Category Archives: Reviews

Lester Bangs would have Creem-ed his pants for the Janitors

Attention all you eagle-eyed seekers of purveyors of righteous rock n roll and drone psych! The Janitors; the real deal, the heavy weight champeens of Nordic noir noise have excavated 23 deep, deep cuts from 15 years of ruling the roost as one of the best bands around. These tracks chart their progress from Black Rebel cavemen rock to epic swells of worker drone monoliths. 15 Years of Fuzz and Folköl is this barricade busting collection of rare cuts that chart the progress of this band, from heavy to dark to fuzzed up beyond recognition.

‘Stumble’ reigns supreme as the ultimate capitulation of music to ur-rock primitivism, shedding all neologisms and giving into to subterranean desires and emotions. This is where drums are clatterings and vox are grunts. This is Stooges regressed to the paleolithic era. Never mind leather jackets as uniform, this is leather jackets as skin.

https://cful.bandcamp.com/track/stumble

‘Firefly’ s dirty machine grinds it’s trouble making rhythm, chewing dirt and spitting oil. Swans slicked in oil copulate. A harrowed voice hollers it’s rock n roll clarion call over dustbin lid drums. A call for teenage supremacy as screaming wails of attention.

‘In Love With The Riot’ bare knuckle fight smashes up as the slowest of slow riffs emerges from some medieval backwater. MC5 on ket.

‘Epileptic City’ has a slow boil start running on bass then drops the dopest, stupidest meathead riff and spits snarling vox. A chorus to kick you in the balls. Death defied. 

‘City’; dragging it’s bass like a corpse down a back alley, shows us a druggier version of BJM’s ‘Straight & Down’ and throws in dubby effects for good measure, flipping the bird to Anton Newcombe from the back window of their car.

On ‘Black Electric’ The Janitors emerge from their grubby chrysalis, having passed over their rock n roll carapace. Now, spreading their resplendent wings, they show themselves as beasts of fervent, heavy psych. The drums are war-like, the guitars reign / rain walls of abuse and the vox deep down wails of anguish. This Lovecraftian beast unfurls it’s horrific mass over the psych kingdom, immolating the lesser beings.

To talk of instrumentation sucks big ones when it comes to the way Janitors rocked. This is adolescent dreams of sex and vice. Uncontrollable ur-ges + shouts… and love came in spurts before these Voidoids killed it with noise, before they killed themselves, they killed their rock n roll… before re-emerging as the king dons; the big swinging dicks of fuzz-psych.

https://cful.bandcamp.com/album/the-janitors-15-years-of-fuzz-and-folk-l

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Peaking Lights – The Fifth State Of Consciousness

If one perceives the best dance music as music that percolates and circulates rhythmically, undulating at various frothy tempo’s, then Peaking Lights’ album The Fifth Shape Of Consciousness is the doyen of the art. More a collection of loose shapes and looser colours then a set of songs; it billows and pulses across its expanse. This is an album to wallow in. This is an album to tune in and nod out to. This is an album so committed to its internal groove-world that it insists you leave all your bullshit at the door and have a good time.

‘Dreaming Outside’ opens the album with slow uprisings of steam as electro sizzles over druggy beats and vocals that can’t tell night from day. The Fifth State is here and you’re brain deep whether you like it or not.

‘Coyote Ghost Melodies’ is squelcher, hitting you up with reggae lilts and knocking you down with dubby bass. Beamed directly from inside the mind of Philip K Dick, can you feel the ooze rise up inside you?

The first time I heard ‘Evertime I See The Light’ I made up my own lyrics and sang “I’ve been kicked right down to the fucking edge” in my best Shaun Ryder voice. It was an epic performance. That aside, two striding guitar lines play and flirt furtively with each other, occasionally kicking into a rock- esque solo.

‘I’ll Be In The Sky’ assembles it’s Tetris blocks into a ketamine motorik structure.

