Get off the streets . . .
Berlin-based duo Mülltüte (trans: bin-liner/rubbish) have been releasing hardcore emissions since 2011. Over the course of these four years the band have released a demo; a self-released seven; a brace of seven-inch EPs on Heartfirst Records; and a track on said label’s ‘Berlin Tristesse’ compilation EP. The arrival of their self-released debut twelve marks the culmination of a journey that has included collaboration with sonic terrorists, GRMMSK, alongside the continual expansion of Ahntd and Maak’s signature guitar/vocals/drums sound.
‘Mülltüte’, therefore, is a ten-track excursion on the version: one that introduces a handful of interesting diversions, whilst remaining resolutely true to the band’s original aesthetic. The lyric sheet provides a few clues, alongside the German. The opening barrage of ‘Utopia’ (‘There Is No Alternative’), ‘System’ (‘There Is An Alternative’), ‘Jagdtrieb’ (‘There Is No Point In Begging For Attention’) and ‘Gluabe’ (No Higher Being Will Watch Over Us When We Turn Into Soil) don’t veer too wildly from Mülltüte Strasse, sonically. They are finely-honed variations on what has come before. Compositionally stronger, higher in fidelity, but essentially an upgrading of an existing operating system. Departures lounge through the door marked ‘progression’ with the tune-laden instrumental, ‘Versuche’ (Don’t Forget To Breathe): a veritable Polka of melody dancing above the most economic of beats. Moving from the seven-inch format to twelve-inch in the hardcore punk genre-ghetto requires both fire and skill, and as side-1 closes, the evidence strongly suggests that Mülltüte are one-nil-up at half-time.
Side-2 commences with ringing chords over a martial roll, dropping to standard Mülltüte attack, as ‘Familie, Werte, Tradition’ (‘Family, Values, Traditions’) eviscerates the opposition with cunning guile. ‘Mach Die Tur Von Auben Zu’, meanwhile, fades-up Kratze’s guest vocals to the apogee of the mix in a stroke of near-genius that broadens the canvas yet further. The record’s central piece, ‘Welle’ (‘Remember Who You Are, Even If This Requires Ugly Sounding Words’), features evocative synth, courtesy of Lianne, that is both gothic in its splendour, and fitting in its ambience. ‘Warten’ (Waiting And Watching, Watching And Waiting’) and ‘Personlich’ (Getting Personal Within A System) close the record with furious intent, proving that language is no barrier to the global dialect of disgust. Alongside their compatriots Piss and Pig//Control, Mülltüte and Berlin are creating some of the most confrontational hardcore on planet punk, circa now. Delve in.
LVEUM continue their bid for world domination in the shit-musik-for-sick-people category with a duo of excellent releases on seven-inch: SANG‘s ‘Món Oblidat’ destroys everything in its path, literally, with a coruscating deluge of rasping guitars and venomous vocals. Drenched in feedback; drowning in gain; writhing in squall; entombed in overdriven distortion: riffs the size of Godzilla stomp through the genre-ghetto, laying waste to lesser-mortals, with a wagging tail the size of an aural tsunami. Total devastation is all that remains in the wake of this record. If you thought Barcelona‘s ‘Extremo Nihilismo En Barcelona’ was the last word in ferocity, then prepare your flabber for pure gastation.
Orden Mundial, meanwhile, follow-up the immense ‘Obedience Debida’ twelve with this tour seven. Featuring three tracks, ‘El Gobierno’, ‘Desesperanza’, and ‘Sombras Clavadas’, the quality-bar has inconceivably risen, yet again. This band seemingly just gets better and better, and with a forthcoming Maquina Muerta/DHK split twelve on the horizon, Bernat Mundial’s contribution to the global milieu cannot be understated.
Back on home turf, the North is seemingly in its ascendency, once again, in the form of Leeds’ No Form. Recorded at JT Soar in Nottingham, No Form now have an artefact to match their sterling reputation as a confrontational live act, in the form of this ‘s/t’ twelve on Reagent Records/Muscle Horse Records. Building on a bass-led bottom end of utter filth, No Form construct a fucked up edifice of crumbling despair over the course of four short bursts of madness, and one lengthy exploration in bloody-minded outsiderdom. The shapes suggested by this evil record are far-removed from anything else currently languishing in the contemporary genre pool: “This is music for the perennially despondent. Music for the subconscious, not the fashion conscious. This is music that could have been the soundtrack to the Blood Garden in JG Ballard’s ‘High Rise’. This is music as life ritual, to be listened to by all or none” (Rob Tyers).
