Monday, 31 May 2010

It Came From The West...

I love it when a plan comes together...

I was cruising the Net and came across this brilliantly monikered post rock outfit. Zombie Western hail from Waco, Texas - even more of a hook. Texan instrumentalists top my list of fave bands - Explosions in the Sky, This Will Destroy You - and now I can add these guys. I went with my hunch and was proven correct - these guys, having been around just shy of a year, are awesome. Their first, self-produced EP The End...And The Aftermath is out June 15. Im going to be hunting frantically for it, as should you.

Zombie Western - The Aftermath

Aloof Nudity - We've All Been There...

Aussie duo Naked On The Vague have been floating about for a couple years now, and yet I have only cottoned on to them in the past couple of weeks. Their second album Heaps of Nothing is out to some considerable acclaim, and their keyboard/bass/incessant vocal dronings provides a menagerie of sonic meanderings that seems impossible coming from a duo. There is something dystopian happening here. Their sound is debilitating, earth shattering, and scary as shit, which is positively electrifying. They are signed to Siltbreeze - expect to hear more from them in the very near future...

Naked On The Vague - Treading Water

Naked On The Vague - These Days

Caribou remixes Four Tet's forthcoming single, Angel Echoes

First of all, thanks to Bren for holding the fort at Sonic Masala while Paul and I were going a little nuts at Primavera Sound... We'll soon give you a download of it all, from the craziness of Monotonix, the awesomeness of The Oh Sees or Health, through to the ridiculousness that was Gary Numan (or should I say his terribly poor and clichéd attempt to emulate Trent Reznor...)

Although still in recovery mode, I couldn't stop myself from sharing the news that the masterminds behind two of the best albums so far this year, Dan Snaith aka Caribou and Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet, are collaborating on a track.

Four Tet's releasing "Angel Echoes", first song on his latest full length, There Is Love In You, as the new single. Both CD and vinyl versions, available from July 19th through Domino Records, will include remixes from Caribou as well as Jon Hopkins.

I've failed miserably to manage to cach Four Tet play live so far this year -other than his outstanding DJ set at Fabric on January 22nd - so I can't wait to see him, albeit behind the decks again, at Caribou's show at Heaven on June 16th. Or at least I'm hoping so, as there is a little bit of confusion on this one. Caribou announced in March that Four Tet would do DJ on June 16th after he had to cancel his appearance at Corsica Studios earlier this year. However, every other site mentions the original line up (ie Mt Kimbie and Patten as support acts). So, what's it gonna be??

Pulling Us Bleary Eyed Into The Past

I saw Sleepy Sun in July last year over watching an apparently mental Dananananaykroyd gig at Hoxton Bar and Grill, where earlier in the year I had seen Dananananaykroyd, funnily enough. Paul, who saw the latter gig in July, thought I was mad to miss the frenetic thrashings of the Scottish wunderkinds, but Sleepy Sun’s unapologetic 70s leanings and stoner wigouts really appealed to me. Whilst it wasn’t the mindblowing event that it could have been, the San Fran-via-Santa Cruz sextet set out to, and achieved, exactly what it said on the tin.

We are almost 12 months on, and these ATP-backed rapscallions are a little more world weary, much more live stage aligned, but still very classic seventies rock and/or roll. With their latest LP Fever up for grabs tomorrow (1 June through ATP Recordings), it seems that the massive, sun-blasted riffs, whilst made richer and aurally more crystalline, will forever be entrenched in the Led-Zep school of rawk. Check out a track from Fever, plus a collaboration with UNKLE off the latest LP Where Did The Night Go?

Sleepy Sun - Open Eyes
UNKLE (feat. Sleepy Sun) - Follow Me Down

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Album review - Broken Water's Whet

I know Ive posted about Broken Water before. The Olympia, Washington three piece rose out of the ashes of Sisters to create something that held onto the Sonic Youth noise, but brought to the fore the elegaic, raw and ghostly vocals of drummer Kanako Wynkoop (such a juxtaposition will be explained shortly). They are still a relatively unchampioned band however, which is a massive shame, for if their debut LP Whet is anything to go by, these guys are a force to be reckoned with.

There is no doubt that Whet showcases a sound that is steeped in the late 80's to the early 90s - heavily distorted drudging guitars, echoed vocals, sharp sparks of noise - everyone of that era, from Kim Gordon to J Mascis to Kevin Shields, have had their playbooks scrutinised, with Broken Water using it all to their own nefarious means. Opener 'Say What's On Your Mind' opens with a white noise blaze before settling down into a Dinosaur Jr wail of guitar - even guitarist Jon's voice has the affected tones of J Mascis, which is in fuller effect in 'Memory'. Kanako is the mainstay vocals wise here though, and second track 'Hear' has a slower grind to its pulse, the echoey chamber of the guitar slowing things right down, before amping up in a Raveonettes circa Whip It On scrawl. The vocals evoke Corin Tucker, a bit of grrl riot to go with your grungey squall. Elsewhere on the album, 'Web' has a more lo-fi styling a la Vivian Girls, yet with a sunnier disposition (a la Best Coast?), whilst 'Kamilche House' drawls away hazily, Kanako et al sounding like a disaffected Sub Pop cast off (in a very good way). Therefore experimentation is very much the key here style-wise, yet is all firmly entrenched in pre-Seattle explosion era, and yet somehow sounds both new and vintage. A constant juxtaposition that enhances the album rather than hinders it.

Overall though Whet is refreshing in its use of noise to harken back to the days when it was ceremoniusly linked to harmony. Broken Water have constructed songs that are both abrasive and sensuous, joyous and melancholy - with their eyes nailed to the floor and their hair in their eyes one minute, their instruments in a pile and a maniacal grin on their faces the next. Its nothing new per se - but it is something that is done impeccably well. Whet to be in the running for my top ten list come December - yep, its that good.

Buy it! Vinyl via Night People; Cd via Radio Is Down. The pic above is the vinyl cover sleeve.

Broken Water - Say What's On Your Mind

Vampires On The Beach In A Wooden Sh(j)ip...

Another Neil Young influenced post - Im surprised its taken me THIS long! But, as the Cortez covers showed, Neil allows for some amazing covers. This time around we are focusing on 1974 masterpiece album On The Beach (my personal fave of Young's works), and the Manson-checked barnstomper 'Vampire Blues.' This here version is by San Fran Space psych weirdos Wooden Shjips. The song is brilliant - the band is brilliant - their intersection is...brilliant? Yes.

