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UPSET THE RHYTHM

The World

First World Record

    The World are a five people from Oakland, California who write rambunctious dance music with a post punk tool kit and an insightful yet short attention span. Their songs typically clock in around two minutes long and are a wild head-rush of Amber Sermeno’s funk-minded bass lines and shuddering dubbed-out guitar courtesy of Andy Jordan. Amber also sings alongside Elyse Schrock, who anchors their propulsive songs with some supremely robust drumming. The steady beat is bolstered further by Alexa Pantalone’s expansive bongo rhythms and flurrying saxophone melodies. Stanley Martinez is the final member of the band, doubling the sax quota and contributing to the complex interplay of instruments that make The World’s music so immediate, compelling and groove conscious.

    The World sound like the future erupting out of all your favourite DIY punk 7”s simultaneously. There’s the infectious momentum of Essential Logic driving things ever forward, the arty minimalism of Lilliput underscoring the band’s lyrical subject matter. Whilst the instinctual songwriting of Swell Maps pervades alongside the manic humour and inclusiveness of Splodge. The World use all these lightning rods as jumping on points to hurtle us all into a new dimension very much of their own making. This upsurge of energy and vision has now been skillfully captured on the band’s debut LP ‘First World Record, out this October 6th on Upset The Rhythm. ‘First World Record’ follows on from their well-received debut 7” EP ‘Managerial Material’ which was also recently released by Upset The Rhythm.

    ‘First World Record’ was recorded by Brett Eastman (a member of Andy Human And The Reptoids, along with Andy Jordan). Brett also helped mix the album with the band before being mastered by Mikey Young. ‘Hot Shopper’ is the exhilarating opener from the album. “You’ve got the whole world in your hands, check those coupons!” urge the band amid the insistent pulse, whirl and bop of the band’s inimitable sound. Sticking with matters of temperature, ‘Some Like It Hot’ follows with icy stammering guitar and a soaring spree of saxophone. “Old hygge creatures in the ice age, iguanas in a cot, what else do you expect when you boil that pot?” they question throughout this rock-solid dancefloor quake of a track.

    Normil Hawaiians

    What's Going On?

      1983. A distinct malaise afflicted the nation. The UK was about to re-elect Margaret Thatcher by a landslide, cruise missiles arrived at Greenham Common in Berkshire, six people were killed by the IRA outside Harrods, nuclear reactors suffered system failure in the USA, Russia, Argentina and Germany. The Face magazine showed an exhausted youth that everything was OK as long as you looked ‘right’. A curious revisionism had become prevalent. The Jam had become the Style Council and style itself had taken precedence over substance: Mod was back, early rock and roll was back (thank you Shaking Stevens). Even Bowie had ditched the gloom for flash, but actually it was all shit.

      Some wanted out. The socially and politically ambitious ‘anarcho-punk’ scene that clustered around Crass and the Poison Girls was encouraging people to learn the practical means of self sufficiency, be it squatting, hot-wiring your electricity from the nearest lamppost or making your own chemical toilet. The associated Peace Convoy was gathering people if not speed, espousing a roving kind of communal living as a form of Non Violent Direct Action.

      Normal Hawaiians were based between Thornton Heath and the Brixton squat scene encircling the anarchist bookshop at 121 Railton Road. The brutal 1981 Brixton Riots and the heavy-handed policing that followed had fostered a billowing sense of conflict with state forces. Hawaiians drummer Noel Blandon says of that period “we were post-Falklands and five years into Thatcher. She was out to destroy all the institutions we held dear.” Getting out of lockstep with Thatcherism seemed imperative. Adding to the overriding sense of restless anxiety, close friend and band associate Martin Pawson took his life in July 1983.

      Following the release of More Wealth Than Money (Illuminated, 1982), there was an impetus to make good on hard won achievements. Rehearsal and writing sessions resumed in the early months of 1983 at Intergalactic Arts Studios, off the Old Kent Rd in London. IGA was a ramshackle, semi-residential rehearsal space where the Hawaiians – none of them ‘natural’ musicians - would often play and rehearse in the dark, recording demos onto cassette.

      Illuminated Records had been sending roster artists to Foel Studios in Powys, Wales for years, and it had become a kind of refuge for the Hawaiians. As Guy Smith says of that summer “Canary Wharf had been built. The squat scene was closing down. We had to get out. We got in the bus and hit the road.” Studio owner/manager (and Hawkwind/Amon Duul II alumnus) Dave Anderson was welcoming, unruffled and accommodating when around a dozen band members, friends and family emerged from the ‘mini-peace convoy’ of vehicles into the hazy, pastoral care of the warm, Welsh countryside. Although Foel was and is a residential studio, the very number of people who showed up meant some were kipping down where they could, sleeping in vans and cars for two weeks.

      Whereas More Wealth Than Money had evolved in the recording studio, What’s Going On began to develop as a more pre-meditated, albeit piecemeal work. Quiet Village and the unreleased Outpost had already been finished at Foel in February 1983. Recording Engineer Brian Snelling recalls how the Hawaiians approach to making the album was unconventional and spontaneous, revelling in chance and openness. Rehearsal tapes from IGA were played along to, and and improvisations allowed to develop, with further layers of sound accreting (as can be heard on the final cut of Big Lies). Free Tibet was created by the band playing together exploratively (guitars and their sounds were ‘treated’ with a penny whistle and a rusty screwdriver) with Snelling waiting to hit ‘Record’ until he heard that something interesting was coalescing. He recalls the sessions being initially unorthodox, but eventually settling into a friendly, productive and very familial affair. Rotating visitors came to the mixing desk to hear playbacks and offer their thoughts. Away from the ‘peacelessness’ of London, the space and security of both the studio and the countryside had enabled the Family Hawaii to make good progress.

      Mixed tapes were then taken by Dave Andersen and Guy Smith to Charly Records’ editing studio in London where Andersen had worked and was able to pull downtime. Here they spliced the recordings into an irregular yet coherent, flowing work, Side One being intentionally and meticulously honed as a seamless and inventive narrative. Recalling the rudimentary nature of both the equipment and the demo tapes brought in, Snelling now views the end result as ‘brilliant’ though his initial feeling on hearing the edited and mastered LP was that the record had been ‘cut to pieces’. Final masters were then EQ’d and cut by Graeme Durham at the newly opened Exchange Mastering Studios in Camden.

      And then nothing happened. Unbeknownst to the band, Illuminated Records were getting into deep financial problems and by early 1984 were struggling to release label-saving albums from Throbbing Gristle, 400 Blows and Kevin Ayers. Meetings with company boss Keith Bagley were often held in dusty old daytime drinking clubs around the Fulham Road, but the label was in its death throes. Test pressings sounded good but the printing of the cover was all wrong. The cover image was too green, though thankfully a final batch had this corrected to a more appropriate sepia hue. As it became clear that the release was in danger of a catastrophic failure without the goodwill of distributors and promotors, the label gave the band 250 copies to sell as a ‘Sorry for Fucking Up goodbye present’, but the record shops wouldn’t touch them. The company had been blacklisted. Smith and Alun ‘Wilf’ Williams screen printed the label name off the LP to distance it from disaster, but to little avail. This intricate, challenging and engaging work had been failed by poor circumstance.


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd LP Info: Glossy, printed gatefold sleeve, with offset (matte) paper inner sleeve, booklet, limited black vinyl pressing (500 copies). Download card with bonus tracks included with LP.

      Ltd CD Info: Bonus tracks included on CD version too.
      CD gatefold wallet with booklet. 500 ONLY

      Bamboo

      Daughters Of The Sky

        BAMBOO (Nick Carlisle - keyboards, production, also of Peepholes / Katy & Nick) & Rachel Horwood (vocals, electric banjo, also of Trash Kit / Bas Jan) announce their third studio album "Daughters Of The Sky", on Upset The Rhythm.

        The album was written and recorded over a two year period where ideas and arrangements were allowed to slow-cook and develop over time, in contrast with the last album "The Dragon Flies Away" which came together relatively quickly for the duo. The music comprises the usual (for Bamboo) mix of Horwood's flawlessly resonant folk cadence and Carlisle's pristine synth production, whilst TR808 drum machines and samples lock together with acoustic drums, themselves often given the "Tony Visconti" Eventide Harmoniser treatment of Berlin-era Bowie albums. Ancient ARP synthesisers and Mellotron flutes and horns sit next to contemporary digital sounds and samples in a hauntological tapestry over which Horwood can intone her sometimes mournful, often uplifting vocals.

        The first single taken from the album, "Weeping Idols", released March 29th reflects upon a recurring theme of religious dogma and spiritual entrapment, and is accompanied by a stunning video shot by Jack Barraclough around the North Coast of Northern Ireland, taking in the Giant's Causeway and the Kinbane Castle ruin. Carlisle's infectiously colourful synth riffs and pop production, featuring sun-burst harp playing from Brighton-based singer/multi-instrumentalist Emma Gatrill, contrasts sharply with the darker tone of Horwood's lyric, jarring in a way reminiscent of "You Have Placed A Chill On My Heart" by The Eurythmics.

        Although "Daughters Of The Sky" breaks away from the storybook concept format of The Dragon Flies Away, in that sense being more similar to Bamboo's debut album "Prince Pansori Priestess" (2015, ★★★★★ - Record Collector Magazine), there are still recurrent themes that run through the album such as motherhood, the cyclical nature of life, emancipation and liberation. "Branches dancing, bud stems growing, fibres swaying, arms unfurling" Horwood sings in The Deku Tree, a song which roots motherhood in nature's eternal cycle of birth and death. In the title track we see two perspectives of women spanning time and geography, Horwood drawing inspiration from the personal and also political. In 1917 a Russian match stick worker looks out of her window dreaming for a better life; in 2019 a Filipino maid in Hong Kong yearns to return to the children she has left behind. Both share a revolutionary spirit, protesting and fighting for a new world.

        What might be the centrepiece of the album, "East Of The Sun / West Of The Moon", an 11 minute epic, begins with a serene, desolate ambient intro which eventually transports us over the waves to some unknown land. Here we track the journey of a displaced people who are rejected from pillar to post, prevented from crossing over political lines, judged by fellow humans by their few differences over their myriad similarities. "And we all walk a different pace, though we end up in the same place" sings Horwood, as the song's new-found rhythm seems to break apart again and slowly splinter away in different directions, the fragments hanging in the air as a new section emerges featuring a rare lead vocal from Carlisle.

