Tag Archives: sways records

Single Review: Naked (On Drugs), This Gift

I’ve only just heard this yesterday (and have now listened to it several times), so this is a bit of stream of consiousness/knee-jerk reaction of a review. Apologies.

Without, further ado, then – from the excellent Manchester-based (Salford, to be specific) label Sways Records comes “This Gift”, the latest from the group Naked (On Drugs).

The song has quickly coursed through my veins, acting as a gateway drug to the rest of the band’s oeuvre, which I’m also enjoying immensely. If ever they remake ‘A Clockwork Orange’ this song should (and, likely, would) be on the soundtrack.

The song is a tense, terse, spastic, listing joyride on a tilt-a-whirl at a traveling carnival where regular maintenance is not a priority. Above it all, a louchely crooning Cheshire Cat. Your attempts to focus, as you spin along to elastic bass slaps, joyous hand claps, stuttering tom toms, clarinet, saxophone and what sounds like a slide whistle(!), prove futile, disorienting: a hazy glimpse of Ian McCulloch jamming with Throbbing Gristle; a groggy thrust of Peter Murphy fronting The Birthday Party. The scene shifts to a sidewalk, outside a Berlin sex club – now covered in your own(?) sick, you hear the muffled pulse of the bass drum and the slinky synth beckon. You awake, on the floor, to find someone’s placed your hand in a bucket of warm water. End scene.

Glorious.  Check out the video, below (fair warning:  camerawork may induce seizures and/or vertigo).

Spotlight Dance: Kult Country

Kult Country are a six piece hailing from Manchester, England. To date, they have released two singles, “Slowburn” and “Trembling Moon”.  The first came out last year; I just heard the new single last week, and so am making up for lost time a bit with this write up.

“Slowburn” (5/13/2013, Sways Records) is truth in advertising: a slowed-down, “No Quarter”ish groove unfurls into swirls of distortion pedal goodness.  Vocalist Yousif Al Kharagouli sounds a bit like the Richard Ashcroft of earlier, druggier Verve records fronting Chapterhouse or Slowdive.  B-side “Amongst the Dead Forever” is a different beast altogether, bursting forth with a choppy, motorik beat underlying a repetitive melody line and vocals recalling 80s industrial or darkwave.

New single, “Trembling Moon” (6/30/2014, No Self Records) shimmers.  Jingle jangle guitars float above a Ride-worthy, propulsive drum/bass combination running pell mell, tumble bumble into and through a baggyesque breakdown in the middle.  A cavalcade of influences, to be sure:  one hears Mighty Lemon Drops, Ride, Bluetones, Stone Roses…others…all blended together into a heady cocktail.  B-side ‘Atlas Haze’ harkens back to “Slowburn”, a musical swirl cone (can you tell it’s a hot, muggy day as I type this?):  one side chiming along like a lost cut from the first Smiths album, the other early period Verve (again) or perhaps Evergreen-era Brian Jonestown Massacre.  Spacey with scattered bits of droned melody throughout, “Atlas” feels like “Trembling”s end of the rave come down.

In a clash of senses, these songs feel textural, almost tactile.  From what I’ve read online, the band’s debut full length is set for release later this year.  On this evidence, it is one I’m looking forward to very much.  Check them out at www.facebook.com/KULTCOUNTRY.