All the striving and the doing it, on we go, the Five music things thing yet again for whatever it still might be worth. Five? There’s something rather compelling about five, cross-pollination? Five more? Do we need to do the editorial bit again? Is there another way? A cure for pulling cats out of hats? Is there a rhyme? Is there a reason? Was there ever? What do reasons make? Five more, same as last time (and the time before) five, and no, we never do and the proof of the pudding is in that proof reading. When we started this thing, oh never mind, it doesn’t matter and like we asked last time, does anyone bother reading the editorial? Does anyone ever actually look down the rabbit hole or is it all just method acting? We do listen to everything that comes in, we do it so you don’t have to, we are very (very) picky about what we actually post on these pages or play on the radio or hang in a gallery. Cut to the chase, never mind the editorial there’s loads of music further down the page, well five or so pieces of music that have come our way in the last few days and cut cut slash and cut to the damn chase, who needs an editorial? Here’s your five for today.
Or maybe this time we do need an editorial? I mean, Ukraine, just a land full of people making music, art, wanting to just live and go to gigs and hang out together and…
1: Springtime Now this is rather good, this tastes really good, “Gareth Liddiard (The Drones/ Tropical Fuck Storm), Jim White (Dirty Three/Xylouris White) and Chris Abrahams (The Necks) are Springtime. Their new album, due out later in the year, combines elements of free-jazz, lyricism, improvisation, avant-garde and experimental noise” and where you’re thinking it is jsut going t obe an instrumental, a rather manic sounding voice kicks in ot add to it all. If you want to find it, if you care about these things, then Bandcamp will tell you a little bit more. The 2021 album is worth an eye or an ear as well, they kind of sound like they might be on the way home from the pub, “it’s as monstrously ravishing as it is clumsy in its elegance. Words run into each other with little regard for one another’s injuries. There are sounds who come out of nothingness to wallop and brutalize their fellow sounds….”
Don’t take out fractured word for it, although we probably will have a few more words about Springtime later on…
“The pedigree of the band aside, Springtime’s new EP is still shocking in the masterful delivery of its lived poetry and epic range. Fearless and joyful, it balances its scale and weight with grace and light – I love this record” Guy Picciotto (Fugazi)
2: Aspire are from Одесса, Ukraine, hopefully they still are, or they got out in one piece if they’re not. This album came out back in 2021, a forceful blend of crossover metal-edged hardcore punk rock. If the truth be told, they sound like a lot of crossover hardcore bands, you’ve heard this many times before but this week this is the point, they could be from a town in Kent or the edges of Manchester or somewhere in the US or Berlin, they could be playing on bills with Knuckledust down the Underwotld in Camden or drinking pints with Pints in the Old Blue Last, they’re just like a thousand positively agressive hardcore crossover metal flavoured punk rock bands that you and I have enjoyed a hundred times. They could well have been on an Organ Radio compilation album alongside Cynical Smile or Medulla Nocte or playing on Organ bills down at the Falcon or the Red Eye back in the day, they do their chosen thing really really well actually, a refreshing blast of hardcore brutality. The rest of the music we’ll write about this week, the art, the new releases, the exhibitions we’ll go to, the everything else seems of little importance compared to the music Aspire were making in the Summer of 2021 when this their latest album came out. We can’t do much here, the feeling is one of helpless frustration as we listen to the news on radio. I hope we hear from them one day, I hope we get to see them on a stage one day soon, I’d say I pray we do if I believed in such things. Aspire are excellent actually, they have something extra in there, I;d like to think we would have though that if we’d heard this album last year, pretty sure I would have done so, truth is I’d never heard of Aspire until last week, hope we heard from them again sometine soon, I hope if and when we do the circumstances are positive… Aspire’s Bandcamp page is here
I mean, what can we do here? These people are doing nothing more than so many of us havedone in s omany towns and cities all over the globe, they are you and me…
3: Traams quietly glide in with the announcement of “Sleeper”, the first song to be released from a series of recording sessions with producer Matt Peel (Eagulls, WH Lung), as the band work towards completing their first full-length record since 2015’s critically-acclaimed “Modern Dancing”.
“Featuring guest vocals from Soffie Viemose of Bella Union’s Danish five-piece Lowly, “Sleeper” contains everything that makes Traams such a beguiling prospect. Propulsive rhythms meet woozy melody head-on, the title all too appropriate for what amounts to a motorik lullaby, and offers a sweetly addictive taste of what’s to come in 2022.
