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Monthly Archives: October 2017

The United World Underground Collection (October 2017)

An amazing 33 hour celebration of Music & Elsewhere‘s 25th anniversary, featuring; 30 albums from 30 countries, 50 bonus tracks, 3 books and a compilation CD

(the following is written by Mick Magic)

Between the years 1992 – 2003, I had the great privilege to run the Music & Elsewhere label.

Luckily, as fate would have it, I also had a calling to return to it in 2012, realising it mattered simply too much to allow it to be lost to the annals of time.

Named in tribute to one of my favourite bands, the mighty Faust, name-checking their “Music & Elsewhere: Return Of A Legend” album (on the excellent Recommended label), M&E was one of a number of independent ‘tape labels’ that formed an integral part of a global underground network, and this collection is very much about celebrating that, as well as just the part we played within it.

Looking back now, I have come to regard that network as one of the most important sociological phenomena of its time.

Growing from the freedoms gained by the punk revolution, with its home produced ‘cut and paste’ fanzines and selfreleased short-run 7” singles, its expansion had boomed
throughout the 1980’s, in particular following the mass popularisation of the compact cassette, both by significant improvements in quality and the introduction of the Sony
Walkman in 1979 (I still have my Panasonic one).

By the the time I stumbled on it, circa the onset of the 1990’s, the underground network was already well established as a global counter-culturist community in its own right, and a whole world of wonder was waiting for me. Suddenly, a man who had never felt like he belonged anywhere before had found a real home.

It’s no exaggeration to say that my years of involvement with the underground network completely changed my life.

After producing a few copies of a zine called The Mmattrix, primarily just about my own band, Magic Moments At Twilight Time, I had become good friends with some of the true luminaries of the global movement; the likes of Stephen Parsons, Lord Litter and Don Campau, to name but three.

Through them, I had come to realise it was far from just being another platform to sell demo tapes through, neither was it any kind of soft option for people of lesser talent, rather offering a different kind of value system entirely.

Instead of trying to persuade a disinterested music biz ‘suit’ that you’d look great in tight trousers and could make them shitloads more money, most of which you’d be unlikely to see anyway, it was about earning the respect of your peers through merit.

That idea resonated with me deeply, even though I probably didn’t fully understand all the ramifications as to why at the time.

Suitably enthused, I decided I simply had to get more involved and announced the launch of The Mmattrix Distribution Service.

That was in the January of 1992, and of course, we didn’t stick with that name!

By the April, we were ready to launch M&E with an initial catalogue of 41 tapes from 6 different countries.

Our arrival on the scene was a resounding success and I was absolutely hooked, dedicating the next dozen years of my life to it.

Then most of my spare time this year in putting this monumental collection together. I haven’t learnt. I hope I never do.

Choosing what should be included was easy, it was the leaving things out that was the problem. I personally think all of the 600 albums we released deserve to be on here, but then there’s that 168 hour limit the powers that be enforce on the working week!

I always found it seriously impressive that a global network like this one had grown up in a time before the age of the ubiquitous internet, how it spread around the world when
its only means to do so was with letters and postage stamps.

That’s why I’ve chosen a theme for this collection that fully represents its global nature; an album from each of the countries we released one from.

Thirty albums, thirty artists, thirty countries, spanning the five continents of our United World Underground.

Forget the limitations of the humble compact cassette and the occasional glitches, forget the odd bit of wow and flutter, that’s just the way it was back then.

Simply sit back and embrace the journey through a quarter of a century or more of underground music (and elsewhere), a significant proportion of which was made by people without access to professional recording and manufacturing facilities, all the way from Frimley to Cape Town.

Enjoy muchly…

 

For further information and orders, please visit:
www.mickmagic.net

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Posted by on October 31, 2017 in Alternative, Cassette Scene

 

Sounds Like Winter – Sticks and Stones (2017)

Was the charity compilation “For the Bats volume II” is the reason that I became aware of Australian band Sounds Like Winter or was it the compilation “S.I.N.G.E.D. Volume 2” ? (Synthwave Industrial Noise Gothic Electronic Darkwave – Dark Alternative Music Bands from Australia and New Zealand)

The band is fronted by Ant Banister, a musician that has been active since the 80’s doing sound for The Mark of Cain, worked with electronic dance groups Boxcar and Severed Heads, helped establish the Clan Analogue label and collective, while in electronic acts Eidolon, Nanotech, Pempek, The Flow over a period of ten years or so.

His last act Lunar Module being synthpop, brought him back into the Goth/Alt scene again..

Sounds Like Winter started as a project between Ash Rothschild (nowdays with the band Panic Syndrome, he was replaced by guitarist Andi Lennon in 2013), Ryan Mortimer and Rob Finder in 2013 and their sound has roots in the Post-Punk period 1978-1983.

Shortly after they put the band together Ant Banister was invited to join them.

There were some line up changes and In 2016 they put out the album “Initiate” while in 2017 they return with their second album, “Sticks and Stones”.

“Sticks and Stones” has ten songs, full of the ingredients that will bring back the dark atmosphere of the 80’s.

