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Crash City Saints – Are You Free? (St. Marie Records 11th August 2017)

Crash City Saints are back with the long awaited follow up to Glow In The Dark Music, which inspired rave reviews back in 2010, with single “Out From The Storm” winning Song of the Day honors from KEXP.

Highlighted by the contribution of Cocteau Twins‘ Simon Raymonde, Are You Free? might be the best shoegaze-influenced album released all year, and yet it’s so much more than that.

It’s something of a shoegaze “Quadrophenia”, telling the autobiographical story of a teenager growing up in a dead-end small town in the early 90s.

Each song, other than being a lyrical outlook at teenage melancholia in a small-town wasteland, represents also an homage to the bands from that period: My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins, Galaxie 500, and the whole Madchester scene (Inspiral Carpets, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, The Dylans, The High, Soup Dragons, Northside, Charlatans UK, Jesus Jones and EMF).

Music can “save your life” as The Smiths once put it, and those bands become actual torches to move forward in the darkness.

Every band has a history, and the history of Crash City Saints is a litany of missed connections and infidelity, a series of false starts and crushing disappointments.

In this sense, Crash City Saints are just like the rest of us—you’d think they were cursed if their music didn’t sound like it was touched by the gods. And yet they haven’t given up.

In that sense, they are special.

They’re from Kalamazoo, Michigan. This means they sing about going to 7-11, not going to brunch. Are You Free? gallops from strength to strength—songs of ice cream and car crashes, the end of school and the end of existence—before ending with the elegiac ‘Harbour Lights.’

Although anglophile enough to reference an iconic UK sitcom, the album title is American enough to wonder if freedom still exists.

Tracklist
1. Ice Cream Headache
2. Smile Lines
3. Weirdos Need Love Too
4. There’s No School Tomorrow
5. Use Once Then Dispose
6. Spirit Photography
7. Act 2
8. Dawn Of A Bright New Nothing
9. Annabella
10. It’s Not A Party Until Someone Breaks Your Heart
11. The Hour Of The Wolf

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2017 in Shoegaze

 

The Heavy Blinkers – The Night And I Are Still So Young (Label Obscura 1 August 2017)

Label Obscura Announces Classic Re-Release for Nova Scotia’s The Heavy Blinkers First Vinyl Release of The Heavy Blinkers ‘The Night and I Are Still So Young’ 
Canada’s Label Obscura is proud to announce the upcoming reissue of one of the best independent pop albums of the early 2000s – ‘The Night And I Are Still So Young’ by The Heavy Blinkers. This is the first time this classic album will be released on vinyl.
Described by Spin magazine as “one of the greatest bands you’ve (probably) never heard”, The Heavy Blinkers is a five-piece formed in 1998 by Jason Michael MacIsaac and a group of friends, including keyboardist and songwriter Andrew Watt and ethereal vocalist Ruth Minnikin. They are based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

By 2004, the intricate and tightly constructed chamber pop of The Heavy Blinkers had become well known, winning them widespread acclaim, albeit without corresponding commercial success for their self-titled debut release in 2000 and the ‘Better Weather’ LP in 2002. The band reached a remarkable breakthrough with their fourth album ‘The Night and I Are Still So Young’ (2004), exhibiting a new maturity in this stunningly orchestrated pop masterpiece.

At the time that ‘The Night and I Are Still Young’ was recorded, The Heavy Blinkers were comprised of Andrew Watt, Greg Fry, Jason MacIsaac, Ruth Minnikin, and Trevor Forbes. MacIsaac is currently the only remaining original member of the band.

Two years in the making, this album consolidates the nocturnal orchestrations of the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev and grafts them onto material akin to 70’s era Beach Boys, Harry Nilsson or Randy Newman. This has led to the group gathering fans wide and afar, including Sondre Lerche, Van Dyke Parks and The High Llamas.

