Thursday, April 17, 2014


31Ø8 - S/T LP (Trouble In Mind)
31Ø8 is the moniker of London based artist Tyler Zypreska. His new seltitled album offers music that's incessantly catchy and a little goofy. With a vocal style somewhere between speaking and rock-singing, a synth-heavy sound, minimal drum computer beats and strong pop-oriented songwriting skills he creates a sort of feel-good album that accompanies your ears into summer. 31Ø8 takes the best parts of 80s synth-pop and 90s electronic music and mixes them with the catchiest sense of melody. The songs find a perfect balance between incredibly sweet harmonies and plenty of drive and spunk. With the help of a lush, fully developed and well-crafted sound and a smart instrumentation 31Ø8 creates pop-music that goes deeper than anything comparable. (Listen to it here)

This is the third album by Birds of Passage which is the alter ego of New Zealand based artist Alicia Merz. Her music occupies a sphere of mournful, heart-rending melodies, repetetive drones and intense atmospheres. Haunting, fraught with tension and driven by it's gloomy mood the album fuses influences ranging from folk to pop, industrial and ambient electronic music. The songs are carried by intelligent, poetic lyrics and ethereal, fragile vocals that show a certain similarity to Beth Gibbons of Portishead. With a lack of beats and a minimal approach "This Kindly Slumber" creates a lulling dreaminess that sounds as surreal as the mourning hours after a long night. Think of a much better version of Zola Jesus. Very nice! (Listen to it here)

Brisbane's Gravel Samwidge have recently put out their 12" vinyl debut on Swashbuckling Hobo and they have more finished songs that are just waiting to be released. The band plans to put a record including the "Home Brand" session along with three more tracks to make it a full LP. Gravel Samwidge's music sounds similar to the new wave of Aussie noise-punk, but with the difference that they have been playing this style since the early 90s. Recent bands like Psy Ants, Cunts, Gentlemen and Whores all came later. "Home Brand" consists of six tracks that are all done with Gravel Samwidge's brandmark style based on discordant squeaking guitars, throbbing basslines, repetitive groove and deadpan vocals. In contrast to their previous "Medicinal Requirments" 12" the recordings sound a little less noisy with some more post-punk finesse. Add Flipper’s nihilism, early 90s Touch & Go style noise-rock and a healthy dose of weird avant-rock and you will get a rough idea how brilliant this product sounds like. I keep my fingers crossed, that Gravel Samwidge will find someone who puts out this killer LP. (Listen to it here)

Whether it's The Liminanas from France, 31Ø8 from England, or Vermillion Sands from Italy, the Chicago-based label Trouble In Mind is frequently putting out exciting rock'n'roll music from all over Europe. The latest is the debut full lenght from Klaus Johann Grobe. This Swiss duo has developed a unique brand of music based on heavy grooving drum beats and a brilliant organ/ synths playing that fuses a multitude of textures and styles. The album continually pushes forward, sometimes with motorik beats and cosmic undertones, sometimes with a driving post-punk thump, sometimes with a jazzy looseness or sometimes with dancable funky rhythms. With it's many layers "Im Sinn der Zeit" drives through warm, earthbound sounds, lulled by dreamy undertones and offset by ice-cool vocals and smart, high quality lyrics. Klaus Johann Grobe is on of the most exciting Swiss underground groups since a long time and this LP is nothing but a true masterpiece! (Listen to it here)

The Monochrome Set from London were one of Britain's most influential early post-punk groups. They formed early in 1978 and released records for such famous labels like Cherry Red, Rough Trade and Dindisc. In 1985 they broke up for the first time. In 1990 they reformed and went into hiatus again eight years later. In 2008 they did a one-time reunion gig because of the band's 30th anniversary. Since three years The Monochrome Set are active again in a line-up that includes three original members along with a new drummer. "Super Plastic City" orginally came out last year as a CD on the band's own Disqo Bleu label. Now Unwucht has put out a vinyl version in a limited pressing of 350 copies. With an straight and smart instrumentation the album manages to channel the spirit of their early records, but at the same time the band avoids to simpy copy themselves. Instead, this is the sound of a group that aged gracefully. On every track, Bid's distinctive vocals urgently belt out fantastic lyrics over clean, up-tempo guitars and sprawling bass lines. Pairing instantly catchy melodies with a addictive post-punk groove, "Super Plastic City" finds a way to be both a fresh and typical The Monochrome Set album. (Listen to it here)

