Posts Tagged ‘Spectres’

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Articulate as Spectres may be, but the word ‘compromise’ doesn’t enter into their vocabulary. Which is just as well. Because when it comes to pushing the boundaries of sonic resistance they’re one of the most confrontational acts on the planet right now.

Not just by way of their music, which isn’t just an uneasy listen, but often an unsettling one too. But also their ability to question the conventional norm and upset the mainstream applecart on more than one occasion.

Which is just as well because Spectres wouldn’t have it any other way. Having been an integral part of Bristol’s vibrant underground scene for the past five years – not to mention 50 percent of the band being responsible for creating revered independent Howling Owl Records , Spectres‘ status as innovators in one of the most creative regions on these shores is all but assured.

Their debut, 2015’s “Dying” , proved to be a coarse exercise in experimental noise rock that made anyone who’d previously mistaken them as shoegaze revivalists eat their own words in the process. Intense, brutal and relentless in equal measures, it served as a kick up the backside to many of the band’s peers who’d spent a lifetime resting on their laurels.

So it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that their latest album “Condition” takes that template – if one ever existed then bleeds it to death before prodding at its decomposed remains from every angle. It’s hard to envisage what goes through Joe Hatt and his three accomplices’ minds when arriving at songs with such desolate titles as ‘The Beginning Of An End’, ‘End Waltz’ or ‘Coping Mechanism’ but it sure as hell isn’t pretty.

Harsh swathes of mechanical noise greet the listener from the outset. Opener ‘The Beginning Is An End’ is as uncompromising as we’ve come to expect from the West Country’s finest exponents of sonic terrorism. ‘Rubber Plant’ takes an even more abrasive stance where guitar strings have the life scraped out of them while Andy Came’s percussive interludes run the death march through its soul. Lead single ‘Dissolve’, already the most aggressively disturbing eight minutes of music set to tape in 2017, acts as an early centre point for the album. Menacingly executed, its slow building musical arrangement reminiscent of a prisoner being led to a torture chamber while metallic objects clang unceremoniously in the foreground.

If you’re Spectres and going to write a song called ‘Neck’ chances are it won’t be a simple lesson in human biology. Instead it’s a vitriolic slab of brutal noise that doesn’t hold back for the entire duration. “Sometimes I wonder…” declares Hatt on ‘A Fish Called Wanda’, possibly the first song to ever be named after the John Cleese movie. That it has little to do with the script shouldn’t come as a shock. Delivered with a brooding intensity that’s become Spectres‘ forte, it serves as an exercise in controlled intimidation via the medium of sound.

‘Welcoming The Flowers’ and ‘End Waltz’ continue Condition’s relentless desire to bludgeon the senses, while ‘Colour Me Out’ and closer ‘Coping Mechanism’ both reveal themselves as epic maelstroms of sonic bliss. The former acting as the deceptive calm before the latter’s incendiary storm brings the record to a sedentary end.

Condition should come with a label on the front advising “Approach With Caution”. However, its creators’ intransigent desire to confound and confront should be applauded. Spectres: simply are one of a kind.

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Spectres are a noise rock band from Bristol. Slowly gathering acclaim with their uncompromising sound, they won Artrocker Magazines ‘Unsigned Act Of The Year’ in 2012, the magazine describing their live show as ‘a tornado tearing through a nail factory; a bracing experience indeed, and teetering on the brink of beauty’. Following their crowning of the ‘Artrocker Unsigned Band of the Year’ award, the band take their visceral live sound into a squat bedroom for a couple of days, set up a few mics among the mattresses, plug in, play and see what happened. Recorded by members of the blossoming Howling Owl Records family (Oliver Wilde and Dominic Mitchison (Velcro Hooks)); Taken from the Hunger  EP somehow manages to knead the squalls of feedback, distortion and noise, whilst leaving room for the vocals to float around at will.

Spectres

Spectres release their second album Condition via Sonic Cathedral. The follow-up to their acclaimed 2015 debut, Dying, it was recorded by Dominic Mitchison in the band’s adopted home city of Bristol and mastered by Frank Arkwright (Mogwai, 65daysofstatic) at Abbey Road in London. It’s louder and more abrasive than their debut, but also a real progression. It sounds huge and adds a genuinely innovative and confrontational edge, partly inspired by last year’s remix album, Dead, which saw everyone from Factory Floor to Richard Fearless instructed to “kill” the songs from Dying. “There were discussions about experimenting with electronics, but the idea soon petered out when we realised we still wanted to experiment with guitars,” reveals singer and guitarist Joe Hatt. As a result tracks such as End Waltz have a relentlessly pounding, almost techno structure, in contrast to the kinetosis-inducing dirge of Dissolve – the first single from the album that came with a suitably stomach-churning video late last year. Elsewhere the almost restrained (by Spectres’ standards) white noise and wordplay of A Fish Called Wanda and the sprawling Colour Me Out are counterbalanced by brutal assaults such as Neck and Welcoming The Flowers, which keeps threatening to drown itself in its own roiling diamond sea.

LP – Limited-edition Black vinyl LP in a Gatefold sleeve, featuring lyrics and artwork by Laurie Lax and photography by Stephanie Third.

LP+ – Limited-edition Cream vinyl LP in a Gatefold sleeve, featuring lyrics and artwork by Laurie Lax and photography by Stephanie Third.

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Semper Femina is Laura Marling’s sixth album – an intimate, devoted exploration of femininity and female relationships, and among her finest work to date. Written largely on the tour that followed 2015’s Short Movie and recorded in Los Angeles with production from Blake Mills, it is at once a distinctive and musically compelling collection of songs, run through with Marling’s fierce intelligence; a keen, beautiful and unparalleled take on womanhood.

2LP+ – Limited Deluxe 2LP Edition including Bonus Material Live tracks and digital download card.

2LP – Standard Version with Download.

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‘It’s the Buzz, Cock’. Howard Devoto read this headline from a January 1976 Time Out review of ‘Rock Follies’, the 1970s TV musical drama following the ups and downs of the fictional female rock group, ‘Little Ladies’. Adapting and appropriating it as the name for his new band that he had just formed with Pete Shelley having realised what a Sex Pistol was before anyone else. Buzzcocks formed having witnessed firsthand the white-heat of the early Sex Pistols. Howard and Pete went about organising the now infamous 1976 Lesser Free Trade Hall gigs that brought punk to the provinces and galvanized the new Manchester music revolution. The plan was to simply play support to the Pistols and then see what happened next…Featuring the original line-up of Howard Devoto (vocals and songwriter), Pete Shelley (guitar and songwriter), Steve Diggle (bass guitar) and John Maher (drums), Time’s Up was recorded at Revolution Studios, Bramhall Lane Stockport on the 18th of October 1976. The session, recording Buzzcocks’ live set at the time, cost £45 and was engineered by Andy MacPherson.

LP – The long-out-of-print Time’s Up 12” Vinyl LP, re-pressed on heavyweight black vinyl with a printed inner sleeve.

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In early 2016, the release of Talk Tight put Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever on the map with glowing reviews from Spin, Stereogum, and Pitchfork, praising them as stand-outs even among the fertile landcape of Melbourne music. Chock full of snappy riffs, spritely drumming and quick-witted wordplay, Talk Tight was praised by Pitchfork “for the precision of their melodies, the streamlined sophistication of their arrangements, and the undercurrent of melancholy that motivates every note.” The band was born from late night jam sessions in singer / guitarist Fran Keaney’s bedroom and honed in the thrumming confines of Melbourne’s live music venues. Sharing tastes and songwriting duties, cousins Joe White and Fran Keaney, brothers Tom and Joe Russo, and drummer Marcel Tussie started out with softer, melody-focused songs. The more shows they played, the more those driving rhythms that now trademark their songs emerged. Since then, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever rode that wave from strength to strength. Touring around the country on headline bills and festival slots all the way to Bigsound, the entrenched themselves with their thrilling live shows while prepping their next release. The French Press levels up on everything that made Talk Tight such an immediate draw. Multi-tracked melodies which curl around one another, charging drums and addictive bass lines converge to give each track its driving momentum. Honed through their live shows, this relentless energy carries the record through new chapters in the band’s Australian storybook. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s songs have always had all the page-turning qualities of a good yarn and The French Press is no different. Somewhere between impressionists and fabulists, lyricists Fran Keaney, Tom Russo and Joe White often start with something rooted in real life – the melancholy of travel on French Press, having a hopeless crush on Julie’s Place – before building them into clever, quick vignettes. The result is lines blurred between fiction and reality – vibrant stories which get closer at a particular truth than either could alone. Blending critical insight and literate love songs, The French Press cements Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever as one of Australia’s smartest working bands.

LP – Black Vinyl with Download.

LP+ – Limited Loser Clear Coloured Vinyl with Download.

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This remixed and expanded reissue of Soundgarden’s Ultramega OK is a long-planned correction of the legendary band’s Grammy®-nominated debut full-length. The album was originally recorded and released in 1988 on SST Records. While the band enjoyed working with the original producer, Drew Canulette, they soon realized they weren’t quite happy with the final mix. Thus, shortly after the album’s release, the band decided to remix the album for subsequent pressings. However, success intervened: the band rapidly scored a deal with A&M and began work on their major-label debut, Louder Than Love, and the Ultramega OK remix project fell by the wayside as Soundgarden climbed their way to (ultra)mega-stardom. In 2016, after worldwide success, a breakup, a reunion, and many albums and tours, the band finally acquired the original multi-track tapes to Ultramega OK and carved out time to dig into the remix. They handed the tapes over to longtime friend and engineer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, Skin Yard), who worked with the band to create a fresh mix of the album that, for the band, ties up this persistent loose end and remedies the sound of their debut full-length. While they were at it, the band dug out six early versions of tracks that wound up on Ultramega OK. The songs were recorded in 1987 on 8-track tape by Jack Endino and Chris Hanzsek at Reciprocal Recording in Seattle, and mixed by Jack Endino in 2016. These versions feature the band in raw, powerful form – sonically closer to the band’s Endino-recorded six-song debut, Screaming Life – and provide a fascinating window into the development of songs that eventually became staples of the band’s set. The six songs comprise what the band refers to as Ultramega EP, and they are included in this reissue. Hailed as grunge innovators, Soundgarden redefined rock music for a generation. In the late ‘80s, the band – singer Chris Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil, bassist Hiro Yamamoto, and drummer Matt Cameron – combined a punk ethos, brutal metal soundscapes, and Cornell’s ravenous roar to capture the attention of the masses. Jagged and ferocious, their music was deeply at odds with the synth-pop and hair metal which dominated the ‘80s airwaves. Early indie releases, including seminal Screaming Life and Ultramega OK, quickly led to a dedicated indie following as the band toured on both sides of the Atlantic. Subsequent albums, including Badmotorfinger, Superunknown, and Down on the Upside, achieved multi-platinum sales and launched the band to international fame.

2LP – Double Black Vinyl in Foil-stamped Gatefold packaging with custom dust sleeves plus Download.

2LP+ – Limited Double Loser Blue Marbled and Violet Coloured Vinyl in Foil-stamped Gatefold packaging with custom dust sleeves plus Download.

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The husband and wife duo of Alaina and Patrick, otherwise known as Tennis, return with Yours Conditionally, their new album on the band’s own label Mutually Detrimental. Building on their dreamy combination of perfect melodies and classic songwriting, Yours Conditionally sees a full circle return to their nautical roots of sorts, with the duo even writing part of the album while sailing at sea, what Alaina calls “a grandiose gesture”, a necessary venture of revisiting the past to reinvigorate the present. However, the pair dig deeper and darker this time round, with the resultant album wedding discussions of identity and self-sacrifice to some of their most pristine and infectious hooks yet. Achingly beautiful lead single In the Morning I’ll Be Better, written about the “precariousness of our lives”, sums up this paradox completely, with gorgeous melodies belying its subject matter of Riley seeing a family member through a serious illness. Please Don’t Ruin This For Me and Fields of Blue also deliciously straddle the light / dark divide, while others, like Ladies Don’t Play Guitar and the divine swoon of Modern Woman hit the pop bullseye square on the nose while unpacking conflicting themes of feminism and industry archetypes. Taken in toto, Yours Conditionally sees a band at maturation point, looking fondly to the past while also staring down the uncertainty and confusion of the future without flinching. This is Tennis at their contrary, compelling best.

LP – White Vinyl.

