£14.99In the 70's we were born, in the 80's we were raised, in the 90's we drank to Nirvana, Fugazi (yes, you can drink to Fugazi) and TAD, and in the 00's we began feeling the weight as everything began looping back on itself. And now? Now we're fucked, we own nothing; financially we go from month to month.Visit product page →
You can post all your memes and your dog chasing mouse chasing cat chasing sex' videos in an attempt to portray you're over the moon.
You can post all the pictures you want of your children yet you KNOW you're only doing it cos you're not spending enough time with them, you're staring down the barrel of your 40's and you hate every fucker out there.
This is Grey Hairs second album, perfectly placed to document the times. 2015's 'Colossal Downer' with its grim faced party child on the cover was the band on early good form, now they're warmed the fuck up and are playing tense. The playing is tightly wound around the vocals, which are set to attack - attacking themselves, attacking the generation.
This is a band of lifers, with history going back including Peel Sessions and touring the world. But as with all lifers it’s in the blood. You can pile your life into trying to get famous doing music or you can go your own way. Grey Hairs are the latter. These characters put shows on in their home city. They come from the same DIY blood stream as set up by Black Flag or UK punx like Heresy or The Stupids. Check the video for the Grey Hairs tune Serious Business.
The Dude done Notts style. Paranoid and shambling, Benny Hill - esque speed walking around Ripley and Nottingham. Haunted and chased by the grim reaper / death from Bill and Ted's. Even hanging out with ultimate lifer John Otway in the boozer. You gotta keep moving, keep the reaper at bay.
Grey Hairs are channelling aggressive surf rock and some of the lesser known 80's and 90's bands of their optimistic riddled youth, now seen through the eyes of the barrel staring 10's. It's 100% definitely punk rock, but it's way more than that. You want a soundbite, go hunt your own.
But I'm saying Takeshi Terauchi vs The Wipers done Notts style, this time it's war. Paranoid Time, The Minutemen done by The Fall and the B52's. It's a total monster, the more you listen the more you hear. Joe Thompson (Hey Colossus/Henry Blacker).
1. Serious Business
2. Man Is A Kitchen
3. 2.36am, Backwards
4. On And Off
7. Pat Was Right
8. Red Paint
9. The Chin (Part 1)
10. The Chin (Part 2)
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For a while now Leeds five-piece Hookworms have been terrorising headlining bands across northern England and beyond, not through histrionics or gimmick, but through sheer sonic velocity and emotive intent. Often bracketed among the latest wave of psychedelic rock currently appearing in pockets around the UK (as support slots with Wooden Shjips, Sun Araw and Peaking Lights attest), this tag is somewhat of a misnomer for a band whose use of repetition and reverb is not to open the third dimension or for some sort of flower-power escapism.
Instead the reel feels cathartic, each fresh revolution of the loop a confrontation between the band and themes of depression, loss and anger - subjects close to the heart of the group’s vocalist MJ (“no enigma; we just don’t use our full names, we’ve no interest in being celebrities.”) Pearl Mystic is an absolutely thunderous statement of intent for Hookworms after a portentous couple of years of live shows and limited releases.
Their live shows continued to increase in intensity, with impressive festival appearances at Beacons, Liverpool PsychFest and Supersonic cementing their reputation treading the boards. Live and on record, like Spaceman 3, they pointedly subvert the tripped out sound environments of psychedelia with a darkly malevolent punk menace; unlike J.Spaceman et al, there’s no chemical assistance, these concepts and feelings come with clarity, and hit all the harder for it.
The LP’s themes focus on a deeply personal narrative surrounding a lost relationship and a battle with depression that at its worst brought about, as MJ, puts it “a half-hearted suicide attempt”. Thus songs like ‘Away/Towards’ (a finer opening to an album you couldn’t hope to hear) possess a gargantuan build-and-release infectious energy that juxtaposes with a subtext of a bi-polar approach to coping with loss. ‘Preservation’, too, is in keeping with the group’s live shows, though deals with existentialism, whilst several Raymond Carver influences are scattered in and among the bold textures of sound.
‘In Our Time’ is perhaps the closest thing to escapism on the LP, about a hill MJ would cycle up near Otley in Yorkshire after the end of his relationship, because it possessed his favourite view in the world. ‘Since We Had Changed’ meanwhile is almost mantra-like in its constancy, new percussive elements joining those already on the record, whilst ‘What We Talk About’ returns full circle to the first track’s themes of depression, and emerges from mixed field recordings including a backwards taping of a Hare Krishna lecture played down the studio corridor.
The record was recorded and produced in MJ’s own Suburban Studios – where he’s worked on records for Mazes, Eagulls and Spectrals among others – and he admits he enjoyed the greater freedom he could allow himself on his own project. Years of acclaimed production work have given him a great understanding for blending together the abilities of both man and machine. “My vocal style, for instance, has been informed by the Roland Space Echo” he points out. “The delayed vocals originated as a comfort blanket for the low confidence I have in my voice, but I have since learnt to sing with the machine - I understand its limitations and breaking points.
