Crimewave - Haemoglobin
Soundscapes of glitch pop, shoegaze and breakbeats fill a room with this latest single from Crimewave. Jake has truly outdone himself with the track and the visuals that go alongside it highlight his black Fender Jaguar and his classic stage get up of firefighter pants.
The song opens up with a Kevin Shields-esque guitar riff that paints with such large, thick paint strokes washing over you and preparing you for the glitched out chorus. When listening you can't fully understand what you are listening to, guitar, electronics or percussion? That beautiful thing alone is what puts Haemoglobin in high stead for me.
The track ebbs and flows throughout with the glitch pop being highlighted and dampened to bring forward Jake's vocals 'I feast...', then bringing you to a stop, sitting back in your chair like you've been slapped for 2 minutes and now you are wondering how you got here.
It's also been a track I've loved at his live sets, it never fails to get a room swinging!
Slap Rash - Holy Smoke
Slap Rash's latest single 'Holy Smoke' highlights how the duo are really growing as a band and how far they have come from their inception.
The track opens with a Swans-esque noise warm up before the asymmetrical Sleigh Bells style fuzz laden guitar riffs rolls right into us. Vocals wash over this track throughout with much applause at the ease and calm when stuttering lines such as "The temptation to caress the decaying wet flesh". You can certainly tell that bands like Blood Red Shoes and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have flooded into this band and their typically indie sound, however this track goes deeper, darker and scarier.
The guitar tone in parts goes closer to Steve Albini over the years, either in Schellac or Big Black, but I think I want more of it in there. The track does flow between the more industrial notes of minimal post rock with the singers vocals coasting in and out but I think I want this track to either be two minutes of being beaten to music or a good extended post rock GYBE! style track.
Pyncher - Dirty Feet
Pyncher are a brand new indie alternative band that are opening their proceedings with their first single 'Dirty Feet'.
The track opens with a Casablancas scream through fuzzy treatments, 'I think I'll join the freak show' which sets the scene for an indie pop gem. The first phrases build up the pressure in us all as we stand looking bewildered at this track.
By 1:40 the track properly kicks in with a QOTSA/Arctic Monkeys riff straight out of 2008 and this continues throughout the highs and dips of distorted vocal screams and scowls.
The band sound tight, the production is neat and they look positive to be getting slots across the city in the burgeoning indie scene moving forward.
Good luck to you!
Madrush MC & Ethan Hill - Corrupt Clarity EP
This release is yet another special and important release from Rhythm Lab Records, the offshoot label from Reform Radio.
For Black History Month their team brought about a special project to celebrate Black historic music in Manchester by bringing together a local legend Madrush Mc and up and coming producer Ethan Hill.
You can watch this video to see them all having a chat together with Iyun at their studio space.
Madrush MC was an innovator of DnB and Jungle music in Manchester when he moved up here from London he started to play Jungle in the more classic and straight and narrow clubs such as Vogue on Portland Street. Throughout the 90's he worked closely with many influential musicians and to this day is still highly celebrated in the city and country.
The label put Madrush and Ethan together to make a track to celebrate their city, their culture and to open up the conversation about passing information between the generations.
The whole Corrupt Clarity EP feels like a rebirth of a legend and an uprooting of a young newcomer. The vocals and instrumentation are both laced with nostalgic yet modern sounds touching on classic dub, reggae and soul and this represented in no better way than on the track 'Dem Ah Gwan Bad'.
Other track 'Clarity' feels like a perfect opportunity for symbiosis between both musicians by bringing together the vintage piano sound with heavy, crisp bass lines that are riddled with drill bass in the modern muses. The final track on the EP 'Open For a Chat' feels like Ethan Hill has gone all out in his style and truly taken control. Opening up in the classic DJ Khalid way, "Ethan Hill, Madrush MC, Rhythm Lab linkup" feels like a real celebration to the project that they have all worked on together. This track is much more slick and smooth in it's production and gives us notes on modern artists like Frank Ocean and the whole OFKTA crew.
The project and release both glow bright, the music is crisp, clean and meaningful and the project as a whole highlights the importance of black music and culture in Manchester and shows how far back it really goes within the story of the city.
