avant . leftfield . post-rock . drone . experimental

WEEK STARTING 16 Apr

Genre pick of the week Cover of Siblings by Alex Somers.

Alex Somers

Siblings

    Musician, composer, producer and visual artist Alex Somers releases his debut album Siblings in tandem with his other debut album Siblings 2 on April 16th 2020. Two double albums housed in a beautiful single sleeves Siblings and Siblings 2 have been a long time coming, being written between 2014-2016.

    Siblings and Siblings 2 have 13 hauntingly beautiful, impressionistic tracks apiece, the records draw on the composer’s main musical interests - film composition, ambient, post-classical, post-rock and electronica - combining grandeur and intimacy, broad brushstrokes and subtle detail, minimalism and maximalism.

    A known composer Somers has worked on an already prolific amount of film and TV music, such as Captain Fantastic, Honey Boy, Here We Are: Notes For Living On Planet Earth, Audrey, Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana and (with Sigur Rós) the Black Mirror episode Hang The DJ on Netflix. In parallel, Somers built a studio where he recorded the likes of Sigur Rós, Jónsi, Julianna Bardwick, Death Vessel and Damien Rice, and continued with his own recordings. Remarkably, given his vast experience, Siblings and Siblings 2 are the first albums under his own name.


    The Armed

    ULTRAPOP

      The Armed return with their first new album in over three years and Sargent House debut, ULTRAPOP. The album reaches the same extremities of sonic expression as the furthest depths of metal, noise, and otherwise "heavy" counterculture music subgenres but finds its foundation firmly in pop music and pop culture. As is always The Armed's mission, it seeks only to create the most intense experience possible, a magnification of all culture, beauty, and things. The band goes on to explain, "crafting vital art means presenting the audience with new and intriguing tensions sonically, visually, conceptually. Over time and through use, those tensions become less novel and effective and they become expectations. The concept of "subgenre" becomes almost the antithesis of vitality in art itself a fetishization of expectation. ULTRAPOP seeks, in earnest, to create a truly new listener experience. It is an open rebellion against the culture of expectation in "heavy" music. It is a joyous, genderless, post-nihilist, anti-punk, razor-focused take on creating the most intense listener experience possible. It's the harshest, most beautiful, most hideous thing we could make."

      ULTRAPOP follows their recent contribution to the Cyberpunk 2077 soundtrack “Night City Aliens” and 2018’s critically acclaimed album Only Love, which landed on ‘Album of the Year’ lists from The Atlantic, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Vice, Stereogum, and many more. The album was co-produced by the band's own Dan Greene in collaboration with Ben Chisholm (Chelsea Wolfe) and features contributions from Mark Lanegan, Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age, A Perfect Circle), Ben Koller (Converge, Killer Be Killed, Mutoid Man) and many more. Kurt Ballou (Converge, High on Fire, Russian Circles) remains at the helm as executive producer.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Ultrapop
      2. All Futures
      3. Masunaga Vapors
      4. A Life So Wonderful
      5. An Iteration
      6. Big Shell
      7. Average Death
      8. Faith In Medication
      9. Where Man Knows Want
      10. Real Folk Blues
      11. Bad Selection
      12. The Music Becomes A Skull

      Black Spiders

      Black Spiders

        Black Spiders – Those Trusted And True Sons Of The North Are Back. “We knew the new album had to be special. We’ve been away for a while. The first album was a straight shot, the second on the rocks, with this new one we had to kick down the brewery doors!” Pete Spiby. Back in June of 2017, Sheffield rock beasts Black Spiders waved goodbye to an army of loyal fans with some sonically charged shows before retreating into the shadows. And then, in November of last year, with the world in the grips of the Coronavirus pandemic and after a long year of very little fun from out of the silhouettes they returned with ‘Fly In The Soup’, the first new Black Spiders music in 6 years.

        Exactly the feel-good shot in the arm the world needed, while we await that other vaccine. The seeds of the Black Spider return were actually planted last summer, when singer and guitarist Pete Spiby began taking to guitarist Ozzy Lister to start writing new material and before they knew it, they had amassed the best part of 40 songs in a very short period of time which they whittled down. And then the pandemic hit. “It’s certainly been a strange process, in unfamiliar territory,” explains Pete. “We started to look at how we could do it given the restrictions and not only that, but we had to replace our original drummer too. For us and probably most other bands, we would usually take a riff or song idea to a rehearsal and thrash it out ‘till we either had something or it ended up in the song graveyard! This time around we couldn’t do that, so myself, Ozzy and on occasion Adam Irwin (bass player) started to send ideas back and forth until we had something to work with in GarageBand. We got to a point where we had enough song ideas with basic structure to go into a studio. It was at this point when we had to look for a new drummer.” With former drummer ‘Tiger’ Si Atkinson unavailable to play, with a week or two of grooming, the band took a chance on Planet Rock DJ Wyatt Wendel to occupy the drum stool. “I've never joined or worked with a band in this way EVER,” laughs Wyatt. “2020 certainly made it surreal. “A Pete/Ozzy writing session at the beginning of the year had produced some promising results, but it felt like barriers were popping up everywhere,” explains bassist Adam Irwin. “We started talking about how we could use technology such as GarageBand to help, and slowly but surely the song writing gathered pace. It was time to hook up with our old producer Matt Elliss and try these new songs out in the studio.

