Toronto’s Deliluh return with new single ‘Amulet’

When I think back on how much I miss live shows, there’s nothing that quite hit the spot like a small, dimly lit basement, full of like minded individuals watching something special unfold in front of them.

Late November of 2019 saw such an event take place, Canadian outfit Deliluh – fresh off releasing their latest record, the engaging and captivating ‘Beneath The Floors‘ – finding themselves downstairs at YES in Manchester, ripping it up to an enraptured audience.

Having set off for Europe in September 2019 with a plan amongst themselves to uproot the outfit from their Toronto home, one can only assume world events throughout 2020 and 2021 have slowed things down a tad… But here we are, halfway through 2021 and with new Deliluh on show since making the move. Right on time too!

Dark and brooding with a Nine Inch Nails vibe running throughout, new single ‘Amulet’ captures the outfit at both stages following their departure from Toronto. ‘A’ was performed by the previous four-piece lineup (Kyle Knapp, Julius Pederson, Erika Wharton and Erik Jude) and expertly builds and builds the tension to a searing conclusion. ‘B’ on the other hand features just the current active two-piece of Knapp and Pederson, opting to drop you right in Reznor territory – a more direct, shoulder-to-shoulder moody dance situation.

Recorded and mixed by the band in Berlin, Copenhagen, and Marseille, the single is out digitally right now, with vinyl coming this August via Tin Angel Records. With the single announcement comes additional news of an EU/UK run of shows, with our friends at The Beauty Witch/Grey Lantern putting on their only Northern date.

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Exclusive: WATCH The Violent Hearts take on ‘Saxophones by the Water’ from the COWER special edition of ‘BOYS’

For someone who finds it hard to remember what they had for tea last night, it’s difficult to comprehend how the likes of Gareth Thomas, Thomas Lacey and Wayne Adams can jump from project to project to project and not only remember everything, but also churn out gold wherever they go. Amongst them, the trio have put in stints for USA Nails, Petbrick, Yards, Silent Front, Death Pedals, The Ghost of a Thousand, Big Lad and lots more.

Last year saw the three get together as COWER to put out their debut album, ‘BOYS‘, one we suggestedmoves from loud brash noise to a menacing minimalism and back and every step in that movement sounds really, really good.

Having easily shifted all 150 of their super limited edition, hand numbered marbled gold vinyl (available with a range of different coloured sleeves, no less), the COWER boys have again hooked up with the brilliant Human Worth and are now releasing a limited edition cassette of ‘BOYS‘, featuring reworked versions of their tracks by a whole host of contemporaries and other talented bods!

Recorded, mixed and mastered at (where else) Bear Bites Horse in 2019, the original album makes up the first side of the forthcoming release, whilst the other side features seven unique covers, remixes and re-imaginings, including work from Algernon Cornelius, Michael Overdrive and The Violent Hearts.

We’re chuffed up to feature the exclusive new video (produced by Thomas) for ‘Saxophones by the Water‘, as re-recorded by The Violent Hearts. Of their re-working, Lacey tells us this:
The Violent Hearts cover of ‘Saxophones‘ was one of the first versions we got back, and we love it. James’s voice is so haunting and gives a totally different feel to the track than Tom’s version – it feels more like from the perspective of Pamela, not Julian in the tale, much more feminine and sad.

Pre-orders go live on June 18th to coincide with Bandcamp’s annual #Juneteenth, with 20% of proceeds going to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund!

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Exclusive: Stream ‘Post Everything’ – The latest album from Score

Score

Ahead of its release later this week via the ever reliable Cruel Nature Records, we’re chuffed up to present to you in full a new album from Chris Tate, a.k.a. Score. Known for his work with d_rradio – producers of a number of notable atmospheric electronica cuts from the early 2000s – latest album ‘Post Everything‘ follows on from ‘Modern Wreck‘ (2020), ‘Vent‘ (2018) and ‘Slump‘ (2016).

In addition to the full stream below, you can also listen to a mixtape produced by Tate, featuring tracks he was listening to/inspired by whilst making the new record.

Before you get to all that though, here’s a review to whet your whistle from Christopher Nosinbor, on loan from Aural Aggravation. Take it away, Christopher!

