Album Review: Trojan Horse – Fukushima Surfer Boys

Review from Ben Forrester

Trojan Horse have been bending minds with their enigmatic brand of prog-rock since the turn of the decade. Although Trojan Horse do love a wig out, the progressive nature of the band has always been more about exploration rather than self indulgence.

On their last opus, 2014’s ‘World Turned Upside Down‘, the Salfordian outfit blended classic folk intricacies with dubbed out passages and glam-rock melodies that were totally barmy, but made for a genuinely delightful sonic experience. Three years on and the quartet have pretty much spent the whole time beavering away on new material and are ready to fry our brains further with third album ‘Fukushima Surfer Boys‘.

Going into this record I was ready to expect the unexpected, but I still ended up being totally surprised! For the most part, Trojan Horse embrace their electronica side here. Traditional instruments do appear, from the glacial yet glitchy electro mash of ‘The Ebb c/w Solotron‘ and ‘The Wooden Wall‘ to the dreamy synth-pop of the title track, it’s all aboard the rocket ship as these boys are here to take us to another planet.

Although a huge part of this album sees them going into new territory, there is no denying the pop centre that lies underneath these expansive, otherworldly soundscapes. ‘I Wanna See My Daddy‘ has the catchiest hook they’ve penned, underneath a hypnotic beat, while ‘Junk #1‘ sees them at their most seductive, with a fierce falsetto vocal sassing all over a Rhodes driven groove.

But it’s not all drum machines and synths, as Trojan Horse do sink back into full rock band mode at points. ‘How You Gonna Get By?‘ is an infectious glam-pop track with some super soaring harmony work, which propels it into the stratosphere with the rest of the record. ‘The Modern Apothecary‘ gets back to the psychedelic rock stomp of the bands earlier material and features a beautiful psyched-out vocal cameo from none other than Jimi Goodwin of Doves fame!

Although this is quite an eclectic record, Trojan Horse do bridge the gap between the electronic and full band tracks to give the album a sense of cohesiveness. ‘The Castle Of…‘ is a stripped back acoustic number with added synth squelches and new world sweeps that gives it a space-folk kinda vibe. ‘Herbie Hancock‘ on the other hand is an acid funk track that sounds like the band are playing a freak-disco night on the moon. Basically, a lot of this record takes a more futuristic spin on the vintage sounds that have shaped the band. It’s all about the widescreen here, taking what they’ve done before but blowing it up and letting it fly.

Fukushima Surfer Boys‘ is Trojan Horse as eclectic and eccentric as we’ve come to expect from them. But there is definitely a sense of evolution here, as they’ve really pushed themselves to become sonic sculptors. In doing this, they have created an album to both challenge and lose your mind to. See you on the moon, boys! I’ll bring my board!

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Album Review: Days Fade, Nights Grow – Amelioration

Review from JT Wilson

You know the David Lynch film ‘Eraserhead’? It’s about this guy whose girlfriend gives birth prematurely to a deformed, weird creature, which means he’s suddenly forced into a position he isn’t really ready for: husband, father and provider. He’s living in this town which hardly anyone seems to live in, but which has this perpetual industrial racket going on in the background. You aren’t really sure what the protagonist does (something in a pencil factory maybe?) but the combination of pressures plays havoc with his mental health. It’s an industrial town but for all that it’s creating, it’s also destroying.

It’s hard to say without a doubt that Eraserhead was an influence on ‘Amelioration’, the first album by Camille Rearden under the Days Fade, Nights Grow moniker. Amelioration, though, seems to occupy a similar mood: one of its key sonic devices is clangorous factory noise, but in a city where the only industry is demolition and car crushing, a city dedicated less to renewal and revitalisation as much as destruction. It’s highly probable that the distorted clattering that takes up so much sonic space here isn’t on the streets, it’s in the characters’ heads. “Vibrations from brain destroying the body, no space for space to clear or breathe,” Rearden mutters on opener ‘Illusions and Refuge’.

Many of the tracks here are less about wanting to self-destruct or destroy and more about wanting to be erased, or to opt out altogether. On ‘Neutral Nothing’, “Not only do you want the ground to swallow you up but remove every trace of you.” On the mostly a capella ‘Seed’, the narrator “is a seed refusing to grow”.

Amelioration’s main instruments are a funereal organ, a detuned guitar and vocals mostly spoken and off-centre, processed in a disconnected way. It’s hard to identify definite influences: the project’s named after a My Chemical Romance lyric, but there’s no obvious MCR influence on the 11 tracks here.

