This is what just hit our inbox this morning from someone who obviously knows what our ears respond to: “MF Doom just released a punk song, the track is called Air Crimes off of the surprise release “Black Bastards”, out on 10/31.”
They call it punk but you can’t ever take the C from the CRUST of the OG UK Doom band. Birmingham’s riff masters have had their stomping ‘War Crimes’ track re-fuzzed with MF Doom’s snazz rap on the upper tier. It will either make you smile or shit. Regardless, this blew some old cobwebs out this morning.
Get a grip and a bag of slags and dive the fuck in. Black Bastards though?! Too much even for Woodstock mate. Conflict collab next?
The monstrous off-kilter noise-fest known as Trumans Water are back with an incredibly well recorded live album from an epic show in Oslo at Spasibar back in November 2005 that will be available on a double vinyl gatefold package on June 23rd via Handmade Records.
The San Diego band blew up the scene with their vicious indie-rock recordings when they first arrived in 1991 and have since recorded a plethora of albums and EPs for those lucky enough to have found their art. And art is pretty much the only way of explaining what this crew do. It’s fair to say that Trumans Water have a knack for jamming at an incendiary force with energy that can turn on a dime.
Thankfully today, Crossfire were asked to premiere this live track from the release so crank your stereo to 11, enjoy Large Organs and pre-order this treat from Handmade here whilst stocks last.
Marking their first recorded material since 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record, the return of Broken Social Scene delivers everything you could ever want from their comeback single and more. An extended choir, a string section that doesn’t just back up the band, but carries them forth to heights otherwise unthinkable, and of course, an outro of rallying horns piping in high and true, a fanfare ringing with sheer joy. The gang’s all here. To miss them at Brixton Academy in May would be lunacy. Get tickets here.
New album ‘Hug Of Thunder’ will be released on July 7th.
While I’d been hearing the name banded around for a while previous, I first saw Iron Reagan at Mighty Sounds Festival in the Czech Republic in 2015. Amongst a bill which clung loosely to the totem of ‘punk and ska’ – an umbrella which encompassed the likes of Babylon-hunters the Cockney Rejects and laid back modern reggae and weed enthusiasts Dub Inc., NYHC veterans Sick of it All and whining fringe themed angst-peddlers Funeral for a Friend, OG ska innovator Derrick Morgan and Keith Morris rage valve side project OFF – they stood out over the majority of others we bore witness too.
This is undoubtedly due in part to vocalist Tony Foresta, who divides his time between Iron Reagan and thrash veterans Municipal Waste. Alongside having a solid dose of the stage presence necessary to make the crowd pay attention, he also comes across as a massive music nerd who genuinely loves the music he both builds on and pays homage too. This is something bought to the fore with Iron Reagan; while Municipal Waste bring more intricate song structures and guitar solos into every subsequent release, this project harks back to the D.R.I./The Accused worship of early Waste in the form of lo-fi, straight up headbangers. Their live appeal is also due in no small part to the tightness of the rest of the band, with a musical pedigree ranging from skate-thrashers A.N.S. to Cannabis Corpse.
This thankfully translates just as well to record – from the shouted chorus, murky production and breakneck speed of opener ‘A Dying World’ you know exactly where you stand, which is in about 1987, in the pit, spilling beer all over yourself. From then on it’s a full throttle onslaught of sound, with songs rarely breaking the two minute mark. ‘Dead With My Friends’ is by far the longest at nearly four minutes, but slots in perfectly as a chance for the band to demonstrate just how gut-crushingly heavy they can get. Follow up ‘No Sell’ makes up for such thrash sacrilege by lasting for a grand total of 14 seconds.
I feel like an album can be done a disservice by not picking out too many high points, but to be honest this one is a solid dose of carnage from start to finish. ‘Fuck The Neighbours’ is obviously destined to be a live classic, an obnoxiously enjoyable, 80s frat film-channelling slice of metal of the variety rarely seen this side of 1990. Title track ‘Crossover Ministry’ stands out by dint of the solid groove which it suddenly falls into in the midst of the chaos, reminding you of the band’s wider musical pedigree. Elsewhere, the maelstrom draws you into its centre and gives your aural cavities a serious seeing too. The final test of an album of this sort is, obviously, does it work as a suitable shot of adrenalin to make me want to go out skateboarding – a fairly irrefutable test, with the clear exemption of skateboard hating thrash luminaries Lunatics Without Skateboards. The answer? Too fucking right it does!
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
It’s no question that King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are the crowned kings of contemporary psychedelic rock in 2016. With nine full-length albums released in only four years, their ethos and work ethic is both inspiring and immensely admirable. However, today they surpass all expectations with the news that they will not only be releasing their tenth album, the wonderfully titled ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’, in 2017 but also FOUR other records. In ONE year.
Let that sink in whilst first cut ‘Rattlesnake’ slithers into your ear canals. This can only be one of two things, suicide or pure genius.
From the ground and in the air…everything is easy.
Well not exactly. Some things are downright tricky, and it’s fair to say that Sea Nymphs’ second album has made its way into existence via a somewhat tortuous but nonetheless rewarding route.
