Saturday, May 27, 2006

This Is Caveman Music For A Crumbling Society

Hailing from Portland, Oregon three piece avant metal band Under Mountains sound like the slowly shifting tectonic plates that their name suggests. Take the one part The Melvins back masked slow dirge and throw in a liberal sprinkling of the trademark hyper blasts of noise from San Diego's The Locust and you’re somewhere near to describing what UM sound like.

They have one self titled EP of psychedelic aural terror out to date on the indie; Eolian Records and recorded in 2004, which is available direct from the bands website. A split 12” with fellow Portland dwelling spastic metal outfit; Rabbits is due for released on 27th May 2006.

Under Mountains Myspace
Rabbits Myspace

Listen to the future now

HOOKERS GREEN NO. 1 may well be one of the best band names i've heard in a long time. Hailing from Aberdeen, the band started out as a three piece, and gradually progressed to having eleven people in band; at one point last year. In a recent interview with Stevie Chick (LLSS SIX), the band as much as admitted that they went 'too far.' They are now down to a more mangeable five, and are presently recording a follow up to their last album, the "Illustrious Captain Moon Won The War For Us."

Their new Double A Side single: Bloody Great Big Fucking Party/ Everyone In Your Scene Is Dead So Join Ours was enthuastically handed too me at last weeks, ATP festival and i'm glad it made it back with me. It's not often you hear a band with their own brass section; and their percussion heavy, woosy dream of fractured vocals and keyboards; which sound like a cross between the bebop space-jazz of Eric Dolpy ("Out There") and the melodies of French whizz-kids M83, and lo-fi pop hipsters: Ariel Pink.

Their first album might have sounded like 'Blue Note mauled by a brass section', but these new additions really swing with melodic hooks. Yes, hooks!

Hookers Green No. 1 - Bloody Great Big Fucking Party.


The band are on tour in June.

27.5.06 Sister, Resist! @ the Tunnels - Aberdeen
09.6.06 The Barfly - Glasvegas
10.6.06 The Raigmore - Inverness
11.6.06 "I Fly Spitfires" @ Cabaret Voltaire - Edinburgh
14.6.06 Head of Steam - Newcastle
15.6.06 Kings Arms - Manchester
16.6.06 Oxford
17.6.06 RoTa @ Notting Hill Arts Club - London
19.6.06 The Freebutt - Brighton
21.6.06 Dr. Browns - Middlesborough

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I had a point

Camber, camber oh how I miss thee. Well, it's kinda true: The rain and gale force winds I can live without. And those seagulls man - I'm sure they're not supposed to be that big you know (?). Those things give me the fear. But minor complaints aside (if you can even call them that), i'm definitely going to miss the old place. I spent the last two weekends there, and if we're to believe in the rumours; it may be the last All Tomorrows Parties to be held there.

It goes without saying, that I saw some great bands:

Oneida were mind-blowing and hillarious in equal measure. And if 'Up With the People' is any indication, their new album is going to be another masterpiece of Oneida-like proportions; Joanna Newsom may have looked nervous, but she played - and sang - like an angel. If if hadn't known better, I would have said she was English - 'Stop apologising, you sound great!' was one cry; Comets on Fire were incredible. This band are more than just vital right now, and they have a chemistry that that seems to go beyond intuative. They were born to do this shit, and I could quite literally watch them forever; Magik Markers were a gloriously chaotic mess. I've seen them THREE times this month, and as much as i'm loathed to admit it, they refuse to conform to any miserly structures that my tiny mind can comprehend (Girls ripping up shit with guitars? No no, ignore me); They were almost, ALMOST... as enlightening as the Boredoms in full throttle. A few people may have been left scratching at their early billing, but one look at their stage set-up and all becomes clear - Ok, ok; somebody told me they needed a longer soundcheck too. And apparently only the first and last bands get this (?) They were instense though. It's hard, but try to imagine sustained segues of tribal rhythms, awash with waves of electronic 'sounds'. Yeah, I know, i'm selling all these bands short but i'm under time contraints here people.

More later.

This rest of this 'entry' is adapted from a piece that I wrote some time back. It's still relevant to me though; perhaps now more than ever, since I literally CANNOT stop listening to this band at the moment. You have no idea what i'm talking about though. Well, they were the first band signed to Kill Rock Stars...Look, i'm talking about Unwound I'm too tired to be clever and well, this clearly takes a lot out of me because getting more than a few words out of me nowadays, can only really be achieved at gunpoint.

Unwound then. As far as being a fully functioning band goes, they haven't 'existed' for some time - but believe me, their albums have lost none of their potency. They are loud; they are intricate; they have energy; and I NEVER got to see them live. Damn damn DAMN.

For some reason they exist outside the lineage of bands like Sonic Youth and Fugazi, but they cetainly share they vitality and left a plenty of killer tracks by the way of six studio albums - which I won't go into here. They may owe a lot to the aforementioned bands in a stylistic sense, but that's by the by, and it's too their credit that they didn't rest on these laurels. 'Leaves Turn Inside' You for example, is far removed from the sound that made 'Fake Train' such a classic debut album. But it's still Unwound. Songs matter, and that's why, for me, it's a tragedy that they never really had the oppurtunity to tour their final album, Leaves Turn Inside You.

