18 Oct 2017

"Lacklustre, Lazy, Pseudo-Intellectual Garbage" - Our St Vincent Live Report

In 1984, Big Brother was always watching you. In 2017, in the same kind of omnipresent way, St. Vincent’s latest endeavour MASSEDUCTION has ensured her back end is plastered ubiquitously from every tube stop in London Town to the four corners of the internet. Luckily as a fan of Annie Clarke I’m unfazed by the MASSATURATION of her new found aesthetic.

Chilean psych you're after? Meet Vuelveteloca

Vuelveteloca are titans of the Chilean psych scene, heavyweights whose confidence and self assurance seeks through the pores of the dreamworld they create with their motorik psychedelic rhythms. In preparation for their fifth album Sonora, they present us with Cientologia & Altiplano; an eight minute song on which they combine searing Sabbathian riffs with motorik looping drums that rhythmically shroud everything they do in a kind of ever-momentous interzone, something that stretches out into the distance eternally.

[Enter Mystic Peach]

Firstly in case of any confusion and possible anxiety, Mystic Peach aren’t an anthropomorphic fruit practicing mysticism but instead a new psychedelic outfit who are the latest to emerge from the ever emerging Hampshire psychedelic scene along with their contemporaries such as Melt Dunes, Is Bliss, Drug Store Romeos, Barbudo and Dead Rabbits.

The Definitive Rank: Cal Cashin Orders The Fall Albums

"Good evening. We are The Fall and I am Roman Totale and these are my sidekicks. I will lead you on to new visions of proletariat posterity. This is a story." - Mark E Smith, live at the Rainbow in London, 1980.

Friends, peers, countrymen; the day is upon us. The day where, I Cal Cashin, your friend and savant ranks the 34 albums (including Slates, and Bingo Masters Break Out) of The mighty Fall. Not many bands have this many albums, and none have this many that are undeniably brilliant. From their scratchy early days, through their mid-80s pop renaissance and their surprisingly excellent latter period, no one can ever agree on what the band's best work is. Most people prompt for early 80s. Those people are right. However, discussion about just which albums are best never ceases to cease. To end all discussion, to have the final say, I present you the Definitive Rank.

16 Oct 2017

BIG BAD INTERVIEW: Madonnatron discuss Voodoo, Pregnancy and South London

Madonnatron are culpable for one of the year's best albums, their self titled debut. Their sound meets somewhere between the ethereal and dreamy, and the intimidating and terrifying, something which gives added kudos to their already incredible band name. However, the road to their debut wasn't plain sailing, and if you add that to the fact that their press release opens with a line like "by their own admission Madonnatron couldn't play their instruments when they formed", it's perhaps baffling that this album is such a brilliant thing.

I had a lengthy conversation with the group to find out just to what extent they channel the supernatural, and let them speak of the hardships that befell the making of their debut.

Incoming: Melt Dunes' Second Single is the Gnostic Nightmare You've Been Waiting For

You may well have heard of Melt Dunes if you keep up with Vapour Trail Blog. It’s fair to say we’re big fans of the outfit originally from Southampton and now based just down the road in Portsmouth who make some of the most cerebral sounding psychedelic-rock out there.

9 Oct 2017

Time to discover... The Birthday Party

If we're friends, or if you're a reader of this blog, or a good person with a good heart and an eye for a lyric, I'll assume that you're a fan of Nick Cave. The bard of the underworld, the Aussie wordsmith is certainly up there as one of the great lyricists, if not the greatest. No one can spin a narrative like Cave, no one can put together an eschewed bittersweet love song like the man, and very few people can channel animalistic depravity via the medium of the English language quite like he can.

At the moment, I'm in my usual state of being in a massive Nick Cave phase, but as opposed to the usual Bad Seeds binge what is catching my imagination is the work of his first proper band, The Birthday Party. Whilst they're far from an unearthed treasure, their music is a fair bit less accessible than the Bad Seeds' and whilst this means their music is of no less merit inherently, it can be heard for people who've discovered Nick Cave and fallen in love to bridge the gap. I know it certainly took me some time. So here, as unpatronising as can be, I'll talk you through a handful of essential Birthday Party releases.

Where do we start? Right here; The Birthday Party are an Australian entity which existed from 1978 to 1983; at their peak, they were the narcotic coalition of Nick Cave, wirey axe-man Rowland S. Howard (whom I wrote a lengthy piece on, the focal point being the film noire world of his two solo albums, which you can read here), rhythm guitarist Mick Harvey, drummer Phill Calvert, and their bassist, the moustache-bearing cowboy hat-wearing Tracy Pew, who may well be music's most intimidating man.