On the other side of the tracks, some nights we have to wipe the blood of the seats. We cannot live by punk alone, and the wonderful world of weird-folk continues to provide the yin to punk’s yang. This month is no exception, with the arrival of Joanna Newsom‘s long-awaited follow-up to 2010’s ‘Have One On Me': ‘Divers’, a smorgasbord of chamber-folk, is breaking out across the mainstream in a rash of superlatives and testosterone-fueled analysis as I type. Hailed as a masterpiece by men of a certain age and questionable social skills, the cognoscenti have been duly waxing lyrical in droves on the subject. Taught prose and thesaurus-fired copy can be found littered around the trenches of the internet and the surviving rock-dinosaur hardcopy press like precious finds at a Time Team dig. I’m not here to pontificate wildly, I’ll leave that to the self-styled arbiters of taste. What I will say, however, is that I have been unable to remove ‘Divers’ from my vehicle’s CD player, where it has been installed on perennial repeat for seven days solid. Following the expansive and frankly over-bearing width of ‘Have One On Me’, ‘Diver’s collates eleven succinct vignettes of baroque gorgeousness over four sides of vinyl to stunning effect. I’m enjoying it greatly.
And finally, trakMARX‘s favourite all-round-wonderful-human-being, Richard Dawson, has announced the reissue of ‘The Magic Bridge’ and ‘The Glass Trunk’ on Weird World Records on 11/12/15:
‘The Magic Bridge’: “The Magic Bridge marked a significant leap in Dawson’s development as a musician, a moment when he seemed to find his own voice, both vocally and through his guitar playing. He’d already been performing and recording around Newcastle for several years at this stage, but The Magic Bridge suggested Dawson had experienced some major personal epiphany that had brought a unique fire to his music. Originally released in 2011, most of the tracks on the album still make frequent appearances in Dawson’s reputedly firebrand live sets and little wonder why – it’s the sound of what was a developing Richard Dawson bursting gloriously out of his chrysalis, those first dazzling glimmers of beguilingly Beefheartian folk picking and a voice with a profound range, emotionally, musically and in terms of the peerless lyrical journeys he’s been taking us on ever since”.
‘The Glass Trunk’: “2012 saw another stylistic veer with the creation of The Glass Trunk. Triggered by a commission to respond to the local museum service’s archives, Dawson created an album largely from stories found in an old 17th Century scrapbook, including a lengthy paean to the sorry demise of community pillar, ‘Joe The Quilt-Maker’, and the much-loved, yet equally viscerally dark, ‘Poor Old Horse’. Six acapella odes of between 4-13-minutes in length, plus a rendering of Mike Waterson’s ‘The Brisk Lad’, intersperse with a series of brief instrumental vignettes, Dawson’s guitar sparring with the electric harp of Rhodri Davies for strictly spontaneous 60-second blasts”.
Until the next time, mes amis: ne touchez pas ce sourire!
Fresh from a storming set at the recent Princess Pavilions throwdown, the Red Cords third EP, ‘Vile Guy’ storms in on Easy Action Records with the trio’s customary kinetic urgency. Issued on a tasty slab of vinyl, the six-track set is a lean exercise in perpetual motion.
Opening with the oblique assault of ‘Smog’, the true spirit of punk rock is evident from the get-go gecko; there’s no formula, everything is permissible. This cut finds the ascetic precision of Wire dragged through the grit of the garage, before ‘Scratch It Off’ picks up the momentum, twisting and spasming like a sonic marlin, impaled upon its own irresistible hooks – the missing link between the Monks and the Buzzcocks,
The side is rounded out by its standout track, as the semi-episodic ‘Toby Lerone’ encapsulates all the many qualities that make the Red Cords so vital, smashing in with immediacy and instant appeal deriving from a lead line that embeds itself deep into the consciousness. Bass takes over for ‘No Place’ as the Cords press their faces against the glass, staring in from the Albert Camus/Colin Wilson perspectives. Further four-string action propels churning instrumental, ‘Work Out’, which combines tribal rhythms with a mesmeric coruscating guitar.