The tribal rhythms, the chorus effect of the bass and the right dose of delay for the guitar…

My favorite tracks are two: “Television Dream” sounds raw, primitive and as dark as Nick Cave’s Birthday Party on the album “Prayers on Fire”.

The other track is titled “Gritar” and according to my humble opinion, it was made to become a dancefloor favorite for Goth clubs.

It has a catchy riff, a haunting guitar sound and stays with you long after it ends.

“Gritar” translates “Shout” in English and from what I hear Ant Banister is singing in Spanish…

I can’t say that “Sticks and Stones” is an album for everyone.

It is a must though, for people that love the darkest sounds of the 80’s, Goths, Bauhaus and post-punk fans.

Order your copy HERE

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2017 in Goth, Post Punk

 

The Mysterons – Meandering (2 February 2017)

The Mysterons is a 5 piece band from Netherlands with a very unique sound.

Singer Josephine van Schaik, guitarist Jordy Sanger, keyboard player Pyke Pasman who along with bassist Peter Peskens and drummer Sonny Groeneveld are with Jungle by Night, a 9-piece collective based in Amsterdam, consisting of brothers, cousins and school friends aged between 15 and 22 years.

The Mysterons were named after the 60s series ‘Captain Scarlett And The Mysterons” and are producing high quality music which is difficult to pigeonhole.

After recent high profile performances at Lowlands, Into The Great Wide Open, Motel Mozaique, Paradiso and French showcase festival Transmusicales they put out their debut full length album ‘Meandering” in 2017.

The album has ten tracks and captures your attention by the first note.

Might be Josephine van Schaik’s high pitched voice.

She is very comfortable with middle eastern melodies on tracks such as “Turkish Delight” or Indian flavored ones, such as “Meandering”.

On the other hand, the rest of the band members are great musicians that can easily pass from groovy garage rock to psychedelia and from middle eastern music phrases to western pop.

Order your copy from HERE

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2017 in Prog-rock, Psychedelic

 

Bella Morte – Year of the Ghost (August 2017)

Bella Morte is a Gothic band from Charlottesville, VA that has been around for about 20 years.

The trio of Andy Deane – Vocals, Tony Lechmanski – Guitar & Backing Vocals and Marshall Camden – Bass and/or Keyboards have just released their 9th studio full length release titled “Year of the Ghost”.

This is a 100% DIY album with the band writing, recording, mastering even doing th design work themselves.

“Year of the Ghost” consists of nine originals and one cover version, (VNV Nation’s “Further”).

Although this is a “Gothic/coldwave band” there is a very pleasant and warm atmosphere in the whole album probably because of the beautiful melodies that the lads came up with.

My favorite tracks are: the powerful post-punk “Black Orchids”, the fast paced “Prayers for the Damned” with its hard rocking guitars (gives a whole new sound to the band) and a track with a Joy Division flavor, ttitled “Dead of Night”.

The dreamy “Burn” can spread sweet melancholy in your room while “Break this Cold” is a song with a pop hook on the guitar and was made to make you move your feet…

I some people are saying “there are no good albums made in our days anymore…

Next time someone tells this to you, buy him a copy of Bella Morte’s “Year of the Ghost”.

You can order your copy HERE

THE VIDEO THAT FOLLOWS WAS POSTED BEFORE THE ALBUM RELEASE

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2017 in Goth

 

NOIR – Reburning EP (Metropolis Records 27 October 2017)

I think the first time I got in touch with Athan Maroulis was sometime in the 90’s when he was playing with Los Angeles based band Spahn Ranch.

Before Spahn Ranch he was having singing duties for Fahrenheit 451, a post punk band of the New York scene from 1984 to 1987.

He established himself in a number of different musical genres including goth, industrial and electronic and also had some releases with with the Philadelphia based Executive Slacks as well as Tubalcain.

Maroulis also recorded a number of albums with a 1940s styled jazz project named The Blue Dahlia and appears as the singer of the band Black Tape for a Blue Girl on the albums “The Scavenger Bride” and “10 Neurotics”.

In 2013 he sent me the release of his new project, which goes by the name NOIR.

The album is titled “Darkly Near” and holds ten Dark electro tunes with one of them being a cover version of The Cure’s “A Forest”.

NOIR refreshed their releases in 2014 with the remix album “RE:MIT:TENT” and in 2016 with the four track EP “The Burning Bridge” (with an interpretation of “In Every Dream Home A Heartache,” a Roxy Music song recorded live on WFMU radio on December 12th, 2013 and a great cover version on Duran Duran’s classic “The Chauffeur”…)

The new release came out yesterday, 27 October, under the title “Reburning” and holds five remixes of the track “The Burning Bridge” which opens last year’s EP and one cover version on “Same Old Madness” (originally a Ministry song) remixed by Bestial Mouths.

The Rain Within, Decoded Feedback and Panic Lift took over remixing duties for the first three versions of “The Burning Bridge” covering a range from synthpop to EBM, while there is also an acoustic version and a very interesting dark atmospheric version with Cellos.

Tracey Moth is playing the cello on these two versions while Kai Irina Hahn, Demetra Songs are doing backing vocals on the first four tracks.

Apart from Maroulis, the other three members of NOIR are:  Erik Gustafson.