The luscious pop songmanship of this album has earned The Heavy Blinkers comparisons with Brian Wilson’s best work at his peak, as well as international acclaim and devoted fans. The band’s sonic landscape is rich with multi-tracked vocals featuring an affecting interplay between Minnikin, Watt and MacIsaac, combined with a virtual enchanted forest of arrangements.
Noisey recently included The Heavy Blinkers in their Completely Biased Ranking of the 60 Best Canadian Indie Rock Songs of the 00s, with the band also ranking Number 1 in View 902‘s The Top 20 Albums by Nova Scotians.
Label Obscura is giving this classic album the vinyl release it deserves. With brand new artwork by Yorodeo, detailed liner notes by Brian Chidester and pressed on 180-gram vinyl with a limited edition pressing of 300 copies, this release will bring plenty of smiles to fans new and old alike. It is now available for pre-order via Bandcamp.
TRACKLIST

1. Filtered Light
2. In the Morning
3. Mother Dear
4. Try Telling That to My Baby
5. Gentle Strength
6. The Night and I Are Still So Young
7. He Heard His Song
8. Silver Crown
9. Veranda Celeste
10. Fall On My Sword
11. Unreasonably Sad
12. Don’t Get Me Wrong

Keep up with The Heavy Blinkers
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Keep up with Label Obscura
Website | Facebook | Twitter |Bandcamp

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2017 in Alternative

 

Stream ‘Kristin Hersh Live on KEXP’. Kristin Hersh returns to Dublin for special one-off concert

Stream ‘Kristin Hersh Live on KEXP’. Kristin Hersh returns to Dublin for special one-off concert

During her recent U.S. tour, indie rock music legend Kristin Hersh stopped in to the KEXP studios for a special session. The resultant video is out now in streaming https://youtu.be/G0ssg27e04I

Kristin will also be returning to Dublin for an exclusive one-off concert, to take place on Sunday, July 23 at the National Concert Hall.
From life as the reluctant front person for renowned alternative group Throwing Muses, to her long career as a solo singer-songwriter, her lead in the power trio 50FootWave and her new career as an author of ‘Paradoxical Undressing’ and ‘Don’t Suck, Don’t Die’, Kristin never stops creating.
Her most recent solo release, the double album-book combo ‘Wyatt At The Coyote Palace’ (Listen on BandcampSpotify or iTunes) coincided with an extensive tour of Ireland and the UK, playing to many sold-out audiences and wide critical acclaim. Once again she will perform songs from this latest release, as well as other offerings.

Kristin Hersh is most recognized as the front person for the influential art-punk band Throwing Muses. She has also found a surprisingly successful career as an author, she has published the critically acclaimed “Paradoxical Undressing” in the UK (released as “Rat Girl” in the USA), a children’s book “Toby Snax, and “Don’t Suck, Don’t Die,” a highly acclaimed personal account of her long friendship with the late Vic Chesnutt.

‘Wyatt At The Coyote Palace’ is the third release in the ground-breaking book-CD format that Hersh began with her previous solo album “Crooked” and Throwing Muses’ 2013 release “Purgatory/Paradise”. 

“Wyatt” is a collection of true stories and songs of love and loss, combining Kristin’s humor with the pains and travails of a life spent constantly in motion. Defined by potent guitars, addictive melodies and poignant lyrics, this release is a serious sign of strength and depth, bringing the listener into what the BBC calls Kristin’s “dark and dizzy world.”

“The stories are all true. They happened over the last few decades. The songs were written in the last five years. They’re true, too, in a much more oblique way,” explains Kristin Hersh. “But it’s always felt to me that songs were pushing my life around so they could be born: I live the stories and then the song lives. Very much like children. A baby isn’t born because you got pregnant, you got pregnant because a baby was going to be born.”

Kristin plays all instruments on this 24-track opus, including guitar, bass, drums, piano, horns, cello and even field recordings.  Recorded in Rhode Island with engineer Steve Rizzo, the songs were written in the last 5 years over a turbulent period in her life, the prose was inspired by her son Wyatt, who is on the autism spectrum.  His fascination with an abandoned apartment building behind the studio inhabited by coyotes inspired this record’s title.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2017 in Alternative

 

New Zero God/Nexus/Flowers Of Romance (Μια Συζήτηση Με Τον Μιχάλη Πούγουνα)

This interview is in Greek and it took place on 23/06/2017. It was originally posted by the blog Ελευθερία ή Τίποτα

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2017 in Interviews

 

Black Needle Noise – Lost in Reflections (13 July 2017)

Legendary Artist-Producer John Fryer to release new Black Needle Noise LP

Artist-producer legend John Fryer has announced the second Black Needle Noise album ‘Lost in Reflections’, to be released on July 13, but is first teasing the single ‘Neon Noir’ with Dr. Strangefryer. Now based in Los Angeles, John Fryer once again dishes up his trademark goodness and lush atmospheres with layered richness, experimental tones, effects and melodies.

