The Lucid Dream – live at The Castle 27.08.2017

Witness the maelstrom: from underneath the Lucid Dream a tangled mass of sweaty flesh heaves, jostles and jumps, undulating and surging. Such a constricted, primordial mess of limbs hasn’t been seen since Michelangelo’s Battle Of Cascina. The wooden floors are creaking and groaning like a galleon in a tempest.

The Lucid Dream are at The Castle, in a special two-of-a-kind gig , acting as a thank you to those who helped their crowdfunding campaign following the theft of all their equipment in Paris. The campaign managed to help them get new equipment and get the band best in the country back on its feet.

The first song of the night is a new one so we’ll tackle that later. The second is ‘Bad Texan’ – that ritualistic call-to-arms. The crowd becomes deranged. The white-knuckle physicality of the music, plus the automatic language spat by Mark stiffens the sinews and encourages all to let-loose and untether themselves from such mortal concerns. Band and crowd achieve blast-off.

‘Unchained Dub’ mellows the room down a little; the luxurious, lugubrious bass reverberating around the room, up spines and out of pores. Heads are nodding, smiles are flashing, hugs are exchanged. It’s all peace and love when The Lucid Dream are in town.

’21st Century’ smashes the room back into action with its gut churning G-force.

‘Nadir’ and ‘Epitaph’ end the night with a monumental, unassailable wall of dance-noise. Strains of post-punk and motorik are cultivated and released into the environment. The crowd is long lost; swimming topsy-turvy in a dark dimension of excess. True exaltation is achieved as people whirl and careen themselves in one with the music.

The ‘encore’ is ‘Mona Lisa’. What else? This is the song that divorced them from the strait jackets of the psych scene and kicked the lad rock crowd into touch. This is the song that ensured Mike’s bass would be the weapon of choice. Operatic and magisterial, this king-groove hangs in the air while the crowd leap for it with sweaty palms.

The night ends, people try to recover.

The three new tracks tonight shine a light on the next album. They’re 90s dance inspired but fed through their intrinsic devotion to heavy groove and noise. These new songs are temples on which to shed your skin and become born anew. When you have the dazzling prospect of Luke’s drums versus a drum machine, the hypothetical notion of this battle alone will bring you out in sweats.

The key to their success is the fact that The Lucid Dream play a diamond midfield. At the front of the diamond is Mike; Peter Hook and Jah Wobble rolled into one. He stands at the front of the stage and enjoys a Lucid Dream gig as the much as the crowd do.

The most incredible thing about the Lucid Dream is that every time you see them they blow you away and you walk away convinced that the next time they couldn’t possible top what you’ve just seen. They do, every time. They keep forging ahead in new directions and each inroad into new territory yields results that music has been waiting for.

Compulsion Songs is available to buy right now.

THE LUCID DREAM WILL RETURN NEXT YEAR

* You won’t see Michelangelo’s Battle Of Cascina mentioned in Louder Than War…

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Rhys Bloodjoy and The Jungfraus live 27.07.2017

We’re down in quinoa capital of the world, Chorlton. To be more precise we’re in upstairs of Dulcimer, to see a gig in a room the shape of a Tetris piece. To give you a clue, it’s not the square one.

Rhys Bloodjoy

We’ve talked about Rhys Bloodjoy many times before, but his latest performance cemented what most people on the Manchester psych scene suspect: that he is a true artist in the John Cale sense of the word.

For those uninitiated with his work, he is simply one man with a guitar. Twee indie pop? Not on your nelly, my old sunbeam. The music Bloodjoy plays is psych-western gone rogue and exiled from any notion of genre or cliché. He thumps a beat then loops it. He plays a bass line and loops it. He creates melodies and loops them. He sings and loops it. He blasts his way through sets like a performance artist.

One man does the work of six. He creates a sensory overload. This is psych music that is both stripped back and overwhelming. The simplicity equates to trance. The drum beat on ‘Aim High’ is so virulent, so possessing that when the song ends you are still locked within it, nodding your head and shuffling your feet to a beat resonating within your bones, in a temporarily silent room.

