Radar Men From The Moon – Subversive II: Splendour Of The Wicked

If you like your space rock to sound like a smelting press then Radar Men From The Moon are for you. This Dutch instrumental outfit make music so hard and unmovable it takes you all the way past dance music into sheer fucking endless repetition.

Subversive II starts innocuously enough, and innocently enough, with ambient swaths coursing through ‘You filled the house with merciless sand’ that test the listeners’ patience. Fortunately this turns out to be a palate cleanser for the sheer rhythmic blitzkrieg that Radar Men From The Moon are about to unleash… When the groove hits at 3 minutes 24 seconds you’d better batten down the hatches…

‘Splendour Of The Wicked’ is brutal in its monotonous hammering. After a while the instruments don’t even sound like instruments; the drums an underground clamour, the bass a tick-tock metronome of plant machinery. It’s wearying, but in a way which becomes fascinating. You start off dancing to it then after a while you can’t remember how or why you started, it feels like you’ve clocked on for a shift. This is surely the purest form of trance music, you have no idea how long ago this song started and no idea when it will end.

The tracks around it don’t offer much relief, ‘Masked Disobedience’ has synths running amok, while an ogre repeatedly bangs it’s fucking head against the pipeworks.

‘Rapture’ matches morse code rhythm to funky drums and mysterious keys. Yet again you’ll find yourself attempting to redefine dance music. Lou Reed threatened metal machine music. Radar Men From The Moon nailed it.

‘Translucent Concrete’ ends the album with a helicopter going to a rave. <No more description needed>

Radar Men From The Moon just reinvented dance music.

https://radarmenfromthemoon.bandcamp.com/album/subversive-ii-splendor-of-the-wicked

Control Of The Going live at Gullivers 04.03.2017

Cowboy Liam is dead. You remember Cowboy Liam – long hair and huge hat? Well he’s gone. I don’t know what happened to him, maybe an industrial thresher accident. In his place though is Rock ‘n’ Roll Liam – short chopped hair and a James Dean wardrobe.

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Under the auspices of Cowboy Liam the songs were languid and slippery, with space enough to let the poetry shine through. The arrival of Rock ‘n’ Roll Liam reflects that the music is faster and vivacious now. The band is paradoxically getting tighter at getting looser. The dreamy, hazy days are gone, party days are here!

The songs are punchier, helped when Tom’s backing vocals give reinforcements to the chorus’. The second song of the night, ‘Family’ is a rollicking affair, reminiscent of the Happy Mondays cooking up a shindig. To underpin this, Tom’s bass is finally creeping up in the mix. And serving to underscore the new brightly coloured Control Of The Going was the radioactive din of Minesh’s shirt.

To highlight the contrast between old and new, the older, ornate ‘Wildflower’ looks out-of-place among the new furniture, the elegant seeming staid.

The gig was to celebrate the launch of the new single ‘She’ which typifies their new approach: fast music and hairpin vocals all the way. It was performed with the hearty gusto of a band in the ascendancy. Another new track, ‘War Crimes’ was launched as a fizzing shot across the bows. Ending the set was the frisky, affirmative ‘Star’, replete with singalong chorus. I can see this being a highlight of the forthcoming album.

The hi-tempo version of Control OF The Going whipped up a great atmosphere in Gullivers, to the extent that they were cajoled into their first ever encore, in which they chose to play ‘She’ again. This second performance was a real barnstormer, led by Matt’s mighty drumming and a speedy breakneck finish.

It all ended with Rock ‘n’ Roll Liam covered in sweat. Cowboy Liam didn’t work up a sweat.

Control Of The Going’s sweaty new single is available now…

https://wrongwayrecords.bandcamp.com/album/she-wild-flower-ltd-edition-double-a-sided-7-single

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No Mightier Creatures – S/T

Glass eyed, nervous blues all the way from Lima in the form of No Mightier Creatures.

They’re blues-y but they’re closer to the frustrated aggravation of Grinderman than the boogie jams of The Black Keys, but more than anything they sound like a stuttering bunch of machines; cold and inured by the terrible fucking world around them. This is an angry band, and we need angry bands at the moment.

Renato Gomez sing/speaks with a declamatory tone, reacting against the tradition of most blues singing, rather reminiscent of Robert Kidney from The Numbers Band.

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The album starts off with ‘Yet We Divide’ which is comparatively jolly compared to what comes later.

“Little time to wake up / little time to grow” serves as a stark indictment of US politics.

