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Nisennenmondai – #N/A

On-U Sound

NisennenmondaiNisennenmondai - #N/A have turned their exploration of the extremes of guitar, bass and drum repetition into something of an artform, as well as seeming to find new and ever-inventive ways to continuously revisit and repurpose the same basic sound and tracks which first appeared on their now-classic N LP in 2013. With the superb live in the Clouds Hill studio version of N (and more) bringing the engrossing immediacy of their stage presence to both disc and video

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Babymetal – Metal Resistance

earMUSIC

Babymetal - Metal ResistanceOMG BEST ALBUM EVER.

Yeah, probably should write more than that.

Precarious, is how you might describe it. Prior to this release, there was a couple of songs floating around, notably “Road of Resistance”, which features Dragon Force, or DragonForce (I’ve no intention of dignifying them with finding out how their name’s spelt). They’re alright, if you’re in a shred kind of a mood

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Enslaved / Skuggsja / Wardruna (live at By Norse)

Wardruna live at By Norse 2016The Coronet, London 19 March 2016

Saturday night in Elephant and Castle and the queue is round the block. Almost literally. Due to the sad state of the beloved Shepherds Bush Empire, tonight’s entry in the mythic By Norse canon has been shifted to The Coronet, a converted cinema and nightclub whose security conditions for entry are of the stringent type that works just fine if you’re a club and people are showing up five or six at a time, but tends to grind to a (really fucking cold) halt if you’re putting on a gig and the whole crowd have shown up at once.

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Был замечен – стало ещё только хуже (B-Z – It Just Got Worse)

Robustfellow Prods.

Был замечен - стало ещё только хужеPsychedelic trio Был замечен (transliterated and truncated to B-Z for short) bring the heavy noise from Kharkiv, dealt out with a steadfast determination to fry the listener’s brains while shaking the rafters that’s entirely admirable. Their second album стало ещё только хуже (It Just Got Worse) sets out on a mission to befuddle, bamboozle and all-out confuse over five tracks on two sides of compact cassette (and digital download).

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Asking Alexandria – The Black

Sumerian

Asking Alexandria - The BlackThe Black comes across as the perfect comeback album for Asking Alexandria, one of the plethora of incredible bands that have emerged from what My Chemical Romance dubbed Generation Nothing. Beginning with a confusing mass of seemingly incomprehensible voices timed with a warbling guitar, “Let It Sleep” gets your heart racing as it builds into an irresistible chant before running off and taking you on a breakneck ride of emotions.

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Nurse With Wound / Autrenoir (live at Convergence)

Nurse With Wound live at Convergence March 2016Village Underground, London 19 March 2016

The expectation was unbearable. The support act, Autrenoir (an alliance of Paul Régimbeau — AKA Mondkopf — and Greg Buffier of Selenites and Saáad), had finished half an hour ago and the Nurse With Wound contingent were assembled hirsute by the side of the stage.

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Metamono – Creative Listening

Instrumentarium

Metamono - Creative ListeningCreative Listening is the second album from the South London-based trio, released on lovely vinyl. According to the credits on the back it say it was written and recorded “in strict adherence to the manifesto”, which sounds like something you would see on the back of a Throbbing Gristle or Psychic TV album many years ago. Instead, the manifesto seems to be about the use of electronics and instruments rather than adhering to some type of occultural knowledge that you could find hidden within the record’s grooves. Metamono are all about analogue systems and how these can be utilised to create music in different forms, not in a lilting ambient structure like Eno, but more in the sense of use of rhythm.

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Savages / Bo Ningen (live at The Roundhouse)

London 17 March 2016

St Patrick’s Day in chilly London, and I’ve opted out of going out drinking in pubs filled with (mainly English) people wearing green hats and pretending they always liked Guinness in favour of going to see some rock’n’roll, in the alarmingly hipsterised Roundhouse (a craft ale stall? Bar snacks ranging from “nuts” and “crisps” to “bags of meat”? Crikey), because the mighty Savages are playing, supported by the equally mighty Bo Ningen. Which is quite a line-up, though hardly a surprising one, the two bands being long(ish)-standing friends and collaborators.