        Bar the brief instrumental coda "Tenebrae", the album ends on an optimistic note with "A World Is Born", an upbeat song of renewal. Horwood sings of the creation of a new world for a new generation, out of the ashes of a society stagnating under the collapsing weight of late capitalism. Saxophones provided by Emma Gatrill (her second guest appearance on the album) answer each vocal line in call and response style over more harmonised drums reminiscent of Bowie's "Low". Carlisle originally wrote the music following the death of Bowie, and Horwood added some Prince-like backing vocals (Prince having been name-checked in the title of the first Bamboo album). Although her lyric makes no reference to the loss of these giants, their influence hang over the song in a way which can only add to the sense of hope and rebirth, a sense which is indeed felt throughout the album.


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Coloured LP Info: 180 gram gold vinyl – 500 only for the world.

        Constant Mongrel

        Experts In Skin

          ‘Experts in Skin’ is the little sister follow-up to 2018’s ‘Living In Excellence’. The A side single holds the familiar post-post punk angst the band is known for, only building ever higher with a triple saxophone flurry and singer Tom Ridgewell’s mutters on the often awkward nature of mainstream consumerism. On the flip side the band turns to its pop sensibilities producing the tough but sweet sounding ‘Schnuki’. Bassist Amy Hill’s bouncing vocals contrast to the anarcho-punk growls below. Subject matter being another complaint about people that are really fake nice. Can I help you darling? Honey? Sweetie? Deary? Pumpkin?...... no thanks. Constant Mongrel have previous releases available on RIP Society, La Vida Es Un Mus and Siltbreeze.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Ltd 7" Info: 400 copies only on transparent vinyl.

          “Once we really leaned into the space that being a three-piece afforded us, our writing started to make better sense and connect,” explains guitarist-keyboardist-vocalist Natalie Hoffmann. “It made for a more interesting record than if we stayed comfortable and safe in the way we were writing.”

          “More interesting” is a classic hard undersell. When Alexandra Eastburn left nots in 2018, the threat of losing the gnarled texture or her hammering synth progressions resulted in some real growing pains for the band. But once the newly anointed threesome arrived at Bunker Audio in Memphis to record with trusted engineer and friend Andrew McCalla, each member had embraced nots fresh identity.

          Rather than abandon the noisy synth attack, Hoffmann instead decided to add another role to her expanding sonic arsenal, painting the backgrounds of tracks like “Floating Hand” and “Half-Painted House” with melting buzzes and swirling waves that sound menacing and ominous at one turn and hypnotic and seductive at another. After the record began to take form, it felt much more accurate to understand 3 as a different force altogether from its Goner predecessors, Cosmetic (2016) and We Are Nots (2014).

          Themes of lost control and societal division are spread throughout 3. They can be heard not only via Hoffmann’s reverb-drenched drawl, but also in the sneaky tightness between drummer Charlotte Watson and bassist Meredith Lones that occasionally (and quickly) devolves into a beautiful, reckless cacophony before shoring back up again (see opener “Low” as excellent proof).

          Elsewhere, on cuts like “Persona” and “Rational Actor,” nots explore the loss of reality in performance and just how exhausting it can be to navigate the blurry line between playing an actor and playing human. It’s all pretty heady stuff, no doubt, but because nots tracked and recorded 3 live—as has been their way with all of their albums—they were also able to infuse it with what Hoffman describes as “an intensity and improvisational energy.”

          So to what does that ultimately amount? A dark, unpredictable, raucous, liberating, and bold tour de force of a third record from the Memphis three—along with a strong impression that the best still yet to come.


          FORMAT INFORMATION

          LP includes MP3 Download Code.

          Red Channel

          Crazy Diamonds EP

            Melody (vocals, synth), Casey (vocals, synth), Bill (bass), Scott (guitar) and Marcus (drums) united through a shared post-punk sensibility and began experimenting with some angular drum and guitar give-and-take, layered with duelling synth refrains.

            Over this Melody and Casey worked-up their vocal harmonies through impulse, developing an interplay reminiscent of The Go Go’s at both their most serene and severe. The pairs vocals drift through each track, punctuating the profound and guiding us through each song’s uncanny terrain.

            After a busy year of local shows and bouts of instinct-first songwriting, Red Channel chose a number of their most resonant songs to record with Andrew Schubert at Golden Beat. These were subsequently mixed by Eric Carlson and then mastered by John Hannon for this debut 7” EP on Upset The Rhythm entitled ‘Crazy Diamonds’.

            The title track launches the listener through a stratosphere of cascading notes, swoonsome lyrical turns and tack-sharp pivots in rhythmic practice. ‘Crazy Diamonds’ is an exhilarating rush of a song, both wistful and defiant. Melody explains that it is “about the forever fluctuating reality that weaves in and out of ecstasy, loneliness, yearning and destruction. It’s about women being free from a superficial beauty, it’s about the cessation of ideals and power worship.” ‘Giver’ is a similarly sprightly yet pointedly questioning track, “alone in your room, alone with your thoughts, of sleepless shadows, but what do I get?” sing Casey and Melody in spooked unison.

            ‘Demons’ swirls with minimalist pop moves, a trailing backing vocal and a tumbling bass motif, whilst a dream-like quality pervades the guitar and keyboard lines. Melody then peppers the song with references to extinguished lights, evil forces, bags of sugar, floods and heaven on earth, drawing us so close that we enter the vision too. ‘Slowness’, which brings this debut EP is a close, is another triumph of illusory lyrical association and punchy gesture. In fact the band sound “caught in a fragment, non-corporeal” throughout all the four tracks. Opalescent passages freewheel into splintered eruptions, there’s a duality constantly in play, “somebody dies, somebody’s born”.

            The songs collected here are manifestly catchy, conjured in cyclical patterns that are distorted by a desire that tends towards stream of consciousness. It’s this willingness to wake-up in the unreal and see each moment reflected in the mirror which really sets apart Red Channel’s first record.


            FORMAT INFORMATION

            Ltd 7" Info: 400 copies only.

            Hash Redactor

            Drecksound

              A glance at the résumés of Hash Redactor’s members might seed certain expectations. But with their debut full-length, Drecksound, the band―fronted by guitarist Alec McIntyre of Ex-Cult, featuring NOTS rhythm warriors Meredith Lones on bass and Charlotte Watson on drums, and rounded off by George Williford (stringed instrumentalist of various Memphis acts) on second guitar―banishes any residual side-project status.

              Though Drecksound at times evokes certain mini-masterpieces of recent history, like The Country Teasers’ Destroy All Human Life, or labelmates Spray Paint’s Feel the Clamps, it ventures into musical territory tethered neither to its own lineage, nor to that of the current era...a clattering, distorted oasis in the sleek digital desert of the late twenty-teens.

              Yet perhaps both because and in spite of the isolation that can typify rock music-making at the end of this malfunctioning decade, these twelve songs deliver a timely and cathartic social criticism: one that champions a comic nihilism, acknowledging the abyss while laughing in its face. As McIntyre wryly sneers in the opening lines of Open Invite to the Cave Party, “I won’t settle for anything less than a four-star refugee camp...” McIntyre’s writing chortles in puckish amusement at humanity’s paradoxical impulse toward self-destruction. A merry prankster, but one more in the mold of a black-clad Terry Gilliam than a Ken Kesey acid casualty. This is on no fuller display than in A-side epic In The Tank, written through the eyes of a vindictive custodian who boils alive the wealthy patrons at the isolation tank facility where he works. HR is out for some weird revenge, tongue planted firmly in cheek.

              McIntyre and Williford’s guitar interplay draws from a rundown of usual and unusual suspects in the tight corner of avant-punk guitar work, conjuring some free-association that includes: Marquee Moon, an imaginary-electric John Fahey, the playing on Ornette Coleman’s mid-70s Body Meta and Dancing In Your Head, prime-era Flesheaters, plus the first two Meat Puppets albums. Without anything resembling traditional leads, guitars snake in and out and around Lones’s bass lines, which alternate between slinky, ohrwurm hooks and steel-cable raw power. All of this is locked together by Watson’s visceral swing. It doesn’t feel controversial to claim that the duo of Watson and Lones constitutes one of the best rhythm sections to be heard anywhere in contemporary punk music. Taken as a whole, the songs possess the character of drunken koans—belabored jokes that, peeling away layers of churning riff and gnarled hook, possess some kind of ultimate truth, albeit a cheeky one.

              After playing out heavy in 2018 with a refined live show, a four-song demo, and several Gonerfest appearances under their belt, Drecksound was cut entirely at home on a borrowed 8-track cassette machine. Matt Qualls of Memphis’ Young Avenue Sound mixed the resulting deranged mess into its final form which Goner Records and Upset The Rhythm have teamed up to release.


              FORMAT INFORMATION

              Coloured LP Info: Limited to 300 on mint colour.

              Vital Idles

              EP

                “superb one chord thrash, somewhere between the oblique minimalist pop of Flying Nun and early Rough Trade signings such as The Raincoats.” CLASH MAGAZINE.

                “Glasgow’s Vital Idles are a great example of all of those things: the DIY ethos that produces the best kind of post-punk; guitars so thin they sound as though they could topple over at any second; tightly wound, groovy rhythms that take you with them rather than leaving you behind.” LINE OF BEST FIT.

                Brand new 7” EP from Glasgow’s Vital Idles, following on from the band’s well-received debut LP and a rigorous Marc Riley BBC 6 Music session from last year. Vital Idles are touring Europe in support of the EP, finishing up in the UK playing a series of UTR showcase parties in celebration of the label’s 15 year history.

                If there isn't yet a tradition of following a magnificent debut album with a, shoelaces-tightened, excellent mission statement of an EP (one would be forgiven to think that the debut long player was the mission statement already, breaking in on the scene/ry with such unmissable and rarely seen sensory delight, but then upon hearing the subsequently released EP one is tempted to think: "Wow! That debut was truly astonishing but now they are REALLY on a mission!"), well, if this tradition doesn't already exist - and thinking about Young Marble Giants' scene-defining "Final Day" 7", Pylon's absolutely essential "!!" 10" and Carla Dal Forno's recent-yet-already-classic "The Garden" 12" one might argue that this tradition is undoubtedly fully existent (more so: alive and well) — then this self-titled extended play from much beloved Glasgow quartet Vital Idles would surely be a striking argument for the genesis of such a tradition.

                On the other hand, when taking sides with the many seasoned critics arguing that this tradition has indeed long been established, one might confidently list this effort as a bona fide example of such practice, sharing with the aforementioned not only an astute and accomplished artistic ability but also a sense of minimalist psychedelia that transcends restrictions set by redundant referencialism and grateless genre parameters such as "Post Punk" or "Minimal Pop" (on which the same critics, of course, often disagree).

                That being said, ping-ponging from gritty post punk smashes to minimal pop moments and vice versa, Vital Idles' sphere of stripped-down efficiency and sharp personal observation also brings to mind crucially overseen half-chord-wonders Glorious Din as well as antipodean contemporaries like Constant Mongrel (who also had their latest release mastered by the fantastic M. Young), Primo! (who also had their latest release mastered by the fantastic M. Young) and Terry (who also had their latest release mastered by the fantastic M. Young).

