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Odd, noisy, relaxing, introspective, and uneven are some of the words that can be used to describe BC35 Volume Two and that’s just with regards to the first four songs. For those out of the loop BC35 Volume Two is the second and final piece of the BC Studio anniversary puzzle. In short, producer and cultural antagonist Martin Bisi – known for his recording work with the likes of Helmet, Unsane, Dresden Dolls and more – has assembled a group of musicians and let them kick out the jams. Continue reading
Stereotypes are such a crass and ugly thing. Used as a lazy and offensive descriptor of someone’s personality due to their nationality, they are something that should be abolished. The stereotypical view of Belgium and its people is one of being reserved and downright boring. How better to dispel that myth that with some high-velocity anarcho-Punk? Enter Cocaine Piss. Continue reading
Two icons of rock music who barely need an introduction are John Paul Jones and Thurston Moore. Jones of Led Zeppelin and Them Crooked Vultures fame and Moore, best known for Sonic Youth and black metal supergroup Twilight will hold a one-off concert in London at 100 Club, on 28th of March. They will be joined by acclaimed Jazz drummer Steve Noble. Dubbed in a post to Jones’s page, “A unique musical meeting of three of the most inventive performers of our time.” The event is a fundraiser to benefit [London radio station] Resonance FM. Tickets at the link below. Continue reading
In the era of DIY, the music industry has seen a lot of success from self-made acts. When you can run your own record label and put out a very highly praised debut, the bar is set pretty high for anything that follows. The UK’s own Asylums have done just that. They released their debut in 2016 with rave reviews and two years later they are following up with Alien Human Emotions (Cool Thing). This sophomore drop from the Southend natives uplifts the alt./art rock genre in a direction that intrigues a younger audience from the second it’s turned on. Continue reading
More than an odd Melvins comparison has been levelled at Montreal trio Big|Brave and indeed, the riffs within second full-length Au De La (Southern Lord) possess the squealing, throaty exhalations of Grunge. There is, however, a whole other weirdness going on here, which you might expect from a band just coming off a tour with Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Not least the trend-bucking omission of a bassist from the ranks…
Vocalist Robin Wattie is Björk as a native witch-woman, intoning melodiously then yelping like a possessed shaman whilst managing to retain that harmony. Those riffs, meanwhile, purveyed by Wattie and fellow guitarist Mathieu Ball, carry a Drone-like pace: squalling and whining on the pregnant-with-tension ‘Do.No.Harm.Do.No.Wrong…’, yet groaning under the monstrous feedback of ‘Look at How the World Has Made a Change’. The muscle-tightening edge is maintained by Louis-Alexandre Beauregard’s tribal resonance, powerfully leading each track to a crescendo of noise in an understated yet marked fashion.
Here, however, instantaneous drops to silence raise the hackles as much as the violent explosions of agony. Staccato opener ‘On the By and By and Thereon’ seemingly comes to a premature conclusion before kicking on again into a terrifying sequence of double-hammers. The sampled undercurrent of ‘And as the Waters Go’, meanwhile, is initially pierced by a single crash of rhythm guitar, Wattie’s steadily building vocal growing from a high incantation into a demented wail, the whole continually punctuated by brief zephyrs of calm which pounce upon the listener and chill the soul. Flashes of atonal lead and a pulsing coda bring to mind Sonic Youth on zopiclone, truly bewitching stuff that shreds the nerves while attempting to kiss them better.
The early, soft Psychedelia of closer ‘(re)Collection Part II’ gives way to Wattie’s languid howls, the subsequent near-unbearable intensity of moaning leads and rhythmic drums running through an a Capella Punk centrepiece to a Freeform frenzy and a delightful, Shoegaze finale. An exercise in barely-controlled expression, this is a fascinating album – at times stunning, at others beguiling, but always compelling – and one that ensures Big|Brave will force their way into your memory.
It’s very rare in this game to be surprised. As in genuinely “Well, I wasn’t expecting that!”. Tribulation managed it earlier in the year, but very few do as expectation is there, or at least, a preparation for what a band is going to sound like. So, fair play to God Damn. The Midlands outfit aren’t the sort of band I usually go for, and Vultures (One Little Indian) isn’t the sort of album you’d normally associate with Ghost Cult, but the quality of their hybrid tunes stands out, which is why if even a little of what is written about it below piques your interest, dive in my friends.
The album kicks off with ‘When The Wind Blows’, a quirky Clutch groove that flitters into a raspy distorted vocal, before ‘Silver Spooned’ dances from a grungey intro then barrels into a lo-fi desert groove with dreamy melodies. ‘Shoeprints’ dances and swaggers, wide-legged, from sassy Monster Magnet territory, ending up in a dark, heavy powerful alleyway. ‘We Don’t Like You’ touches heavy psych, Nirvana juvenility and jangle, dark Seattle melodies and the very best of British alt rock, while the eight-minute ‘Skeletons’ has moving acoustics, world-weary vocals and expansive brooding fuzz.
Hand in hand with the alternative rock is a host of fuzzy doom, and it’s the amalgamation into stoner, alt noise, groove, rock and doom n’ roll via Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and a host of other versatile references that makes this an interesting proposition. Vultures doesn’t just do one thing, except for be God Damn. They’ve successfully built themselves a whole new box, over to the side of all the normal boxes, and are all the better for it.
More than a hotch-potch of references from yesteryear, throughout they deliver on the song writing front too, even if they do self-consciously shy away from “the anthem”. There is more than enough to suggest a potential cross-over to more mainstream success in their future. Despite the lo-fi chops, God Damn could equally pulling in the plaudits at a Reading/Leeds type festival. Vultures should open some pretty big doors for them.