Shins

The Shins release of their fifth studio album, Heartworms. In contrast to 2012’s Port of Morrow, Heartworms ushers in a return to the handmade. Heartworms is, as always, entirely written by James Mercer, with exception of So Now What (produced by band member Richard Swift). Heartworms is the first Shins album to be self-produced by Mercer since Oh, Inverted World in 2001. Heartworms features Mercer’s most diverse lyrical palette to date. The result is a cohesive, yet genre defying album marked by Mercer’s distinct voice and melodic composition. Unified by his singular vision, Mercer creates a sound that is both familiar – a nostalgic nod to the album’s predecessors – and distinctly new. The album’s first single, Name For You, is a resounding call for female empowerment inspired by Mercer’s three daughters.

LP – 180 Gram Vinyl with Download.

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Cameron Avery has arrived as a new breed of nocturnal crooner, a train-wreck romantic creating timeless, ambitious music for the modern age. Utilizing his soulful wit, shrewd arrangements, and a deep, husky baritone, Avery harnesses the dark power and humor of artists like Nick Cave, Scott Walker, and Tindersticks to expertly walk the fine line between vulnerable and venerable. Hailing from the late 2000’s-era Perth, Australia, a healthy scene of hard-hitting garage rock bands, including a long stint as the drummer of Pond, Avery found his musical footing while playing with friends but sought the reward of his own outfit. Encouraged by his friend Kevin Parker of Tame Impala to record on his own, Avery started The Growl as his solo project in 2007, making an EP and an album of aggressive, distorted psychedelic rock and roll. When Parker asked him to join Tame Impala as its touring bassist in 2013, Avery jumped at the chance and rose with that band to the top of the psych-rock heap, but all the while remained focused on carving out his singular identity as an artist and following his own muse. On a break from touring, Avery decided to head to the US to work on his album. He would settle in Los Angeles at the behest of Jonathan Wilson, the Echo Park musician and producer who also encouraged Avery to shine a spotlight on his baritone singing voice, unlike the snarling, obscured vocals of The Growl. It was a lofty idea, but one to which Avery aspired, encouraged by the challenge. Melancholic machismo is written into the very DNA of Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams. From the classical, finger-picked guitar on the opener A Time and Place and the orchestral vamping of Do You Know Me By Heart? to the bombastic, self-assured swagger of Dance with Me. He takes an emotive page from the Leonard Cohen songbook-of-longing on Big Town Girl just as naturally as he thumbs an aggressive note of Bad Seed strut and Cramps rut on Watch Me Take It Away. And by the time he purrs that earnest refrain of “Baby, it’s you” on the album’s closer C’est Toi, Avery has surely mastered that drunken tightrope dance. Now a resident of New York City, Avery looks to continue his search for the ultimate sensations from a fresh vantage point.

LP – With Download.

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Throughout years of traveling, John Andrews has documented his life with his home recordings. His first record, Bit By The Fang, found him living in the amish country of Lancaster, PA. On his latest record, Bad Posture, he waves farewell to Pennsylvania and greets the wooded hills of Barrington, NH. These songs were written slowly and quietly throughout the winter, usually late at night next to the wood stove. It was recorded in Andrews’ barn with the doors ajar, welcoming the springtime — inviting the outside noises in. You can hear the crickets chirping and the occasional truck driving by. The songs themselves lend their hand like slow backwoods Beatles demos covered in a thin blanket of tape hiss. Andrews’ band, The Yawns, has been crystallized with staples from the New England freak scene: Rachel Neveu and Lukas Goudreault (MMOSS / Soft Eyes) and Joey Schneider. The album was mixed with headphones at the foot of Emma Critchett’s grave, who lived in the Yawns’ house during the 1800s. The record is an ode to her and all who have lived there. It paints a picture of living in the “freecountry” on the precipice of a rapidly changing political climate.

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Sonic Jesus is an Italian musical project lead by multi-instrumentalist Tiziano Veronese. Since signing to Fuzz Club, the project has released a split single with The Black Angels and been remixed by Sonic Boom aka Pete Kember. Their internationally acclaimed debut Neither Virtue Nor Anger; an industrial barrage of hypnotic, dark psychedelia. Sonic Jesus’ new album Grace goes beyond the past boundaries, pushing towards enthralling melodic horizons and modern pounding beats, delivered by a new-found pop sensibility. There’s still a darkness brooding beneath the noise but these new tracks see the project take on a magnificent and insatiable new form.

