Tag Archives: Post Rock

Introducing… LIINES

LIINES are the Manchester’s newest post-punk band. What is it about this city and post-punk? They go together like hand and glove (the sun shines out of our behinds, apparently…)

Here they are in a Kevin Cummins-y type shot (It’s a well-known fact that at any point of the day, under a bridge in Manchester, a band is having its photo taken). LIINES are: Zoe on guitar and vocals, Steph on bass and Leila on drums. Three more upstanding members of the community you could not wish to meet…

LIINES

They have the scratchy sounds and tatty Manc back street aesthetic of The Fall, let’s say, Slates era. Shades of Manicured Noise too, and if you really have to look outside Manchester, Gang Of Four and maybe even X-Ray Spex. There’s plenty of garage mixed in there too and Zoe’s voice is warm and controlling, reminiscent of Lesley Woods from The Au Pairs.

LIINES love playing live, standing too close to their speakers and enjoying a cheeky swig of whisky. They want to tour and see the world. They are working on their debut album, due next year. They want to inspire more women to start bands. They dig mascots and rituals.

They launch their debut single, ‘Never There’ on the 23rd November. It’s a mixof Sonic Youth’s ‘Silver Rocket’ and a Quentin Blake illustration of a wet, angry tomcat. The bass is particular impressive, rolling and attacking, piercing like a malicious jet black crab digging its claws into your ankle.

Hell, this is all Sonic Youth, the grubby fingerprints of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon are all over this sucker. Yet as there are only 3 of them the sound is tighter and more focused. Fuse in the angling towards a catchy hook and a glimpse of The Buzzcocks becomes fleetingly apparent, at the ‘Autonomy’ end of the show.

Meanwhile, over on soundcloud, ‘Part Of You’ impresses with its herky-jerky romance and corrupted disco groove. ‘Cold’ burns slowly before guitars lay lasers.

LIINES will be having a party to celebrate the launch of ‘Never There’ at Night & Day Cafe on the 21st November… you are cordially invited…

http://www.weareliines.com/music/never-there-single/

Watch ‘Never There’ live at The Castle

https://soundcloud.com/weareliines

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Water of Life – Water Of Life LP (2015)

Anyone who digs the outré may want to get their shovel out for Water Of Life. This is a fairly unique project built on the premise of making music from field recordings made of the water that flows through Edinburgh.

The following passage from Water Of Life’s bandcamp page explains further:

Recordings made with hydrophone, ambient and contact microphone recordings of rivers, spring houses, manhole covers, pub barrel rooms, pipelines and taps are mixed with the peals and drones of 1960s transistor organs, harmoniums, Swedish micro-synths, drum machines and iPads: a blend of the natural and unnatural; modern and antiquated; hi-fi and lo-fi. Drum beats were sampled from underwater recordings, and reverbs created using the convolution reverb technique to recreate the sonic space of different bodies of water.

Many of the sounds collected around Edinburgh and used to make the record are available on a sound map here:

www.edinburghwateroflife.org/sound-map/.

So, Tommy Perman and Rob St John have been out, captured sounds and manipulated their finding into a delightful album called Water Of Life.

water

The music is generally ambient but one of the great strengths is that the music isn’t aimless and meandering, there is generally the pulse of rhythm ticking along. This isn’t just background music, this is music you can tune yourself into.

Another great strength of the album is its brevity. That isn’t a backhanded compliment, if this album were to be a couple of hours long the appeal would be lost. But this is a snappy 30-ish minutes that is just right to listen to while you have a brew, a biscuit and read a few pages of your current book. Having the discipline to keep songs short is much to their credit.

The intro piece, ‘Sources and Springs’ starts fairly demurely with a little too much emphasis on running water. Let’s face it, we’ve heard it all before. Even sodding Oasis did it.

‘Comiston Springs Water House’ is where things get interesting. What sounds like a harmonium is contrasted with all manner of gurgling and flushing. A rather comical, insistent gait keeps momentum up and the end result is hypnotic.

‘Oxgangs Elegy’ takes a post rock path with a lonely passage of organic drone.

‘Abercrombie 1949’; chirping, pastoral and bucolic this would feel at home on John Cale’s seminal Paris 1919.

‘Lost Loch’s is the longest track here, weighing in at a shade over 8 minutes. Starting slowly, a trickle of water turns into gush. What sounds like delicate Vini Reilly-esque guitar arrives. Meditative organ drones underpin the affair.