The EP reaches its peak with its eponymous cut. Possibly the Red Cords’ finest recorded moment to date alongside last year’s unstoppable ‘Punk Eye’, ‘Vile Guy’ is a glorious cacophony of expertly channelled abandon. An established live favourite, it skitters and bounces toward its celebratory coda that sees Charlie channel the lyrical spirit of Jonathan Richman.
Agog with delight at the new disc, trakMARX loomed all the way up at the Cords’ lengthy vocalist/guitarist Charlie Murphy – he told us what is:
How’s 2015 been treating the Red Cords?
Its been an annoyingly slow year for us so far, me and Ry got jobs and stuff so we haven’t played anywhere near as many gigs as we would have liked to. I really want to try and record an album before the end of the year if we can get the songs together.
Are you pleased with how the EP turned out? How did the recording process go down this time?
Yeah, I think we are still pretty pleased with it. We recorded it over a year ago now so it feels oldish now to us; it’s still easily my favourite thing we’ve done. We recorded it with Sam and Ben at Troubador in Falmouth. This is the first recording we have ever done with us all playing at the same time – I like doing it that way and think it probably had a pretty big effect of the way the EP sounds.
Which tracks do you think are most representative of the direction you’re heading in?
I think speaking for myself, I would say probably vile guy or the instrumental track, but the other guys might disagree.
Who are those hondos on the back cover?!
That’s the three of us drawn by our good friend Dan Russell who is in the brilliant Hipshakes.
‘No Place’ sounds to me like powerhouse outsider existentialism, while ‘Toby Lerone’ and ‘Vile Guy’ seem as if they may have anecdotes behind them?
That’s a really nice description of ‘No Place’ – it’s probably a bit too intellectually kind to us though. I guess that song in particular is about being powerless to make yourself happy. ‘Vile Guy’ was written about the question of how some people live with themselves [laughs] Ry wrote ‘Toby Lerone’ so I am not sure what he’s on about.
Are you drawing on any specific influences at the moment (I hear elements of Wire, the Mekons, Swell Maps in places)?
We like all those bands, and that’s a massive compliment. I would say Wire definitely were a big influence on ‘Vile Guy’. Other bands that had a big influence were the Urinals and the Ramones. I really enjoy getting really into an album and incorporating things from it into your own music – hopefully without actually just stealing anything, just taking the odd chop.
What’s in the next six months?
I really hope so if we can get our shit together we can make an album. Were gonna try and play as many gigs as we can for the rest of the year.
Black Tambourines / Lost Dawn / Red Cords
Princess Pavilions, Falmouth, 30th October
The task set before our ten young warriors was that of bringing their inherent vitality to the shed of sterility. Collectively and individually, the Tambourines, Dawns and Cords can turn spaces apposite to rock’n’roll into heaving pits of perspiration with effortless ease. The Princess Pavilions is not one of these spaces – although it hosts the odd concert, it is part of a different culture. It may be on home turf, but this is an away fixture.
The Red Cords are up first to sing the devil’s songs in a strange land. It is a fitting start – the trio personify rock action. Nothing is wasted, as they step hard on the gas from the outset, combining the force of the MC5 with the wit and guile of the Modern Lovers, producing successive shockwaves of coruscating wonder. This is not for the bourgeois: This is rock’n’roll, for all it’s worth. The extended physical distance between the three component parts does nothing to undermine their collective impact; they lock together hard and maintain that hold in a death grip rapture. Songs such as ‘Punk Eye’ are dark globes, polished to perfection yet still possessed of savage serration. Their detonation warms the frigid hall.
Lost Dawn sachet onstage to do what they do – their thing. Unless it tickles their fancies, they are unlikely to simply settle for simply playing the hits. There’s no need – they have fresh lands to conquer, so ‘Song For Robert’ stays in its box. Instead, they take us to Montego Bay via the moons of Saturn, upcoming mini-album track ‘Electrify’ unfurls as a concrete metaphor for its reflexive function. Limits do not exist here, only imagination and the ability to make that corporeal, an audio visual weaveworld that unravels and recombines in a multitude of beguiling ways. The warmth increases.