The beats are Apache war drums over the hills. The guitar shreds siren-shrieks like air raid warnings. This is music of drama and conflict. Dry and blood stained, his music is aggro released and squared. But starkly beautiful melodies reside inside. Bloodjoy is the musical equivalent of High Plains Drifter. Bloodjoy is existential as well as gut piercingly visceral. Bloodjoy is as cinematic as he is musical. He is wasted playing in bars. Bloodjoy is ahead of the game. Bloodjoy is another game entirely.

We call him The Desolation Cowboy. Some say Manchester is not big enough for him. We say the world is waiting for him.

https://bloodjoy.bandcamp.com/album/love-is-a-fucked-up-goddess-part-i-ltd-cassette-digital-download

The Jungfraus

Next up are the witty and verdant Jungfraus.

When I saw front man Mick Kenyon hunched at a table, poring over his set list, worn leather jacket wrapped around him he cut a distinctly Mark E Smith figure. A young, vital Mar E. Smith to be sure, not the old toothless Mark E Smith, releasing the same album for the sixth consecutive time.

On stage The Jungfraus look and play like a garage band. You’d be forgiven for expecting them to be another 60s throwback. Straight away though it shrieks you they’re actually closer to glam. Don’t worry, there’s no platform shoes or Noddy Holder mirror hats. The difference is that Mick is a wordspitter. The singer in a psych band is generally speaking, a mumbler. Mick has words to say. He is not afraid to use his voice and to have people listen to his lyrics*. The band is glam in the sense that Mick has an ego. This isn’t to disparage. The scene is overrun with psych bands with singers who mumble in the shoegaze style. Mick owes more to Ray Davies. Plus, he plays the only guitar in a stylish, expansive manner, cutting into solos and happy to stand front and centre on the stage. In this sense he’s from the Elvis Costello school. Maybe even the Johnny Thunders style of punkish guitar frontman.

The songs are bright and preppy; pop-wise, but unafraid to muscle down for an extended run out. Augmented by cutesy keys and powered by show-boating drumming, The Jungfraus are unafraid to mix strength and wit.

Energetic and refreshing, just like Irn Bru.

https://thejungfraus.bandcamp.com

*Other examples of bands with singers unafraid to sing are Total Victory and The Maitlands.

Lucky Dip – The Raft, Angie Riggan, Plike

We love bandcamp and it’s not just a home for some of our favourite bands such as Hey Bulldog, Three Dimensional Tanx, Jennie Vee etc etc, it’s a place where you can go surfing through an endless stream of music in search of something cool. Sure, a load of it will turn out shite, but when you hit a rich seam, you feel like Indiana Jones. With this in mind we thought we’d try out a new feature; Lucky Dip, in which we showcase some new finds!

First up, to use Match Of The Day parlance, is The Raft. Now if there’s one thing we enjoy here at colourhorizon, it’s a classic slice of scouse pop music. And with Phil Raft we have a classic scouse pop guy with some classic scouse pop music. He’s released an EP under the name The Raft and on it he manages to combine the summery jangle of The La’s with a wistful dreampop veneer.

‘So Glad I Know’ floats like a piece of Scottish post-punk, in a slightly fey Orange Juice / Altered Images manner. The middle is packed with an extended riptide of acoustic and electric guitars. ‘Coming Up For Air’ has a stately piano ambience which opens out into a distinctly epic number, worthy of what late era Roxy Music should have been.  ‘Anarchy In Our Guitars’ hits a sweetly nostalgic tang of the last episode of your favourite TV show’s montage showcasing the characters and best moments. ‘Regrets’ is simply lovely; resting on a chorus as joyous and heart-felt as a summer’s day on Albert Docks, eating an ice cream and with your girl on your arm.