Wooden Shjips - Vampire Blues (Neil Young cover)

Upset the Rhythm On A Roll This Summer...

We here at Sonic Masala love love love Upset the Rhythm. 2010 has already been a massive year for the promoters/record labellists, what with releases from Cold Pumas and Trash Kit, plus amazing live shows from TuNe-YaRdS, Trash Kit, Male Bonding, Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls, Xiu Xiu, U.S. Girls (UtR love their Girls...), Times New Viking, Crystal Antlers, Best Coast, Real Estate, Ganglians, Double Dagger... And I have glossed over a lot!

Well, the love is set to continue, with some amazing gigs lined up just around the corner. We here at SM endeavour to be at as many of these as is humanly possible - we implore you to do so as well! So whilst you plan your Bank holiday, why not plan your musical calendar too? And make sure to thank us when your mind is sufficiently blown away... And the ones in orange I'm already signed up for! So...what are you waiting for???

with possible special guest Amy Howden-Chapman
Monday 31 May Cargo, 83 Rivington Street,
Shoreditch, EC2A 3AY 7.30pm £9.00

Tuesday 1 June Cargo, 83 Rivington Street,
Shoreditch, EC2A 3AY 8pm £8.00  

Wednesday 2 June Plan B, 418 Brixton Rd, SW9 7AY 
(2 mins walk from Brixton tube) 8pm £10.00

MI AMI (ex-Black Eyes) 
Thursday 3 June Barden's Boudoir, 38-44 Stoke Newington Road, 
Dalston, N16 7XJ 8pm 7.00

Saturday 5 June The Luminaire, 311 Kilburn High Road,
Kilburn, NW6 7JR 8pm £8.50

Tuesday 8 June Barden's Boudoir, 38-44 Stoke Newington Road, 
Dalston, N16 7XJ 8pm £7.00 

Monday 14 June Camp Basement, 70-74 City Road,
Old Street, EC1Y 2BJ 8pm £6.00

TUNE-YARDS (5-piece band, one-off show!)
Wednesday 23 June The Scala, 275-277 Pentonville Road,
King's Cross, N1 9NL 7.30pm £10.00

Sunday 27 June Barden's Boudoir, 38-44 Stoke Newington Road,
Dalston, N16 7XJ 8pm £6.50

Friday 23 July Cargo, 83 Rivington Street, 
Shoreditch, EC2A 3AY 8pm £8.50 

Monday 26 July Camp Basement, 70-74 City Road,
Old Street, EC1Y 2BJ 8pm £6.00

Wednesday 1 September Camp Basement, 70-74 City Road, 
Old Street, EC1Y 2BJ 8pm £6.50 

Wednesday 29 September Camp Basement, 70-74 City Road, 
Old Street, EC1Y 2BJ 8pm £7.00


Zola Jesus - Night from Souterrain Transmissions on Vimeo.

The Future Sounds Good

One of my top ten albums of last year was Travels With Myself And Another, Future of the Left’s sophomore effort since rising from the ashes of seminal upstarts Mclusky. After the promises made with first album Curses!, Travels… really took it up a notch, combining…that booming bass, the razor’s edge guitar, and the angry, growling lyrics and nasty vocals belonging to said Mr. Falkous.
Well, there is a lot of news on the Welsh maelstrom’s front.  First of all, they have recorded
their 3rd album. Good to see they aren’t mucking around! More disconcerting though is
that ex-Jarcrew bassist Kelson Mathias is currently out of the mix, due to leaving the band (the
reason is unclear - read kelson's statement and Falkous' reply here.)

Thankfully the fill in replacement is none other than brilliantly menacing Kong bassist
Steve Hodson, a perfect replacement on all fronts. For how long though? Hopefully
this doesn’t impede too much on the gathering clusterfuck that Kong are generating –
they are my favourite small UK band at the moment, and should be pushing to blast all and
sundry away with a massive 2010…

Finally they are touring. I have tickets, but have just found out it clashes with a special
Pixies gig that I cant for my own sanity miss…

Still, here are the dates, and unless you have a life-or-death situation like mine, you have
no reason to miss it. May God have mercy on your soul…

3-Jun-10 uk birmingham rainbow
4-Jun-10 uk london the lexington, Club COG and White Light presents
5-Jun-10 uk nottingham 580's
9-Jun-10 France Tours Aucard de Tours festival, main stage
8-Jul-10 croatia Pula Marelica club, Art & Music festival
16-Jul-10 uk cheltenham 2000trees festival
17-Jul-10 uk wrexham central station
18-Jul-10 uk manchester moho live, aftershow club
25-Jul-10 uk oxford truck fest, barn stage

Future of the Left - Chin Music

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Musing over equine-aided eviseration...

Pulled Apart By Horses have two bits of exciting news for you (well, sort of...). The Leeds destroyers are releasing their debut self-titled LP through Transgressive Records on Monday 22nd June. You can pre-order it in either 12" vinyl or CD format from here, here, here or here.

Secondly, Ive already mentioned they are touring endlessly, as always, this summer - that 100 Club show will be fucking ridiculous - but they are now officially the support act for stadium rockers (ah, it hurts me to say that - I used to love these guys...) Muse. Its a major coup for the boys though, so hats off to em - hopefully it will give more of those much-deserved accolades.

Finally, here's the new single!

Any Knives to Grind This Autumn????

Nick Cave is a musical entity all on his own. All things he touches turned to gold; everything he does is inimitable. The Bad Seeds continue to surge forward; his second novel The Death of Bunny Munro is a work of twisted and yet empathetic genius; his ghostly scores for The Road, The Assassination of Jesse James By The Cowardly Robert Ford and The Proposition (which are all brilliant films) lift the heavy subject matter into the netherworld...

Then there is Grinderman, where Cave and some of his Bad Seedites (including the cracked genius of The Dirty Three's Warren Ellis, whose work on Cave's scores is immediately recognizable) harken back to Cave's roots in The Birthday Party to let forth a bilge of vitriol, spewing forth sleaze, noise and aggression. It scares you - you know you are powerless - and yet you beg for it to have its way with you, the rougher the better...

