NEW MUSIC: Past Present & Tortusa – Black Mist

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Out of Norway comes this fascinating piece of experimental dubbed and smeared atmospheric jazz fusion from Past Present & Tortusa. The trio of trumpet, upright bass and live sampling is composed and performed by Simen Kiil Halvorsen, Alexander Hoholm and Tortusa respectively. Space is the key to what makes ‘Black Mist’ so compelling as the digital details flicker and dance around the edge of the music, creating texture and nuance quite wonderfully while the trumpet and bass deftly interweave ghostly melodies and rhythmic pulses.

‘Black Mist’ comes from the album Eternal Return:

“Eternal Return is a dystopian tale told in three chapters. It starts with the track ‘Nowhere’ representing a beautiful utopian dream, followed by ‘Black Mist’, where conflict and despair have become a norm, and the final chapter, ‘Dawn of Hope’, brings light and hope for a new and better future.”

NEW MUSIC: Gold Dime – My House

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New York trio Gold Dime recently released this video for the title track of their new album My House. The sum of their parts but each distinctly carving their own niche in the band’s sound – Andrya Ambro (drums/vocals), Ian Douglas-Moore (bass), John Bohannon (guitar) all play with/off each other in a heavily rhythmic and mantra-like way. There are dense, pummelling sections, punctuated by squalls of textural noise and Ambro’s tense, and dramatic intonements.

RIYL: Gothic post-punk, Krautrock, avant jazz, noise rock and post-rock.

My House is out now on Fire Talk RecordsBandcamp and streaming services.

NEW MUSIC: Daymaker – Mpc

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Chicagoans Daymaker recently released their new album Let The Sun Fall and this is one of its highlights, the jerky, yelp and howl of ‘Mpc’.

The start of the track reminds me of Hot Snakes and then they throw their jagged-edged guitar shards across the song before Erin Delaney lets loose with her strident holler. She’s part Siouxsie Sioux, part Carrie Brownstein  as she leads the song into the open framed chorus – tautness still intact as the song churns and spins dizzyingly on its post-punk axis.

 

NEW MUSIC: Burning House – Her Vowel No

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A blistering sonic harmonic scree is the order of the day on this new track from the Southampton, UK band Burning House. You can hear the spirit and verve of bands like Swervedriver, Trail Of Dead, My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth as they careen across the speakers, leaving vapour trails of melody and distortion.

‘Her Vowel No’ comes from their debut LP Anthropocene which came out mid year.

 

NEW MUSIC: Squarepusher – Vortrack

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Photo by Donald Milne

Taken from the new album Be Up A Hello, here’s the latest glitchy, electro squelch from the mercurial musician and producer Squarepusher.

After a 5 year hiatus that has seen him delve into a range of diverse musical projects, Tom Jenkinson will release his new album on the 31st of January. Fans can enjoy a taster as the double-A side 12” ‘Vortrack’ will be released on the 6th of December, featuring Squarepusher’s Fracture Remix.

With this new album, Squarepusher has returned to using a bewildering array of vintage analogue and digital hardware, the same equipment that first helped him develop his sound in the early ’90s. Something of a 180 degree turn, these synths, effects units and even a Commodore Vic20 are in complete contrast to the tools he used to create 2015’s Damogen Furies – cutting edge software that Tom developed over the course of 15 years. The result is Be Up A Hello, an album that is celebratory with rinsing breakbeat tracks such as Nervelevers and Terminal Slam – classic floor fillers – as well pieces loaded with visceral atmosphere and melody in Squarepusher’s inimitable style. Darker moments such as Vortrack and Mekrev Bass illustrate Tom’s continuing fascination with finely balanced psychological overload. As such, Be Up A Hello gives a nod to the mayhem, joyousness and abandon of the DIY Essex rave scene that was a strong determinant in Tom’s work.

Squarepusher
Be Up A Hello
(WARP)
Street Date: Jan. 31, 2020

Track List:

A1. Oberlove
A2. Hitsonu
A3. Nervelevers
A4. Speedcrank
A5. Detroit People Mover
B1. Vortrack
B2. Terminal Slam
B3. Mekrev Bass
B4. 80 Ondula

 

NEW MUSIC: JW Francis – Lofi

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When he hits the central tangled and tumbling guitar riff, JW Francis sounds like the lovechild of The Strokes, Real Estate and Talking Heads on this smart earworm of an art rock single. ‘Lofi’ is the second of three singles he’s released in 2019. Check out the others too – ‘Is That The One’ in particular is excellent.

Francis was born in Tulsa Oklahoma, raised in Paris, France, and now based in New York City.

NEW MUSIC: Charcoal Burners – The Verlaines and Husker Du

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We posted another Charcoal Burners track earlier this year and this one also hits the spot with its warm buzz and jangle of guitars, interlaced with piano (that reminded us of Able Tasmans). I like that they reference the sound of the song in its title, you can definitely hear both bands that they mention, more so their Dunedin counterparts. I’d also throw in a comparison with the less caustic side of Swervedriver in the way the song gently churns and drones.

‘The Verlaines and Husker Du’ follows their 2019 album The Best Day You Could Imagine.

 

LIVE REVIEW: Joan As Police Woman @ Factory Theatre, Sydney (2019)

 

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Joan As Police Woman
Factory Theatre
9 October

As a venue, the Factory Theatre often lacks warmth and atmosphere but on this night Joan As Police Woman transformed it into a dreamy basement cabaret bar. There was no support act due to her playing two sets – another tip of the hat to the jazz bar scenario. It also gave the fans a chance to check out the fully laden merch desk between sets.

On a dimly-lit stage wreathed in smoke sat an upright piano, an electric guitar, amplifier, and a Roland Rhythm Arranger drum machine. Joan Wasser, resplendent in a disco-era jumpsuit, took a long, deep breath before easing into a gorgeous rendition of ‘To Be Lonely’. The reverence of the attentive audience was quickly broken with Wasser good-naturedly asking for the air-conditioning to be turned off as she shivered, stretched her hands and even dropped to the floor for some press-ups. A few songs later she took up an audience member’s offer to lend her jacket.

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It was clear that Wasser was in a playful and irreverent mood, exchanging banter with the audience before switching her attention back to her emotive jazz-tinged deep soul, R&B and folk inflected songs. Pretty much all the songs she played came from her recent anthology release Joanthology which cherry picks the highlights of the last decade of her solo career.

What quickly became evident from watching and listening to Wasser perform her songs, was the way she commands and steers the timing of, and space within her music. Sparse piano chords settled in unusual places, augmented by sweet melodic runs of notes. All the while her voice drifted and soared above the music, pushing and pulling via simple incantations one minute and delicate and intricate acrobatic flurries the next. Her more rhythmically dependent songs were given groove and depth via the drum machine and on her cover of Prince’s ‘Kiss’ she took the song further into coy and sensual territory. Other highlights included ‘Human Condition’, ‘Tell Me’, audience favourite ‘The Magic’ and the gentle ache of ‘The Ride’.

Joan As Police Woman has visited Australia a number of times now but this felt like the most relaxed, intimate and consummate show we’ve seen from her.

Chris Familton