Scroll Downers – Hot Winter

scrolldownersSometimes you have to order a cassette to buy an album you like digitally.

I like how their tags include both 90’s and Not 90’s. Do they really not have a website?

These have a pleasing energy which matches their intensity very well. Stylistically, I’d say we’re looking at a kind of garagey-gothy-post-punky-sludgey-shoegazey-new wave kind of thing, an admittedly undercrowded field. A couple of the songs have a couple of chords too many for my taste, but hey, I’m not going to tell them how to twang their muse, that’s their own thing.

Most of it’s pretty up-tempo, but they do mix it up nicely. The layered sounds on Runnin’ and Bossin’ especially create a brilliant atmosphere, almost sun-kissed amongst the pounding surrounding numbers.

The most obvious reference point is probably Siouxsie and the Banshees, who I never actually liked. Oddly, Effi Briest from a few years back also reminded chiefly of them, and they also made an album I really liked. Maybe I should try Siouxsie again (know what? I like that song I just linked). I’m also feeling a similiar vibe to what Rakta do. But then they go and surprise you and go all Melvins on the title track.

Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated at Last!

CF-055coverIt took me aaaages to get hold of this album, which I eventually did by sending off for a physical CD. After which I found I could have bought it from Midheaven… sigh.

If you like Thee Oh Sees – and why on earth would you not? – then this album will push your buttons as effectively as all their stuff from the last 4 years or so.

Some has been made of its apparent heaviness on their labels page – I don’t think its much heavier than their other stuff to be honest. I don’t know what yer actual music critics think because I make it a rule not to read anybody else’s thoughts on music that I know that I’ll listen to myself because I want my own first impressions to be as uncontaminated by expectation as it is possible to be. Also, music critics deal only in opinions, and I’ve yet to meet a single human being who doesn’t have one of those. They become tiresome.

So anyway, have a listen to the album. I rather like it.

Dahga Bloom

I know nothing about this band, and can not find a bio. I tried looking at their F******k page but it made no sense to me. So I’m simply going to say what they sound like. Although, actually, you can listen to them. Go on. Listen to them.

They sound like a band who have played a million sweat stained, beer soaked gigs at every dive that would have them and have a sound of simply getting out there and kicking out the jams. They sound like a band whose pure and sole focus is the entertainment of the audience. To use a phrase I haven’t heard a band use for a loooong time, they sound like they want to kick your arse (or ass, if you’re not from round here).

I discovered ‘No Curtains’ because it made some year end list or other, and unlike most of the stuff on said list, really did rock my world. For the last couple of weeks I’ve barely listened to music due to a sinus induced migraine; I’ve made an exception for Dahga Bloom (and Big Blood, natch, as they have two – count ’em – new albums out). I’m not actually sure I’d go with the ‘psych’ descriptor but chucked it in because maybe I’m suffering from definition fatigue and it isn’t this particular definitions fault.

Puffy Areolas

It wasn’t until I started looking into doing this post that I found out what the non-band version of puffy areolas actually are…

PuffyAreolaspicCA22956629

I first mentioned these as a reference point for the wonderfully hectic Narcosatanicos (who have another release out! Guess what I’ll be checking later…). I read somewhere that Puffy Areolas date back to the beginning of the 1980’s and were apparently contemporary with Black Flag, but I cannot find where I first read that so my memory may be playing up – I have a feeling it was in one of the ‘listed’ features that dusted magazine do. They seem to have been active fairly recently according to their Facebook page (ugh! I feel dirty linking to that site), but I’m buggered if I can find any history of the band anywhere on t’web. And if you look at when their wonderful records were released then it may just be a back story, or I may just have a shit memory. Although I can see no logical reason why their two albums would have 1981 and 1982 specifically mentioned, unless they did date from that time.

Does anybody out there have enough info to put me out of my only-just-noticed misery?

Regardless of the above, I just love love love this music, so I don’t really care when it was made. However, the best description I’ve seen of it is here so I shall not try and compete with that. Just take what he says as the gospel truth.

The above pics are from their Hozac records page and their LastFM page.

The Pack A.D.

I very much get the impression they want to be famous, which I would have felt all superior about not too long ago. Now I just think ‘ah, bless…’ and probably neither reaction is really appropriate.

I’m not sure how they will feel about me labelling them stadium rock (probably don’t give a rat’s arse) but it’s that singalong mindset I get from listening to them, although there is a ferocious element to it too – ferocious fun. They are clearly enjoying themselves. Listen to Rocket and tell me you can’t picture a stadium full of lighters and hoarse voices singing along in celebration. Go on, I dare you. I’m also telling you that there isn’t a single stadium rock band out there who wouldn’t have gladly sold their mother in return for that song. If they tell you otherwise, they are lying.

However, that’s not why I want to do a post about them. I mean, this blog is supposed to be more about bands you’ve never heard of, plus my occasional posts linking music to that elephant in the room that no one ever talks about. So what gives?

What gives is how I heard them.

I read a review of their most recent album, Do Not Engage one day and flagged it up for future listening, despite the fact that some of the reference points used in that review are bands that I think are vastly overrated. Now, when I flag up something for future listening, that future is not an easily definable thing. It could be tomorrow; it might be next year. Bear this in mind if you ever get the urge to recommend me something.

