Silber Records and Nonconnah skew Christmas and show its darker, eerier side
Zach and Denny Corsa, them from Lost Trail, are back under the guise of Nonconnah. After moving from Tennessee to North Carolina they decided a change was in order. Luckily for us the music isn’t that dissimilar but it’s different enough to warrant a name change.
They’ve just released their debut EP through Silber Records. It’s part of Silber’s Christmas series, but before you start worrying, this isn’t just a load of Wizard, Slade and Wombles covers, its twenty minutes of slow, calculated post-rock. The music goes as fast as glaciers, and is as warm!
Snowplows and Icicle Tracks are the stand out tracks. Snow Plows feels like a Twin Peaks outtake that has been slowed down and manipulated until it ends up sounding all spooky and eerie. While this might not sound like a classic Christmas song, it does play into the Victorian Christmas ghost story vibe. There is something spooky and eerie about Christmas and this is a musical interruption of it. Icicle Tracks is made around a backwards loop that slowly undulates. It’s as trippy as it is chilled. As with Snowplows it’s conjures up dark rooms, candle lit vigils and a general feeling of unease.
Given Lost Trail’s prolific output, Nonconnah seems to be on the right tracks, but only time will tell. Let’s hope that the rumour of a long player in 2017 isn’t just a hoax, like an escaped mental patient dressed as Santa on a rampage. Oh wait…
Outblinker cover Neu! for charity, and yes it is as good as you hoped!
The words charity and single can sometimes send a shudder down your spine. For every Perfect Day there is a Sid Owen and Patsy Palmer. But when the band is Glasgow’s Outblinker and the song is question is Neu!’s 1972 classic Hallgallo you don’t really have to worry.
As with all Outblinker songs the emphasis is on the bass and drums. The bass bubbles along under the surface keeping everything moving forward while feedback and synths fade in and out of the mix. The drums are rhythmic and choppy, exactly as you’d expect them to be. Even though this is a cover Outblinker stamp their individuality on it and make it their own, not an easy thing to do.
This year Outblinker released the exceptional EP, The Remains of Walter Peck. Rumour has it that they are starting to work their next project. But before that is released they are about to embark on a five week tour. The fixtures are below
Wed 16th Beziers, Nashville Pub
Thur 17th Grenoble, Le BAF
Fri 18th Livorno, Surfer Joe Tiki Bar
Sat 19th Modena, Bar Perla Verde
Sun 20th Perugia, Free Ride
Tues 22nd Frejus, Monster’s Art
Wed 23rd Montpellier, La Pleine Lune w/ Total Eclipse
Thurs 24th Pau, La Ferronerrie w/ Total Eclipse
Fri 25th Madrid, La Faena II
Sat 26th Azkoitia @Festinale Bebarruko Jardunek @Matadero Ekintzak
Sun 27th Vitoria-Gasteiz, Gora Project w/ Los Nitxos
Mon 28th Barcelona, Sala BeGood w/ ZU
Tues 29th Toloso, Bonberenea
Wed 30th Bordeaux, Novo Local
Thurs 1st Nantes, La Rumeur
Fri 2nd Tours, (venue TBC)
Sat 3rd Amiens, (venue TBC)
Sun 4th Bradford, Fuse Art Space
Thurs 8th Edinburgh, Leith Depot w/ DTHPDL
Sat 10th Glasgow, The Old Hairdresser’s
Hallgallo is released on Human Is Not Alone and all proceeds go to Marie Curie
Cannibal Hymns unveil their latest signing, Abattoir Blues
Despite only being around for a year Brighton’s Cannibal Hymns is making a name for themselves as purveyors of forward thinking noise-pop. Anyone who has heard last year’s Morning Smoke and this year’s Dream Wife releases can attest to this. Now Cannibal Hymns are trying to continue this run with new signing Abattoir Blues’ double A-Side single Sense/Fading.
Opening with claustrophobic guitars and euphoric drumming Sense showcases Abbatoir Blues’ understanding of collective loves, post-punk, post-hardcore and post-rock. When Harry Waugh’s vocals kick in Sense jumps up a notch and starts rise toward it’s majestic chorus. Oh what the song means to him, Waugh recently said “A fundamental theme of the song is desperately trying to find clarity or rationality and both of those things feeling completely alien”. Three quarters through all the subtle build up is rewarded with a visceral explosion of guitars and walls of feedback. The outro takes things down a notch until its glorious fade out closes the song. Fading was inspired by the ongoing migrant crisis, and shows that Abattoir Blues can tackle the big topics as well as personal ones.
Since their inception in 2015, Abattoir Blues have supported Yak, Wytches, Wolf Alice, Dilly Dally and Merchandise and played a barnstorming set at this year’s The Great Escape. Cannibal Hymns have done it again and found a band that not only fit in with its ridiculous roster, but stand alone and try and push their own boundaries. This is a label and band with a bright future, despite how broody their music may sound.
Sense/Fading is released on 4th November through Cannibal Hymns
Look out because FEHM are coming for you!
Since their inception Art is Hard have put out some of thisyearinmusic’s favourite releases. Luckily this trend seems to be continuing in 2016. The Pin Pal singles club has yielded a fan favourite with Sad Culture and now new signings FEHM look set to continue this.