I hope to see many many more passion projects that can create positive change for communities in Manchester, for that we have Rhythm Lab Records to thank.
Dubbul O & Jointhedots - What Ya Missin'
This track is a melding of contemporary and well respected musicians in Manchester's jazz and hip-hop musicians. Dubbul O is a celebrated rapper and vocalist who you'll know from The Mouse Outfit, Voodoo Black and Mothership Connection and Jointhedots is a new live hip-hop band project from Defty who was one of the founding members of The Mouse Outfit.
The band create a warm, smooth track for Dubbul O to strut around on. His strong vocal prowess creates tensions and movement throughout that feels like it's from out of the city and further up a bill then their current standings. Defty and Dubbol O are joined by Liviu Gheorge and Aaron Wood (Live at the Deli Lama and many many jazz bands) which give real legitimacy to the whole project.
A smooth jazz/hip-hop track that all can enjoy throughout the year has been gifted to us.
Moby Dickless - Live in the Boat Room
After over a year of quiet from releases the band we all know and love have been working hard, real hard. Their live shows have gone from jams to tight showcases of their raw unrelenting talent up to the point that they open up the audience to decide a key for them to jam in, on stage, unprepared. This new release 'Live in the Boat Room' is to showcase that excellent live repertoire in crisp form and show what they have done superbly.
The band consists of Sloth (bass), Maria (guitars) and Freddie (drums) and together they have created a fuzzy, trip pop world of European exploration, you can tell that they all love Portishead. All members of the band are well versed in their instruments and each have opportunities to shine on this EP, Freddie on 'Shorn', Maria on 'Triple Glazed Stare' and 'Daffodils' for Sloth as he shows his skills on both bass and trumpet.
The four songs of 'Live In The Boatroom' follow their journey from looser jams to the tight sequences of 'Shorn'. The track is dark and twisted and yet the positive outlook of 'Shorn' really highlights the fantastic instrumentation and interweaving nature of the bass and guitar lines with ease. Throughout the EP I feel that Maria's guitar has a very modern yet well know sound and elements can be picked up in more modern guitar music such as Khruangbin and Kikagaku Moyo which highlight the instrument whilst clearly leaving space for others.
The other three tracks all sit in balance with each other showcasing everyone's talents. the sound of the rest feel closer to 90's bands like Up, Bustle and Out where the beautiful minimal space created by the trio is what grabs you rather than anything else.
After seeing the band live I know they have songs like 'Zoo' and 'Birds' that I still wait to see in a full recorded session and this release gives me hope for what's to come with the band, especially with the tutelage of Nick Barber as their manager.
David Curington - Mind Maps
'Mind Maps' is the first release on David Curington's new label Square Ears, the artist himself has released 19 albums of oddball ambient/noise/experimental music that combines art/photpgraphy and art photography in ways I have never seen before. In essence Curington is a composer, his formats of creating are of creating worlds for the listener to be lost in and he has been successful in that area with this latest release.
Like in all experimental noise projects there is an element of confusion, over saturation and dissatisfaction but that only comes from the listener and not the performer. The precision in instrumental, recording and creative formats bewilders in this release. From the overdubbed vocals in 'monet money mahogany' with the inclusion of Debussy piano recorded on a tape machine in his bathroom, you begin to see the rumination of the artist.
The release runs a whole 29 minutes with 3 tracks starting with 'monet money mahogany', 'maths mattes masks' and 'mimic mattock mythic' which all follow a theme of cryptic scepticism that runs in circles of art, robotics, religion and parks.
Throughout the tracks you feel as though you get an insight into the somewhat 'crazed' mind of Curington and what makes him tick. Clearly the more intellectual side of life is what gets David going.
The third track on the release is the my personal favourite that uncovers raw emotions within me. Whereas other tracks may have felt somewhat confused or over layered, this one hits the nail on the head with a very ambient landscape painted out in front of me with an unreliable narrator working and worming away in the background.
The whole of Curington's back catalogue is worth listening to and this one feels as though it collates all the ideas and instrumentation together. Very excited to see what comes from Square Ears next with artists like Kaproww and Die Die Kill bolstering the experimental scene within Manchester.
Tigers & Flies - Among Everything Else