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Manchester-based five-piece Gathering of Strangers drop their blues-fuelled new single Nice Hair.

Having quickly made a name for themselves thanks to their timeless amalgamation of blues, classic rock and indie, tied-off with their own melancholic idiosyncrasy, Manchester’s Gathering of Strangers are a band that have already won over their native city and have now set their sets on the rest of the country.

Their latest single, Nice Hair, feels like the perfect culmination of all that’s come before it. Combining their trademark freneticism with a more more more deeply entrenched blues influence, coming off as the bastard lovechild of The Rolling Stones and Franz Ferdinand, complete with organ breakdown. Perhaps what’s most surprising with the track however, is that it seems the band have forgone their usual melancholy in favour of a ballsier, more in your face approach that makes Nice Hair arguably the bands most accessible release to date.

You can stream Nice hair in full below:

~

More from Gathering of Strangers can be found on their Facebook and Instagram.

The post Listen to This! Manchester Five-Piece Gathering of Strangers Drop Blues-Fuelled Banger Nice Hair appeared first on Louder Than War.

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Louder Than War by Roxy Gillespie - 10h ago

Forgetting The Future

Under The Influence

EP

DL/Stream

8/10

Release date: 22.07.18

Thurso band Forgetting The Future bring out their first EP Under The Influence including the excellent track Latch.

Caithness seems to breed some excellent bands and Forgetting The Future are no exception. Perhaps it is the clean, clear air the coast of the northern highlands provides which makes their singers of such a high quality. Not that the rest of the band lag behind, this is as tight an outfit as you are likely to see anywhere, as you can hear during the taster track, Latch, from their forthcoming EP Under The Influence.

There is a concentrated, passionate feel to their music; a depth you could drown in. McNicholls sometimes tremulous vocals heighten the energy making them an excellent band to catch live. This is indie rock of the highest order.

Latch soars. It ascends from the quieter sections to the chorus; an ecstasy of sound. It dives back down only to reach the heights again. Latch a truly epic track. The rhythm changes throughout, taking the track from crashing highs to intense lows. All in all, Latch could be one of the best rock tracks you’ve never heard. If the rest of the EP is as good as this, it will be stunning.

Forgetting The Future may be hidden in the North of Scotland but they deserve better. Make this EP your introduction. Then you can say you were in at the beginning of something amazing.

~

Find more about Forgetting The Future  on Facebook.

All words by Roxy Gillespie. More writing on Louder Than War can be found at her author’s archive. She Tweets as @RoxyG100.

The post Forgetting The Future: appeared first on Louder Than War.

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MATTIEL

MATTIEL

Heavenly Records

LP / CD / Digital

Released 13 July 2018

Down in the Deep South, something steamy and soulful is cookin’. And it ain’t just jambalaya and gumbo. In the places that gave birth to black music, a new generation of musicians are setting up vintage studios to recreate the techniques and sounds of half a century ago, spawning a new era of southern soul for a millennial audience.

Matthew E White has been doing it with his Spacebomb Studio in Richmond, Virginia, making authentic soul hommages with Nathalie Prass and himself. Five hundred miles away in Atlanta, Georgia, something similar is going on at InCrowd, where Randy Michael and Jonah Swilley are writing, producing and playing a rockier style of southern soul, creating imaginary soundtracks for a Jackie Brown reboot in a studio stuffed with vintage analogue equipment; they even look like Tarantino characters.

The pair work with a 12-strong house band, play in their own band Black Linen and work with a pair of local singers, Ruby Woo and Mattiel Brown. Mattiel has a voice that has the power of early-era Cher combined with the strength of Siouxsie Sioux, while her band (essentially Black Linen) rocks like the White Stripes to create a supercharged garage-band hybrid of rock’n’soul. Little surprise, then, that Mattiel’s self-titled debut was originally on the small but fashionable Californian label Burger Records (home to Thee Oh Sees, Black Lips and Ty Segall) released late last year before being picked up for re-release by our own Heavenly Recordings.

Michael and Swilley (younger brother of Black Lips bass player Jared) have plenty of chops as producers and musicians in and around the thriving Atlanta music scene, and a facility for writing tunes that would have been snapped up back in the day by Bobby Gentry, Bonnie Bramlett or Tony Joe White and turned into hits. Not that Mattiel conforms to any tear-jerking hard-luck story: brought up riding horses on her mother’s farm in rural Georgia, she’s a successful creative by day, working as an ad designer, illustrator and set builder for a video production team.