The key word for The Raft is relaxed; Phil never breaks a sweat, even his most heartened pleas seem casual. This leads to a blissed out brand of pop, languid and perfect for a Sunday morning.

https://philtheraft.bandcamp.com/album/coming-up-for-air-e-p

One of the best tags to use in bandcamp is “bedroom”: it’ll throw up some really interesting acts featured on here before such as Nice Legs as Mary & The Small Omission. Angie Riggan is also tagged “bedroom” and her EP BTW spews out lo-fi guttural guitar spurts. Songs that may once have sounded cheery now sound disenfranchised, disingenuous and disheartened. Fast and fuzzy, offset by Angie’s sleepy morning vocals. 

‘Take The Price’ has a punchy chorus amidst its twisting chicanes. You can immediately feel Angie’s music wash over you. ‘Thrones’ combines a ‘Wild Thing’ riff with stinging drums and searingly scabby solos. “Don’t ask me why, I feel like living tonight”, sings Angie. ‘Colorado’ feels like life slowed down to a crawl, as a gloopy bass pulls you under. “I really got to get away”, sings Angie.

‘Everybody’ relieves the tension somewhat with its plaintive Durutti Column vibe and Morrissey-ish chorus. ‘Fingers’ then cranks up the claustrophobia again with minimalist backing and vocals that seem to emanate from somewhere over your shoulder. ‘Now I Know’ takes you by surprise as you’ll think it’s from another record: searing electro, concrete bass and ice cool vocals bring us right into tingling New Order territory. “You can’t dodge the bullet if you never even saw the gun” sings Angie.

Like a porcupine in an oil slick: dark, spiky and oily. 

https://angieriggan.bandcamp.com/album/btw

Meanwhile, Plike‘s clockwork realm of dark, cowbwebby trip-hop paints a dark, dank world, full of golem’s and scuttling beasties. Her precisely engineered EP Bending Spoons is immaculately produced, with dense layers of sounds, beats, vocals and intriguing background miscellany.

‘clocked’ starts us off, suitably, with fractured timekeeping in an eerie horror-scape. The second track ‘The Destruction Of Wonderland’ says it all – and within it the dreamlike and the childlike become sinister and entropic. ‘Black Swan’ s foundry electro meets an abundance of movie samples, giving birth to a neon-lit cinematic vista. It might be the best use of samples we’ve heard since Radar Men From The Moon‘s first album. ‘Scarecrow’ earth-churning motions meets blockbuster trailer time blocks of noise. 

It also, occasionally, reminds me of when I spent too much time on Playstation games such as Wipeout 2097 and Resident Evil, which is all to the good.

This song isn’t on the EP but never mind.

https://plike.bandcamp.com/album/bending-spoons

One of these EPs are available free of charge and the most expensive is £3, but why not give each artist the same money you’d pay for a burnt cappuccino? Or better still, a bit more than you’d pay for a burnt cappuccino!

Until next time, treasure hunters!

Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer live at Gullivers 17.07.2017

Chap Hop! Hoorah!

It’s been 10 years now that Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer has been traversing the world to gentify the world of rap and introduce a sense of decorum and, if nothing else, better grammar. He returned to Manchester to play Gullivers again. As he quipped to the crowd: “you only play Gullivers twice… once on the way up…”

He was here to stir up a hullabaloo about his new long player There’s A Rumpus Going On, as well as a snazzy range of handkerchiefs, and a slightly less snazzy range of “undershirts”.

He opens his summer soirée with ‘All Hail The Chap’ with not only pays an ode to his magazine of choice but lays out ground rules for attendees and prospective party members. From then on it’s his calling card, ‘Chap Hop History’. Over the last decade he must have played it a thousand times but he still keeps it fresh and never shows signs of wearying of it.

The show is a mix of the old and the new, There’s A Rumpus Going On is represented by ‘Still Can’t Play The Trombone’ and ‘We Need To Talk About Kanye’. The latter goes down a storm with a parody of the subject matter’s appearance at Glastonbury thrown in for good measure. Not played tonight but from the same album is…

There’s a rare outing of the ever green pop song ‘Curtesy For Me’ from The Tweed Album and we get a rousing Bavarian sing song too.