Since we seem to have witnessed postmodernism run its course, where do we find ourselves? Scan the scene, and in all directions, the husks of once-prevalent forms lie discarded, superseded by something. It may have started with post-punk, but latterly everything has dissolved and re-evolved in a post-form. Post-rock, post-hardcore, post-metal, post-industrial, post-progressive… It’s hardly surprising, when we live in a world that in itself seems to have swung into a new phase of self-devouring capitalism on steroids (post-capitalism, obviously), and where we have even moved to a point of post-truth. What is anything, anymore? It does very much seem as if we have reached the point at which we are, truly, post-everything. And so what does that leave for the future?

This is, essentially, the starting point for Score’s new album – the point at which we have gone past any meaningful distinctions of place, time, or genre, and quite literally anything is not only permitted, but encouraged. Across the course of the album’s seven tracks, Score bring in bits and pieces of anything and everything to forge their own unique hybrid. It’s not ambient, it’s not glitchtronica, it’s not folk or chiptune, it’s not psychedelic or dream pop: it’s all of these, and more, all melted and swirled together to create an intriguing stylistic collage. For all that, Post Everything is a remarkably coherent and accessible work, and each of the tunes is self-contained.

Content’ is, on the surface, an easy, accessible slice of instrumental pleasantness: picked notes and a lilting melody carry it into the realms of folktronica. But what is it saying? What does it mean? It is a question of ‘content’ or ‘con-tent’? The emphasis does matter, for the air of contentedness it exudes may simply be a surface, a façade.

The title track is where everything comes together for the first time: a nagging guitar motif that’s almost country, which yawns lazily atop slow, languorous waves that lap the sands on a terminal beach – anonymous, generic, a film set, somewhere far away or even only existing in the mind.

Things begin to bend and twist on ‘Free for All’ – another title that can be read two ways, and the beats – heavily echoed – dominate as rippling synths careen and collide over and across one another from multiple directions all at once. A sense of sequential development begins to present itself more clearly as the album progresses, with the glitching stammers becoming increasingly pronounced and more disruptive to the mellow flow, before circling back into smoother, almost conventional ear-friendly sonic spaces.

The trick – while neither a lie nor deception – is a deftness, almost a slight of hand, which allows for the many disparate elements to melt into one another so effortlessly. We wind up in a drift of subtle post-rock on ‘Say No More’ – and that’s what we shall do. It’s all been said, and it’s all been done. Here we are at the end of the road: post everything. Or are we? This album hints at possible futures, and they’re bright. Every end is a new beginning.

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WATCH – WOOZE return with raging new single ‘Witch Slap (IOU)’

It genuinely astounds me that WOOZE aren’t giants of the industry. Alright, so maybe they were on Made In Chelsea the once, but still…

The British/Korean partnership of Jamie She and Theo Spark have been knocking about as WOOZE since 2017 (named after a rough phonetic translation of ‘space’ in Korean – 우주), the pair having met at art school in London. We first discovered them around the release of the untouchable ‘Hello Can You Go’ and its cinematic karaoke themed video, suggesting “they both manage to sound washing-line-fresh whilst sounding as if they were produced and released about forty years ago.”

Not to be deterred by the pandemic, following a COVID enforced hiatus, the pair have announced details around their first material since the brilliant four-track EP ‘What’s On Your Mind?‘ Forthcoming EP ‘Get Me To A Nunnery‘ is pencilled in for Autumn 2021 via Young Poet Records, produced with Tom Furse (The Horrors) and one that press release hyperbole suggests “finds them at the most expansive yet, doubling down and concentrating every element of their intense and eclectic palette“.

Having listened to a lot of Sparks recently, I’m getting serious Mael brother vibes from the glam-stomp of raging new single ‘Witch Slap (IOU)‘. What about that fiddly little bass part? WOOF!

Filmed at Seoul Cabaret with long-term collaborator Nuri Jeong (who’s previously worked with the likes of Kpop singer Crush and rapper ZICO), it might not be as visually stunning as their usual brand of epics but fair fucks to them, they look the part. From drummer She looking cucumber cool behind the kit to Spark showing off the guns and giving it the front man mega-riffs, both backed up by the masked up other players (previously decked out in yellow raincoats). It should come as no surprise mind, given all their visuals are A1 (and when we caught them live their pre-show outfits were just as glamorous as those they wore on stage!)

Speaking on the track, the duo have said it’s probably the fastest song they’ve written so far, “done in about 20 minutes after we had finished demoing another song in the early morning.” If this is the 20 minute cut off standard, we’ve high hopes for the EP!

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This One Song… God Damn on Yout

Tell you what – we love hearing from artists when things go right. We equally love hearing from artists when things go dreadfully wrong. A song that was a piece of piss, written in 20 minutes? Or years in the making and a bastard to write?