So before I have a cold shower, two bits of rad news. This electric side project is bringing out a second album to complement the self-titled debut of 2008. Recorded in various London studios, the LP (tentatively titled Grinderman 2) is due out September 13 via Mute Records. And secondly, they are playing at the Hammersmith Apollo on October 1. I saw them play in Brisbane back in October 2008 - I thought Id lost my musical virginity before then, but I was (not so) sadly mistaken... You have been warned.

Grinderman - No Pussy Blues

Friday, 28 May 2010

Newsflash - Weird Wives Rip Off Bird’s Head For Fun…(Friday Cover Up...)

I know we only brought to your attention Surfer Blood’s excellent side project Weird Wives last week. However they have just released their 3rd ‘EP’ on their blog, and on it is a deliciously scary and off-kilter cut of Prince’s ‘When Doves Cry’. Prince must be in the water – after hearing about Wax Fang’s delirious take on the Purple Rain soundtrack at Pavement’s ATP, anything by the little dude as interpreted by someone else seems ever so exciting! And in this case, how can something this evil be so much fun?

Weird Wives - When Doves Cry

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Gang of Four Content to Go Another Round

Godfathers of post-punk – basically every ‘new sound’you are hearing now and have had in your earphones since 2000 – Gang of Four have been destroying stages far and wide since their re-emergence a couple years ago. Now it seems that they are finally ready to impart upon the world some new stuff. The new album, Content, is slated to hit later this year. To get you salivating, they have dropped anew song! Very exciting times indeed. So plug in and get this on high rotation. Expect this and more new material to filter its way through their live sets as they prepare another summer onslaught and show all their inferior disciples how its really done – the first stop of which is bloody Primavera Sound in Barcelona – damn you Paul and Ani!

Gang of Four - You Don't Have To Be Mad

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Letting Mogwai Out of the Box

Mogwai are my favourite band hands down, so I am wetting myself as they are set to release their first ever live CD(Special Moves)/DVD (Burning) with a showing of the film at the Scala next Thursday, April 4th. This is huge. What is even huger is that accompanying the film - which features footage from the band's three-night residency Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg in April 2009 - are DJ sets by members of Fuck Buttons and Errors, and a live set from Scots Remember Remember! All for a tenner! Hells yeah!

Some might be shaking their heads here, as Government Commissions was also a live album. However they were BBC sessions, whereas Special Moves has been recorded specifically with release in mind. Expect some absolute gems that chart the band's entire career - 'Like Herod' to 'I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead'. Start

I posted the trailer a while back for Burning; here's a track from Special Moves, the seminal 'New Paths To Helicon Pt. 1'.

Mogwai - New Paths To Helicon Pt. 1 (live)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

When a hater becomes a fan

You might notice that Paul put up a post near the inception of Sonic Masala about Woven Bones, the Austin, Texas trio/duo (they are yet to settle on a steady drummer) that thrash out garage psych in all its inherent ugly beauty.  And I wasn’t impressed. Which surprised Paul, seeing as proper growling psych rock is a mainstay on my musical palette.  However, the track ‘If You're Gold, I'm Gone’ just didn’t turn me on.  It sounded like so many other bands that were raping the scuzzed out lo-fi/no-fi sound. So I quickly discarded them.

Fast forward to May, a few months has gone by, and I am a convert.  You see, that track was not indicative of what Woven Bones are capable of. Their music is lean, grizzled, flea bitten and more than a little pissed off.  There are sonic meanderings that emulate Spacemen 3, Jesus and Mary Chain and their ilk – but for the most part we are talking precise slabs of wails, squalls, snarls and drones, all cobbled together to make a dirty quasi pop song.

Don’t believe me? Fine. I'm not trying to tell you what to do. I haven’t had my forearm twisted in a vicious Chinese burn by the band’s manager, or been given the waterboard treatment by Paul. I just chanced upon their debut album In and Out and Back Again. It is a taut record of dirty, distorted bliss. It is so concise that it pulls up at just on half an hour, and there was no way I was leaving the room until I had another listen. And another. It was that good.

There is nothing better than being born again; to see the light; to be a fully fledged convert. Onward Woven Bones soldiers!

And whilst there aren’t any registered dates for Woven

Bones to appear here in the UK, Id warrant that a visit will be a high priority before the year is out – and I for one will be in the front row. Listen to single If It Feels Alright and belter Creepy Bone, buy the album, and join the brigade.

Woven Bones - If It Feels Alright
Woven Bones - Creepy Bone

A naughty lil Jewish man walks into a bar...

Now I know that Sonic Masala has stuck rigidly to music in the past - and most likely will continue to do so forever and ever, yadda yadda yadda. But I like to shake things up a bit, and who better to do it with than an overtly controversial skinny pale bald Jew from New Yawk best known for wearing denim shorts and trialling for the Blue Man Group?

David Cross is one funny bastard. He crosses many mediums through indie and mainstream films, and seminal work with TV, but of course it is on the stage where Cross reigns supreme. He continues to tour his standup routine, and is one of, if not the only, comedian to be signed to indie rock behemoths Sub Pop. His 3rd album Bigger and Blackerer is out now, and is fucking hilarious. If you like your stand up acerbic, satirical, and inflammatory, this is a must.

Have a laugh...

David Cross - The One Show About Drugs And Stuff

And this is a further swerve to left field (although it has a tenuous link with the above skit due to the American show Intervention), and Im not sure how it will go with the other SM-ers - but the fuckers have gone to Barcelona without me, so screw em! I dare you not to laugh at this...I DARE YOU!

Primavera Sound bound

Two thirds of the SM gang are off to Primavera this weekend. So Brendan will be holding the fort once again, sorry mate... It does mean though we will trying to post pics and vids live from Barcelona. I say try as I don't want to promise too much, however we will make the effort. If the technology in sunny climes fails us, or we fail it, then we have loads of stuff to share when we get back - that's if we can remember anything! Queue headline act with witty, appropriate song...

The Pixies -Holiday Song

Monday, 24 May 2010

Double Dagger a photographic odyssey

Friday at the Lock Tavern...

Like I promised here are those Double Dagger photos. Never before have I seen a band so many times over such a short period of time, three shows over five days. To set the record straight we never intended to go to all three gigs, it just worked out that way... Christ I felt like some kind of fan boy geek, but it was worth it. All three sets were very different but awesome in their own way - from the riot of the Lock Tavern to the six man mosh pit and wall climbing of The Rest Is Noise, to the 'in your face' tactics of Nolen at Cargo (hold on, he's always in your face!) Double Dagger came to our fair city and showed us how its really done - and dicked all over Real Estate in the process. Sorry Real Estate but they really did!

Saturday at The Rest Is Noise...
Tuesday at Cargo...
Loads more snaps after the drop...

Luxury Transit Transit

Some bands always seem to be on the pulse, their finger on the latest trend or fashion spreading through bands like a wild fire on a hot day. But then some bands take their time to develop, not giving a shit what anyone else is doing or what is meant to be 'cool'. Such an attitude has to be a good thing in the long run. Music would never move on if every band jumped on the latest band wagon (no pun intended, honest). But at the same time keeping half an eye on the past can produce a sound that, to my ears, sounds timeless.

One such band would have to be Los Angeles trio Autolux. This is a band whose first L.P, Future Perfect that arrived way back in 2004, was fixated with a accessible shoegaze aesthetic, but it contained tracks that really did have that timeless quality - just listen to 'Turnstile Blues' below. So when ATP recordings announced today that the band was due to drop their second long player in August, Transit Transit, it stirred feelings in me like the returning of an old friend with the promise of exciting new stories to tell. The only hints of where the new material might take us can be found with their work with UNKLE, both on the track 'Joy Factory', and the track 'Fat Kid' that sat on the b-side of 2008's Audience No. 2 7" from 2008. Could we see a more electronic Autolux? Its hard to tell, what do you think? I'll be feeling all excited and reminiscent till August.

Cold Pumas go free

Cold Pumas' single 'Beat Mystery', originally released as a 500-copy limited edition sky blue vinyl through Upset The Rythm, is now available as a free download here (via Soundcloud).

The Brighton-based are also playing a host of shows in London and Brighton in the next few weeks, so you have plenty of occasions to check them out live:

- 2 june @ The Albert w/ Mi Ami + XXJFG DJs in Brighton
- 6 june @ The Cowley Club w/ Brilliant Colors, La La Vasquez, Lovvers, Prize Pets + The Sticks in Brighton
- 9 june @ New Hero w/ Male Bonding
- 24 june @ The Stag's Head w/ Fair Ohs + Golden Grrrls in London (Dalston)
- 25 june @ The Cowley Club w/ Fair Ohs + Golden Grrrls + Sauna Youth in Brighton
- 30 june @ Stour Space w/ Peepholes in London

Ratatat's forthcoming album, LP4, is now streaming online

Following up on Brendan's post last week on Ratatat's new album, LP4 - you can now stream it in its entirety here, where it will be available until its release on June 8th.
Happy listening!

Bitter Travelin' Girl

The Bitters - Travelin' Girl from Mexican Summer on Vimeo.

Toronto self-proclaimed cave pop duo The Bitters have a new, rather bizarre, low-fi vid out for Travelin' Girl, taken from last years L.P East General. A long player well worth checking out as is their Wooden E.P, Taste below.

The Bitters - Travelin' Girl

Saturday, 22 May 2010

A Dead Fang in the Wind

Fancy a double dose of Southern psych comfort at Koko for a fiver? Next Friday sees Wax Fang and Dead Confederate playing a great double header. Louisville sluggers Wax Fang are fresh from playing Pavement's ATP and Stag & Dagger and releasing 2nd album La La Land here after being out in the US for two years (two fucking years! Where is the love???), and Dead Confederate are making their second trip here in six months. Two great names for two great bands (they are tag teaming the Dot To Dot festivals also). Ive been looking forward to seeing Wax Fang after hearing 'World War Two Part Two' last year, and this promises to blast away any cobwebs you may have in order to clear the way for a brilliant Bank holiday...

Friday, 21 May 2010

The Friday cover up, yeah yeah yeah, ok I'll do it!

Its Friday and time for another cover version.

Now you remember that New York band called Yeah Yeah Yeahs? Date With The Night, Maps and all that? Well Karen O and her gang do a mean line in kick arse cover versions. I was going to only post one track but I couldn't make my mind up - happy or sad, mmm - so I'm plumbing for both, you lucky gits you. Needless to say the first track makes me want to jump around like a teenager and the second makes me cry like a big girl. Hope your reaction to them is just as contradictory.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Sheena Is a Punk Rocker (Ramones Cover)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Diamond Sea (Sonic Youth cover)

Clan of the Titans produce rare album of love

It sure pays to have a devoted fan base. It pays even more to be faithful to them, not cheating on them the first whiff of something 'bigger and better' that comes along. And so it is with Titus Andronicus. Garnering a gargantuan amount of buzz a couple years ago, their first LP The Airing of Grievances was totally superseded by Civil War behemoth The Monitor, mirroring their live status, eclipsing their hype and threatening to destroy the path laid out before them. But if anything, these Jersey ruffians are staying closer to their roots than ever (see the Weezer cover we posted earlier). To heighten this sense of down home humility and love of music and music lovers everywhere, they have embraced wholeheartedly a fan-created album of rarities, off cuts and live tracks titled Feats of Strength. So much so that they are giving it away as a freebie on their own site! Grab it now while you still can - here is a taste.

Titus Andronicus - No Future

Sissy Hits

This weekend was dominated by gigs by one of the best live bands from Baltimore (DD photos on the way, honest) but this fair isle has its own live awesomeness to rave about and one of the first names that come to mind is Dananananaykroyd.

Yesterday I was greeted with an email from Matty of said Scottish thrash popsters...

"Hello, Because you bought tickets to see Dananananaykroyd a while back at the Lexington I thought I'd drop you a quick mail to let you know about a band we've got coming up named 'Sissy Hits'. Sissy Hits isn't necessarily their real name.

If you like Danana... then I'm pretty sure you'll like 'Sissy Hits' too. Like, really sure, Nudge nudge, wink wink etc. It's at the Lexington on the 28th May. There's a night named WHite Light running after the bands till 4am too! Tickets are on sale here: It's only a fiver. Matty"

This would be a massive must in my book, just take a look at the pic above if you don't believe me, but I'm at Primavera in Barcelona. Oh well taste all the same...

