avant . leftfield . post-rock . drone . experimental

WEEK STARTING 24 May

Genre pick of the week Cover of Field Of Heads by Billy Mahonie.

Billy Mahonie

Field Of Heads

    Formed in the first wave of British post-rock alongside the likes of Mogwai in the late 90s, John Peel favourites Billy Mahonie return with the first new music from their original line-up in some twenty-four years. Whilst their debut album ‘The Big Dig’, released in 1999 on Too Pure Records, is considered a classic of the post rock genre, Billy Mahonie always crafted their intricate music with memorable hooks and melodies and performed it with energy and gusto. Theirs was not an aimless, meandering sound, instead the songs and attitude were rooted in punk rock, and still are. Billy Mahonie put the rock into post-rock.

     ‘Field Of Heads’ sees the band returning with their classic original line-up of Gavin Baker (guitar), Howard Monk (drums), Hywell Dinsdale (bass and guitar) and Kevin Penney (bass and guitar). Whilst this line-up has been semi active for a few years, no new material came to fruition. After their last gig in 2017, however, the band decided it was time to get back into the studio, but with two members living abroad new challenges were faced, but ideas were shared, old ones were resurrected and finally in October of 2019, Billy Mahonie were back in the studio.

    Recorded over two long weekends on either side of the Covid 19 lockdowns, the band tracked at The Church studios, owned by their former collaborator and front of house engineer Paul Epworth, with senior engineer Luke Pickering at the controls, allowing ‘Field Of Heads’ to quickly take shape.

    New single ‘Kaiju’ gives the music world the first taste of ‘Field Of Heads’ and right from the off, it’s classic Billy Mahonie. Immediately bursting into life with the energy and melody that is so unique to their sound, Howard’s driving drums thrust the music ahead as the guitars and synths weave their way around them. Intricate and shifting, but never at the expense of a tune that sticks in your head.

    “This one came from a chord progression myself and Gav first tried out jamming in 2010,” explains drummer Howard. “Needless to say, when Hywell and Kev got their hands on it, it became something no-one ever envisaged. Kev's great title is, of course, the Japanese name for the subgenre of monster-based science fiction. A frenetic riff opens the song and for a counter guitar part only two options remain, play in the minimal gaps or find an overarching theme. We chose both. Kaiju films influence the additional Synths, echoes of those early Japanese movie themes. Some people we have played this to in advance have suggested this track is one we should lead with, as it is kind of where we left off. We agree. It rocks pretty hard. And is a bit funky too. What’s not to like?!”

    After nearly quarter of a century, Billy Mahonie are very much back. 


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: A bracing stab of noise infused post-rock from the legendary Billy Mahonie. There are elements here of math-rock and post-hardcore but it's essentially a slab of frantic, perfectly paced instrumental rock. Right up my street.

    TRACK LISTING

    Side A
    Atomic Clock
    Kaiju
    Hearts Vs Minds
    Spy Guy
    Side B
    The More I Know You
    Impossible Sky
    Tributer
    Dry Season

    A Place To Bury Strangers

    You'll Be There For Me / When You're Gone

      Introducing "The Sevens" - A Sonic Revelation from A Place To Bury Strangers Prepare to embark on a transcendent auditory journey with "The Sevens" a series of four 7-inch vinyl records that unveil a treasure trove of previously unreleased tracks from A Place To Bury Strangers' critically acclaimed 6th album, "See Through You"

      Renowned for their visceral sonic assault and immersive live performances, A Place To Bury Strangers has cemented the end-all-be-all space for over-the-top post- punk / shoegaze destruction. With this special vinyl collection, the band invites listeners to delve deeper into their sonic universe, exploring uncharted territories and hidden gems. You'll Be There For Me/ When You're Gone is the fourth release.

      "When looking back at the recordings that were done around the time of See Through You there were a bunch of great tracks that just captured life back then and really had something incredible going on. Even though they are a bit raw and a bit personal, I thought it would be a mistake if they didn't come out. I thought it would be best to go back to my roots and put out a series of 7"s the way A Place To Bury Strangers started. That strange weird format where the tracks each speak for themselves, no album context to muddy the water. These tracks are such a contrast to the way I am feeling now and the current songs we've been working on so slip back into this moment in time." says APTBS' Oliver Ackermann.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. You'll Be There For Me
      2. When You're Gone

      Ren Schofield’s long running electronic project Container returns with his first release since the Creamer EP in 2021. Rolling straight out of the pandemic Schofield has since played a large number of live shows all over the planet, rilling up audiences with a heady mix of method and mania. Now is the time to unleash a new studio offering.

