There was a slew of different noises in this week, especially a tasty handful of new American sounds. I thought I’d mix that with a selection of Australian artists, recent and not so recent, of whom I am very fond. As usual there is an eclectic mix herein…..
Malcolm Hill & Live Flesh – California Moon – Centaur
Malcolm’s most recent album continues his successful run of releases. Packed with memorable well crafted tunes.
Naujawanan Baidar – Koh Har Qadar Boland Bashad Baaz Ham Sar-e Khod Rah Darad – Khedmat Be Khalq
After the success of the brilliant double LP Volume 1 & 2, Ramble is honoured to be releasing in conjunction with Feeding Tube Records, Cardinal Fuzz, and Radio Khiyaban, iconoclastic Afghan-American street music project Naujawanan Baidar’s third album and first new release in three years Khedmat Be Khalq. Originally planned as a “studio debut” in the classic sense, a veritable avalanche of setbacks tangled and delayed the recording process over a span of several years as compounded tragedies – both international and personal – disrupted the project’s intended transition from simply being a ramshackle demo/home-recording outlet for founder N.R. Safi (The Myrrors, et al) into a properly working band. At the end of the day the process of assembling what would eventually become “Khedmat Be Khalq” became a lot like that of the previous two releases: gnarled and sun-baked tracks cut up and collated into a blown out collage of sound.
The Nearly Brothers – Pulls Me Like A Tide – You Can’t Hide From Your Yesterdays
2010 album lead by Mark Snarski (Chad’s Tree, The Jackson Code) which features Martyn Casey, Bongo Fury aka Mark Dawson (Blackeyed Susans, Charlie Marshall & The Existentialists, Ed Kuepper & The Yard Goes On Forever, Ron S. Peno And The Superstitions) , T.B. Allen, and Mick Harvey (The Birthday Party. The Bad Seeds etc).
Joni Void – Parallax Error (+N NAO) – Everyday Is The Song
Joni Void presents a new song cycle of emotive tape collage drawn from urban field recordings and sampling of transient performances, with audio capturing dozens of musicians in Void’s community, including Owen Pallett, Sarah Pagé, N NAO, Shota Yokose and YlangYlang. The follow-up to their acclaimed 2019 album Mise En Abyme.
The Rhombus of Doom – Scorched Black Void – Scorched Black Void
Obscure 2006 CDr limited edition featuring the anarchic psychedelic collective. Features M.T. Scott of STAGGS on vocals. Mostly live recordings from 1985/6. This one was from Anglo Asian Club 13/3/86.
Blood Moon Wedding – Blood Moon Wedding Part 1 and Part 2 – Blood Moon Wedding: An American Nightmare
An international duet project, created by legendary English punk rocker Steve Lake (Zounds) and American singer Mia Dean. Together they present their gothic-noir, road trip, folktale in the form of Blood Moon Wedding: An American Nightmare, set for release on April 7th via Mobilization Recordings. Encompassing elements of post-punk, psych rock, dark punk, and more and shrouded under a veil of forbidden love and forbidding doom, the album casts its spell and captures an atmosphere that is intimate, otherworldly, and ultimately uplifting. Set in the sprawling deserts of the United States, Lake and Dean find themselves trapped in an alternate reality, where death and love are the only way through the gates of space and time. Exploring themes of mass murder, gun violence, and trauma bonding, it is a dramatic commentary on the violence in American society.
The Infinity Ring – Nemesis & Nativity – Nemesis & Nativity
New England-based avant post-industrial collective unleash their Nemesis & Nativity full-length on April 14th via Profound Lore Records. The seeds for what would become this group were planted by Cameron Moretti in the Summer of 2020, drawing together many musicians long active in the Boston metal, punk, and electronic scenes. The initial endeavours of the band started as an experimental take on dark folk music with added elements of drone and noise. The band eventually grew to be an alchemical fusion of experimental rock with many disparate strains from the post-industrial continuum, all delivered with a spiritual and mystic bent. The band’s output sits at the crossroads of many different styles, such as ominous folk, no wave, industrial, and black metal, with elements of occult and ethereal antiquarian sonics laced throughout. They spent much of 2020 and 2021 experimenting in various studios around New England, deeply immersed in open-ended musical research and development. These sessions would eventually lead to the collaborative Ohr EP with Jarboe. In early 2022, the band set out in earnest to record its debut album, Nemesis & Nativity, at God City Studios in Salem, Massachusetts. The album built on much of what came before, but with a more pronounced sense of ritual, atmosphere, and heaviness. During the creation of the album, genre conventions fell by the wayside and extreme experimentation was channelled, resulting in a sonic palette that morphs from elegantly haunted atmospherics to mystic ritual drone, brutalist industrial rhythms to passages of melancholy.