                The EP reveals itself as a steady, hypotenusal rise of intensity and momentum, starting with the hallucinogenic restrain of opener "Break A", building tension throughout the gothic-noise flourishes of "Seconds" and "Rustle Rustle" and culminating in "Careful Extracts", a 2 minute burst of carefree introspection that might as well be the unintentional answer to early career highlight "My Sentiments": "just me and my/ tired ire/ a a a a a a a a a a"

                In conclusion: Vital Idles' debut was truly astonishing but - wow! - now they are truly on a mission.


                 'Girl with Basket of Fruit' is a rowdier, yet more stylistically splenetic offering than 2017's 'Forget', with the usual eye-catching list of collaborators this time including Eugene Robinson (Oxbow), Devin Hoff and Haitian percussionists Emmanuel Obi and Ayo Okafor. Xiu Xiu is the conduit for the uncompromising and unnervingly personal musical works of Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist Jamie Stewart, plus a roll call of collaborators both in studio and onstage.

                Rattle

                Sequence

                  RATTLE is an ongoing musical project concerned with experiments in rhythm, metre and tension. Katharine Eira Brown and Theresa Wrigley make up the duo from Nottingham, who with just drums and occasional vocalisations weave an expanse of percussive vortices. Their songs swirl and envelop with all the physicality and drama of another world pulling together around its own shifting centre of gravity. The drum beats phase and sidestep, they trade accents and overlap, providing a suitably alive terrain for the vocals to explore similar tendencies of pattern.

                  Rattle’s debut album was released in 2016 through Upset The Rhythm / I Own You and was greeted with much critical praise, this often singled out their hypnotic minimalism and ecstatic regard for the dance floor. The following six months saw Rattle support Animal Collective on their UK tour before heading out around Europe with The Julie Ruin.

                  Rattle used these opportunities to try out new material and unconsciously began writing their next album. Brown recalls that “hearing our drums in these larger venues, with amazing sound, made us excited about how beautiful and magic the drums sounded, we were quite spellbound by how they were able to fill a venue so completely.”

                  ‘Sequence’ was written in much the same way as their debut, with the duo facing each other over their shared palette of drums, allowing songs to develop naturally and suggest their own direction. However, Brown and Wrigley were more confident of what they wanted to achieve with this follow up, having already proven the concept watertight through their debut and subsequent concerts. They knew they could wrestle songs out of the silence with such a setup, so afforded themselves greater time to explore extended, long-form composition. ‘Sequence’ is composed of four tracks, each clocking in around 10 mins or over and focused squarely on a deeper resonance with the creative act, illustrative of how ideas build from scratch, of how music can grow out of repetition. Recorded at JT Soar in Nottingham with Phil Booth and Mark Spivey (Rattle’s live sound engineer), the album developed out of these four points, with Rattle honing their sound with detail. Everything was stripped back to just the drums and Brown’s voice. Percussion flourishes were deemed unnecessary, overdubbed layers of vocals were kept to a minimum. As a result, this quartet of songs are more meditative and aware than previous efforts, with the duo’s attentions spent tapping into each track’s potential, mapping out expeditions in tempo and making much of the journey over destination.

                  ‘DJ’ is the first part of the album to unfold, its insistent, rotating beat slowly morphs into an avalanche of shimmering cymbals, before a plateau of echoed rim shots cools all to the core. Throughout, Brown’s wordless singing tethers the song to its atmosphere, an effect similarly employed to perfection in ‘Disco’ which follows. ‘Signal’ unfurls as an odyssey of rhythm, it’s tumbling beat, punctuated by shivers of hi-hat bluster and mesmeric tom fills. “Put your ear to the ground, it’s an incredible sound” confesses Brown in her most telling lyric from the album, leaving you convinced that Rattle are somehow channeling all this music from a quiet, elemental other-place. ‘The Rocks’ concludes the record with sparse assurance, it’s an exercise in magnified scope and altered states. Wrigley and Brown divide duties across all these tracks, with the cadenced, dynamic shifts of hi-hat and cymbal being Theresa’s domain, whilst Katharine holds down the toms and snare. Brown notes that “each song can be seen as representing a different drum in my set up”. ‘DJ’ is an exploration of her snare, whilst ‘Disco’, ‘Signal’ and ‘The Rocks’ are based around the floor tom, rack tom, and bass drum respectively. All of this is complemented further through the production interventions of Mark Spivey, who wanted to capture Rattle’s huge live sound on tape for this album with all its incurred dub-delay trippiness, taming and melding.

                  ‘Sequence’ is a liminal album, thoughtfully crafted with themes of transition and realisation at its heart. It feels like a trance or ritual if you give yourself to the recording. It urges you to step outside and listen deeper. Rattle are seeking out a vivid array, an order from the noise, a pattern that unlocks the next. This album is the nurturing of intention and when we walk to its beat we arrive anew. 

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  Ltd LP Info: 180g vinyl – pressing of 500 copies only.

                  London-based punk band Sauna Youth are releasing their third album this September under the thrilling and fatal moniker Deaths. The album will once again be released by Upset the Rhythm.

                  The final part in a trilogy of LPs that started with Dreamlands in 2012 (wide-eyed, naive beginnings introducing listeners to the world the records inhabit), followed by Distractions three years ago (what happens while you’re heading towards a destination, the unknowns, the unexpected outcomes), the songs that comprise Deaths are collectively about the act of finishing, an ode to ‘the ending’.

                  Creating this album was a working research project embodying what is sometimes the hardest part of musical endeavour: completing a record. Making a new album is always daunting, but when all band members also have full-time jobs and other commitments it can also seem logistically impossible. Then there is the nagging, unattainable perfectionism that can draw out a record for months or even years - an experience that didn’t bear repeating. When is something finished? Is finishing necessary to move on?

                  The album was created and facilitated through a series of deadlines. The recording studio was booked before any songs had been written. Having a deadline in advance allowed for productive freedom through limitation and finite time: five months to write the album, that was it. This meant meeting every week to write no matter how many members could make it, filling in on each other’s instruments (reminiscent of how side-project Monotony came about: writer’s block in a Sauna Youth practice - removing yourself from your role in a band removes the old expectations) and using automatic writing processes.

                  The limited time didn’t allow for much reflection and overworking. Placeholders became final tracks through committing to songs at early stages, keeping them immediate. The album is site and time specific - those months in an archway in Peckham, which live on through samples including amp interference from trains passing overhead. It’s also very much of this specific point in history, influences, and band members’ lives. This process created a tension through trusting decisions and not questioning what was produced.

                  The 12 tracks touch on political rhetoric, artistic legacy, action and passivity, work and leisure, and, of course, distraction, referencing many musical genres in the process while never leaving punk’s orbit.

                  Creative living becomes more gruelling and endless than the 9 to 5 on ‘Leisure Time’, how freelance living and having multiple jobs both result in no free time. Being in a band is leisure time, but can be a lot of work. Our lives should afford us with time, but we fill it with activity.

                  ‘No Personal Space’ looks at the cyclical nature of music, referencing ‘New Rose’ - the first single by a British punk band - via a drumbeat and lyrics, exploring the enclosure of the genre; a blown out recording of practising constantly interrupts the band.

                  ‘Percentages’ was written at a point of political and social upheaval and problematizes the use of numbers as a form of proof. Whole groups of people have been reduced to statistics for political reasons, and people use and manipulate statistics to prove any point they want.

                  ‘In Flux’ is about whatever is opposite to creativity, what kills it dead, the communication of a song or a piece of art can kill it, even trying to see an idea through to its conclusion can be what kills it.

                  The pure pop number ‘Laura’, according to Jonah Falco who mixed the record, sounds like “The Desperate Bicycles went to graduate school in the fields of Salisbury while being yelled at by two sides of their conscience, oddly enough, telling them the exact same thing.”

                  ‘Problems’ - a former Monotony song - reduces the punk song to its essential elements, aiming to sound like being inside a brake factory and repeating “Problems” until it has rendered the word completely meaningless.


                  The album ends with a wild and playful rejection of patriarchy and a frustration with those who uphold it either willingly or through inaction in the form of the unhinged Theatre 83. It’s like English music hall meets ‘We’re A Happy Family’ by The Ramones.

                  Like the previous two albums, Deaths includes writing put to music. ‘Swerve’ and ‘The Patio’ are extracts from a short story written by band member Ecke about the murder of an artist whose estate is overseen by her ambitious sister, and is read by writer and frontperson of Marcel Wave, Maike Hale-Jones.

                  Samples are as important as they ever were - this time including the aforementioned electrical interference, recordings of practice and YouTube videos of lawnmowers and cafe noise that people (including members of the band) listen to while working to distract their mind in order to focus.

                  An album once finished is frozen in time, solid and no longer resistent or adaptive to outside forces. Does the difficulty to find an end come from the genre, from punk’s revisionist impulse, redoing the same thing over and over? Do we avoid an ending because playing in a band is a distraction from everyday life?

                  The album was recorded by John Hannon of No Recording Studios in June 2017 over three days, mixed by Jonah Falco and mastered by Kris Lapke.

                  The cover was shot in a garden in Brixton by Owen Richards, who also photographed the covers for the previous albums. Additional artwork provided by R.M. Phoenix. The first 500 copies of the LP version each come with a unique 3 colour screen-print produced by Mince at The Positive Press.

                  Sauna Youth is Boon, Mince, Ecke and Pines. They played together in the band Monotony, and between them have played or do play in other bands and music projects including Primitive Parts, Feature, Child’s Pose, Lilac, Cold Pumas, Oblate, Teufelskreis, Mind Jail, Gold Foil, Tense Men as well as being involved with the organisations Good Night Out, The Positive Press, Constant Flux & Heart n Soul.


                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Barry says: Another crashing punk assault from Sauna Youth with thudding kick drums, fuzzed guitars and snarling, spitting vox akimbo. Yet another reason for this London 4-piece to enter your collection, as if there aren't enough already.

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  Coloured LP Info: 180g limited colour vinyl + poster – 500 only for the world.

                  I’m going to set Carpe Diem as my alarm for the next week and see how that makes me feel. It will be replacing an alternation of Werewolves of London and Baby, It’s You. After a week the familiarity might feel kind of insane but kind of nice. Ad nauseum to the coffee. Yeah! Terry is into repetition. Terry often feels like the daily grind but set inside a Loony Tune. They can be slightly nasty and violent, but funny at the same time. I laugh at Terry riffs a lot. The lyrics are droll, yes, but have you heard the riffs? It’s like they’re tickling you. It’s like Terry has got his great big fingers under my arms. But this is all part of a strangely conceived plan. I would almost say that Terry is highly conceptual. Possibly the most conceptual band I’ve been around, possibly in my whole life. Like… what’s really going on here? Why am I listening to jingles and feeling so moved?

