NEW MUSIC: ACUA – Keep Spinning

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ACUA are a post-punk band from Cologne who sit somewhere in the sweet spot between the aforementioned genre and the more hypnotic side of dream-pop, shoegaze and indie rock. ‘Keep Spinning’ is the their latest single and finds the fairly new band blending synths and guitars into a really nice sound (reminiscent of RIDE), balanced between drift and drive, where texture is everything.

ALBUM REVIEW: Refused – War Music

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Refused
War Music
Spinefarm/Search and Destroy
★★★½

With the band’s split in 1998, it took 14 years for them to spread their various music wings (including the excellent International Noise Conspiracy) and re-set their personal lives before reconvening for live shows and then delivering the strong comeback album Freedom in 2015. It showed they were still vital and able to conjure up fire-in-the-belly forward thinking heavy music. 

War Music solidifies the band’s return to active duty but it’s a more refined and compact take on the modern rock album. Trimmed of any excess, it rips and roars across ten songs in 35 minutes. There’s little diversion into synth interludes or overly prog workouts. Instead it keeps things locked tightly around the precise and knotty guitar riffs and that rhythm section that still kicks and drives with metronomic muscle.

Not everything works though. Malfire swaps intensity for more melodic commercial rock shapes and it just sounds overplayed. Likewise the punk-pop melody of the chorus in I Wanna Watch The World Burn. The second half of the album is where they really find their feet, Turn The Cross tumbles violently with tangled breakneck playing from all band members. It sounds truly thrilling, a band on knife edge, right on the lip of the wave. They follow that with Damaged II, a song that would fit on any Rage Against The Machine album. When they re-enter the maelstrom after coming to a halt momentarily it’s like the swing of a sledgehammer. The Infamous Left is an exercise in old school thrash metal before the band closes the album out with the stomp and swagger of Economy Of Death.

The themes of War Music are still the same with Dennis Lyxzén howling and screaming about protest, struggle, revolution and inequality. With Refused it’s the sound though. That hurricane of distortion. militant rhythms and the combination of primal physicality and intelligent application in the band’s intoxicating noise.

Chris Familton

 

 

NEW MUSIC: Caoilfhionn Rose – Being Human

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‘Being Human’, by Manchester songwriter and producer Caoilfhionn Rose (pronounced Keelin) is one of those tracks that combines mystery, beauty, lush production and a voice that possesses effortless melodic qualities. It comes from her debut LP Awaken, out now on Gondwana Records.

Mixing pastoral folk, light psychedelia and indie sensibilities the song is a good reflection of the overall strength of Awaken as an album. Recommended!

NEW MUSIC: Alaskan Tapes – Views From Sixteen Stories

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Last month, Canadian composer Alaskan Tapes (Brady Kendall) released his new album Views From Sixteen Stories. Check out the title track below, a warm, dream-like, swelling piece of music that rises and falls with a certain weightlessness. There’s sonic depth to it too. Turn up the volume and the richness of the bass tones resonate wonderfully through the track.

Hit the Bandcamp link to stream and buy the album on vinyl/CD/digital or stream on the other usual platforms.

NEW MUSIC: Easy Street – Get On

Australian band Easy Street throw a Dylan-like urging vocal and some loose-limbed exuberance into the musical blender on this new track ‘Get On’. It’s one of those songs that feels purpose-built for the fast approaching warmer months.

Hailing from Sydney, the quintet have a great carefree and melodic, garage psychedelia going on in their sound. We’re looking forward to hearing more from the band.

NEW MUSIC: Mofer – Sometimes

You know when you hear something that sounds so familiar, the sum of their influences but you can’t nail them down to any degree of specificity? That was how felt on hearing this track from German band Mofer. It’s steeped in the history of post-punk, with the anguish-tinged, staring-at-the-horizon vocal, that Stephen Morris-like drumming and guitars that skate across the surface of the song. It has a great 90s melancholic indie guitar rock vibe to it too.

‘Sometimes’ comes from the band’s recently released EP Ghosts.

Michael A. Muller – Lower River

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Michael A. Muller is a co-founder of Balmorhea who have released six albums over the last 13 years. ‘Lower River’ is the title track of his solo album and it’s a wonderfully immersive and hypnotic piece of ambient, droning music that hangs in the air, draped in resonating, melancholic chords.

The press releases describes the track as being inspired by his own remote travels throughout the US and Europe and the personal exploration of a meditative practice, it’s a sonic exploration of what it means to hear versus to listen, to immerse oneself in navigating the subconscious plane of pure energy and deep, immersive creativity.

Lower River is out October 25th on Beacon Sound (vinyl) + 1631 Recordings (digital).

NEW MUSIC: Christopher Tignor – The Resonance Canons

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Christopher Tignor is a New York composer with an impressive CV. In his early days he mixed sound at CBGBs, was an assistant to La Monte Young. He gained a Masters in computer science from NYU, proceeded through Princeton’s PhD program in music composition, and was later recruited for a software engineering position at Google. He’s released nine albums and collaborated with a range of other artists including Keith Kenniff (Helios), Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, John Congleton, and This Will Destroy You.

Tignor’s latest album A Light Below features this track ‘The Resonance Canons’, an 11 minute instrumental journey that is based around the sound of tuning forks. It sparkles and glistens, clangs and pulses with bell-like qualities and both melancholic and slightly ominous undertones. Lovely stuff!

“Since the last LP, my technique for tuning forks also earned some attention (and an honest-to-God tuning fork sponsorship). Again, I wanted to push the musical possibilities here, dialing those gestures in to create locked, luminous polyrhythms alternating with left hand pizzicato. I combined these methods with cascades of triggered synths in “The Resonance Canons”, an 11 minute trip ending in complete vulnerability—as the tuning fork loses its resonance, I continue knocking it against my bridge, a final ostinato built from processed noise and resonant wood.”