Dananananaykroyd - America Runs On Duncan

Young Adults only shoegaze

This feels a bit strange. Due to the day job I haven't posted for almost a week - thanks Bren for holding the fort - and I'm finding it hard to get back into the groove! But the back log is immense, I've got so much to post its unbelievable!

But what better way to get back into the habit than with a slice of heady, stomping, adrenaline fueled shoegaze from Massachusetts threesome Young Adults. Their five track demo e.p has been dong the rounds in blog land recently and i thought I give you a taste. Full L.P is being recorded this summer, best to keep tabs on this one.

Young Adults - Summer Bummer
Young Adults - Annulation

You can down load the demo e.p here

Window P(i)V(o)T

Two bits of news on the Pivot front. The amazing Sydney-cum-Londoners have had a name change due to another band bringing seven shades of shit down on their heads, so they will hitherto be known as PVT...sigh...

The good news as it hasnt changed who they are. They have recorded their 3rd album, Church With No Magic, out on Warp August 6, and here is a taste from it. Not sure what to think, but love the DIY from gestation to performance feel of the vid. Ill give it a few spins before making a full summation, but in the meantime, get in there...and whilst you are viewing, check out this brilliant video for last album's 'In The Blood'. Cant wait...

Thursday, 20 May 2010

How about a bit of aquatic domestic violence???

Weird Wives highlight the fact that side projects of better known acts are often as great as the day jobs, and need to be encouraged. Especially as these bands prove to be the dark bastard twin that has been locked in the closet for days on end in order to repent, only to develop telekinetic powers and eviscerate all and sundry. Like Weird Wives.

Its rather incredible to think that a band as new to the scene as Surfer Blood should warrant another outlet for their creativity. But thank God they have. It makes some sort of macabre sense that a indie band with a visceral name should want to live up to the moniker... There are too few Jesus Lizard-meets-Melvins influenced acts around for my liking (although Manchester's Kong is a fantastic band who Paul and I have been following for 12 months, and its a travesty that we havent posted up about them before now - this will be rectified in due course!), and Weird Wives sets about setting the record straight. Vicious, loud, and a whole lot of fun. They are releasing a 7" soon - watch this space.

Weird Wives - Fudge

Weird Wives - Snake Boy

I always knew those old guys on the balcony were cool...

Menomena are about to launch their much feted 3rd album MINES July 27th, out through City Slang and Barsuk. Three years in the making, MINES offers more of the eccentric instrumentation that they are known for, their individual parts coming together to make amazingly catchy gems. They are also playing at Hoxton Bar & Grill at June 7th, showcasing the new gear and dusting off some of their greats from previous LP Friend and Foe. This will be an amazing gig - make sure you get tickets while you can.


Wednesday, 19 May 2010

An island of scuzzy sunshine

A band named after the sunny Queensland islands, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, evokes Beach Boys-era, shimmering swaying pop goodness. These Canadian folks dont quite give us that - instead we are offered avant pop sensibilities awash with hypnotic vocal reverb and crunching guitars - and lotsa, lotsa noise. Their 2nd LP Saul is out now.

The Whitsundays - I Cant Get Off Of My Cloud

'I don't wanna wait, for my life to be o-verrrr...'

A lame joke, I know. It is an in-joke with my sister and I, and with Thee Oh Sees (geddit? OC? Gah...) I would have paid reference to Phantom Planet's 'indie' ballad, but find Dawson's Creek to have the better theme tune...anyway...

In true SM-sanctioned fashion, Thee Oh Sees rip through a raucous bit of garage stomp and swagger with yelps a plenty and a low down stomping beat. They take a furious guitar attack and make it go down smooth as ever. How Thee Oh Sees never appeared here before is beyond us, but its something Im amending right now, so cut me some slack!

Make sure to catch them at the Luminaire on June 5 alongside Please (a past SM post) and Brilliant Colours (one for the future Im sure), covered by the ever brilliant Upset the Rhythm, tix available through WeGotTickets.

Thee Oh Sees - I Was Denied

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Ratat at at at at...

On to LP4 for party instrumentalist maestros Ratatat. I love these guys, and am very excited for this album to drop (June 8, XL Recordings). Whilst recorded at the same time as LP3 back in 2008, expect weirder, more intricate arrangements. Much has been made of album single 'Party With Children', but I like to dabble in some non-single territory...

ratatat - Drugs

It's getting nipply in here...

Try all you want, there is no way you can remain highbrow when talking about Toledo noisenik fuckmonsters Puffy Areolas. Yes, that's right - Puffy Areolas. And it doesnt stop there - with some of the lighter moments coming from song titles like 'Drinking My Own Sperm' and 'Bowel Movements (It's All About)', it is all about the lowest common denominator. Their sound can vary from guitar punk-rock freakouts a la The Bronx through to Comets On Fire-esque psychedelic explosions, all pushed forward by scratchy howls, inclement drumming and driving bass. Brutal, wigged out, fast and fun - all led by lead singer Krauty McKraut - fuck yes! This band means business - they want your soul.

I have Sara and Simon to thank for being slapped in the ears with a slab of whiskey-swilling concrete with glass embedded in its serrated coarse surfaces. The track below are live numbers - I stongly suggest you hunt down their recorded stuff (including fresh off the press LP from Siltbreeze, In The Army 1981) stat.

Puffy Areolas - Norwegian Wood
Puffy Areolas - If I Had A Hammer

30 years without Ian Curtis

It sounds crazy - well, at least it does to me - but it HAS been 30 years since the day Ian Curtis decided to take his own life...

Ian Curtis/Joy Division had a huge influence on me on both a personal and musical level, so the least I can do is my own little tribute in video format - a live recording of 'Transmission' and 'She's Lost Control' from September 15th 1979. Unfortunately, I can't claim I was there (I was barely 2 months old by then)!

Rest in peace.

Monday, 17 May 2010

These boys from Brisbane wont Scrape by for much longer...

I havent heard anything about these guys, but a passing reference to both the Dirty Three and the Drones was more than enough impetus to delve further. The Scrapes hail from Brisbane, have a debut LP Early Mourning Blues out, and sound amazing. They played at the same venue that Gareth Lilliard of the Drones did a solo gig at whilst I was in Brisbane - if Id known more about these guys I would have stuck around a little bit longer! Check out the live video of album closer 'Antarctica Beach' and join the bandwagon of fans that must surely be following these guys' progression with bated breath...