‘Liquid City’ pushes a motorik groove and dance-floor keys. In both sound and vision this is pure Kraftwerk and make no mistake, you could dance to this.

(While we’re on the subject of motorik music and civil amenities, Warm Digit’s album Interchange based on the building of the Newcastle Metro is highly recommended).

Click to listen to ‘Liquid City’

The ghostly voices of ‘The Shelleycoat’ take the album off in yet another direction as we hear a children’s song about a watery spirit.

‘Seafield Sewage Works’ closes the album with a downbeat, distorted buzz. Once clear, the music is now dirtied and rusty. And with that Water Of Life vanishes…

The variety of songs on here belies the ‘ambient’ tag and the stuffy connotations that the concept may arise. More than anything the music is fascinating and left me eager to know more, not just about the making of the album but the themes and concepts that the artists explore, particularly about the sequencing of Water Of Life.

Maybe the best reason to buy this album is that it exists.

https://wateroflife.bandcamp.com

E GONE – Advice To Hill Walkers (2015)

Daniel Westerlund is E GONE: explorer and shaman of the cosmic arts. As E GONE he released All The Suns Of The Earth, which in the opinion of colourhorizon was probably the album of 2014.

Before that, as The Goner he released a slew of top drawer albums such as Behold The New Traveller which gained the admiration of the Archdrude himself, Julian Cope.

E GONE’s music straddles post rock, drone, world music, ambient and primitive heathen folk. A spirit of adventure runs through his music as does a core of good old-fashioned song writing.

Now, hot on the heels of the SMOKEDIVER EP, here is the brand new album, Advice To Hill Walkers.

advice

Get your pith hat on, get your sabre ready, put the kettle on, E GONE’s taking us on a trip…

‘Mark The Spot Where You Leave The Injured’. Under a death knell drone jinks a playful melody. Imps and goblins come out to play as the song lurches into a lob-sided gait.

‘Your Goal Is To Know Everything And Say Nothing’ starts the album properly with evil thoughts; harsh, twanging riff and back-of-the-woods banjo that brim with paranoia.

‘Follow Moonmilk Rivers’ stirs more rhythm in, learning from the Eastern sounds of SMOKEDIVER. Casbah boogie time. A heavy staccato bass stokes a heady psych groove. A myriad of sounds dart across your perception as your brain locks down. Free range trippiness.

‘Build Your Camp Out Of Alpine Moss’ is deep forest dwelling. Stark guitar stab, synth squeals, aggravatingly slow drones hum and the occasional glimmer of life form the drums. This is one of the many moments on the album which brings to mind a version ‘Poptones’ by Public Image which has been warped into soundtrack music.

‘Dwell In Tents By Day, Hike At Random By Night’ seems to be at the wrong speed, compounded with an eye-pokingly obvious tinny drum machine beat. Slight dub overtures lend to the oddity. The weirdness makes this track a highlight of the album.

‘Find New Methods For Compass Use’ returns to the ambient days of the Bitemarks EP. (Ludicrously you can get Bitemarks for free right here).

‘Bring Ice And Rope’ continues the hard fought uphill battle with sluggish bass painting a painful forced march. Images of William Friedkin’s film Sorcerer are evoked: death and mud intertwined.

‘Record The Humming Of Melodious Caves’ brings back the tribal beats. Curiously danceable (if you dig ketamine) and lashings of fidgety Eastern strings.

‘Continue Ascent While Blindfolded’ provides what appears to be a medieval re-imagining of the theme tune to 60s ghost / detective show Randall & Hopkirk.

Closing the album is the only epic to be found here, ‘Reach the Summit, Egg!’ Delving deep into drones and meditative states of mind this song uses everything that has come before and uses all the lessons learnt to provide an intense final push. As we are reaching the peak of the album it is only natural that sound breaks down, leaving us oxygen starved and muscle depleted. Yet we are enriched by the path we have taken and the sights we have seen.

There has been a clear trade-off from All The Suns Of The Earth. The wild mood swings have been smoothed out. While that album veered from the giddy ‘Hexx’ to the strident folk of ‘Traveller You Will Sing’ to the subconscious brain invading and mournful lament of ‘Hazel Motes At The Plastic Vortex’. There the genre hopping was more delineated. Here however, the lines are increasingly blurred. This sacrifices some of the unpredictability that made All The Suns Of The Earth so thrilling but in turn provides a more subtle blend. All the elements at play have now become fully assimilated. I would sum up by pointing out that the album is more sophisticated but less accessible. All The Suns Of The Earth should definitely be your first buy before coming here.