The Black Tambourines have been here before. More than two years past they made the Fall look second best, as they laid down a clear indication of their capabilities. In the intervening months they have made good on that promise; delivering an excellent debut album and following it with a truly transcendent follow up in the recently released ‘Freedom’. They arrive as conquerors, their insouciance is their right; they have earned it. All sterility is banished as a broiling pit develops before them, driven by a fecundity of talent. Heralded by ‘I Wanna Stay Away’, their set weaves and bobs like a hungry middleweight; juxtaposing raw energies with the motorik hypnosis of ‘Ocean Of Notion’. Finally, longtime favourite ‘27-25 Blues’ provides the climactic eruption before the power gets cut, inspiring an auto-destructive finale that baffled those to whom rock’n’roll is an ascetic exercise.
The night was both gig and event. Great credit is due to Easy Action for the label’s rightful confidence in their charges. This was not a conclusion, but a staging post. Beneath the surface, the likes of the Isabelles and Spankees await their moments. They will come. For now, Falmouth has had its Screen On The Green. We have seen the lightning strike.
That feeling you get when you leave a conversation and think of all the things you should have said: a canção continua la misma.
Hailing from the Toxic State of NYC, released here in the UK by LVEUM, La Misma spit Portuguese over pogo punk, expanded deftly to reflect the more tuneful elements of what followed, chronologically, back when it almost once mattered. Building on elements of that Sad Boys sound, over the course of a demo and a 7″ EP, La Misma have grown in stature to craft ‘Kanizadi’, a nine-track exercise in wonderment, steeped in the traditions of the genre, pushing things forwards: concurrently, relentlessly. The Toxic State family have matured, outreaching the confines of their scene over the last five years. The transition from 7″ to 12″ has seemingly proved challenging at times, both in terms of quality control, and momentum. ‘Kanizadi’, however, is resolutely untroubled by such growing pains. Across the breadth of these nine intelligently crafted songs, pounding drums, bouncing bass, engaging vocals courtesy of Nay Vieira-Rosario, and fluid, expansive, contagious guitar lines, shape a truly infectious body of work. The name La Misma means ‘the same’ in Portuguese, and this sense of reverse irony informs the band’s art: from mic, to plant, to print. ‘Kanizadi’ will be troubling the scorers come close of play, rest assured.
When two of trakMARX‘s favourite bands combine to release a four-track EP, that event is worth lighting up in neon, for all the world to see: Brazilian giants Rakta and Cadaver Em Transe have done just that, to create Rakta Em Transe, for this forthcoming release on Dama Da Noite Discos/Nada Nada Discos. Rakta Em Transe, therefore, are Alan, Carla, Laura, Murilo, Natha, Pato and Paula, and together, unsurprisingly, they have blended their signature sounds to forge a new whole: ‘Estreito Engano’ rides a customary Rakta organ break and strident bass line over propulsive percussion, amid whoops and whelps that recall the Touareg calls of Tinariwen, in both accentuation and atmospheric import. ‘Anonimato’, meanwhile, errs more towards Cadaver Em Transe, in terms of means of production: terrace vocals, raised tempo, raging guitars (although somewhat subdued in the mix in comparison to their own work), all splattered with Rakta’s brilliantly bonkers keyboards. ‘Espiral’ returns to a Rakta modem operandi, with spectral vocals and choppy guitars, of the four tracks here, this one wouldn’t have sounded out of place of Rakta’s game-changing long player from 2013. Finally, closer ‘Apenas Mais Um’ is the biggest departure here, for either band: recalling the introduction to Marching Church’s ‘Hungry For Love’ in many senses, delivering something truly exceptional through collaboration in the process, this is a work of captivating intensity.
Berlin’s Piss produced one of the best demos of recent years, back in 2013. Stunningly presented, in the form of a blue, leather-bound bible, that release captured the attention-to-detail of both Piss’s raw hardcore approach to their sound, and their desire to create valid art. This 5-track EP picks up where that demo left off, with an improved clarity in their presentation of sound, an incremental development in quality of composition, and no let-up in the individuality of presentation. For a band with a questionable moniker and a singer/guitarist with a troubling moustache, Piss stand out from the hordes of hardcore weirdos like a German waiter in an Italian restaurant. As always, Piss’s instruments rage with righteous intent, but what sets this brief collection apart is the expansion of the band’s backing vocals, which belie their trio status to suggest a small army of unruly punks. If you only buy one hardcore punk rock EP this year, make sure it’s Piss.