The highlight of their self titled album is the middle section which is bracing and vicious:

The Lou Reed drawl and track-mark guitar of ‘Springfield’ is a scabrous alternate reality take on the New York grouch-bag’s post Velvets career. ‘No Light’ hammers staccato, pure Gang Of Four scratch with a Sonic Youth fuel injection.

‘Mulitply’ and ‘Corporate Dream’ are slow, weary grunts; fairground rides with empty seats.

‘To Cross’ merges Stooges slum riffs with soapbox spiel.

‘Colours fade / Genders fade / Bodies fade’

‘Take It Easy’ round off the album with the most blues-ish number, twangs and tension, empty space left.

Favouring rhythm over posturing is what makes No Mightier Creatures a stirring prospect, eschewing soloing in favour of tense dynamics. Sure, we all enjoy some guitar heroics from time to time, but it’s good to hear a blues band roll up the sleeves and hunker down.

“Reignite, spread your word”

https://nomightiercreatures.bandcamp.com/album/no-mightier-creatures

E GONE – The Third Is A Mountain Which Holds A Dagger

E GONE’s new release serves as a thrilling introduction to an essential career, or to those who already follow his travels, a thrilling re-introduction and summation. EGONE (the Gnostic Mystic Daniel Westurlund) is an artist amassing a body of work that traverses a deep dimension of psych, folk, ambient and world-music. He is now at the point where he can release a record which draws upon all over his work so far, providing not only a catchup point, but a jumping on point before his new adventures.

The Third Is A Mountain Which Holds A Dagger is a title which sums up many of his concerns: exploring the wilderness and places of isolation in search of mysticism.

‘No audience no metronome’ starts with the delicate plucking of strings; entering us into a pastoral world of tranquility. This repose is not destined to last…

The highlight of the mini-album is ‘Decoy for the hunt’ in which Daniel sings for the first time since his 2014 golden great All The Suns Of The Earth. His vocal tracks always recall his earlier drone-folk past-life as The Goner. His cracked, warped vocals act as emotion lodestone; taking us to the heart of his music and providing a deep emotional resonance. Over a fragile carapace of acoustic strings and pump organ a landlocked sea shanty emerges, a paean to glistening mountainsides.

‘The telurian omega’ excavates middle eastern tones and barbs left over from the hookah smoking days of the SMOKEDIVER EP. This leads us into the frenetic Constantinople knees-up of ‘Rogue Diplomat’, all bustling street markets and looming minarets.

‘Habit hides you’ travels internally, juxtaposing pastoral folk with sunrise textures, leading you to a sad state. ‘I have been given much’ continues with a downbeat hymn over dolorous drones and a buzzing emanating from within. This paves the way for ‘Give’ where deep, melancholic surges of drones advance while the acoustic instruments wither and die; revealing the decayed subsurface. And so the 3 song suite finds a home in this ambient world of lost dreams.

The remarkable thing about E GONE’s work is the way in which he spins psychedelic music with a primarily acoustic set of instruments. He paints the olde-worlde without the twee picture postcard antics. He paints the mystical without recourse to hippy-dom.

This is psychedelic music with real emotion.

As always, essential.

https://egone.bandcamp.com

https://thegoner.bandcamp.com/album/bitemarks-ep

Live: Dead Sea Apes and Thought Forms 22-02-2017

In the cobwebby underworld of Soup Kitchen, two bands were performing to enliven our Wednesday nights with some sonic adventures.

First up it’s one of Manchester’s most popular support acts, the mighty Dead Sea Apes. It’s been a while since I’ve since the Stalybridge boys…

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Brett’s astral-plane guitar spits vapour trails, but within such gleeful noise making he finds time to fire off flinty post-punk rhythms and spurts of energy. Here is a man (who owns a Schnauzer) torn between the urge to soundtrack slow-time battle cruisers with the urge to launch into catchy, accessible riffology. He seems like an extrapolated Will Sergeant.

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Music this stately and grand can often be inert and rigid, but thankfully Dead Sea Apes’s rhythm section is what sets them apart from the hordes of heavy-ish space rock bands that drift the broad plains of bandcamp. Chris’ drumming is constantly scurrying and fizzing with a fiery intensity; Satan’s jazz drummer. Nick’s bass is fluid and serpentine, wrapping its way round the other instruments and occasionally taking point. Even when the music is slow you can nod your head to it, and when the engines fire up it’s bristling with a pent-up groove-energy. Seeing these two locked together leads to the conclusion that this is in fact an extreme funk outfit. No, really.

