GORAM showcase their brand of progesssive stoner doom on new EP



Metal is one of those genres that never really goes out of fashion. This is partly because it’s never really in fashion. I don’t mean any offence here, so please don’t be offended my metal family, but due to the nature of the genre, heavy riffs, shouty vocals, soul crushing drums, it’s never really going to break into the mainstream and top the charts (Bring Me the Horizon have come closest to that honour with their last two albums hitting the peaks of # two and three in the album chart). Part of metals appeals is that its main elements can’t really be changed, so the genre hasn’t really moved on since its blueprint was worked out in the 1970’s and 1980’s.



Saying that one band that seem pretty happy to play around with the genre are Bristol’s GORAM. Taking the conventions of the doom/stoner genres and adding elements of progressive metal, plus some deep guttural screams, they have crafted a debut EP, Ashes, that is as rewarding and inventive as it is hard and heavy. On a first listen it might seem impenetrable due to the dense compositions and raspy hinterland vocals, but you’d be mistaken. Give it another listen and focus on the guitars, especially the lead.



Opening track ˈkarɪən they start off in the classic ‘metal’ mould, but about a quarter they start to soften and these massive hooks and melodies open up and there is your opening. It basically says “We’re loud, heavy and will run rampant through your head, but we also love classic rock and don’t these riffs remind you of anyone? Yes we like them too!” Second ˈmɑːsk wastes even less time before they start to show off their chops. From the opening salvo it’s just riff, after riff, after riff, after riff, before we are beaten into submission and awe! This pretty much carries on for the rest of the EP. Closing track ˈæʃɪz kicks off with the dirtiest bass riffs on the EP, until peels of feedback, and finally and maelstrom of sludge metal majesty envelopes us. Just when you expect everything to go up a notch it doesn’t and some slivery guitars slice some space in the claustrophobic soundscape. This gives you enough time to prepare for the next barrage of metal brutality.



At times GORAM sound like Mastodon going through a classic rock/metal phase, massive rhythm section and some of the best riffs you’ve ever heard. But the real kicker is the repetition, is the repetition, is the repetition, is the repetition, is the repetition, of the riffs. This helps cement the song into your head and psyche. This is a fantastic EP that not only show masses of promise for the future, but also plenty of subtle, and un-subtle, nods to the genre’s past.











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Milo’s Planes and Howling Owl Records team up. What’s not to love?



Last year Bristol’s Milo’s Planes released an album, Aural Palate Cleaning Exercises. I lot of people didn’t hear it, but the ones who did were changed. It was an album full of visceral guitars, shouty vocals and an incessant desire to combine discordant music with catchy melodies. Now they’ve returned and their next long player, Delivering Business Success, will be released on 26th August on Howling Owl Records. This is a no brainer…



This is Milo’s Planes first foray in recording in a studio and Matt Sampson was at the helm. Don’t worry, it’s still chocked full of Milo’s rhythm heavy hardcore sensibility. However to announce the event, instead of releasing a single from the album Milo’s Planes decided to releases a cover of The Velvet Underground’s classic Sister Ray. Just like the original its chocked full of chugging guitars, drone like vocals and a total disregard for conventional production techniques.



If you like your summer album full of airy compositions, lyrics about beaches and cocktails, this might not be the one for you. It’s a dense beast that at first sounds like a cacophony, but, like all great albums, the more you play it the more secrets it reveals.



Delivering Business Success is released on 26th August through Howling Owl Records











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Giant Swan return to save us from torpidity and inane clever music



When I started writing this review, I went off on a tangent. Like most tangents it was flawed and after I’d finished, made a cuppa and started to re-read it I realised it had nothing to do with the Giant Swan new single Earn. So, like so many times before, I scrapped it. Then I started to re-assess what Giant Swan have released, because you know, that was the whole point in the first places.



If this is your first time listen to Giant Swan let’s get the introductions out of the way. Giant Swan are a duo from Bristol that make a form of electronic dance music that is more in-line with the original electronic pioneers Kraftwerk, CAN, Cabaret Voltaire and to a lesser degree Silver Apples, than with Charanjit Singh and Phuture. Through the use of synths, keyboards and circuit bent instruments they create swaths of mesmerising music that cut through the conventions of what is and isn’t acceptable. Earn shows us an alternative from the mainstream. They show us a place where is doesn’t matter if music sounds like a stream slowly undulating while abrasive breakbeats keep everything moving, and our attention with it, and on to the next part of the song. Giant Swan however don’t care if you like it or not. They aren’t bothered about reaching the masses and winning over the non-believers. They know their audience and make music tailor made for them.