What with Mr B being in t’North he rolls out his classic medley of traditional folks songs from t’Mondays, t’Inspiral Carpets and t’James. He rounds it off with the chorus of ‘I Am The Resurrection’ before a few cheeky gags at a Mr Ian Brown’s incapacity to carry a tune in a bucket.

Prompted by the audience, but not by much we suspect, there is a healthy dose of songs from his frankly phenomenal debut album, Flattery Not Included. Ironically, a large section of the lyrics on that album are about unhealthy doses. These songs are still as bawdy and hilarious as they were when I first saw them live in 2010. ‘Timothy’ rips up a formerly well-known DJ, ‘Crack Song’ prefigures Amy Winehouse’s decline and then the song that always brings the house down, ‘Kissing In Porn’.

Which just leaves us with his usual ending: ‘Songs For Acid Edward’ and a hearty love song to the little pills that once made him feel rather queer. This being Manchester everyone had a nice little dance.

A short and sweet encore with a cutesy, heartfelt cover of Bowie’s ‘Starman’ then it’s off to mingle with the chumrades.

Raconteur par excellence, Mr B never disappoints, always entertains.

http://www.gentlemanrhymer.com

Can’t Stop Shan’t Stop review

 

Rachel Mason – Das Ram

Finally, a multi-media futureclown who sings alternative James Bond theme tunes for a steampunk + LSD induced age of mayhem!

Our harlequin for the evening, Rachel Mason has a new album entitled Das Ram and what a world of glistening delights awaits us within its lustrous realms…

On the opening song, ‘Roses’ it’s as if Kate Bush is singing The Lord Of The Rings songbook in a corridor in Metal Gear Solid. You really have the sense of stepping into another world; the lyrics are folky and evocatively olde worlde building. Rachel’s voice grips you from the moment. The music pulls you in another direction though, as sweeping the T-Dream swoops are destroyed by skittering drum beats, like arachnoid legs on an ice floe. A swooping ballad meets a relentless dance classic. Fucking hell, this is how you start an album.

‘Heart Explodes’ makes good that James Bond promise with a ton of torchy tension. Look, lets imagine The Associates singing Octopussy. While we’re tripping that trip, it’s worth saying that Rachel’s voice is very Billy MacKenzie-ish. Indulgent and brilliantly so, this is a voice wrapped up in its own mag-nif-icence. She takes a chorus and blows it skywards.

The sidewinder guitar of ‘Sandstorm’ escorts our existential Rachel. The drums clatter like a punk thrown the stairs.

‘Tigers In The Dark’s dubby production and shrieking electro burns like an oil rig fire while Rachel goes off the deep end. A fractured and opulent dreamscape of rippling verdancy.

‘Marry Me’ nervoid twitching, gives way to chugging machine bass. The song spins around a relentless chorus in which Rachel threatens to take you up the aisle. It’s a gorgeous slow build electro track perfect for any neon coloured thriller trailer at your local multiplex. And then an amazing slow fade out with its New Order Movement. All the things in your life that go wrong…

‘Queen Bee’ flaunts Roxy Music opulence over clockwork beats and a guitar from a Michael Mann movie.

‘Cancer’ hits with a phalanx force of drum beats. A disorientating panorama of sounds come at you from 360 degrees, while Rachel stands in the middle of the melee, ripping up a breathless chorus.

‘Heaven’ ends with the funkiest track on the album, everything locking together to resemble The B-52s covering Zombies’ ‘The Time Of The Season’. It’s the last song of the night and the walls of the club are made from velour.

The guitars are taut and wired for your secret pleasure. The synths are set to sunrise. Yet the moodiness of the music is in direct odds with the sheer electricity of Rachel’s vocals which are off the grid. Two albums for the price of one.

Not only is Rachel Mason a true artist but she is an essential one.

https://rachelmason.bandcamp.com/album/das-ram-2

Total Victory – English Martyrs (2017)

LANDSCAPE + NATIONHOOD

King Penda, last pagan king of Britain leers over us and as he does, notions of identity and nationhood wither and die. Resplendent on the cover of Total Victory’s new album, English Martyrs, both Penda and band are a critical force working to destroy the myth of Englishness. In Dan Brookes they have the sharpest lyricist this ‘country’ has produced in a long, long time.

