Archive for the ‘One To Watch’ Category

Necro Deathmort, the duo of AJ Cookson and Matthew Rozeik, are set to release their second album ‘Music of Bleak Origin’ through Newcastle-based Distraction Records.  Their sound contains a highly original combination of titanic drums, dirty/calibrated beats, inescapably heavy guitars and exploratory electronics —  Cinematic-Electronic-Doom-Prog perhaps?  It’s the sort of sinister and dangerous sound that makes the likes of The Prodigy sound particularly primary school.

Their label puts it better in fact :

Necro Deathmort follow their critically acclaimed debut album This Beat Is Necrotronic with this monolith: Music of Bleak Origin. Expect a soundtrack of crunchy fuzz, chambertronic buzz, dubstep squelch, walls of guitar wail, crashing chords, acidic bleeps and blips, creamy drone and subwoofer-baiting nihilistic doom. In an edition of 1000, it comes in a heavy-duty plastic sleeve with a seen-to-be-believed, double-sided 18-panel poster on wood free stock.

This record segues from the ethereal club ecstasy of ‘For Your Own Good’ to the disheveled, ‘Classics’-period Aphex Twin electronica of ‘Devastating Vector’, via the skull-crushing guitar-led sonic assaults of ‘In Binary’ and doomy devastation of ‘The Heat Death of Everything’.  It’s limited to just 1000 copies and is packaged with a heavy-duty plastic sleeve and contains a double-sided 18-panel H.P Lovecraft- style poster designed by Dominic Hailstone, who was responsible for the creepy creature effects on Aphex Twin’s ‘Come To Daddy’ video as well as working with Mogwai on ‘Batcat’.

On a side note, the Distraction lads are very passionate about the music they release and run a fantastic label. Despite investing a lot of time and money into their releases they often issue them for free in advance of pre-order’s, trusting the quality of the music and the record-buying public to order the records anyway.


The Pattern Theory make music like their name suggests. Intricate designs constructed with an entanglement of instrumentation;  guitars, drums and synth bass, punctuated by glockenspiel, xylophone and vibraphone.  What we cannot deduce from this trio’s name is just how inherently pretty their music can be.  Formerly of Leeds, but now settled in Berlin, The Pattern Theory’s self-titled debut album has just been issued by Austrian imprint Valeot Recordings.  Its eight tracks revolve around a skillful instrumental aesthetic recalling the repetitive, minimalistic compositions of Steve Reich or Tortoise while adding a more human touch via some melancholic left turns that remind of Epic45’s more Summery moments.  Quite an inspiring record, but we should expect nothing less from a band that were once chosen as Damo Suzuki’s backing band for his world tour.

The album was recorded during marathon nighttime sessions in a disused post office to achieve the right ambiance, as the band recently explained to Storyboard.  “Basically we had no other real option for recording, and we’re all really into recording and production, so we thought it will cost us this amount to go in to a studio, or this amount to get a few more mics, which we’ll have forever, so it seemed like a better investment/experience of trying to get a studio sounding record, with modest equipment and a sort of treated room. The downside of this was we had to wait ‘until midnight when it was quiet enough to start recording”.

While instrumental bands can get a little tedious, The Pattern Theory ensure this is not an issue meaning that even those who find Post-Rock sounds dull, will find much to love on their debut .  Their labyrinth compositions may be precise and complex, but there’s plenty of room for melody and the effect is particularly refreshing.  The patterns are plentiful, but thankfully this trio don’t take their name to literally.

UK readers can grab the CD via Norman Records

A huge Zeppelin-sized shape may cast its considerable shadow over Southern Californian outfit Rival Sons, but much like The Virginmarys this quartet’s brand of dynamic Hard-Rock is more of a celebration of rock ‘n’ roll’s glory days than a mere copy — it’s ‘rhythm and blues played with danger‘ as one band member so aptly puts it.  ‘Pressure and Time’ is lifted from their forthcoming 12-track album (check the trailer out) of the same name which is set to issued by Earache Records on June 20th.  It’s a bluesy, groove-laden number full of dynamic riffs, muscular percussion and rock swagger.

Frontman and Jim Morrison lookalike Jay Buchanan possesses a confident grit-infused classic rock pitch and the band play with real desire, as if their lives depends on it.  There’s nothing better when a band can effortlessly hit their stride like this, distilling all that we love in a rock ‘n’ roll group, as in the case of ‘Pressure and Time’.  Pink Floyd collaborator Storm Thorgersen provides the artwork for the LP, while the band are booked for both the Sonisphere and High Voltage festivals which I’ll be attending and very much looking forward to on the basis of this video.

Ones To Watch: Tokamak

Posted: May 15, 2011 in One To Watch
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I’m back from Prague refreshed and raring to go.  To kick things off, here’s the latest ‘One To Watch’ this time coming from Scottish trio Tokamak.  Once you navigate through all the scientific mumbo-jumbo from which Tokamak probably  took their name from, you’ll find that this criminally unsigned Glaswegian outfit are very pleasing to the ears indeed.  I’m getting hints of Neu! and Can in the motoring ‘Invasion of the Rectangles”, with the brooding cello work adding a nice touch of tension before the band explode in a distorted frenzy.  The nicely named ‘Fucktard’ is another highlight in this bunch of assorted tracks, a totally raucous affair with driving guitars, sci-fi electronics and motorik drums where it sounds like they literally attack their instruments when they approach the riotous chorus.  ‘Gartnavel Heckler’ portrays them in a different light again where Tokamak weave an interesting spoken-word story something akin to The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, again when the band let loose they’re a joy to behold.  I’m not sure if these tracks are out-takes, rehearsal jams or work in progress’ for a later recording (although they are labelled as ‘not quite finished yet’ at their Soundcloud page), what I do know is they are quite tremendous.  A difficult to describe sound that takes its influence from instrumental bands like Do Make Say Think, the aforementioned Komische/Krautrock movement and marrying it with a huge helping of progressive attitude, though I do also detect a hint of former Glasgow heroes pH Family in their sound too.