Walking Bombs – The War Spectators – Spiritual Dreams Above Empty Promises
Walking Bombs is alternative rock/anti-punk act created by Morgan Y. Evans. Spiritual Dreams Above Empty Promises is an album about trying not to lose hope and to remain centered despite the world’s sorrows and perils. It was written following the passing of Evans’ mother and deals with topics ranging from mortality, spirituality, individuality, gun violence, love, cynicism, freedom of choice, spectator apathy during conflict or bullying, overcoming doubt, and even being startled awake by technology. It is for people trying to remember that cynicism is not as powerful as our deeper hopes, dreams, and empathy.
It was recorded before Evans’ recent move to Southern California. The record, along with a corresponding sister album, was created in Rhinebeck, New York during the majority of 2022 at engineer and multi-instrumentalist Ash Umhey’s forested studio Orange Sound, engineered, recorded, and mixed by Umhey. It’s a reconnecting of sorts between old friends after years of growing up and participating in the late-90s/early-00s fertile Hudson Valley alternative music scene together.
Evans played more instruments than ever, with a large contribution of material from Umhey, drummer Justin Zipperle (Shadow Witch), Elizabeth Gomez Dapena (Globelamp, ex-Foxygen), and cameos from many other friends, including members/alumni of The Chrome Cranks, The Stabbing Jabs, The Alchemy Unit, Prince Rama, The Natural Lines, Matt Pond PA, Meowtain, Gridfailure, Talon, 5rvln5, Kore Rozzik Band, and more, largely recorded at the collaborators’ respective home studios. Septa’s Eugene Tymchyk even sent a spoken word contribution from amidst war-torn Ukraine. The symbolic cover art was created by NYC visual designer Julia Popescu.
Tina Fey – Nuremberg – Tina Fey//Louise
Louise – Desert Serpent – Tina Fey//Louise
Nefarious Industries presents a new split EP from two close-knit Cincinnati, Ohio comrade acts.
Tina Fey a grindcore-tinged hardcore trio formed by former members of Eunoia and WELP, unifying drummer Shon Worthington, guitarist Bryce Aasen, and guitarist/vocalist Logan Nichols. The group formed in 2022 – Nichols and Aasen were dissolving their covert mathcore act Eunoia as Nefarious Industries was releasing their scathing Psyop Of The Year full-length – and feeling optimistic about the future, the trio prepared this split with hometown ruffians Louise as its inaugural release.
Louise brings members from Pout, Brain Dead Breath, and Piss Flowers together into something fans of hardcore, screamo, and grunge can agree upon. Having met each other in the kitchens of pizza parlors or by the luckiest and chance encounters, the group is made up of four very close friends for life – bassist Kainon Loebker, vocalist Kevin Vance, guitarist Paul Estes, and drummer Harrison Miller. Solidifying those relationships in the hallways and front porches of punk houses dubbed Porch Couch, Coy Pond, and Mad House, the group was born from late nights being too loud for neighbours and too quiet for all the homies kickin’ it out front.
With both TINA FEY and LOUISE each delivering two new songs, the split was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Kainon Loebker in his studio next to the pickle factory and completed with artwork by Jane Harms.
Harry Howard – Suitcase – Harry Howard presents Slight Pavilions
2022 mostly solo release from Harry which ranks amongst some of his best work
Lesotho – The Great Fault – Through The Dying Light
Boston, Massachusetts-based instrumental post-metal trio resents their first full-length album. Formed in the quarantine days of 2020, LESOTHO unites guitarist Kyle Loffredo, bassist Cliff Cazeau, and drummer Zach Ganshirt. Their 2021-released debut EP Summer Wars was recorded and engineered by Alex Allinson of The Bridge Sound & Stage in Cambridge – formerly known as Fort Apache Studios, the site of the creation of ISIS’ post-metal epic, Oceanic – and very quickly cemented their place as an up-and-coming artist to watch in the New England alternative metal scene. As Distorted Sound Magazine put it, “as a result of a mutual love for instrumental heavy music, the band quickly established their raison d’être; to dazzle us the listener with cathartic and challenging music.”
