Hey Colossus have undergone a spectacular metamorphosis in the last three years - the 2015 Rocket Recordings double-drop of ‘In Black And Gold’ and ‘Radio Static High’ displayed not only a band with a work rate to put most all their contemporaries to shame, but one arriving at an atmospheric and rewarding sound with as much flair for the beguiling as the barbaric.
Changes may have been afoot in the Hey Colossus camp, yet their latest transmission ‘The Guillotine’ marks another peak for an innovative force in the realm of heavy amplification. Darker and more brooding than their recent work, it’s also perhaps their most richly melodic to date - the interplay of their three guitar lineup has never sounded more fluent than on these eight songs, nor their songcraft more well-defined.
This is a record whose alchemical charge arrives from a reinvention of loud rock shapes into forms both feral and fresh - whilst Hey Colossus can still bludgeon with overamped vigour, as on the hypnotic and devastating krautrock-Jesus-Lizard hybrid of ‘Back In The Room’ they can also deliver the dusky and haunting waltz-time serenade of ‘Calenture Boy’ with uncompromising fortitude, with the new-found confidence and allure of Paul Sykes’ vocals at the forefront.
These menacing and immersive songs chronicle a band exploring a unique sound and invigorating approach in a decade in which cliches and genre pieces in the realm of the psychedelic have frequently surrounded - here the six-piece find themselves transcending the limitations of the underground scene from whence they came, whilst exposing the paucity of inspiration in much of the guitar-rock mainstream.
Hey Colossus are at their sharpest, and none will survive ‘The Guillotine’.
Tracklisting: Side A: 1. Honest To God 2. Back In The Room 3. Calenture Boy 4. Experts Toll
Side B: 1. Potions 2. Englishman 3. In A Collision 4. The Guillotine
Laurel Halo returns to Hyperdub for her third LP with a fresh approach and a new sound. Routed out of the electronic abstraction of 2015’s In Situ - but with clear reference to 2012's sleeper-hit Quarantine - Dust is an album revolving around loose and languid songs; warped, sun-filled, melted and at times, heavy-hearted and obscure.
Recorded over a period of two years, the writing process began at EMPAC in upstate New York in January 2015. With access to microphones, percussion, keys and a wide range of routings, Laurel spent days alone in the cavernous space, later inviting musicians Eli Keszler and Lafawndah to join her there.
Those sessions would eventually become this album: a collection of breezy, broken songs, based on woody instrumentation, sub bass and restless, intricate electronics. Earnest songwriting meets with modal cut-up strategies, improvisational playing with higrade digital dust. Tactile and fibrous throughout the record, the vocals and percussion coalesce and breathe life into each other. Swung grooves eddy and collapse; acoustic drums are warped into sensual, febrile melodies.
The lyrics are themselves bricolage, without a specific narrator or place in time. They slip in and out of view, something that is visualised in the album’s inner panel. Extending the influence, the album opener ‘Sun To Solar’ is an adaptation of 'Servidão de Passagem' by Brazilian concrete poet Haroldo de Campos. In line with the album’s sound, Dust is 'Laurel Halo' as a flexible cast of characters.
Filled with dialogue, the album helms an interchangeable ensemble of vocalists and musicians, featuring vocals from Klein, Lafawndah, and Michael Salu, as well as musicians such as Eli Keszler, Craig Clouse ($hit and $hine), Julia Holter, Max D, Michael Beharie and Diamond Terrifier.
Laurel’s omnivorous influences play out in mutated fashion - coalesced, unfettered and inclusive - a broad musical palette free from entrenched modes, catalysed by digital production that could only happen in 2017.
Tracklisting: Side A: 1.Sun to Solar 2.Jelly 3.Koinos 4.Arschkriecher 5.Moontalk 6.Nicht Ohne Risiko
Side B: 1.Who Won? 2.Like an L 3.Syzygy 4.Do U Ever Happen 5. Buh-bye
33rpm black vinyl LP edition housed in UV glossy jackets. Comes with lyrics insert and free digital download coupon. Second Edition CD Elegant 4-side Digipak limited to 200 with new CD body.
Qual is Lebanon Hanover’s bassist and vocalist William Maybelline.
With his solo project he aims to examine his personal view on music, Maybelline moved from the pop touch of well-known and respected main band of his to cruise the slums of darker and even more extreme electronics.
To quote William's own words, Qual is about vile visions, despaired in a frowning black tower of pain. Concealed yearns of a desolate heart, trying to scratch that unscratchable rotting itch from within.
Centuries of sorrow drenched in gloomy electronics that palpitate like human passions. A call for help.
Tracklisting: Side A: 1. Sable 2. Spit On Me 3. Flay 4. Benevolent Technologies 5. O' Ornate Spade
Side B: 1. The Geometry Of Wounds 2. Luxurious Bleedings 3. Putrid Perfumes 4. Desolate Discotheque 5. Rip Doth Thy Scarlet Claws
Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers is well known as one half of the legendary joint vocal strike force of The Men They Couldn’t Hang. He is also highly regarded as a solo singer/songwriter in his own right and this brilliantly fresh new album brings his songwriting prowess into sharp, bright, focus.
Lyrically this is a collection of unique tales with cinematic imagery - from kitchen sink realism and social commentary to technicolor splendor. The album, in the main, was recorded in the studio built for Kirsty MacColl by Steve Lillywhite in their family home in Ealing.
The studio resonates with musical history and Phil was also lucky enough to be able to use guitars previously owned by Kirsty. Musically the album has many levels – it takes Phil Odgers’ warm melodic voice and rhythmic strumming as a starting point, adds a bit of double bass, fiddle and lead guitar in all the right places. It’s never crowded.
‘The Train’ has a genuine Johnny Cash feel …in fact, on that track, Swill played the actual Martin guitar once owned by Johnny Cash. ‘Blue Skies And A Saturday Job’ showcases the unusual combination of acoustic guitar with baritone and tenor sax whilst the albums only cover song, ‘Long Stem Rose’, is lovingly embraced by cornet, flugalhorn, trumpet and bass trombone. ‘Mist On The Water’, perhaps the fullest song on the album, has a full string arrangement with violins, violas and cellos adding extra depth. Piano and Drums also make a brief appearance but nothing is overplayed giving the entire album a beautifully understated feel.
Phil Odgers and producer James Knight made a point of only using real instruments and live performances – no auto tune here, this is as real as it gets folks! These organic and passionate sessions have resulted in a magical and deeply accomplished album by the UK’s most underrated singer….
Tracklisting: 1. The Train 2. Blue Skies And A Saturday Job 3. No Getting Over You 4. Mist On The Water 5. Moving On Again 6. Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down 7. Too Cold For Me 8. Long Stem Rose 9. Tomorrow Will Be Fine 10. Eddie Was 11. Half Past 3