The following track is taken from their 1996 record, 'Repetition'. A much darker and sinister album, than their final album. The abrasive overtones of this track, never really outshine the melody.

Unwound - Message Recieved



Unwound factsheet

Blood On The Motherboard

The oddly monikered Black Moth Super Rainbow, are a hard bunch to track down information on; some sources say that it’s the work of five like minded souls from Pennsylvania locked away in a wooden cabin in the hinterlands. Other sources suggest that it’s the work of one Tom Fec, who formerly plied his art as the even more hyper unreal sounding Satanstompingcatapillars. If indeed it is the work of one man or twenty its still one of the most intriguing things to come out of modern day America in recent years.

Channelling the lost spirits of Krautrock’s finest and throwing into the mix a whole host of day-glo 60’s references, this is pastoral electronica as filtered through a million breakbeats. Since the dissolution of SSC in 2002, the BMSR crew have unleashed three albums of well received dream beats. Beginning with 2003’s Falling Through A Field which conjures up images of Little Wings’ Kyle Field being slowly electrified, by a tribe of pygmy imps with a Kraftwerk fetish was widely regarded in various circles. This was quickly followed by the even better Start A People on The Seventies Gymnastic Recording Co. in 2004, which kept the kosmische influence bubbling through and added Autchre and Boards Of Canada to the already foot long list of obvious influences.

2006 sees the release of their third album Lost Picking Flowers In The Woods on Graveface Records, a further split EP featuring BMSR and The Octopus Project is due later this year .

Samples from the three BMSR albums:


Trees And Colours And Wizards

Lost, Picking Flowers In The Woods

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Woodland Folk


Formed in Boise, Idaho of the constituent members of local band State Of Confusion. They enjoyed a notoriety limited to the local scene, which in turn opened up to a wider audience when the Seattle grunge scene reared its head in the early nineties. The band comprised Pat Brown, Wayne Rhino Flower, Doug Martsch and Scott Schmaljohn, eventually disbanded in 1994 after having released three albums and a handful singles.

Martsch and Flowers went on to colaborate in the K records band The Halo Benders, with Beat Happening member and head of label, Calvin Johnson continuing until Matsch moved on again to form the indie band Built To Spill in 1996. Built To Spill remain active releasing albums sporadically to this day. More recently Martsch has released his own solo material on a subsiduary of Warner Brothers ltd.

Treepeople's first LP "Guilt, Regret and Embaressment" is currently available from the K records website

Drop The Melody, Increase The Flange.

Yume Bitsu formed as a partnership in 1995 in Portland, OR residents and college mates Adam Forkner and Franz Pritchard. Built up of a combined love of avante garde music, psychedelic musics and 365+ days of rain the band initially developed their spaced out sound on a series of cassette only private press releases. Eventually the twosome fleshed out the band roster by enlisting the help of Jason Anderson (Wolf Colonel) on drums and Alex Bundy on Keys/Electronics/Noise and set about recording their first LP. The result of these sessions was to be “Giant Surface Music Falling To Earth Like Jewels From The Sky ” which true to the Yume Bitsu template spent 6 months floating around in the musical hinterland looking for a distribution deal. It was picked up eventually by Ba Da Bing Records(now home to hot young hopeful Beruit) impresario Ben Goldberg and finally given an official release in 1998.

Early 1999 saw the band enter the studio at which Forkner was now working as an engineer, to begin work on the follow-up to their official debut. The much improved equipment in the studio allowed the band to further develop their blissed out sound adding an extra layer of fuzz and reverb to proceedings and bringing vocals further to the fore. In November of 1999 this work was released as a self titled record again on Ba Da Bing Records.
In 2000 the band splintered geographically whilst Forkner pursued sound engineering work in New York and Pritchard to Japan to fulfil a 12 month teaching position. The other members used this hiatus to develop their own side projects Bundy released a series of ambient/musiqué concrete recordings, Anderson meanwhile continued to flesh out his Wolf Colonel persona courtesy of K Records in Washington. It was this relationship with the Dub Narcotic Studio that saw Yume Bitsu reconvene and set about work on their third full length recording. Utilising the huge warehouse like conditions of the studio seemed to effect the musical output of the band the resultant album “Auspicious Winds” had a much more sparse sound than any of their output before.

2002 saw the recording of the final Yume Bitsu album as a unit once again on K Records the recordings pieced together 9 disparate tracks using a variety of new and/or unusual instruments. “The Golden Vessel Of Sound” forged forward sounding bisecting territory previously explored by the likes of MBV, GY!BE and further afield. Since the disbanding each member of the band has continued to work in music, Jason Anderson fully immersed himself in Wolf Colonel, Alex Bundy continues to with his ambient series of music. Forkner and Pritchard have since worked alongside (albeit not in a full time capacity) again in the band Surface Of Eceyon with members of Landing, releasing two full length album's and also recording an albums worth of solo material as [[[VVRSSNN]]] on K Records. Forkner also continues as a tour de force in his own right (with his partner Honey Adams) as White Rainbow and World on his own Yarnlazer webspace.