Onstage she has the sartorial style of a catwalk model; on record her strong soulful voice is a revelation. Just A Name sets the tone for her slow burning deep soul, filled with drama and heartbreak, horns blazing as she puts down a past lover: “All those nights of fun and games / But now you’re just a name, Oh I think it’s fair to say / You threw it all away… It’s not too hard to say / You could have had another day.”

Count Your Blessings could come straight out of a Tarantino film, all twangy guitars, brooding organ fills and euphoric girl-group vocals reverbed up to 11, while Whites Of Their Eyes is pure Black Keys/Thee Oh Sees with its duelling guitars over an insistent R&B rhythm. Citing influences as diverse as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Andre 3000, Marc Bolan and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Staple Singers and Jack White, Mattiel spent nine months making the album with Michael and Swilley: the latter supplying instrumental compositions and the former coming up with lyrical content and melodies.

It’s an old-fashioned way to work – and the collaborative method pays rich dividend here on an impressive debut album. Watch out for Mattiel when she returns for more live dates in November; her version of Squeeze’s Up The Junction, exchanging deep south London for the Deep South of America, is quite something. Watch her performance of Just A Name at the recent sold-out date at The Lexington in London here:

Mattiel - 'Just A Name' - Live at the Lexington - YouTube

MATTIEL LIVE IN NOVEMBER:

10 Dublin, Grand Social
11 Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
12 London, The Garage
15 Birmingham, Institute 3
16 Brighton, Patterns
17 Glasgow, Stereo
18 Manchester, Deaf Institute
19 Bristol, The Fleece

Mattiel is online here and also on Bandcamp and Twitter as @MattielBrown.

All words by Tim Cooper. You can find more of Tim’s writing on Louder Than War at his author’s archive. He is also on Twitter as @TimCooperES

The post Mattiel: Mattiel – album review appeared first on Louder Than War.

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Italian duo, Armonite has recently released And The Stars Above, a vibrant journey into a musical phenomenon, flavored  with haunting compositions and laced with classical EDM, the album is receiving extraordinary reviews…globally.   

Mastermind Paolo Fosso, a classically trained instrumentalist and composer, was kind enough to allow  us to venture into his realm of musical insanity, while the entire planet is enjoying his music..

Louder Than War: Your video was recently released… what’s the name of it and can you talk about it a little?

‘By heart’ was released on April 10 with the participation of the amazing dancer/choreographer Cristina De Rosa. The track includes a folk, medieval-flavored melody for acoustic/electric violin and ROLI Seaboard Rise with a strong electronic component, but no set pattern for bass and drums, which were recorded by Alberto Fiorani and Emiliano Cava. Cristina has been a great partner to work with, she choreographed and performed the whole track. We’re definitely happy with the final result, the video goes from a tranquil state over an opening heartbeat to a fusion of EDM and Trip-Hop.

Watch the video for ‘By Heart” here: https://youtu.be/9WtFRu9SzXI
With the release of the new album and the flawlessly successful reviews, do you plan a tour in support of the album?

Sure, we’ll be touring starting mid-September. Our show is a mix between originals from our albums and covers in violin rock. We’ve published the videos of a few soundtrack renditions from the most popular video games and movies: Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, The Exorcist, Suspiria, Skyrim, Final Fantasy, Halo, Metal Gear Solid, The Witcher and many others. Follow us on Facebook for new dates!

Please remind us of the album’s theme so to speak musically.

As with the previous album, And the Stars Above is an instrumental mix of electric violin, keyboards, bass and drums. But the sound of this album is more oriented to soundtrack music with textures that feel very immediate. It’s a journey through 12 tracks, starting with ‘The March of the Stars’ inspired by Dante’s Paradise and ending with ‘Ghosts.’ The album also features two bonus tracks — a piece for piano solo, ‘The Fire Dancer,’ and the string quartet, ‘A Playful Day.’ We’re confident this is going to be a great release, with a rather peculiar view. ‘The Sun Is New Each Day’ had a heavy compact sound. And the Stars Above is groovy, with different vibes across a bunch of genres. There’s something indie in this new sound that we’ve never explored before.

If you could be asked any question in the world, what would you want me to ask you and how would you answer it?

I’d want you to ask me ‘Why do you compose?’, and I would say ‘So that I don’t need words to answer’ [laughs].

What has been your favorite reaction or response from the outside world regarding the new release?