You can order your copy from HERE

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2017 in Electronic

 

Punish Yourself – Spin the Pig (13 October 2017)

Punish Yourself is a French quartet formed in the 90s.

They are known for their stage theatrics and they describe their style as “Fluo Cyber Punk”.

Having their debut released almost 20 years ago, the band put out in October their 13th album, titled “Spin the Pig”.

Klodia Sparkling took care of the vox loops (she also appears on two albums of the French all star band Le Bal Des Enragés) while drummer/guitar player Xav did a great job on programming. Singer/percussionist VX spits passionately the lyrics and guitarist Pierlox (who seems to be joining VX on the project 1969 Was Fine) adds electric shocks to the whole recording.

Their sound is sometimes flirting with the sound of Killing Joke of the “Pandemonium” era (“There’s No End to This”) but I can also hear influences from Ministry and Nine Inch Nails of the “Head Like a Hole” era (“Lo-cust” and “Blacksunwhitebones”).

And to be honest, how many industrial musicians would write a song without being influenced by at least one of the above mentioned bands?

So, all this reads excellent on my book but my fave track of the album is the “Die-s-i-ray”. And this is cause it could be a track by the Dead Boys or The Lords of the New Church with Steve Bators on amphetamines…

The track “Spin the Pig” is strategically put right after “Backlash” holding back the pace of the album which is slowing down as we move toward the end of the album…

Silver silver” has a nice flavor of 90’s industrial and the album closes with an interesting remix of the “Lo-cust” track.

I am sorry to say that I never heard of Punish Yourself before this album.

But I am lucky that I found them now… (better late than never…).

And be sure that “Spin the Pig”, with its high octane tracks, is serious and dangerous as a nuclear holocaust.

So go for it…HERE

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Tombstones In Their Eyes Shutting Down / Take Me Home (Send Me Your Head Records 17 November 2017)

New Double A-side Single from LA-based Space-Psych Outfit Tombstones In Their Eyes

Los Angeles’ rock outfit Tombstones in Their Eyes have announced they will be releasing a new double A-side single including tracks ‘Shutting Down’ and  ‘Take Me Home’. Tombstones create walls of sound that are simultaneously sonorous and hazy. These are cavernous, stoner lullabies that descend into post-rock soundscapes and are wrapped in dark shoegazing dreamscapes.

With musical influences including The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Elliott Smith and The Melvins, the four-piece’s sound embraces a wide range of genres – from the stoner rock of Kyuss to the warped neo-psychedeia of Spacemen 3 to the cavernous and doom-laden sounds of Electric Wizard and beyond.

Recorded at L.A.’s Kitten Robot Studio with Paul Roessler (Nina Hagen, The Deadbeats, The Screamers, 45 Grave), this new release follows up the critically acclaimed ‘Fear’ EP and video for ‘Always There’ (2017), their huge sounding ‘Bad Clouds’ EP (2016), and debut album ‘Sleep Forever’ (2014).

Tombstones In Their Eyes’ current line-up is John Treanor (guitar, vocals, keyboards, songwriter), Josh Drew (guitar, backing vocals), Mike Mason (bass, guitar) and Stephen Striegel (drums).

“These songs are much more of a collaborative effort by the full band,” explains explains frontman John Treanor. “The old method was John would write the songs, James would lay down the beats from NY and the band would try to recreate the demos.  Now, with the addition of Stephen Striegel as full time drummer, I wanted to make the songwriting more inclusive. This came out much better than expected – the songs are really something much different than I would have on my own. It was amazing, actually, hearing the stuff that they came up with. I was blown away.”

The band began life as a demo swapping exercise between John Treanor in L.A. and his childhood friend James Cooper, now in New York, but soon coalesced into a full fledged band. But collectives are always more than what you see on the surface. In John’s case, writing and performing songs is also a way of dealing with severe anxiety and depression, a way of talking about the subject without being the centre of the conversation, and a way of being subliminal rather than direct.”‘Take Me Home’ is about a place where you feel safe.  Not the first song I’ve written about this concept.  The original chorus was ‘Take Me Down’, but it was so echoed out on the demo that I misheard it when I was transcribing the lyrics, so the song became ‘Take Me Home’. That’s better anyways,” says John Treanor. “Paul Roessler, our producer, interpreted ‘Take Me Home’ as wanting to leave this earth, as in death or suicide, but that’s not the case. It’s about going home to that safe place.”

Tombstones in Their Eyes create music laced with celestial grandeur and a fuzzed out psychedelic majesty that looks out into the universe just as much as it looks inward toward the soul.

CREDITS
John Treanor – guitar/vocals
Josh Drew – guitar
Mike Mason – bass
Stephen Striegel – drums
James Cooper – synth, musical guidance
Paul Roessler – backing vocals
Produced by Paul Roessler and John Treanor
Recorded and Mixed by Paul Roessler at Kitten Robot Studios
Mastered by Alex DeYoung at DeYoung Masters
Cover Art by Trevor Tipton
Photos by Cathryn Farnsworth
Send Me Your Head Records – SND 006
Keep up with Tombstones In Their Eyes

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2017 in Psychedelic