Available on 180gm white vinyl and CD.

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From adversity can come triumph, and from catharsis inspiration. Such has been the case for Gnoomes, the threesome hailing from Perm, Russia, whose second release for Rocket Recordings, Tschak! arrives in the wake of considerable turbulence and tumult within their personal lives and society itself, all of which has only been fuel for a creative epiphany that has seen them create a deeply evocative work rich with vibrant experimentation and saturated in a widescreen sense of wonder. It may only have been eighteen months since Ngan!, the band’s first release for Rocket, whose self-styled ‘stargaze’ approach marked a glorious collision between melodic sweetness, skysurfing guitar experimentation and motorik magnificence, yet the band have already moved on to a sonic landscape still more adventurous and ethereal on Tschak!, not to mention an emotionally resonant approach that’s bewitching to witness. Taking in torrents of guitar noise and electronic extrapolations both blissfully kosmische and aggressively abrasive, it exists outside of all or any convenient genres, a vivid and singular work by three dreamers-at-heart forced to manifest their vision into a psychic defence to the circumstances surrounding them. Working in splendid isolation thanks to a studio space provided by their work for a local radio station, the band had time and space for the alchemical process of creating Tschak! entirely on their own terms. Central to the this were a collection of Russian synths that they gathered, whose eccentric arpeggios and analogue textures form crucial ingredients on songs like Severokamsk and the title track, arriving at a sound that forms a star-crossed and timeless marriage between the experimentation of krautrock and the lineage of Warp Records. Forging forth into unknown realms both physical and metaphysical, Gnoomes recently completed a UK tour – including an appearance at Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia. Yet with the dreamlike radiance of the potent and otherworldly Tschak! on their side, this adventure is already well on its way.

LP – Limited Green Vinyl with Download.

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Psych-pop masterpiece from two of the best to ever do it. Los Angeles native and weirdo-pop enthusiast Ariel Pink joins forces with lo-fi pop pioneer R. Stevie Moore in a crazy freak-out extravaganza. Back in 2012, two leaders of the modern psych scene colluded together in making a 60+ track album. Here, we have the definitive collection of songs from ‘Ku Klux Glam’. Re-mastered and compiled by R. Stevie Moore, this is a presentation of this record in it’s clearest form.

Tape – Double 63 Track Tape.

Spectres‘ second album, “Condition”, is said to be louder and more abrasive than their loud and abrasive debut “Dying”. What it actually is, is astonishing.

Over nine tracks, Joe Hatt, Adrian Dutt, Darren Frost and Andy Came are just brilliant at everything. I list them by name because this record works so well because they work so well. Dutt and Hatt are the guitar torturers. Their parts often clash with each other (as on opening track The Beginning Of An End) but they can also slam into all-out attack together (Rubber Plant). Like Sonic Youth, they can do harsh noise and ambient noise. Their guitars can sound like drills, power tools, elephants, anything. As well as Sonic Youth they also remind me of William Reid on the more insane parts of Honey’s Dead and Keith Dobson of World Domination Enterprises.

However, the unsung heroes of the show are Darren Frost on bass and Andy Came on drums. As with Loop, it is really the rhythm section that lifts the band above their contemporaries. They are particularly good on Dissolve and Coping Mechanism, where they start out Motorik and end up slamming away at an insane waltz that then abruptly stops. And when an all-out guitar assault breaks out during Neck, the rhythm section keep it all together. Hatt and Frost’s vocals are interesting throughout and stop Condition from just being a noise album, there are songs here and arrangements. Hatt and Frost often sing totally unrelated lines at the same time or break into call-and-response.

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When The Telescopes’ Hidden Fields came out in 2015, I felt that I had been waiting decades for someone to make that album. I have only had to wait about 18 months for the next album that made me feel the same way. Finally there is a band that has taken what Sonic Youth did with guitars and run with it. Not only that, as with Sonic Youth and Loop, they also have the kind of rhythm section that really lifts a band. Excuse my language, but Condition is an absolute motherfucker of an album. Anyone who still believes that new sounds can be drawn out of guitars and that loving noise doesn’t mean hating melody or structure should be all over this like a hungry octopus.