Whether it’s a song that came together through great duress or one that was smashed out in a short amount of time, we’re getting the lowdown from some of our favourites on the one song that they can’t stop thinking about – in their own words.

In the run up to the release of their new album ‘Raw Coward‘, Thomas Edward of God Damn talks us through latest single ‘Yout‘. Take it away, Thomas

I’ll try and rewind as far back as possible on this one. I can remember demoing this song right before we went to record the last record. At the time it totally didn’t feel like it was part of that album, but there were a few little nuggets of excitement on there that I couldn’t let go, so I’d pick it up and put it down over the next couple of years. It’s the only one that really joins this record and the last one in that respect as the rest were done mainly in the past year or so. The lyrics literally haven’t changed a bit from the demo so maybe that’s why I’m screaming them with such conviction.

We’ve had a bit of an epiphany as a band the past two records and really see the demoing stage as just as important as the final recording, sometimes rattling out a few versions of a song before settling on the finished output, although you definitely get that “demoitis” where you often prefer certain things about some of the demos to the final output. Nature of the beast init.

So I guess that brings us to the completely accidental way in which this record came to be! We basically self recorded a bunch of songs and presented it as an extended EP to the record label. It was supposed to be a scratty DIY tape that was a refresher on the campaign to remind people that we released a record just as COVID hit… However, when we gave the batch to the label they were totally like “this is your best stuff yet and we want to release it as a record”… Which was a nice surprise. I guess maybe we weren’t over thinking it and that made the final product more pure.

Back to the song! I think I was channelling my love of the more grittier earlier work of bands like The Bronx and Pulled Apart By Horses, those throat ripping hooks which I always saw as originally a Slade or Beatles thing, but with that added power driving beat thing. It’s got that fast kraut Joey Castillo beat in the verse and chorus that we love. The instrumental wonky, tappy bit I guess is the counterpoint to that straight down the line vibe. A prog, math shred verses hardcore punk anthem thing.

The lyrics and melody are party hook and anthemic/empowering in the chorus I guess. It’s kinda having a dig at how insecure and cringe young teens are but appreciating their exploratory/liberating attitude and then coming to terms with the fact that it’s okay to be an old fogey or embrace your old age with self exploration, finding yourself and dropping the societal pressures that fetishise youth. The opening lyric of the song is a foreshadow to a recurring theme on the record; that whole false pride thing that our country grooms into us, I’m rejecting and taking the piss out of our nationalism and highlighting our corruption, again tying in with that personal growth, lifting the curtain etc…

Second verse is just a comedy jape at online society and how people educate themselves nowadays or bolster opinions “It’s fucking gospel truth, I saw it in a meme”… There’s two sides to this: I’ve seen the most real, true and on point references in memes that just explain everything and then sometimes it’s whimsical fun that you should do a bit more research and or see the full picture before having that particular meme reference as your bible.

As I mentioned earlier, this whole record was a DIY affair over lockdown. I recorded Ash’s drums in our lockup with gear I’ve cobbled together over the years, the guitars were all done at home on a £15 practice amp and maybe one or two guitar pedals, the synths were done by Hannah and Rob (our newest members) in Sheffield and we’d Skype chat about shite to get it done. Kept us happy through lockdown anyway. Really enjoyed it, accidental fun is always the best.

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a/s/l: QLOWSKI

Remember the days of the old schoolyard? Remember when Myspace was a thing? Remember those time-wasting, laborious quizzes that everyone used to love so much? Birthday Cake For Breakfast is bringing them back! 

Every couple of weeks, an unsuspecting band will be subject to the same old questions about dead bodies, Hitler, crying and crushes.  

This Week: Ahead of releasing their debut album ‘Quale Futuro?‘, Mickey of London-via-Italy quartet QLOWSKI answers a series of inane questions!

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Words: Andy Hughes (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith)

a/s/l?
28, Male, London.

Have you ever seen a dead body?
Quite a few, unfortunately.

Who is your favourite Simpsons character?
Marge.

What T-Shirt are you wearing?
Brutal Birthday. Amazing noise-punk band from Bologna, Italy.

What did your last text message say?
Yeyuh 🙂

What’s the last song you listened to?
Blue Velvet by Bobby Vinton.

How did you meet the people in your band?
I met Cece something like 12 years ago, we went to school in the same town. Danny and I met behind the bar at Shacklewell Arms, and finally, I met Christian when he was playing in one of Cece’s projects here in London.