                  My favourite songs on Terry’s new album ‘I’m Terry’ (the band’s third record in three years), are Under Reign, it’s a creepy one, sandwiched between other new faves The Whip and Crimes. There’s a theme of dominance and submission here, but kinda unremarkable and ignorable, like knowing you're enslaved by your streaming service but just gently putting that out of your mind for another week. Terry is domesticity. Terry romances the mundane. This is how romance ekes out a triumph amidst mundanity. That’s what Billy Bragg’s New England and Squeeze’s Up The Junction do. Terry’s suburban escapism moment is Ciao Goodbye. Listen to Ciao Goodbye on an arterial road under the yellow streetlights of a weeknight. Terry has never been this beautiful. Terry may never be beautiful again, definitely not on this record. The next song is psycho.

                  That’s what I like about Terry, there are few rules in Terry’s world. They seem to make a song out of whatever sounds good to them. I literally don’t know what they’ll do next. They aren’t a genre study. The only stylistic consistency is in their hat wear. I’ve never been in a band like this. I’ve been in a band that simultaneously studied genre and also hats. But never only hats. Have you noticed the reggae undercurrent in Terry? There is one. This is good. Terry are kinda like Steely Dan or 10cc. Both bands make me queasy after a certain point. Terry probably also make me a bit queasy, singing about police beatings and nationalism and all that. But they’re not out to hurt you. They’re like the kindly bearer of bad news. There’s some awful shit going on in this country. Terry knows. Terry puts it in terms that speak to me. It’s a tragicomedy. I want to laugh and sometimes I want to consider crying. But I don’t think I will. I’m pretty certain Terry isn’t perverse, they’re just the harbinger of the encroaching perverse world. I’m pretty certain Terry wants to be my friend, and your friend. Our friend, Terry. Lee Parker, 2018. 


                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Barry says: With the recent reissue of the Moldy Peaches' eponymous lo-fi indie opus, they've reignited a previously roaring fire for clanging guitars and crashing drums, and it just so happens that Terry are the 'If They Could Play Their Instruments' version of the aforementioned. A similar whimsical sensibility, but underpinned with the tuneful twists and turns of a band know what makes a perfect progression. Brilliantly balanced and delivered.

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  Coloured LP Info: 300 x Transparent LPs (180g).

                  Ltd CD Info: 500 X CD.

                  Primo

                  Amici

                    PRIMO is Vio (Shifters), Xanthe (Terry) and Suzanne (film expert), on bass, drums guitar and vox. Their songs sound like the places you go when you’re working hard nine-to-five and can’t go anywhere. From A to B, Kings Cross the magnetic strip, sound’s effect, ghost in New York we didn’t see, scenes of suburbia, sea a sonic mirage. ‘Amici’ is the Melbourne trio’s debut album.

                    Apostille is a man who’s torn through enough sound-systems to know the difference between gesture and meaning. Alongside running his own acclaimed DIY record label Night School Records, Glasgow native, Michael Kasparis has spent the last few years making forays into the realm of hardcore punk with his groups Anxiety and The Lowest Form. Throughout all this, his solo electronic venture, Apostille has continued to evolve with each twist and turn of the world. What started off as a quest to whip up a mood and force that into a song has steadily become more of a mission in communication. His audacious 2015 debut album ‘Powerless’ self-released through Night School set the template by hooking up his honest delivery to some manic expositions in electronic pop. At once minimal and courageous with intent to connect, Apostille songs race off with unchecked abandon, skittering drum machines, thick walls of sequenced synth and decidedly elastic basslines. The resultant live shows, noted for their frenzy and ragged vision, soon left Kasparis wanting to reach out in a more imaginative way than through volume and conflict.

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    Ltd LP Info: Limited randomly packed black or red transparent vinyl.

                    Vital Idles

                    Left Hand

                      Debut album from Glasgow indie rock quartet that channel Kleenex and The Smiths, featuring members of Golden Grrrls (Slumberland / Night School). Following on from the band’s two cassettes of demos on Comfortable On A Tightrope and their sold out and well regarded 7”.

                      “somewhere between the oblique minimalist pop of Flying Nun and early Rough Trade signings such as The Raincoats.' CLASH.

                      Playing their first shows in Glasgow in 2015 during a summer that never threatened to show up, Vital Idles’ origins are closely tied with a tireless underground culture, a culture that informs the band’s refusal to take it easy. Matthew Walkerdine, Nick Lynch and Higgins are responsible for Glasgow DIY publishing institution Good Press - an independent volunteer-staffed zine and art book shop - while Guitarist Ruari MacLean’s pedigree stretches back to breakneck-indie-pop group Golden Grrrls and the Rose McDowall band.
                      Following two self-released demos and a sold out debut 7”, Vital Idles arrive on Upset The Rhythm with ‘Left Hand’, a bare manifesto layered with meaning and non-meaning. The group can conceivably be called artists, or Artists, but in approaching their debut album Vital Idles have stripped away all extraneous ornamentation to sculpt an incredibly life-like, vibrant pop music completely détourned and re-thought.

                      For a conglomerate of art outsiders and aesthetes, Vital Idles are primitive, whimsically brutal. Sculpting a skeleton from a body already lean, there’s a thrilling minimalism that runs through every beat and strum, a sparseness that feeds Jessica Higgins’s surreal, oblique vocal delivery all the nourishment it needs.

                      Following practice room and bigger-budget recordings with Glasgow engineer Andy Monaghan, Vital Idles took complete control of their debut album, with Edwin Stevens (aka recording artist Irma Vep) providing an outside perspective on the hermetically sealed group’s music. Engineered by Stevens and MacLean, ‘Left Hand’ crackles with a raw, punk approach to writing warped pop songs that don’t just talk of disorder but often actively demonstrate it. At the heart of ‘Left Hand’, the beating pulse in the tool box, is a conflict never resolved. Higgins manages to create dialogues that she narrates both parts of, Dada-ist songs that seem obfuscated by layers of meaning that, when taken on their own terms as evocative mini-worlds, reveal themselves to be pieces that have an internal melancholy and logic. Like Gertrude Stein growing up on Dunedin pop groups, peel away the deliberate awkwardness and ‘Left Hand’ reveals itself to be a book of complex, literary short stories at pleasing odds with the wired, no-frills melodic thud MacLean, Lynch and Walkerdine serve.

                      At times a perilous journey into the unknown and at others an immensely enjoyable foray into form deconstruction, lyricist Higgins repeatedly builds narratives out of mis-hearings, peons to doing things wrong, sideways-glances at conventional narrative. The delivery tightrope-walks between deadpan epithets and a Smiths-ian pop singing which gives many of the lyrics bite, pathos, and a surprising amount of surrealistic positivity. With Chains’ Troggs-ist chug stomping, Higgins flips the symbolism of the Chain into something to be tendered, cared for, is it a warped metaphor for the future, is a chain an aspiration? There’s an existential friction at the heart of Cave Raised that sees the narrator attempting escape, perhaps, unsure of themselves, “a poorly appointed project manager who says the best part is bowling around, which is a little like knocking around” that breaks into a melodic reprieve that feels like an unexpectedly romantic pay-off in the middle of “white space,” “Let’s tread the tides of time, to live it down, we’ll stretch these shores of mine to steal away.” Like many of Vital Idles songs, it can be read as a mini treatise on the song itself, or enjoyed as a visceral song that never does what you want it to.

                      Like fellow Glaswegians Life Without Buildings, Vital Idles make the oblique sound essential. On Like Life, Higgins is at her most precarious with straight-up emotion; MacLean’s melodic bassline seems to duet with the vocal as it seems, for once, to be straightforwardly vulnerable. After telling us “I don’t really care but I could, I should” our narrator begs the listener “Don’t leave me at home with all the people I lost and all the things I forgot. For all the people I lost, I care.” Whether it’s a slip of the artist’s mask of distance or a deliberate trick to fool us into caring, we care. It’s indicative of the tension in Vital Idles: pop songs unwilling to bend to convention, chart hits in the alternative timeline where Messthetics compilations are Now That's What I Call Music, endlessly inventive linguistics that reveal emotional depth, a dry, punk minimalism able to turn on a dime into a mouldy, witty kitchen sink story narrated by Samuel Beckett. It’s a tension that threatens to fall apart into dissonance or resolve into sweetness but thankfully does neither, rather it keeps Vital Idles moving forward, never standing still, never taking it easy.


                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      Ltd LP Info: Randomly picked yellow or black 180gm vinyl with poster and download code. 500 only.

                      Darlene Shrugg

                      Darlene Shrugg

                        Darlene Shrugg is unabashedly a rock ’n roll band. Formed in Toronto in 2013, it’s something of a local enigma; Darlene more or less abstains from an internet presence, and its public performances are sporadic at best. Now, over two, reticent years, Darlene has completed an LP, coaxing out an imaginatively produced debut album of brash theatricality and uninhibited Rock and Roll.

                        Darlene represents collaborative convergence. The band was conceived initially by Maximilian Turnbull (formerly Slim Twig) and Simone TB, who played together for ten years as art-punk duo, Tropics. Seemingly having exhausted the limits of their angular, hermetic approach, they felt it time to broaden horizons. They invited Meg Remy, creative force behind the critically lauded U.S. Girls project, to compose lyrics and vocal melodies for a new band’s repertoire. It was quickly apparent that Remy should also perform in the band, at which point both Carlyn Bezic and Amanda Crist, known for their electro-pop duo, Ice Cream, also joined. An interesting dynamic developed. Turnbull & TB generated instrumentals for Remy to write to. Furnished with lyrics and melodies, the songs were then arranged by the entire group. This work and a schedule of infrequent live shows continued for a couple of years until Young Guv, of Fucked Up fame, cajoled the band into a studio with engineer-producer Steve Chahley to finally record some of the exciting new tunes.

                        A certain alchemy has helped to establish the unique force found on the debut album: four women, one man; four Canadians and an American; musical collaborations stretching back to nascent high school years; punk exuberance meeting studio finesse. Darlene exudes an easy confidence in combining the raw, blunt power of the band’s writing and arrangements with Turnbull & Chahley’s layered and, at times, elaborate production. The concise blast of their self-titled debut seeks to compress, absorb and invert the energy of classic rock. They profane, as much as pay tribute to a lineage of foundational bands, arguably stemming from Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper through Thin Lizzy, and on through the boy’s club fantasy of early 2000’s, ‘raw’ rock revival bands, like The Strokes or The Hives. Gauche rock moves are ransacked and transformed with the glee of an amateur cast production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. All of this unfolds in less than half an hour, leaving time for a detour into the sublime with album centrepiece, Strawberry Milk, an interstellar power ballad turned meditation on Eve, and the confrontation between sex and eternity.

