‘Dark Too Long’ is a song that Swansea, UK band Bandicoot describe as a “frenzied cry of desperation from the depths of excess and loneliness, influenced by the driving rhythms of NEU! and Can.” After the initial ambient drift of the intro, it tumbles along in synchronous perpetual motion. There’s the unhinged end of the Radiohead spectrum in play here, as much as a swaggering art pop aesthetic in the production and precision of it all.
They’ve since released another new single Fuzzy which heads in a fun glam direction and which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Supergrass record.
From Dirty Three to the Bad Seeds and now a parallel career as a composer with and without Nick Cave, Warren Ellis has certainly led a fascinating creative life. He’s just released a new project with Marianne Faithfull and in another first he’s composed the soundtrack to a book – a recently released collection of short stories by Chinese writer Can Xue.
This piece initially has a wonderfully languid and cloud-like feel and lightness to it as it drifts in multiple directions, changing form, disconnecting and re-engaging into new shapes and amorphous ebbs and flows. Then as the 42 minute piece evolves, it draws on drones and ambient tonal washes and bell-like celestial movements.
Ellis says “The day before Christmas 2020: I find myself the only person staying in an eighty-six room hotel in East London. It was originally the Old Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station. I’m reading Can Xue’s stories and it dawns on me to use the empty swimming pool, bowling lanes, courtroom, and holding cells as rooms to create a soundscape for the text. I set up a zoom mic, playing back field recordings from before the lockdown and using the ambience of each room as reverb. The sound of rooms waiting. It can be started at any point in the track, or put on a loop. There is no beginning, middle, or end.”
Interesting angles in aggressive music is what floats our boat and Kent UK trio Scowl tick that box with this track, their second single, charmingly titled ‘Lord Porno’. In the punk-fuelled chorus the widescreen wall of distorted guitars crash and careen between the speakers while the rhythm section ushers the song along in the verses with a rolling, tumbling post-punk feel. Over it all, the singer howls and castigates the listener with a sense of anthemic desperation.
As the band explains, the song (named after bassist Sadie’s first band) “is an anthem, borne out of the deep seated anger and frustration one feels when you come to terms with a situation that’s irreparable.”
In the words of Bendigo VIC artist Jakson, “this song is a call to arms against the world’s richest. Eat the rich.” In a colloquial accent he reels off some of the world’s richest and their associated estimated wealth.
Over jagged, scratching guitar and a dub-influenced post-punk rhythm section, the song builds intensity, bursting into see-sawing distorted guitars that sound like a cross between 3Ds and Jesus Lizard before it all collapses like a drunken game of Jenga. For fans of Squid, Black Country, New Road.
Pummelling is an apt description of this new post-punk track from UK duo Torrid Horror (Caine and Maud). Across seven minutes they dispatch frantic organ-led ‘carnival in hell’ riffs and rhythms while the singer howls and barks across the maddening crowds. At its mid point it pauses to get it’s sonic breath back, inhaling, hands on knees before the waves settle amid a spoken word passage. It’s only temporary though, things quickly ratchet up again – chopping, twisting and squealing before an exquisite saxophone-led section of heavy funk (courtesy of Pete Fraser) fills the room.
File these guys alongside Black Country, New Road, Black Midi and Viagra Boys.
This recently released track from Lu (a Colombia born drummer and electronic musician based in Philadelphia, PA) hits a fine line in dark Krautrock-flavoured electronic music. Heavily rhythmic and propulsive it gathers momentum and heads for the stratosphere on a psychedelic lunar mission.
For single #2 from the forthcoming new Dino Jr album, Lou Barlow takes centrestage with his song ‘Garden’. The video clip for the song was directed by Lou and Adelle Barlow, with illustrations by John Moloney and animation by Chloe Hemingway.
Of the song and video Lou says:
“Everyone seemed to want a disruption in the order of American life, it seemed necessary. Then it happened. It began as a bitter lamentation but as I was finishing the lyrics, singing over the instrumental version of the song while driving to J’s through the miles of farmland that separate his studio in Amherst and my home in Greenfield (Massachusetts), I saw a sign on a shed: Back to the Garden. I was looking for a resolution, where do we go when faced with such dramatic confusion? Back to basics, back home, back to the garden. Luckily I was able to complete the vocals and instrumentation for the song just before the quarantine.
There wasn’t a video planned for the song but since my wife Adelle and I had started making holiday ‘specials’ for my YouTube channel this past December, we thought we could knock one out for Garden. I wanted to capture the two of us holding hands on a levy overlooking a scenic bend in the Connecticut River (very close to where the first Dinosaur video, Little Fury Things, was filmed!). Adelle thought we should incorporate the whimsical paintings of Dinosaur Jr’s tour manager John Moloney. He routinely dashes off caricatures of J, Murph and I when we travel. I told John about our ideas and he thought it would be easy to video the band playing the song. So, John and Adelle quickly captured the band playing the song on their iPhones on a cold February afternoon and I edited it all together in iMovie. Then we had Chloe, the real vid expert at Jagjaguwar, put the paintings by John and Adelle into the mix, and that’s it! Thanks for watching.”
The new album Sweep It Into Space will be released April 23rd via Jagjaguwar.
Sydney band The Holy Soul are back with ‘747’, the new single from their forthcoming Robyn Hitchcock-produced LP Get Old! Coming six years after their superb album Fortean Times, the track has a heavy psych garage feel with a bassline that lurches and rumbles with melody and menace in the verses before the song blossoms out of the shadows into a damn sweet descending, jangly chorus.