’s vocals are very much in the vein of Black Country New Road.
Staying in South London, Shame have a rather fine new single out ‘Alphabet’. Beginning with a squall of feedback followed by insistent, shuffling drumming, cutting guitar and an anthemic chorus, Alphabet is a big tune and we look forward to hearing more from them.
One new single that we missed initially but has now popped up on Spotify this week is ‘I don’t own anything’ by USA Nails. It’s short (1 minute 20) thrashy and to the point and taken from the bands forthcoming album Character Stop which is released in late October and can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp here. Brevity and noise is also the order of the day with Osees, who have just released a couple more tracks from their new album ‘Protean Threat’ which comes out this coming Friday. ‘Scramble Suit II’, which kicks off the album is 2 minutes of noise, and ‘If I Had My Way’ is a quick slab of slightly more conventional garage rock. Both are very good as you would expect from a band who rarely fail to deliver the goods. We’ll have more on the album next week.
Lastly this week we have the beautiful new single from In Earnest, '29'. We featured the band when their first single came earlier this year here and interviewed them a couple of months ago here and this is their third release, which also features on their new six track EP which comes out next month.
By Jon Milton
What have tax havens, Aylesbury, middle aged male torso's, media manipulation and gentrified drinking in hipster land got in common? You’d be forgiven for thinking that it might be a salacious story about a Tory MP but no, it is in fact the subject matter behind the rather fine debut EP by Home Counties, released today simultaneously with one of its tracks as a single ‘That’s Where the Money’s Gone’.
The Redevelopment EP, out on Alcopop Records and produced by that man Theo Verney contains five tracks in total – Redevelopment, the song that made us all sit up and go ‘I like this – who is it by?’ in March and introduce the band, Dadbod, source of wry smiles amongst many males of a certain age and undoubtedly among others also, and three new tracks.
Photo by Naz Stone
Latest single ‘That’s Where The Money’s Gone’ continues where its predecessors left off musically, striding wonk-pop that lyrically doesn’t require too much to work out. Will from the band says of the song 'It's possibly the most lyrically simple track of the EP. Its message is so to the point, it probably even seems quite juvenile. It’s about contemporary conversations of where money goes and comes from. It was written very spontaneously around the time of Brexit and the last general election, and presents an oversimplified conversation about tax havens, immigration and welfare'.
The remaining tracks ‘Chuggin’ and ‘Raoul’ however open a new slant on the band’s music bringing elements of Captain Beefheart and Island era Tom Waits to the band’s repertoire. ‘Chuggin’, which explores the double standards of gentrified drinking in Shoreditch is a slightly sinister polka, and Raoul, about the media representation of Raoul Moat as a masculine hero rather than a terrorist (which he no doubt would be if he wasn’t white) some twisted indie take on Latin-jazz.
The cover art on the EP features Aylesbury on market day, designed to ‘encapsulate the mood of the EP, being a colourful portrayal of a grey concrete town centre’. Elaborating further, Will comments ‘This collection of songs tries to find something meaningful and playful in the typically mundane built-up spaces’.
This is a punchy debut from the band, brimming with astutely observed social commentary and inventive, top quality tunes. And there is more to come - as we found out in our interview with the band in July. Their second EP is already written, and a direction has been set to be ‘more Talking Heads and less Parquet Courts’ according to synth/percussion/vocalist Barn. What this means we’ll probably find out sometime next year, but in the meantime there’s enough in the Redevelopment EP to keep us all going for a while, so dig in.
Redevelopment EP is out now. You can buy it on cream vinyl at: