ORGAN: Five music things – Brooklyn’s Stephen Becker, New Jersey’s Gatherers, Metz with Joe Talbot, he of Idles, the beauty of Karen & Peter, Berlin’s TEll A ViSiON, Tons with some heavy duty sludge and…

The editorial bit again, the introduction that heralds the latest Five Music Things thing and whatever the five music thing is actually all about. 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, everything must go and 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) very very picky about what we actually post on these fractured pages or what gets played on the radio or what we 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 or words in general? Just facts and links then, here you go, play the music, grab your five, eat your greens, go eat some art, go eat some dirt and don’t forget the yellow trousers. Yer idiot man and his comedy Fall covers cowman (small c) insists we’re far more interested in the colour of a band’s trousers than the music they make, he wrote a whole angry blog about ’cause we don’t think his music worth a whole heap of anything much (his Fall covers are hilarious though) 

Here we go then, five (or so) more musical things in no particular order…

1: Stephen Becker has a new single, Company, a rather glowing piece of goodness that put things like Elliot Smith in mind, a third single from Stephen’s debut album ‘A Calm That Shifts’, out on October 14th, 2022 via NNA Tapes. The calm is something that treats us well, the little details in the quiet of it all. There’s an almost delicate beauty here, no not delicate, delicate is the wrong word, this feels rather strong. Actually, on first (not even proper), the whole album as a wholesome glow to it. Watch this space while we get to know the album a little more. You can find more via Bandcamp while we stand on the porch and look at the angles.

Stephen Becker – the Brooklyn, NY multi-instrumentalist who plays with Katie Von Schleicher, Vagabond, Market, Johanna Samuels, Strawberry Runners, Youbet – today shared “Company” a third and final single from his forthcoming debut full-length A Calm That Shifts (out on October 14th, 2022), which was produced with lifelong friend Adam Hirsch (Luke Temple, Boyscouts, Rose Droll, Meerna, Madeline Kenney, Sam Amidon).

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“Company” arrives alongside a Dan Goedeker-animated video. Of the track, Stephen Becker shared the following statement: ​“Company is about late 20’s social anxiety, self isolation, the rabbit hole that is getting immersed in your self and your art. It’s a strange game – toeing that line between productive solo time and breezy social time, being part of a community. The truth is that both are productive, but it’s easy to get confused in this results-oriented content-hungry world. Productive is the wrong word, maybe I mean helpful or important. I wrote Company on a whim, the evening before one of our last tracking days in the studio. It actually almost got cut from the record. I’m glad it didn’t.”

Wonder if Stephen has any yellow strides? his music would be far better if he dressed in yellow. How do we feel about his t-shirt Ben? Now we’re motoring as someone once said of Doctor and The Crippens when playing them on the radio. Of course the only reason we ever liked Pulkas (up there at the top of the page) was because of the cool way they dressed. Wonder if Gatherers have any yellow trousers or an Up Yours t-shirt? Bet they haven’t got an Organ t-shirt. Here’s that photo of Wooze again, just for Ben cowman, we know how much he likes it, we read about his love for yellow trousers in his blog that was almost as funny as his comedy Fall impressions on his covers album.

2: Gatherers – “New Jersey’s Gatherers announce their new full-length album ( mutilator. ), due out November 18th via No Sleep Records”. The hype pushers who sent in the press release tell us “Gatherers possess all the attributes that so many bands making heavier rock strive to master and incorporate into their sound. The five piece effortlessly blend melody with dynamic and fluid movements between guitars and drums that push the speakers to their limits, and softer reflective interludes that further highlight the incredible range of singer Rich Weinberger’s vocals, pipes that might likely evoke Chino Moreno or an early career Jeremy Egnik. Today the band share the new single “gift horse”, which features vocals from Geoff Rickly and arrives with an accompanying music video directed by Gatherer’s own Weinberger”. Well that’s what the hype sheet said, we prefer to let the music do the talking, but you do know the policy around here, if we’re not impressed then we don’t share it, that fact that we have shared this tells you all you need ot know about our thoughts on the matter.

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Here’s more of that Gatherers hype ’cause, as Ben has already pointed out, we ain’t got no time to be reviewing it ourselves. Thing is Ben, if we didn’t rate them then their new release wouldn’t be on this page and who reads any of this anyway, surely everyone just skips therough and plays the music on these pages of ours and makes up their own damn mind without all the dancing around the architecture. Do like the way that video ends. The days of long-arse reviews are mostly over, we do still write hundreds of them though, some that go on way too long, who really needs a review with every bit of music we post when you can just play the damn music? The only people who read music reviews these days are the egotistical musicians who made the music in the first place.

“The track ‘gift horse’ was informed by a bass part Siddhu (Anandalingam) brought to rehearsal, which ended up becoming the intro,” explains Weinberger. “We wanted the song to feel manic and anxious yet structurally coherent. At the time, I was vocally inspired by ‘When Boys Telephone Girls’ by Deftones and how that opening verse sort of glides over all the chaos happening. I wanted that same feeling with ‘gift horse’. We ended up recruiting Geoff Rickly to lend us his vocals. We couldn’t think of anyone more appropriate than him. The video was written by myself & my friend Jordan Toussaint, and produced by my wife Kelsey. In May of 2021, I watched this preserved 16mm short by the artist Robert Breer titled ‘Pat’s Birthday’. At that moment, I knew that was ‘the look’ I wanted. The video is entirely up for interpretation, although months after finishing it I started to recognize that there is this sort of sacrificial ‘rain dance’ taking place. Pina Bausch was also a big inspiration for it.”

