Words by Jon Milton and Mark Glenister
10. Minami Deutsch: Fortune Goodie
Any new music from Japanese Krautrock band Minami Deutsch is a wondrous thing. Whilst not exactly prolific (this is their third album in six years) the band do what they do and they do it very well. Fortune Goodie brings us ten new tracks melding fuzz, repetition and motorik, a winning combination I’m sure you’ll agree!
9: Traams – personal best
Personal Best comes just the seven years on from their last album ‘Modern Dancing’, and sees the band collaborate with the likes of Joe Casey, Soffie Viemose and Soft Lizard. It’s largely a triumphant return with ‘Breathe’ as the standout track. Personally I’d be happy with four ten-minute tracks like ‘Breathe’ across a whole album as its in that format they seem to excel.
8: Warmduscher – At the Hotspot
Who’d have thought we’d get to see Warmduscher play Glastonbury? On the telly too! The band have continued their upward ascent in 2022, winning many new friends along the way. ‘At the Hotspot’ doesn’t see the band at their best but its still a decent album, and it contains the brilliant ‘Wild Flowers’ and ‘Fatso’.
7. The Lounge Society – Tired of Liberty
The sheer amount of energy and ideas that the band pack into Tired of Liberty is mind blowing. The first nine songs twist and turn, scamper and slow and then scamper again restlessly with such effortless ease. Its easy to lose your sense of time. Brilliant stuff.
6. Bob Vylan – Bob Vylan Presents the Price of Life
Anger, contempt, purpose, meaning. The Price of Life is so raw, so real and so good. Very few artists seem brave enough to make a statement this direct these days, and in such an articulate fashion. Superb.
5. Yard Act – The Overload
Their status as media darlings and the rampant self-marketing that accompanied this release made Yard Act and the Overload very easy to dislike. However, this album is from start to finish excellent and the band are one of the best on the live circuit. And you can’t fault their industry. This may well be their moment in the sun and fair play to them.
4. Life: North East Coastal Town
From the moment that ‘Friends Without Names’ was released late last year it was looking likely that this would be a great album and it is. There is a wonderful maturity to North East Coastal Town that elevates the band from sounding like The Fall to sounding like Life and long may they continue in this vein.
3. Crows – Beware Believers
Whilst the first album had moments which felt like their live experience, this album sounds like a Crows gig from start to sweat drenched finish. This is the sound of band feeling comfortable with their sound, and a rhythm section that will pummel you senseless. It needs to be noted that these are the first tracks written with drummer Sam Lister being involved, and you can hear his and Jith Amara’s (bass)influence all the way, add to that the layered searing sounds and feedback from Steve Goddard (lead) and the dark, passionate, angry lyrics of James Cox, you have a very dark but beautiful album. It delivers on every track, hardly pausing for breath until the last few songs, the band wanted this experience for you and they do not disappoint.
2. TV Priest ‘My Other People’
TV Priest’s second album ‘My Other People’ lays bare singer Charlie Drinkwater’s experiences during the pandemic, a period in which he confesses he was in ‘a place where I was not, I would say, particularly well’. TV Priest’s second album represents a big step forward for the band. Where Uppers felt like a collection of songs, My Other People feels like a proper album, and one that will go down as a ‘flash of greatness’ from the band for years to come.
1. Gilla Band - Most Normal
Gilla Band's third album is a breathtaking achievement. Wow, wow, wow, it is brilliant.
The influences of electronic artists like Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and the Chemical Brothers are pretty obvious on Most Normal, but what sets Gilla Band apart from these is the production, which so expertly melds analogue with electronica to create something unique. It is our of the year and a worthy winner.
What We’ve Been Listening to…Tragic, Butch Kassidy, Cucamaras, Mhaol, Cross Wires, Les Bods, O., Human Interest, Cowboyy, Splint, Yabba
By Jon Milton
Tragic don’t seem to get a lot of press, which baffles me. Harnessing a mixture of all out punk energy, post punk finesse with a bit of grunge thrown in here and there for good measure sounds like a great combo, after all. If you’ve not heard of them before, their new EP ‘Recidivism’ should serve as a good start. The EP features the frenetic ‘Backfoot’ and ‘Wake Up Terry’, two Nevermind era Nirvana-esque tunes ‘Terry The Self Obsessed Empath’ and ‘Downtown’ and the sublime ‘Recidivist’ and very good it is too.
For those who favour immersive, psychedelic noise with a bit goth thrown in for good measure, check out Butch Kassidy’s ‘Live at Village Underground’ set. They remind me of ‘Dreamtime’ era Cult/Death Cult, early eighties Cure and even Sisters of Mercy, with lots of brooding and intensity and chunky basslines. Five tracks span just under half an hour and it's well worth a watch.
Cucamaras new single ‘Porcelain’ is a self-assured little number seemingly signalling a new direction for the band after their ‘Soft Soap’ EP earlier this year. The vocals have that Lenny Bruce touch that fellow Nottingham dwellers Do Nothing do so well so maybe there’s something in the water up that way.