      Yacker presents what is undoubtedly an electronic record but one imbued with a spirit more aligned with rock music. Always hijacking the electronic music scene for his own unique and twisted path here we see a further extrapolation on his original blueprint for DIY noise techno adding a more physical and muscular edge to the standard hysterical proceedings. The drums retain an almost human, somewhat muscular feel with a sweaty and suggestive ‘real drums’ feeling.

      Schofield cites inspiration on Yacker as the Nirvana song ‘Oh, The Guilt’, the Mindflayer album ‘It’s Always 1999’, and the Rah Bras song ‘Sooop Toe Pump Girls’. Container has always danced the absurd space between serious and stupid, with Yacker all elements are turned up to eleven as he delivers a pristine field guide to furious frenzied fun.

      Yacker strikes an even balance between heavy, relentless, joyful, silly, and sloppy. Think Lollapalooza 1996 held at Berghain 2006 and you are somewhere on the way to formulating this fresh new insanity from one of the contemporary electronic music scene's more playful pioneers.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Abrasion
      2. Eraser
      3. Spray
      4. Aerator
      5. Drooper
      6. Yacker
      7. Cone
      8. Bonkers
      9. Onion
      10. Spritzer

      Brian Eno, Holger Czukay, J.Peter Schwalm

      Sushi. Roti. Reibekuchen

        Groenland Records are proud to announce that, in May 2024, they will be releasing a document of a unique – if until now little-known – performance given by BRIAN ENO, HOLGER CZUKAY & J.PETER SCHWALM, in which they were accompanied by Raoul Walton and Jern Atai, members of Schwalm’s group, Slop Shop. Billed as a “High-Altitude-Food-Performance with Incidental Music by Slop Shop and Brian Eno”, with Can co-founder Czukay’s appearance kept under wraps in advance, it was recorded on August 27, 1998 outside the Kunst-und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland – the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany – in Bonn, Germany, at the opening party for an exhibition of Eno’s Future Light-Lounge Proposal multimedia installation. 

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Sushi
        2. Roti 
        3. Wasser 
        4. Reibekuchen
        5. Wein 

        Khanate

        Capture & Release

          Largely recognized as their breakthrough album, Khanate was confident enough by the two-song, forty-minute Capture & Release (2005) to peel back its layers of thick mossy droneand reveal the minimalist underpinnings, a change either interpreted as maturity or an implied threat. “It’s a grim, avant-garde exercise in tension and paranoia. Dense, leaden drones fill up the spaces between O’Malley’s sparse, deeply sustained guitar chords. Vocalist Alan Dubin’s anguished vocals seem to convey the tortures of the damned as if there were not a shred of hope left for existence in this world. Capture & Release is not dissimilar to black metal in how it so violently conveys such a bleak and ultra-nihilistic world outlook. But while the standard tempo on a black metal album typically strays into the triple digits in terms of beats per minute, Khanate’s plodding pace keeps the BPM soundly within the singledigit range.” (Tiny Mix Tapes).

          TRACK LISTING

          A1. Capture
          B1. Release 

          Khanate

          Clean Hands Go Foul - 2024 Reissue

            Clean Hands Go Foul (2009) generously offers more of everything: voluminous drones, clashing dissonance, mysterious subharmonic swells, escalating terror, and environments drenched in heavy anticipatory dread. The final hour of the band’s first decade sees Khanate, as always, making “music that, even in the realm of extreme music, is dark and distorted” (Pitchfork). Clean Hands Go Foul would be followed by the ultimate minimalism, as the Khanate entity sat shrouded in silence until the release of 2023’s To Be Cruel.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Wings From Spine
            2. In That Corner
            3. Clean My Heart
            4. Every God Damn Thing 

            Roy Montgomery

            Temple IV - 2024 Reissue

              This is the first vinyl issue for what is arguably Roy Montgomery’s finest solo album, originally released in 1996 on CD. The original album has been enhanced with two newer tracks that constitute side 4 of the album.

              From the original press release:
              Few recording artists have aligned the quantity and quality of their releases as well as New Zealand singer/guitarist Roy Montgomery has in 1995. Beginning with kranky's release of the soundtrack for an imaginary film That That Is...Is(Not) by Roy's duo Dissolve early in the year, a series of superb albums and singles have been issued by a variety of labels across the world. Each one of them is a must have. Most recently, the Drunken Fish label released a collection of pastoral drones entitled Scenes From The South Island, singles have appeared on the Roof Bolt and gyttja labels, and further singles are scheduled with Ajax, Siltbreeze and others.

              Temple IV is the first solo recording by Roy Montgomery on kranky. The album was recorded by Roy on a 4 track tape deck and then thickened up with monophonic moog. The tracks on the album are thick with interwoven guitar lines and moog drone, inspired by the Guatemalan rain forests and the mysterious ruins of the temple and ruins Roy visited there. Roy Montgomery spent the past year in New York, Chicago and London before returning to New Zealand. While in the UK he played live with Flying Saucer Attack and collaborated with spoken word performer Kirk Lake. A brief tour across the United States in September saw Roy performing before enraptured audiences in New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles.