A few people told me our album made them cry. I’m surprised, but also very gratified. That’s the kind of reaction every artist would like to raise, it means you get to people. It’s always the most important goal. Also, with the track ‘Blue Curaçao’ included in our new album, we’ve been awarded an Honorable Mention both in the Instrumental and Performance categories at the International Songwriting Competition 2017 from a top level jury including Tom Waits, Lorde, Bastille, Billy Cobham, Ziggy Marley, Don Omar, and Keane. With over 16,000 entries from 140 countries, this is a remarkable achievement of which we’re extremely proud.

If someone wishes to purchase it, how would they do so?

‘And the Stars above’ is available on CD through the Cleopatra Records online store: https://cleorecs.com/store/shop/armonite-and-the-stars-above-cd and for digital download from various platforms including iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/and-the-stars-above/1380495940) and bandcamp (https://armonite.bandcamp.com/album/and-the-stars-above).

Although you’ve recently just dropped this release, are you currently working on a new project?

I’m producing a few demo tracks for the movie industry. Scoring for film and TV is my absolute dream job. Then, after the ‘And the Stars above’ promotional tour, I’ll start composing for next Armonite’s work. I have a few ideas that need to be developed, I promise it’s going to be a totally new surprise!

~

ARMONITE

Website: http://www.armonite.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/armonitemusic
Twitter: http://twitter.com/armonitemusic

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/armonitemusic

Bandcamp: https://armonite.bandcamp.com

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/armonite

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc2jTstKBeJe0BI6o1pLGLA

All words by Eileen Shapiro. More of Eileen’s writing can be found in her author’s archive.

The post Armonite: And The Stars Above – interview appeared first on Louder Than War.

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James 

Living in Extraordinary Times

Infectious Records

CD/Vinyl/DL

Release Date: 3 August  2018

8/10

Louder Than War’s Martin Unsworth takes us through the new album from Manchester legends James, Living in Extraordinary Times, track-by-track.

The fifteenth studio album from James comes, as the title suggests, at a time of global turbulence. Never ones to shy away from facing issues head-on, the twelve-track album is often a confrontational rant set to heavily percussive, danceable music.

Opening with a barrage of layered drums, Hank is a tribal and rhythmic tirade of everything that is wrong with modern America. A place that has been home for vocalist and lyricist Tim Booth for several years, so he’s clearly experienced it first-hand. It’s a Trump-baiting three minutes-plus that sets the tone perfectly for what’s to come.

Coming Home (Pt 2) is a spiritual sequel to the band’s massive hit Come Home. Although musically, the two couldn’t be further apart. Starting by mimicking an Internet ringtone, it becomes a passionate love letter to long-distance parenting. Although it’s written from the perspective of a touring musician, it could easily be interpreted by anyone who is forced to work away to keep a roof over their loved ones’ heads. Forever begging forgiveness for missing the important parts of growing up. It’s an emotional song (especially when viewed with the low budget video directed by Leif Tilden) that will strike a chord with many.

James – ‘Coming Home (Pt.2)’ – Official Video - YouTube

Leviathan begins with a rather twee keyboard riff before heading into a techno blizzard that would make it an instant radio hit were it not for the profanity. We can imagine the stirring chorus being used on football clip shows, however.

Dave Baynton-Power’s drums take centre stage once with Heads, beating like a heartbeat alongside a blistering synth pattern that increases until the pounding bass joins in. Another damning statement on the current situation in the US, it’s almost as though Booth is looking to be kicked out of the country. Sonically multifaceted, it builds up to a frantic pace of percussion and synth-horns that develops to a trance-like state before a bass-driven breakdown.

Making an important point once more, Many Faces has the potential to become as anthemic as Sometimes and Sit Down. Already played at gigs earlier this year, the audiences have already embraced the song’s mantra to their heart and taken to singing it back to the band. It’s a tune of two halves; the first has a rather jaunty calypso feel while the final few minutes are the aforementioned refrain. Celebrating everyone’s differences but essential similarity (via throwaway Lovecraft references and yet more Trump digs), it’s a simple lyric that makes this the song Nothing But Love (from previous album Girl At The End of the World) should have been.

Following such a rousing number, How Hard the Day is a rather pedestrian and downbeat affair. It’ll likely be the track that gets skipped over then rediscovered in a few years’ time as a classic.

Almost-title track Extraordinary Times brings an almost How Soon Is Now? feel to its intro but rather than having that wavering stereo effect we get an immense Paradise City drum sound. It’s almost like (although most likely not) a cheeky response to certain recent controversial outbursts (or misquotes, whichever you wish to believe). Just another part of the world that has been turned upside down. From Brexit to Trump, racists to #MeTo, things seem crazy right now, but as Booth sings “We can hold it all together”, we have to believe we can. Although the song doesn’t reference those things, there’s some more good advice given: ‘How to ignore this… live in the moment’.