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Lumen Lab – They Are Killing Us

Aagoo

Lumen Lab - They Are Kiliing UsDiego Martinez has been active as Lumen Lab for half a lifetime, shifting Mexico’s underground electronic music scene into new and varied dimensions well outside its established comfort zones since starting out at the age of fifteen in 2000. Drawing on an evident love of hardcore punk and the many and varied forms that dance music has taken in its long journey from techno into something altogether more mutated, They Are Killing Us is his most assured and powerful release to date.

Bristling with invention and a righteous political anguish at the state that Mexico finds itself in as a result of the never-ending internecine war over drugs, They Are Killing Us is also often not quite as dark as a title which speaks volumes of Martinez’ view of the tribulations of his nation might

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White Hills / Teeth Of The Sea (live at The Lexington)

London 13 March 2016

Sunday night on Pentonville Road, and The Lexington is rammed. At first it’s hard to tell who’s here for the bands and who’s just here for a pint, but then the first act take the stage upstairs and people flood upwards. And it’s not hard to tell WHY they’re here for the bands — as Teeth Of The Sea fiddle around with their eclectic and quite frankly bizarre selection of instruments and boxes, including a bass guitar with a Throbbing Gristle sticker affixed.

Teeth Of The Sea live March 2016

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Caravan (live at the Union Chapel)

Caravan live at the Union Chapel March 2016London 14 March 2016

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, the Jules Rimet still gleamed in the trophy cabinets of old Albion, Patrick McGoohan was recognisable to the nation as Danger Man John Drake rather than some arsy bloke being pursued across a Welsh beach by a weird white ball, and Harold Wilson was the dynamic, thrusting young politician thrilling the body politic. Around the same time, although Swinging London was grabbing all the headlines and covers of Time magazine, the Canterbury scene was also a seriously happening event.

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Purson / Crosa Rosa (live at The 100 Club)

Purson live at the 100 Club March 2016

London 16 March 2016

I had not been to the 100 Club in many years, so had forgotten what a strange space it is. The fact that the stage is put against a side wall so there is actually more standing space either side of than in front of it is kind of odd. But in the end none of this mattered as I was there to witness Purson play again, and this band would be great wherever they performed.

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K-X-P – III, Part II

Öm

K-X-P – III, Part TwoAnnouncing its arrival in a trill of shimmering digital FX and a pounding rhythm, the second instalment of K-X-P‘s third album heaves into audibility with all the bombast and finely-tuned ear for a hook which the band have perfected over their last few releases.

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The Body – No One Deserves Happiness / The Body and Full Of Hell – One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache

No One Deserves Happiness Thrill Jockey

The Body - No One Deserves HappinessHere’s a concept to consider: The Body have dubbed their latest misanthropic missive No One Deserves Happiness as “the grossest pop album of all time”, and they may just be right. Roping in Chrissy Wolpert and Maralie Armstrong from the Assembly of Light Choir to provide a more melodic vocal counterpoint to Chip King‘s enthusiastically atavistic yelping, the duo also utilise a range of drum machinery to underpin their visceral grind of guitar, bass and even cello and trombone with a relentless churn of rhythm and distended groove.

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The Pop Group – For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?

Freaks R Us

The Pop Group - For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?The Pop Group‘s reissue project continues apace with the release of their classic 1980 LP For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? This, their second studio album (and their last for 35 years) saw their overt politicisation, as the title will attest. To the cynical and jaded ears of someone coming to this in 2016, like me for example, there’s an endearing, almost naïve quality to their sloganeering, as with a lot of ’80s agit-pop; but as punk had already proved, that need be no barrier to either artistic success or good songwriting.

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