              The long overdue recognition of Roy Montgomery as a crucial figure in New Zealand's musical history as a member of The Pin Group, Shallows and Dadamah, is now augmented by his new recordings. Temple IV will serve to extend and deepen that appreciation.

              TRACK LISTING

              A1. She Waits On Temple IV
              A2. Departing The Body
              A3. The Soul Quietens
              B4. The Passage Of Forms
              B5. Jaguar Meets Snake
              C6. Above The Canopy
              C7. Jaguar Unseen
              D8. The Light Is Heavy The Rain Is Soft*
              D9. I Will See You There*

              *bonus Tracks

              Mui Zyu

              Nothing Or Something To Die For

                As mui zyu, Hong Kong British artist Eva Liu searches for a portal, wandering between nothing and everything in her pursuit of peace. On her second full-length album nothing or something to die for she looks outward, embracing the chaos with each tentative step.

                mui zyu's debut album Rotten Bun for an Eggless Century saw her explore her heritage, as she dived inward to find acceptance and healing. Now, instead of searching for answers from the inside, Liu raises her head to look at the world around her. As she attempts to understand the complexities and significance of human existence, she observes apathy alongside overwhelming chaos; the technological advancements of connection with the lack of meaningful bonds and the frustrations of upholding standards set by others. nothing or something to die for tries to decipher these juxtaposing truths, holding both the weight of those trying to destroy the world with the utter futility of it all.

                Working with co-producer and fellow Dama Scout band member Luciano Rossi, the sonic world of nothing or something to die for encapsulates both the fleeting tranquility of serenity and the dissonance in chasing it. After all, our reality can change in an instant. Like the psychedelic tones of Ryuichi Sakamoto's Thousand Knives, the urgent techno-pop of Miharu Koshis Parallelisme or the eerie wanderings of Angelo Badalamenti's work for Twin Peaks, nothing or something to die for expertly toes the line between disorder and clarity.

                Lead-single “the mould,” which is inspired by moving on from the past and pushing against the grain to attain inner peace. “Missing the dread, obsessed with it,” Liu sings over a shifty instrumental, carried by blocky drum machines, sharp guitars, and woozy synthesizers.

                The track is accompanied by a psychedelically youthful video inspired by creepy ‘90s kids shows, directed by 3D artist and Dama Scout member Danny Grant. Creatively toying with VR sculpting techniques, the otherworldly visuals came to life as Grant intentionally misused the high-end VFX software Houdini. It plays into the song’s wonkiness, heightening its empowering transcendence.

                On the track, Eva Liu shares: "'the mould’ is a frosted glacial sweetie about the many meanings of mould. mould is very cool, and the right kind can give you super powers. unfortunately though, it’s less than ideal to be squeezed in to a mould that doesn’t fit snuggly. so i’m at the bottom of the rotten jelly bowl trying to work out what mould is the good kind, and what is the bad kind, and maybe realising none of it really matters at all, as long as i can get out of this steep, slippery bowl. this also marks a new approach for my writing indicative of the whole record in a kind of anti-overture-y way."

                TRACK LISTING

                Satan Marriage
                The Mould
                Everything To Die For
                Donna Like Parasites
                The Rules Of What An Earthling Can Be
                Please Be Okay (feat. Miss Grit)
                Telephone Congee I
                Speak Up, Sponge
                What’s The Password Baby Bird?
                Hopefulness, Hopefulness
                Telephone Congee Ii
                Sparky (feat. Lei, E)
                In The Dot (feat. Pickle Darling)
                Cool As A Cucumber
                Ɖ

                Slate

                Deathless

                  Following the force of their introductory singles 'Tabernacl' and 'St Agatha', the band return with an invitation to explore their landscape of violent poetry and gothic propulsion to the fullest extent yet. Prepare to be lulled under their spell once more with the slow-burn of forerunning single, 'Remoter Heaven'.

                  Produced by long-time collaborator Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard's Tom Rees. It begins in a dream state of hypnotic repetition that mounts in intensity, with vocalist Jack Shephard presiding over it all with his distinctive, poetic drawl. His protagonist is revisiting a memory of the pain inflicted by a thorn as a child; "I was awake with feeling", he confesses, before the song takes on the momentum that feels like a triumph over the numbness attendant to adulthood.

                  Of the track, Shephard shares: "I liked the idea of writing a very simple narrative to a big, epic song - something as modest as the story of a child playing in some flowers and then bursting into tears when a thorn pricks their leg. The words are an ode to that sensitivity we embrace when we are young. Then, when we become adults, we insist on subjugating all of that wonderful, absurd rage."

