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King Salami and the Cumberland Three – Fourteen Blazin’ Bangers!!

Dirty Water

King Salami and the Cumberland Three – Fourteen Blazin Bangers!!Over the years a lot of the music from the 50s and the 60s has been treated badly by many bands and artists. Squeezing every nerve out of great songs to make them fit in big companies’ Christmas parties, or in extravaganza shows in Las Vegas or other money filling shit-holes over the world. Some exceptions, though, but still too few to be counted, compared to all those trying their best to make new generations shiver and gagging by the thought of playing music older than last year’s.

Not so with King Salami and the Cumberland Three. Their debut album is preserving some of the energy from the then-young artists from the 50s and the 60s, but with a collection of fresh new songs, making us wanna go to the dance

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Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky

Young God

Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The SkySwans are back, and it’s an event so massive, so inconceivably vast and unimaginable, that the very fact of its occurrence drowns out even the loudest of their tracks. Michael Gira, of course, has never been away, continuously pumping out increasingly diverse and intimate music under the name Angels of Light, occasionally dipping his toes back into that pool of intensity on which Swans used to glide. But now he’s taken the plunge again, and immersed himself once more into the sublime brutality of one of music’s most relentless outfits.

Swans’ following being what it is, this was a pretty dangerous move, whichever way you look at it. To produce something that could have equally

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Boduf Songs – This Alone Above All Else In Spite Of Everything

Kranky

Boduf Songs - This Alone Above All Else In Spite Of Everything“My hammer feels the urge to nail you to the ground / to smash one through your cheek.”

Welcome back Boduf Songs, straight off the starting blocks with another ingeniously constructed threat of violence to the listener, with both the compulsion and responsibility for the act located outside of the detached perpetrator and the implication of an animist, ritual significance. It’s a classic Mat Sweet strategy, delivered straight-faced and expressionless, uncomfortably unfiltered intimacy with an undercurrent of knowing mischief. After all, this is the same man who began 2008’s How Shadows Chase the Balance with the line “All of my heroes died the same day, all of them fallen away / swinging from nooses, wrists opened wide /

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The Pop Group (live at The Garage)

The Garage, London 11 September 2010

The Pop Group at the Garage (pic: Medwyn Jones)Reanimated musical corpses aren’t much of a news story these days – after The Velvet Underground and Throbbing Gristle reformations, nothing comes as a surprise. I was shocked then to realise just how stunned I felt to hear that The Pop Group had got back together to allegedly “blow the dust off the old songs and pick up where we left off…” or might it be perhaps to benefit from some of that old “consumer fascism” they railed so strongly against back in the day?

Mark Stewart (pic: Medwyn Jones)After three decades of informing people that they were the greatest artistic entity I’d ever encountered, it had never occurred to me that I would ever see The Pop Group again. The announcement

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Zombie Zombie – Play John Carpenter

Versatile

Zombie Zombie Plays John CarpenterGiven a penchant for vintage analogue synthesis, Goblin and motorik drumming, and having named themselves after a Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer game, it is not only appropriate, but almost de rigueur, that Zombie Zombie should find themselves tackling the oeuvre of a key progenitor of electronic cinema soundtracks. John Carpenter‘s themes and incidental music for the groundbreaking low-budget and high-thrills genre movies was pioneering, and hugely influential on a generation of teenagers who probably came into contact with the form for the first time within the sparse soundscapes of the sort he composed to accompany his own distinct brand of muscular action, SF and horror films.

Certainly as far as the mainstream of US horror and science fiction films went in the late seventies and eighties, no-one was really foregrounding synth pulsations

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The Heads – Relaxing With …

Rooster

Relaxing With...When this album was released way back when, in 1996, it was at a moment when electronic music of all sorts was riding high in the charts and otherwise, and stoner rock riffage as produced by a hirsute quartet from Bristol somehow became buried in a slew of trip-hop releases which were apparently satisfying the attention-spans of dope-smokers everywhere. Meanwhile, guitar rock seemed to have been hijacked for not only chart purposes, but mystifyingly, indie fashion, by the wholly disappointing surge of retro-Kinks and Beatles copyists whose names need not be mentioned. But The Heads kept doggedly on with their revivalist programme of MC5 and Hawkwind appreciation, eventually and most notably being hailed as long-lived champions of the heavy guitar at Portishead‘s surprisingly metal and doom-laden All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in December 2007.

Remastered and expanded, their début

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K-Space – Infinity

Ad Hoc

K-Space – InfinityEvery now and then you come across a product born of such radically alternative starting assumptions that it gets treated with near indifference by its potential audience, as though to even entertain the possibility of its existence could cause the tapestries of multiple musicotheologies to unravel. Infinity by K-Space is one such product: a CD that never plays the same music twice, intertwining ideas from disciplines such as improvisation, indeterminate composition, generative music and new media with anthropology, magic and non-musical sonic expression. While informed readers could be forgiven for commenting that it came out two years ago, at the time of writing no one seems to have been able to do justice to this remarkable record. That’s a shame, because it raises important questions about received wisdom in many of the key strata within

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The Blood of Heroes – The Blood of Heroes

Ohm Resistance

The Blood of Heroes - The Blood of HeroesSo. THE BLOOD OF HEROES. By THE BLOOD OF HEROES. Both times in caps-lock Billy Mays mode. None of this lower-case crap. That just wouldn’t suit THE BLOOD OF HEROES. I imagine by the time this review goes online it’ll be in bold as well. Which is as it should be.