        "Heading into the studio to record songs we’d written but never played together, with a drummer that we’d never met, is one of the stranger experiences I’ve had while being in a band. Thankfully, Wyatt has turned out to be an excellent addition, who despite his faults (loud, southern) has fit right into the 3 band dynamic. Covid has made life really tough for so many of us in our industry. And yet, this new way of song writing has been liberating, this is the most consistent and prolific we’ve ever been, and I am immensely proud of this album.”

        Against all of the odds, Black Spiders have crafted an album that features 13 tracks of high-energy, feel-good rock n’roll contrasted by demonic doom that despite the disjointed, isolated way it was recorded. It sounds like a band, firing on all cylinders. “We had to dig down deep to pull out some gems and what would we want from Black Spiders,” questions Pete. War, vengeance, mental health, death, conservation & climate change, where are we from? Relationships, friendships, our flaws. Where are we going? Alien life and Mother Earth - some of which made the record.” Kicking off with the aforementioned ‘Fly In The Soup’ single, this 3rd ST long-player wastes no time in grabbing you by the scruff of the neck and dragging you through an album where good times, hooks and riffs are not in short supply, but the doom-drenched likes of ‘Wizard Shall Not Kill Wizard’ and the psychedelic groove of album closer ‘Crooked Black Wings’ give us an album of many moods and dynamics and a reason to be cheerful in 2021. And why does the album have no title? “It wasn’t hard picking a title for the album, as we decided that the focus should be on the band, not the album title, so we decided not to have one. Let the music do the talking....

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Fly In The Soup
        2. Stabbed In The Back
        3. Wizard Shall Not Kill Wizard
        4. Back In The Convent
        5. Give Em What They Want
        6. Good Times
        7. Death Comes Creepin
        8. Nothing Better
        9. Rock And Roll
        10. Free Ride
        11. No Luck No Bones
        12. Down To The River
        13. Crooked Black Wings

        Grauzone

        Grauzone - 40 Years Anniversary Edition

          WRWTFWW Records is very happy to reissue Swiss cult band Grauzone’s self-titled album in an expanded 40 Years Anniversary Edition packed with the original 1981 album plus 9 extra songs, as well as extensive liner notes by Swiss music historian Lurker Grand. The 19-track album is available as a double LP vinyl in heavy 350gsm sleeve and a digipack CD, both sourced from the original reels and put together under the supervision of band member and all around legend Stephan Eicher.

          The pioneering band from Bern (Switzerland) had a short-lived but highly-regarded career which birthed a cult discography that still fascinates and resonates today. Consisting of core members Martin Eicher, Stephan Eicher, and Marco Repetto, and on-and-off participants Christian GT Trüssel, Claudine Chirac, and Ingrid Berney, the elusive group broke new grounds in the early 80s, experimenting with punk and industrial music, early techno sounds, minimalism, new wave, pop, and various electronics. With an innovative and polished approach to design, visuals, performance, and all around style and philosophy on top of their superb music, the constantly transforming unit developed a whole experience - the Grauzone experience: wild and unpredictable, yet sophisticated and cohesive, or as Swiss music historian Lurker Grand would call it, "an Art band with a Punk attitude".

          Completely rejecting the music industry rules and refusing to play the game of promotion, touring, release schedules, and TV appearances even though they had a multi-platinum international hit with the song "Eisbär", the band quickly disintegrated in full convention-defying glory, leaving behind an inspiring music legacy for the world to discover and discover again, one generation after the other.

          This extended version of their debut (and only) album beautifully crystallizes the Grauzone miracle/accident - where pop and youthful experimentation meet at (new/cold/no) wave and industrial crossroads, and where classic hits ("Eisbär", "FILM 2", "Raum", "Träume Mit Mir", "Der Weg Zu Zweit"…) flawlessly mesh with unconventional deep cuts ("In Der Nacht", "Film 1", "Maikäfer Flieg"…). Very simply put: GOOD timeless music with an edge.

          Stephan Eicher went on to be, arguably, the most successful Swiss musician ever, with an international career extending from pop chanson to experimental escapades and collaborations with Moondog, artists Sophie Calle and Sylvie Fleury, and author Martin Suter among many other luminaries. Marco Repetto flourished as a techno and ambient producer, releasing multiple projects including releases on Aphex Twin’s Rephlex label. 


