Archive for the ‘News + Reviews’ Category

A new track from the wonderful Zun Zun Egui released by Bella Union (home of Fleet Foxes, Midlake, Beach House etc) who will also release their debut album ‘Katang’ on October 3rd — which is (great) news to me!.   Anyway, ‘Fandango Fresh’ is a joyous, stomping affair with all the hallmarks we’ve come to love about this cosmopolitan quartet.  I’ve no idea what they’re singing about, something about a ‘sexy worm’ if I’m not mistaken, but it’s all part of their charm.  It’s out in August on 12″ vinyl.  Official press release below

Here comes the wildfire sound of Zun Zun Egui, toting their debut album ‘Katang’, released 3rd October on Bella Union records, and with explosive first single ‘Fandango Fresh’ which will be released on 12” vinyl in August.

Formed in the libertine and verdant undergrowth of Bristol’s cultural side streets (members Kushal Gaya and Yoshino Shigihara first met at an improv session at notorious DIY cinema The Cube Microplex), Zun Zun Egui started out playing up and down the UK to subterranean rock and party crowds ready to be let loose by music. They self-released a limited edition CD-R and then, on the back of a snowballing word-of-mouth live reputation, began receiving invites to play shows all over the world from festivals, squat cafes, hotel lobbies, vast art centres and other unlikely spaces. Meanwhile they released two white-hot slabs of 12” vinyl on Blank Tapes, both recorded at their Bristol studio lair. Always with a desire to connect, ZZE cooked up their own colourful club night called “How Come…” in Bristol and had tour mates like The Ex and Sun Araw pull up and play as well as the disparate likes of Micachu And The Shapes, Action Beat and AJ Holmes. Now Zun Zun Egui have dreamt up their debut album proper, recorded in the Welsh wilds and produced by bassist Luke Mosse, and it’s one to savour.

Everything about “Katang”, from its 50 minutes of freeform rock music to the wonderful visual feel conjured up by keyboard player/singer Yoshino Shigihara, emits a kinetic and contagious energy. The ZZE dynamics are all bottled up and twisted beautifully with lead single ‘Fandango Fresh’. You can listen to this jam below…

If you can wade through the 1 minute+ blatant advertising and product placement for Ketel vodka on the video above then you’ll be to hear the new Alberta Cross single ‘Money For The Weekend’.  Led by the siren-voiced Peter Ericson Stakee, Alberta Cross’ latest track isn’t as immediate as songs such as ‘ATX’ from their 2009 LP ‘Broken Side of Time’, but is a bit of a grower in a slow-burning fashion.  According to their facebook page the band have ‘three more days‘ in the studio before a follow-up should be ready from this Brooklyn, NY quintet. Still, ‘Money..’ retains much of what I enjoyed about the previous EP (their excellent, velvety guitar sound and anthemic choruses in particular).  More details as they are announced.

Led by the legendary Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich’ of Saint Vitus, The Obsessed and Shrinebuilder fame, Premonition 13 are a four piece band and a result of twenty years of friendship and mammoth jam sessions in the Californian desert.  Citing influences such as King Crimson amongst the more ubiquitous Black Sabbath references,’La Hechicera de la Jeringa’ (The Sorceress of the Syringe) utilise dual guitars, bass, massive sounding drums, e-bow textures and a strange fascination with the number 13 (read below) to create their gargantuan,  haunting, doom-laden sound. The cool, purple haze video above adds to the mystique featuring, Aztec temples, light ningand epic shots of the sun and cloud cover skies.  The album ’13’ will be issued by Volcom Entertainment (home to Tweak Bird, Wino’s solo material and Valient Thorr)

The full track is available to download by pressing the like button at the Premonition 13 Facebook or by visiting uber-blog Stereogum

’13 is one of my favorite numbers … It’s actually a very positive number, but it’s been misconstrued quite a bit throughout history. Friday the 13th is considered bad luck in America, but that’s just another fear trip. It’s also considered good luck by some esoterically-minded folks because Friday the 13th was the day that Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake. As he was being burned, he cursed the pope and the king, and they were both dead within a year’


Iretsu are a band that sound like no other, with a theatrical bent that underpins their clever math-pop + anything goes style. They’re a band with boundless energy, to the point where you don’t quite know what to expect.  It seems there’s always something new on the horizon when this Portland, Oregon quartet is around.  It’s as if they have tapped into a 4th dimension of pop, one which us mere mortals cannot see.