Six Degrees of Deerhunter #6 – Neil Young via No Age, Bob Mould and the Ghost Dog guy?

Ah, the final instalment. I must say that this 6 Degrees… has been flimsier that the Sonic Youth collective from a couple months ago, but it has helped to unearth some gems. I didn’t even get to mention Bradford Cox’s involvement in the Karen O-driven Where The Wild Things Are score. But I had to include this last one, however - I think is an absolute doozy, and helped to fuel my very first Friday covers post.

The absolute brilliance that is All Tomorrow’s Parties has given birth to many an amazing collaboration, rendition, notorious event etc. Last year’s New York ATP was no exception. Pitchfork went through and got some clandestine recordings in apartments with band members from various acts playing the weekend, and it was extremely intriguing viewing. The absolute highlight of this was one of the curators, esteemed cult film auteur Jim Jarmusch, Randy and Dean of No Age, Bradford Cox, and Bob Mould. Their track? The epic Neil Young song Cortez the Killer. I think it is a fitting way to finish off this post. So, without further ado, enjoy…

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Six Degrees of Deerhunter #5 – recent influences

OK, Im clutching at straws here, although I'm saving a doozie for tomorrow. So last year Pitchfork ran a series of best albums/acts/singles lists as chosen by various members of various bands that were themselves relatively influential over the preceding twelve months. The irascible Bradford Cox was of course one of those list makers. Now I love lists at the best of times – whilst they can be obvious, there is always the chance that a hitherto hidden gem will come to light in your consciousness and shine brightly in your life. Ive already stated how Australia’s Triple J radio presenter Richard Kingsmill turned me on to Fugazi, and he also steered me in the direction of Tortoise – nuff said.

So this 6 Degrees… post will focus every so briefly on Bradford’s 2009 picks – what he mildly refers to as his 2009 influences – and see what you think…

Privacy – Songs
Under the guise of Privacy, artiste Laurel Knapp singing with her acoustic guitar offers bare, simple, and original folk music, sung in the writer’s own breathy, pitch perfect, deep voice. Dreamy, ethereal.
Privacy - Pining

Kurt Vile – Childish Prodigy
This guy has been bandied around a bit in recent months, and his name appeared on a few best of end of year lists last year. And it is almost impossible not to see why – intense, genre-snapping, mind-twisting, psych-laced piece of rock put out by a guy that seems like a mix of Tom Petty and Marc Bolan, backed by Crazy Horse. In other words, fucking brilliant. Cant wait to see what he has in store. Big fan…big fan.
Kurt Vile - Invisibility Nonexistent

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Double my dagger yet again

Yet another Double Dagger vid... photos to follow soon from last nights gig at The Lock Tavern, god it was awesome, I'm still in pain! We're off to Double Dagger again tonight at Brixton's The Rest is Noise. But for a taste of what the band are truly like live then look no further than their vid for No Allies...

Double Dagger - No Allies from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

One more proof of Deerhunter's greatness.

Just in case our eloquent words on Deerhunter's gig last week hadn't been convincing enough, I thought I'd share some actual evidence you simply won't be able to contest - their rendition of 'Fluorescent Grey'... my arm pretty much went dead after holding the camera up for this long so not loving it is not an option!

Friday, 14 May 2010

3 Way Cover dust-up - when one cover (or covers post) is never enough...

What a dilemma to be in! I realise, once again, Im treading on Paul's toes here - but so be it! Cant have enough (good) covers in my opinion... Besides I felt these were too good to ignore!

I was listening to Neil Young on the weekend. If anyone knows me, they would know that Neil is one of my idols. His biography Shakey is in my all time favourite books list - and I don't rate many biographies, due to their problematic nature, so its a good one, trust me. If you even just like Neil, devour Shakey now!!

So anyway, I was listening to his seminal album with Crazy Horse, Zuma. It is the album the contains the psych folk jamfest that is 'Cortez the Killer'. Now it seems almost impossible to do a terrible cover of this song - case in point, Dave Matthews Band (sorry Luke - but Dave Matthews is a twat, no matter how good his version is...). But it seemed serendipitious that I would stumble across not one, not two, but THREE covers of this track in the past 24 hours - and not once was I searching for it!

First it was Built to Spill. Everyone who is a fan should have heard their cover of the track that is on their Live album. Well, the version I heard today was a special recording, and so much better! Unfortunately it is too large to post here - Sonic Masala is growing, but not enough to hold 17 minute songs - yet... So here is the link so that you can peruse and abuse at your leisure (there are three other BtS tracks there that are well worth your time too).
Secondly I was hunting some information on Aussie noise folk garage grungers (wha? Well, YOU describe em!) The Drones to finish an article Im doing on their frontman Gareth Lilliard, and I came across a very crisp version of 'Cortez the Killer', showcasing Lilliard's cracked genuis guitar playing and wall of sound, his guttural Aussie drawl, and passion to burn.

Finally, just half an hour ago I was doing even more research - this time for a noise article Im tinkering with - and saw that Slint had done a version. So after 20 minutes of searching, here it is! Recorded not long before Spiderland was released, and before the band imploded, its a solid reworking. its not ultra clear either, but it is definitely Slint!!

Admittedly, the bands dont stray far from the Neil Young blueprint - nor would you - there is still so much room to move! So what do you think - who takes out the cover title between Built to Spill, The Drones and Slint? Voters, comment away...

(NB - if you think you know of better 'Cortez...' covers, let us here at SM know them too!)

Built to Spill - Cortez the Killer
The Drones - Cortez the Killer
Slint - Cortez the Killer

The Friday cover up, old does older

For this weeks Friday cover up I thought I'd roll it back a bit with a dark slice of sparse ska form the Mo-Dettes, circa November 1979, and their take on the Rolling Stones classic Paint It Black. The track was released as a single and then featured on their only album The Story So Far. Its one of those tracks that many have tried to cover, most just ruin it, but this is just awesome.

Mo-Dettes - Paint It Black

Thursday, 13 May 2010

A Friendship of daggers

Right back to Double Dagger, well-ish. As you can tell I'm mega stoked to see Double Dagger at last but I thought it was only right to give a mention to their support for the European tour, namely Friendship. The London duo have been floating round for a while, in fact the track below The Graveyard Shift has been around for just over a year but their new single Lifeguard (out last month) has a touch more sunnier vibe, reminds me of the Fair Ohs but less Paul Simon. Friendship really deserve more attention than they've be getting; maybe that should read, than I've been giving them? Either way it will be good to hear more of the stuff over the weekend.

