Brooch (Members of Ought and Yung) Find Delicate Beauty on “Blood Spitting/Broken Glass”

Brooch, “Blood Spitting”/“Broken Glass” 7” (Tough Love Recordings)

Brooch is a musical collaboration featuring Ben Stidworthy (Ought) and Mikkel Holm Silkjær (Yung), born of a relationship between the two musicians forged while on tour with their main bands.  They’ve released a double a-side single, “Blood Spitting/Broken Glass,” each taking turns handling vocal duties.

Each track has a weary, intimate quality juxtaposed against stately 3/4 time.  Personal fave, “Blood Spitting”, feels reminiscent of Elliott Smith, a beautifully delicate melody like fissures in bone china or imperfections in a piece of amber, fading out in a melancholic drift of what sounds like a melodeon or concertina.  “Broken Glass” is a bit rougher, but no less lovely, its droning organ, bending guitar and tremulous falsetto bringing the feel of an endless twirl.

The single is out now, courtesy of Tough Love – order here.  You can find more about Brooch on fbook and the twitt.

The (Soul Train) Line Forms Here – “Street Level”, from Galaxians, Bumps

Galaxians, ‘Street Level’ (Youth Club Sounds)

Hailing from Leeds, UK, Galaxians are Jed Skinner (synthesizers, programming) and Matt Woodward (acoustic drums, more programming), together with vocalist Emma Mason.  They’ve been releasing records since 2012, and I feel a bit disappointed in myself, to be honest, to have only just discovered them, courtesy of storming new joint, “Street Level”.

Released as part of a collaboration between Leeds-based label, Youth Club Sounds, and promoters, Super Friendz, “Street Level” is a movin’, groovin’, burning 80s throwback r&b/electro-disco jam.  Like a riposte to the classic D-Train track, “You’re the One for Me”, Mason roars the opposite while standing on the shoulders of greats like Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King and Teena Marie (the group’s site also references Gwen Guthrie…we can dig it).  Behind and all around her, a driving beat, slippery bass and squishy leads – the arrangement is fantastically dense.  It’ll put a smile on your face after a hard day, even if you’re a weekend girl or guy (look it up, young’uns).  Get up and dance…dance, I said.

“Street Level”, as well as other Galaxians cuts, can be found on the Super Friendz/Youth Club Sounds “Collaborationz” (so many zeds!) mixtape, which can listen to here and purchase on the Galaxians’ bandcamp page (where you can also check they’re upcoming live dates).  Hail Galaxians on fbook and the twitt.

Check Out The Orielles’ Debut Single for Heavenly, “Sugar Tastes Like Salt”

The Orielles, ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’ (Heavenly)

Photo by Neelam Khan Vela

Halifax, England (not Nova Scotia).  Fun facts about Halifax (from ultimate lazy bastard encyclopedia, wikipedia): (1) it’s been a textile manufacturing hub since the 15th century – which is kinda cool; and (2) it’s the home of Rolo candy – which is extremely awesome.

What’s also extremely awesome, has six thumbs and currently hails from Halifax (and Liverpool)?  The Orielles, a trio comprising sisters Esme Dee (bass, vocals) and Sidonie Hand-Halford (drums) and Henry Carlyle Wade (guitars).  After self-releasing a few singles, and putting out last year’s fantastic Jobim EP via Art Is Hard, “Sugar Tastes Like Salt” (from a line in the movie Death Proof, per this great write up on the band in The Guardian) is the band’s first single for the mighty Heavenly Recordings.  Starting, innocently enough, with a ride down the neck of a swirling, arpeggiated psych melody, it turns out to be a trip down the rabbit hole.  The track bobs and weaves its way through a smorgasbord of styles (jittering rock steady, Blondie or Factory Records’ style post-punk disco, a sprawling Floyd-like interlude, straight-up Troggs’ garage, some space truckin’) without coming off overcooked.  And despite a modern day attention span straining length of 8 minutes and change, “Sugar” fixes your attention throughout, like some kind of goddamn Medusa.  Brilliant.

“Sugar Tastes Like Salt” is out now, on Heavenly.  You can follow The Orielles’ adventures on fbook, the twitt and instagram.  They’re also on tour in the UK – dates here.

Playlists! Everyone loves playlists!

Here’s a sampling of some tunes we’ve been enjoying here at thegrindinghalt.com (or, at least, what we could find and share on Soundcloud) – please to be enjoying!

