Drinking The Molotov: The Finest New Releases From The Edgelands
, June 21st, 2011 12:08
From Blood Stereo to the Telescopes and more, Scott McKeating hunts out the best in tiny releases and peculiar sounds
Brighton's Blood Stereo, often described as the sound of a mental ward medication cock-up at the House of Hammer Horror, are in the midst of a particularly smart spurt of releases. With this duo there's often the feeling that any magnetic tape that they come into contact with somehow begins a process of a hybrid development of osmosis and rot. It feels as if the very air around Dylan Nyoukis and Karen Constance is charged with particles that both imprint and decay with their unique DNA strain. Wrapped in a typically horrifically odd piece of Constance's art, Tape Hiss for Brainwash's first side begins with a Sweeney Todd sausage fingered fumble of Black Sabbath intro tapes and backwards/forwards warped flurries. Blood Stereo's music could almost be classified as musique concrete if the term wasn't so skewed in favour of the avant pompous. What's always so entertainingly alive about Blood Stereo's chaotic sound is the way that everything feels born of mouth, spittle and groan. Even when they move across the bows of great elegiac tones, there's a meat-born Parkinsons buzz of damage to it. The organic mulchworld of the second side's Tape has Natural Voice is a further internalised action, new homegrown strains of life and the gestation periods of boneless parasite squidgy things.
Hiss for Brainwash is available on cassette through Feeding Tube Records in an edition of 100.
Nick Mott's previous life as a member of avant-folkists Volcano The Bear seems a long way away. Despite that numerous odd aspects and angles that Volcano The Bear approached music from, this project under the alias of Skeleton Birds And The Number Of Gods is another kettle of fish entirely. The formula here seems to have been gather sound recordings and then let the mixing desk out of its cage to mate and mangle with the amassed sounds. The result is the debut release for a non-existent and out of time world-folk troupe who've been lost, deep fried and brain burnt in the 100 degree desert heat. These Dark Roots Of Heaven is a surrealist's blend of real instrument weirdness, field recordings and mixing desk enchantments. The high-end tones are heavy on the frontal lobes, whole instruments drowned and punctured like someone taking drillbits and delay pedals to the Sun City Girls archive. The album's closing piece, 'Growing The Next Life' is the last breath of a dying sea shanty. A gorgeous slice of pump organ drone-out, the track takes (what might be) Wood Pigeon cooing into a gentle last orders ending. These Dark Roots Of Heaven only really loses its way when some dib-dabs of enthusiastic over-processing make certain parts a little over cacophonous. This material works best when the weirdness stays on its crooked railway line. These Dark Roots Of Heaven is available on vinyl through Altvinyl in an edition of 250.
Onscreen the idea of The Telescopes playing their 1989 debut album in its entirety and releasing it reads like just another episode in the current series of indie's reformation/reissue plunderphonics. Instead of a retread of memories Live: Aftertaste is a hellish take on the original, front man Stephan Lawrie backed up with a bunch of young guns sets the original alight/alive and drinks the molotov. Hot-iron branding the original's hobnailed shoegaze with a Stoogean sense of violence, these tracks are imbued with the kind of wahwah screech and noisy blaze of Lawrie's recent collaborations with Vibracathedral Orchestra's Bridget Hayden. The songs are definitely still recognisable, but the muddy popnoise/noisepop of yesteryear is now a feral thing. The tempo has been stepped up, the songs screeching and blazing like demented and damaged aircraft as a counterpoint to Lawrie's time coarsened and angrier vocals. As the band take it down a few notches for the closing tracks, a deconstructed take on 'Suicide', the looping bass line is almost swallowed up by the wittering chatter of the audience. Soon enough though the implied threat of the pursuing bass becomes a explosive venue cull as The Telescopes culminate their 15minutes of tension with surges of bloody feedback and stabs of noise. The listener is left violently happy. Live: Aftertaste is available on vinyl through Static Charge in an edition of 500.
The Legion Blotan label sits on the serrated and blurred line that sits between black metal and experimental oddness. Their ongoing series of releases by new-ish bands, bizarro projects and established act reissues make Legion Blotan one of the most genuinely interesting underground labels out there. This tape by Satanhartalt sounds like it was made by a trio of demented black metal fans that got given all of black metal's ingredients but never got the instructions on how to fit in with the stricter-end of the genre. Recorded in an abyss depth lo-fidelity style, with dank dungeon drip percussion and snarled vocals from inside the inside of corrugated tin cooler, the recording rides on a handful of notes that make up a strangely familiar melody. The tape's two strongest elements, the drums (or perhaps more aptly the noise of the freefall of battering and clattering on a makeshift cardboard and metal kit in a set of black metal patterns) and the bare roaring vocals shift and resync through the gloom – this is the skewed and abscess infected minimalism. Hæðenfolc is available on cassette through Legion Blotan in an edition of 300. Previous Legion Blotan releases can be heard here.
For an act with well recognisable handful of signature styles, Jailbreak are still a musically absolutely dangerous proposition. Easing the listener into Colour Them Gone with one of the most furious jams this side of Borbetomagus, this free-playing duo of drummer Chris Corsano and pedal steel player Heather Leigh Murray assault consciousness as a matter of course. With Jailbreak hard-wired to explode like a minefield on domino effect, the spotlight can be often very unfairly aimed at Corsano, leaving Murray's input sometimes unheralded. Murray is every bit as inventive as the percussionist, pedal steel strings stretched like aching sinews, a player ceaselessly involved with the push and pull of sound, self, noise and melody. At times a swirl, other times a maul, its unclear if they're breaking on through to somewhere, but they're certainly breaking something. 'Freezing Sharks' begins with a vocal chant before Murray tears into her instrument like she was going through layer after layer of steel in great spurts. Away from the improv slaughter is the more syrupy 'White Spider', a weird separation of bone and brain that becomes a piece of de-solidifying tones that melts away only to re-congeal and liquefy again. Colour Them Gone is available on cdr through Nyali Recordings in an edition of 297.