                        With their glammed-up, high intensity live show featuring all members contributing vocals (save drummer TB), Darlene Shrugg seems not to rebut so much as disregard the notion of Rock’s diminished cultural capital. Their diverse brand of hard rock resists genre pigeon-holing. They fan out an array of stylistic threads, which they might later choose to follow up, or perhaps just as likely, skip past. They’ve laid waste to the Toronto underground. Now, they’re hungry for more.


                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        Ltd LP Info: Transparent and Black 180g vinyl randomly packed, 500 only.

                        TERRY

                        Remember Terry

                          Terry is a latent man of mystery. Terry is also a band from Melbourne, Australia. Divide him in half and you split the genders, into quarters and you get Amy Hill (also of Constant Mongrel, School Of Radiant Living), Xanthe Waite (Mick Harvey Band, Primo), Zephyr Pavey (Eastlink, Total Control, Russell St Bombings) and Al Montfort (UV Race, Dick Diver, Total Control). Guitars, bass, drums, all four sing. Terry are busy people and Terry is a particularly active project too, having released two EPs and a full length album (‘Terry HQ’) last year on Upset The Rhythm.

                          After returning from summer 2016’s European tour, Terry set about writing a new album of songs. These are now grouped together as ‘Remember Terry’, an album full of wish fulfilment, critiqued characters, memorial muscle and historical hustle.’Start The Tape’ is a not quite two-minute careen through what Terry are best known for; gang vocals, chased-down melodies and acerbic commentary. “The Boys in Blue are no nonsense, but no nonsense just won’t hold up” they assert throughout the song, amid unbridled drum rolls and keyboard sirens.

                          Terry draw on their everyday realities to make personal conclusions; “I can’t live here, I can’t leave here” they collectively sing through the strummed guitars and skittling synths of ‘Heavin Heavies’. Somehow the serious nature of the themes handled in their songs are only further emphasised by the tuneful, arguably ‘sing-along’ treatment Terry usually employ. ‘Give Up The Crown’, ‘The Colonel’ and ‘Gun’ are other prime examples of this, packed full of assembled vocal harmonies, contagious riffs and rhetoric.

                          With tracks like ’Glory’ and ‘Homage’, Terry allow us for the first time to see a more laid-back side of his personality. Supplemented with fluorescing synth lines and adopting an unhurried pace, both songs lull you into a false sense of pleasantry, only to pack a greater punch when lyrics like “Off his bloody head goes” or “No head, no choice, no land, no time, no crime, no good” surface. ‘Take Me To The City’ is a similarly evocative stroll through the “bright night city lights”, with Amy and Xanthe listing their nightlife observations over languorous guitar lines and programmed drums. Their “all they talk about..” refrain drifts off effortlessly into dazed disclosures. Terry prefer to make a profound point in a quiet way, hectoring bypassed for self-revelation. The truth is in there, just skating below the surface of their glammy, country-stepping punk/pop odysseys, we only have to listen carefully.

                          ‘Remember Terry’ is a fitting follow-up to last year’s celebrated debut album. Ideas are pursued and new ground explored. Throughout this expansion of sound and subject-matter though, Terry remain committed to telling it straight, reporting from the frontline of the political made personal. ’Remember Terry ‘ was recorded by Terry at Grace Lane and Terry HQ through the first few months of 2017. Digitised by Nick Kuceli. Mixed and Mastered by Mikey Young.


                          Pega Monstro

                          Casa De Cima

                            Pega Monstro are sisters Julia Reis (drums) and Maria Reis (guitar), both sing. They share the same birthday but are not twins and have always lived in Lisbon, Portugal. 

                            Having played music together in other groups since their mid-teens, Maria and Julia, resolved to become a duo in 2010 focussing on their intuitive sense of harmony and expressionistic dream-punk sound. Pega Monstro released their self-titled debut album on their own Cafetra imprint in 2012, with national critical acclaim meeting the raucous garage-rock inflected record. Whilst, 2015 saw Pega Monstro team up with UK label Upset The Rhythm for their impressive and more sonically developed ‘Alfarroba’ album that led to international attention. Now Pega Monstro return with their third album entitled ‘Casa de Cima’, which translates as ‘Upper House’. The album shares its name with the Villa in which the album was recorded, nestled amongst the pine-scattered terrain of the Sintra mountains. ‘Casa de Cima’ was recorded through September 2016 by Leonardo Bindilatti, who also produced their last record. 

                            ‘Casa de Cima’ opens with ‘Ó Miguel’ its first line translating as “I changed the strings on my guitar”. Like the first line of a spell, the words entreat you to hear how much Pega Monstro have grown in confidence and vision, they are trying something new. There is no rush, only effortless intent, they sound compelling and assured and let the song unfold in its own leisure. The stunning ‘Partir a Loiça’ follows with its stammering rhythms and soaring, swirling vocals. The song’s title, literally ‘break all the dishes’, is a saying in Portugal meaning to shake things up and exceed expectations, a worthy title indeed.

                            Much like the mysterious water jug on the cover of the album, burnished with unknowable symbols suggesting art-deco hieroglyphs, Pega Monstro constantly reach for something beyond plain comprehension, stretching songs to their limits before collapsing them back into new, more interesting forms. The Portuguese poet and writer Fernando Pessoa had a similar mutable approach to his work, inventing over seventy different pen names, called heteronyms, to act as conduits for the limits of his imaginative writing. Pega Monstro recite one of Pessoa’s poems called ‘O moinho de café’ during the third act of their epic yet romantic track ‘Cachupa’. Having their home city of Lisbon in common, Pega Monstro untether Pessoa’s words from the city’s fixated tourist treatment and let them breathe back their soul. The band’s approach to song has always been both refreshing and eloquent and ‘Cachupa’ is a good example of how natural and spontaneous Pega Monstro can sound.


                            Rat Columns is the mutable musical project of David West, an artist as prolific as he is diverse in his output. West is the driving force behind the groups Rank/Xerox, Liberation and Lace Curtain, he was also a member of Total Control, and most recently debuted a solo album proper.

                            Whether its forward-facing punk or turning his hand to crafting sleek prisms of pop, West’s credentials check out. Rat Columns is no exception, always central to his vision and returned to many times since its inception in Perth almost a decade ago. Over the years the band has morphed and continued with an array of different friends from the USA and Australia, always finding David West dancing through the long shadows at its core. Working with many distinguished underground imprints including Blackest Ever Black, Adagio 830, Smart Guy Records and RIP Society, Rat Columns have left in their wake a trail of 7”s, EPs and two full length albums. Now a third album, entitled ‘Candle Power’ is cued for release through Upset The Rhythm.

                            Recorded in Guildford, Western Australia, with the Perth crew of West, Amber Gempton, Louis Hooper and Chris Cobilis, ‘Candle Power’ sees the band's universe of chiming guitar pop explode into new worlds of colour and shade. It’s an album as happy to walk home in the rain as it is to reel dizzily through daylight. It’s melancholic lilt tempered by a quietly-sung optimism. ‘Candle Power’ tunnels further than ever before down the pop mainline, cutting in with moments of soul, disco and experimental plots. West is a magpie-like musician, unafraid to assemble songs from a motley collection of influences and ideas. He weaves songs together with a deft hand and an acute grasp for the memorable yet momentary.

                            A drumroll sputters to life kicking off the album with first track ‘Someone Else’s Dream’, a bittersweet remonstrance of bounding brightness underscored by West and Gempton’s shared vocals. It’s a song about an inability to let go of the past, sounding defiantly sunny amidst the vivid keyboards, guitar jangle and resolute beat. This knack of teaming up decidedly heartrending subject matter with some of the most affirming music imaginable is a trait well understood by fans of 80’s independent music and it’s safe to say that whilst being a fan himself West can still breathe new life into this approach. “I trail off like Sunday bells, unwanted” sings West on the equally introspective ‘She Loves The Rain’ whilst xylophones and shimmering patterns of guitar interlock in blithe harmony. ‘Time’s No Vessel’ also plays a part in reinforcing this method. Against a dreamy guitar refrain that’s pure Johnny Marr, West laments that he knows “time is no vessel for our love, it’s a dark cloud that rains down from above”.

                            ‘Blinded By The Shadow’ marks an about turn for the album, seeing the record start to flex its motorik muscles with a sequenced bassline and rock-solid drumbeat. The song’s title is sung in a call and response manner that drifts over the dance floor hypnotically. Handclaps, violin and tambourine join a host of percussion to further enhance the captivated groove. ‘Is This Really What You’re Like?’ takes on a similar focused shuffle only with a more minimal demeanour. Whilst, ‘Candle Power II’ takes the disco to the other side of the tracks with its shimmering synths, violin drones and uniform beat. It’s at once mesmeric and meandering, zoning in on the ephemeral theme of the album, acknowledging its sense of transience. The difference between letting go and moving on.

                            That is what ‘Candle Power’ as an album is reaching for, it is enamoured to the fleeting. That flicker of recognition between one choice and another. ‘Northern Soul’ chases its own heartbeat through lush, sweeping synths and hushed refrains, it’s a heartfelt song in hot pursuit. ‘Dream Tonight’ concludes the album with its propulsive drum machine, searching keyboard lines and effusive bassline. It’s a tour de force of pristine pop akin to New Order in its ability to capture this mercurial feeling, to listen through the music. “You could dream tonight, try to keep an ember alight” West sings repeatedly through the song, before it dissolves into something once there. There’s an elusive beauty in the most short-lived moment and with ‘Candle Power’ Rat Columns breathe warmth across the coals to live in their glow a moment longer.


                            Recorded immediately following on from their truly epic European tour last Summer, ‘Wild Hunt’ by VEXX is a deliriously hot-wired mini-LP. Showcasing the band utterly consumed in the moment, these six tracks blaze with giddy abandon, raging mere heartbeats away from oblivion.

                            Recorded by Hayes & Sam at Dub Narcotic in Olympia, mastered by Golden Mastering. This LP is a one-time pressing (on black vinyl) in collaboration with our good friends at M’Lady’s Records, with incredible artwork drawn by Maryjane herself depicting the supernatural Wild Hunt in hot pursuit.


                            Nottingham based drumming duo RATTLE release their eponymous debut LP via Upset the Rhythm. Rattle focus almost exclusively on drums and more drums, beneath a delicate overlay of vocal harmonies and percussive effects.

                            Formed by Katharine Eira Brown (also of Kogumaza) and Theresa Wrigley (also of Fists), Rattle began as an experiment in crafting rich songs and melody using drums and voice alone. Their music weaves and intertwines post-punk, minimalism and experimental rock, through off-kilter rhythms, patterns and counter melodies. Their live performances are at once hypnotic, monastic and danceable, having entranced audiences at Supersonic Festival, Dot to Dot, throughout the UK during a recent tour with Witching Waves and in Europe with Zea (Arnold de Boer from The Ex). 