Sea Nymphs were/are an offshoot of the wondrous and sometimes baffling punk/pop/prog/kitchen-sink band Cardiacs. The world of Cardiacs can, to the outsider, seem a little daunting. The in-joke chanting at gigs, the symbolism, the ever so slightly intimidating stage presence; it can all be like being presented with a cult to the uninitiated. Then, there’s the music. First impressions can lead to the conclusion that it barely makes sense. There are ridiculous time changes and key changes, wonky little fiddly bits and heaps of ungodly noise. After a little time and immersion something will click and everything becomes blindingly clear or a strong antipathy will arise. It’s a love/hate thing, there is no middle ground.
Except, maybe there is, the works of Tim Smith were not merely confined to Cardiacs output. There was his wonderful solo album Oceanlandworld, and then there was The Sea Nymphs, a project with Cardiacs cohorts William D Drake and Sarah Smith. Whilst there could be some delightfully gentle and beautiful moments in Cardiacs songs, they’d usually be surrounded by carefully crafted chaos (if such a thing can actually exist). Sea Nymphs comes from a different place altogether. The Big Ship might have been sailing on the high seas where the wind and rains is cold, but under the surface, in the depths, there was something far more quaint occurring.
The original Sea Nymphs album appeared back in 1992 and the trio created a series of creaky yet catchy shanties that were far more delicate than perhaps might have been expected. For those put off by Cardiacs’ usual output, Sea Nymphs offered a new way into their world. Drawing on folk and pastoral classical music, Sea Nymphs were still a strange proposition, but they were dreamy, sprite like and utterly charming.
Their second album had been recorded around the same time as the first, but for some reason best known to themselves it has taken until now to see the light of day. Its appearance now is worthy of celebration. Firstly, it is always a pleasure to hear new material from any Cardiacs related project. Secondly, it sees the return of Tim Smith to the creative arena since becoming unwell in 2008. Over the last year he has taken to the studio in order to add the finishing touches to the album, and the notion of his return to music in any form is something to be cherished.
As might be expected, this album occupies a similar sonic space to its predecessor. Whilst the title suggests that the band is resting their seafaring legs for a while, the call of the sea is strong and there is still that strange sense of oceanic depth and mystery that pervades almost every song.
The opening seconds of After set the tone for what is to come. Sarah’s altered vocals hang spirit like, fading in and out over delicate tinkling chimes. It’s almost impossible to grasp such is its barely there nature. Eating A Heart Out is a little easier to grasp, but retains a soft-focus feel. Like a naïve nursery rhyme, there’s a beguiling innocence to it that would break the heart of even the sturdiest (which would make it easier to eat). Big River, effectively an acoustic guitar and vocal performance from Tim is more straightforward, it’s a stark reminder of his ability to draw emotion from even the sparsest arrangements. Sea Snake Beware meanwhile finds William D Drake taking the lead with his piano and vocals and it sounds very much like his own solo work: dainty, precise, and surprisingly complex by the close.
The first four songs might represent the individuals and their nuances, but Sea Nymphs most definitely operate as a band within the band as can be seen on the likes of the jaunty folk of Cut Yourself Kidding or the sci-fi tinged meanderings of Bye Bye Spirit. It’s on The Black Blooded Clam that things really come together however. Its chaotic structure, classical motifs, and slanted whimsy are absolutely perfect. Sounding like a scuttling mouse trapped within a wicker man, there’s a slightly sinister side to it.
As the album draws to a close, there are a couple of songs that might have found their way onto a Cardiacs album. That’s not to say that they don’t fit into the Sea Nymphs’ ethereal oeuvre, but it’s possible to imagine The Sea Ritual finding its way onto On Land In The Sea as elements of it sound not unlike The Everso Closely Guarded Line. Similarly,Liberated And Handsome’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it interjection could easily have nestled in the behemoth that was Sing To God.
This then is a welcome return to the vaults and an absolute gem of a record whose depths and delights deserve to be heard. It is encouraging to see the wheels turning in the Cardiacs camp again.
There’s nothing like the news of a new Descendents album to improve a summer in advance –and, with a particularly slow start to the good weather, their short, sweet blasts of melodic punk are exactly what is needed to counteract the strangely unseasonal Seasonal Affective Disorder caused by leaving the house at least three days a week to find South London rain-drenched and storm-swept.
Hypercaffium Spazzinate, of course, would be a cause for celebration regardless of the weather; the band’s first release since 2004 sees them return to Epitaph, the label under which they recorded 1996’s ‘Everything Sucks’. Does this mean we can draw in depth stylistic comparisons between the two albums recorded under Brett Gurewitz’s label whilst at the same time contrasting them with ‘Cool To Be You’, the Fat Wreck album sandwiched between? Does it bollocks. Bill Stevenson has always had a keen eye to which side his punk rock bread is buttered on and Hypercaffium sits comfortably amongst the band’s previous efforts, offering 16 sometimes deceptively sharp blasts of what can be termed ‘pop punk’, but only once you mentally eschew the taint of saccharine awfulness which the late 90s and early 00s bought to that term.