Lead track Nullify, taken from the Circadian Life EP, is a broody three and a half minutes that is fill with as much bleak sounding aggression as a Donald Trump rally. But unlike a Republican confrence there are losts of positives to take away with you. Firstly FEHM are tight. I don’t just mean they get on well, when they play you know they mean business, like a Jean Claude Van Damme in Kickboxer. They’re one first away from victory and they know they can do it. Secondly their songs run the gambit of classic post-rock, but instead of sounding like a pastiche of their peers they sound fresh and invigorating. And lastly, and this should come as no surprise, their songs are just great!
Its looks like Art is Hard and FEHM is a perfect mix that should deliver flawless releases after flawless released. But don’t take our word for it, listen for yourself until you nullify your inner critic.
Circadian Life EP is released 25th November through Art is Hard Records
Gangly join the AMF Family
For about a year Gangly have kept us guessing. Guessing as to who they are and whether they’ll release another single. Luckily we now know the answer to both. Spoilers Alert – It’s a yes.
Let’s deal with the who’s who before we delve into the wonder that is Holy Grounds. The band consist of Sindri Már Sigfússon from Sin Fang, Úlfur Alexander Einarsson from Oyama and Jófríður Ákadóttir from Samaris. All made names for themselves in their native Iceland and mainland Europe and all craft music that merges post-rock, straight indie and pop to create something as magical as the landscapes they call home. This is exactly what Holy Grounds sounds likes, but everything has been ramped up and put through an ethereal NurtiBullet.
Holy Grounds opens with an eerie manipulated vocal before the verse kicks in. Ákadóttir sounds like Lorde fronting a laidback Salem, while Einarsson and Sigfússon show off their abilities at wonky post-pop. A delicious chorus kicks in, the world then slows down and blurs, then you realise this is what you’ve been missing all these months. It’s the kind of pop music that only Nordic’s can create. It is full of space and clever rhythms, but there is a melancholy longing to it that pulls at your psyche and gives it an immediacy that their peers can’t even begin to match. Sadly Holy Grounds has to end, but the slow barrage of beats, strings, synths and Ákadóttir’s to die for vocals make it a bitter sweet conclusion.
Gangly are a band to start to get excited about, but let hope that they don’t want another year before delivering their next slice of Post-Pop majesty!
Holy Ground is released through AMF Records now.
In 2011 a Welsh duo Right Hand Left Hand released a debut album called Power Grab. This wasn’t just a clever title, the music within was full of clever ideas and forward thinking composition. In the intervening years Right Hand Left Hand have played countless gigs and festivals and supported Super Furry Animals, Future of the Left, Los Campensinos and the Mae Shi to name an illustrious few. Now they have returned with their second self-titled album Right Hand Left Hand.
Lead single ‘Tarts and Darts’ picks up from where Power Grab left off, but this time they have expanded their sound by adding layer upon layer upon layer upon layer of devastating riffs that starts to redefine post-rock. From the opening layered riff making Right Hand Left Hand sound like a different band. The time off appears to have focused them more and the math elements are more pronounced than on previous tracks. By the half way mark, when ‘Tarts and Darts’ starts to build toward its monumental conclusion, you’re totally swept along with its vim and vision.
The album doesn’t start this way however. ‘Seat 18c’ eases us into the album gently. There is a slight abrasive feel to the proceedings, but through layered guitars and lyrical drumming and percussion ‘Seat 18c’ moves forward until its delightful outro. This then leads in nicely to ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’. In a matter of seconds the intensity levels have been heightened and there is an element of menace that the opener was missing. Another subtle difference is that there are lyrics. This lyrics don’t just tell a slightly surreal tale, but add a nice change of texture of tone to opening track ‘Seat 18c’. However this break is fleeting as the remainder of the album is mostly instrumental. If ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’ was heavier and more erratic, ‘Jack Churchill’ is reminiscent of the opener. It’s a slow burner that has more in common with Kasabian’s third album than post-rock. Atmospheric guitars swell while synths throb and bass ripples all the while a massive repetitive beat keeps things moving forward. It’s like Kraftwerk played at 45 RPM!
The ‘War of Jenkins’ Ear’ is a stand out moment. The music acts like soundtrack to a B-Movie or pulp novel classic that never existed. Cinematic synths jostle with gangster-esque guitars to create a feeling of anxiety and danger. You can almost imagine the her Jenkins’ inner monologue pepper this score like Harrison Ford in the original Blade Runner. As the song draws to a close claustrophobic chines usher in the demise of Jenkins, at his own hand. His war, just like the song is over. The album closes with ‘Spring-Heeled Jack’, another cinematic beast. As the song progresses you get the feeling that Jack is creeping up on this next victim, and after he has struck, he flees into the night before anyone can catch him. This is the exact feeling that you feel after the album has finished. Right Hand Left Hand have stalked you, taken you on an exhilarating ride and finally vanished without a trace as soon as it is over.
While intensity underpins this album, but there are pop hooks that stop it from being something to endure to something that you can actually enjoy. The melodies and riffs are catchy and interesting arrangements stop things getting formulaic and boring. Basically Right Hand Left hand are Lightning Bolt’s little brother that followed their blueprint, but added a pop sensibility to it. This is what makes Right Hand Left Hand sounds like the neo-post-rock opus it is!