Their swampy sound was a druggy, furious catharsis, a demented release of so much energy that the band could not have existed more than a handful of years. Lyrics were grizzly, gristly, and showcased a deranged kind of sexuality, and were delivered in such a vicious manner that even Cave's live intensity now (or anytime over the last 30 years) is unrecognisably mellowed out from his Birthday Party peak. The rhythm section was brutal; Pew and Calvert created a sound that was more of a force of nature than a thunderstorm, and Howard guitars screamed in pain and wailed in agony atop it.

Iglooghost - NEŌ WAX BLOOM (Album Review)

“Flying Lotus kept sneaking through my garden and eating my garbage at exactly 2:32 AM every night, so I threatened him with a switchblade and he offered me a record deal right then and there on a parchment made of goatskin. I had to sign in the blood of a hooven beast which he actually had the nerve to make me find myself. After all the gruesome logistics were sorted out, I made this stupid ass album and now it’s coming out “ – Iglooghost in an interview with Passion of the Weiss 2017

It’s a Saturday night, the majority of London’s dance depraved self-righteous IDM fans are either stroking their chin surrounded by ecstasy pinging 20 somethings or trawling through YouTube looking for rare Boards of Canada demos. Not me however, I’m neither of these things, I’m asleep and I’m having the most bizarre dream. I’m loitering with friends in a neighbour’s garden when I’m startled by pounding gun shots... I look up to see my university librarian holding an air rifle. I hop over the fence to my own garden, at this point my friends have completely vanished. I slip down the alley at the side of my house towards the front garden. However I’m confronted by none other than Chelsea winger Eden Hazard holding a taser I immediately swivel and make my way back into my house and lock the door. The empty feeling which comes with true fear swarms my body completely as the armed man shatters the glass door frame. I reach for a yellow bottle of bleach with unscrew the lid and throw it towards his face, but somehow miss from point blank range. It’s at this moment somewhat of a cliché in dreams I wake up.

6 Sep 2017

LCD Soundsystem - American Dream (album review)

LCD Soundsystem may have disbanded in 2011, but it never, really, felt like they were away. The documentary Shut Up and Play The Hits, chronicling their last ever concert at Madison Square Garden, came out in 2012; a five-LP, three-hour-plus, meticulously mastered behemoth containing almost every moment of that same concert was released in early 2014. Then in Christmas of 2015, they released their comeback single Christmas Will Break Your Heart. Not long after, they announced a new album would come along soon.

And here it is; what’s most immediately interesting about it is that it doesn’t sound like a vaulted comeback effort, or the sound of a band cashing in on a sound that made them famous (and rich). There are no wheels spinning here. Instead, it sounds like a particularly emotionally fraught “what I did on my holiday”. This is the most introspective disc of their career, which says a lot about a band who burst onto the scene with a spoken word track detailing band leader James Murphy’s fear that he’s no longer ‘cool’, before listing his record collection. But this introspection works, partly because there’s no question of Murphy’s sincerity, and partly because it sees the band using their abilities to construct tight, punchy, dance-punk cathedrals like they’re a group of builders, to deliver an album of deep emotional scope. It’s not the kind of music that could aptly be described as fan-service (it’s too morose for that), but it does have running through it a sense of accountability to the people listening, a wise move given the (perhaps justified) controversy Murphy found when he chose to reform the band.

5 Sep 2017

HMLTD: Pop Music's Eureka Moment

Sometime while I was hiding from my Earthly troubles in the corner of an English Field at End of the Road this weekend, London six piece HMLTD released their fifth and sixth songs unto the world. Their radical restructuring of pop music, their unparalleled commitment to looking ridiculous, and their insatiable live performances make them the most unique new band in the world today. So fully formed after just three singles, it has to be said that just how big this band get is going to be down to how ready for them the world is, rather than how much they can develop.

Flyte - The Loved Ones (album review)

Three years ago, I was lucky enough to see Flyte support Bombay Bicycle Club, and I fell in love with their sound. Then it was all jittering, bouncy pop and as they released tracks like Please Eloise, I got more and more excited at the idea of their album. Since then, the four piece have been crafting a newer, perhaps more mature sound, and it's utterly gorgeous. The Loved Ones pulsates with beautiful melodies, swirling harmonies and thought-provoking lyrics.

Go Chi Minh - Lusty Taste for Noise (EP review)

Photo: Justin Drew

Go Chi Minh are a freakoid rock 'n' roll quartet from the outer reaches of South London, whose reptilian sleaze rock oozes with all the depravity and fucked-in-the-'ed hilarity you could ever ask for. Their new EP, A Lusty Taste For Noise strings you along for a wild ride, the band like a tour guide cackling madly to himself as you pass the monuments. Swampy garage rock guitars saunter, drum machines tick, synthesisers glitch, and vocals holler, mutter and ritualistically tut-tut.