Total Victory are a guitar band where the music is sharp and the words are sharper. Those weaned on post-punk will enjoy what they have to offer, and Total Victory have a lot to offer. This, their new album, sees the band hitting creative heights that not only matches  but topples the standard bearers.

English Martyrs is Total Victory’s version Grotesque by The Fall in that the songs make up a portrait of the country. In contrast to that album, the pulp acid horror  is dialled down and replaced by an ever greater sense of social commentary and cutting observational humour. The other obvious comparison is Half Man Half Biscuit, but if England is the Titanic, while Nigel Blackwell’s mob are mocking the middle classes and their pretensions, Total Victory are in the crows nest.

The best comparison may be to the political / social caricatures of William Hogarth or James Gillray, who would offer political satire intercut with sharp humour and a glorious sense of the grotesque (there’s that word again). A Total Victory song has the same quality of looking through a window onto contemporary life.

You must go into the album knowing that on the one level this is great music, there is a whole other layer underneath. You must go into it ready to contemplate how the past, present and future of England are as one, how the population has been moulded to think and act by history; were we are and what we were.

‘Triangulation Point’ gets off and rolling with a riff that sounds like a train struggling up a hill. It’s tense and nervoid, so Total Victory are back. Lyrically, it appears to warn of the dangers of pandering to the lowest common denominator; especially when people don’t know what it is they want. Meanwhile, “In the 21st century nothing unites us like cup-a-soups and ill fitting Gore Tex…” observes Dan wryly, in a few short words sketching an entire cross section of the populace. It comes to an end with the grim moral of “They live for this so they can die for this”; a stark warning of the dangers of giving the vote to people who watch Mrs Browns Boys.

‘Gore Seer’ emerges from the squall like a forlorn tanker from a Mediterranean fog. Sad, yet resplendent and proud. Dan adds a jumble of words for the reader to fit together. What links ionised water and website subscriptions? The meaning of the song always seems to be out of reach. The chorus, such as it is, finally lands halfway: “Gore seer / philanderer / Rockefeller / It’s a good life… Gore seer / retired police / networks of names / copper bracelets”. The guitars are now duplo blocks of sound as Dan finally starts making sense and you’ll wish he hadn’t: “Dreams are just a waste of time”. He confuses us, then exposes us. Are we the gore seers? Like Ian Curtis on ‘Atrocity Exhibition’, the barrier between artist and listener is ruptured and the audience left questioning their complicity.

The slow winding ‘In The Home Counties’ punctures the misplaced pomposity of its target and attacks the cosy mind-set of stick dwellers. The target of the song is moving to the countryside, only for our narrator to warn them, in a sad, defeated voice: “when you get there you’ll be happy with a change in the weather”. Meanwhile the notion of finding beauty in nature is dismissed also: “The birds won’t know your name, and their sounds of joy are a natural function”. On top of which comes a warning about the locals mistrustful ways: “the words they use are edged with spite… and every interaction is a chore”. This song feels like a sequel to the amazing ‘Secession Day’ from National Service, another attack on small town life and smaller town mentality. Little Englanders abound, a topic explored in even greater depth in the next song…

‘Once in Every Century’ (submarine bass, keening guitar) juxtaposes modern hollow notions of cultural identity with imagery of the stone age settlements that all cultures originated. From the “wooden frames in the marshland, built in a circle against the headwind” we appear to be in an episode of Time Team, as Total Victory go digging in the North Trench, finding weapons made with  “bone handles and polished to sharp edges” as if finding the root of our misplaced national self-image. The chorus, if you can call it such a thing is anguished and rising:

Every culture started from nothing / And develops until it’s full of the hubris / That comes from revering itself / And it’s sick from the myth / It breaks down in a ditch and it forms into silt.