Sometimes it sounds like a more abrasive Sonic Youth cut, or ‘Is This Desire?’-era PJ Harvey; ‘Epidermal Betrayal’ moves with the drop-C slow grind of early Godflesh; some of the organ and spoken word cuts have echoes of experimental Midwich Cuckoo duo Let’s Eat Grandma, but without the Norfolk teenagers’ precocity. Mainly, though, Days Fade, Nights Grow occupies a world of its own. Perhaps you wouldn’t want to live in this world, but its eerie, crumbling landscape is oddly intriguing.

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Exclusive: Stream ‘RADIO’ – The new album from hip hop producer AlgernonCornelius

“Maybe these broken toys are worth keeping.

On his latest release, AlgernonCornelius is embarking on a voyage. ‘RADIO‘, his third album, is described by the Manchester based hip-hop producer as a regressive adventure into childhood imagination, albeit tainted by the realities of adulthood.

In the same realm as 2015 debut ‘Happiness‘, the tracks on this latest offering were produced between 2011 and 2015, making up a 50-minute mixtape of eclectic cuts.

The 26 track release comes out October 14th through This City Is Ours Records as an official Cassette Store Day 2017 release, available from selected retailers and directly from This City Is Ours Records.

Limited to just 50 copies worldwide, come Friday you’ll be able to get your filthy mitts on a ‘Royal Purple’ C60! Until then, why not stream the album in full through your good friends at Birthday Cake For Breakfast?

We’re chuffed to have the exclusive first stream of RADIO right here – strap on your ear goggles and get lost in this mesmerising collection of sounds.

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a/s/l: Slowcoaches

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: Heather Perkins, bassist and vocalist in gnarly London trio Slowcoaches!

(Photo Credit: Jonny Davies)

a/s/l?
27/female/London.

Have you ever seen a dead body?
Where my dad works they have a bunch of body parts in jars. Whole feet and stuff. Its what made me go vegetarian.  

Who is your favourite Simpsons character?
Prefer South Park.

What T-shirt are you wearing?
One my friend hand stitched for me with GG Allin lyrics on it. Says ‘Don’t Talk to Me.’ Perfect for work.

What did your last text message say?
‘Can’t wait to get away from these chumps forever’

What’s the last song you listened to?
Groping the Angel’s Face‘ by Raspberry Bulbs. Really in to them rn.

How did you meet the people in your band?
Met Sean when we played a gig with his band Fawn Spots. Apparently the first thing I said to him was ‘where’s Lee?’ Lee was the old drummer and he was like thanks mate nice to meet you too. Met Oliver on Twitter. 

What’s the first record you bought?
An R Kelly single for my mum.

What was your favourite VHS growing up?
Pugwall. No-one ever remembers it. It was an Australian TV show about a bunch of kids who start a band. I was obsessed. I swear its what made me want to be in a rock band.

Best physical feature?
We have good hair genes in our family. Thanks mum.

Worst physical feature?
My legs are weird.

Reasonably ok/not bad feature that you’re not fussed about?
My shoulders.

Do you have any pets?
I have a cat called Scout and she is literally my child.

Ever picked up any injuries on tour?
Broken foot, two sliced fingers, a lot of bruises.

What did you do for your last Birthday?
I can’t remember.

Name something you CANNOT wait for?
Going on tour!

Do you have a crush on someone?
My bf onvs.

What’s the shittest experience you’ve had as a musician?
Having go back to work.

If you could go back in time how far would you go?
I’d go back to school and start again but this time I wouldn’t be so desperately shy and anxious.

How do you want to die?
I’m terrified of dying. I don’t want to die.

What’s your favourite thing about pizza?
It tastes better in the morning.

What are you craving right now?
I constantly crave attention. 

Have you been on a horse?
No. I will never go on a horse.

What did you dream about last night?
A small old woman was giving me a back massage but she had a cold and I didn’t want her breathing all over me. 

If you could go back in time and kill the baby Hitler, would you?
Yep.

Do you like Chinese food?
A chinese buffet pretty much is my idea of heaven.

Have you ever been on TV?
Richard and Judy.

Ever meet someone famous?
Met Mark Owen from Take That when I was about 12. Didn’t know who he was at the time. He was absolutely smashed and I was scared.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A punk singer.

Slowcoaches are out on a massive UK/EU tour throughout October and November! For a full list of dates, hit up this link yo!

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Exclusive: Listen to the super-infectious ‘Inside Out’ from math-pop trio FES

Back in March of this year, we were super pleased to have premiered the debut EP from wunderbar math-pop trio Flat Earth Society.