” Certainly the production is lush, erring on the lo-fi side but contrasting that with a sense that every element has been pored over and deeply considered. Indeed, the most impressive thing about Hookworms is that, through this torrent of emotion, through their wild motorik and their thick slabs of noise that threaten to spill over, there’s always the sense that they’re in control of it all, so committed are they to this catharsis that they refuse to throw any of it to chance.
1. Away / Towards
2. Form And Function
4. In Our Time
5. Since We Had Changed
8. What We Talk About
Gringo Records / Faux Discx
£13.99Re-issue on Heavy Vinyl.Visit product page →
Last album ”Distractions” on Upset the Rhythm has done very nicely so a repress here is timely. An evolving band of young future humans making truly irregular punk not quite comparable to anything else; Sauna Youth’s debut long-player, ‘DREAMLANDS’ was a joint release between Gringo Records and Faux Discx.
The band, attracted to the possibilities apparent within a DIY philosophy have been self-recording and self-releasing their own music since 2010, creating a number of 7”s splits and cassettes. Weird' is a meaningless platitude, and 'art punk' is a classifier that shouldn't be required.
Sauna Youth journey into the far-reaching wilds of the unfolding psyche and feast on the chaos within, quickly collapsing any pre-conceived notions within minutes of impolite introduction. The LP is a lyrical commentary on being addicted to the distractions preventing engagement with real life; unbreakable routines, relationships based on silence and mindless sex, repetitive and superficial interaction.
This is not a dull lecture on disaffection, it is the dawning realisation in hundred-mile-anhour downstrokes, hypnotic samples going off like permanent alarms and competing vocals. The 5 track offering, found on the B-side, commences with a furious and bracing rush of noise bearing a dissatisfied narrative.
‘PLANNED DESIGNS’ leads with the dissection of artistic conventions and a treatise on space, the space we inhabit and the space we can alter and form for our own needs and desires, a dual-vocal declaring, “Works of art of nothing/Works of art from nothing/Works of art of nothing but works of art.../We want somewhere to play”. A collective frustration reigns; it rings from the impulsive, fizzing spill of ‘SNAPBACK’, gathering in the blunt pace of ‘PSI GIRLS’; an eloquent reflection of the lost ability to communicate.
The careering ‘VISCOUNT DISCOUNT’ chronicles the trap of enforced life choices (“Remits, Compromise, Boxes to tick/Straight, Narrow, Guidelines, rules cut to fit/There's a mind just disengaged”) and all accumulates with the knowing desperation of ‘HAIRSTYLES’, darkly delivered over the hardest unrelenting 4/4 backbeat.
The A-side carries ‘TOWN CALLED DISTRACTION’, a spoken-word short story written by Patrick Fisher (of Cold Pumas) and Sauna Youth’s own Harper Ecke, read by Martha Orchard (of Edible Arrangements) and Bobby Krlic (The Haxan Cloak), that serves as an introduction to the created world in which the characters and narratives of the band thus far have inhabited, gripped by an instrumental that careers with visceral energy.
Artistic affinities are pledged to Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Pissed Jeans and The Intelligence, but as Kurt Cobain once asked “Why can’t we be both Black Sabbath and The Beatles?”, Sauna Youth consistently and urgently pose the question, ‘Why can’t we be both The Ramones and Steve Reich?.
1. Town Called Distraction
2. Planned Designs
4. PSI Girls
5. Viscount Discount
£14.99The Wharves return with their second long-player for Gringo Records. Entitled Electa and recorded once again with Rory Attwell, the trio build on last year’s ‘Naz’ 7” on Upset the Rhythm, refining their distinctive sound with increasingly notable elements of heavy rock and folk.Visit product page →
Three part vocal harmonies remain staple to the format, underpinning a progressive instrumental step-up. Hailing from Ireland, France and England, The Wharves combine gracefully minimal psyche-rock with fuzzed out folk. They invoke the reverberated spook of 60's groups, the mid-fi guitar crunch of Kim Deal's The Amps, the sisterly vocal harmonies of The Roches and the narrative and structural panache of 70's progressive folk.
Thunderous drumming drives through these compositions, ensuring the wealth of disparate influences remain focused and celebratory. On Electa, Dearbhla Minogue’s much-lauded guitar work navigates more inventively than ever around the tight and melodic rhythm section delivered with all the gusto and trust of a band five years into playing together.
Song writing duties are democratic as always, with drummer Marion Andrau delivering two atmospheric and personal stand-outs that reveal an entire new dimension of possibility for the group.
Utilising the twenty-piece all-female ‘Rebel Choir’ on immense closer ‘My Will’, usual bass-player Gemma Fleet takes to the guitar and leads the ensemble to unite a powerful crescendo that defines Electa’s confident feel: a rock record not afraid to experiment, without ever losing the singular identity The Wharves have created for themselves.
1. The Strike
2. Rays Of Light
3. John The Stitcher
5. Venus of Hornchurch
6. Old Friend
7. Sweet Merry Time
8. Well Well Well
9. Holy Maid
10. Your Lies are Fun
11. Lived or Died
12. My Will