Gnod – Just say no…

gnodIn complete contrast to the previous two posts, here we have a whole heap of ‘AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!’ aimed right at your face.  And what a fine heap of grumpy-old-man stuff it is, too. Mind you, they’re probably a bit younger than me (I’m 46).

Gnod have made it their recent mission to try and re-politicise the alternative music scene. My own feelings on this are mixed because I have to admit I’ve never seen a tsunami turn back because of protesters on the beach, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be encouraging people to pull their heads out of their ****book feeds and actually look at the world around them and try to re-engage with other actual people, instead of relying on some commentator you will never meet to tell you that things are actually one way that suits them better than you. Also, people are actually nicer to each other when they talk to each other instead of when they argue on the internet, a pastime which only brings out one thing in people and that is the worst.

It reminds me in spirit of the last great outpourings of political music that I was aware of in the 1990s, particularly around the Criminal Justice Act that came in around that time. One of the main reasons for my mixed feelings is because the discontent from those times was one of the main reasons for Tony Blair, and I don’t believe I need to explain why we don’t want a repeat of all that, now. For all that we decry the current wave of so-called populism, it seems it was alright when he did it. But now I’m going all political and frankly I should leave that to this album, and I’m also giving the impression that I think political music is mistaken when I don’t actually think that at all.

So anyway, musically speaking, this is five tracks of loud done in the way that Gnod do loud, which is to say very well. There is rhythm and groove as is their wont, loud guitars, snarling guitars and vocals, and, er, well. You get the message.

I also wouldn’t be at all surprised if you weren’t to see this on a t-shirt or ten before the year is out.

But whilst we’re talking Gnod, I’ve also just discovered The Somnambulist’s Tale from 2012, which is completely at the opposite end of the sonic spectrum from this and demonstrates just how fucking good they have always been. And did you notice that I asterisked a particular web-resource, but left the word ‘fucking’ uncensored? Have it.

Medicine Moon – Tales Of An Umber Earth

medmoonIn complete contrast to the post from this morning, I bring you the rich and textured neo-folk of Medicine Moon.

(You can just tell I’m planning a series of contrasts, can’t you?)

This music is gorgeous. Shantel Amundson and Sammy Fielding bring tunes to sooth you and lift you, whilst hypnotising you somewhat at the time. I don’t want to assume which member is the male and the female because there’s ambiguity there*, so I’ll just say that the male vocal is a rich, deep voice, harmonised beautifully by his female companion. (I’m guessing that Sammy is the bloke, but I have met girls called Sammy in the past, and I’ve never seen the word Shantel before). They describe this as cavernous drones and nocturnal serenades, which doesn’t do too bad a job. I’ll add that it also works when listening on headphones at work whilst looking at spreadsheets.

It’s not a million miles away from the absolutely marvellously wonderful Horse Cult album of last year – indeed, I think it was their recommendation that led me to try this out.

*my web search only brought the bandcamp page or their ****book page, and the latter won’t show me nought without I login, and I don’t have or want an account.

Hyenaz – Hyenaz

hyenazIn complete contrast to almost everything I’ve ever posted about, ever, I bring you Hyenaz.

Hyenaz are a synth-pop duo from Berlin, although the epithet synth-pop doesn’t really do full justice to this electro-monster groove machine. The rhythms are relentless and thunderous, yet subtle when they want to be too – the art of good songwriting, in other words, that old boring chestnut I’m sure I keep banging on about. There is a hedonistic and sensual feel about the music despite its purely synthetic origins, and a hypnotic mixture of melody and screech. They give good performance, it is said, which goes a long way to suggesting one of the core things about creating good material, although there’s a much larger discussion to be had over all that which I may make into a macro-post if I can be arsed to work out my roughly seventeen contrasting opinions on the matter into mere words.

The nearest reference point – for me, anyway – is Telepathe, who as far as I know are still extant despite only having put out that one album some years back.

There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to how and why I decide to give something a listen, and I couldn’t tell you how this fell onto my radar. I mean, this isn’t even their most recent album! So another thing to check out, then…