Another helping of results from The Trawl, and a slice of the million great bands that exist on and offline. Seriously, get a Bandcamp account. Since I did all my hair grew back.
Bent – 7″
Turtlenecjk – Paisley Palms
More super-duper stuff from our current fave label, the Canberra-based issuer of beautiful oddball music Moontown Records. Last time we gushed over Waterfall Person, this month we have one new and one old bag of brill. Released in the last hours of 2015, the Bent 7″ is three proper delirious streams of consciousness, repainted from previous scratchy demo versions and now even more eye-pokingly joyous. It’s brilliant: Heidi’s vocals creeping and whooping over abberant junkshop garage that’s all elbows and weird angles. ‘Skeleton Man’ is their killer, a stalking bass-and-drums motif overlaid with childlike gibberish chanting and mad crashes and bangs, constantly on the verge of exploding or falling apart. Bits of this single sound like the Slits crossed with the Grates crossed with ’80s San Francisco artgonks Inflatable Boy Clams – THAT’S how good Bent are. Make your own WHERE IS YOUR MILKY T-shirt and fall to your knees in worship now.
Deeper into the Moontown vaults, under a layer of dust and busted plectrums, is ‘Paisley Palms’, a bunch of hazy memories from 2012. Turtlenecjk music is tip-top lo-fi bedroom pop, only the bedroom is on the beachfront, and the mics have been dropped to the bottom of a fishtank. It’s a whole album of sideways mugginess, a supremely relaxed ghostly boogie that’s like Connan Mockasin getting down and slinky, or Joe Meek staring quizzically at a surfboard. Seven-minute centrepiece ‘Yoga Class’ struts slowly along an up and down guitar riff; elsewhere cheap keyboard sounds teeter on top of each other, spread randomly over drum machine patter and baked ba-ba-ba vocals. It’s a tropical stew that never seems to end, and never gets cold.
Stephen Kerrison – Dogs
If other people’s snapshots were this good, Facebook would be a much more interesting place. ‘Dogs’ includes field recordings from Budapest, Heathrow, Minehead and a bonfire procession at Battle, binding together an EP of instrumental guitar music that’s equal parts desolate, dark and gorgeous. Previously a guitarist in Bronnt Industries Kapital and Bristol’s wig out champs Zun Zun Egui, and founder of the very good Amiable Records, Stephen Kerrison is clearly a natural at conjuring sounds both evocative and atmospheric, here including metronomic prettiness (‘Strummstrumm’, ‘Dogs Part 1’), gently crushing reverberation worship (‘Arpsunn’), and, best of all, ritual percussion and gliding, Mogwai-style shimmer (‘Battle Drums’). It flows beautifully, fully formed like a buried time capsule, and you should purchase immediately.
Rakta – 7″ / Rakta Em Transe
Float like a butterfly, stomp like Godzilla. Each Rakta single or mini-album levels the previous one, the São Paulo band’s dizzying occult psych rock explorations becoming weightier, louder and more focussed with each release. While the single song teased from their forthcoming 7″ is an excellent racket of thudding bass, sudden guitar scree and trademark witchy, Siouxsie incanting, it’s the EP released before Christmas, a collaboration with death rock friends Cadaver Em Transe that detonates brightest. ‘Rakta Em Transe’ channels all that makes both bands so good – heavy psych organ, hypnotic repetition, echoing off-mike screams and hollers – into three-minute-and-under direct hits, bashing you in the ears with absolutely zero fucking about. There are tropical excursions into keyboard cults that could conceivably be Islet on strong medication, there are scattered male/female vocals that creep from the edges, there is a delirious blur of noise with massed shouts of “Anonimato!” over the top, just right for wankers of the world to stick their left fist up to, and more. This is the fucking best.
Lime Crush / Alte Sau – Split
Two of the finest gigs from the crap pile that was 2015 were by Vienna’s Lime Crush, lured over by us to play Cardiff and Bristol via a friendly email after hearing them on – hey – Bandcamp. Their sound a trebly headrush of overdriven guitar jangle and take-no-shit social awareness, they jumped all over Buffalo Bar and Café Kino, before politely leaving the next day. They only have one frigging song on this split single for Gawd’s sake (released on Andi from Lime Crush’s always fine Fettkakao label), but get it in you anyway: ‘Never’ is two minutes of opaque riot grrl cut and thrust, rising gradually in anger and volume, into fiery, anti-street harassment hollering. A pop hit in other words, and definitely casting a shadow over Alter Sau’s side, a mordant, schlager-y stomper that’s, you know, alright.
Black Abba – Bl’Abba
Woolf – Posing/Improvising
Feel free to suggest other new bands to us of course, but you’re up against tough competition. Black Abba was a tip off from Colette of nails punks Frau and Woolf, and who has also heard every band created. ‘Bl’Abba’ is five questionable-fidelity recordings chucked onto cassette, and burrows hard into the part of your brain that digs cheap and scrappy dicking about. Keyboard buzzes like a fresh wasp, two or three guitar chords rattle along messily and sometimes burst into light. There’s some rabble shouting that indicates this band might not be entirely serious: “I wish I knew / Where the fuck you are” goes ‘Lost Dog’. It’s kids from New Orleans playing Mummies and I don’t know why you wouldn’t want that.
Also – tell everyone – there is a new Woolf LP. Four years since the last one and here’s 12 minutes of brutally short songs, direct and acidic kicks to the nadgers that are the most vital things out there right now. ‘Posing/Improvising’ sounds very much like music for the current wrecked state of society: furious scraps of noise, twisted and welded back together into new and weird shapes. It’s mutant DIY culture, hope in the debris, and it will make you a better person (probably).