We are getting towards that end of year list time again already, but there are still some choice picks to be had, last minute additions to that top *insert number here*.
Fluke Fanzine #13
This is Fluke‘s 25th year, and issue 13 of this great zine; as a bonus I was lucky enough to get my hands on a limited edition t-shirt to celebrate this momentous issue but would have been satisfied just to get my hands on the latest issue on its own. I always look forward to a new Fluke; the enthusiasm that Matthew has for the scene and the great people he’s met over the years really shines through; he writes with a nostalgic edge but you get the feeling he is always looking to the future with excitement. Perhaps its because we are the same generation that I connect with his world view so well, or perhaps its just the easy way he draws you in with his great writing style, but this issue of the zine is a fascinating glimpse into his life and the music and people that inspired him growing up. Highly recommended.
Cretins Of Distortion #7
I’ve been looking to pick up a copy of this fanzine for a while and having no luck with UK distros I ordered one from overseas. COD is punk as fuck; on first appearances it looks to be a random cut and paste of images and text, but of course things are more organised than the appearance of chaos. The zine is ‘dedicated to/and stands with everyone who has suffered from systematic violence’ and revels in the freak tag throughout. This is a serious mag; a strong message carried by someone who clearly cares about the subject and it makes you sit up and take notice too.
I’ll be picking this up again for sure, I love reading whats going on in people’s local scenes and this mid-west view is fascinating stuff.
Taman Shud – Oracle War
Hotly anticipated sophomore album from the London (self-styled) necro-psych/cave-rock mob. The Taman Shud image, one of mystery and darkness, is all pervasive, they never let the veil drop on their social media accounts, posting only reviews, upcoming information and darkly quirky pictures and words; not wanting to give away the personalities behind the controlled image. This approach makes the music the only focus, you have to admire their commitment to the cause, and it really works to set up a heady atmosphere when you listen to the album.
As with Viper Smoke the record has a dream-like quality, repetitive droning loops of riffage and vocal chants lend the atmosphere a ritualistic quality, and you feel yourself lost in their world of smoggy, doom laden, psychedelic licks, meanderings, over the top vocal effects and satanic crooning; Taman Shud really are an entity all their own.
The production on this record is super scuzzy and distorted – imagine you’re in the cabin in the woods listening to the recordings of the Book of the Dead on that old tape machine; half heard sounds appear out of the distortion, screams are muted under feedback and the melodies are hidden behind a wall of frenetic sound. It’s a slightly different approach to ther last record, which, while it was not crystal clear or slick in any sense, did feel more minimal and have more of a focus on melody; each sound was identifiable in the mix and retained its own identity. Here the wall of noise means you are constantly searching for a focal point and it makes for a more challenging listening experience, (tracks like Slime Litury may test casual listeners boundaries), however it is compusive and dramatic and addictive in a different way. I’m sold on the intensity.
Grieving – Demonstrations
There is something really charming about this EP from the Cambridge four piece. It’s been out for a while now and I’ve had it as part of my regular rotation since I first heard it. I get Reuben and Million Dead vibes at times and then more of an indie feel with some sweet riffs; it is in essence very British, with a strong 00’s thing going on. I like that it’s minimal with an emphasis on some great melodic moments and a lovely clear guitar sound.
This band obviously has a ton of ideas to throw around as each track has a slightly different flavour; so overall its not hugely cohesive, but because it’s all so listenable they do pull it off over these 5 tracks. Doesn’t appear they have an album yet but I’ll be interested to see how they handle it.