The album is totally instrumental. A shame as Westerlund has a strong voice that punches many emotional buttons. Similarly it is a concern that the more traditional singer-songerwriter aspects of his work appear to be receding into the distance. Songs like ‘Heaven Send Your Love’ and ‘A Song’ are an important part of his appeal so it is hoped we can hear him singing again soon.

As mentioned earlier with the ‘Poptones’ reference, Advice To Hill Walkers has the demeanour of PiL’s Metal Box gazed at through a circus hall of mirrors. The album is evil and brooding and yet rippled with subtle flavours of psych like the darkest of dark chocolate. There are temptations to call this slow motion post punk, especially considering the ceremonial bass underpinning the entire affair. There are hints of the decaying entropy of songs such as ‘Broke My Neck’ by the Bunnymen and ‘Kilimanjaro’ by The Teardrop Explodes, maybe even the second half of Bowie’s Low. From contemporary music we could view this as being the dark reflection of The Woken Trees Nnon.

Advice To Hill Walkers… dancing in the halls in the dead.

LINKS:

Advice To Hill Walkers on Bandcamp

All The Suns Of The Earth or for swanky vinyl (2014)

Review

SMOKEDIVER (2015)

Review

Albums as The Goner: HH and Behold A New Traveller are available here

Human Pyramids – Planet Shhh! (2014)

Human Pyramids: a delicious blend of Sigur Ros, The Only Ones and twatting the Aussies in the Ashes.

Their album, Planet Shhh! is huge, vitamin D drenched music that falls between pop and post-rock. A more suitable description might be to say the music falls between “penguins” and “cocktails”.

If all this seems overbearingly whimsical, then it fits; dry, dusty comparisons don’t fit music so joyously technicolour. Vivid images play across your mind in a dizzying whirl.

Attempting to be more clinical, Human Pyramids is not so much a band as a stonking ensemble under the auspices of Mr Paul Russell. Here you’ll find cello, violin, accordion, tuba, trumpet, French horn…

Here’s the front over of Planet Shhh! It’s the perfect album art for music that could be drawn with waterproof crayons. In fact, the album should really come with free glue, glitter and sequins.

pyramids 2

Let’s look at some of the highlights:

As soon as ‘Tall Tales’ starts you are blinded with opulence. Strings, accordion and trumpets usher you into this three-dimensional sound world of bliss. A barrage of the happiest post-rock you’ll ever hear.

‘The Bubble’ is possibly the highpoint of the album. A jingle jangle tune that sporadically explodes into an ascending rocket cluster of euphoria. Before things get a bit too formulaic, there is a surprisingly display of swerving, careering guitars.

Click to listen.

‘Relapse’ manages to salvage the ukulele from its recent adoption by train station loitering stalkers. Xylophones, stomping drums and high voltage guitar. The video features a ball pit, the best comparison for Human Pyramids you’ll ever need. If you ever feel sad that as an adult you are no longer able to jump in a ball pit, stick this album on instead.

Click to watch the video for ‘Relapse’

‘Skimming Stones’ has a country-ish lilt reminiscent of whichever song The Fall ripped off for ‘Janet, Johnny & James’ yet this soon gives way to a waterfall of sugary textures. There is also a hint of electro-pop rhythm, like a theme tune to a crap 80s game show.

‘Singing Sands’ steroid pumped lullaby with a cavalcade of drums and huge guitars. Blasts of brass blare.

‘A Town Called Malaise’, apart from being a neat pun, conjures the kind of excitement that only an episode of Thunderbirds could generate.

A peacock’s tail of an album that over-flows with joy. It’s time to invent new superlatives.

Caudal – Ascension (2014)

As we all know, the hardest substance known to man is groove. Berlin band Caudal build their colossal mountain of sound on a groove so vast and steel reinforced you would need dynamite by the tonne to stop them in their tracks.

Over 40 minutes long but consisting just 3 tracks, Caudal’s album Ascension lives up to its name, taking the listener higher and higher into a realm of total submission.

caudal cover

Let’s start with ‘Uprise’ (click to listen) …

Imagine Joy Division’s ‘Shadowplay’ boiled down to a groove then served with a gusto that makes Hawkwind look like daisy pickin’ hippies.

The bass is surprisingly subtle and mellow; it soothes as it much as it slams. Yet the unrelenting charge of the groove is irresistible. The guitar offers chiming, sharp signals; not riffs but carefully balanced transmissions.