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Spectres release their second album ‘Condition’ via Sonic Cathedral on March 10th. The follow-up to their acclaimed 2015 debut, ‘Dying’, it was recorded by Dominic Mitchison in the band’s adopted home city of Bristol and mastered by Frank Arkwright (Mogwai, 65daysofstatic) at Abbey Road Studios in London.

‘Condition’ is louder and more abrasive than their debut, but also a real progression. It sounds huge and adds a genuinely innovative and confrontational edge, partly inspired by last year’s remix album, ‘Dead’, which saw everyone from Factory Floor to Richard Fearless instructed to “kill” the songs from ‘Dying’.

“There were discussions about experimenting with electronics, but the idea soon petered out when we realised we still wanted to experiment with guitars,” reveals singer and guitarist Joe Hatt. It’s true that a track such as ‘End Waltz’ has a relentlessly pounding, almost techno structure, in contrast to the kinetosis inducing dirge of ‘Dissolve’ – the first single from the album which appeared as an edible tablet download with a suitably stomach-churning video to match late last year. Elsewhere the almost restrained (by Spectres’ standards) white noise and wordplay of ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ and the sprawling ‘Colour Me Out’ are counterbalanced by brutal assaults such as ‘Neck’ and ‘Welcoming The Flowers’, which keeps threatening to drown itself in its own roiling diamond sea.

“On this album we became even less interested in actually playing guitar,” explains Hatt, “which meant that we got more into experimenting with the sounds we could get out of them when brutalising them and letting the feedback do the talking.”

‘Dissolve’ is the first single from Spectres’ new album, ‘Condition’, due out on March 10th, 2017

Spectres were formed in Barnstaple, North Devon in 2011. After moving to Bristol a couple years later they self-released a few EPs and singles on their own Howling Owl label, before joining forces with Sonic Cathedral for 2015’s ‘Dying’, their incendiary debut that they promised would “snap people out of their comfort zones. We want our noise to smack the spoon out of their mouths that is feeding them the warm diarrhoea that is served by start-up PR companies”. With the resulting largely positive coverage everywhere, The Times and The Guardian to BBC Radio 1 – not to mention people fleeing their gigs, hands pressed tightly over bleeding ears – would suggest they went some way to achieving this aim.

“We’ve managed to get way further than we ever should have considering the music – and enemies – we make,” admits singer and guitarist Joe Hatt, “so now it’s just a question of enjoying things until the van finally breaks down and we can’t afford to get it fixed again. We’ve all somehow still got the same jobs as two years ago, we still rehearse and record in the same spaces, we write music in the exact same way, so even though things have grown in terms of gigs and our audience, we are still the same horrible lot. Lack of success will never change us.”

(Please note: we have sold out of our allocation of limited-edition cream vinyl already, but it might still be available from Rough Trade, Piccadilly, Norman, Resident, Drift, South, Recordstore.co.uk, Rise and other independent retailers)

SPECTRES – ” Hunger ” EP

Posted: September 24, 2016 in MUSIC
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Describes as “Like Sonic Youth from the bowels of a haunted well”  Spectres are a noise rock band from Bristol. Slowly gathering acclaim with their uncompromising sound, they won Artrocker Magazines ‘Unsigned Act Of The Year’ in 2012, the magazine describing their live show as ‘a tornado tearing through a nail factory; a bracing experience indeed, and teetering on the brink of beauty’.

Biding their time burrowed within the UK’s burgeoning DIY scene, Spectres specialise in needling drone rock and visceral white noise. Following the release of debut album ‘Dying’ through Sonic Cathedral, the uncompromising Devonians have come to the fore with their mix of harsh electronic experimentalism and colossal swathes of guitar distortion.