Check Out “Schedules Align”, from Feature’s Forthcoming Debut, Banishing Ritual

Feature, “Schedules Align” (Upset the Rhythm)

Photo credit: Owen Richards.

“She’ living a dream/you’re willing to wait”

Feature is the UK-based trio of Jen Calleja, Heather Perkins and Liv Willars, whose collective CVs include memberships in such tgh faves as Sauna Youth, Metronomy, and Slowcoaches.  “Schedules Align” is the first track released from the band’s forthcoming debut, Banishing Ritual, and it’s chock full of hi-nrg, shout-along punk.

I stumbled upon this band a few months ago – specifically, 2015’s Tourists EP – working back via one of Calleja’s other bands, Gold Foil, and was immediately hooked.  I then read a brilliant piece she wrote for Queen of the Track magazine discussing her then recent discovery of The Misfits (a band whose initial run I hold near and dear), that was part fan letter and part send-up, filtered through a discussion of the masculine and feminine in harder rock circles, and was even more intrigued.

For these purposes, the focus is her admiration for The Misftis’ blend of cartoonish levels of aggression and violence with music indebted to gentil, 50s crooner rock – blue angels transmogrified into pregnant Mexican women birthing still-born monster babies.  “Schedules” does provide the listener with a taught display of truly fiendworthy (sorry) guitar, bass and drum work which, combined with the extra sung syllable in “ali-I-ign” and doo-wop backing vocals starting around 1:40, reminded of songs like “Hatebreeders”.  Where Danzig and co. would play this on 11, however, Feature juxtapose the arrangement’s raw aggression with a vocal that manages to be both insouciant and breathless.  It’s perfect for pogoing (do people still do that?) and you’ll need some kind of drill to get the giant earworm of a chorus out of your brain, should you want to.  Can’t wait to hear the rest of the album.

Banishing Ritual is due April 7, on Upset the Rhythm; pre-order here.  Follow Feature on fbook and the twitt.

“Paradise”, from Glasgow’s AMOR, is a Joy.

AMOR, Paradise 12″ (Night School)

“Calling from paradise/can you get through?”

AMOR is a Glasgow-based quartet comprising Richard Youngs, Luke Fowler, Michael Francis Duch and Paul Thomson – musicians with CVs as long as yer arm.  Their 12″ single, Paradise features an a- and b-side of over 13 minutes:  each summoning late-period disco/early house with the kind of propulsive emotional stamina worthy of an extended Larry Levan workout; each a rapturous hymn performed in a glitter-covered cathedral.

The a-side, title track begins with hand drums accenting a generous, four-on-the-floor beat; a cantering, two-note bassline turning rubbery and new(ly) romantic as it’s joined by ever more insistent, ringing piano chords.  The lyrics set a meditative mood (‘all that this is/is interconnected…all that we know/is misunderstood’), Youngs’ delicate, quavering tenor to falsetto reminding these ears of the Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan.  The flip, “In Love an Arc”, also takes time to reveal itself fully, beginning with abstract bowing and thumping before coalescing into another glorious soul-house revival show, a churning, relentless rhythm seeing the titular declaration through to the end.  Get me to the church, on time.

Paradise is set for release March 31, courtesy of Night School; pre-order here. You can stream both tracks over at The Vinyl Factory.

Rush Headlong Into “Midnight Junkie”, by Brooklyn’s Baked. New Album, “Farnham”, Out Now on Exploding in Sound.

Baked, “Midnight Junkie” (Exploding in Sound)

This just in from the local weather bureau – a.k.a., my window.  It’s windy. I mean like, shit is creaking and banging and I don’t even know what it is windy.  It’s also wondrously sunny – like, over-exposed 9mm film of an old road trip sunny.

So, as I’m sitting here, squinting and expecting the Wicked Witch of the West to cycle by any moment, I stumble upon this gem of a track – “Midnight Junkie”, by Brooklyn five-piece Baked – and it all clicks.  The track is a magnificent howl, with a glowing melody at its heart that leaves you seeing spots and a guitar shred at around 2 minutes like they don’t make much of anymore, all held tenuously earthbound by a dolorous, Jim Reid-esque croon.  It’s the perfect aural accompaniment to the arboreal bowing and scraping taking place outside under the watchful glare of an ever nearing fireball.

“Midnight Junkie” is taken from Baked’s latest long-player, Farnham, which was released last week on Exploding in Sound and which I can’t wait to dig further into.  If you’re headed to SXSW, you can catch Baked at the Exploding in Sound showcase March 16 at The Velveeta Room.  Follow Baked on fbook bandcamp and the twitt.