Having simplified things and now going under the name of FES, the brilliant Peterborough three-piece have got a new EP on the horizon. The forthcoming EP is a split with Exploder (formerly Exploder Than You) called Sleep Less‘, out October 18th through Rabbit Ear Records, with its release coinciding with a UK tour throughout October!

Birthday Cake For Breakfast is super-duper chuffed to premiere the brand new video from FES for the EP’s lead single ‘Inside Out’. Within seconds, Inside Out should have you sporting a giant, shit-eating grin. If it doesn’t, well… maybe check your pulse?

The super infectious vocal of Polly Holland-Wing is the heavy driving point in this massive pop-smasher. Do yourself a favour – Get a load of FES below!

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Exclusive: Watch ‘A Sacred Bore’ – The brand new video from Glaswegian experimental artist Kapil Seshasayee

Kapil Seshasayee is a fascinating man. It’s been said that the Glaswegian noise-rock/Indian Classical musician is somewhat of a polymath, with his musical output involving unorthodox instrumentation (such as the Waterphone) and his influences ranging far and wide.

His latest single, the hypnotising ‘A Sacred Bore’, features a guitar tuned in such a fashion to make it sound like an Indian Sitar, whilst simultaneously sounding every bit as math-rock as anything you’ll hear on these pages.

The single is taken from his forthcoming album of the same title (on Liverpool based label Loner Noise) – a concept album about the Indian caste system. With the LP, Kapil looks to raise awareness of the abusive treatment toward lower castes and the barbaric practises still seen in certain South Asian communities. The single recently premiered on The Quietus, where you can read further comments from Kapil on the subject.

Having previously performed with favourites of ours such as Cattle, USA Nails and Blacklisters, Kapil is back out on tour throughout the UK again this October, at the following dates:

13th October – The Old England, Bristol
14th October – The Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool
15th October – The Peer Hat, Manchester
4th November – Cellar 35, Aberdeen
17th November – The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle
24th November – Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh
1st December – Book Yer Ane Fest, Dundee

We’re delighted to have Kapil on Birthday Cake For Breakfast, with the exclusive premiere of the video for A Sacred Bore appearing below.

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Gremlins in the machine: An interview with Wot Gorilla?

(Photo credit: Andrew Benge)

Absolute nightmare. Absolute nightmare.”

It’s Friday afternoon at ArcTanGent and Mat Haigh, guitarist and vocalist in Wot Gorilla?, is putting on a brave face. Having just performed earlier that afternoon, an enjoyable post-set comedown is off the cards, thanks to the presence of a few on stage “gremlins” that infiltrated their set. Grinning back at me across the table as we both work our way through cans of shitty beer in the bustling backstage area, he tells me all about the palava the other two members of the band have been subjected to this afternoon.
Maybe the gremlins were there in the car, taking ‘em the wrong way…

Right before their set, bass player Jonny Hey and drummer Jason Howard ended up taking a wrong road and wound up getting their motor stuck in a field. A stressed out Mat considered playing a stripped back acoustic set with friend Ryan, but admits it wasn’t likely to work. Ryan had his own issues to deal with after all, having to scrap a late set appearance to play guitar with the trio on older tracks ‘Fear Of Flying’ and ‘Is’, due to further gremlins.

I Had a few more tinnies than I probably should’ve done. I guess when we played it was a bit of a nightmare, but I look out, everyone seems to be enjoying it. I think we got away with it, pretty much.” Smiles Mat. “There were some bobbing of heads and that’ll do me.”

Regular readers will likely have heard of (or even been in attendance at) ArcTanGent Festival, and will therefore know all about the type of crowd it gathers. As well as the bobbing of heads, there were a fair few folk within the packed out tent belting back the words here and there.
“I felt a little bit better when I saw that.”
Nods Mat. “…But it didn’t make up for my poor playing. It was shocking… I don’t usually drink as much as I did today. You know when you’re stressing out? It happens sometimes, dunnit.  It was probably a bad idea.” He laughs.

Mat himself admits that the frustrations with onstage gremlins (and most likely, the big bag of cans he’d consumed just prior to playing) forced him to scream through the majority of the set, rather than sing. Ever screamed into a pillow? Like that, but into a microphone. In front of a huge audience.

Having recently taken vocal coach lessons to assist with his screaming (to avoid losing his voice), not destroying his vocal chords was one highlight he was able to take away from the weekend.
In that sense I enjoyed it.” He says with a laugh.