What’s the first record you bought?
Ramones Anthology.

What was your favourite VHS growing up?
The Hunchback of Notre Dame!!

When was the last time you cried?
Last night.

Have you ever kissed someone & regretted it?
Not sure if regret is the right word here, but yeah maybe there’s someone I wouldn’t kiss if I could go back?

Best Physical Feature?
The palm of my hands I think.

Worst physical feature?
Hair.

Reasonably ok/not bad feature that you’re not fussed about?
Legs maybe.

Do you have any pets?
Not exactly, but I live with Larry, the most incredible cat on this planet! One of the songs in the album is named after him.

Ever picked up any injuries on tour?
Broke one tooth in Manchester.

What did you do for your last birthday?
I believe bowling and nachos.

Name something you CANNOT wait for?
Fully Automated Luxury Communism.

Do you have a crush on someone?
Sophie Moss.

What’s the shittest experience you’ve had as a musician?
Playing in New York the day before the city was going under lockdown.

If you could go back in time, how far would you go?
Something like Siena in 1308 or Zurich in 1916, or Paris in 1968.

How do you want to die?
I always thought I was going to die relatively young, like in my 50s, not sure why. But would love to die the day after my 90th birthday in my sleep.

What’s your favourite thing about pizza?
It’s absolute perfection.

What are you craving right now?
Pizza and socialism.

Have you ever been on a horse?
I actually did, like 4-5 times when I was a kid.

What did you dream about last night?
That Larry could fly. He was floating around the house like an airship. It was great!

If you could go back in time and kill the baby Hitler, would you?
Why don’t we make sure he grows a decent human being instead?

Do you like Chinese food?
Yes I really do.

Have you ever been on TV?
Not that I’m aware of.

Ever meet someone famous?
No, not actually met I think. I’ve bumped into Hugh Grant jogging in Hampstead Heath not long ago.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I’d love to have a little bookshop where people can also sit and discuss books, a sort of social(list) club but filled up with books that you can buy.

Quale Futuro?‘ is out this week on Maple Death Records and Feel It Records! Grab yourself a copy of the record here!

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Listening Post – June 2021

Sorry, where did the last 5 months go? As we steamroll through the year at breakneck speed, your ever faithful friends at Birthday Cake For Breakfast are here to bang on about music – some new, some old – all worth your attention. Giddy up!

The B-52’s – Private Idaho
(Wild Planet)

A brief two minute clip on Twitter of The B-52’s playing ‘Private Idaho‘ live made way for a month of once a day listening to their debut album and its follow up. Such a quirky jam that’s filled a B-52’s shaped hole in my heart.

FACS – General Public
(Present Tense)

Proper engaging stuff from Chicago outfit FACS, from their latest record ‘Present Tense‘ (which you can own on mouth-watering ‘cheeto smoke‘ vinyl) – vocalist Brian Case keeping you hanging on his every word throughout the rumble and shimmering four minutes. Case recently answered a host of inane questions for us, featuring a particularly good story about Jarvis Cocker.

Crack Cloud – Somethings Gotta Give
(Pain Olympics)

Having lived within a Crack Cloud bubble leading up to and following the release of their debut album, it was refreshing to return to the record nearly a year on and still hear the rising tension of ‘Somethings Gotta Give‘ again as if it were fresh. Subdued for the most part, it really does amp up the anxiety as the track builds and builds.

Field Music – Do Me A Favour
(Flat White Moon)

Swit swoo, the harmonies on this are a delight from the brothers Brewis. From their latest album, the brilliant ‘Flat White Moon‘, ‘Do Me A Favour‘ has a bit of a Tom Petty vibe which we’re all about, with the second offering from the record being possibly the best across its twelve tracks.

We spoke with Peter Brewis not once but twice in the run up to the album, which you should definitely read.

Paul Jacobs – Dancing with the Devil
(Pink Dogs on the Green Grass)

The song Viagra Boys wish they’d written for their recent second album, Pottery drummer Paul Jacobs lets his freak flag fly on this quirky cut from his latest record. A stream of consciousness type vocal guides you through this cool little number.