‘Sexy, No?’ is their new (free download) single, lifted from last year’s excellent ‘Fang’ LP and released by the consistently great Australian imprint Hidden Shoal (more on them soon).  It’s a funky number anchored by a throbbing, forthright bass line and bongo-infused percussion, which leaves the guitar free to create some interesting, exuberant sounds amidst the layered vocals.  It’s another feather in the cap for the peerless Iretsu, a band that continually proves to be as eclectic as they come.  Such eclecticism doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the song either, there’s no needless noodling, Iretsu don’t need to flex their instrumental prowess.  Instead, ‘Sexy, No?’ is delivered in a succinct, infectious and delightful fashion.

I stumbled upon Spindrift via a mixtape the ever-excellent Black Mountain made for Spilt Milk. They’re a self styled ‘Psychedelic Spaghetti Western Grindhouse Rock ‘n Roll’ band and feature members of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Warlocks and Psychic TV. ‘Theme From Confusion Range’ is lifted from their forthcoming ‘Classic Soundtracks Vol.1′ LP on Xemu Records and shows the band’s penchant for dream-like, cinematic Psych Rock. The whole album is said to be influenced by a fascination with Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western films and their accompanying Ennio Morricone soundtracks. Indeed, each track is accompanied by a short film/video and is written from films of themes past.

The video above is tremendous and I won’t spoil it by describing its events, just watch it. Musically, Spindrift combine the playful, melodic Acid-Pop of early Pink Floyd with Dark Americana, adding their own sinister alluring, power. The dream-like vocals on the chorus add a creeping mystery to proceedings that fans of The Black Angels will definitely enjoy. The album is apparently available, however, Norman Records are stating they won’t have it until June 6th (in GOLD vinyl no less).

I’ve been a bit slow on the uptake here but, United Fruit are another band currently creating a splash in and around Glasgow and with new album ‘Fault Lines’ ready to go (May 30th I believe) and a UK-wide tour due to start in support of the record, things look set to get a lot busier for this quartet.   Especially since they were recently announced as one of the 16 bands to peform on the T Break stage at this year’s T in the Park Festival.  ‘Go Away, Don’t Leave Me Alone’ (posted below) whets the appetite somewhat, an incendiary slab of furious post-hardcore/post-punk.  It’s literally bursting with youthful energy and there’s a nice balance between the discordance of the swarming, razor sharp guitars and melody on this number — It is most certainly not without its hooks.  To these ears, there’s a strong connection with ‘Madonna’-era …Trail of Dead, though there’s also mention of bands such as Fugazi, Shellac, At The Drive-In and Oxes on their last fm profile and various other reviews. ‘Fault Lines’ comes on the back of the locally acclaimed ‘Mistress, Reptile, Mistress EP’ and looks set to propel these lads into a wider audience.

Amplifier’s ‘The Octopus’ is easily one of the more daring records released in 2011 and was rightly hailed by Classic Prog Magazine “The grand benchmark against which all British prog rock albums will be judged this year”.  ‘The Octopus‘, issued on the bands own label,  is a sprawling double concept  album, spanning two hours worth of music over sixteen tracks channeling influences from the likes of Tool, Hawkwind (at the very least in the video above) latter-day King Crimson and other more contemporary acts such as The Pineapple Thief.

It took over 3 and half years to make and there’s a whole host of strange propaganda  (The Octopus is not a thing…apparently) related to the record at their website as well.  There’s even a book, which can be read here.   Not since the heady days when Prog Rock ruled the roost has a band issued an LP as grandiose as this nor with such widescreen concepts.

They’re due to play High Voltage’s Prog stage this year, I show I’ll be attending and very much looking forward to and have recruited Oceansize guitarist Steve Durose to enhance their live sound.  One of the many epic moments on ‘The Octopus’ includes the mind-boggling 10+ minute ‘Interstellar’, a glorious peaen to ‘travelling faster than light”, which can be downloaded for free below.

Buy The Octopus

Full Album Stream

Radiohead fansite At Ease has reported that Radiohead will perform ‘The King Of Limbs’ in it’s entirety via Nigel Godrich’s ‘From The Basement‘ and it will be screened and distributed worldwide through the BBC.  It’ll likely feature a similar set up to their ‘Scotch Mist’ screenings or more probably akin to the ‘From The Basement’ live performance of their last album ‘In Rainbows’, which is featured in the video above.  What is certain, it’ll be interesting to see the band perform these new tracks in such intimate quarters, especially as I’m still not entirely convinced with ‘TKOL’.

