Tag: Scuzz

November Roundup

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-13Fluke 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.

 

cod-fanzine-2Cretins 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-imageTaman 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.

 

tough-tits-cover-image
Tough Tits – Hairless EP
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne all girl punk trio;  lo-fi production, shrill vocals, uncomplicated drums.  What this lacks in scope it more than makes up for with energy and attitude.

 

 

grieving-cover-imageGrieving – 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.

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Review: La Luna Album

La Luna cover imageLa Luna Always Ready  (10th May via Middle Man Records)

Toronto DIY four piece La Luna (or sometimes Brain Fever) haven’t been prolific in their career to date, with only two full lengths in the seven years since they formed, however I’ll take quality over quantity any day and this record really fits the bill.

Always Ready puts me in mind of one of my other current favourite bands, Svalbard, with a solid hardcore base, an abudance of complex guitars, and a fantastic female lead vocalist, (along with an occasional blast of dual girl/boy vocals).  La Luna have a more straight forward structure however (less post rock edge and more HC) and a heavy dose of relentless, restless energy which makes for an infectious mix.

Forging a scuzzy, screamy path, Empty Portrait leads us into the album with a blazing charge of riffage and heavy hit drums; half way through the track the band also lets us see another side to their sound with a controlled, off kilter moment, slowing things down with softer, spoken vocals and cleaner more technical riffs.  What an opener.

The album is a ride, from this great opener until the closing moments; intense, agressive but with an edge of technical finnesse which makes it hard to put down.

 

 

Review: Witching Waves Album

witching wavesLondon trio Witching Waves sound at times quintessentially British; there are nods to The Cure, My Bloody Valentine and many great shoegaze bands, in fact, all the good stuff of my teens, and this makes me very happy and keeps a nostalgic fire glowing in my heart.  But what I really love about this record is that it also feels set adrift from the Brit scene in some ways.  A modern European and American goth via indie-punk sound seeps through, reminiscent of bands like Neon Piss, Cadaver Em Transe and Silver Shadows.

As seems to be the way of the moment, Crystal Cafe draws on the late 80s goth-punk, post-punk sound; the tunes are injected with heavy doses of melody and darkness in equal measure so the comforting past is given a modern edgy twist.  The melodies are bitter sweet and the guitars are suitably scuzzy, but the production rounds all the edges, making the fuzz more palatable and helping the tunes shine through, which may help give the record a wider audience, as these are essentially classic pop tunes and really stick with you.

Crystal Cafe is out now in the UK via Soft Power Records and you can check out Witching Waves previous album on Bandcamp too.

 

New Reviews April & May 2012

Its been a while since I linked any of my reviews so here are a selection from the last couple of months:

Snowing – I Could Do Whatever
Snowing’s debut full length has frenetic upbeat energy bursting from every bar, it’s full of quirky riffs, distorted lo-fi textures and an intense vocal delivery layered over some great little catchy tunes. Admittedly there are a ton of American bands around at the moment peddling a similar sound but Snowing manage to bring everything together in just the right way to deliver a bouncy, scratchy, melodic album that gets under your skin (in a good way).
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Pelican – Ataraxia/Taraxis
Chicago four piece Pelican are described as anything from post-metal to post-instrumental but however you label them they always produce some inspiring atmospheric work and new instrumental four track EP Ataraxia/Taraxis plays to all their strengths perfectly, each track showcasing an aspect of the band’s impressive sound.
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Cancer Bats – Dead Set On Living
This is a solid release for the band, one that’s full of memorable, grooveable tunes. It’s great to hear they still aren’t close to running out of ideas yet; here’s hoping there will be many more albums of this quality to come from them.
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