Squid – Peel St.
(Bright Green Field)

From their highly anticipated debut album, the Squid boys have come up with the goods and ‘Peel St.’ is a proper frantic head-wobbler of delightful proportions. First run through on this I was walking in the pissing rain and it seemed to suit the atmosphere of the record perfectly. Another time I was spinning the record in the living room and heard “What’s this horrible music?” asked from the other room…

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Hiatus Kaiyote – Get Sun (feat. Arthur Verocai)
(Mood Valiant)

Well isn’t this just a whopper of a sun-soaked delight (clues in the title, lad)! Aussie lot Hiatus Kaiyote are box fresh to me, but have been knocking about for a while and have been nominated for TWO Grammy’s, so they’ve clearly got the goods. ‘Get Sun‘ is a proper vibe and one we’ve been relishing in.

Sparks – Amateur Hour
(Kimono My House)

A trailer for the new Sparks documentary kick-started repeated listens to this record and its follow up ‘Propaganda‘, and what a joy it’s been. Love the glam stomp and insatiable chorus of ‘Amateur Hour‘. Proper big one.

Fugazi – Smallpox Champion
(In On the Kill Taker)

As nice as i’m sure it is to be a Fugazi die-hard, it’s even sweeter to have an entire catalogue of undiscovered music lying in ones wake. ‘Smallpox Champion‘ came on randomly the other evening and gripped me from the go. Proper noisy head bopper. It also made me realise how many bands I like that sound exactly like this… Makes you think!

Max Bloom – Pedestrian
(Pedestrian)

Title track from the forthcoming Max Bloom record here, the follow up to last year’s rather lovely ‘Perfume. ‘Pedestrian‘ starts off wonderfully with just piano and guitar, soon elevated to heart-swelling highs when the drums and brass come in. Top stuff as ever from the former Yuck frontman.

Max recently talked us through second single ‘Palindromes‘, which you can read about here.

Teenage Fanclub – Home
(Endless Arcade)

Tell you what I love about the opener from the new Teenage Fanclub record – it’s unexpectedly long and gets better the longer it lasts. We’re used to really long songs, like (remember that 16 minute Hey Colossus number?) – but on ‘Home‘, after it’s been a delightful breeze for the first few minutes, the guitars cut in and just let rip throughout the next 5 minutes as it drifts in and out of Steely Dan territory. Proper.

Boomgates – Laymens Terms
(Double Natural)

Similar to last month’s Listening Post, I keep finding myself falling into Aussie music binges. Another delight from a recent trip comes from this absolute scorcher from the debut Boomgates LP, which perfectly creates butterflies in the old stomach. ‘Oooooooh give it to me‘ Fucking come on! Mastered by Mikey Young, obviously.

Adam Lempel

(Photo Credit: Adam Lempel)

Gustaf – Mine

Watching telly the other day and couldn’t quite place the raging tune playing over the top of a scene. Turns out it was our old friends Gustaf, discovered at the start of the year – but that seems like a year ago, mates. Cucumber cool NYC lot doing the sort of dance-y post-punk that we buzz off.

Meat Wave – Tugboat
(Volcano Park)

The Chicago lads are back and what a joy it is to have a new EP on the horizon. Second single ‘Tugboat‘ brings all the raging, thumping glory of previous album ‘The Incessant‘, flying along at speed and making one think we’re not too far away from chucking ourselves around a sweaty basement show.

N0V3L – Falling in Line
(NON-FICTION)

Captivating new single from Canadian collective N0V3L, taken from their recently released debut album ‘NON-FICTION‘. A proper personal cut, when we first heard this get a live outing, it was too much for vocalist Jon Varley who had to restart it after a moment getting himself together. Heavy stuff.

God Damn – Yout
(Raw Coward)

Off the back of releasing a new album last year (one which we suggested is an “ear splitting onslaught“), God Damn have evolved into a four-piece for the release of this absolute throat-shredding riff-y monster!

Egyptian Blue – Contain It
(Collateral Damage)

Choice little post-punk number from Brighton four-piece Egyptian Blue, taken from their 2019 four-track EP ‘Collateral Damage‘. Ripper central that gets right under your skin.

Steely Dan – Dirty Work
(Can’t Buy A Thrill)

Inspired by Tony Soprano blasting it out in his massive motor, ‘Dirty Work‘ is a certified peach, the perfect soundtrack – whether you’re getting razzed in the sun or singing too loud in the shower.

Cate Le Bon x Group Listening – Magnificent Gestures
(Here It Comes Again)

Quite the ‘magnificent gesture’ of Cate Le Bon to let Group Listening re-work some of her material (ey up!) This delightful number from the pairing of Sweet Baboo and Paul Jones treads fresh ground for the hypnotising cut from her wonderful (Mercury Prize nominated, don’t forget) record ‘Reward‘.