As one of the most innovative sonic architects in our age, “John Fryer has practically soundtracked your entire life” (Impose Magazine). His musical imprint is massive, having shaped the sound of bands from Nine Inch Nails and Cocteau Twins to HIM and Depeche Mode. He is also one of just two masterminds behind This Mortal Coil (along with Ivo Watts-Russell – not only producing, but also keyboards, strings and synthesizer sequencing).

A sense of expectation about his music has never left him – expectations he has exceeded on this new album, his collaboration with numerous artists resulting in stunning output in ‘Lost In Reflections’, a collection of 11 tracks featuring Bill Leeb (Front Line Assembly, Delirium), Mimi Page (Delirium), Jennie Vee (also bassist in Hole), Ana Breton (Dead Leaf Echo), Omniflux (Puscifer), Kendra Frost (Kite Base), Andrea Kerr (Colt), Sivert Hoyem, ZiaLand and Dr. Strangefryer.

John Fryer started his career in 1979 at London’s Blackwing Studios (London) and soon began working with seminal bands on the 4AD, Mute, Rough Trade and Beggars Banquet record labels, including Depeche Mode, The Wolfgang Press and Cocteau Twins. His achievement in helping develop the latter’s pioneering ethereal and ambient sound ultimately led Watts-Russell to recruit Fryer as his partner for This Mortal Coil.

He’s produced many other groundbreaking artists, including Love and Rockets, Swans, HIM, Cradle of Filth, Clan of Xymox, Nitzer Ebb, Dead Can Dance, Yaz (Yazoo), Xmal Deutschland, Fields of the Nephilim, De/Vision, Stabbing Westward, Kristin Hersh and many others. Over the past two decades, John Fryer has also produced several film soundtracks, including Seven, Clerks, Johnny Mnemonic, Mortal Kombat, Faust and Resident Evil: Apocalypse.

The album title ‘Lost In Reflections’ is significant. “Its like day dreaming, you sit there and get lost in thought, lost in the music, it takes you away to another dimension. Stand in a room full of mirrors and your reflection goes on for ever and you can’t find the real you in there anymore, the reflections have taken over. the music conjures thoughts of things/moods that have had happened or you wish had happened or even something you hope will happen,” explains John Fryer.

This album is a continuation or extension of the first Black Needle Noise album ‘Before The Tears Came’ (2016), which featured Jarboe (Swans), Elena Alice Fossi (Kirlian Camera and Spectra Paris), and Ledfoot, among others.

“I am always surprised where the singers take the songs – they always take them higher to a new level. I never have a pre-conceived notion of where the song could go but when they send the vocals back I always get a ‘wow’ moment and shivers down the spine when I listen to what they have done and where they have taken the song. I am so eternally grateful to them all,” says John Fryer.  “About ‘Neon Noir’, I was asked to write a theme tune for a movie set in the later 80s, they wanted something to sound electro and of the time. The lyrics were inspired by Christiane F. and B-Moive: Lust & Sound.”.

‘Lost in Reflections’ will be released on July 13, but is already available to stream on Black Needle Noise’s Bandcamp. This album arrives on the tail of news of his joint release with David Lynch muse Chrysta Bell (also known as Special Agent Tammy Preston in the new Twin Peaks series). They have paid “homage to the infinitely haunting and enduring music of Twin Peaks” with a cover of ‘Falling’ by Julee Cruise, Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch.

TRACKLIST
1. Treasured Lies with ZiaLand
2. Warning Sign with Kendra Frost
3. She Stands On A Storm with Andrea Kerr
4. Heaven with Jennie Vee
5. This Kind Of Road with Kendra Frost
6. Teeth To Grey with Omniflux
7. Swimming Through Dreams with Mimi Page
8. And Nothing Remains with Ana Breton
9. A Shiver Of Want with Bill Leeb
10. Breathless Speechless with Sivert Hoyem
11. Neon Noir with Dr. Strangefryer

Keep up with Black Needle Noise / John Fryer

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2017 in Alternative

 

New Zero God – Under the Influence of Captain Pan Ikatac (22 MAY 2017)

After their third album, “Short Tales & Tall Shadows” and 7” single “Redemption”, both released last year, New Zero God return with a digital single titled “Under the Influence of Captain Pan Ikatac“.