I Wait For You

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Gas Board Under Dog

Skip Bifferty were an incredible - and short lived - British psychedelic pop band that released one self-titled full length in the mid-sixties before disbanding in 1968. The band later cited difficulties with their label (RCA), who were clearly unsure of how the market the band in the wake of the beat group era; where labels largely relied on hit singles, not album sales. Nevetheless, the album was eventually released and greated as a mini-trimph in the underground community. It was also highly praised in publications such as the now defunct Melody Maker.

The self-titled LP saw the band alternate between a mixture of full-on garage rock homages (On Love) and wistful power pop numbers (Come Around). And while they may have essentially been a guitar-driven band in essence, but they also incorporated various sound effects, loops, bells, and percussion into the mix to create a signature sound that very much trascends their time, and their very obvious influences.

Some frivilious trivia: After the band split, members of the band emerged under the pseudonym Heavy Jelly, cutting an eight-minute single ("I Keep Singing That Same Old Song"). It was the longest forty-five released at the time.

Skip Bifferty - Man in Black

I implore you to buy the recently (well, fairly recent) issued greatest hits package,

In other news:

Sat June 24th
Phoenix Arts Theatre, Leicester
2pm to 11pm. Prompt start!
£13/£11(concs) tickets on sale now!
Pickled Egg

Live performances from: Volcano the Bear, Nalle, George, James Green (Big Eyes), Zukanican, Now, Tookie Sherman (Need New Body), Dragon or Emperor, Black Carrot + other acts tbc. Plus a screening of The Devil and Daniel Johnston documentary film.

Stereo Sanctity has just written a eulogy, to what sounds like the greatest cinema related weekend of all time: The Far-Out Festival (Leicester Phoenix Arts). Ladies an gentleman, if you like your movie going experience a little well, frankly weird and ever so demented; Far Out Film certainly sound like they cater for your *ahem* taste. The general concept of Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter alone, sounds like the basis for the greatest film ever made. From what I was able to make out, it's a Kung-Fu action / comedy /musical surrounding the second coming of Christ and replete with day-walking vampires. Nice.

Oh, and i'd also like to make it clear now that my recent update is in no way linked to this entry on Stereo Sanctity, but i'd glad somebody cares. SOMEBODY CARES!!! Cheers Ben.

The kid in The Omen made this thing, I swear. I accept that it can be done - i've seen it done firsthand. I just can't do it. Believe me i've tried and tried. I WILL BEAT IT.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I'm back

First of all, apologies for the lack of update. Sadly i've not got any great excuses to give you: It basically boils down to a geniune lack of ideas and motivation. That said, Soul Sides and Said The Gramophone have clearly had no such problems in searching out out and highlighting the cream of this year's releases - so far, of course. One listen of "Mount Wroclai (Idle Days)" - courtesy of Stereogum - was enough to convince me that I had to pre-order the Beirut album. And believe me, you'd be doing yourself a great disservice by not reading Sean's comments on the album, over at Said The Gramophone too. Oliver Wang, over at Soulsides has also managed to bewitch me into getting hold of The Coup's 'Pick a Bigger Weapon'. Damn, I can't be buying albums like this with ATP and Primavera looking over my shoulder.


Some context then: The Unit Ama are a Newcastle trio consisting of Christian Alderson on drums, Jason Etherington on bass, and Steven Malley on guitar/vocal duties. Their self-titled debut album has recently been 're-released' by Gringo Records and the band have just finished playing a host of gigs in support of it. This culminated in a headlining slot at Chinchillafest (Joeyfat, Charlotefield, Lords, That Fucking Tank) in Leeds yesterday; which I sadly missed. I did however, manage to catch them in Nottingham last month, and yeah, i'm glad to say that they far exceeded my expectations. I overheard someone in the crowd describing them as a 'spiritual Lungfish' - or something to that effect - and to be honest, it was pretty accurate description; especially when it came to their live performance.



In actual fact, I was taken a back at how different they sounded live at first. It didn't take me long to come around though. The band have clearly had time to flex their muscles since originally recording the album, and it shows. Of course, this is not to underestimate their debut; which, incidentally is brilliant example of the many great records Gringo are putting out at the moment. 'Plastique Bertrand' for instance, seems to endlessly ride a crest of lightning fast percussion over a wave of guitars; at once, stretching and pounding guitar riffs into submission. Elsewhere, on tracks like 'Horses (Of Northumberland)', 'Fuck the Critic', and 'Governed' throats are ravaged, strings are pulled and skins are pummelled to the n'th degree. It all holds up to to well to repeat listening - believe me. Highly recommended

The Unit Ama - Plastique Bertrand

I know you're all hip to pay-pal so buy the album from Gringo Records and hear the record in it's majestic glory. Click here to visit The Unit Ama website.

Soul Sides
Said The Gramophone