“Love Can Move Mountains”, with its clanking percussion, big chorus and insistent bass is the kind of song that Depeche Mode fans think Depeche Mode made.

‘Sweetness Isn’t Far Away’ is the sound of a piano that has escaped its confines of the cocktail bar and gone on an adventure, tinkling its joy every step of the way.

‘Que Du Bon’ emerges from a traffic jam of noise into a sultry, blared at the edges glide like a better version of latter-day Roxy Music, or the Milk Tray man delivering hot sauce. Sleaze all the way, distorted backing vox adding heat.

With breathy acid house backing vox ‘A Phoenix And A Fish’ isn’t too far from The Durutti Column’s acid leaning Obey The Time.

‘Eclipse Of The Heart’ is the dubbiest track of the album; cascading rivulets of percussion, twanging echoes and spacey guitars and what I hope to hell is a melodica. 

‘In My Disguise’ returns to the force and whips up strong, interlocked rhythms to boogie too; instruments working and sweating like race horses. If the middle of the album is trippy, this is focused and gleaming. With it’s mechanised party vibe this isn’t far from a 21st century version of ‘Burning Down The House’.

‘Put Down Your Guns’ epic closer is protest dub; steam room percussion, sirens and arresting vox.

For 12 tracks The Fifth State Of Consciousness never lets up, an all night/day party, music that never ends. Put in on constant rotation. Put yourself on constant rotation. It’s what Peaking Lights want for you.

This absolute beast of an album is available to buy right here!

Three Dimensional Tanx – ‘A Compulsion For Propulsion’

Do you remember the iconic cartoon, Racing Car #9? The glory days of Hannah-Barbera and Saturday mornings? If you never saw it, Racing Car #9 followed the exploits of our hero, Spacey Tanx, the long-haired, shoeless driver of the eponymous cherry red speedster/dragster and their adventures. The car was of course designed by Loz Tanx, the brother of Spacey, who invented the I-Am-Go turbo drive.

Racing Car #9 would take part in death-defying races each week, pitted against their nemesis; the Jonestown Sludge Monster, intent on covering everyone in its gloopy morass. But when they weren’t racing, the British government would call on Spacey to do the occasional mission. One standout episode was when Spacey and Loz, piloting Racing Car #9, raced the Trans Europe Express.

The show ran for an incredible 169 episodes. Many decades later it continues to be played around the world and enthrals generation after generation.

One mystery remained though. What is the truth behind the band that made the iconic theme tune? The end credits cite the bizarrely named Three Dimensional Tanx, and they have been clouded in mystery until two men; Richard and Sean, decided to find out the truth.

A full length version of the song on YouTube lit a fire in them. Habituated to the short TV version, the long, hypnotic alter-ego hugs the curves just like the famous car. Fuelled by this track; intense research led them to Lancaster, where Three Dimensional Tanx lived a mysterious life of ale, strong cheese and coincidentally, a lack of shoes. The band were seemingly mostly active in the 1970s and any possible explanations as to how they got involved with the TV show have been lost, but the intrepid investigators did uncover rumours involving a holidaying Peter Falk. 

In an abandoned monastery, former home to The Brothers Of The Psychedelic Sun, Richard and John discovered reel to reel tapes containing a wealth of songs by the mysterious band that had never seen the light of day. It seems that the band met and recorded at the monastery, but little more can be ascertained about their real identities, though they did apparently appear in the background of an episode of Some Mother Do ‘Ave ‘Em.

Richard and Sean rushed off, dusted off the recordings and what they found knocked them out. After months of intense remastering (turning it up a bit) they compiled the tracks into an album which they entitled ‘A Compulsion For Propulsion’, named after an episode of Racing Car #9, in which Spacey had just hours to transport an atomic device to the Australian outback, saving Sydney from nuclear desolation.

Cunningly, the theme tune appears last on the album, defying expectations. The music is a breakneck collection of garage-punk with a muscular Northern Soul dedication.