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SPECTRES – DEAD
Spectres release their new album, ‘Dead’, on Sonic Cathedral, and it sees the songs from the Bristol band’s hugely acclaimed debut ‘Dying’ nailed to the cross by Mogwai, Factory Floor, Hookworms, Richard Fearless (Death In Vegas), Andy Bell (Ride), Robert Hampson (Loop) and many more. The only instruction was “kill our songs”, and so here are the remains, served up on two mortuary slabs of vinyl (and CD and download) as a stunning, 13-track album that builds on the original’s feeling of claustrophobia and dread, but recasts it across everything from brutal techno (Blood Music’s ‘This Purgatory’) to New Order-meets-Animal Collective euphoria (Andy Bell’s ‘Sea Of Trees’). It’s an occasionally punishing, but always rewarding listen that begins somewhere in the depths of a K-hole, courtesy of Vision Fortune’s ‘Drag’, and ends somewhere rather beautiful, with the celestial synths of Mogwai’s ‘This Purgatory’. (It’s worth noting that Mogwai’s classic ‘Kicking A Dead Pig’ was a big inspiration here.) “We see Spectres as something that can work in a variety of contexts,” says frontman Joe Hatt, as he explains the motivation behind ‘Dead’. “Our musical interests spread out in different angles and we are always thinking of ways for what we do to evolve and mutate. We put together a list of artists who we admired, and thought would deliver a varied and eclectic mix. Some were close friends who are conveniently making some of the best music around, and others were pipe dreams that we thought would never happen. It was both nerve-wracking and fun waiting for each of the artists’ versions to arrive in our inbox, and some definitely surprised us; but none disappointed.” ‘Dead’ serves as an important reminder of what a special band Spectres are, something that can be easy to forget with their anti-industry stance and extra-curricular activities often grabbing the headlines more than their music (“We’ve always been like this, and we won’t cease,” threatens Hatt).

BOB MOULD  – PATCH THE SKY
Bob Mould returns with his next solo album titled ‘Patch the Sky’ via Merge Records. It is both his darkest and catchiest work. While written in solitude, Mould is backed on the record by longtime drummer Jon Wurster (Superchunk, Mountain Goats) and bassist Jason Narducy (Split Single). The first side of the LP is simple and catchy whilst he back-half of the record heavier in spirit and tone.
CD – Digipak (blue foil) plus poster insert.
LP – Standard black vinyl LP in Blue foil sleeve with full album download coupon.
LP+ – Lmited Clear coloured vinyl LP in Blue foil sleeve with full album download coupon.

WHITE DENIM – STIFF
A return to the fiery cauldron of ‘Fits’ for the new look White Denim, stuffed with sprung-steel riffs, quicksilver solos and scudding swamp boogie. Plus a couple of cool R&B interludes from James Petralli’s inner soul man. ‘Stiff’ is White Denim’s sixth record and they teamed up with the legendary Ethan Johns (Paul McCartney, Laura Marling, The Staves) to produce their first truly live record.
LP – 140 Gram Vinyl housed in Gatefold Sleeve with CD Version.
CD – Digipack.

BABEHEAVEN  –  HEAVEN / FRIDAY SKY
Limited 7″ and tipped. West-London five-piece Babeheaven release their beautiful debut single ‘Heaven’ through Handsome Dad / B3SCI. Currently on tour with BBC Sound Poll nominee Loyle Carner, the band have already opened for Liss, supported Formation around the UK and kicked off the year playing DIY’s ‘Hello 2016’ shows at The Old Blue Last. Babeheaven were born out of a long-standing friendship between singer Nancy and guitarist Jamie, who started spending time together in earnest whilst working on the same street in Ladbroke Grove (she in her grandmother’s antique shop, and he in a soul-destroying stint at an organic farm store). Musically, Babeheaven’s tastes were similarly neighbouring: bonding over a love of trip-hop, soul and ethereal electronics (everything from Portishead and James Blake to Stevie Wonder), a typical evening spent hanging out turned into an attempt to write a song together. Their tribute to Domino’s Pizza may never see the light of day, but in finding drummer Harry, keyboard / guitarist Milo and bassist Hugo, the foundations of Babeheaven were formed instead. Debut single ‘Heaven’ is a gentle but insistent introduction, blending hazy guitars, atmospheric synths and flashes of local colour (from the steel pans to nu-soul vocal) into broader emotional resonance. Lyrically, the track was at first inspired by Nancy’s Mum – who passed away when she was young – and the different meanings heaven has for different people: it’s since evolved, say the band, into something “about the front you put up and break down in front of people, and how things might’ve been different with someone else around.”