22 Aug 2017

Introducing The Dolce Vita...

The Dolce Vita are a brand-new quintet hailing from East London comprising of members of Hunck, Yoofs and Death of Pop so if you’re sat there thinking ‘yeah, this band sound like they’re going to be really good,’ then SPOILER ALERT, you’re very much right. Congratulations.

The new outfit have just dropped their second single following Outside with Brand New Bathroom off of their debut EP out August 25th. Dolce Vita's newest offering is a joyous, reverb-soaked tsunami of stunning noise intertwining between fuzzed-out 60’s psychedelia and shoegaze.

'Brand New Bathroom' is out now on Major League Records via digital and most streaming services and will also be released on a limited run of cassettes. The band will be celebrating the release of the EP at The Waiting Room in London 24 August for the Be A Body folk.

20 Aug 2017

Toria Wooff - Drako (EP review)

Debut EP from Manchester based Toria Wooff is a collection of four ethereal ballads driven by whimsical vocals backed with twangling guitars. The EP’s instrumentation is relatively skeletal with Tori’s vocal melodies being simultaneously melancholic and infectious particularly on tracks James Edward and the title track Drako.

10 Aug 2017

925 TIL I DIE: Vapour Trail Meets GANG To Discuss Their Debut Long Player

GANG are an almighty trio from Brighton who've just released one of the best debut albums of 2017. 925 Til I Die is an odyssey, a slow, sludgy heavy rock odyssey that travels through angular grooves and torturous howls on its path to documenting what this here Earth will be like in 925 years time.

For this record, the individuals that power GANG became the Doppelgang, green life forms from an altered future; they preface the record's release with this.

“The Earth is a skull and you are the headlice, where will you go when the hair isn’t so nice? The year is 2942. 925 years since strange beings consolidated their grip on world power. Each Monday the people will gather to receive their weekly plant ration and to watch the content on the screens. The plant will keep each individual subdued and prevent any uprising. The content on the screens will keep their brains working to a sufficient level so as to prevent their minds descending into a vegetative state. During this ceremony, the masses will show appreciation to their supreme leader, the Chancellor, and the Home Secretary.”

Armed with a fierce DIY ethic, some evil guitars, and a huge imagination, GANG's album came out a couple of weeks ago on their own M8s Records label (more on that later).  Truly one of my favourite albums of recent times, I was chuffed to get the chance to chat with Eric Tormey (who sings and shreds in the band) about the record, the label, and the altered sphere they've carved out for themselves.

PREMIERE | The minty fresh dreamy debut single from London's TOOTHPASTE

A London based four piece, Toothpaste enter the equation with their debut single TV Years. A shimmering example of gorgeous dream pop, it's a hazy thoroughfare of meandering guitars, glowing, pulsating synths, and the misty voice of cosmic slacker Amol Prabhu.

TV Years saunters beautifully through it's ethereal five minute runtime, yearning lyrics float atop the glittering soundscapes whilst the drums drive the song on into spiritual bliss, like the marriage of Slowdive, Pavement, and NEU! A beautiful debut from a band to get excited about, they play The Lock Tavern tonight (and are giving out some pretty nifty merch, which I'd be insulting your intelligence by telling you what it is).

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(I might add, we're having problems with the embed players at the minute, so hear it HERE, you won't regret)

6 Aug 2017

Introducing... FUSS, Liverpool's next big psychedelic export

Meet FUSS, a new-ish band that formed back in that crazy year of 2016 who make wonderful psychedelic-space rock meets shoegaze and hail from Liverpool - the home, of course, to that really famous band who are the greatest of all time.

2 Aug 2017

Madonnatron - Madonnatron (album review)

Madonnatron's debut album came out on Trashmouth last week, and although it's a record I've been living with a while, I'm still finding new aspects of their self titled album to fall in love with. A four piece from South London, Madonnatron are: Stefania, Charlie, Beth and Joanie. I'm not sure what they're like as individuals, but when these heads assemble in a certain formation and go into battle armed with guitars and the name 'Madonnatron', they're a ruthless, dangerous and bewitching prospect.

The vast majority of the singing is a beldam chorus, intwining harmonies and dis-harmonies from all corners of the band to create a terse, sinister and stark atmosphere. These vocals sound more like spells, longform hexes being repeated to summon demons, than they do song lyrics. Snippets like the depraved barking of "Sangue neuf! Sangue neuf!" do very little to dispel any rumours that Madonnatron are in fact Wiccan sorceresses that just so happen to have done an album.