Earn, for all its noise, glitches and breakbeats is nearly eight minutes of escapism. Escape from the rat race, escape from the hum drum, escape from our over thinking minds that question everything we hear and see to the point of it being meaningless. This is what Earn is, a collection of meaningless noises, melodies and rhythms that create a cohesive mass that when played at the right time has the ability to take you away from yourself for eight minutes. What could be better than that?











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Oliver Wilde returns after an extended hiatus with new EP and threat of a new album too



It’s been two years since Bristol’s lo-fi psych downer pop troubadour Oliver Wilde released his last, and glorious, album Red Tide Opal in the Loose End Womb. In those fifty five minutes Wilde re-defined not only what an English guitar album could, but should be about. It sizzled with ideas, but most importantly it was back up with killer songs. Then he went quiet.



In the intervening years Wilde toured, wrote, recorded, but more worryingly was diagnosed with Cardiac Sarcoidosis. As he was finding out that his heart was scared, recording sessions were put on hold so he could make regular trips to hospital. Now these sessions has been completed and Long Hold Star An Infinite Abduction, a “long form EP”, and is set for release on his spiritual home Howling Owl Records.



These seven songs, eight if you count a bonus track, are just as powerful as anything Wilde’s previously released, but due to his hospitalisation there is a joyful vibe, almost euphoric at time, but under pinning everything is a cynical and embittered pang.



Echolalia kicks things off in fine form. Walls of delayed loops flood the speakers and slowly fade out as quickly as they appeared until a scratchy guitar and Wilde’s trademark woozy falsetto vocals make an appearance. Then the band kicks, each sounding like they’re playing a different song at a different speed. Delicious strings erupt and being order to the chaos. Wilde’s description for Echolalia was “Echolalia, the soft response to clean compartment ‘section-by’ sound columns tied to hard ones.Without veins of repetition, beautiful strings come miles to remind my agoraphobic open space to appease, and the band begins to play.” Blitch Scratch starts with gentle guitars and vocal, until it kicks off with flailing limbs and ravaged instruments. It also features fellow Howling Owl label mate EBU, along with Tara Clerkin, Silver Waves and MXLX as “The Hacked Singers”. Their inclusion helps lift Blitch Scratch to unparalleled heights and offers one of the stand out moments on the “long form EP”. The minute long outro is as exquisite as it is terrifying. Demonic sounding vocals a backed by baggy beats, giving the impression of an indie disco in hell. “‘Blitch Scratch’ is the sound the cardiac monitors play as I make bestest friends with ICD, the horse kick altruist.” Wilde explained.



Fade contains some of Wilde most evocative lyrical imagery on the EP. “We stayed up as the moon dials, In an ancient sleeping field” and “Go get the bed sheets, Some nice blankets, to sleep, The sun lays out all upset, Climbs into set, to unwind and rest” shows that he hasn’t left any of his early talent at painting both lurid and ambrosial pictures. Musically everything moves along nicely, there are not sudden jolts or juxtapositions of sound and texture.



It Was Nice to Have Met You closes Long Hold Star An Infinite Abduction in a subdued manner. Wilde said of it “‘(It Was Nice To Have Met You) is sad to listen to now, the great ironic apology not deserving or needed, the last hurdle of the longest tangent I ever wrote. Take it as it comes, like a good friend should.” These forty one words, along with this verse sum up the purpose of the song perfectly “We played dress up as shame, in our domesticated fame, Our cold read careful words, were turned back into dreams, Where no one can hear us in the, old shooting groves, Bow if you can hear me, or shake if no one’s in, Guess no ones in”.



On the Long Hold Star An Infinite Abduction Wilde is firing on all cylinders and challenging not just us, the listeners, but himself too. But there euphoria that permeates these songs. With confronting his illness, Wilde has confronted death and was able to move on and continue writing and recording. Rumour has it that he probably won’t tour this collection of songs, nor play them much when he does, but that’s fine. There are preserved here, forever in vinyl and on the internet, like mosquito’s trapped in amber.











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Oliver Wilde returns with another giddy psych pop sit down classic!