Andy Human & The Reptoids are a great rock and roll band! That’s what the blurb says. In truth, they are all this, and more, little girl. Coming on like a summation of all the great proto-punk bands you never heard: from the wastelands of mid-70s Cleveland; to the pub rock circuits of the UK circa 1975; via the art school common rooms of any given educational establishment as the back of the seventies broke: this is music bursting at its seams. As the blurb says, so efficiently: “Andy Human takes the past; hints at the future; and turns it all into the NOW!” Yeah! Hot damn! Draping slices of Adam & The Ants circa ‘Deutscher Girls’, Pere Ubu, and Rocket From The Tombs over the radiator marked Be-Bop Deluxe, these Doctors Of Madness prescribe a once traditionalist faire long-sidelined by the vagaries of fickle fashion. There’s meat to the bone of this album, one that marinates in airtime to inflict patterns of dependency upon the hapless listener. The band’s self-titled debut long player on SS Records/Sol Re Sol Records delivers eleven songs steeped in the lineage of what came before everything we’ve since grown to love. Andy Human is Andy Jordan. You may know him from the Cuts, Time Flys, Buzzer, and Lenz, you may not. He is reportedly renowned locally as one of the best Bay Area rock & roll song-writers. The Reptoids, meanwhile, are: Cripe Jergensen, Beast Man, and Ra Diehl. They’ve been doing time in Drunk Horse, Sir Lord Von Raven, Girls, and Land. That may or may not mean something to you. Either way, Andy Human & the Reptoids play some of the most intelligent and genuinely stimulating rock & roll being made on this planet circa now, and if you care about stuff like that, you need this record in your life.
Negative Scanner have been shaking up the Windy City’s allegedly bustling DIY underground since 2012. Their edifying debut long-player (Trouble In Mind Records) blends the poetic justice of ‘Horses’-era Patti Smith with the gothic majesty of ‘Dry’-era PJ Harvey to fashion a solid statement that bears further scrutiny. Guitarist and vocalist Rebecca Valeriano-Flores, guitarist Matt Revers, bassist Nick Beaudoin, and drummer Tom Cassling, lurch, stumble and whirl like dervishes, consumed in a miasma of treble. The downstrokes chop, rhythms are taut, furious, the bass runs rings around the angular chord structures, and Rebecca hollers with authority while the bushes scream. There’s something very English about the timbre of her voice, the way she enunciates. Flecks of Susan Janet Ballion cover her vocals like spittle. Over the space of eleven feral songs, demolished in 28-brief minutes, Negative Scanner plot a clearly defined course that will lead them out of the underground and upwards towards wider recognition. Ignore this band at your peril.
On the boxset front, career-spanning collections from both John Cooper Clarke and Alternative TV have recently landed in the tMx bunker:
JCC‘s ‘Anthologia’ includes the best-known likes of ‘Evidently Chickentown’, ‘I Wanna Be Yours’, and live performances from the Manchester Ritz and Hulme Hippodrome, amongst others, all in a unique 3-CD/DVD collection (also available on double vinyl). This notebook-style collection encompasses JCC’s unique humour, his twisted worldview, and his unquestionable mastery of the spoken word, across a career spanning five decades. The 3-CD set encapsulates JCC’s expansive archive of self-penned poems, performed in his inimitable style, and comes complete with a DVD of rare and previously unseen footage, dating back to the Old Grey Whistle Test, in 1978, and, more recently, the Palace Theatre, Manchester, in 2014. Obviously, with a task of this size, there are always going to be glaring omissions; decisions that either one of us, personally, would doubtless have challenged, but despite these contradictions, ‘Anthologia’ captures the scope of the man from a hitherto unseen angle. Disc-1, in particular, rewrites the script to a certain degree, presenting JCC as a more fluid proposition in purely musical terms. Inevitably, there are repetitions and alternative takes, extended remixes and in-session additions. Had I been editor-in-chief, some of these takes would have remained in the can. At the end of the day, however, the set was curated by the man himself, and despite endorsements from the likes of Jack White and Paul McCartney, ‘Anthologia’ would make the perfect seasonal guest for any self-respecting ageing punk-poet appreciator. In the words of JCC: “Some of this stuff was recorded in a bugged room. Surreptitiously even. But not all of it. The more legitimate tracks, however, are worth checking if only for their piss-elegant trash antique value. Why did I go along with this? They said I’d be bigger than Sinatra. Who would argue? With my emphatically adenoidal pitch, who could have guessed I would develop into the high octane hot-shot that you have come to know – that’s perspective for you.”