‘His Latest Apparatus’ starts with merry-go-round keys and slabs of fuzzy guitars. Talk of accelerators and stimulators emphasise the love of speed. Handclaps, those universal identifiers of a good time, are also present.

As we get well into side one we have ‘Monk On’ s gnarled guitars intercut with twirling keys. ‘Medication’s barely 90 seconds rushes towards it’s one word chorus in a act of song dismantling that would make Wire proud. ‘The Human Stupid’ is more drum orientated, while ‘Right Place, Wrong Life’ puts an alarm clock into it’s tight punk-funk workout. ‘Ah Diddums’ is a more aggressive guitar piece over tumbling bass.

‘Dawn’ ends side one with a trippy freaky wig-out, that puts you in the heart of the monastery drinking ale and eating strong cheese. Sci fi keys mixes it with diamond guitars and an unstoppable Stooges-esque bass groove.

Side two kicks off with ‘E is for Engine’ which sounds like the whole band falling down the stairs. ‘Chemical Cubical’ is poppy, a little like The Dukes Of Stratosfear. And more hand claps. ‘Spiderman Pinball’ reductionism boils guitar and keys into a call and response cat fight like a Sweeney punch up..

And then… the moment you have been waiting for! The full, turned up version of the theme from Racing Car #9. Here, it’s intro is long and ominous, drama drums coming in slowly. Guitars twang as the car hits high gear, Spacey ready for action. Then the I-Am-Go motor fires into life and the adventure starts!! Careering round curves, drums hitting brakes, a world of technicolour joy unfolds. Each phase fires the song up into higher adrenaline. High tension!! Then at fever pitch the chorus slams into us and we reel back under the memory of all those escapades, all those fizzy drinks after school.

“Racing Car #9, nose in front all the time, you may shout, you may scream, Racing Car on the TV screen.”

‘A Compulsion For Propulsion’ can be bought here

And… super rare super 8 footage of Three Dimensional Tanx!!

The Aces – When My Heart Felt Volcanic (2018)

Under the baking Californian sun lie The Aces with their baking hot pop songs.

And why are they called The Aces? Because they’re top scoring and excellent at what they do. Moreover, they’re right near the front of your music collection: where they belong.

The Aces make pop music that is resolutely 80s: Micheal Mann pastel colours zipping past neon signs lit up in daytime. But they are no copycats. The bands of the 80s wished they sounded like this. The Aces are merely full-bodied in expression and devout in execution. This is their album: When My Heart Felt Volcanic.

Out of the darkness / I sparked a match that set the fire 

‘Volcanic Love’ erupts (boom-tish) with a huge ringing chime of passion, massive jangles that spray sunshine. Keyboards that rise. The Aces stand for love and heat. You’re burning me up/ tell me that you need it now. From the first, this is chorus after chorus of voices working in harmony, intertwined and swooning. Under the ashes…

‘Stuck’ judders and surges like traffic in a contraflow. Guitar flourishes under the chorus which savours every word. Make your move…

‘Fake Nice’ contrasts a downbeat bass with a punishingly effervescent chorus. Twirling guitars make this feel akin to an anime theme tune. All you do is talk…

The title of ‘Lovin Is Bible’ gets you worried; but this is more classic Aces; thumping beat, huge Vitamin C guitars. Feel the heat when you’re around / Love the way you move when it’s just me and you… 

‘Just Like That’ starts soundtrack hushed; huge, echoing soaring vocals for existential lovers.

‘Last One’, with it’s cheesy vocoder-ish backing vocals over scratchy guitars launches into what could be the best track on the album, with a chorus so huge the band just shouts it in your face. Got me screaming my heart out at night…

‘Holiday’ is a full pitched array and feels assembled from a selection of potential chorus’, only for the band to keep them all and not bother with having any verses. Chorus’ are hotter, after all. The guitar solo before the 3 minute mark is sizzling too, before another hit parade.