By the end we’re in the realm of JG Ballard style psycho-geography, “the hilltop corresponds with every single last moment in time” as all things come together and happen at once, our past informing our present and our futures, and our futures corresponding with our pasts. “Once in every century we get put up on display”: doomed to repeat the same mistakes, covered in mud. Listen to the gorgeously sad horn and the cornet at the doleful demise of the song, like a funeral ascending an escarpment.

‘Playing Golf With The Precariat’ with it’s fish hook guitars herald the heavier second half of the album, the downbeat nature of the previous two tracks giving way and from here until the final track Dan is spitting fire. This song seems to be aimed fairly squarely at out of touch politicians and their cringeworthy attempts to interact with normal people, like when they have to do things such as eat chips and talk to human children. “Dig foundations on a new leisure centre, I’ve been photographed with a spade” crows our main character, presumably a ruddy-faced blowhard from one of Gillray’s prints; outmoded and out of time . Then comes the blackest joke of the album  so far: “Later playing pool with a group of old people, they can’t do it by themselves”. He returns to the office to find letters of complaint and carries out some research by thumbing through “the new Alan Coren” which dispenses advice; “I can show them I’m just like them” he plansThey key line is “Your name counts for nothing if you have to say please” which sums up an entire swath of silver spooned Tories. Self-centred actions rule: “A man only needs himself… If you’re going to keep trusting you’re primed for a fall”. All of which leads us to the realisation that the people in charge are not equipped to be the people in charge. They wouldn’t even go to the poxy leisure centre anyway. In the background a member of the public speaks via the news. You can’t hear what she’s saying. Our character’s not listening.

On ‘Written Backwards’ Dan switches between addressing us, the audience, and the main character of the song. On top of which there is commentary in the form of overheard chatter, a favourite tool in Dan’s arsenal. It all starts innocuously enough in the shape of observation comedy: “Left the house keys on the bonnet as you drove off down the road”. Then it takes a turn into Tales Of The Unexpected territory with “The message scratched on the dashboard made no sense to the policeman, or the fire crew as they pulled you, from the window of the wreckage”. All of a sudden the jokes get grim and the screws are turned as Dan describes the scene is agonising detail “swept the glass up from the road, held back the crowds that gathered”. Later on, gawkers return with cameras. We peruse the papers: “Writer crashed into cathedral, husband shocked at sudden loss”. Things aren’t what they appear though, the rumour mill kicks in: “I didn’t see him at the funeral… if this gets out he’ll be crucified” we are told after a ‘Shadowplay’ style guitar solo. The final verse details a supernatural meeting and the resolution, which we won’t reveal. This is simply a stunning piece of writing that crosses many forms of the written media. They should teach this in schools.

‘Mistakes Upon Mistakes’ sees trouble-maker drums and the sound of a fire engine whizzing past a dole office. The bass, circulates like dirty bath water down the plug hole. It sees Total Victory taking on Half Man Half Biscuit. The following passage could easily come from any of Tranmere’s finest: “Gary piloted his Clio into a reservoir and has not been seen since, outdated instruments and an overexcited local sent the search party the wrong way”. Yet again they’re combining mordant humour about death and mixing it up with farce and parodying country dwellers. Just when you’re contemplating all of this, Dan delivers what may be the best line on the album: “The ghost of Nigel Blackwell haunts this room, even though he’s yet to pass”. Total Victory just did a gag about Half Man Half Biscuit – talk about a handing over of the flame! I think Dan must have received the quickening after writing that lyric.

It’s the turn of the look back bores on ‘The Public Weighbridge’, which concerns a driver (a container driver?) who works for Harper and Sons, “expert in haulage”. He doesn’t like change and the modern world, “what’s new is what we’re against, there must be an end to advance” he gripes. On top of which, he’s having a bad day: “rolled off the ferry and out of Europe, fallen asleep on the public weighbridge”. And of course, the shittiness of his life can only derive from the fact that the world is different to when he was young, nothing else. With a typical dewy-eyed view and the Hovis music playing in his head he muses “All ‘round here was only fields, along with the footprints of bombed out buildings” (fields of wheat?) pointing out the fallacy that in the olden days people could leave their doors open because they have nothing worth stealing. This is the kind of guy whose faults are all of someone else’s making and gets so desperate he resorts to begging for extra-terrestrial life. When they fail to materialise he drives off cursing “along the roadsides are sign of the progress and every one of them makes me sick”.

