Check out this weeks ‘Vinyl Five for Monday 11/05/2015’, The essential vinyl you should own this week, carefully selected by Kenny Murdock from Belfast’s best vinyl record store ‘Sick Records, Belfast‘.
Album Of The Month, May 2015
Death & Vanilla – To Where The Wild Things Are (Fire)
Discounting last year’s ‘re-imagined’ soundtrack “Vampyr”, “To Where The Wild Things Are” is only the second album from Sweden’s Death & Vanilla. Existing somewhere between the ‘library’, synth-sounds of the Ghost Box label and the classic, baroque-pop sound of 60s French cinema, Death & Vanilla are perfect replacements for the much-missed Broadcast. This album is a great starting point for the uninitiated. It’s an accessible mix of shimmering, pop haze and the warm, dusty sound of the vintage instruments and equipment used in the recording process. For fans of The Belbury Poly, The Left Banke and The Free Design.
Blanck Mass – Dumb Flesh (Sacred Bones)
Benjamin John Power once said that Blanck Mass made Fuck Buttons (his “day job”) sound like Clannad and while that’s true of his first solo album, “Dumb Flesh” has gone through a similar transformation to that of his collaboration with Andrew Hung. There’s much of the crystalline distortion with which fans will be familiar but, like last year’s ‘White Math EP’, Power has succumbed to the desire for a beat to hold everything together. Don’t be fooled by that last sentence. This is no Surgeon record. “Dumb Flesh” swirls and tinkles from the speakers, a beautiful kind of tinnitus, but with rhythms. He indulges his desire for cacophony on the last side of the record, labelled ‘Life Science: Ambient Suite’, where he returns to the brutal onslaught of the first album, where the insistent drone threatens to reveal something else below the surface, but never does. Rock ‘N’ Roll, it seems, IS noise pollution.
Dead Ghosts – S / T (Burger)
Burger Records are an American garage-rock institution. Dynamic, prolific and still possessed by the spirit of the stoned 17 year-olds who dreamed up the label in a fug of weed and Mad-Dog 20/20 some years ago, they continue to release fresh, 60s-influenced pop music, like this year’s stunning Aquadolls debut. Vancouver’s Dead Ghosts originally released this album in 2010 on Burger. It shares much with the brattish brilliance of The Black Lips. In fact, ‘Off The Hook’ would fit nicely into the “Good Bad, Not Evil” album with barely a pause for breath. It’s sloppy and It’s messy but in the very best way possible. Thrilling, primitive Garage Rock. Made in and meant to be heard in a concrete bunker. The band themselves titled one of their releases as “A Shitty Collection Of Shitty Recordings”. I couldn’t have put it any better, myself.
The Sonics – This Is The Sonics (Revox)
Before you listen to this record, ask yourself,…… What are my expectations of a group of septuagenarians releasing brand new material in 2015? However, these are no ordinary pensioners. The Sonics were once, with a solid claim to still be, the greatest Punk Rock band on the planet. Their early recordings influenced everyone from The Wailers, through The Stooges to The Cramps. Their legacy is carved in stone but do we really need new material? “This Is The Sonics.” is no swan-song. It’s loud and fast and full of the fire of distant youth. The new material (Spend The Night) stands up well against their re-interpretations of well-chosen covers (I Don’t Need No Doctor) but it would be foolish to expect these guys to sound as fresh and as crucial as those legendary, original recordings. Ignore the heavy-handed lyrics and remember that these guys are the same age as your dad or your granddad, and they’re still out on the road, playing 150 shows a year. An impressive return.
David Kauffman & Eric Caboor – Songs From Suicide Bridge (Modern Classics)
This album pre-dates the mid-90s slew of doleful troubadours like Will Oldham, Bill Callahan and Mark Kozelek by more than 10 years. “Songs From Suicide Bridge” is sad and beautiful and it sank without a trace. Thankfully, Light In The Attic specialises in bringing us records we didn’t know we’d missed and this is another fantastic find. There are elements of the forlorn country of Townes Van Zandt mixed with a more traditional folk sound, similar at times to the great Tim Hardin. Lord only knows how this remained unknown for this long but you can hear its influences across the Red House Painters’ back catalogue, the grossly under-rated Swell or even the early recordings of Jeff Buckley. A quiet wonder.
Death – N.E.W. (Tryangle)
Death never stood a chance. After steadfastly refusing to change their name and seeing their back-catalogue shelved for decades, this release of new and re-worked material is a testament to their stubborn refusal to submit to industry bias, as documented in Mark Covino and Jeff Howlett’s superb “A Band Called Death” movie from 2012. Conceived as a loose blend of Hendrix, The Stooges and Black Sabbath, they have ploughed a lone furrow for many years, influencing, among others, Black Flag, Bad Brains and The Minutemen. The music is wild and structure-less, with elements of Proto-Punk, Metal and Progressive Rock battling in, what becomes, a crazy, free-flowing, brilliant mess. As everyone knows, Death will always have the final say.
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