He does admit, however, that there were a few omissions from the setlist due to some anxiety over losing his voice from screaming. One song in particular, ‘Kikuna’, was notable in its absence. Besides being a head-fuck delight for its duration, the brutal opener from their brand new EP ‘Angel Numbers’  is a total throat shredder in parts. Can’t blame the guy. Reception for the new EP has seemingly blown the trio away. Following on from April 2016’s ‘.​.​.​and then there were three​.​.​., we didn’t hear from the band until May of this year.

I guess the single last year was just to keep things ticking over.” Admits Mat. “I guess since 2012, not a lot’s been going on. I’m surprised that there’s any kind of interest whatsoever.” He adds with a laugh.
“So I’m very pleased there’s this interest and we got asked to play this year, even though we haven’t done too much. Really, we have wanted to play ArcTanGent – we felt like we should’ve been playing it years ago!”

Writing about Angel Numbers back in July, we commented on the darker tone that we’d heard glimpses of back around the time of .​.​.​and then there were three​…, particularly how crushing it is in parts. It’s not gone unnoticed either, with Mat agreeing that fans have been taken by the heavier side of Wot Gorilla? that seems to have developed. A glimpse into their future? In a word, no.

“…I kind of miss the old days.” Admits Mat, noting that Wot Gorilla? have become a four-piece once again, with a view to bring keyboards and samples into the mix in the near future. Whilst he’s the first to admit that it doesn’t feel like their time as a three-piece has gone the distance, he’s already content to move on past being a trio.

“I feel like I’ve been there and done it. It was great, but I miss that other element of someone else playing with us.” He continues. “We’ll go down a completely different direction, but hopefully it won’t take us as long to release something. I’d like to release an album. The riff-bank is full pretty much. It’s overflowing. I reckon next year, release an album and do it properly (hopefully).

With that, there’s some hesitation as he adds with a laugh.
Nothing goes to plan in this band – ever…

Whilst he apologies for appearing negative throughout, there are numerous talking points that have Mat joyous. Aside from having his baby daughter and missus on site (“She’s a massive positive”), the recording of the EP itself bought a lot of joy to the band, thanks to an eventful few weeks at The Grand in Clitheroe.

Having previously worked with producers Roni Szpakowski (Forever Cult) and James Kenosha (Grammatics, Pulled Apart By Horses), earlier releases perfectly captured a certain point in the lives of Wot Gorilla? (“Even though we didn’t sound anything remotely like Grammatics.”) For their new EP though, the band turned to Tom Peters – Guitarist in Alpha Male Tea Party and on-the-rise producer.

“…Tom obviously has a background in this whole scene, he understands. He’s an impeccable guitarist and I just knew, for me personally, I just wanted someone who knew what to do with a guitar.” Says Mat. “Not that the other guys didn’t, but I just wanted a change. We always kind of fancy a change after recording with someone, because it’s been two or three years in between.” He laughs.
“But working with Tom was amazing, he’s so relaxed. He knows what he’s doing. He’s got that fucking pedal board that’s out of this world. It inspired me to buy a few more pedals. I imagine we’ll work with him again for the next stuff, just because we felt comfortable with him. He’s just a nice guy and he knows what he’s doing.

With confirmation that the “riff-bank is full”, it sounds like we’re mere months away from another new Wot Gorilla? release. But as is often the case, these things take time.

I would imagine it’ll be a couple of years, because of how things go. Life just gets in the way… But, it will be an album.” Says Mat. “I’m not doing another EP, I’m not doing a single. I want an album and to do it properly.”

Read our review of Angel Numbers here!

“I guess it’s down to us. I’m excited about working with someone new, ‘cus this guy is great. Other than being a great musician, he’s got a great vibe about him that’s gonna bring a bit of positivity – which you need when you’re around me, ‘cus I’m like the most negative person ever, even when things are going great.” He laughs.

With the return to a four-piece bringing a level of excitement to the band, Mat reckons Wot Gorilla? want to get out on the road and gig as much as they can (“…as much as our wives and partners enable us.”), though admits touring will likely be difficult once life gets in the way. ArcTanGent was the shining light on the horizon (“This was it… this was the big gig!”), so hopefully we’ll hear from them before the year is out.

I can’t even say what it’s gonna sound like.” Says Mat. “I can’t even imagine, but I imagine the heaviness might subside slightly, because… I don’t know, it was where I was a year ago now; now I’m somewhere else. The band is two steps behind where I am, because everything takes so long. Who knows.

Putting down his can, he chuckles.
That sounded fucking… I’m trying to be positive. I’m trying…

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