          TRACK LISTING

          Tracklist 2LP:
          A1. Film 2
          A2. Schlachtet!
          A3. Hinter Den Bergen
          A4. Maikäfer Flieg
          A5. Marmelade Und Himbeereis
          B1. Wütendes Glas
          B2. Kälte Kriecht
          B3. Kunstgewerbe
          B4. Der Weg Zu Zweit
          B5. In Der Nacht
          C1. Eisbär
          C2. Ich Lieb Sie
          C3. Moskau
          C4. Ein Tanz Mit Dem Tod
          D1. Träume Mit Mir
          D2. Ich Und Du
          D3. Wütendes Glas (Maxi Version)
          D4. Raum
          D5. Film 1

          Tracklisting CD:
          01. Film 2
          02. Schlachtet!
          03. Hinter Den Bergen
          04. Maikäfer Flieg
          05. Marmelade Und Himbeereis
          06. Wütendes Glas
          07. Kälte Kriecht
          08. Kunstgewerbe
          09. Der Weg Zu Zweit
          10. In Der Nacht
          11. Eisbär
          12. Ich Lieb Sie
          13. Moskau
          14. Ein Tanz Mit Dem Tod
          15. Traüme Mit Mir
          16. Ich Und Du
          17. Wütendes Glas (Maxi Version)
          18. Raum
          19. Film 1

          Alex Somers

          Siblings 2

            Musician, composer, producer and visual artist Alex Somers releases his debut album Siblings in tandem with his other debut album Siblings 2 on April 16th 2020. Two double albums housed in a beautiful single sleeves Siblings and Siblings 2 have been a long time coming, being written between 2014-2016.

            Siblings and Siblings 2 have 13 hauntingly beautiful, impressionistic tracks apiece, the records draw on the composer’s main musical interests - film composition, ambient, post-classical, post-rock and electronica - combining grandeur and intimacy, broad brushstrokes and subtle detail, minimalism and maximalism.

            A known composer Somers has worked on an already prolific amount of film and TV music, such as Captain Fantastic, Honey Boy, Here We Are: Notes For Living On Planet Earth, Audrey, Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana and (with Sigur Rós) the Black Mirror episode Hang The DJ on Netflix. In parallel, Somers built a studio where he recorded the likes of Sigur Rós, Jónsi, Julianna Bardwick, Death Vessel and Damien Rice, and continued with his own recordings. Remarkably, given his vast experience, Siblings and Siblings 2 are the first albums under his own name.


            Bureau B are excited to announce the arrival of a new Jimi Tenor double album! Following on from last year's NY, Hel, Barca compilation which showcased Tenor's early works and cuts from his first six albums, Deep Sound Learning shines a spotlight on unreleased tracks from 1993 to the year 2000. This intensely prolific period saw Tenor send countless DAT tapes to Warp Records, his label at the time, who stacked up the recordings in the office safe. Some of the songs preserved on those DATs made their way onto various Tenor LPs - whilst others remained unreleased to this day. Jimi Tenor and Bureau B have retrieved said tapes and crafted a double album (CD/LP) of previously unheard tracks in what is much more than a simple archival exposition.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            says: As a hugely talented and constantly prolific musical force, there was always going to be a wealth of unreleased gems from Jimi Tenor. It turns out that Lehto's unreleased cuts are considerably more capable than the majority of other artists' released work. A quintessentially Bureau B offering, full of groove and soul, and perfectly suited to home listening or a sunny outside dancefloor.

            TRACK LISTING

            A1. Exotic House Of The Beloved
            A2. Sambakontu
            A3. Dub De Pablo
            A4. Baby It Hearts
            A5. Anna Menna
            A6. Heinola
            A7. Jameson
            A8. Another Space Travel
            B1. Salo
            B2. Downtown
            B3. Bondage
            B4. Doin' Alright
            B5. Walkie Talkie
            B6. Espoo
            B7. O-Sex
            B8. Plan 9
            B9. Travellers Cape
            B10. Super Beat
            B11. My Woman

            Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan

            Interim Report, March 1979

              “Interim Report, March 1997” by Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan is Gordon Chapman Fox’s hymn and homage to the brutalist beauty of Cheshire’s designated new towns of Warrington and Runcorn.

              Chapman-Fox grew up in Lancashire, and having been a frequent user of the famous Preston Bus Station in his youth, he was struck by the enormous chasm between the sixties architects utopian vision for what new towns should be and the sticky-floored, piss-streaked reality. He explains: “The more I looked into it, the appeal of these visionary architects grew. It felt like perhaps the most visionary building projects of all post war Britain were some of the estates built in Warrington and Runcorn new towns, these twin towns on either side of the Mersey. The estates of Runcorn were space-age futurist with external plumbing, rounded windows and raised walkways. But as housing, they were a failure. Runcorn was the last great UK modernist, futurist building project built with a community in mind. “Interim Report, March 1979” looks at this interim, this gap between vision and reality.”