Some weeks later, I had a dream. Actually, I have dreams quite often, but this particular one is pertinent here: I am going to some sort of social function in Shepshed with a work colleague, although it is not a work social do. The venue is much like upstairs at a village hall, wooden floors, tatty walls, bland tables and plastic chairs ranged around the side of the room. I say hello to some friends of mine, and then me and my colleague decide to go and sit somewhere. There is some amazing music going on, and the DJ is in the corner of the room with 2 decks on one of these tables, so I head over to talk to him and find out who the music is. Oh, and by the way, the DJ is John Peel. In typical dream logic, he replies that he has no idea who the music is, but agrees with me how brilliant it is. I hear a couple of songs before the dream goes off into something else and becomes no longer relevant to this particular story.

A couple of weeks after that, I actually get round to playing Do Not Engage. As soon as it starts playing I’m getting a strange feeling that I know this band, even though I don’t know them. It genuinely feels a bit uncanny. And then this song comes on:

I know without any doubt that this song is the exact song I was listening to in that dream, the first song anyway. I also know without the tiniest doubt that I had not heard it before in the ‘real’ world. I also know that there is no way on this Earth or any other realm that I would be able to convince anyone who didn’t believe me, although that concerns me not, since I have to live my life based on my experience, otherwise it wouldn’t be my life.

I mentioned a second song? The second song was this:

So that is why I love this band so much, despite them not being like much else I listen to these days (I would have loved them about 20 years ago, however). A lot of people like particular bands and/or songs because it reminds them of particular times in their life. I like this band cos they were in a crazy dream I had (of which there was a lot more that I’m not going to tell you), and there aren’t many, actually, there aren’t any bands who have come to me like this before.

Favourite releases of 2014

I present these in no real order (except for the obvious number 1) because how can you compare a Pink Lady apple with a Granny Cox’s one? Some days one hits the spot better, other days the other does.

Obvious number 1: Big Blood – Unlikely Mothers

I love this album so much it turns me into an idiot.

Stara Rzeka – Cień chmury nad ukrytym polem

This discovery justifies all the trawling through Tiny Mix Tapes that I occasionally subject myself to. You want to know why I rarely get into excessive descriptions of the music I post? Tiny Mix Tapes. Also, this music is almost impossible to describe. Parts of it are like James Blackshaw jamming with Ben Chasny, other bits are Death Metal, still others ambient, and finishing up with what sounds like an elegy.

Thee Oh Sees – Drop

This band can do no wrong. Their consistency is astonishing. ‘Garage’ rock at its best.

Narcosatanicos – Narcosatanicos

I’ve already posted about these…

Villagers Of Ioannina City – Riza

and these…

Horseback – Piedmont Apocrypha

Horseback is one dude (Jenks Miller) for those of you not in the know, though some of his recordings feature a backing band. Piedmont Apocrypha is one of my favourite HB releases, combining elements of his rock, drone and noise tendencies to excellent effect.

Midday Veil – The Current

Definitely at the more accessible end of what I listen to, the best song is ‘Without and Within,’ which is very meditative. They are thought of as a psych outfit, but the band they remind me of most is actually Fleetwood Mac! But without the sexual tension, obviously… I cannot give you a valid ‘objective’ reason for that except to report that it is so.

Goat – Commune

Not that these need my help getting any recognition. I will say as a caveat though that a little nagging voice keeps going on when I listen, and it keeps saying ‘passion or pastiche?’ Maybe that sort of thing isn’t as important as I think it is. It’s her vocals that raise these up for me. She’s nearly as raw and true-angelic as Colleen Kinsella, although not quite as fully developed.

Earth – Primitive and Deadly

If you know Earth already, this needs no intro. If you don’t, they’re the original inspiration for sunn 0))) although they moved to a more meditative style some years back. This album sees them cranking it back up again but staying with the compositional style of the last few years, and it works very well, even being able to cope with guest vocalists! (I rarely like albums which have to rely on guest vocalists, although there are exceptions).

The Pack A.D. – Do Not Engage

I will probably do a separate post about these to document how mad my discovery of them was. Stylistically, they’re a 2-woman stadium rock outfit, though they prefer the term ‘garage rock.’. Where are you going? They’re actually really good, particularly the tune ‘Creepin Jenny.’

https://www.youtube.com/user/ThePackad

Verma – Sunrunner

Not only amongst the best of the year, but also they get an award for leaving it til the last minute, though that is not their fault, I only just discovered it in the last week of the year! Features the uber talented Whitney Johnson as part of their line-up, kind of heavyish jam band not afraid to stick a bit of structure in where it can do the most good.

http://www.troubleinmindrecs.com/bands/verma.html

The Wharves – At Bay

Also get an award for late entry onto the list, having discovered these in the holiday between christmas and new year… think Sleater Kinney with some outrageous vocal harmonies. Their energy is awesome.

Prince Rupert’s Drops – Climbing Light

there are a couple of clunkers on this album, but also some songs that make me jealous. This band have a way with the guitar lick, they really do.

And on that note, I should point out that there’s a shedload of stuff I haven’t listened to (such as most of the stuff listed here, some of which may be in a post roughly this time next year detailing stuff I discovered in 2015 from years other than) because you can’t listen to everything. There’s a tremendous freedom in resolutely ignoring all TV/radio and almost all music media and just going by peoples recommendations and your own sense of ‘that’s a cool/interesting/intriguing name/title’ and subsequently building up a completely unclassifiable taste in music. Also, the best music is always underground, and you only find that by going outside, getting your hands dirty and digging with your own spade… you dig?