Jim Glennie’s thunderous bass is the star of Picture Of This Place, which builds to a frantic ball of incredible noise that any of new breed of ‘indie’ darlings would be proud of. Hope To Sleep, on the other hand, is a slow, rhythmic piece that never really takes off, but has a groove that is irresistible.

The title track of the recent EP Better Than That has already been burrowing itself into the psyche of James fans and has picked up some much-needed airplay for the band, who are not content to be dismissed as a heritage act. Nor should they, as this track proves. We’ve more than warmed to it over the past few months, and it’s like an old friend by the time it turns up on the album.

James – ‘Better Than That’ - YouTube

Perhaps the most similar in tone to their previous album, Mask showcases a catchy but simple keyboard riff from Mark Hunter ushers in a song that catches fire for the chorus but is remarkably restrained otherwise.

What’s It All About rounds off the proper album in an epic but eerie manner. Screaming guitars and trumpet back the vocals as it slows to a simple refrain. This is going to sound immense live (it’s only been played once so far towards the end of the mini-tour earlier this year) and ends the record on a high.

This is very much a collection that emphasises the band’s rhythm section. Drums and bass hit you between the ears often and hard. Never at the expense of the rest of the group, however. And, as always, the powerful lyrics of Booth make enough of a statement to standalone. Occasionally at odds with the music, they possess a concern for the current climate alongside the usual existential relationship angst.

A Deluxe version of the album includes an extra song, Backwards Glances, which is the most throwaway of the tunes laid down, and three demo versions of tracks that are undoubtedly catchy but unessential.

We could argue that with the anger and frustration that’s being vented (not to mention quite a few expletives throughout the record), it’s as though as they get older, James is channelling the spirit of punk, subverting expectations and forever doing everything on their own terms. The prominence of the percussion elevates this from the both what the band has done in the past and what most other bands are doing now, and Glennie’s bass is certainly getting stronger and infectious, adding even more to the grand sound and the impressive production of Charlie Andrews (Wolf Alice) and Beni Giles.

Living in Extraordinary Times is a challenging album that may divide hard-core fans but will certainly stand the test of time.

The James website is here: wearejames.com.

They’re also on Facebook and they tweet as @wearejames@RealTimBooth@andydiagram, and @DBayntonPower

~

All words by Martin Unsworth. You can read more from Martin by checking out his LTW author archive.

The post James: Living in Extraordinary Times – Album Review appeared first on Louder Than War.

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Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

King of Cowards

Rocket Recordings

CD / Vinyl / DL

Out 28 September 2018

Newcastle’s almighty Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs are back with their new album, King of Cowards out 28 September on Rocket Recordings. 

In anticipation of this release, they release their first single from it called Cake of Light which is an enormous slab of pummelling stoner riffage, pained strained vocals and monolithic heaviness. Absolute fucking heaven.

Seven is the magic number. This is about more than the number of days in the week or continents in the world – psychologists have theorised that the human memory’s ability to calibrate information on a short term basis is mostly limited to a sequence of this length. Thus, it seems strangely fitting that Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – the Newcastle-based maximalists whose riffs, raw power and rancour have blazed a trail across the darker quarters of the underground in the last five years, have made a second album in King Of Cowards which does its damnedest to take consciousness to its very limits.

Moreover, another notable seven is dealt with here – that of the deadly sins. As vocalist and synth player Matt Baty notes “In terms of how the theme came together I’d relate it to throwing paint at a canvas in a really physical and subconscious way, then stepping back to analyse it and seeing it all as one piece. It wasn’t until then that I saw there was this continual thread of sin and guilt in the lyrics throughout the album. For a long time I’ve questioned how and where guilt can be used as a form of oppression… When can guilt be converted into positive action? After typing all of the lyrics up I realised I’d unwittingly referenced every one of the seven deadly sins throughout the album. That’s the fire and brimstone Catholic teachings I picked up at school coming into play there!”

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs - Cake of Light (Track) - YouTube

The period since Pigs’ Rocket Recordings 2017 debut Feed The Rats – a mighty tsunami of rancorous riffage and unholy abjection that wowed critics and wreckheads alike – has seen the band build on their incendiary live reputation far and wide, from the sweatiest of UK fleapits to illustrious festivals like Roskilde. Perhaps the most relentlessly head-caving outfit of an alarmingly fertile scene operating in Newcastle at present, the band have all been busying themselves in a variety of activities, with Baty running Box Records (home of underground luminaries like Lower Slaughter, Casual Nun and Terminal Cheesecake) and both himself and bassist John-Michael Hedley playing in Richard Dawson’s band – indeed Dawson himself guests on King Of Cowards, both on synth and as part of a vocal ensemble on the opening GNT – moreover, guitarist Sam Grant has been working hard on a new incarnation of Blank Studios, which began its life with the recording of this very album.