Friendship - The Graveyard Shift

Pic by Gareth James, photographer mate of the band, nice stuff.

(Brendan T - you've seen them a couple times in support slots - Part Chimp, That Fucking Tank! - they've always been floating about in the right circles. Agreed - well worth a look)

Todays Bulbs, Tomorrows Tulips

Tomorrows Tulips (Eternally Teenage) from jack Coleman on Vimeo.

Seeing as the SM blog has been going only for a few months we don't get many bands sending us stuff; but when we do we'll always try to give it a listen, its most welcome. Today though I opened up the Sonic Masala email to find this little gem nestling in the inbox, Tomorrows Tulips.

Tomorrows Tulips have just released their debut e.p. on Papermade. Its a cassette release with mp3 download. They've even sent me a link for the vid of their track Eternally Teenage - a lovely slice of dreamy garage pop it is too, just what the doctor ordered before I get too worked up over Double Dagger this weekend.

Taste below of the track Optimistic Vibes, also taken for the E.P, buy here.
Thanks Tomorrows Tulips.

Tomorrows Tulips - Optimistic Vibe

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Six Degrees of Deerhunter #4 - Jay Reatard

 It was with a heavy heart that I received the news of Jay Reatard's passing away. I first heard about it from my friend Dan. I had also become acquainted with Reatard's legacy through Dan - and what an amazing back catalogue he has. And what is truly a shame is that I have only been a fan for over 12 months now. The good thing is that his music and inimitable spirit will live on forever.

So I was even further elated when i stumbled across this track a month ago. I know it made a few people's blogs last year and early 2010, but it is still a tricky track to hunt down, a rare-ish 7" split. It is also a cover of the aforementioned Deerhunter - in fact, a fairly rare track in its original form. And what Reatard does with it is great - a nice fitting tribute to the band, and to the man.

Jay Reatard - Flourescent Grey (Deerhunter Cover)

Slacker rock gods to worship

SM are heading to Brixton tonight to see the slacker rock gods Pavement. Of course the requisite band members have been busy in Pavement’s absence – Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks / Preston School of Industry / Spiral Stairs etc – butto see them all together again, in what will be my first official Pavement gig, promises to be mindblowing to say the least!

I am also quite excited about the band preceding Pavement tonight, US's Sic Alps. Featuring members of Sisters, amongst many other musical endeavours, Sic Alps may be four albums in, but have definitely been on the up and up over the past 12 months, fronting for the likes of Yo La Tengo and Sonic Youth, and now scoring this coveted gig before playing at the Pavement curated ATP this weekend. I haven’t heard much, but what I have heard has me salivating. There are still tickets for tonight if you really push it, it will be a must see (and will quieten down our Deerhunter gushing I'm sure!)

Pavement -Golden Soundz
Sic Alps - Message from the Law

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

A fresh golden triangle

On Thursday the already much mentioned Deerhunter gig at Heaven was kicked off by The Fresh and Onlys in support and I thought that if I was to post the pics then its only fair that I gave them a bit of a mention first.

Now The Fresh and Onlys have always foxed me a little. Everything of theirs that I had previously heard always seemed a touch lightweight to me, like they needed to invest in a proper bass amp or something (not that I know anything about bass amps). So on Thursday I felt it only fair that I approached their set with a clean slate, and it was a good job too. Live The Fresh and Onlys pack a major grizzly punch all wrapped up in their garage pop rhythms. Well worthy of a reassessment.

The band have also just dropped a split 7" with Golden Triangle, the Brooklyn band that Brendan posted about last week which I have also become just as fond of. Both well worth checking out.

The Fresh and Onlys - Head of Steam
Golden Triangle - Jungle Jim

Oh and more pics of The Fresh and Onlys below...

Six Degrees of Deerhunter #3 - Spoon

The 3rd instalment of the Deerhunter Six Degrees post is Spoon. An easy one, true - but as they are touring extensively with each other in the US, it comes as no surprise that their setlists occasionally melded into each others...

No finer example than on Jimmy Kimmel Live (a pretty ordinary chat show to be honest, except for the high level of musical awesomeness that graces the show's stages every night - its worth the hr of ho humdrum alone - that and the occasional Matt Damon ribbings...). Spoon came on to play a track off their latest LP Transference, and lo behold! Bradford Cox on guitar! With guitar closeups, back to back moves and all! It is quite good, groovy stuff. I love that Cox loves to 'play with' the bands he plays with - case in point being last May's ATP, where the Deal sisters joined Deerhunter on stage to play an Amps song.

See also below, a live version of one of my fave Spoon tracks, off Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga...

Spoon - Don't Make Me A Target (live)

Double my Dagger

Before everything goes Pavement shaped around here I thought I'd remind the SM gang we're off to see Double Dagger on Saturday. While I'm at it I thought I'd throw a couple of vids in for good measure. The top vid features the track The Lie/The Truth from last year's More LP and the bottom is Sleeping With the TV On taken from this year's EP Masks. Sorry the vocal is low but I just dig the angle and the carpet.

Thanks Lou for the heads up. I hope The Rest Is Noise can handle this...

Trash your kit even more

I've been meaning to post about Trash Kit's self titled debut album since it dropped a couple of weeks ago. Rutting forth that stable of all things wholesome, and SM's favorite London label/promoter Upset the Rhythm Trash Kit arrived on the scene with a collection of live shows at the start of year. We first came across them supporting The Vivian Girls at Dalston's Trinity Centre and again supporting Turn Yards at Cargo, both gigs left me impressed and hopefully for the band's future but I certainly wasn't expecting how Trash Kit seem to of rocketed to notoriety in the last few months, now their bloody everywhere!

This weekend they just put a set at ATP curated Matt Groening (a billing that many bands have to wait years for) and they've even landed a support slot with The Raincoats on the 20th. Either this band have a kick arse booking agent or people are giving them some serious attention. Not that it matters 'cos with album like Trash Kit's debut they can certainly back up the billing.

