Saturday, 24 September 2011

Matt Stevens - Relic review

Anyone interested in alternative methods of creating and marketing their art would be well advised to consider the approach taken by Matt Stevens. Using various social networking sites including Twitter and Facebook, and encompassing a genuineness and ambition that is sadly absent from contemporary internet based models; he has connected with audiences who are eager for the music he produces and, hopefully, has converted others who may have been unaware, in the process....

Friday, 23 September 2011

Neurosis - Sovereign

As part of a continuing reissue series that has taken in “Souls at Zero” and “Enemy of the Sun”, “Sovereign”, originally released on the bands own Neurotlabel in 2000, comes at us with all the bludgeoning force that one would expect from a Neurosis release. This edition comes with the addition of feedback and electronic noise anguished “Misgiven” as a bonus, but not entirely helpful, concluding track. Gently being eased into the EP by opener “Prayer” in all it’s down-tempo, majestic, but sinister glory, should not mislead the listener for what they are about to receive. Tribal beats, bass heavy distortion, feral vocals and ethereal recorded spoken word passages infuse the tracks with a menace and a grandeur that you would come to expect from a Neurosis release......

Neurosis - Sovereign

Century - Red Giant review

“Red Giant” is the third release from Lancaster based Century, who were born in 2005 as a creative outlet for vocalist Carson Slovak. This particular offering is a lapel grabbing 30 minutes of dissonant riffs, thundering bass and hostile, intimidating vocal that takes the willing listener from periods of contemplative melody, to being beaten around the head within a few short bars.....

Monday, 19 September 2011

Steve Hackett - Beyond the Shrouded Horizon

Steve Hackett - Beyond the Shrouded Horizon

What is most striking on this latest release from Steve Hackett is how he continues to draw from his well documented back catalogue, both as a solo performer and through his time with Genesis, and still manage to keep his sound fresh and relevant by infusing his albums with a contrasting array of cultural influences. And by surrounding himself with his tried and trusted core group of musicians, he has managed to produce yet another cohesive body of work that follows in the footsteps in many ways from “Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth”. The CD release of the album is available as a limited edition bonus disc set which includes 9 further tracks.......

Sunday, 18 September 2011

"Why Was I Unfollowed?": Social Networking and the New Etiquette

Throughout the history of human communication, the printed word, our dictionaries, our verbal discourse, and the etiquette surrounding that communication, have developed organically. With the introduction into our social lexicon, of rapid internet based communication, through such tools as Facebook and Twitter, etiquette has evolved at a fascinating rate. It is the purpose of this piece to look at a number of examples of how this is evident and to, hopefully, instigate discussion around it.
Whilst much behaviour could be argued to be learnt through example, what examples are we learning from through Twitter and Facebook? In everyday conversation, something may be said flippantly, not heard possibly and forgotten about, but comments made on social networks are saved and broadcast worldwide, and more poignantly, are saved for a period of time. Is as much care been put into postings on Twitter as is necessary? Or, has the new etiquette decreed that postings on social networking sites are to be taken flippantly?
The process of "following" and "unfollowing" on Twitter poses many interesting questions. How much care and consideration is put into the act of "following"? If someone on Twitter is posting discussions or comments you find disagreeable, is the act of "unfollowing" a statement in itself, or an act that suggests you may not wish to be exposed to discussion outside of your personal sphere, or in other words "burying your head in the sand" so those topics will disappear? To start following on Twitter is now almost regarded as a commitment. "Why was I unfollowed? Was it something I said?" There seems to be a further etiquette at play in terms of "following back". Is it seen as good manners to follow back a user who follows you? Is that now seen as a respectful thing to do? Blindly following back can  lead to an unwieldy timeline and an invitation for users to advertise their products to a captive audience.
The relative anonymity of twitter users renders them immune from many of the social constructs that we already have in place within our communities, or so it seems. We are communicating in, quite literally, a virtual world, where the old rules of discussion are no longer relevant. It is acceptable to interrupt a conversation and interject ideas uninvited. This of course, can be argued, is the very essence of Twitter and other social networks, and should be encouraged. It is not the purpose of this piece to argue one way or the other, but to highlight how our rules of engagement are being mutated rapidly by messages of 140 character or less that have difficulty in conveying character, nuance or emotion.....:-)