This opus sees the band entering a new phase as a sleeker yet still more dangerous swineherd, with ex-Gnod and Queer’d Science drummer Chris Morley joining the ranks and a new approach being taken to its creation. The Iggy-esque drive to dementia, Sabbath-esque squalor and Motörhead-style dirt may still be present and correct yet the songs are leaner, the long-drawn-out riff-fests sharpened into addictive hammer blows and the nihilistic dirges of yore alchemically transformed into an uplifting and inviting barrage of hedonistic abandon.

Against all odds, the writing of this record entailed encounters with actual pigs. “We hired a remote, converted barn in the Italian countryside and spent a week there writing the bulk of the album and trying to make friends with wild boar.” notes Adam Ian Sykes. “The results are shorter, more concise songs with, I guess, a little more focus, especially thematically. We wanted to shift slightly from our old jam-based way of working. In places, the album gets darker than Feed the Rats, especially lyrically but we also tried to get a fair amount of levity in there.”

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” So George Orwell noted at the end of a certain slim volume. King Of Cowards is nothing less than just such a metamorphosis, one in which – in a blur of primal urges and beastly physicality – this band shows us just which animals are really in charge of the farm.

Don’t miss Pigs x 7 on tour this autumn – dates below:

Sept 27th – Star and Shadow, Newcastle
Sept 28th – Moth Club, London *
Oct 25th – The Georgian Theatre, Stockton On Tees *
Oct 26th – Soup Kitchen, Manchester *
Oct 27th – South Street, Reading 
Oct 30th – Tom Thum Theatre, Margate
Nov 22nd –  Picture House Social, Sheffield
Nov 23rd – Hope and Ruin,  Brighton
Nov 24th – Temple of Boom, Leeds
Nov 29th – Fulford Arms, York
Nov 30th – The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool
Dec 1st – Nice ‘n  Sleazy, Glasgow

* = w/Bonnacons of Doom 

Pre-order links for King of Cowards:

Ltd LP/CD:

https://pigspigspigspigspigspigspigs.bandcamp.com/album/king-of-cowards

Apple:

http://smarturl.it/KingofCowardsApple

Spotify:

http://smarturl.it/KingofCowardsSpotify

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs can be found via their labelBandcamp, Facebook and they tweet as @Pigsx7.

~

Words by Ioan Humphreys. More writing by Ioan can be found at his author’s archive. You can also find him on Twitter at @ioan_humphreys.

The post Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs: Album and single release news. appeared first on Louder Than War.

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Janelle Monáe

Dirty Computer

(Atlantic Records)

CD / DD / LP (Due September)

Out Now

Grammy award-nominated singer-songwriter-performer-producer-actress-activist Janelle Monáe delivers stunning third album, Dirty Computer.

With a CV that is ever growing and a seemingly endless list of talents, Janelle Monáe has delivered an album that will bother many an end of year poll this year.

Dirty Computer is a remarkable album full of catchy pop hooks, danceable beats, lyrical and thematic liberation and a range of sounds that keep things exhilarating throughout. The music has also been set to an “emotion picture” of the whole album which is available on YouTube. It’s clear to see that this record has had an awful lot of thought and consideration given to it; it’s more an event than just another album.

The emotion picture, produced by Monáe, is a vibrant, visually stunning narrative incorporating a number of the celebratory music videos that accompany the album itself. The 44-minute “Emotion Picture” tells the extraordinary story of a young woman named Jane 57821 (portrayed by Monáe) who is living in a totalitarian near-future society where citizens are referred to as “computers.” Acclaimed actress Tessa Thompson (Avengers: Infinity War, Selma, Creed, Thor: Ragnarok) co-stars.

Additionally, Dirty Computer features the legendary Brian Wilson – as well as appearances from Zoë Kravitz , Pharrell Williams and Grimes. The diversity of these guests says a lot about the album. Brian Wilson features on the album opener with his distinctly sunny harmony turning the light on as the trip begins. Crazy, Classic, Life chimes in with the constant thread of partying and breaking the rules. This is very much a theme that runs throughout – sexual liberation, partying, and above all; equality. The aesthetic of the lyrics are reminiscent of the great Mille Jackson.