‘Gold Curtain’ hangs on a bass line that sounds like ‘Girl Like You’ on methadone, while a piano and acoustic guitar laments Albions’ end. The country creaks under the weight of the litany of faults that Total Victory have laid out over the course of the album. It’s all about mentalities and mind sets. Little Englanders are crushing England. England is expiring under the weight of the English Martyrs. And what does a gold curtain conjure images of? The prize at the end of a game show. It’s been 2,000 years since the Romans arrived and what do we have to show for it but Jim Bowen unveiling a speedboat bound for a Halifax drive way? Our last story is of a worker reaching the end at his workplace. “It’s bright though it’s late, so much you have to say. But you’ve learned in your way, the boys want you out”. Dan goes on to say “Edged in silk, woven with rose, patterned gold”, fragments of phrases that bring to mind last-minute leaving gifts, as a girl from the office rushes to Card Factory at 2 o’ clock on a Friday afternoon. Our character, like the country, is reaching terminal point.

A landscape of spectres dominates English Martyrs: the album is full of ghosts and spirits; literal and metaphorical. Shadows of the dead walk the land, false shadows of so-called former glories that refuse to fade. England is a land knee-deep in its relics. References to graves, burials, decay, marshland, bones and fields permeate; Ramsbottom’s Peel Tower features on the inside of the album. And on the front, old Penda himself, from the BBC’s Penda’s FenEnglish Martyrs is all about geography, psychology and history. There is no escape: trips to the countryside yield disappointment, trips in vehicles lead to death and despair. In the 21stcentury we are stuck with cup-a-soup and Gore-tex, if we follow ourselves back to where we started we end up standing in the trickling rain among the bones of our forebears.

Lyrically, the most important band around right now.

https://totalvictory.bandcamp.com/album/english-martyrs


Follakzoid live at Soup Kitchen 18.05.2017

Follakzoid are the real deal.

Chile’s finest krautrock band rolled into Manchester as part of their tour and played a sold out Soup Kitchen last night.

The set starts with a simple repetitive bleeping of ants-in-your-pants electronics, to start the rhythm going in your head and cast aside the outside world. When the rhythm section finally kicks in you’re already nodding your head, you’re already in the zone. Follakzoid are slave to the groove. They have melded their motorik pulse beat to a dance ethos, and like, Radar Men From The Moon, have arrived at a point where psychedelic meets trance. This is the purest distillation of dance music. Noise distilled to its simplest essence, acquiring a raw brutality on the way. 10 minutes later and you’re drunk on the music, grinning inanely. You keep expecting the song to come to an end, for the fun to stop, but it keeps going, understanding that enjoyment should never be curtailed. When it does wind down you’re dumbstruck.

The drumming makes a massive difference. Most motoric drumming is clipped, subtle and smooth, ready for the autobahn. This is tribal and sweaty. Here is a drummer who powers through the song. He’s like the guy who would beat the rhythm in a Sunday afternoon movie when the hero has been sold into slavery and forced into the bottom of a galleon.

The bass is a huge rubbery twang, so visceral you can almost see the air moving in waves. It’s a lot like Peter Hook’s circa Closer.

This leaves space for the guitar, which adds decoration. Sometimes it’s the oddest reggae style scratches, other times impenetrable squalls of pedal abuse. Strange sharp noises resound.

Follakzoid played 3 songs in what could have been 50 minutes. It could have been a couple of days, maybe a week. Time became irrelevant. Who cares about time when you’re throwing shapes to the psychedelic equivalent of The Shamen?

Groove as pleasure.

https://follakzoid.bandcamp.com