Otherwordly sonic disasterscapes. From Leeds…
Vessels: White Fields & Open Devices – Album of the Week
While bemoaning the dependency of computers in today’s listening experience – and indeed my lack of suitable technology to listen for the past month; an Athurian-like candidate rescued my ears.
From the untapped and newly-formed well that is Cuckundoo Records, (formed by Leeds’ Ben Winbolt-Lewis and latterly Liverpool-based friend Andy Jones), springs White Knight, Vessels, thrusting Excaliber avant-rock into the heavens.
Weighty slabs of mountainous instrumentation, with clever fluctuations in pace and tone recall obvious touchstones – chiefly Mogwai, but also Explosions (indeed John Congleton of All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone, takes production duties here also), 65daysofstatic and Oceansize – while rarely reverting to cliche and always remaining a riveting listen.
Centre-piece Look at that Cloud! is atypical of Vessels’ mighty appeal; two minutes of cloaking ambient beauty before seismic crashing of noise – so far so post-rock – whereupon three minutes 29 seconds we’re invited into a world of revelation and wonder where a keening guitar rings out in agonising ecstasy yanking your heart out from within your rib cage – it’s truly intelligent, and affecting music.
Two Words And A Gesture teases with an introductory dancing hymnal march before a jack-in-the-box cascading piano lashes down out of nowhere, all epileptic bursts, before Tim Mitchell canes his kit with the ferocity of an axe murderer.
Exemplifying their many talents you’ve the polyrhythmic jolts – ala Battles/Foals – in opener Altered Beast and monstrous spikey aggression in An Idle Brain and the Devil’s Workshop recalling the aforementioned Oceansize at their sinister peak. When Lee J. Malcolm‘s vocal harmonies puntuate the mix, they’re more to add texture than a guiding force, much like brushed drums, they comfort and wrap the music in a warm glow while, conversley much of the electronic drum patterns only delight in their menace.
Inevitably, Vessels will pigeonholed with the usual suspects, but make no mistake, they’re no also-rans, they deserve the adulation and respect to stand side by side their much-lauded forefathers.
For fans of: Wrecking balls, Jenniferever, ice-caps.
No Age: Nouns
Gotta be suspicious of a band that people blog about more than they actually listen to. No Age first came to our attention with last year’s all-over-t’shop comp Weirdo Rippers, and while Nouns continues in a similar bluster of chaotic psych-punk-noise-freakery, there’s little here which kills your mind and hastens repeat listens.
And my mate Andrew saw ’em play with HEALTH at Scala last week and his assessment: ‘HEALTH owned the night – No Age were just so American…‘.
For fans of: Leftover takeaways, Pitchfork, scuzz.
Psychedelic Horseshit: New Wave Hippies
Half Machine Records
Five tracks, ten minutes, mania. Imagine ADHD kids Gary-ed up to the eyeballs let loose in Sonic Youth‘s basement.
Good, but ten minutes can seem too long.
For fans of: Nervous breakdowns and emotional breakups.
Noah & The Whale: Peaceful The World Lays Me Down
Some people view twee as bad. Some people have 2girlsonecup on their favourites.
Belle & Sebastian were at their finest when they were rolling in big baths of soapy twee. Now they push MoR poop.
Thankfully NatW have ripped their blue-print: whopping tin whistle solos, Stilton-smelling trumpeteering, skipperty-skip rhythms, rapturous hand-clapping and heavenly female backing (Laura Marling, Emmy The Great etc) while chief tweester Charlie Fink (a twee name if ever there was one – apart from maybe Charlie Chichester-Chipperton of Chipperville) sings of rotten luck, broken hearts and picnics.
For fans of: Ginger beer, fluffy bunnies, duffle coats.
Lil Wayne: Tha Carter III
If anyone drops a better hip-hop cut than the Jay-Z assisted Mr. Carter in 2008 then I’ll eat my bandwidth.
Tha Carter III is slightly bloated but there’s so much tasty, lascivious, P-Funk, nasty shit you kinda realise why America is on it’s knees to the dreadlocked nutjob.
For fans of: Paranoic freakout funkadelic soul.