Since 2014’s lusciously ambrosial Red Tide Opal in the Loose End Womb Oliver Wilde has been like a phantom haunting me musically. Everywhere I go and almost everything I listen to I can feel and hear him, permeating through the songs pores and drenching me in a cool psych pop spray. Thankfully Wilde has now returned with a glorious new song Bifida and it’s as if he’s never been away.



Bifida opens with a black and white laconic guitar strum before drums, bass and woozy guitars come streaming out of your speakers in technicolour. Hypnotic kaleidoscopic rhythms form tesseracts of sound that are both two and three dimensional at the same time. As Bifida meanders its giddy and whimsical way along you realise that Wilde is almost at the peak of his powers and everything he has released, thus far, has been sublime and majestic.



After a few listens, as always happens with Wilde, is you start to notice the lyrics more and more. At first it doesn’t really make much sense, but after repeat listens phrases and snatches of words drift by you like faces in a dream. Lyrics like “No now nights wise owls, build us in some meaning, Such eloquence, such a beautiful evening, The Keepsakes are leaving, so precious and just” and “But were cut from the recurring dreams, Where my demons drink kerosene, No body knows why they’ve fire to breathe, But you do well to return in one piece, Happy as can be” say so much, but give up none of Bifida’s hidden secrets and codes.



Rumour has it that album three will be released this year, after twelve months of touring and writing and rehearsing. If Bifida is anything to go by we are in for a treat as Wilde and co march on, following their own path, but leaving technicolour trails everywhere they go!











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Bristol’s Jesuits look set to capitalise on last year’s flawless debut single!



Last year the Jesuits released a single that typified a movement that’s be progressively growing for a few years. It’s a movement about independence, typified by large guitars, slight psych sounds and generally nor caring what is fashionable in Das Kapital. It’s a sound from the provinces that screams “We don’t need you. We can do this on our own. Yes we’re not from somewhere cool, but we have amazing songs!”



Now they’ve returned with a new EP called the Malthouse Session. Consisting of four songs the Malthouse Session doesn’t just showcase Jesuits’ proficiency at their weapons of choice, it also show’s their ability of composition and arrangement.



Petals // kronblad kicks things off in fine form. Diversive guitars coupled with driving drums, help to embed Petals // kronblad in your mind very quickly, even if the lead guitar lines does sound like Madonna’s Beautiful Stranger… Pescatori follows on in a similar fashion to the blistering opener. The guitars feel slightly toxic and the bass is almost understated perfection! Pescatori’s outro could be the stand out moment of the EP. If you can imagine a massive plane trying to land in the backroom of a pub, you’re close! Dao Dao has a slightly funky jam track vibe to it, Arthur Jay’s vocals have a Tom Meighan quality to them. Slightly out of tune, but full of vim and vigour. It matches the music perfectly as it bounces around from jubilant verses and claustrophobic choruses. Hexx is the most direct track on the EP. From its balls to the wall intro, it only lets up as it starts to fade out.



The only real downside it that these four song never quite eclipse last year’s Dinner Jazz and Carpet Floors, and the recording and mixing of Arthur Jay’s vocals could have been better, but overall the promise and inclination are there and the Jesuits are starting to look more and more like the real thing!










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Bristol’s Ocean Floor returns with heartbreaking single



Last year Bristol’s Ocean Floor released his flawless album Jupiter on vinyl. It was the sound of a live score of the Galileo space was it entered Jupiter’s atmosphere, but played on church organ. It was visceral just touching. Flamboyant yet subtle, but mostly it was totally captivating.



Now Ocean Floor has returned with a new EP called Redlands. With song titles like Blue Square, Red Brick Tower and Redland added to the cover of a darkened street with a solitary streetlamp proving the only illumination, the music conjures up late night sojourns through sleeping suburbia. Everything is still, expect for the piano/organ. This is you in this lurid anti-world, where you are the only inhabitant.



Like his previous work, mostly Jupiter, its mostly instrumental but instead of gargantuan organ swells, the weapon of choice is a piano, only Red Brick Tower sounds like Jupiter. There is no feedback or effects, just haunting melodies and delicate runs played at a slow and meandering pace.



Rumour has it that Ocean Floor is working on another long player and this is something that either didn’t fit into its overall scope and vision. Either way this is another flawless release from Bristol’s classical savant!









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