Crazy, Classic, Life is one of many cuts that get engrained in your mind. Take A Byte, the guitar driven funk of Screwed and I Got The Juice (featuring Pharrell Williams) are all wonderfully catchy and should be sound tracking your summer. Make Me Feel was rumoured to have been worked on with Monáe’s mentor Prince. The synth sounds reek of His Royal Badness. The whole track is 100% Prince worship and the video for the song is absolutely superb. Image and choreography are rife in a way that Prince would have been proud of – it is a video that feels like it belongs to the golden era of MTV.

Janelle Monáe – Make Me Feel [Official Music Video] - YouTube

Along with the classic sounding pop tracks on Dirty Computer, Monáe delivers a blistering rap on Django Jane, and a heartfelt monologue on I Like That. Both are more downbeat tunes but this allows the lyrics to flourish. I Like That contains a gloriously beguiling chorus line.

Album closer, Americans, is a middle finger to America and the civil unrest and inequality that has blighted the nation in recent years, as well over history. Monáe sets out what she believes to make an American. It’s a triumphant end to a completely triumphant album.

Dirty Computer is more a piece of art than just an album. Immerse yourself in Dirty Computer; you won’t regret it. If you don’t like it, appreciate it…it’s one of the year’s most important albums from one of the world’s most important artist.

Janelle Monáe is on tour in the UK in the Autumn with 3 dates; one in Manchester and two in London on 10th, 11th and 12th of September respectively.

Janelle Monáe can be found online here. She is also on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

~

Words by Dominic Walsh. You can read more from Dominic at his author’s archive here. Dominic tweets as @dtwalsh83, and blogs about dealing with mental health here.

The post Janelle Monáe: Dirty Computer – Album Review appeared first on Louder Than War.

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Society’s Decline 

No Angel On The Shoulder Of The World

(Kibou)

LP/DL

Swedish D-beat warriors score as they kick a collection of raw songs about war, death and political idiocy in our direction.

While England may wipe the floor with Sweden on the football pitch, in the world of punk rock, Sweden’s performance is on a par and arguably excels that of England on a regular basis.  Like football, D-beat was originated by the English.   This sub genre of punk is based on the drum style and overall approach to song writing of Discharge.  It’s just that the Swedes took it and made it their own, scoring the equivalent of a goal from an overhead kick.  Q: And D-Beat? A: And D-Beat.

Society’s Decline hail from Stockholm.  They play D-beat, alternately referred to as kang or mangel.  There is a definite Totalitar influence with this mob – in the guitar tone, riffing and the occasional squeally high pitched chainsaw lead break.  Add a touch of Doom and you’ll be getting the picture.  Raw and rough vocals complete the scene.  And for some of you that will be enough to pique your interest.  You know who you are, with your greasy trousers and dreadlocks or immaculately patched black denim and spikes.  This record was made for you.

Vying with the guitar as the engine that drives the band is the D-beat drum pattern, but the odd hardcore flourish on the drums gives this a modern twist on a well trodden path.  But overall it sounds like it could have been released in the late 80s or early 90s, which is when the whole “scando” thing crystallised. I now realise how old that sounds when to me it feels like a few months back.  As I re-listen to the LP there is a a touch of fellow Discharge worshippers Meanwhile (who had previously been known as Dischange).

Reign Of The Imbecile probably stands out as their Trump card with a real groove and an obvious relevance, editing this as I am when imbecile-in-chief lands on our shores.

Society's Decline - Reign Of The Imbecile - YouTube

There is some variety in the sound, which can sometimes be missing with this sort of release when all too often you get song after song sounding almost the same and it becomes difficult to pick out which is which. While many of the vast army of D-beat bands emulate the bands who themselves tried to emulate Discharge, Society’s Decline sound closer to the Stoke-on-Trent originators in places –  especially on the song End of Days.  Is it a coincidence that the song shares the name of the title track on Discharge’s recent return-to-form LP? You decide.

Like I say, you probably knew if you liked this by the end of the second paragraph.  I know I did.

Get your copy from Kibou records, listen to them on bandcamp or follow them on Facebook

~

Words by Nathan Brown. More from Nathan can be found over at his Louder Than War Author Archive.

The post Society’s Decline: No Angel On The Shoulder Of The World – album review appeared first on Louder Than War.