YUCK – STRANGER THINGS
Since their 2011 self-titled debut LP much has been written about the influence of 1990’s alternative rock on Yuck – the bands Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth have been invoked repeatedly on music sites and in print publications across the world. On their third studio LP, ‘Stranger Things’, the young London based quartet make it clear that they have come into their own. The 11 tracks on ‘Stranger Things’ effortlessly wrap the divergent influences of Fifties Rock n Roll, Sixties Psychedelia, Seventies Supergroup Ballads, and Dark Eighties Pop, in the warm fuzzy blanket of harmonic distortion they are known for – and to masterful effect. ‘Stranger Things’ make the case that Yuck is now operating, not under the influence of, but in the very echelon of these bands of old they have long been noted as being descendants of.
CD – Digipack.
LP – Limited White Vinyl Version with Download.

KIRAN LEONARD – GRAPEFRUIT
20 year old Kiran Leonard releases his debut album, ‘Grapefruit’ on Moshi Moshi “A boy, in his attempt to gain an elusive masculine identification, often comes to define this masculinity largely in negative terms, as that which is not feminine or involved with women. There is an internal and external aspect to this. Internally, the boy tries to reject his mother and deny his attachment to her and the strong dependence upon her that he still feels. He also tries to deny the deep personal identification with her that he has developed during his early years. He does this by repressing whatever he takes to be feminine inside himself, and, importantly, by denigrating and devaluing whatever he considers to be feminine in the outside world.”
2LP – Double LP With Download.

THE COSMIC DEAD – RAINBOWHEAD
The Cosmic Dead return with their first full length album since 2014’s Easterfaust. For the uninitiated The Cosmic Dead are a quartet from Glasgow, Scotland, making some of the best raging freak out psych right now. ‘Rainbowhead’ is a brand new LP, featuring four tracks of spaced out, heavy psych formed from insane chugging bass, trippy synth blasts, krautrock infused metallic guitar riffin’ and furious cascading drum cycles. The band’s constant positive vibes have led to them touring all over the UK and Europe, playing the prestigious Liverpool Psych Fest and the band are due to play Psycho Festival in Las Vegas in August alongside Sleep, Candlemass, Yob, Mudhoney, Death and more. ‘Rainbowhead’ follows records on Cardinal Fuzz, Evil Hoodoo, Who Do You Trust?, Sound of Cobra and some of the best underground labels around.

THE JOY FORMIDABLE – HITCH
The Joy Formidable release their third album, ‘Hitch’. The follow up to 2013’s ‘Wolf’s Law’ is released through the Welsh trio’s own label C’Mon Lets Drift. ‘Hitch’ was self-produced by the band, and mixed by the legendary Alan Moulder. The new release showcases the evolution of the trio’s sound and musicianship. The commanding guitar and lead vocals of Ritzy Bryan coupled with bassist Rhydian Davies and the stalwart stylings of drummer Matt Thomas perfectly align on the band’s latest endeavor. From the atmospheric, Twin Peaks murk of ‘The Gift’ to the woozy rush of ‘Running Hands With the Night’, ‘Hitch’ is an album that fizzes with thrilling self assurance.
CD – Digipack.
2LP – 180 gram LP Set.

SPRING KING  –  RECTIFIER

Limited Red Vinyl 7″. Manchester garage-poppers Spring King release ‘Rectifier’, a brand new single and the band’s first since signing to Island Records. Jumpy and fidgety as ever, it’s a track that sees the group up the ante on that early promise. Pairing shifty atmospherics with their frenetic pace, it’s a promising hint at their debut album.

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The Bristol-based four-piece are the loudest, most abrasive band on Sonic Cathedral to date, and one who make a mockery of those articles that crop up every now and again asking if guitar music is dead. If guitars are supposed to be dead, wrote Drowned In Sound in their review of 2013’s Hunger EP, it’s probably because Spectres have killed them.
They certainly find influences in all the best places: first album My Bloody Valentine, Sister era Sonic Youth, the Loop of Heaven’s End, Swervedriver’s Creation-days desert-gaze, A Place To Bury Strangers total sonic annihilation and Royal Trux’s squalid noise on Twin Infinitives to name just a few. The album opens with the ominous and unsettling white noise and dark found sounds of Drag takes in first single ‘Where Flies Sleep’ and is unrelenting for the next 50 minutes.
Produced and mixed by Dominic Mitchison (Velcro Hooks). Featuring Oliver Wilde on backing vocals.