Legiones - Threat of Captivity 7"

Trondheim’s Legiones have come up with what can only be described as two very succulent doses of pulverization in their latest 7” release “Threat of Captivity/Against Judah”. Both tracks, whilst devoid of guitar soloing and discernable melody lines, are driven forward with pummelling blast beats and guttural vocals that leave the listener unnerved as to the subject matter but happy they came along.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Sarabante - Remnants Review

This debut release from Athens, Greece based Sarabante is one of a series of “limited to 1,000” CD copies from the Southern Lord label. It would be appropriate to contextualise this album in terms of the discontent that has been felt throughout Greece in recent times as a result of proposals to save its disintegrating economic climate. Recommended for release to Southern Lord by Ashes Rise guitarist Brad Boatright, one must give the label credit for having the courage to release lesser known bands such as this and giving the population as a whole the opportunity to experience them.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

My thoughts on the latest Primus release "Green Naugahyde"

Featuring three original members in Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde and Jay Lane, and their first full length release since 1999’s “Antipop”, “Green Naugahyde” is the hugely anticipated new release from Primus. On first exposure “Green Naughahyde” sees the new Primus perky and infused with a modern funk sensibility, but more mature in their approach to song writing. We still have the distinguishing cartoon character vocal style of bassist Les Claypool, but what we also have now is contemporary subject matter that is fully ripe for observation.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

My thoughts on Buckethead "It's Alive"

The guitarist recognized as Buckethead, known as Brian Carroll to his mother, has enjoyed a career that has taken in such diverse elements as metal, funk, jazz, avant-garde and ambient music and has played with some of the big names in those fields such as Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins, Iggy Pop, Mike Patton and has enjoyed a tenure with Guns N’ Roses. As with many other albums that make up his vast and disparate catalogue, “It’s Alive”, his thirty first, employs a range of styles from funk metal to  more experimental smooth episodes, taking in a range of screaming robotic noises in its’ wake.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Reading a list of influences that have helped shape Oakland’s Alaric, there is an immediate sense that Shane, Rick, Russ and Jason have embraced the spirit of punk and post-punk, whatever they may be, and integrated them into this, their self-titled album. By exposing their influences however they should not be easily dismissed as generic. “Ugly Crowds” and “Your God” hold up as examples of how they have embraced the Gothic, dark elements of that period and created a truly original blend of their own.

Project Moonbase: PMB042 Woo: Messer Chups, Lydia Kavina, Clara Rock...

Project Moonbase: PMB042 Woo: Messer Chups, Lydia Kavina, Clara Rock...: At the suggestion of listener John Toolan, we thought it would be a good idea to explore the wooooo-like sound world of the theremin and som...

Photographs from a family weekend in Whitby, North Yorkshire.....

Whitby Abbey .....

 Elizabeth the Steam Bus ....

The Hand of Glory ..."The Hand of Glory is the dried and pickled hand of a man who has been hanged, often specified as being the left (Latin: sinister) hand, or else, if the man were hanged for murder, the hand that "did the deed." " ....In Whitby Museum....

Old Whitby Town Hall ...

Robin Hood's Bay

Originating from Richmond, Virginia, and featuring Joe Dillon on drums, Danny Finn and Dan Sanchez on guitars and Peter Rosza on bass, Balaclava have released a full length album of some of the most diverse sounding elements that defy categorisation. As a result “Crimes of Faith” expresses a truly genuine attitude towards their art. Tracks such as the monumental “This City” and “The Geometer’s Hand” veer between plundering, doom laden riffs with muscular, frenzied vocals and gentle passages of respite which lead the listener round another corner of tempo and intensity.
"“Stages” is the second release from Worcester, MA based Our Lives in Motion, following the 2010 “Salvation in Secrets”. Produced by Brooks Paschalwho has worked on Paramore and There For Tomorrow releases, these influences can undoubtedly be heard on this EP."......
"On first inspection Noxious Foxes‘ “Légs” could be mistaken for another in the ever increasing catalogue of releases that may be filed under “Smart Arse” or “Post Rock”. Track names such as ‘Illegal Beagle’, ‘Wherever Hugo, Guido’ and ‘A Real Leonard DiCaprio Shit’, although amusing and enticing to this reviewer, may not tempt the casual listener to investigate further." ...My musing on Noxious Foxes - Legs