Then it hits: Dead Sea Apes are a post-rock / funk band. You didn’t see that one coming did you?
Then it’s Thought Forms, who were unfamiliar to these ears.

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The overall impression is a Krautrock sense of freedom: five musos in black flitting across genres as they see fit. Their music constantly shifts: at times a sun-baked remorse, at other times clipping along with a motoric pulse. They often ripple with a Sonic Youth propulsion. The guitars are stringent and the drums sporadically burst into bombastic blocks that bring us nearer to metal. They switch from rhythmic to fractured with alarming ease. This is a band confident enough to end the set with an ambient soundscape of eastern drones and guitar experimentation.

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https://deadseaapes.bandcamp.com

https://thoughtforms.bandcamp.com

St James & The Apostles – White Devil

St James & The Apostles are backstreet heroes, pockets full of dimes and cheap drugs, on the make and on the lam. These aren’t your tortured heroes though; these saintly boys enjoy moonshine and carousing.

St James & The Apostles music is built on the throb of Mike Kiker’s keyboards and the hearty grunt of Jamie Mahon’s guitar, who also sings with a tortured blues holler. By the time you add Jeff Castner’s drums to the mix the result is a clamouring melee of rock ‘n’ roll straight from the old school. Music caked in sweat and reeking of smoke. What makes St James & The Apostles really interesting though is when you wipe away the dirt with your sleeve, what remains is something far more interesting. For their music houses a cracked, warped spirituality, the tone of the keys coming straight from the church down the way, and Jamie’s lyrics often broaching the big issues in life.

Their new album is called White Devil and captures a band in heady momentum; fighting fit, well toured and bawdily provocative. This is a band that scraps on its own territory but has made substantial inroads into the outlying turf of funk. It’s less of a shit-kicker than it’s predecessor Via Dolorosa, and tweaks a dial that occasionally broaches a mutant brand of acid latin. White Devil at least has a certain Spanish flavour to it at times.

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‘Golden Axe’ staggers with a lob sided gait of a smashed priest ascending the stairs in a haunted house. “…and I bring it on home to you” warns Jamie, threatening the carnage to come. Powered by a dirty riff and overflowing with bump and grind, it starts the album as the most traditional St James number.

‘Valley Down Below’s organ led thrift store funk is a 90s Beastie Boys jam or Beck single, rubbed with soul. This song takes us into the new sounds explored by the band over the course of White Devil.

‘Kensington Time Killers’ is a shotgun blast to a wooden outhouse, a gold prospector thrown through the saloon window, a straight up head kick of a song.

‘Evil Get Behind Me’ is a prime slice of their old-time religion boogie.

‘Devil Make Due’ is a slowie, with tinkling keys like a Schiffrin soundtrack. Frankly it’s filth. Extending over five minutes it would sound perfect on top of a Breaking Bad montage.

Title track ‘White Devil’ pitches an audition for the job of house band in the bar in From Dusk Til Dawn.

Meanwhile, ‘Signed, DC’, a Love cover, is the closest to the haunted blues of their debut Baphomet, aching harmonica and stunted piano.

‘El Chapo…’ bursts under a lascivious chorus and kicks up a percussive heavy party with the tequila flowing and the senoritas full of sauce. Cooked up with a totally topical taste.

‘With Love, Robert Evans’ is an oddball acoustic closer, a little Kinks-ish.

St James’ releases are getting lighter and more accessible without sacrificing the sleaze. They still sound like wine chugging debasers, but their music increasingly ripples with crooked smiles.

https://stjamestheapostles.bandcamp.com/album/white-devil

Hey Bulldog ‘Divide And Conquer’

Hey Bulldog; the spiralling Strat wizard Rob M and his unstoppable rhythm machine Ben & Matt are back.
‘Divide & Conquer’, a favourite from their fabulously entertaining live set, has captured in all its pomp and circumstance for the world to enjoy.
It’s been played on 6music amongst others and is available to buy right now. But what does it sound like?

Like 8 top-secret military hovercraft on manoeuvres in the desert.
Like dangling precariously on the top gantry of a burning oil rig.
Like a Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee showdown.
Like a phalanx of red clad Spartans; shields locked.
Like the obsidian eyes of the Giant Squid.
Like the children of the Hydra’s teeth.
Like the level boss you can’t beat.
Like Connery vs Moore.
Like Hey Bulldog.

Listen:

Buy: https://heybulldog.bandcamp.comhey bulldog

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