Thursday, 20 April 2017

Swamp Sounds/Uncle Pops & The Dumbloods (Bearsuit)

The latest split release from Edinburgh's Bearsuit label pairs Japan's Swamp Sounds with Uncle Pops, who hails from Dundee.  As we've come to expert from Bearsuit, the release is a triumph of experimentation paired with the kind of obtuse hooks that somehow lift the whole thing very much into the realm of the eminently listenable.

Uncle Pops, aka Douglas Wallace, is a little more low key about it, specialising in meandering soundscapes and fascinating temporal shifts that come out sounding like the soundtrack to some film whose sense you won't be able to make out but which you really wanna see.  He was involved with Anata Wa Sukkari Tsukarete Shimai's album The Lost Charles Underscore and if you loved that album as much as I did, you'll have some idea of the territory we're getting into.

Swamp Sounds are the work of Nagoya's Yuuya Kuno, an experimental musician who also records under the alias of House of Tapes.  His half of the release is less texturally complex, more perky and an absolute delight throughout its five tracks.  I'm opening my Dandelion Radio show this month with opening track 'Marionette', the mutant disco rush of which offers a snapshot of the warped, exhilarating journey Yuuya is about to take us on.

At times bewildering, at other times faintly unsettling, but always mad and always magnificent: get it here

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Threes And Will - Purge of Genden (Nothing Out There)

I first encountered Threes And Will via a split release they put out through the always wonderful Blue Tapes some time ago.  Ever since then I've been a huge admirer of the caustic, sub-krautrock din dished up by this Estonian band and their latest release, in partnership with French label Nothing Out There, has certainly not diminished my admiration.

If anything, the band crank up the noise levels still more on this offering.  Looping, repetitive guitars dominate, though often to subtly varied ends: the woozy, dissonant fuzz of opener 'Koniec Cywilizacji' opens up over the collection, via the epic spaciness of 'The Conquest Of Zhangzhung' until something more reminiscent of psychedelic rock is let loose on 'Bunkers'.

That in turn gives way to the magnificent 'Erebus', half stoner nightmare and half the sound of something that might well come out from the speedway pits if the mechanics got the pitch and balance just right.  You can hear it in my current Dandelion Radio show, streaming throughout April.

I'm aware I'm already descending to the level of the figurative to describe all this, which kind of gives away the difficulty I'm experiencing in doing so.  Perhaps I should just tell you that the six tracks here collectively bring about the kind of head-shredding thrill we've no right to expect to last over forty minutes but somehow, in the hands of Threes And Will, it does. 

Sadly, the limited edition cassette version is now sold out, but you can still download these six slices of magnificence here

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Audio Antihero Presents 'Unpresidented Jams' (Audio Antihero)

The wonderful Audio Antihero label has developed a reputation for producing one-off compilations that combine variety and quality while striking exactly the right note at the right time.  Few have been more timely than this: a nineteen track collection with all proceeds going to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Immigration Law Center to aid the fight against the odious Trump administration.

The usual Audio Antihero regulars distinguish themselves as usual.  Cloud offer an evocative piano version of 'Moonlit' while Chuck's 'Nothing Matters To Me Now' characteristically combines power and fragility in a way that  seemingly only he can manage.  'Hole' is another dollop of introspective brilliance from Benjamin Shaw, while 'The New Colossus' finds Jack Hayter in fascinatingly experimental mood.

You can hear three of the other tracks in my Dandelion Radio show this month.  'Still Pills' is a woozy indie masterpiece from Still Pills, originally found on their 2014 album Omstart Sessions (which you can get as NYP here) while the always stunning Deerful serve up the typically delightful 'Unlearn/Begin Again'

The third of the tracks comes from the legendary Jeffrey Lewis, whose 'Dictator Seeks Reichstag Fire' is the most blistering and scarily perceptive attack on Trump yet to arise here or anywhere else.

Audio Antihero are offering the compilation for a minimum £2.99 here.  It's a cracking opportunity to get involved while enjoying the perfect soundtrack to the resistance.