Mattiel – Those Words

Phwooar, this has got a bit of a timeless classic, heart-swelling vibe to it – the latest from Atlanta based outfit Mattiel, out now via Heavenly Recordings.

Mattiel

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Exclusive: WATCH ‘Ctrl’ – the hypnotising new video from crushing duo Modern Technology

How do you fancy kicking off your Friday evening with hypnotising visuals to frazzle the eyeballs, relentlessly on the move in harmony with a crushingly heavy, pounding, THUMP. Perfect – let’s accommodate you with the brand new video from noisy duo Modern Technology!

Ctrl’ is a bonus track from ‘Drowning In A Sea Of Bastards/Lorn‘, a 7” split single between Modern Technology and 72% released last month – featuring quite possibly the artwork of the year. The first split 7″ for the label, as is often the case with HUMAN WORTH, a portion of the proceeds go to charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) – a leading movement against suicide, who are currently supporting more people than ever through this challenging time.

The video itself was produced by Modern Technology’s own Chris Clarke, and the Modern Technology cuts were recorded at Bear Bites Horse Studios, engineered by the in demand Wayne Adams (who also produced a remix for ‘Drowning In A Sea of Bastards‘).

Both Modern Technology and 72% met when they shared a stage in March 2020 at London’s Baba Yaga’s Hut. Little did they know everything would grind to a halt not long after. Because he’s a good egg, Clarke has drafted an open letter to society and you can read that before watching the video below:

Locked in during the third pandemic, and running on fumes since having my first child, I had a lot of time to reflect on our current position on earth, and our placement within it. With the words penned in January, in-amongst a catalyst of global and political catastrophes, it is a reflection of the time it was written – Mourning for the decline and regression of humankind.

With the drums and guitar already part recorded during the recording of ‘Service Provider’— these bones were the perfect canvas to structure the letter. Drawing from the song’s lyrical theme, the contrast of synthetic and recorded foley sounds were later added to the composition as well as reworked guitar to sit beneath the new vocal parts.

The video is an extension of that concept, weaving distorted organic forms in and out of glitchy mechanic malfunction. As the video develops, the organic forms transition into much harsher distortion, as the track builds towards the pinnacle. The closing sequence of a warped human heart becoming a heart-rate monitor — the expression of human beings, trapped in a machine of their own making. Punctuating on the line — ‘To be human has died, as machines, we come alive’

The composition of the song was later developed, enhanced and mixed by Joel Harries of 72% who really helped bring the track to life.

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Album Review: N0V3L – NON​-​FICTION

In the brain-overload video for Crack Cloud’sCrackin Up‘, amongst the gun-shot suicides and beach side effigies, there’s a shot of a snake-eyed tattooed bod in a dimly lit room staring at a host of computer screens. Before the release of their debut album ‘Pain Olympics‘, a video surfaced on their Instagram of a slack-tied, cigarette smoking bloke surrounded by screens, he too in a dimly lit room, watching a progress bar fill up as he uploaded what one assumes was said record.

The seemingly ever-growing ‘multimedia collective‘ are an outfit of many, many vibes (a single video of theirs generally packs in more ideas than most band’s have throughout a career), with one recurring theme being a hermit sat in front of computer screens, looking at who knows what. It rings true though, given everything to do with Crack Cloud up to a point feels like you’re unearthing something secret, looking over your shoulder to see if anyone’s caught you watching what looks like a snuff film (in reality, with this being the internet, there are pockets of fans from all over and sure enough, their debut album was critically acclaimed).

That excitement of discovery unsurprisingly extends to those that move amongst the Crack Cloud circle and on the discovery of N0V3L in late 2018, our fingers couldn’t type about them fast enough (though we did manage it). The moodier arm of the collective (featuring Crack Cloud personnel Jon Varley and Bryce Cloghesy), their sound is less yelped vocals and quirky, more post-punk and new-wave nostalgia.

2019 saw the release of their self-titled debut, a mini-LP of sorts and a record we were, quite frankly, very taken with. The record captured a self-sustaining creative operation – N0V3L worked out of a rental home in Victoria, British Columbia, producing their own music, videos, and clothing. Two years on and they’re on the eve of releasing ‘NON-FICTION‘, their debut album proper, written by Varley between 2017 and 2020 and recorded on a Tascam-388 in the very same home, since torn down – another casualty of the alleged unforgiving housing market in Vancouver.