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Lalomie Washburn 

My Music Is Hot

Robinsongs

CD/DL

Released 20 July 2018

Extended reissue of Funk/Soul singer Washburn’s 1977 debut album, with single edits and different mixes bringing together everything she recorded for the Parachute label….Ian Canty hears a rare talent, sadly underutilised……….

Music is wonderful, as you probably agree if you are reading this. For me the best bit is the unknown – finding something truly stupendous that has eluded you right up until you hit play and a glorious noise besets and enchants you. Up until a couple of weeks ago the works of Lalomie Washburn were a complete mystery to me. I asked for this album to review mainly because the cover photograph made it look like fun. It most certainly was, but also a lot more than that. I’m not much given to be overly emotional, but I have to admit listening to this record along with reading the excellent and detailed sleeve essay, left me with slight moistening under the eyes (it was probably hay fever – well that’s my story). Warning: Lalomie Washburn’s music can touch your heart.

It had been a long road to My Music Is Hot for Washburn, who was in her middle thirties when she cut this disc and made the first steps of her solo career. Born in Tennessee, but growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, she had shone in the local church choir like a lot of future Soul stars. Also, she had started to become an observant songwriter at a young age. Supported by her sister Thelma. who cared for Lalomie’s children whilst she was away working, she began to make a mark on the local music scene. She worked alongside acts of the stature of Ike and Tina Turner and Ernie Fields Junior and developed her own striking image, complete her trademark white afro.

Despite having a quite wonderful voice, clear, powerful and warm, her first real success would come in providing songs for other acts. She became part of the sextet High Voltage and with this band she got to record for the first time, but they soon broke up when two of the band joined fledgling Funk titans Rufus. For Lalomie this was bittersweet as she provided “I’m A Woman” and “Your Smile” for the third Rufus record. The former, in particular, would play a large part in establishing them and in turn, Chaka Khan too. She would continue to write for Rufus and also Chaka’s solo career, whilst in 1975 she hooked up with the remnants of cult Psychedelic outfit H.P. Lovecraft under slightly adjusted Love Craft name.

Lalomie Washburn -- My Love Is Hot (Caliente) - YouTube

Though the album Love Craft produced We Love You Whoever You Are failed to make much of a mark, the disparate styles all concerned brought to the table meant for a one of kind record. Lalomie wrote or co-wrote all the songs and the record traversed Funk, Psych, Soul, Art Rock anything else they could squeeze in. She was what in the 70s would be called a “free spirit” and thrived in the environment of experimentation. Though Love Craft folded soon afterwards Parachute Records, an off-shoot of Casablanca, snapped her up as a solo entity. There she was supplied with top sessioners like Joe Sample and guitarist Wah Wah Watson as a backing band. With Washburn’s ex-Love Craft band mate Frank Capek collaborating with her to produce some top-notch songs, all was set for Lalomie to make the album of her life.

Which she did, but sadly it wasn’t the massive hit record that it so clearly deserved to be. It seems the record label didn’t do much in terms of promotion and the middle 70s were of course the time of maximum market saturation. My Music Is Hot couldn’t find its way out of the mountain of vinyl released each week back then. Even so, you wonder why because this LP stands miles out from the crowd. Lalomie’s voice is always the centre, always in control, but not afraid to let the accomplished musicians sparkle. It’s a trip into her world that is wonderfully alive and colourful, dealing with the ups and downs (ooer!) of her life and also a deep knowledge of shortcomings and disappointments implicit too. She was sensual and romantic, but tough and realistic too – you were always getting a heavenly-sounding truth.

My Music Is Hot is the perfect 70s dance record, witty, cool and as sexy as hell, but much more than that. Lalomie lays bare her life and personality, but it’s far from maudlin moaning, being full to the brim with pure elation. It feels with this music she always gets through with a big smile on her face and the bad times are met with a shrug before moving on. She was unstoppable! The seven tracks which make up the album all give the listener different vistas to explore and are indelibly marked with Lalomie’s individual viewpoint. No ballads here, but no lack of variety either and the playing and arrangements are consistently superb.

Lalomie Washburn - Double Funkin' - YouTube

On our way in we are greeted by some nice fuzz-enhanced Funky guitar, bounced off a relaxed and cool rhythm, on the ecstatic Give Me Love With The Music. The words spell out Lalomie’s philosophy in one hit “I’m here to share the feeling of a joy I hold deep inside”. This is elegant Soul/Funk perfection. The following Double Funkin’ and Freaky Stranegness both deal with sex in a straightforward way and coming from a female viewpoint, work as an antidote to Funk’s sometimes overly macho stance. Lalomie announces that she’s a “lazy lady lover and I’m waiting undercover” in the former and the smooth Soul/Jazz horns give way to the Gospel-like mantra “change my mind” and also “never bother about attachment, I’ll be gone in the morning” subverting the 70s Jack The Lad myth for her own ends.