Ones To Watch: Grandfather

Posted: April 27, 2011 in One To Watch

Grandfather – Tremors from Big Ass Lens on Vimeo.

Both Exploding In Sound and OMGVinyl recommended this impressive New-York-based trio and I’d like to take this opportunity to share the wealth.  Having recently supported Mission of Burma, Grandfather’s latest LP ‘Why I’d Try’ is essential listening, and what’s more is available to download in its entirety for free.  Of course, should you like what is on offer, you could purchase the band’s generous Vinyl + CD offer.  Made all the more remarkable as the band funded the recording process via a Kickstarter pledge scheme.  Recorded with Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio studios in Chicago (money well spent in my opinion), ‘Why I’d Try’ channels Radiohead style claustrophobia (particularly evident in the video above) with mid 90’s Grunge hooks, particularly of a Soundgarden variety, and guitar textures and effects that recall the likes of Jonny Greenwood, Thurston Moore and perhaps Ian MacKaye of Fugazi.

Guitarist Michael Kirsch is a new name to me, but throughout this record weighs in with an absorbing performance giving Grandfather a unique edge over their peers.  The dominant bass work of Jonathan Silverman anchors the whole sound much like current Pitchfork heroes Young Widows, hypnotically propelling each song along, further enhancing the notion that there’s many hidden depths to this three-piece.  It’s all capped off with an excellent percussive performance from drummer and vocalist Joshua Hoffman — Phil Collins he is not!.  In the current climate of the music industry, there are thousands of albums available and legally free to download.  It’s difficult to determine the rough from the smooth — there is a tonne of dross out there and it can detract from quality releases like ‘Why I’d Try’.  Trust me, this LP is most definitely worth diving head first into.  Expect to see this record feature on my end of year lists.

Why I’d Try twitches between orchestral brilliance, gritty post-punk, and cerebral assaults of noise, all falling precisely into place within its sonic puzzle. Locked tight in stranglehold rhythms delivered in strange time signatures, Grandfather’s debut is the type of record you listen to on repeat… for days on end


Not so much a ‘One To Watch’ band anymore, as it looks like this trio have disbanded, but The Kings of Frog Island are/were definitely a band worth a moment of your time. Psychedelic-tinged Stoner Rock in the vein of Kyuss or Monster Magnet. Some of the riffs here remind me of my teens when I thought of Josh Homme as the greatest guitarist on the planet and a number of tracks thrills in a similar manner to hearing Kyuss’ seminal ‘Blues For The Red Sun’ for the first time.

The excellently named … Kings are no mere copyists though, with their scorched riffs and narcotic harmonies very much their own. The deeper than space basslines are so blissed-out they’re almost horizontal and the addition of synth and violin to some tracks show the extent that this band is prepared to go to branch out. If Stoner Rock is making resurgence then this troupe are surely its leading lights.  Check out their sounds on German label Elektrohasch.

The King of Frog Island were formed in 2003 by Mark Buteux, Roger “Dodge” Watson (scum pups) and Mathew Bethancourt (Cherry ChokeJosiahThe Beginning). Drawing on a collective passion for cult movie soundtracks and mammoth riffs the trio headed up three albums stashed full of heavy psych rock and fragile laments to love, life and the eternal sleep.

The Kings Of Frog Island ‘I’ ‘II’ and ‘III’ are truly rocket rides across the mountains of madness and beyond the big black. Many other musicians feature across the trilogy of albums: matthew day (scum pups), Gavin Searle, Julia Dream, Tony Heslop, Lee Madel Toner, Gavin Wright and Gregg Hunt (Cherry Choke).  Mathew Bethancourt left The Kings Of Frog Island in 2010 to concentrate on Cherry Choke. Mark Buteux and Roger “Dodge” Watson are currently working on new recordings under the name of Bull God.


Think Post-Rock is a tired and bloated genre? Think again, because no-one thought to tell this forward-thinking Berlin via New Zealand-based group. An Emerald City have fashioned an impressive, engaging sound that sees them avoiding the well trodden post-rock paths.

Though there’s a hint of Grails in their sound, this quintet should avoid lazy comparisons with their use of Middle Eastern instrumentation such as sitar, tablas and long-necked flute that engages with a guitar/bass/drum template so seamlessly. Songs are celebratory in feel, containing an aura of Ceilidh-like festivities or perhaps Jewish folk, though they also capture a similar apocalyptic edge to the aforementioned Grails or even Godspeed You Black Emperor. An Emerald City are cathartic, exciting, eclectic and downright excellent. Easily one of the most progressive instrumental bands I’ve heard in some time.  Key Track : ‘Mull Pasha’