“Sleeper” is set to be warmly welcomed by fans of a band that have always prioritised quality over quantity when it comes to their recorded output. 2020 saw them return briefly with the acclaimed singles “The Greyhound” and “Intercontinental Radio Waves”, little shafts of light emanating from the dark of the pandemic lockdowns, which then saw a release on vinyl last year as part of the limited edition “4 Songs” EP”
Traams guitarist and vocalist Stu Hopkins had the following to say about their new single:
“For a time we were quite set on this track staying as an instrumental. It wasn’t until the night before we were heading up to the studio that Padley sent through a new demo, quietly singing into his laptop in the dead of night.
Originally serving as a mood piece that would bridge a few of the others together, once we started to add singing Sleeper fast became one of our favourite tracks. It touches on the themes of time, longing and belonging that we have throughout the album, but they are at their lightest and most human on this track.
Whilst recording we thought it would work well as a duet, and Adam suggested Soffie, who we’d met years ago when we played with her band Lowly. We asked and were thrilled when she said yes. Soffie recorded her takes in Denmark and sent them over to us. Padley is also singing the chorus as per his original demo.
The freedom of the studio is really apparent on this track. There was a chance to play with layers and dynamics that we’d not really done before, there are no live drums, we played with vocal samples to create musical sections, it’s the most collaborative track we’ve ever done. We like it very much”
4: Robocobra Quartet – Belfast’s Robocobra Quartet return with their first new material in three years in the form of double single “Heaven” / “Night”. The news comes on the heels of their recent signing to Deptford based label First Taste Records and the announcement of a highly anticipated new album to come later in the year.
Having released two full-length studio albums to date, the new material finds the band revered as cult favourites. Their musical freedom and proclivity for improvisation often results in Robocobra Quartet being spoken about in the same breath as jazz and experimental music but their background is in punk rock and indie rock just as much as the avant-garde. They simply deal with what they have at their disposal – a collective of six members of wildly different musical backgrounds swapping in and out to make a touring quartet, which has taken them across Europe to Montreux Jazz Festival, Latitude Festival, and as far as Inversia Festival in the polar north of Russia.
Improvisation and experimentation is at the core of Robocobra Quartet’s DNA, whether it be in the fluidity of their line-up or in their unique records which flirt with choral groups and string sections – almost intentionally at odds with their ostensible roots as a post-punk band.
These juxtapositions are ever present in the bands new material, which harks back to the frenetic bite of the band’s debut album “Music For All Occasions” whilst naturally evolving into something altogether more dynamically explorative than ever before. “Heaven” sees chaotic circular jazz sax lines weave around distorted bass riffing and groove-heavy, propulsive drumming, whilst drummer-vocalist Chris W Ryan throws out sardonic vocals that emotively snap between speaking, shouting, and singing would-be adages across a volatile narrative about capitalism.
Speaking on the first single, “Heaven”, Ryan says: “Heaven is about the cult-like mania of capitalism. I grew up listening to Dead Kennedys and always liked how they would write songs from the perspective of a character they didn’t necessarily agree with. There’s something fascinating about the stories that emerge and I wanted to get inside that extremely chaotic and self absorbed headspace. I loved the idea of singing as someone so narcissistic they find their newborn child beautiful just because they look alike.”
Conversely, “Night” is one of the band’s most downtempo tracks yet. Born out of a “jam around a sampled chord from one of our old songs”, the song’s instrumentation is minimal yet affecting, whilst Ryan’s vocals nightwalk through a narrative around the sun setting on youth.
The new singles are also accompanied by two new contrasting videos, one of which sees the band performing upon a rooftop in Belfast, while the second sees Ryan pensively travelling around the city in the back of a cab on a dark and stormy night
You find these new Robocobra Quartet tracks on Bandcamp
5: Death Pill – are a self proclaimed “riot grrrl band from Kiev”, the last post on their Facebook page was on the 26th Feb, it read “24.02.2022 everybody in our Ukraine woke up with sounds of explosions. That was the most terrifying morning in our lives. “Russia officially started the War”. No more “civil war” bullshit that russian propaganda was pushing since 2014, when his army was killing Ukrainians in Luhansk and Donetsk, when they took Crimea, but the full scale attack against Ukrainian people. Now the war was officially declared by putin against Ukraine. Today we are here to protect our Home. We will resist”. Nothing on their Instagram since the 24th..
5: Bluesbreaker – on their Bandcamp page Bluesbreaker say they are “a band from Kyiv, Ukraine. Formed in 2010, still alive and well in 2018”. Well we hope that is still true at the end of February 2021, we hope our fellow artists and musicians who just want to do the same things as the rest of us, make our music, our art without infliciting anything other than our peaceful art and our creativity on our fellow humans wherever they may be from…