Bleak so it is, but a house being torn down, spreading the community across the western province of British Columbia, is just part of the makeup of the collective. Mental illness and the fallout of an opioid overdose crisis is a deep part of the network, British Columbia recently marking a somber anniversary in mid-April of five years since a public health emergency was declared after 200 people died of opioid overdoses. Varley himself was victim to an opiate addiction while working in Vancouver’s downtown Eastside.

A number of years back I was fortunate enough to catch both Crack Cloud and N0V3L share a small stage in Leeds at a packed out Hyde Park Book Club. Mid-way through the set, Varley was notably shaken and had to stop in the middle of a new song, his voice cracking as he broke the silence in the room to announce how personal it was to him. Maybe memories have blurred the lines on this one, but hearing it in full on record it has sleeper hit written all over it – but it’s also evident that all power seems zapped out of the vocalist as he sings on ‘FALLING IN LINE‘ of numbing the mind.

The power-zapped vocal of Varley shifts throughout the record, captivating at every turn as it moves from pained one minute (‘UNTOUCHABLE‘) to automaton-like (‘APATH‘) to almost rapping, the singer straining to get everything out of his mouth (‘VIOLENT & PARANOID‘).

Whilst initial live outings of ‘NON​-​FICTION‘ hinted that we’d have a record that shifted from the more danceable, skittish post-punk of their debut and leaned into their moodier, downbeat side, there’s still a lot of the new record that moves at a clip and propels the tracks forward, the likes of ‘STRANGER‘, ‘PUSHERS‘ and ‘EN MASSE‘ destined for moving feet and shuffling shoulders in dimly lit basements.

Opener ‘UNTOUCHABLE‘ sparks things off immediately with rapid-fire drumming and stabbing, jangly guitar as the listener is transported to a German post-punk show or even New Order in their earlier days. Frantic and dance-y, it very much sets the tone. This is, for me, where N0V3L excel – danceable, energetic and moody post-punk, with drums firing fast and bass lines stealing the show.

Back to that live show in Leeds (as well as a support slot for WAND in Manchester later in 2019) and one of the highlights came from the rhythm section, the topless drummer moving about like a wind-up toy, hammering the kit, whilst the bassist hovered closely, doing his thing, the pair holding everything down and adding so much to each and every track. The bass is particularly notable throughout the record, a vital cog and very fitting of an era gone by.

On ‘Pain Olympics‘, Crack Cloud bookended its eight tracks with a definite open and close, each quite theatrical in approach and grandeur. On ‘NON​-​FICTION‘, N0V3L aren’t so much for the theatrics, but it feels very much like an opening statement and a closing of this chapter at its end, with the New Order comparison returning on ‘NOTICE OF FORECLOSURE‘ and its quite beautiful close to the record as Cloghesy‘s sax rings out and everything fades.

Born out of turmoil and sadness, ‘NON-FICTION‘ captures a time and a place in the life of Varley and N0V3L and whilst it’s pained, the results of their debut are something special and worthy of being documented.

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WATCH ‘Tugboat’ – The latest ripper from Chicago trio MEAT WAVE

Is there anything sweeter to the ears than hearing there’s new Meat Wave on the way?!

Whilst we had a brief taster in the form of ‘Yell at the Moon‘ at the tail end of last year, amazingly their previous record ‘The Incessant‘ came out in 2017 (!), so this is long overdue!

Teased very subtly this week via their socials, raging new single ‘Tugboat‘ follows hot on the heels of ‘Yell at the Moon‘, flying along and sounding particularly pounding, building to a deliriously invigorating conclusion and making us think longingly back to their nails live shows.

The opener from new EP ‘Volcano Park‘, it’s out digitally June 11th and physically on August 6th via the ever dependable Big Scary Monsters. It’s said to have started out as an intended single, soon becoming a fully formed six song EP – taking its name from the book ‘1-800 Mice‘ by graphic novelist Matthew Thurber.

It also marks ten years of Meat Wave (!) and along with writing and recording the material, the trio also created the artwork, videos and managed the pressing of the EP.

Familiarise yourself with the power-trio via an interview we did back in 2017!

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WATCH ‘A Song For Those Who Speed In Built-up Areas’ – A new single from JOHN

Colour JOHN Nocturnal Press-2

Words: Andy Hughes (Photo credit: Paul Grace)

Ever have that thing where you look at a word written down for too long and you have to question whether it’s actually a word? Is my mind playing tricks? Is that really how it’s spelt? Surely not…

The new video from Crystal Palace duo JOHN does its best to ruin the word for those with the above affliction (as you’ll soon find out), given it’s on screen throughout via their faithful light box, which live show attendees might recall if they’ve been witness to their furious two-pronged attack.