Trash Kit's self titled long player might consist of no less that 17 tracks but its is no slouch, rattling through in under 30mins, the longest track Natascha lasting only a shad over three minutes and most tracks not clocking over half that. Trash Kit always seem to sit between playful care free charm and dark intricate screaming mischief. Stripped back playfulness and a lightness of touch is woven into their colourful compositions as much as the pauses and flips in tempo but I can't help being left with a feeling of something more sinister, like the grin of a hyperactive clown.

Maybe its the face paint, somewhere between 'the mental kids at the crèche' and 'African witch doctors from outer space' or maybe its the African fingerstyle pattern informed guitar crossed with the striped back driving bass rhythms. Its probably more to with the honesty of the band, a band having good honest fun but not afraid to dwell on darker themes, even it its for the briefest of seconds. Out on Upset the Rhythm records now you can purchase here. Tasting below.

Trash Kit - Natascha
Trash Kit - Fame

Monday, 10 May 2010

Hype Machine and me

Sonic Masala is now on Hype Machine, the one stop shop for all your music blog needs. It also means you can play the tracks we post through a flash player, which is handy. We're rather chuffed about it so a big 'ta very much' to Hype Machine for having us. Our listing link is here

Six Degrees of Deerhunter #2 - Weird Era Cont./On Platts Eyott Island

Next up we go to a couple of rare releases by Deerhunter.

On the left, we have Weird Era Cont., released as a bonus disc to Microcastle late in 2008. It is unique in that the songs were created and performed by individual members of the band - hence the connection from Lotus Plaza. 'Cavalry Scars II/Aux Out' is from this 'album'.

On the right we have the ultra rare On Platts Eyotts Island. Put out in 100 copy instalments on either orange or pink cassette, the seven-track release was recorded by Cox and Cox alone at London's Capitol K studio in September 2008, preceding Microcastle's launch and includes alternate renditions of a number of Microcastle jams. Cox refers to it as both "a tribute to John Peel" and "like a pretend John Peel session." The lucky peeps to get the cassettes? The 1st 100 punters to come through the door for the Microcastle record release bash at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. The pink tapes were for 100 quick types who picked them up on the 'net. Lucky sods. Still, here is 'Cum Horizon (improvisation)', the opening track, to let you know what it is like.

Deerhunter - Cavalry Scars II/Aux Out

Deerhunter - Cum Horizon (improvisation)

Glenn Branca The Ascension reissue

Today yet another 12" shaped parcel arrived at my doorstep. Naturally I'm giddy as a school boy when record shaped parcels come my way but this particular parcel really did have me ripping at the packing tape like a 5 year old on Christmas day. The parcel in question contained the 12" reissue of Glenn Branca's 1981 The Ascension.

Now I have to be honest, I haven't been a disciple of the great man's work for long, in fact only a few short years, but lucky for me Fortissimo Records (Action Beat's label) have taken the massively commendable step of re-releasing this influential record. I'm not going into an essay length history of Glenn Branca's life work, I'd only end retyping wikipedia - but to my mind this peculiar record has always signalled the birth of noise driven minimalist guitar rock. It's 40 minutes of "Chiming, ringing, chugging guitar bliss". In fact I couldn't of put it any better than Fortissimo Records themselves:

"Glenn Branca's The Ascension was one of those rare records that managed to change things. Maybe not right away, but as time has passed, its importance and influence has become more and more clear. Branca's idea was to marry the repetition and process of minimalism with the energy and aesthetic of rock music. The Ascension's predecessor Lesson No. 1 showed this in a simple and refined manor but on The Ascension, everything was turned up to 11."

As a better man than me once said "no Glenn Branca, no Sonic Youth" - and in my book that's enough of a reason to dig deep in those pockets. Out on Fortissimo Records since last month (I'm late again as useal) on 180gm white vinyl, limited to only 900 copies, this in my book is a must purchase. Buy here, Myspace here.

Glenn Branca - Lesson No. 2

Hear the Knives Sharpen...

Ah, Young Knives! Whilst not the best band I saw, these English punkish chaps were part of the lineup of 2008's Offset Festival - the first music festival I went to as a resident of the UK (one week young I was!). With the likes of Wire, Gang of Four and Future of the Left amongst many other blistering acts that weekend, Young Knives acquitted themselves and had one intrigued Antipodean punter in their corner. I chased down their albums, and was reasonably impressed with what I heard. The Oxford-via-Leicestershire trio are nothing if not fun, raucous rabble rousers, their moddish coifs notwithstanding...

So, I was listening to Marc Riley on Radio 6 last week, waiting for Deerhunter to come on (ah, that common thread - Im sorry but this is how it will be until Wednesday, when Pavement blow me the hell away), and he threw on the new Young Knives track. A few things came to mind. Firstly, that I hadnt paid mind to them for something like 9 months, except for the occasional shuffle track on the ol iPod. Secondly, that they are a solid band, and one well worth checking out as they step out in dapper fashion this summer.

The Young Knives - We Are The Also Rans

The Young Knives - Here Comes The Rumour Mill

Interpol shares good and bad news...

It was only last week that I was mentioning that Interpol's 4th album was readying to drop. Well, the band put out a statement of sorts yesterday on their website, stating it was completed. But the joy is shortlived, as it was also announced that bassist Carlos has left the band. They state:

"After the completion of the album, Carlos informed the rest of us that he would be leaving the band. He has decided to follow another path, and to pursue new goals. This separation is amicable, and we whole-heartedly wish him great happiness and success. We will remain, as always, deeply respectful fans of this blazingly talented individual."

Further comments about the album and Carlos' replacement were also mentioned. A sad day for Interpol and their myriad fans.

Friday/Monday cover up

Ok, 'cos of that thing we all dread - 'a last minute deadline' - the day job got in the way of the Friday cover up on er, Friday. So I thought I'd try and bring you some Monday shaped joy to make up for it in a old school punk form. Some people may be under the impression that I'm a bit obsessed with the said covered track below, er maybe...

I Heard It Through the Grapevine - The Slits

P.s The pic is of a shrunken, mummified head, snapped in Chile. Yes its real!

Deerhunter heaven

Now no matter what you say about Heaven as a gig venue (expensive beer, no Guinness, you have to queue for ages for a leak, the stage is too high, etc), one thing it has got going for it is the dude that does the lighting. It makes taking snaps like taking candy from a baby... Shots from Deerhunter gig last Thursday below, more on flickr.