              At the time of recording the album, he says, “It seemed like there were a lot of ersatz-soundtracks to lost John Carpenter films, or obscure giallo “classics”. I preferred to find inspiration from the surreality of the mundane, hence the creation of Warrington Runcorn New Town Development Plan. 1979 seemed the perfect point to be located in time, sitting on the razor’s edge between the post-war consensus and the dawn of Thatcherism. As the concept took hold, I tried to format the music according to the capabilities of a small, provincial recording studio in 1979. I limited the number of instruments available, the number of tracks available and so on. This really helped to shape the album and anchor the concept. As a teenager, I was into rock and looking for ever more extreme sounds - AC/DC gave way to Metallica gave way to Carcass. But by the 90s I heard Warp artists and that was me hooked. What they were doing could be far more brutal than anything by four sweaty long-haired guys with guitars. But it could also be funky, beautiful, ethereal, melodic and so much more.” It’s that ethereality and true sense of time and place that Chapman-Fox has captured so well here. “1979 marked a change in the political and wider culture of British society. The Warrington- Runcorn development marks the swan song of post-war urban planning in the UK – soon the ethos of building better communities would be replaced by Thatcherite “no such thing as society” and “Greed is good” mentality. And look where that got us…“

              TRACK LISTING

              A1: Gateway To The North
              A2: Aeriel Views By Helicopter
              A3: Castlefields
              A4: The Town Of Tomorrow
              B1: Intercity
              B2: Shopping City
              B3: Windmill Hill
              B4: Gateway To The Future

              The Wire

              Issue 447 - May 2021

                Inside this issue:

                People Like Us: As Vicki Bennett prepares for an ambitious audiovisual UK tour, the arch-collagist talks Buddhism, subverting popular culture and the autoregenerative art of cut and paste. By Abi Bliss

                Joe Chambers: A significant contributor to sessions led by Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson, Andrew Hill, Joe Henderson and many others, the US drummer and composer discusses his distinguished career and new solo album. By Daniel Spicer

                Embassador Dulgoon: Part of a global network of sonic adventurers, Chilean musician Nicolás Carcavilla explores uncanny landscapes populated by mythic creatures via free-ranging neo-exotica. By Spenser Tomson

                Invisible Jukebox: Cathal Coughlan × Sean O’Hagan: The former Microdisney bandmates and current collaborators test each other with a mystery record selection

                Alpha Maid: Deconstructed rock and polyrhythmic grunge from the London based CANVAS associate. By Mariam Rezaei

                Sunareht: Back to the future for the Parisian producer. By Chal Ravens

                Charmaine Lee: New York based composer rebuilds the body electric. By Joshua Minsoo Kim

                Jonáš Gruska: The field recordist and sound designer takes the LOM route. By Louise Gray

                Xiu Xiu

                Oh No

                  Xiu Xiu makes beautiful music for hard times. For nearly 20 years, the band has a track record of crafting experimental music for moments when life’s harsh realities meet its existential mysteries. On the latest album, Jamie Stewart explores a recent revelation and is reminded of the power of the band’s music to surprise and connect. Listening to the songs on OH NO, it is hard to feel truly alone. Instead, it is a reminder that even when we’re alone, we’re alone together.

                  OH NO, the group’s newest album, is an album of duets, with Stewart sharing the stage with an array of guests who have made an impact on him personally and musically. This is the first Xiu Xiu album where every song spotlights Jamie Stewart and a collaborator. The album features artists across the musical spectrum, including Sharon Van Etten, Circuit des Yeux’s Haley Fohr, Grouper’s Liz Harris, Alice Bag, Chelsea Wolfe, Owen Pallet, and Twin Shadow’s George Lewis Jr., all drift into Xiu Xiu’s distinctive soundworld. The album was born out of anguish and isolation, but exists as it does because of a profound rediscovery of community and friendship. It is the sound of finding one’s place in the world after the destructive powers of jealousy and mistrust make any map seemingly unreadable.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Sad Mezcalita
                  2. I Cannot Resist
                  3. The Grifters
                  4. Goodbye For Good
                  5. OH NO
                  6. Rumpus Room
                  7. Fuzz Gong Fight
                  8. I Dream Of Someone Else Entirely
                  9. One Hundred Years
                  10. A Classic Screw
                  11. It Bothers Me All The Time
                  12. Saint Dymphna
                  13. Knock Out
                  14. A Bottle Of Rum
                  15. ANTS 


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