The brilliant video was produced by the equally brilliant Tom Brewins, who’s made us double over with laughter in the past for productions for USA Nails and Wasted Death. On the concept behind the visuals, Brewins captures the “monotony of loading in gear, waiting around, performing, loading out and driving home before you’ve remembered to even enjoy yourself.

Slightly more restrained than their noisier moments on previous releases, it still packs a proper wallop. For those after something physical, a 7″ is on the way July 2nd via the band’s own Pets Care imprint, as well as their new home of Brace Yourself Records. On top of that, having previously supported the likes of IDLES, METZ and Mclusky, the pair are heading out on the road again with a host of dates – details of which can be found here.

Familiarise yourself with JOHN via an interview with the pair from back in 2019!

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What’s On Michael Portillo’s iPod: Holiday Ghosts

Here at Birthday Cake For Breakfast, we like to get to the heart of what an artist is all about. We feel what influences them is just as important as the music they make. With that in mind, on the very day they release their new album, we’re delighted to have Holiday Ghosts talking us through a host of things that helped shape and inspire them.

Jack Eden

Words: Andy Hughes (Photo Credit: Jack Eden)

Toots and the Maytals

Kat (drums/vocals): “I’ve only recently started getting into reggae over the last couple years, and Toots & the Maytals are a band that pretty much everyone has heard but shamefully, I’ve only just delved in and they are absolutely incredible. It was mainly after watching Steve McQueen’s Small Axe (which was SO good, so powerful and came out at the perfect time) – I immediately searched for the soundtrack, and then looked up the individual artists and other work they’ve done. I can’t remember the last time I was buzzing about a band. Funky Kingston, In the Dark and Sweet and Dandy are now three of my top ever albums, (I’m sure the rest of their albums would make it on the top list as well but I’m yet to get acquainted with those).

Faramarz Aslani – Age Ye Rooz
(Age Ye Rooz, 1977)

Kat: “My parents are both from Iran, but growing up, Iranian music was never something that was played in our house. My parents love the blues (literally anything that can be filed under this genre, they dig), and classics like the Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Bob Dylan, but I was never introduced to any Iranian music, so whenever I heard it at family gatherings it felt alien/didn’t resonate with me. It wasn’t until a year or two ago when my dad showed me Gole Yakh by Koorosh Yaghmei that I started to look for more, and that was when I discovered Faramarz Aslani. His song Age Ye Rooz is so beautiful, it translates to mean ‘if one day’, and is essentially a love song written with incredible imagery by someone who you can tell just has a complete command of words and language. The whole album (also titled Age Ye Rooz) is really lovely, and it feels really weirdly warm and comforting to listen to music in the language that I grew up speaking in my home.

The Penetrators compilation Basement Anthology 1976-84

Sam (guitar/vocals): “This comp is everything I want in a Garage Punk record. It sounds soooo good.  I can imagine all of the band in this kind of cartoon image, same way I do with the Ramones. They’re singing about being the best band in town, how life stinks, and rock n roll easing pain and shopping bags. The guitar riffing on this is so fun. It’s got a Rolling Stonesy/ Magic Band thing going on in the playing. I also think It being in an Anthology format makes it kind of better than if they’d made an album out of this material. There’s all these different recording sessions and live tracks. Keeps it interesting. Fav tracks are: Rock N Roll Face, Teenage Lifestyle, The Scandalizer, Stop Action and No.1 Band In Town.”

Ian F Svenonius‘ book Supernatural Strategies for Starting A Rock N Roll Group

Sam: “I listened to three of Ian Svenonius’ books while walking as a postman in Rottingdean. Such a hoot. The Psychic Soviet, Censorship Now! and Supernatural Strategies for Starting A Rock N Roll Group are all introduced by Ian S saying that these are exclusively opinions of the author and nobody else shares these opinions. He even states that not even the author may agree with these opinions. This book takes the form of a transcribed séance with deceased Rock N Roll stars such as Buddy Holly, Brian Jones, and Paul McCartney who give out wisdom of the ups and downs of the music biz. They all end up taking on the same essay like tone and stances of Ian F Svenonius. It’s a really funny book. I actually agree with most of the opinions.

The Sopranos

Both: “Gotta give this some credit. We have just finished watching the entire series of The Sopranos. For the 3rd time! Gabagool.

‘North Street Air’ is out NOW via Fatcat Records! Pick up a copy or two here!

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