APRIL REWIND: NOISE SUPERGROUPS, A LEGEND’S RETURN AND A BUBBLE-SWEET POP
Busy month, April. Record Store Day went back to its regular slot, Oxford stalwarts Desert Storm released Death Rattle and launched it with a gig (OK, that was March 31st but it’s close enough) and there was the tiny morsel of news that METALLICA DROPPED 72 SEASONS ON US.
But Metallica is too big a deal to blog share so they’ll get their own post another time.
Until then, some ugly beauties.
Like Empire State Bastard.
EMPIRE STATE BASTARD – Harvest
Let’s take a moment or ten to revel in the sheer class of that band name because it’s surely the best of the year, if not the decade. The track itself is pure Dead Cross on first listen – punk metal hardcore, jammed with tempo shifts and grinding riffs at pace.
But who’s driving Empire State Bastard? Only Mr Dead Cross Driver himself, Dave Lombardo. How good is that? He’s not the only big name either because Biffy Clyro and Oceansize are feeders for the rest of the line-up – Simon Neil and Mike Vennart do vox and guitar, just way harder than you’d imagine. Ace. Harvest video this way.
While we’re in a Lombardo state of mind, don’t forget his new solo album Rites of Percussion, just released on Ipecac.
JAAW – Rot
Lurching noise rock for subterraneans, Rot sounds like the slow decay its title suggests. Driven by the kind of monstrous bass that the late Caleb Scofield laid down for Cave In and Zozobra, Rot neither needs, wants nor gives a fuck about air, daylight and all that other lovely stuff. Nope, it’s a grimy beating of infernal industrial sludge decomposed by assorted guys from Three Trapped Tigers, Sex Swing and, get this, Therapy? – Andy Cairns lends a buried howl. Jaaw Rot: yours if you want it.
KILLING JOKE – Full Spectrum Dominance
Released in March ahead of Killing Joke’s Royal Albert Hall gig, Full Spectrum Dominance is both exactly like any other recent KJ track and somehow new sounding. Don’t know how they keep pulling off this sleight of hand but they do. There IS nothing new. But it sounds so great. Dark arts indeed.
So, Full Spectrum Dominance churns that dense, deceptively heavy power we love so much and adds just a little more mid 80s throwback with ghost-ish keyboards and softer vocals in the verse. And though it’s a headphones track for sure – check that bass separation when you’re plugged in – the chorus is built for a slamming live audience. Is this the most pure distillation of modern-day Killing Joke into a single track? It might just be.
SILVER MOTH – Mother Tongue
Psych folk and fuzz guitar combine with piano, sax and multi-layered voices to lay painterly textures brushed with squall. Hints of Espers, perhaps? There’s a menacing edge to one of the guitars as it moves in and out of Mother Tongue’s intricate web and it all feels timeless/ageless, perhaps drawing on the Isle of Lewis spirit where it was recorded.
And though it doesn’t make you think of Mogwai – not this track at least, it’s much more in the electrified folk sphere – Stuart Braithwaite is in the band. Go check it out.
DAWN RICHARDS – Bubblegum
Something completely different to finish with – an infectious, exuberant electro-dance soundclash that namechecks Beyonce and Prince with enough sex and attitude to outdo both. Reminds me of MIA’s Bird Flu but really, I have no frame of reference for this. Bubblegum bursts with filth-o perfection and unshakeable groove. As Richards says, POP IT. Or not…
’til next time!