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BRACE YOURSELF

John

A Life Diagrammatic

    With March 2023's 7" ‘Theme New Bond Junior’/‘Hopper On The Dial’ reaching No.1 in the UK Vinyl Single Chart, and April 2023's BBC/KEXP supported ‘Trauma Mosaic’ single announcing a debut fifteen date US/CA Tour for October 2023. JOHN consolidate their reputation as a truly uncompromising force with the announcement of their fourth full length A Life Diagrammatic.

    The album – which features collaborations with award-winning actor Simon Pegg, and Barry Adamson (formerly of The Bad Seeds and seminal post-punk act Magazine) – is released via Brace Yourself Records & Pets Care Records, and is the follow-up to 2021’s Nocturnal Manoeuvres LP which crashed the top 75 of the main UK album chart.

    “Limitations are key for us,” says drummer and vocalist John Newton. “I never view being a two-piece as a minus - it’s a key idiosyncratic element of what the project is.”

    For the last decade, and now over four albums, the duo of Newton and Johnny Healey have constantly redefined and expanded the role, function and parameters of what a guitar and drum two-piece can be. No more so is this apparent than on their latest A Life Diagrammatic, a record that harnesses the punch and intensity of their blistering live shows with the band’s increasingly textural, cinematic and expressive sensibilities. “We knew the direction we wanted to go in after the last record,” Healey says of Nocturnal Manoeuvres. “We had started moving towards soundscapes rather than straight-up noise and four to the floor structure.”

    The level of thought, ambition and scope is what makes JOHN such a captivating and genre-defying band, and A Life Diagrammatic such a rich and evocative listening experience. And the album artwork is perhaps a perfect metaphor for the band itself: a surface level glance may only reveal the basic function of an ostensible two-piece rock band but undertake a full service and you’ll discover a wealth of complexity, technicality, skill and function. Or quite simply, as Healey himself says, “we're not just a rock band. There's more to it than that.”

    Seth Manchester (Big Brave, Battles, METZ) was brought in to mix the album, with Frank Arkwright (Mogwai, Arab Strap, Squarepusher, Autechre) mastering it at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. The aim being to merge the powerful live presence of the band whilst also honing in on some of the more varied dynamics at play. “We wanted to further explore the space and ambience of our instrumentation,” says Newton. “To offer an album that deliberately pushes and pulls in a multitude of directions throughout its duration.”

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Laura says: On their fourth album John continue to evolve their sound, adding more experimentation to their driving guitar and drums onslaught. As with previous releases, the taut guitar riffs create a tension throughout the album as it sweeps between brooding atmospherics and explosive outbursts, but there’s a more nuanced, cinematic feel this time around. This is typified on “Media Res” which features a strange, slightly unnerving monologue from Simon Pegg - a distorted conversation that you only hear one side of. Typical of the whole album there’s an ambiguity to the narrative that sucks you in and forces you to listen. There’s no snappy sloganeering here, the lyrical depth is integral to the sound as a whole, it’s an album that demands your attention. Still not convinced? Then surely a nod of approval, in the shape of a collaboration on “Riddley Scott Walker”, from the king of cinematic noir, Barry Adamson, should surely seal the deal.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. At Peacehaven
    2. Media Res
    3. Côte D’Adur
    4. A Submersible
    5. A Whole House
    6. Service Stationed
    7. Construction Site/Summer_22
    8. Trauma Mosaic
    9. Riddley Scott Walker
    10. The Common Cold

    Nuha Ruby Ra

    Machine Like Me

      Nuha Ruby Ra presents new EP Machine Like Me, featuring the singles Self Portraiture and My Voice. 2021’s How To Move EP, released to critical acclaim cemented Nuha as one of the most exciting and provocative new acts in the country. Live shows across UK and Europe followed - both as headliner and supporting the likes of Yard Act, Warmduscher, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard and Viagra Boys - and in 2022 her debut at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She’s also booked prestigious slots on home turf at the likes of Glastonbury and Bluedot, as well as European showcases at Left Of The Dial, Reeperbahn, Grauzone and more.

      On this colossally ambitious new EP, Nuha’s drive is plain to hear. She played almost every instrument herself, holed up in a small Essex cabin, from the dirty bass drones of My Voice to Self-Portraiture’s squalling battles between synth and guitar, the lurching punk stomp of 6 In The Morning to the teeming electronics of Slicer, the manic industrial noise of Rise to You Never Know’s sudden strip back into moody ambience.

      “The most important thing to me is that I do exactly what I want,” says Nuha Ruby Ra. “Not in a stubborn way, but in the way I need as a person.”


      TRACK LISTING

      1. My Voice
      2. Self Portraiture
      3. 6 In The Morning
      4. Slicer
      5. Rise
      6. You Never Know 

      Muck Spreader

      Abysmal

        Muck Spreader found a home in the London circuit, performing alongside the likes of Fat White Family, Wolf Alice, Warmduscher and Black Midi; though this is not an indication of their sound, which continues to be forever morphing, unique and uncategorizable. The band’s latest EP Abysmal is their first vinyl release and signals a louder and further departure into sonic experimentation.

        The EP follows Rodeo Mistakes, released last year to acclaim from the likes of So Young Magazine, DIY, Dork, Huw Stephens at BBC 6music and Jack Saunders at BBC Radio 1. With Abysmal we find deranged screams and a music rich with filthy bass, sludgy guitar, shrieking saxophone, and glitchy effects. The drums anchor the chaos.

        On EP openerTake Flight Muck Spreader offer the following: "Fasten your seatbelts, find your nearest exit, and in the event of an emergency please assume the brace position. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. You are now in the safe hands of Captain Frosty Theodore, and the crew will do everything in their power to Keep it Mucky Take Flight"

        The past year has been eventful for Muck Spreader; throughout 2020-2021, they have soundtracked Vivienne Westwood’s catalogues while Muck Spreader frontman, Luke Brennan, featured as one of Westwood’s “SS21 voices”. With nods to punk and grime, and inspired by everyone from The Dubliners to Ornette Coleman, Muck Spreader talk about social values and social bases through a fully improvised setup. "There is no process to our writing" they say. Liberated from the boundaries of traditional form, Muck Spreader are a collective pushing the confines both sonically and with what it means to be a band.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Take Flight
        2. Would He?
        3. Mass Graves
        4. Freshly Squeezed
        5. A Particular Shade Of White
        6. Matilda
        7. Plumbing Problems
        8. 50 Pictures Of Your Dad


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