Opener ‘Feel This’ sets the general pace at 1:14 in length, with only half the songs exceeding two minutes and a grand total of three that get past three. I found myself having to stop the album when I needed to go down and get a beer out of the fridge, in case I missed anything vital. That’s what you get with me, quality professionalism. Anyway, ‘Feel This’ drives full speed into ‘Victim Of Me’, the song which pre-hyped the album to the world and while it may not quite reach ‘Milo Goes to College’ speed, it definitely offers Karl Alvarez’s fingers a workout on a breakneck bass line on a tune which will have you skipping the needle back more than once (or moving the mouse and double clicking like the horrible nowadays bastard you are). ‘On Paper’ slows things down and brings into the mix the self-deprecating humour that Milo’s soulful, very slightly snotty, very slightly roughened voice is so perfectly suited to – the sound that so many vocalists took as a template to fall far short of.
From then on in and for 16 songs the band take the sound which they’ve perfected so well and throw in a number of variables, still keeping hold of their core formula like a control variable in one of Milo’s lab tests. ‘No Fat Burger’ harks back to the band’s earliest days musically, as Bill Stevenson’s lyrics bemoan the doctor’s orders which have stopped him scoffing whatever he wants due to health issues covered in the killer 2013 documentary ‘Filmage’. Just remember as you listen to the primal but supremely controlled beat underpinning every track that the man playing it has survived health issues which would kill five other people at once.
Elsewhere, this may not be a change in style from previous releases but that doesn’t mean that the Descendents are ploughing the same furrow in any way. On the contrary. The hooks which made the likes of ‘Bikeage’, ‘Silly Girl’ and ‘When I Get Old’ such instant classics do the same for much of Hypercaffium. Whether it’s the full pelt race of ‘Human Being’ or the mellower, hook laden likes of ‘Shameless Halo’ or ‘Comeback Kid’, the band sound like they don’t even know what the term ‘twelve year album gap’ means. Closer ‘Beyond the Music’ is a potted history of the band, a microcosm of the personal lean of their lyrics which has definitely played a massive part in them becoming such a worldwide phenomenon.
Despite having almost 40 years of history, and a major place in the history of punk music and numerous musical milestones, they are still writing songs of awkward love, caffeine obsessions and flatulence which strike a chord the world over…and long may they continue doing so.
Short, sharp and sinister, Californian hardcore heads, Lies have just streamed their brutal new tracks from forthcoming long player, Plague this week. If your ears are turned on, like mine, by rip-roaring, high speed, dirty punk rock then feast yourself on these two new tunes. It’s for the D-Beat crust core fans out there for sure.
The band consists of members of The Hope Conspiracy and Skin Like Iron, head to Southern Lord for the sweets where you will find a one sided 12″ with an extra EP and more.
Throw away your paisley preconceptions of psych and take a gander at these big bawlers and squealers instead. Revered sonic avenger Ty Segall has dropped a sinister new music video for ‘Candy Sam’, and as his muggers’ glorious volley of fuzz riffs proceed to blow the roof clean-off the filthy garage in which they were undoubtedly conceived, there’s an overwhelming sense of foreboding as this collage of suckling tots floods your retinal lobes.
You might well be left wondering, “just who exactly is Candy Sam?” But take into account the macabre artwork that matches Segall’s most recent LP, Emotional Mugger, and track titles like ‘Squealer’ and ‘Baby Big Man (I Want A Mommy)’. He’s playing with infantile memories with gusto, and though these grinning cherubs initially evoke an innate sense of joy, stare too long and you might get spooked.
Ty Segall and The Muggers will land in Europe this month for dates stretching through to July. We are more than excited for their London show at The Forum on June 24. Get your copy of Emotional Muggerhere.
May 31 – Paris, FR @ Villette Sonique
June 1 – Brussels, BE @ Botanique Orangerie
June 2 – Dudingen, CH @ Kilby Bad Bonn
June 3 – Nimes, FR @ This Is Not A Love Song Festival
June 4 – Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound Festival
June 5 – Barcelona, ES @ Sala Apolo (Primavera Closing Party)
June 6 – Lyon, FR @ L’Epicerie Moderne
June 7 – Marina di Ravenna, IT @ Beaches Brew Festival
June 9 – Bordeaux, FR @ Krakatoa
June 11 – Porto, PT @ NOS Primavera Sound
June 13 – Nantes, FR @ Le Stereolux Club
June 15 – Hamburg, DE @ Knust
June 17 – Helsinki, FI @ Sideways Festival
June 18 – Stockholm, SE @ Debaser Medis
June 19 – Oslo, NO @ Rockefeller
June 21 – Leeds, UK @ Stylus
June 22 – Glasgow, UK @ The Art School
June 23 – Manchester, UK @ The Ritz
June 24 – London, UK @ The Forum
June 25 – Beuningen, NL @Down In The Rabbit Hole Festival
June 26 – Lille, FR @ Le Grand Mix
June 27 – Koln, DE @ Gebaeude 9
June 28 – Berlin, DE @ Astra Kulturhaus
June 30 – Cluzes, FR @ Musiques En Stock Festival
July 1 – Belfort, FR @ Eurockeennes Festival
July 3 – Keflavík, IS @ ATP Festival