REZNOR ON RECORDS

AUGUST REWIND: PHYSICS BAND PSYCHE, BARE-BONES CHAKA FUNK AND ODDBALL MINT ROCK, PLUS THE NIN VINYL MISSION STATEMENT

You can work on an album for two years and it’s judged, consumed, forgotten in an afternoon [laughs]. Then it’s onto the next Kanye West think piece. Which is, y’know, depressing for an artist. ‘Is anyone even listening out there?’”

That was Trent Reznor speaking to the Quietus and it’s an interview that’s well worth your time (though you’ll have to get past John Doran projecting his own narrative all over the shop and managing to diss Queens of the Stone Age as auto-piloting cash grabbers trading off past albums … what???? Odd example. In no sense do I hear Homme’s gang pushing out by-numbers records just so they can tour the old stuff. What is Doran on?)

Anyway, Reznor’s quote struck me because it’s something that’s crossed my mind before, and I say that as a music nut. Are we really listening to music? Not in terms of sound quality, because that’s a whole other issue, but in terms of time quality.

Do we give enough to music?

Most likely not, if we’re honest, no. We’re swirling in the tyranny of immediacy. I’m not even signed up with Spotify or anything and I still can’t keep up with the CDs I buy and the radio programmes I like.

Go to the Nine Inch Nails website and you’ll see a statement that you can’t really dispute, even if the idea of ‘a vinyl mission statement’ first sounds like a pomp-ass thing to do. Reznor doesn’t dismiss digital or the convenience of non-physical format listening. He just articulates a preference and a hope and, coming from the artist, it’s a worthy notion, I reckon. Makes us reflect on our relationship with music, and whether we consume and judge too quickly because the Now Culture is what we are. The very existence of that statement, and the quote at the top of this page, are reminders that there are creators at the other end of the music.

And they care a fucking lot.

All of which is a roundabout way of acknowledging NIN’s awesome Bad Witch EP and telling you there’s no review.

Not listened to it enough. Let’s meet later for that one.

OTHER NEW STUFF
Right then, here’s how to undermine the above point – throw out a few new earcatchers from recent weeks.

The Physics House Band – Surrogate Head

Play this power trio loud as hell.” So said Julian Cope on the sleeves of his Brain Donor albums and it’s top advice for this Brighton instrumental three-o too, especially on this 2017 track – a muscular, space-scraping trip that’s packed with muso prowess yet still beholden to the bludgeoning power of a gutsy riff ‘neath a prog manifesto. Other tracks might take in more moods, musicality and Battles quirk, but Surrogate Head is not afraid to rock.

Chaka Khan – Like Sugar

Sparse, lean and stripped-to-the-trunk funk, Like Sugar is as clean or filthy as you want it to be. Is there a more addictive big-name bass line out there this summer? Comes off like one of those futuristic late-‘70s deep cuts that’s been unearthed to reveal its timeless self because it’s straight from The Source. Maximum groove from minimal moves. Sweet.

Forktail – Beast ’82

Play this straight after Like Sugar and you get a neat flow going. It’s funky but it’s not funk, built instead on metronomic beats topped off by creeper atmos creak-and-haunt that takes you to the fringe of the unknown without hurling you in … this time. Rhythm and dance for the witching hour. The Forked one is right here.

Lark – John Berger’s Wild Shirt

If a less hinged Karl Hyde stabbing lyrics over big beats and dissonant bursts of sticky, beaten bent guitar fancies your tickle, artist Karl Bielik and Lark might be your next stop. Turmoil rock? A track this ragged could never be played the same way twice. Lark about this way.

Franklin Mint – Animal Balloons

Where have you been, Franklin Mint? Four years since the so…dinosaurs EP and it’s pretty fr*nkl*n exciting to hear there’s now an album of oddster rock twists. Hailing from Bristol but feeling like a lost band from the alt-rock underground before it broke bigger, Animal Balloons is a first scratching of Scrage, whatever the fuck that means, and it’s wholly Mint-y. CD ordered, cannot wait, not cheating with further online listens.

’til next time!

amplifier wordsmith: the monthly rewind

amplifier wordsmith: the monthly rewind

New noise One Three One

REWIND MARCH: Urthona soundtracking, Mike Patton Freakzone and MegaDave’s thirteen faves 

Very late round-up of some March bitz so let’s just GET – ON – WITH – IT. Without shouting, sorry.

After waiting like a dum-dum for the Urthona out-of-stock message to vanish on the Arch Drude’s Head Heritage Merchandiser page, I shook off my Total Bell head and went a-virtual hunting for Urthona Plays Atlantis?, another soundtrack to Julian Cope’s One Three One novel: yep, I went to the Source – Urthona’s own campband site. And guess what? Said CD is very-much-there, very-much-in-stock…pretty obvious when you think about, but I didn’t. Anyway, released back in January, this 37-minute two-tracker is livewire drone sculpting writ large, as you’d expect from Urthona’s self-styled heavy rural-ism. Bruxo is windswept soothing with semi-ambient sunburst, while Reppu is barbed and howling, a bringer of the sinister ’til it blows itself out on Pagey violinbow moans to kiss the mellow once again. Top-o’-the-moors stuff. If you know Urthona then no great changes (good, we like it that way), and if One Three One’s epic Vesuvio floated your whatsit last year, be sure to check Atlantis? right here. And – stock arrival alert (finally) – here.

Mike Patton John Kaada 

Kaada Patton are back! Not with More Romances from Johnny and Mikey, but the scarier sounding Bacteria Cult. They were interviewed – no, they spoke to each other and it was broadcast as an interview – on Stuart Maconie’s Freakzone at the weekend, and while the set-up sounds as natural as plastic, you gotta tune in, right? MIKE PATTON, on the wireless! ‘Interview’ is here, around 44 minutes in, and if you stick around in the F-zone there’s a new Enslaved track aired. Stick around even longer and there’s a Saturday night delve into Patton’s Many Many Bands on the Freakier Zone, April 10th. A fine excuse to visit that sprawling Patton back catalogue again.

Daveus Mustaineus Quietus

Of course, he’s not quiet – he knows not how – but this feature in Quietus was a pretty cool read: Mustaine and 13 of his fave formative albums. Words spoken like a fan, and man-of-the-year Bowie and classic Zep in the mix as well.

’til next time!