Way back in the 1980’s World Domination Enterprises released an absolutely belting tune in the form of ‘Asbestos Lead Asbestos’ with the most wonderfully abrasive guitar that you could ever hope for. There’s a touch of this on ‘Asking for it’, the new single from Mhaol and it perfectly complements the songs powerful message. Their debut album ‘Attachment Styles’ is out in February next year.
It's been a while since we heard from Cross Wires, but they’re back with a new single ‘Mourning’ and a second album ‘Yesterday in Mourning’ on the way. Says singer Jonathan of the track “My original basic Garageband demo idea had the feel (in my mind anyway) of a ‘Boxer’ period track by The National but once we got in a room together and the boys worked their magic it ended up having a Berlin era Bowie meets late period Blur feel to it. It’s one of my favourite things we’ve ever done”.
Another band back after quite a while are Brighton’s Les Bods with their new single ‘Level Dweller’. The band unashamedly make music from that golden late sixties / early seventy rock era, with this latest tune sitting somewhere between Jimi Hendrix and 13th Floor Elevators. Hopefully there will be more from the band next year, although given their laid-back approach to releasing output over the last two and half years, my expectations are limited!
A week or so ago I had the pleasure of seeing the wonderful O. play at the Mutations festival in Brighton and those good people at Speedy Wunderground have now seen fit to release the first single from the two-piece, OGO. Given that only drums and saxophone feature it should come as no surprise that both instruments get a proper workout on this track from two incredibly talented individuals. OGO is kind of in the same vein as Binker and Moses and the Comet is Coming but these two have their own unique style.
As its been a while since my last article (give me a break, I have a family, a day job and post pandemic fatigue!) here’s a few honorary mentions of notable tracks from exciting new artists released over the last couple of months, all via the excellent Nice Swan Records:
- Human Interest - Mixing Paint
- Splint – 145
- Yabba – Get by
- Cowboy - Gmaps
By Jon Milton
Gilla Band's third album is a breathtaking achievement. Prior to listening to 'Most Normal' I had a passing appreciation of Gilla / Girl Band but little more. It was only on a whim that I decided to give the album a listen, but wow, wow, wow, it is brilliant.
First things first, Most Normal has to be listened to in a single sitting. There has clearly been a lot of blood, sweat and tears put into this record to get it to where it is, and it is best appreciated in its entirety.
Opener 'The Gum' sets the tone with its harsh yet bewitching sonic onslaught. 'Eight Fivers' juxtaposes percussion and vocals with a brutal cacophony. 'Backwash''s bouncing bassline is mesmerising. 'Gushie' provides a trippy interlude that takes the edge off the scampering, manic 'Bin Liner Fashion'. 'Capgras' is the sound of a breakdown. 'The Weirds' continues the mania, split into three disparate parts. 'I Was Away' and 'Almost Soon' are the closest the album gets to conventional music before disorientation returns in the form of 'Red Polo Neck' and 'Pratfall'. 'Post Ryan' concludes the journey with another warped bassline overlaid with glorious noise.
The influences of electronic artists like Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and the Chemical Brothers are pretty obvious on Most Normal, but what sets Gilla Band apart from these is the production, which so expertly melds analogue with electronica to create something unique. It may well be the album of the year and by some distance.
Anyone who managed to catch SOURDOUGH's excellent single 'Holocene Ending' early this year will be aware of what an exciting, under the radar prospect this band are. The band have just released their debut EP on Vandalism Begins At Home Records which features Holocene Ending along with three more incendiary tunes.
In these volatile, uncertain, complex and uncertain times, SOURDOUGH attempt to provide a voice for the disaffected many, with an EP that pours contempt on governmental abuse of power. And all of this was written before the government decided to issue arguably the most bonkers mini-budget of all time, and in doing so widen the gap between have and have nots.
Opening track 'Ragged Trouser Opinionist' considers the pursuit of power, Holocene Ending the abuse of power and 'Mind and Body' and 'Behind the Screen' the feelings of being powerless. The band's impassioned rhetoric is aptly accompanied by its music which burns with energy, anger and urgency.
Within the first minute of listening to Courting’s ‘Guitar Music’, you may well be thinking that the title was just an elaborate ruse and that an entirely different non-guitar based experience was about to hit you. Album opener ‘Cosplay/Twin Cities’ begins with 30 seconds of uplifting piano, harp and synth and then morphs into a deadpan ‘SexyBack’ like industrial number, replete with dentistry drill noises. Once that initial shock gets out of the way, the six strings make their entry on the excellent single, ‘Tennis’ and pretty much make their presence known throughout the rest of the record. In fairness there was always a hint of the band’s predilection for playfulness with that Cher effect vocal on ‘Loaded’ (included here) and there are little flourishes throughout the album.
The smart lyrics, great tunes and bright inventive ideas on Guitar Music certainly make Courting standout from the crowd and it is a very enjoyable debut album indeed. At times they’re winging a bit, with ‘Jumper’ close to straying a bit too far into mainstream territory and ‘PDA’ almost in danger of getting annoying with that click track, but there again they’re young and I’m not, so perhaps I should just get over myself. At 32 minutes long and with tunes as good as ‘Famous’, ‘Loaded’ and ‘Tennis’ on there you can’t really go wrong.