Alternative TV‘s ‘Viva La Rock ‘N’ Roll: The Complete Deptford Fun City Recordings 1977-1980? collates the entire recorded output of Mark Perry’s seminal musical vehicle over the course of 4-CDs and an expansive booklet stuffed with notes from Perry himself, and dozens of previously unseen photos. The 4CDs – ‘The Image Is Cracked’, ‘Vibing Up The Senile Man – Part One’, The Good Missionaries – ‘Fire From Heaven’, and Mark Perry’s solo album from 1980, ‘Snappy Turns’ – have all been liveried to give the impression of one seamless curve of development from 1977 to finish. Back in the day, ATV were one of my favourite bands. I still own all their initial barrage of vinyl, and cherish it to this day. Listening to this music in the relative comfort of middle age, remastered for post-modern stereo, far from the madding cult of youth that both inspired and duly created it, its a matter of some generational pride to recount how wonderfully stand-alone this band still sound to this day. There has never been anyone quite like Alternative TV, and there has never been an Alternative TV product quite like ‘Viva La Rock ‘N’ Roll: The Complete Deptford Fun City Recordings 1977-1980?.
And finally . . . alongside a rash of KBD seven inchers by the likes of Sods, Loose Heart, Chuzpe, The Decay, Gasoline, The Kids, Nasal Boys, Sperma, Lost Kids, Vultures, The Squats, Chainsaw and Neo Punkz, I’ve been spending a lot of time surfing here:
Until the next time, don’t touch that smile. I’ll leave you with a reminder that one of the greatest records of the past decade was released on 22/04/14. The LP in question is by Taulard, it’s entitled ‘Les Abords Du Lycée’, and it’s without a shadow of a doubt the best French rock & roll record since Metal Urbain’s ‘Les Hommes Morts Sont Dangereux’. If you don’t own a copy by now, you don’t deserve to call yourself a punk. The band themselves are in the UK right now, and somehow I managed to miss them in Oxford this Wednesday. I’ve been listening to this record daily for the past month or so, and even 18-months after it was born, it still shits all over much of the opposition from a great height. Go and buy a copy, and support genius in action. Au revoir, mes amis.
“Ce ne peut être que la fin du monde, en avançant.” – Arthur Rimbaud
The record states, as with the endless corridors of Navidson’s house in Mark Z Danielewski‘s ‘House Of Leaves’, obsessional compulsive musicology (OCM): the endless, nameless maze. Signifier’s emerge from the miasma. Happenstance breeds association. Kinship by genre; milieu; time; place. Connections, like accidents, waiting to happen. Same as it ever was.
There I was. Some place in time. Julian Cope‘s ‘Living In The Room They Found Saddam In’ emerges from the speakers of a parked van. Low volume, barely discernible, someone talks over that unforgettable riff, on a mobile phone. Memories stirred: a synapse sparks a neuron, passes an electrical signal to another neuron. The process has begun.
As if by magic, I’m subliminally aware of ‘Trip Advisor’ (Lord Yatesbury), a collection of sixteen songs from the last decade-and-a-half of the Julian Cope’s somewhat erratic career. The songs have mainly been culled from Cope’s past seven albums: ‘Rome Wasn’t Burned In A Day’, ‘Citizen Cain’d’, ‘Dark Orgasm’, ‘You Gotta Problem With Me’, ‘Black Sheep’, ‘Psychedelic Revolution’ and ‘Revolutionary Suicide’. Somewhere in the record collection of my mind, my dusty copy of ‘Citizen Cain’d’ begins to spin. For weeks on end, this compilation crams the air chez Encoule.