                            The duo formed quite by accident in Nottingham in 2011, where Katharine and Theresa knew each other from playing in other local bands. Katharine was a guitarist who had recently started playing drums in the band Kogumaza and Theresa is the enthralling drummer from Fists. They originally met up to skill swap guitars and drums but soon enough they found they were having more fun with a double drum set-up and started making the sound of their first song “Boom”, which became a blueprint for their new band’s sound. As Katharine explains; “It seemed obvious right from the start that nothing else was going to be required in terms of instruments.”

                            When it came to recording the album it made absolute sense to bring in their regular live sound engineer Mark Spivey (also of Kogumaza) who has been working closely with the band from the beginning. Live, he adds additional effects and manipulations from the sound desk and these techniques were transferred over to a studio setting at The Big Mouse House, in Sneinton, Nottingham (in the studio owned by Tony Doggen, of Spiritualized and coincidently where Jake Bugg recorded his new album). A lot of time and attention was taken to get the best sound possible from the drums in the room. As Mark explains: “We wanted the record to be and sound very real, and to sound like what it is, which meant (by definition) that it needed to sound unlike anything else.”

                            Having mostly played in experimental or avant-rock settings Rattle first discovered that they could make their awkward audiences dance with opening track “Trainer (Get You)”, which was specifically designed to make the listener move in some way. Whereas other songs embrace different moods, for example “Starting” has a sense of urgency and a repeated lyric phrase that becomes a mantra, and “Click” is more soothing and meditative. The high hat and cymbal hits in “Sorcerer” have a sword-fighting feel and “Stringer Bell” is more of a cocktail song from a 1950s city apartment.

                            Often starting by picking out the ghost notes from the drums to develop a melody, the song then reveals itself in rounds and harmonies with layer upon layer of rhythm and vocal, lending a choral feel to some of the tracks. Rattle effortlessly blend the avant-garde with irresistible melodies and hypnotic drum beats, using rhythm and harmony to create a refreshing sound that is utterly new - a pretty rare feat these days when we’re saturated with so much music. Their live shows conjure all the magic and excitement from their exhilarating creative process, allowing the audience to share in the very special bond between the duo as they dazzle with their drumming skills.


                            Love is a highway, but you’re not likely to find Terry there anymore. He’s on the train. Terry saw the light, and he put on his sunhat. Ring Ring…‘If you're carsick, get outta the car!’
                            There’s only room for one big pug in this doggy daycare. Terry’s taken to the night. Thank you nurse, I'll see myself out.

                            LOOK! There he is, peeping through the cracks in your screen. Nuanced. Mercurial. Free.Blowing you a kiss. Marcel Marceau, Shmarshel Shmarsheau! But Terry…. How unforgettable.

                            What will you do when the cloud gives way? When the map leads you to a pile of potatoes? We wuz wrong. Hit me with your algorithm stick!

                            Siri, is death an illusion? Siri, am I locked in a prison of my own making? Don’t pull that thread kiddo.Siri’s gone. Talk about truth! But when you're ready for real answers…Talk about TERRY.


                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                            After all the accolades from press and peers, what’s a legendary band left to do? Rent out an abandoned office space in the middle of the desert in New Mexico in lieu of a regular recording studio, go in with little or no preconceived notions of what would happen, set up, plug in and get loud! After seven days Deerhoof had found (you guessed it) ‘The Magic’, a raw and refreshing wallop of an album about leaving your comfort zone and finding a pineapple.

                            With ‘The Magic’, Deerhoof dreamed up an alchemy of '77 punk, pop, glam, hair metal, doo-wop, hip hop, and R&B, late-night car rides, long days, spandex, shadows, and attitude. Poetry into noise, volume knobs into pleasure, friendship into rock band.

                            "Maybe it came from the music we liked when we were kids, when music was like magic - before we knew about the industry and before there were rules - sometimes hair metal is the right choice. We all showed up in the mood to sing," says drummer Greg Saunier.

                            For singer and bassist Satomi Matsuzaki, the making ‘The Magic’ was the latest episode of an ongoing gamble. "I joined this band a week after I arrived in San Francisco from Japan. I hopped on a MUNI bus to have a first meeting with Deerhoof. I got off at a wrong stop. I was lost and confused. They found me on a dark street corner after I called for help from a pay phone. Since then my adventure expanded. Deerhoof is a vehicle with four powered wheels that takes me through forest, desert and buildings. My life is adventure!"

                            ‘The Magic’ is a mixtape imbued with Deerhoof's sorcery; boldness, wonder, technical know-how, risk. It is a mixtape by the kid with the biggest music collection you've ever seen, who will take you camping and show you how to pull a rabbit out of a hat.


                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Barry says: Never one to go with the flow, Deerhoof have once again come up with a fresh approach to songwriting. Both psychedelic and melodic, but never boring, Shimmering guitar hooks and grooving bass permeate the driving drum refrains. Slightly hazy vocals float atop murky rivers of grunge. Post-punk attitude with a psychedelic sheen. Impossible to categorise, but easy to appreciate. Classic Deerhoof.

                            Pega Monstro are sisters Júlia Reis (drums) and Maria Reis (guitar, keyboard), both sing! The duo’s name translates as ‘catch the monster’, perfectly countering the band’s striving dream-punk sound. The name ‘Pega Monstro’ also references a novelty toy in the shape of a jelly hand on a string, which children have been throwing at each other in delight for many generations in their native country.

                            Born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal, Maria and Júlia have been playing music together since they were 15 and 17 respectively, in other groups first before resolving on becoming a duo. Back in 2010, both sisters started a record label, along with some of their musician friends, called Cafetra Records to document Portugal’s garage punk scene. Cafetra represents a community of like-minded musicians who all help each other, making music that they’d want to hear, powered by enthusiasm. Pega Monstro were among the first bands on the label, releasing their ‘O Juno-60 Nunca Teve Fita’ EP the same year to a burgeoning audience of devotees, who’d turn up in growing numbers to each show and sing back the lyrics. Maria puts the band’s instant attention down to being different, “we were girls, we were young and we could rock, people weren’t used to that at all”. 2012 saw Pega Monstro release their self-titled debut album, which was produced by B Fachada, an extremely well known Portuguese singer songwriter. The band and producer hit it off like wildfire and recorded an impressive, raucous debut record that met with critical national acclaim.

                            Now Pega Monstro have a new album ready for Upset The Rhythm, whom they hope will bring their music to audiences outside of their homeland too. ‘Alfarroba’ is the name of this second album, it’s title meaning ‘carob’, after the sweet tasting bean that grows in the wild trees that spontaneously spring up along the Mediterranean coast. Maria explains further, “In Portugal there are a lot of carob trees in the Algarve and our mother's side of the family is from there, we spent every summer there as children. The scent is unlike any other. So apart from the phonetic appeal of the word, ‘Alfarroba’ is also a homage to that heritage”. The songs on ‘Alfarroba’ deal with many themes, some universal topics like love and growing up, others focusing on the nature of writing songs themselves, whilst some try to make sense of the world from a female perspective.

                            ‘Braço de Ferro’ kick starts the album with torrents of energy, translating as ‘arm wrestling’ the song’s title is apt for a track so full of back-and-forth, ‘no prisoners’ phrasing. Júlia and Maria excel at bouncing ideas off each other, snare rolls trigger flights of guitar, fogs of cymbal form steps for the vocal to climb. “My only problem is that near you I feel so weak” they sing over and over again, there’s an honesty present that goes deep. The lyrics have a very conversational feel to them, Pega Monstro sing as they would speak, directly into your head, avoiding poetics. ‘Estrada’ for instance fortifies itself with a cement-solid riff, allowing the vocals to float and drift across the occasional lilting melodic refrain. The inevitable satisfaction that comes with repetition is shown off to full effect here, with the immense rhythm resuming when the time comes for the song’s mesmeric downpour to dissipate. “I’m going out on the road to see who I am” they sing in unison, breathing myth into their everyday anxieties. ‘Branca’ is a song with a propulsion so compelling that it’s hard not to just start spinning around with your arms trailing out like helicopter blades. The vocals drive against the drums, the drums push up against the guitar, it all feels gloriously lightheaded and overridingly positive in attitude.

                            Songs like ‘Fado D'Água Fria’ and ‘És Tudo O Que Eu Queria’ also showcase the Pega Monstro’s more reflective mood too, with both songs pausing for the clouds to pass, delivering some well-anticipated melancholic moments to offset the album’s otherwise dizzying ascent. ‘Alfarroba’ was produced and mixed by Leonardo Bindilatti, a good friend of the band and Cafetra Records. Bindilatti has worked on many releases from the close-knit group of bands from Lisbon, including his own Putas Bêbadas, this familiarity comes through on the recording too. Nothing feels rushed, there’s a leisure afforded in getting everything sounding just right. Pega Monstro make rapturous music, it’s brisk, it’s contagious, it laughs at the language barrier and just keeps running headlong into more and more new ideas. ‘Alfarroba’ is not an exhaustive listen given that though, it’s more like an antidote than an endless anecdote, as restless, impulsive and smart as the band that made it. ‘Alfarroba’ by Pega Monstro will be released on July 6th through Upset The Rhythm worldwide, whilst the band themselves have European tour plans throughout the summer. 

                            Upset the Rhythm and M’lady’s Records are very pleased to be teaming up for the first time to release the debut record from one of America’s most exciting groups today. VEXX, living in and playing out of Olympia, Washington, have been devastating the Pacific Northwest music hubs for the last year now. Their self-titled mini-album is explosive, vital, and many leagues deeper than it has any right to be in this wicked epoch.

                            Recorded by esteemed engineer, Dave Harvey (who also recorded both HYSTERICS 7”s issued on M’lady’s), this record originally came out in a small edition on the Grazer label late last year, which sold out instantly just through word of mouth. The very excellent Jason Ward (of Chicago Mastering Service) has since worked his magic re-mastering the recording, and now it’s even more wild and vibrant than ever.

                            VEXX hit the ground running like punk hasn’t happened yet! Blazing through the first three songs on side one with a fury rarely seen in the modern underground. ‘Clairvoyant’ is equal parts jagged as inventive, twisting out of reach at all the right moments. The song captures the band perfectly, raging headlong with unmatched momentum.

                            VEXX also know how to write a powerful slow burner, as evidenced by ‘Strength’ and the first half of ‘Ocean Shores’. Maryjane’s lyrics and vocals are a clarion call of intent; on fire with possibility, whilst wrestling with the power of everything. She’s such a force of nature as a frontwoman that you’re left stunned as much as amazed.