Naked (on drugs) Return, Bearing “This Gift”

Naked (on drugs), This Gift (Tombed Visions, 2/24/2017)

Describing sounds like those made by a band like Naked (on drugs) presents a challenge, since they largely defy straight-line comparisons.  The group from Salford – who we’ve missed since 2014 – have returned with This Gift, an album containing re-recorded old friends and new material, and featuring a new lineup enhancing the core duo of guitarist Luke Byron Scott and singer/multi-instrumentalist Sebastien Perrin.

“Boudoir Fingers” sets the mood, coming in all big band sex machine and slowly grinding its way towards what seems, at first, like the sounds of la petite mort but ends up something more akin to a scene from “Natural Born Killers”.   The band’s perverted swing is evident on the revamped title track, which (without diminishing our fierce loyalty to the original) retains a dirty-faced loucheness and now includes a minutes-long chaotic whirl, as well as new track (and lead single), “Sedative Smile”, a further, Humbert Humbert paean to the “dirty white tights and green leather jacket” clad Lee Ann.  Elsewhere, there’s a fine balance of outright groove and experimental noise riffing on tracks like the older “Death Dance” and new, “Rapture” on ludes cut, “The Hair Suit” (a new personal fave), while “The Hotel” provides a leeringly lovely close to the proceedings.

Every so often – including as I was pulling together this word jumble – I get (self-diagnosed) ocular migraines.  Beginning as protozoan blobs, they unravel into ever longer, attenuated strands shimmery with the colors of an oil slicked puddle.  It seemed fitting.  “*Sigh* But, what does it sound like”, you ask?  Fine – jazz, goth, noir, new wave, no wave, Nick Cave, Bowie, Brel, Brecht, bop – all thrown into a blender and pulsed, …pulsed, with the top off.  Sing in the rain.

This Gift is out now, and available on limited edition cassette via Tombed Visions.  Stroll the darkened streets with Naked (on drugs) on fbook, bandcamp and/or their site.  Enjoy the video for “Sedative Smile”, below.

Glitter Veils Share “Gossamer Folds” and “Soft Touch” from Forthcoming Figures in Sight.

Glitter Veils, “Gossamer Folds”; “Soft Touch” (Flexible)

Photo credit: Savvy Creative.

 

Australian duo Luke Zahnleiter and Michael Whitney make music as Glitter Veils.  Their album, Figures in Sight, is due this Friday (2/10) from Flexible Records (an imprint of Terrible), who have been kind enough to provide teasers in the form of “Gossamer Folds” and “Soft Touch”.

A pleasantly disorienting, almost vertiginous, feel wafts from these tracks.  Like a liquid motion toy’s suspended, colored drops fusing, detaching, and reforming in slightly different ways, familiar threads – the Guthrie-esque guitar wash in ‘Gossamer Folds’; the early industrial heft to the programmed beats underpinning the peyote-fueled western glitter ball of ‘Soft Touch’; a dream pop feel here, a bit of JAMC menace there; whispered, droning vocals reminiscent of Spacemen 3 or Massive Attack – blend, separate and reconvene in novel ways.  “Gossamer” is my personal favorite, its bent guitar lines, slightly ooky fun house-style synths and lurching beat tracing lazy arcs in the sky.  Definitely looking forward to hearing the rest.

You can find (a bit) more things Glitter Veils on soundcloud and fbook.  Figures in Sight can be pre-ordered now on Flexible’s bandcamp page.  Tune in, drop &etc.

Hark! The Black Angels Return With New Track, “Currency”, from Forthcoming New Album, Death Song.

The Black Angela, “Currency” (Partisan)

“currency/carry me/everyone is held hostage…
one day it’ll all be over/one day it’ll all be gone”

A welcome return from Austin’s The Black Angels, whose new record (and first in four years), Death Song (which appears to be a riff on the band’s name and the Velvet Underground song from whence it came – meta!), is due for release April 21 (pre-order here) on Partisan Records.  Lead single, “Currency”, finds the band as tight as ever.  Singer Alex Mass’ voice is the linchpin and dead center in the mix – carrying more than a hint of menace on past tracks, here singing in almost plaintive tones of the social quicksand of a consumerist society.  The song, several times, threatens to go full-on freak-out – a sliding, fuzzed bass repeatedly sounding a clarion’s call – before showing restraint and a slow burn.  If this is anytnig to go by, the new album should be a good one.

The Black Angels will also tour behind Death Song – dates here (with A Place to Bury Strangers).