In 2006, Mike Pougounas, the singer of the bands The Flowers of Romance and Nexus, formed his current band, New Zero God in Athens, Greece.  They have releases through Greek and English record labels and, in the past, worked on a charity song with international musicians such as guitarist Will Crewdson (Αdam Ant, Johnette Napolitano, The Selecter, Rachel Stamp and others), singer/bass player Chris Tuke (Berlin Black, Screaming Banshee Aircrew), keyboard player Martin Birke (Genre Peak) to name but a few.

According to English music magazine Terrorizer New Zero God’s biography reads like the name-droppers guide to goth. The band’s pedigree is connected to legendary names such as The Mission and The Sisters Of Mercy, and in their present guise they have already scored support slots with Christian Death and The Legendary Pink Dots…”

The band’s intentions on “Under the Influence of Captain Pan Ikatac” are crystal clear. New Zero God winks to punk rock as happened on the first album of the band, “Fun Is A Four Letter Word” but also flirt with industrial (a genre known to Pougounas from his days with Nexus).

This is what New Zero God like to label as “dark rock’n’roll”.

Last October, Pougounas stated on his interview for English magazine Louder Than War, that “Punk Rock was the main influence in my life. Not just musically but it made me think out of the box. When I was a kid it started with the music. But then, I found my own way of thinking. I believe this is what it was all about.”

“Under the Influence of Captain Pan Ikatac” begins the odyssey by twisting the not-so-obvious ‘Panic Attack’ in its title. Lyrically there is a strong dose of humor with “Hell Bet on Me to Lose”, a song about decisions that we are forced to make. “Under the Radar” is about those who decide to live out of the system while “Shadow of Wealth” wonders if resistance is in vain…

The EP is produced by Babis Efthimiou, mastered by John Psimopoulos. while the remix of “Shadow of Wealth” was taken care of by the Greek electronica band Dark En Ciel.

Music and lyrics by Mike Pougounas.

Mike Pougounas – Vocals, Keyboards, Tambourine

Babis Efthimou – Drums, Programming

Akis Nikolaidis – Guitars

Michalis Semertzoglou – Bass, Guitars

 

Keep up with New Zero God

Website | Facebook | YouTube | Bandcamp

 
 

Tombstones In Their Eyes – Fear EP (Send Me Your Head Records – 4 August 2017)

Tombstones In Their Eyes Preview ‘Always There’ Single from ‘Fear’ EP

Los Angeles’ rock outfit Tombstones in Their Eyes have announced their forthcoming ‘Fear’ EP, to be released via Send Me Your Head Records. To wet your appetite, the band presents the first single, with accompanying video, for ‘Always There’.

With this five-track release, the four-piece manage to embrace a wide range of influences, from the stoner rock of Kyuss to the warped neo- psychedelia of the likes of Spacemen 3 to the cavernous and doom-laden sounds of Electric Wizard and beyond.

Tombstones In Their Eyes’ currently line-up is John Treanor (guitar, vocals, keyboards, songwriter), Josh Drew (guitar, backing vocals), Mike Mason (bass, guitar) and Stephen Striegel (drums). Their musical influences include The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Elliott Smith and The Melvins.

Recorded at L.A.’s Kitten Robot Studio with Paul Roessler (Nina Hagen, The Deadbeats, The Screamers, 45 Grave), this EP follows up their huge sounding ‘Bad Clouds’ EP (2016) and debut album ‘Sleep Forever’ (2014). “Paul knows exactly where I’m coming from and intuitively knows how to make what I’m feeling come through the speakers,” says John Treanor.

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.

While such a starting point could easily see the music devolve into melancholy and self-absorption, here Tombstones in Their Eyes instead manage to move beyond that place and 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.

This music is also designed to connect rather than be insular. As Treanor says, “Everybody goes through hard periods in their life, and I hope that these songs make them feel less alone.”

Tombstones create walls of sound, which are simultaneously sonorous and hazy. These are cavernous, stoner lullabies that descend into post-rock soundscapes and are wrapped in dark shoegazing dreamscapes.

The cover design, created by well known psychedelic artist Darren Grealish, brings just the right image to such a mercurial collection.

TRACK LIST

1. I Want To Fly
2. Separate
3 Always There
4. Another Day
5. Fear

 

Keep up with Tombstones In Their Eyes

Facebook | Soundcloud | BandcampYouTube | Twitter | TumblrSpotify

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2017 in Alternative, Psychedelic