‘Bad Love’ sounds like the best party you’ve never been to; with friends hipper and better looking than your real friends. This one is for a TV show montage of the good times before one of the characters croaks. You light me up when we’re alone…

‘Put It On The Line’ continues the Drive pouty moods of ‘Just Like That’, but with less of the old ultra-violence and more Ray Bans. I use to feel the embers burning…

‘Hurricane’ brings piano drama to the pop glory, performing the same role as ABC’s ‘Theme From Mantrap’, underlying the motifs of the album, acting as conclusion and resolution.

The super gloopy bass of ‘Waiting For You’ almost fools you into thinking that The Aces have melted under their own heat; like the sunburnt scorpion that stings itself to death. You’re thinking they’re sinking into the melting tarmac until… all the vocals usher in one final gasps of freedom and several more lustrous explosions occur.

The guitars in their own pure way, are as diamond hard as Verlaine’s and Lloyd’s, as chiming as Marr’s. For once, the bass is sufficiently loud in the mix and the drums accentuate without overpowering.

The Aces are so bright of colour and so over-exposed that some may find them difficult to gaze on them. But for those that can a myriad world of delights awaits.

When My Heart Felt Volcanic will melt you in every way.

When My Heart Felt Volcanic can be bought right here

If you like The Aces, (which you should!) then why not try Jennie Vee?

“New York based elfin guitarist Jennie Vee is a purveyor of intensely catchy songs occupying a zone between post punk, shoegaze and the good old fashioned pop tune. Die Alone, her debut EP, sees her unveil a set of song full of sharp guitars and huge melodies. Her closest comparison is probably to The Raveonettes’ Jesus & Mary Chain + girl group mash up…” Read on!

Flange Circus – Abandoned Glow

Four hunched, crooked men in brown cloaks and hoods dwell in a cave deep under the post-apocalyptic ruins of Bu-Ri (some call it Bu-Ree). Be they sages? Be they magi? Be they muTANTS? No one knows for certain except they have strange powers that emanate from their bulging mind-sacks. What the inhabitants do know is that the four figures have read the ancient texts, listened to the decrepit parlophones. They know of the long dead visionaries. They stand in unison and their mind-sacks throb. They can make sounds which stream from their fingers in silvery viscous webs. They shape these sounds into music. The terrified survivors of Bu-Ri listen to the music in fear. Some dance, the brave ones at least. And so, from a hovel under Bu-Ri, comes Abandoned Glow. The four hunched, crooked figures respond as one to the name they have given to the gestalt that rises when their mind-sacks hum in harmony. They are Flange Circus.

Flange Circus’ music is the sound of long dead machinery, Kraftwerk’s dream debased. Their music is creepy spaces and scary realms. The Radiophonic Workshop’s dream realised. Yet they never forget that how dark the music is, the bass must travel forward, must explore and hit at the soul. Joy Division’s dream personified.

‘Great Division’, the single which opens their inaugural full length release, gorgeous striding lines of dance music. You can practically sniff the asphalt on this divine motorik groove.

 

Homunculus Gardens; radiation leaks on a bottom dwelling submarine.The found sounds and swipes of hot dank air take us into the realm of the experimental.*

‘In The Pestilent Folds Of Chub 909’ is the sound of Peter Davison’s Doctor Who at a 90s rave. The drums are 808 State but the keyboards are wibbly wobbly CSO.

Lord Of The Rings drums usher in ‘Moloch By The Sea’ and all sorts of RPG soundtrack fun. We’re by the sea, the village is tranquil, but the grand wizards approach! Grand, cacophonous and resplendent. Have you got your magic potions ready? We’re going all the way back to the SNES age!

‘Dehibernation’ is what Sisters Of Mercy sound like in my head, not on the CDs. Chunky lines of guitars throw big riffs while sneaky keyboards weave their magic.

‘Kwak’; Robert Mitchum stalks the dry scrub streets in Night Of The Hunter.