                  'Remoter Heaven' follows on from 'Tabernacl' and 'St Agatha' which earned Slate rave write-ups and support from publications including NME, CLASH, So Young, DIY, Buzz Magazine, The Most Radicalist and more, as well as early radio plays from the likes of Huw Stephens and Steve Lamacq on BBC 6Music, Matt Wilkinson on Apple Music 1, John Kennedy on Radio X and Jack Saunders on BBC Radio 1.

                  Emerging from the depths of Cardiff’s burgeoning music scene and heirs to their country’s lineage of storytellers, Slate are barely touching their twenties, but together, they have command of post-punk which rings with the gravitas of a death knell; a grasp of atmosphere and melody which touches on the ethereal.

                  Their debut EP, Deathless, is their most ambitious act of storytelling so far. Recorded in one take, the narrative of its six tracks takes place within a single room - or, perhaps, one mind. It begins with what the band feel is some of the darkest material they will ever write, to reaching, in its second half, a place of transformation and epiphany. On the EP's vinyl edition, the lyrics are written out like a diary entry, each one penned in another member's hand. 

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Darryl says: Fantastic six track Ep from Cardiff's Slate. Lead track "Remoter Heaven" is 7 minutes plus of pure bliss, revisiting the epic extended grooves of 'A Storm In Heaven'-era The Verve.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Remoter Heaven
                  2. The Heir
                  3. Sun Violence
                  4. Deathless
                  5. Shade In Me
                  6. Hailstone 

                  Colin Stetson

                  All This I Do For Glory - 2024 Reissue

                    As a narrative, it exists temporally somewhere between 2015's "Never Were the Way She Was" (with Sarah Neufeld) and the 1st volume of the NHW Trilogy. With this, his first solo outing since 2013's "To See More Light", Colin Stetson ventures into territory both familiar and strange. Here still, is the dogmatically stripped down approach to performance and capture (all songs recorded live with no overdubs or loops) but there is an immediacy to the album that belies a more invasive and thorough miking of the various instruments being utilized and a seeming influence drawn from the early nineties electronica of artists like Aphex Twin and Autechre, evident in the more pointed role played by the instruments' many percussive elements.

                    There are ancestries, motivic and timbral, woven through these six songs that plainly anchor them within the shared universe of his Trilogy, though the overall experience is one of extreme intimacy, the sounds and imagery more tangible and immersive than previous offerings. The brief and brutal "In the Clinches" recalls (or presages) echoes of songs like "Judges", though now feeling like one has fallen down the bell of Stetson's ancient bass saxophone itself. "Spindrift", crystalline and serene, calls to mind the ambient works of Aphex Twin, while "Between Water and Wind" with its "Immigrant Song" swagger, relentlessly carves its way into the bedrock here, paving the way with an increasing focus on the minute and the minimal, with a deepened sense of patience shared by most of the album's six tracks.

                    Engineered and mixed by Stetson himself, this album represents a decidedly independent approach across the entire creative process and finds him at the top of his game, both as a composer and instrumentalist as well as a producer.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    1. All This I Do For Glory
                    2. Wolves On The Fold
                    3. Between Water & Wind 
                    4. Spindrift
                    5. In The Clinches
                    6. The Lure Of The Mine

                    Ufomammut formed in the late 90s by Poia (guitars, FXs) and Urlo (bass, vocals, FXs, synths), (rising from the ashes of past band Judy Corda), together with Vita (drums). With Levre taking over on drums in 2021, the band has undergone a rebirth, culminating in the release of the album Fenice and the Crookhead EP.

                    Over the course of 25 years, the band has developed a unique sound that combines heavy, dynamic riff worship with a deep understanding of psychedelic tradition in music.This has resulted in a cosmic, futuristic, and technicolor sound that fully immerses listeners.

                    The band has produced 10 records along with various other releases, such as compilations, EPs, and live albums.

                    Now, in 2024, as they celebrate their quarter-century milestone, the band is set to release their latest album, HIDDEN. This album marks a shift in the band’s musical composition, aiming for a more intense and heavy sound, and it’s the third release featuring Levre as the band’s new drummer.

                    The title, HIDDEN, reflects the concept of the presence of everything in our existence and the ability to bring to light what lies within us. With HIDDEN, Ufomammut delves into a sonic journey that traverses vast expanses of space and time.

                    From the crushing heaviness to the hauntingly melodies, from the textured compositions to the otherworldly atmospheres, HIDDEN testify the neverending evolution of Ufomammut and their mastery of creating immersive sonic experiences: a fitting celebration of their 25 years of sonic exploration and experimentation.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    1. Crookhead - 10.39
                    2. Kismet - 8.56
                    3. Spidher - 4.05 #
                    4. Mausoleum - 10.47
                    5. Leeched - 5.38
                    6. Soulost - 4.26


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