So who, or what, is or are THE BLOOD OF HEROES? What they are is the easy one to answer succinctly. They’re fucking brutal. As for the who, they’re the mighty Justin Broadrick, with Bill Laswell, Enduser, Dr Israel, Submerged, Balazs Pandi, KJ Sawka and M Gregor Filip. Now, at this point it would be customary for me to go off on one about my hetero man-crush on the delightful Mr Broadrick, purveyor of all things noisy

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Toshimaru Nakamura – Egrets

Samadhi Sound

Toshimaru Nakamura - EgretsThere are few musical instruments that are as conceptually pleasing as the no-input mixing board. It is part of a rich tradition in experimental music in which peripheral hardware and audio equipment are repositioned as musical instruments in their own right (turntables, effects pedals and tape recorders could be seen as other examples). It is a controller of sound without anything in the way of a conventional sound to control, a content-free methodology that has reminded many commentators of the Soto school of Zen. This, coupled with the unpredictability of its controls, is strongly reminiscent of the work and ideas of John Cage. In its illumination of the secret inner sound world of machinery, the no-input mixing board also belongs to traditions that explore the glitches and faults within electronic devices. And in its exploration of feedback

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The Hentchmen – The Hentchmen

Dirty Water

The Hentchmen“… kind of record that gets played at the coolest party …where the keg ends up in the pool…” says the press release… I’ve seen that film, but truthfully, never been to a party with a keg, let alone a swimming pool. I do remember a particular glue-crazed house-wrecker where sofas were incinerated, windows smashed and roof squatted like a prison riot, complete with slate thrower. The last thing I recall – before I deemed it time to leave for my own safety – was a 7” leaving the hand of the local psychopath and rippling nearly a full inch past my teenage forehead; before it shattered into beautiful, but cut throat, shards and the ugly remainder sat like a black gargoyle grinning at our folly, embedded as it now was, halfway up a wall.

And that

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Little Princess Orchestra – Oedipal Complexities

Not The Sixties

Little Princess Orchestra – Oedipal ComplexitiesImprovised music is sometimes more interesting in principle than practice, which so often involves accomplished musicians demonstrating consummate skill or immaculate taste (but rarely both at the same time). The Little Princess Orchestra happily have no truck with such nonsense, approaching communal music creation with the same primal inquisitiveness that Neanderthals must have possessed when they first discovered the joy in banging two stones together.

The music for the most part is brutal and angular, clumsily impolite – imagine playing the first This Heat album to a pack of belligerent drug-addled sociopaths and asking them to recreate it… wearing boxing gloves… The resulting racket, simultaneously throwaway and over-reaching, has an anarchic spontaneity that could have found a home on the Fuck Off label back in 1979. Mark

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Puma – Half Nelson Courtship

Rune Grammofon

Puma – Half Nelson CourtshipWhat is Puma? This young Norwegian trio started out as a jazz trio, and they all studied at jazz conservatories. They also fit in numerous other projects, such as Jaga Jazzist, Bushman’s Revenge and Westerhus recently joined Nils Petter Molværs‘ new trio. As Intro winners (Norwegian award for young jazz muzicians) in 2006 they where also given oppportunities to go on tour with noise artist Lasse Marhaug. In recent years they have been regarded as leading talents of the Norwegian improvisional scene.

Although Half Nelson Courtship is divided into 10 tracks, the album works as a whole, almost a suite that moves into various aspects of the sonic palette Puma wishes to explore. There is a highly experimental feel to it, but in many senses also inspired by 70s progressive bands

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Kevin Dunn – No Great Lost: Songs 1979-1985

Casa Nueva

Kevin Dunn – No Great Lost: Songs 1979-1985Strangely enough, the first thing that comes to mind when listening to Kevin Dunn is just how quintessentially English he sounds – Brian Eno, Wire, TV Personalities – that kind of English. What a surprise then to read the sleeve notes and find out that he actually comes from Atlanta, Georgia. Having known the name but somehow missed out on the music at the time, this compilation of his output from 1979 to 1985 fills me in with just what I missed out on… which is actually quite a lot.

The centrepiece of the anthology is the complete 1981 album The Judgement of Paris which, due to the destruction of the original master tapes in a fire, has had to be meticulously reconstructed from the original multi-track, using an original vinyl copy as

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Knut – Wonder

Conspiracy

KNUT – WonderAh, already after the first riffs of Wonder, I get a sense of “this is my kind of heavy metal”. Hard and the kind of old fashioned heavy feeling; that sort of heavy feeling from some of the the 80s bands like Dio, that made my body want to slow down, BUT with the speed and intensity of metal hardcore act Converge. As fresh as the Swiss Knut sounds, they have still been around since the early 90s, pushing out records over the years – but they can still kick some butt. The mix between hard and heavy and going back to hardcore fast riffs even creates a math-rock feeling in some tracks.

Anyway, after a quite fast and heavy start of the first four tracks, the fifth track slows the pace down a bit. A

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Los Saicos – ¡Demolición!

Munster

Los Saicos – ¡Demolición!Mid-Sixties garage rock seems in retrospect to have been a grassroots movement on a truly global scale. Forty-five years on, obsessive labels like Munster and QDK Media are still unearthing lost curios, originating from ever more remote and unlikely locations. Who’d have thought that healthy garage scenes thrived in Cambodia and Iran? In comparison, Peru is pretty mainstream by now, a number of compilations having documented the vibrant South American scene over the years. Much of the stuff that surfaces these days is unsurprisingly a bit second division, but the groovy cats at Munster have stumbled across a little gem with this collection.

¡Demolición! comprises the entire recorded output (all six singles!) of Lima’s most disturbed delinquents, Los Saicos (…and I didn’t need online translation to figure out either group name or album title!). For the purists (and

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