                            Meanwhile, Mike and Corey’s guitar and drum fireworks have left almost all spectators breathless (note: bass guitar duties on this recording were handled by Aaron, who has since been replaced by the very capable and excellent Ian). Each song is a maelstrom, whipping band and audience alike into a whirlwind. Pushing forward, thinking harder, striking home.

                            Ravioli Me Away / Dog Chocolate

                            Ravioli Me Away / Or

                              Here’s a new installment in Upset The Rhythm’s split LP series, that’s previously seen Gary War, Purple Pilgrims, Please and Spin Spin The Dogs swap sides most recently. This record teams up like-mindedly loopy, art-damaged Londoners Ravioli Me Away and Dog Chocolate. Inspired by an evening when both bands performed at London’s DIY-hub Power Lunches this LP came together through mutual appreciation, as well as gastronomic necessity.

                              Ravioli Me Away are a dangerously ambitious and delusional all-girl jazzy, post-pop-punk, hip-funk outfit with a stylistic theme spanning all past, present and future human cultures and subcultures. Consider vintage Bananarama played with twice the sass and urgency, only reflected in the eyes of a much overworked and downright exhausted Julie Burchill on acid. Featuring members of Plug and the aforementioned Spin Spin The Dogs, Ravioli Me Away don’t shy away from the impeccable vocal melodies and clattersome hooks you’d expect. ‘Mic Check’ is as hypnotic as it is sparse with plaintive keyboard touches and interplaying vocals that gambol across the drum machine. ‘Cat Call’ is a triumph of questing basslines and eerie synth blushes, locked down by Sian’s charismatic choruses and Alice’s asides inbetween, “When you leave the house and you turn around the corner you might see something you’d rather you hadn’t, who knows what it could be? You never know, take it from me!”

                              Dog Chocolate are an elasticated, punk quartet based on the principles of self-propulsion and having too much fun. Jono plays a couple of drums, Matthew plays a guitar and a load of pedals, Rob plays another guitar and sings selected songs whilst Andrew sings most the songs and plays impressionistic blasts of keyboard when he’s not. Having been active in a number of other bands including Yeborobo, Limn, Gasp! Cracking Eggs, Esiotrot, and Moulsecoomb Sword Gang, all four members are also frantic doodlers and illustrators. This over-spill of creativity can be seen on their side of this split LP, entitled ‘Or’, which sees the band sprint through ten tracks of barely-controlled chaotic glee. Never dwelling for long, Dog Chocolate treat us to songs about pregnancy, poisoned eyes, public transport and cakes. Their observational, often candid lyrics match their nonsensical attitude to their music too, which tumbles and chases pitchshifted guitars through thick forests of feedback and blasting drums. “Tony’s umbrella, Tony’s umbrella, it’s made of aluminium and replica leather” deadpans Rob on their anthemic retort to the possessive brolly owner before Andrew joins him to whip it up into a frenzy. It all leaves you convinced in the old adage that if you put a bar of dog chocolate next to bunch of bars of normal chocolate, it might look the same but it ain't the same, because you know it was made by dogs!

                              ‘Dog Chocolate / Ravioli Me Away’ makes for a winning split LP, showcasing London’s glorious underground. When the menu arrives this tasty, who needs three courses? Limited to 500 copies on 180g black-n-green vinyl with printed insert and dual sleeve.

                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                              Ltd LP Info: Limited to 500 copies on 180g black-n-green vinyl with printed insert and dual sleeve.

                              This is music with no rules or preconceptions; pooling ideas and observations into music that can be raucous, sad, reflective, powerful, wistful, or whatever it needs to be. With vibrating harmonies and primal beats at its heart, sounds and words form together in response to the lives we all live.

                              Silver Fox is a place where anything can happen, where ideas are free to move and change. Pulling together lyrics and sounds from collective experience, Silver Fox create music that surprises and refuses to be categorised. Silver Fox make intuitive sounds led by a responsive, if-it-feels-good-do-it approach, giving free reign to all ideas large and small.

                              Their self-titled album with Upset the Rhythm will be released on 18th November 2013. Recorded in one day, Silver Fox partnered up with their long-time friend and producer, Andrew Hodson (Warm Digits), to create an album that reflects the energy of their live performances.

                              Silver Fox are Susie Green (vocals, keyboards), Rebecca Knight (drums), Laura Lancaster (guitar, vocals), Rachel Lancaster (bass guitar, vocals). They formed in 2009, and have had well-received single releases on M’Lady’s (Waves on in/Marble World) and Milk (Capital Kiss/Arosa) in 2012.

                              WAY THROUGH are Claire Titley and Christopher Tipton, a pastoral punk duo originally from Shropshire, now residing in London. Informed by the field as much as the flyover, Way Through write songs which phase in and out with guitar, tapes, damaged drums and vocals. Using wrong-footed repetition, rapid interplay and free-looping happenstance the band create a ragged yet intuitive tapestry of sound.

                              Way Through’s critically received debut, ‘Arrow Shower’ was released on Upset The Rhythm in 2011, its songs walked the streets of market towns and focussed on how personal experience affects our perception of a shared landscape, haunted by inward territories. They then followed up their album with a deep map of East London’s Bethnal Green, captured in text, photographs and music, which WIRE described in an interview with the band as “a guided walk through the mythologised outposts of ordinariness… a project rich in topographical lore”. The Quietus added that Way Through “document and create another version of place that somehow seeps into the space between reality and urban fantasy”.

                              Last year saw an immersive cassette album, entitled ‘Enclosure’ released by Comfortable On A Tightrope. After which Way Through were invited by Resonance FM to work on a processional piece of music that saw them navigating Tate Britain channelling songs. Throughout this time the band became increasingly interested in submerging their work fully in the places they found potent. Spending most of the year conducting field research, travelling about the country, taking field recordings, they gathered their thoughts, notes and songs straight from their source. This has resulted in their new album ‘Clapper Is Still’, an itinerant album of thirteen songs located in the particular places each was written.

                              ‘Clapper Is Still’ is a bold record, concerned with the vast array of elegiac components Way Through have discovered locked within the English landscape. It peers into the overlapping histories that persist in these places and tries to reconcile how they are experienced together. ‘Stoke Poges’ is a fizzing pool of pitched keyboards, and faltering samples, trapping a vocal focussed on the nature’s ability to quietly regenerate alongside the evolving stories of this famed parish. ‘Imber & Tyneham’ compares and contrasts two villages taken over and claimed by the MOD during WWII, one still actively used by the military for combat training on the Salisbury Plain, the other fast becoming a preserved time capsule in rural Dorset trapped throughout most of the year in a live firing zone. The song is a heady rush of staccato guitar and snare rattle, full of “unexploded debris”, “corrugated rooftops” and “halted firing” as Tipton calls out.

                              ‘Westonzoyland’ and ‘Eyam’ both see Titley pick up the vocal narrative. The former song detailing a journey across a Civil War battlefield, the latter a walk around the Derbyshire plague village of Eyam. ‘Westonzoyland’ reels across time, imagining the battle raging amongst the “70’s bungalows, chain-link fencing and pedestrian chicanes”. A wash of violin skips across the track whilst Titley seeks parallels between a felt-tip memorial poster for a local teenager to the stone ediface commemorating the dead in the nearby fallow field. ‘Eyam’ spins through cycles of swelling ambience and reverbed recordings, allowing Titley’s vocal to take a morbid journey past the doomed cottages of self-sacrifice. “Heritage stasis remains” she insists as a field recording of a stooping display hawk envelops her. As well as their frequent use of field recordings to embellish their songs, Way Through also rely on found text to hang their songs on, like with the broken gravestones of Yorkshire’s deserted ‘Wharram Percy’ or the graffiti scrawled across the vandalised info-board on ‘Whiteleaf Hill’, a place where bike tyre tracks leap across barrows, and where a colossal hillside chalk cross draws you towards the steep abandonment of meaning.
                              ‘Sipson’ makes for a modern day comparison point, threatened with Heathrow’s impending third runway, becoming a virtual ghost town of “bursting ragweed” and “daubed black letters on makeshift banners” betraying “a sad suburban echo”. ‘Roughting Linn’ is decidedly motoric for Way Through, the guitar clings to its repeated chord for dear life whilst the drums tumble relentlessly onwards, eventually the song mimics its subject, getting stuck in a galloping groove which dissolves slowly into the distance. Roughting Linn is an outcrop of rock in Northumberland that’s carved all over in prehistoric patterns, mysterious and very much unknowable, off the map and withdrawn. “Paths leading everywhere in hope of finding, No more signs, no more markings“ sings Tipton anticipating the compass of the record itself.

                              ‘Clapper Is Still’ is an album that traces the melancholic margins of our landscape. It attempts to document the remains of something leaving, the fog in the air, the flash ahead thunder, the shadows striping the late afternoon. Way Through seek out places and songs with repeating customs, paths to memory, joining the dots between fading locations and their deteriorating histories. “Can this land remember? Listen to the voice, that’s no longer here” they command towards the end of the record. ‘Clapper Is Still’ follows an outline of a memory, following a sketched skeleton to where something happened, where something once marked the land and left something indelible.

                              HALO HALO are three friends living in South London, writing a primal, hyper-melodic music that makes you want to dance into the mountains and throw a rope around the moon.

                              Rachel Horwood (vocals, banjo, also of the band Trash Kit), Jack Barraclough (vocals, drums) and Gill Partington (bass, modded-keyboard) came together just two years ago inspired by a shared love of the naturalism of folk music and the freedom of punk. Naming their band after a very colourful, refreshing hotchpotch of a dessert from the Philippines (where Rachel’s family are from) the same random delight and faith in surprise is central to their music, shot through in clattering technicolour by traditional forms of Filipino music like Tiboli and the mystical chanting and sacred percussion of the Ifugao. Halo Halo are not only reaching back to their own ancestry, but are tapping into something seemingly outside of time, parts equally magical and sonically enthralling.

                              This last three years have seen Halo Halo release a well received 7” single through the brilliant imprints of Savoury Days in Europe and M’Ladys in the USA, alongside several homemade CDs, leading to them playing countless shows, some more far flung than others including performances in Israel, the Republic of Korea, the Arctic Circle, and in support of kindred spirits Electrelane on tour in Europe. With this eagerly-awaited, self-titled debut album on Upset The Rhythm, Halo Halo have raised their game, delivering not only well written songs with lyrics that won’t leave you but also commanding a confidence in their approach matched by their broadening production values.