In the past I have commented that Flange Circus’ free wheeling approach to genres has hindered them by not leaving a distinct impression of who the band actually is. Here though, over the course of an album it actually works in their favour. Ten songs in the same vein would get monotonous, especially the gloomier ones, but flitting from style to style keeps the album fresh and the surprises coming. What holds Abandoned Glow together as an album is Flange Circus’ masterful knowledge, appreciation, reverence and capacity for the usage of sound. Very few bands master the art of knowing both how to soundtrack and how to groove. Flange Circus have that skill, and many more.

Abandoned Glow is available to buy right now and we highly advise you do so!

https://flangecircus.bandcamp.com

*The experimental is now the conventional and they are no chock stock things**

**This is a reference to a song by The Fall. This is essentially shit stirring as one member of Flange Circus loves The Fall and another hates them. Colourhorizon is the only review website that includes inter-band shit stirring.

IX – 6EQUJ5

With a name like IX and album entitled 6EQUJ5 that clocks in at two hours this isn’t a band aiming at being on Jools Holland at any point.

Instead of wanting intrusive boogie-woogie splattered all over their work, IX, with evocative titles such as ‘Fennyman’s Point’ and ‘Sub Level 5’ are more interesting in taking the listeners to faraway places.

6EQUJ5 is a rainy neon lit world fed through the visions of The Radiophonic Workshop (‘Incubation (Phase 1)’ and Blade Runner (‘Monad Theme Reprise’). This isn’t just a place of dank synth atmospherics though; life emerges in heady sweaty nightclubs where thumping Chemical Brothers dance music, itchy drum n bass antics, Talking Heads style rhythm guitars and much more shepherd you to ecstasy.

The title track almost reaches the beauty of the soundtrack to Manhunter, while ‘Black Pyramid (Part 2)’ oscillates around a Tangerine Dream ambient soundscape of splitting atoms, then it’s deep ambient all the way into the ketamine sucking second half.  And is that a melodica on ‘Dome 1’?

The pitch was the album is the soundtrack to a movie. It’s not, at 2 hours it’s longer than most good movies. This is the soundtrack to a sci-fi city, and not even the city in Blade Runner, this is more like Futurama, in which multitudes of people live colourful, diverse lives. IX have created a truly sprawling world. And whilst Bandcamp is awash in music of this type, very little of it is either as ambitious as IX, or as immaculately conceived, realised and presented.

Like taking a trip through the night life of G-Police.

https://ixband.bandcamp.com/album/6equj5

Hey Bulldog – Al Lupo single review

I think I’m hyperventilating here; Hey Bulldog, Manchester’s most exciting band have just dropped the most exciting music video the world has seen since the Beastie Boys perfected the art form. Such an intense rush of sound, colour and movement. I’m going to watch it 20 times over and then be sick all over the living room floor.

‘Al Lupo’ raises it’s head to the sky as a short form blast of everything that is glorious about this band, acting as a superb jumping on point for everyone who loves heavy guitar rampage. And my friend does this rock ‘n’ roll animal deliver. Powered on a hacksaw guitar riff that scrapes each of your vertebrae, this combines the raw simplicity of The Buzzcocks ‘Boredom’ with the forward momentum and amyl nitrate rush of Roxy Music’s ‘Virginia Plain’ and the shrieking hysteria of Grinderman’s ‘Honey Bee’, all squeezed though Hey Bulldog’s aesthetic of groove heavy psych rock. To cap it all you get a RAT powered bass solo.

The vocals: frenzied, a man dangling on the cliffs edge. Rob M, with his purest, most well recorded vocals yet sings like a man dancing on the razors edge, strung out on adrenaline and terror. When he finally hits the desperate refrain of ‘Into the mouth of the wolf’ the song is hitting with a barrage of throwing stars.

Buy it!! FOR GOD SAKE BUY IT!!!

https://heybulldog.bandcamp.com