Straight out of the gates into a krautrock, psych sprint from Chicago group Montecore. The song comes from their One Night album that came out in May and they’ve already followed it up with a new album, House Fire Themes, which hits the same frantic, hyper-melodic hypnotic sweet-spot, Those kinds of songs that could (and should) go on endlessly as guitar solos fire off into the stratosphere, drums hit like a metronome and bass-lines tie it all together like Peter Hook on a bender.
Japanese genre-destroyers Boris return with a new album, NO, due out July 3rd, self-released on Bandcamp. Check out the searing, careening distortion punk-fest that is ‘Loveless’.
A message from BORIS:
“International borders are ‘closed’ now.
All kinds of anxieties, fear, sadness, anger, and hatred have arisen to drive the world apart.Everyone is in a process of trial and error, doing what they can to live.The critical state of the world has placed culture, art, and other means of expressing ourselves into a dilemma as well.We decided to start managing our band ourselves again a few years ago, so we even more keenly aware of the current situation.
It was our actions up to this point and our methodology, various cultural influences, as well the connections and support we received from people around the world that led us to create this latest album.
Culture is lore that is not bound by blood, in other words ‘Non Blood Lore.’
We have put all of our influences and connections into this album so that they may be passed on circulated.That is our current stance now as Boris, our role and mode of action.
The title of this album is NO. People have a system whereby they unconsciously grow accustomed to things and adapt to them.But, this same system is also cursed in the way it allows inconvenient or troubling things to be disregarded as if they were never there to begin with and goes by other names such as ‘resignation,’ ‘subordination,’ and ‘forgetfulness.’We renounce this system.‘Is this something I felt on my own? Is this idea something I came up with on my own? Is this something I chose to act upon myself?’Everything begins with questioning and denying oneself.That is the proper stance for people to adopt.
Music and culture possess incredible power.The anger and discontent we had no outlet for in our youth shone through in our music, helping us to channel negative energy channeled towards creative ends and leading us to new means of expression and artistry.We hope this latest album can be a mirror that gathers and reflects people’s negative energy at a different angle, one that is positive.That is the power and potential of the dark, extreme, and brutal noise music that we have experienced up to this point.Today’s society is littered with words that may or may not be true, making it easy to want to just not listen to what anyone has to say.But, that’s all the more reason why we hope that you will at least open your ears to these songs sung in the language of another land.These shouts that have no proper meaning as words will help release the raw, unshaped emotions within you.This is ‘extreme healing music.’
International borders are ‘closed’ now.When we’re able to travel again, it will be proof that the world has moved forward.We pray for the day when we can share the same time and place again.
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.”
Here’s a great slice of authentic garage psych rock from Los Angeles band Velvet Starlings, fronted by Christian Gisborne. ‘Kids In Droves’ cuts a fine balance between 60s UK mods sounds, a tough Britpop angle and US garage rock circa Nuggets. The single follows their self-titled EP of last year which has seen them generate some major radio attention and a US and UK tour dates.
Sometimes it takes monumental life events to galvanise a band, or any creative endeavour for that matter. In the case of New Zealand band Beastwars it was the diagnosis singer Matt Hyde received, confirming Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In the weeks following his chemotherapy treatment the band hit the studio and recorded their fourth album – a blistering, pummelling, cathartic battle cry of a record.
“You can never get away from your mortal decay,” Hyde howls on ‘Mortal Decay’. This is an album that addresses mortality and the brutal reality of our time on this earth and the fragility of life. Out of that there is a sense of immense strength and resolution from both singer and band. There are winding, ruminative passages in some songs that add a reflective quality to the heavier, more visceral sound that dominates the album, but don’t start thinking this is a metal band going soft, their essence of heavy swinging and paint-peeling riffage is still firmly intact, made even more powerful with the quality of the songwriting and ideas on IV.
As musicians, the band sound freer and more inventive than they ever have before. There is colour and shade on a song such as ‘Omens’ which combines the moodiness of Tool with lumbering doom metal density, while on ‘Mortal Decay’ the song straightens into pure metal chug and gallop at the three quarter mark to brilliant effect. On ‘The Traveller’, Hyde stands exposed, delivering an affecting primal scream before the band join him and carry the song forward on a comforting melodic bed of heavy bass and avant garde guitar squalls. ‘Wolves And Prey’ tumbles and churns like a spinning vortex and ‘Like Dried Blood’ combines a piano and Hyde’s ghoulish vocal to great effect as the thunder grows and the riffs thicken and fill the air like heavy smoke.
“Out of adversity comes opportunity” said Benjamin Franklin and Beastwars have taken that mantra and bled a visceral, life-affirming album into existence. You’d be hard pressed to find many better metal albums than this in 2019.
Christopher Willits is an acclaimed ambient composer and musician who has opened for the late Jóhann Jóhannsson and released two albums with Ryuichi Sakamoto and productions with Tycho as part of his impressive back catalogue.
The five compositions on his new album Sunset move from warm to cool designed as a soundtrack to embrace the day’s end. ‘Coast’ rises and falls like the ocean currents, a tidal blend of synth and field recording that conjures up a sense of immense space and the calming zen-like hypnotic nature of the sea.
Written by Christopher Willits
Recorded at SnowGhost in Whitefish, Montana
Produced by Christopher Willits
Mixed at The Dojo in San Francisco, California and Overlap Studio in Oakland, California
Some wonderfully weird-pop here courtesy of Wine Flies, the solo project of Swedish musician Henrik Lennartsson. It hits that same spaced-out, fever dream vibe of John Maus and Ariel Pink with a warped, lo-fi production aesthetic that accentuates the haunted feel of the music.
“Business was the result of me, merely improvising keys over a beat. I never know what I’m gonna get, since I don’t write the songs beforehand. I’m not at all classically trained in any form, I always just play whatever chords or notes I know until I get something that sounds alright (at least to me). My biggest inspiration is all the bad/boring music I’ve ever heard, because it makes me feel absolutely no pressure what so ever. I simply aim to create something listenable, preferably a hit, but mostly just barely okay. I’m basically just trying to have fun with it, because why not?
I’d say that my fuel/drive in all of this comes down to the concept of irony. It completely destroyed me as a person, when it first hit me as a younger man, but it is also now the thing that makes me sane and keeps me going, because life is ridiculous, and so am I.“
The Horizon Just Laughed comes on the back of the loosely thematic trilogy of albums he recorded with producer and musician Andrew Swift. They were psychedelic in nature though still rooted in the folk form. In contrast, this feels like a retreat from the density and experimentation, to a place of reflection and solitude.
Jurado is often lumped in with songwriters like Phosphorescent, Sam Beam of Iron and Wine and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, and on Over Rainbows And Rainier he certainly shares a rustic minimalism with the latter. There’s a plaintive mood across most of these songs, a gentle grandeur and a tender sway. The lyrics are introspective, dealing in character observations (six of the eleven song titles are names) and vignettes that reference fires and ghosts, dreams and Charles Schulz – skilfully shifting from literal to impressionistic storytelling and back.
Allocate is the album’s scene-setter, a dreamy, string-enhanced soulful meander that recalls Jurado’s starker early work. It’s followed by Dear Thomas Wolfe which highlights his seemingly endless ability to effortlessly weave beautiful, understated melodies. Marvin Kaplan introduces a sweet Tropicália via Laurel Canyon shuffle that lifts the album’s heart rate and recalls some of the work of Devendra Banhart, while Florence-Jean is catchy Sixties pop and closer Random Fearless adds some of CSN’s looser moments to the mix. Another gem from this consistent and inventive songwriter.