                              ‘Djeddjehutyiuefankh’ opens the album, named after an unearthed Egyptian mummy found without a heart. The song strides purposefully forwards with Jack and Rachel’s doubled vocals and tripping beats, an ode to another voice in another time, all wrapped up in vocoder. ‘Taro Taro Taro’ sublimely loses itself in echoes of melody and propulsive rhythms, underscoring the song’s subject matter of a time travelling fisherman lost to the waves for 300 years, taken from the early Japanese tale ‘Urashima Taro’. ‘Sunshine Kim’ is an energetic rattle of cowbell, anchored bass, handclaps and choppy phrasing, with terms like catchy not doing justice. ‘Want 2 B’ is a riot of pitch-shifting banjo, danced up euphoria and synth-weirding, perfectly set off by Rachel’s ever-soaring voice.

                              There’s a proximity to nature and ritual dance music also felt in the Halo Halo’s music, perhaps best shown with the superb track ‘Comet’. The track’s measured pace and serene melody line are underpinned by Rachel commanding lyric, “Comet, come to me!” trying to harness the impossible, the beyond imagination. “We can ride upon its back, away from roads and cul de sacs,” she sings through trailing banjo circles, drum thumps and journey-bound bass lines. There’s a real sense of needing to believe locked in their songs, sometimes transcending lyrics. Songs like ‘Eagle’ and ‘Is It Shiny‘ are almost wordless invocations, where Rachel and Jack are singing themselves into existence, achieving an almost trancelike understanding. Other songs are sung in Tagalog (a major language in the Philippines), such as in ‘Mata Mata’ and the epic six minute ‘Problema’ with it’s breathtaking patterns of shifting drums and intricate washes of banjo.

                              ‘Hey! Yeah!’, named after the sound of a karate kick, closes this brilliant debut album with it’s duelling harmonicas and joyous leaping repetition, no words, just an unbridled feeling of escape and hope - very much a lasting sentiment from the record. The artwork for the album is based around Rachel’s colourful, mystical illustrations, which also help to imagine an ancient/future world just waiting behind the next song. With this album, Halo Halo have achieved a lot, they’ve travelled far and have returned to their beginnings, all with an impeccable melodic hold that time cannot diminish.

                              Chester Endersby Gwazda

                              Shroud

                                Chester Endersby Gwazda is a 28 year-old producer and musician living in Baltimore, Maryland. First earning his stripes by driving around the US, like a latterday Lomax, recording countless bands out of his car/studio for food and lodging, Chester has since become one of underground rock’s most inspired and in-demand producers.

                                With acts like Dan Deacon, Future Islands, Cloud Nothings, Ed Schrader's Music Beat, and Air Waves having all recorded breakthrough records with Gwazda, his credentials stack up to the ceiling. Immersed in Baltimore’s lively music scene Chester has also found himself as a sought-after live player, performing synth and bass duties for the Dan Deacon Ensemble and in the brilliantly named, Nuclear Power Pants. However, only in this last year or so has Chester tracked down his musician’s shadow, addressing his own artistic sensibility for once with his swift, deeply serene songs, packed out with irrepressible melody.

                                Chester began quietly writing and recording an ever-growing personal catalogue of pop-centric gems amidst his busy schedule realising the visions of others. These songs have grown into his debut album ‘Shroud’, available on LP through Upset The Rhythm and on cassette via Friends Records. With ‘Shroud’, not only do we finally get a glimpse of Gwazda the songwriter, but we finally see the producer totally off the leash. The album is full of vocal harmonies, meticulous arrangements and precise timbres that bespeak his sensitive ear and fascination with pop music.

                                With ‘Shroud’, Chester Endersby Gwazda has firmly stepped into the limelight as a musician in his own right and by honing a tour setup to capture the album’s opulent sound it looks like he’s found his place onstage too, weaving live drums and guitar into backing tracks and vocals into an otherwise intimate solo performance.

                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                Ltd LP Info: 500 only for the world, 180gram.

                                THE PHEROMOANS are a six piece experimental rock band from the South East of England who deal in a deadpan DIY music. Wedded to the mundane, surreal reportage of our lives as reflected in the media, their music manages to address the truly restless boredom of everyday life. These are songs for the back of the queue, songs from underneath the ergonomic desk, a glimpse through the commuter window, blasted through with brilliant suburban sunshine.

                                Over the last three years the band have released a slew of releases, including numerous EPs, 7”s and three albums through labels as diverse as Night People, Convulsive, Sweet Rot, Monofonus Press and their own imprint Savoury Days. These releases largely focussed on a ramshackle, wayward rock ethic, underpinned by lyricist Russell Walker’s dry, observational musings that tread an almost diary-like pathway through the songs.

                                'Does This Guy Stack Up?’ witnesses a slight departure from their sound of old. With the recent addition of keyboard/violin player Dan Bolger to the band, their songs have leaned into a more pop-balanced realm, with the band’s experimental tape collage approach sounding more natural than ever. The bass (Christian Butler aka The Octogram), drums (James Hines) and guitars (James Tranmer, Alex Garran) together forging a coherent foundation for Walker’s voice to ramble amongst the radiant synth and electronic flourishes. ‘Old Lord Fauntleroy’ is a joyous barrage of roaming bass, primal beats and droning keyboard, whilst ‘Waterworld’ propels itself through drifts of violin fog.

                                Central to the appeal of The Pheromoans are Russell Walker’s insightful, often wonderfully humorous, self-deprecating lyrics that paint a picture of all of us as outsiders. ‘Don’t Mention It’ for instance is the only song we know that references both Royal Ascot and Puppetry Of The Penis. Finding much material in the slow and steady decline of the 21st century and its vain pursuits, Walker isn’t afraid to rattle the cage of populist politics, and other comfortable ways of thinking, sighting Mariella Frostrup as well as Richard Littlejohn in the crosshairs.

                                However, it’s often when he turns his critical eye on himself, that Walker becomes most profound. “I’ve been the victim of subtle putdowns” admits Walker on the barnstorming ‘I’m A You-Know-What’. “Scared of being late for work, I have to face the men-folk, I regret all decisions” he voices on ‘Grab A Chair’, a message further accentuated by the song’s prowling bassline, incessant beat and ascending stomp. These are bleak times, fixated by obnoxious forces, a time of “total confusion, total breakdown”, framed by the whipping rhythms and paranoid electronics of ‘баланс’ (Russian for ‘Balance’ FYI). ‘I want a puppy, a loft extension and a threesome, and silver shoes and preferably a Mercedes, because I am entitled, it was decreed’ sings Walker on ‘Power Watch’; our obsession with ‘possession as meaning’ lampooned over an impeccable keyboard reverie.

                                ‘Does This Guy Stack Up?’ closes with the plaintive yet triumphant ‘Moth On The Mend’, perfectly encapsulating the album’s overall character: “I’d like to say to you I did the things I wanted to do…. this is the end of the world again”. This seeps into the music too, with most songs rocking their way through unravelment; sounding spontaneous and unaffected. With ‘Does This Guy Stack Up?’, The Pheromoans deconstruct a very English sense of ennui and in doing so show us its nonsensical building blocks. This album had the working title ‘Let England Shake’ and one can only wonder if a truer impression of modern life in this sceptred isle is one stalked by the nagging inadequacies and vacuousness detailed in ‘Does This Guy Stack Up?’. It’s hard to write about what you know, when what you know is increasingly marginalised but this album proves The Pheromoans are at their best when shooting from the sidelines.

                                Munch Munch

                                Double Visions

                                  This is the debut from Bristol quartet, Munch Munch.
                                  For Fans Of: Sparks, Man Man, Deerhoof.
                                  Munch Munch have toured with the likes of Why?, No Age, Dirty Projectors.

                                  Previously known for their explosive and unpredictable live shows, this LP presents a more focused and ambitious side of the band, without losing any of the visceral energy. After a string of split 7 inch and EP releases, 2009 saw them concentrate on new recordings. In order to curb their previous indulgences, the band set themselves various rules including that of not using any guitars, and only using live percussion. The songs were initially sketched out on Piano, then fully realised using Farfisa and Hammond Organs, Vibraphone, Marimba and an Analogue Synth. Recording took place in various studios, cellars, practice spaces and houses over the course of 6 months.

                                  Taking in influences as varied as Sparks, Bacharach, ABBA, Philip Glass and 80s R & B, a concerted effort has been made to engage with the structures of traditional 'pop' song craft, while always being ready to tear up the rule book at any opportunity.

                                  Comprising Sian Dorrer (vocals and drums) and Georgie Nettell (bass, keys and vocals) Plug construct minimal pop vignettes, with bright, sumptuous basslines locking indelibly with crisp, taught drumming - a deceptively simple yet driving combination owing as much to hip-hop and dance music as the sparse clatter of post-punk. Songs are handled deftly with Sian’s strident, powerful vocals augmented by Georgie’s more subdued whisper. plug play a sophisticated kind of post-something pop with a brisk intensity, a wry sense of humour and canny knack for a memorable hook.

                                  Plug is a record written with the intention to perfect each song so it encapsulates a chosen style in their own eyes. This is a pop record with a modernist narrative glimpsed through an open window into all our lives. Moments of great intimacy and detachment rub shoulders, diary-like, drawing you in. Sometimes you feel unnerved sometimes beholden as honesty seeps out of this record. These contrasts mirror our capricious lives, in all their erratic and compelling extremes. As the album finishes with the sound of a window closing on the world we’re left assured that Plug set out to make this day count.

                                  Fifth album from this psyche-pop troupe following two previous releases on Unsound and an album released on Dan Deacon's label, Lamb City. Alone to themselves, Bird Names has been singing a strange sweet song for four years. The song tells about the horror and wonder of truth in an acid-scrambled brogue pieced together from old pop and country music. In their singing they celebrate the honesty of the grotesque, the spirituality of ambiguity, the joy of singing. The band produced the album themselves (as they have most Bird Names albums), engaging their 1/2" tape studio with the amateur's imagination, inspiration and crudity. "Sings The Browns" is folk in its frankness, privacy, melancholy; psychedelic in its conjuring the displacement of drug experience; pop in its melody, stickiness, demand of obsessive listening.

                                  Chops are a wild damaged dance band from Leeds. They share this record with Helhesten, a haunted howl noise ensemble based in the South. This split release is part of a series of records from Upset The Rhythm documenting the fertile and often overlooked experimental / underground scene in the UK. Leeds-based Chops hit the ground running through 2007 hellbent on perfecting their spontaneous combustion of jazzoid excess and lock-popping party bombs. Helhesten are a three-headed sonic blitz. Employing clarinet, beat-up guitar, effected-voice and a variety of percussion, Helhesten craft an aching flux of soaring and swamped-out sounds.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  Ltd LP Info: This split LP is released on white and purple dipped vinyl, limited to 500 copies only, and gatefold sleeve.


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                                  Thanks for posting about it. It’s here until next Friday May 3rd btw. https://t.co/PgaFhSvpPe
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