The BBC has signed a deal with Radiohead to distribute internationally a new and exclusive live performance of Radiohead’s eighth album, ‘The King of Limbs’. Radiohead – The King of Limbs: Live From The Basement is a 55-minute performance by the band and will feature the notoriously elusive band performing the entirety of their celebrated new album in a studio setting with some additional behind the scenes material. It is scheduled to be the first time that the grammy-award winners are captured on camera this year.

In a press release Bryce Edge of Courtyard Management, Radiohead’s management company said, “This will be Radiohead’s first collaboration with BBC Worldwide and the band are excited at the prospect of having their first live performance of ‘The King of Limbs’ broadcast around the world . The band will be filmed and recorded by the From The Basement team, which includes Nigel Godrich their long time producer, Dilly Gent ,who commissioned many of the memorable Radiohead videos and Grant Gee who filmed the Radiohead documentary ‘Meeting People is Easy’”

Radiohead – The King of Limbs: Live from the Basement becomes available to international broadcasters in June and is embargoed for broadcast until 1st July 2011. The programme is filmed in HD, will have no audience and no presenter – just a rare opportunity to see an intimate performance from one of the greatest bands in the world.


Efrim Manuel Menuck is best known as co-founder of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, leader of agit-chamber-punk group Thee Silver Mt. Zion, and member of the Vic Chesnutt Band (2007-2009); he has a combined thirteen albums under his belt with these three groups. He is also co-founder of Montreal’s Hotel2Tango recording studio, with dozens of recording, arranging and guest playing credits to his name, for a list of artists as diverse as British Sea Power, Carla Bozulich’s Evangelista, and Grant Hart.
Fans of Menuck will be well versed in his highly original and constantly evolving approach to the sound of the electric guitar – a unique combination of short and long analog delays, biting compression and blown-out clouds of pink noise distortion. His recasting of various folkways through the lens of uncompromising punk-rock is also well-documented in the discography of Thee Silver Mt. Zion, with that band’s use of poetically political group singing set against a hybrid of damaged blues, waltz, klezmer and folk instrumental tropes.

Perhaps less appreciated is Menuck’s work as an inventive signal-bender and sound-sculptor, with an overriding commitment to analog processing, tape manipulations, re-amping and other iterative strategies. Efrim’s aesthetic and techniques remain about as diametrically opposite to the dominant Pro-Tools and DSP culture as it gets for someone working in contemporary multi-tracked rock composition and production.

Efrim Manuel Menuck Plays “High Gospel” rallies all of these talents and sensibilities to deliver a powerful and personal album that serves as an ode to his adopted Montreal hometown (where he has now lived for two decades), the passing of great friends (Vic Chesnutt, Emma) and new fatherhood. Entirely self-produced and tracked at various Montreal locations, the album offers a confident, focused, humble and enveloping song cycle.


“High Gospel” is out May 24th via Constellation Records on CD and 180g vinyl.

I’ve kind of lost touch with Sigur Rós ever since the release of their very commerical sounding ‘Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust‘ album in 2008, but I’ll never tire of listening to both the ‘ágætis byrjun‘ and ‘( )’ LP’s, which rank amongst my favourite of all time.  According to Pitchfork, the Icelandic band have issued a string of rare demos and live performance via their soundcloud page from around the time of ‘ágætis byrjun‘.  There’s a svefn-g-englardemo, a reversed version of ‘Starálfur‘, some live versions (including a spectacular rendition of ‘Ný batterí’) and other assorted tracks for you to stream, from what I consider their golden period.

Although their intrepid feathered frontman Jónsi has been keeping himself plentybusy, it’s been a little bit since we’ve heard a whispered Icelandic peep from bliss-pop heavyweights Sigur Rós. But now Consequence of Sound points out that the band has taken to their Soundcloud to post a wealth of unreleased material: a demo of “Svefn-g-englar” from 1999 that includes live cuts taken from the year before, as well as demos and “manipulations” from the sessions for their 2000 masterpiece Agaetis Byrjun. You can take a listen to the “Svefn-g-englar” demos above, and check out the rest of the stuff below. UPDATE: According to, these demos have previously circulated and were just recently added to Soundcloud.