Elsewhere, in another dimension, a drive-by memory sticking incident deposits a phalanx of jazz files onto my hard drive. On further inspection, a subsequent investigation whittles these additions down to the following (with a few personal additions, to boot): Alice Coltrane, Art Blakey, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Eric Dolphy, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, Miles Davis, Ornate Coleman, Peter Brotzmann, Pharaoh Sanders, Sun Ra and the Teddy Charles Tentet.
The horses are on the track: Miles Davis‘ ‘Bitches Brew’ (CBS) establishes itself in every media player I own, simultaneously. In synchronistic fashion, someone posts a link to Julian Cope’s ‘Unsung’ pages, espousing the Godlike genius of Miles Davis’ sell-out-period (74/75), whilst I’m actually listening to ‘Hell Is Wicked’, from ‘Trip Advisor’! An ensuing jazz-fusion odyssey leads directly to ‘Get Up With It’, ‘Dark Magus’, ‘Aghartha’ and ‘Pangaea’ (all CBS). Obviously, I’m not remotely qualified to be writing about jazz. In fact, I’m not remotely qualified to be writing about anything. With that in mind:
Meanwhile, back at the plot, guitars still have something relevant to say. One of those statements is the new long player from Die Nerven – ‘Out’ (Glitterhouse). Formed in 2010 in Esslingen, near Stuttgart, South Germany, this trio began as a duo, dumping demos, singles and EPs akimbo, before finally dropping their debut full-length, ‘Fluidum’ (This Charming Man Records), in 2012. The follow up for the same label, ‘Fun’ (2014), garnered much praise in Germany, and beyond.
‘Out’, then, represents a quantum leap, in both fidelity and compositional quality. Simply put, this record oozes maturity with an effortless shrug. A band apart from almost every contemporary stance, Die Nerven command their genre-wasteland. Singing solely in his native tongue, vocalist Julian Knoth‘s delivery matches the power and intensity of Elias Bender Rønnenfelt. Sonically, Die Nerven nod vaguely in the direction of Abwärts, Fehlfarben, Mission Of Burma, Wipers and Sonic Youth. A slow-burner, whereas ‘Fun’ was more immediate . . . ‘Out’ is eminently worthy of your attention, your patience, and your money. My new favourite guitar band.
In other news, a mention in dispatches must be afforded to Diat, whose ‘Positive Energy’ (Adagio 830) raids the post-punk filing cabinets marked Blitz (circa ‘Second Empire Justice’), to deliver seven originals of strikingly high quality, plus a Cannanes cover, just for kicks. Recorded somewhere in the ambient chill of East Berlin, these Aussie ex-pats share much in style and attitude with fellow countryman, David West’s, work with both Total Control and Rank/Xerox. Housed in one of the year’s most striking sleeves, and with a neat xeroxed lyric booklet too, ‘Positive Energy’ marks the arrival of a significant talent, and a likely candidate for many a Top 10 come the year’s end.
And finally . . . for this month, it’s seemingly been an eternity coming, but Cardiff six-piece Chain Of Flowers have duly released their debut ‘s/t’ long player (Alter). Eschewing the band’s earlier Oasis-generation influences, Chain Of Flowers have moved along the Mancunian Way to embrace the nascent psychedelia of The Stone Roses, combined with something altogether more Scandinavian: noticeable shades of Holograms (‘Glimmers Of Joy’/’Follow’). The killer song here is ‘Crisis’, truly a monolith of its genre. The bass guitar during the drop-out at 2:46 is worth the admission price alone. Elsewhere, ‘Nail Me To Your Cross’ and ‘Death’s Got A Hold Of Me’ attempt to keep that quality flag flying, but eventually the weighty ambition of the less convincing ‘Colour/Blind’ and the ill-advised closer, ‘Drained’, drag the band back down to mediocre status. Shame, I’ve been following their development with interest, and had had high hopes for this record.
- trakMARX: ROCK AND ROLL, GARAGE PUNK, PSYCHE, HEAVY METAL, PROTO PUNK, KRAUTROCK, JAP ROCK, PUNK ROCK, POST PUNK, INDUSTRIAL, BLACK METAL, DOOM/DRONE, POST ROCK, NOISE, AVANT ET L'ART DE L'ETRANGER