The Silversound – Rider – The Silversound
Another Australian supergroup. A slithering juggernaut of gurgling guitars and dreamscape lyrics bubbling from Melbourne’s dark underground, The Silversound is a deep psychedelic trip in the melody-rich tradition of rock’s golden age of discovery. Phased and funky, fuzzed-up and freaked out, the road-hardened quartet of Australian fringe identities forged their first sojourn during one of the longest, hardest lockdowns on the planet, smuggling hope and tenderness from the gloom; soaring sitars and sky bound propulsion from the depths of pandemic static. From beefy boogie to rainwater jangle, loopy acoustic echoes to woolly overdrive, The Silversound’s aquaplaning guitars and cyclical grooves will turn your dull grey matter inside out and your 21st century blues to every damn colour under the Fat Old Sun.
The Silversound are Shane O’Mara, Andrew Tanner, Stu Thomas and Leroy Cope.
Meredith Bates – Debris – Tesseract
Violinist Meredith Bates has become a staple of Vancouver’s vibrant local music scene, as both a generous collaborator and, especially following the release of her spellbinding debut If Not Now (2020), as a one-person musical force. She’s a powerful and versatile player, contributing to many different projects across a broad range of styles. Her solo output, however, doesn’t serve as the vehicle for violin virtuosity that one might expect. Instead, it showcases her painterly compositional imagination, using her instrument as brush to apply thick, luminous coats of electrifed colour to her auditory canvas. Bates’ forthcoming offering Tesseract picks up where If Not Now left off, and follows that album’s psychedelic, quasi-orchestral landscapes all the way out to their dark horizons. Like its predecessor, Tesseract occupies a monumental scale, swelling over two CDs. Her shimmering cascades of treated strings remain a crucial element, yet there’s newfound volatility and a steadfast commitment to investigating texture here. Bates’ vocabulary within the noise sphere is impressive and evocative; in her hands it proves to be just as malleable and expressive as any other technique in her repertoire. There are certainly moments of bluster and friction, but Bates makes use of the full spectrum available within the domain of pure sound. Her distant creaks and dim crackling pull the listener deeper into her gradually blooming structures, as other textural passages engender a sense of intrigue or suspension. It’s a welcome and disquieting contrast to the threads of bowed lyricism that link these six pieces. Bates’ melodic material is more kaleidoscopic than ever on Tesseract too, thanks to her unique resourcefulness with electronics. Listeners do hear violin—there are several gorgeous sections where its natural timbre comes into focus—but they also witness it transforming into everything from a waterlogged piano to distant celestial bells, and from a pipe organ to string orchestra.
As such, most of the works here traverse considerable musical distances, but Bates is a patient composer, preferring to journey slowly across these various terrains and allowing the listener to inhabit the scenery. At times, this measured pacing provides a contemplative cast to the music, yet that’s not always the case. The strange, multidimensional sprawl of the 46-minute title track, for instance, is downright hypnotic, but courses with uneasy, febrile energy. Tesseract is clearly both a more sombre yet more audacious counterpart to her previous release, but the very elements that might make it a somewhat exigent listen are agents of intrigue and wonder as well. They’re also what imbue this compelling record with its singular, dark allure. A gifted improviser and performer, multiple award-winning violinist Meredith Bates has developed a reputation for both refined introspection and unfettered virtuosity on her instrument. The Vancouver-based artist has spent the past twenty years recording and performing around the world, in ensembles such as Pugs and Crows and Gentle Party, and in projects led by Vancouver music icons like Peggy Lee, Tony Wilson, Leah Abramson, and Ford Pier. Bates is the founder and leader of Like the Mind, a sextet of celebrated female improvisers from Vancouver and Stockholm—namely Peggy Lee, Lisa Ullén, Lisen Rylander Löve, Elisa Thorn, and Emma Augustsson—and of Sound Migrations, a multi-faceted collaboration combining electroacoustic soundscapes with processed photography.