SONIC CHICKEN 4 - S/T LP (Bachelor/ Dusty Medical)
From 2004 until 2009 this French group from Perpignan toured the USA twice and did singles and a full LP on such exquisite labels like In The Red, Robs House and Trouble In Mind. In a Spanish castle in Valencia they recorded songs for a second album in late 2008. The album was produced by King Khan and was supposed to be released the same year on In The Red, but the band broke up and it took more than five years until Bachelor and Dusty Medical finally put these songs on a piece of vinyl. The LP features twelve blasts of infectious, guitar-driven punk that combines the catchiness of 60s beat with classic "Back From The Grave" influences through a 90s garage filter while maintaining a raw and primitive vibe. So if you wanna be rapt away by some heavy stomping beats, flashy fuzz effects, noisy guitar freak-outs and tons of great melodies you’re doin’ it right here. Sonic Chicken 4 play wild and soulful garage music in the way it was meant to be. (Listen to it here)

The second full lenght by Belgium's post-rockers The Tragedy We Live sounds more aggressive than ever before including straight on hardcore blasts like "The Mountain" or "Healing". This trio is one of the few post-rock acts, that isn't caught up in their own genre boundaries. The record album spans a wide range of different moods, textures and styles. It features modern heavy instrumental music leading from a post-rock influenced delay driven guitar work to heavy sludge, drum-driven hardcore and montonic doom-rock. It's impressive how the songs ebb and flow with a compounded quantity of detail and decay. The whole recordings are delivered with intensity, an extremely varied musical performance and a dense, gloomy mood. The band is still looking for labels who are interested to put out a vinyl version of "Live Fast, Live Fast, Live Fast". If you can help, get in touch with the band! This album has deserved it! (Listen to it here)

WILD EYES S.F. - GET INTO IT LP (Who Can You Trust?)
In addition to Hot Lunch here's the next bay area rock group that put out a truly outstanding LP on Who Can You Trust?. Wild Eyes S.F. include a member of Floating Goat and the rhythm section of The Saviours. On their vinyl debut this San Francisco based four-piece offers loud and dirty hard-rock blasts rarely heard in this climate of nostalgia and authenticity. The album is laden with sleazy riffs, psychedlic guitar leads, pounding beats and an addictive killer groove. Everything's delivered with a raw unpolished production propelling the band through seven fantastic tunes. Janiece Gonzalez soulful and incredibly powerful vocal harmonies are another main highlight. "Get Into It" is deeply rooted in the tradition of the golden age of American rock and proto-metal. There are obvious similarities to bands like Blue Cheer, Sir Lord Baltimore, Dust and MC5, but at the same time Wild Eyes S.F. don't forget to add their own unmistakable note. A total banger! (Listen to it here)

Switzerland's Voodoo Rhythm is one of the best and most important European garage labels and this nice LP gives you an overview of their activities over recent years. The words on the backcover does a good job of describing what you can expect here: "Wild out of control garage punk, nasty karma ruining blues trash, cajun rockabilly texmes hobo folk stomp blues and pure traaaasshhhhh". The Future Primtives deliver a brilliant mixture of 60s garage and 70s punk, that's very simular to Jay Reatard. Die Zorros crank out a dirty basic blues cut. If I didn't know it any better, I would think The Juke Joint Pints had recorded their traditional blues back in the early 50s. Britain's one-man-band Hank Haint give you a brilliant garage stomper. The Monsters are Switzerland's most famous garage group with a sound that's very close to Thee Headcoats. Roy And The Devil's Motorcycle recall the kind of folk music Bob Dylan was best known for in his early years. Back Lee And Drunkfoot merge classic American folk and country influences. Next up The Pussywarmers  fuse 1920s Jazz with weird Eastern European gypsy influences. Heart Attack Alley are heavily influenced by classic R&B music. Mama Rosin & Hipbone Slim & The Kneetremblers offer a happy and dancable folk stomper. Delaney Davidson plays wild blasting rockabilly. If you are looking for dirty, rough and original blues music, you can't go wrong with The Goon Mat & Lord Benardo. Last but not least Menic complete this brilliant compilation with a nice and peaceful country song.  (Listen to it here)