Past 8 minutes and the groove is beginning to wane, struggling to maintain momentum as the guitar takes control with waves of effects; shimmering and colliding, strobing, power overload. At 10 minutes, dreamy desolation. Shoegaze torpor. From a Slowdive swirl, jazzy drums operate on the periphery. We’re adrift, no sign of an end. Then, past 14 minutes… bass is spotted, offering succour and providing a course to pastures new. Slowly the guitar regains its strength and grows again; it’s simplicity providing yet more power to the rejuvenated bottom end.

‘Slow Bow’ is a bit more sunshine and love. Taking its cues from the ambient end (i.e. the Brian Eno end) of krautrock. a fragile jangling guitar takes the lead, not a million miles away from a ketamine version of the guitar on Crowded House’s ‘Weather With You’ (no, seriously). There’s also a plaintiff hint of The Durutti Column and the pagan psych of The Blue Orchids.

Constantly dissolving and nebulous; all manner of wafting oddities drop by for your attention. In some respects, the album shares some qualities with the soundtrack to the movie Master & Commander, where classical bombast meets forlorn listlessness. The mysterious noises presented by the guitar and it’s pedal board grown and grow until all that remains is a miasma; trying to discern identifiable shapes in a blizzard of static.

‘451S2’ continues the album’s jellyfish-like journey until life returns.  Drums kick back in with a clattering 4/4, the bass is deep and thudding, hard and chunky as earthenware. This tracks clocks in at under 6 minutes. rather a paltry amount considering the length of its brother tracks, making this more of an outro piece.

Caudal have a F1 engine where a rhythm section should be. Combining the power and dynamism of space rock with the sleek fluidity of motorik, this is everything a growing boy needs.

A remarkable journey through space. Purchase your ticket immediately.

thudd – bludd (2015)

Mysterious, unknowable post-rock glides in from NZ thanks to thudd.

The fact that the tracks are called ‘bludd 01’ through to ‘bludd 05’ highlights the bands approach to the post-rock / jazz aesthetic of exploration. Even before you hit play you can sense the long, winding passages and meditative jams.

cover thudd

‘bludd 01’ opens with a heavy, atmospheric, noir-ish bass line with sparse electro beams before jazzy drums land. Once the groove locks it holds fast. A guitar offers muted stabs and screams, trying to disrupt the flow of the song. Part Jah Wobble album, part thriller soundtrack the album is off to a stylish start.

‘bludd 02’: the guitar turned up to sharp and needling. Dry and sun-baked.

‘bludd 03’ focuses on static-y electro; receiving signals from darkness. The bass slows to Joy Division on Closer tempo. Dark and downbeat, melancholy and inverted. Increasingly agitated as the song brews, a Gang Of Four sense of muted aggression emerges.

‘bludd 04’ is all about the bass. Heavy cruising like a pirate galleon.

‘bludd 05’: subterranean, dank and creepy. Long splinters of guitar and glacial bass. Deep space beckons: echoing and listless. Finally entropy sets in and the album collapses inwards.

Taking it in turns to shift focus from the rhythm section to the guitar to eerie electro, thudd use a post-rock mentality to take us through 5 slowly adapting, evolving pieces. A highly adept band at the use of mood and atmospherics, bludd is a skilful, interesting work.

http://thudd.bandcamp.com/album/bludd

Dead Sea Apes live at Soup Kitchen 02.06.2015

Dead Sea Apes are rising. Gaining a reputation as a hotly sought after support act and with a third album imminent, it’s fine time for the Apes.

Supporting Chilean motorik merchants Follakzoid at Soup Kitchen they put on a stringent, confident show. Their music veers from miasmic ambience, to metal with a groove,to dubby space rock. Never quite aligning their allegiance with any of these genres provides them with a fleet footed ability to keep people guessing.

Each member of the band gets space to shine. Brett Savage’s guitar is building structures-within-strucures, an oil dipped faberge egg, occasionally an effects laden soup, occasionally forming crystalline patterns. Nick Harris’ supple bass keeps the momentum and stops the music drifting into arty experimentalism. The fact you can nod your head to Dead Sea Apes goes a long way. Maybe the star of the show was Chis Hardman on drums: quite a simply he provided the power of a double drummer line up, a hypnotic sight of flailing metronomy.

I still think the best way to enjoy Dead Sea Apes is to marry their albums with a cup of tea, plate of biccies and a sci-fi book, but as a live show they’re only going upwards.