Shade of Blue is, in contrast, nicely understated with a lovely flute part. For me it is obvious that Lalomie was sending up the Mercury Records boss who asked her to write a song praising men’s accomplishments on Man Power (Can You Do It), exhorting the listener to “make this song a hit” and adding in a hilarious spoken pseudo-religious section. Fast and very danceable, but witty too. The title track is another irresistible winner, a bit like an American female take on Ian Dury’s Wake Up And Make Love With Me. On What’s Love, Lalomie and her musicians pre-empt the sound of the Source’s Candi Staton remix of You Got The Love, which brings the album to a beguiling close. Here we find her at her most vulnerable, still searching and believing that love will see her through, so touching and heartfelt.

Though there are no really slow songs on the album, as one of the bonuses there is the achingly beautiful cover of the Scott Davis number Two Sides (in both mono and stereo forms). We also get extended and edited 7″ versions of the album tracks, the most arresting of which is probably the 12 inch version of Man Power.

Though My Music Is Hot wasn’t a commercial success Lalomie picked up a following in Germany, releasing some good singles including 1991’s Try Me Love. Finally a follow-up album arrived, almost twenty years on in 1996. She even returned to tour her old Omaha stomping ground, but sadly she passed away on 18th September 2004. Though she is gone, she lives on through her vibrant music. This album is an ace from start to finish, likely to melt the heart of even a hardened cynic. A record that is the window into the life of a unique talent, that shines all the brighter on successive plays. Listening to this made me feel like dancing and a little sad, but happy that even after Lalomie is gone, she sounds so alive and so brilliant. Enhance your life by hearing this.

~

All words by Ian Canty – see his author profile here

The post Lalomie Washburn: My Music Is Hot – Album Review appeared first on Louder Than War.

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Society’s Decline 

Angel On The Shoulder Of The World

(Kibou)

LP/DL

Swedish D-beat warriors score as they kick a collection of raw songs about war, death and political idiocy in our direction.

While England may wipe the floor with Sweden on the football pitch, in the world of punk rock, Sweden’s performance is on a par and arguably excels that of England on a regular basis.  Like football, D-beat was originated by the English.   This sub genre of punk is based on the drum style and overall approach to song writing of Discharge.  It’s just that the Swedes took it and made it their own, scoring the equivalent of a goal from an overhead kick.  Q: And D-Beat? A: And D-Beat.

Society’s Decline hail from Stockholm.  They play D-beat, alternately referred to as kang or mangel.  There is a definite Totalitar influence with this mob – in the guitar tone, riffing and the occasional squeally high pitched chainsaw lead break.  Add a touch of Doom and you’ll be getting the picture.  Raw and rough vocals complete the scene.  And for some of you that will be enough to pique your interest.  You know who you are, with your greasy trousers and dreadlocks or immaculately patched black denim and spikes.  This record was made for you.

Vying with the guitar as the engine that drives the band is the D-beat drum pattern, but the odd hardcore flourish on the drums gives this a modern twist on a well trodden path.  But overall it sounds like it could have been released in the late 80s or early 90s, which is when the whole “scando” thing crystallised. I now realise how old that sounds when to me it feels like a few months back.  As I re-listen to the LP there is a a touch of fellow Discharge worshippers Meanwhile (who had previously been known as Dischange).

Reign Of The Imbecile probably stands out as their Trump card with a real groove and an obvious relevance, editing this as I am when imbecile-in-chief lands on our shores.

Society's Decline - Reign Of The Imbecile - YouTube

There is some variety in the sound, which can sometimes be missing with this sort of release when all too often you get song after song sounding almost the same and it becomes difficult to pick out which is which. While many of the vast army of D-beat bands emulate the bands who themselves tried to emulate Discharge, Society’s Decline sound closer to the Stoke-on-Trent originators in places –  especially on the song End of Days.  Is it a coincidence that the song shares the name of the title track on Discharge’s recent return-to-form LP? You decide.

Like I say, you probably knew if you liked this by the end of the second paragraph.  I know I did.

Get your copy from Kibou records, listen to them on bandcamp or follow them on Facebook

~

Words by Nathan Brown. More from Nathan can be found over at his Louder Than War Author Archive.

The post Society’s Decline: Angel On The Shoulder Of The World – album review appeared first on Louder Than War.

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