The press release goes on to tell us that “Gatherers don’t operate like most other bands. Since forming in 2011, the band has continually defied the constructs and constrictions of genre, and refused to succumb to convention. That’s something that’s been amplified on this fourth full-length, ( mutilator. ) While its 11 songs are another natural progression and evolution for the five-piece, it also marks something of a turning point for the band – after releasing 2015’s Quiet World and 2018’s We Are Alive Beyond Repair, they put out the single “Sick, Sad Heart” in April 2019 before parting ways with their label for those past two releases.

Yet while many bands might have balked at the uncertainty that being unsigned entailed, Gatherers took it as an opportunity to make the exact album they wanted to make, not least because they weren’t on anybody else’s timeline. As a result, it afforded them much more creative freedom while also allowing them to build on the sounds and textures they had begun exploring on that standalone track. “This is the first time in two albums that we were really just able to take our time with it, and do and hear what we wanted on a record,” says guitarist Anthony Gesa.

“At the same time,” adds vocalist Rich Weinberger, “our mantra for this record was to not overthink anything. We spent a lot of time listening and talking to each other – asking what kind of vibe we were imagining – and I feel that was very beneficial, because it kept us all dialed in to the same headspace.”

That headspace isn’t far removed from the usual place that Gatherers songs take the listener – a dark, bleak world that feels like it’s on the verge of a permanent night, that’s watching the sun set one final time with the knowledge it’s never going to rise again. While that certainly serves as an appropriate soundtrack for the dystopian world and times that we seem to currently be living in, the lyrics are actually more contemplative. That’s something of a new approach for Weinberger, who previously looked to poetry, visual art and even documentaries to aid his lyrical inspiration. While that method still played a role on these songs – he points to Charles Bukowski’s poetry, the Heaven’s Gate cult and the analogue horror videos of the fictional TV station Local 58 on YouTube as informing these songs – Weinberger took a more contemplative approach with these words.

Partly, that’s because Gatherers also changed up their writing process. Written between April 2019 and March 2020, the band – completed by guitarist Rob Talalai, new bassist Siddhu Anandalingam and drummer Adam Cichocki – wrote in a way that accommodated Weinberger’s voice more than they had before on previous records

“His vocals have never been an afterthought,” says Gesa, “but Rich has an incredible voice and we wanted to make sure we were using it to its full potential. For …Beyond Repair, I wrote separately from the band for the most part – they’d give me ideas and I’d write to them. This time, the biggest difference is that Rich picked up a guitar and started writing vocal melodies to parts, rather than giving him finished music to write vocals to.”

The result is a less a collection of conventional songs than of dark clouds of feeling and atmosphere – a set of bruised, desperate, searching songs that Weinberger refers to as “a panic attack in slow motion.” That’s accurate. There’s a gentle yet ominous grace to the likes of “boxcutter”, “black marigolds” and “our last days, numbered like a rotary dial”, and a scorching, ragged and visceral beauty to “ad nauseam, i drown”, while nefarious, nihilistic shadows hover over “twelve omaha solemn certainty” and “masalette” burns up in an apocalyptic, apoplectic rage. It’s proof that, while Gatherers may have moved away from the more traditional post-hardcore template of their earlier records, the swathes and swirls and layers of sound present on these songs are just as powerful”.

More about the album here

And here’s some classic Doctor and The Crippens for no reason what-so-ever

3: Metz – The always rewarding Toronto band have a new single, it comes out this week on Sub Pop, featuring yer man Joe Talbot, he of Idles doing his thing (or indeed things, he doesn’t just do a thing does he? We’re still basking in the excellence of that gig Joe and his mates played in our local park this simmer), the b-side of this Metz single, Heaven’s Gate, isn’t bad either. Here comes the link should you need more, and down there under the YouTube you can find more lazily cut ‘n pasted words and the Bandcamp and the previously mentioned b-side. You can also find that b-side on our September Spotify playlist, down towards the end of the list that has been building throughout the month, down there with the new Horse Lords release and loads loads loads more.

Of the “Come On Down” single and collaboration, METZ’s Alex Edkins offers this, “‘Come On Down’ was originally recorded during the Atlas Vending sessions but never fully finished. During the pandemic I really gravitated towards the idea of collaboration as a way to fill the void left by the loss of live music. I reached out to friends from far and wide in order to get that feeling of community that gigs provide. Joe Talbot (IDLES) is a longtime friend who METZ has shared the stage with many, many times, and this song was a very natural and fun way to catch up with him and do something positive with our time off the road.”

Joe Talbot had this to say, “METZ have been a band we’ve looked up to since they came into our lives and made things better. I will never forget the first time I saw them or any of the other times. Allowing me to sing with them is a gift and I hope you like it. I love it and I love them. Long live METZ.”

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Here’s some more Metz, we haven’t covered them in ages…

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4: Karen & Peter – now we do rather like this, I guess I should thank Ben and his no-mates one-man man band for leading us to this one, he is still a rude flipper though, kind of clueless at that, he’ll get no thanks from us and I would rather like to meet him on dark night to discuss his rudeness and his attempts to piss us about a little more. Enough of cowman though (small c, he insists of that|), this quiet album of beautifully (almost) spoken word and artfully constructed sound from Karen and Peter is something special, something almost painterly.

“In the fall of 2021, sound artist Peter Taylor and poet Karen Schoemer decided to create songs together, despite never having met. Both drew on the faded industrial landscapes of their respective countries. Peter was inspired by the Calder Valley in Yorkshire, with its history of coal mining and asbestos contamination; Karen had recently relocated to a rural town in upstate New York once known as “Factory Hill,” where remnants of 20th century fires and floods scar the landscape. Their independent investigations of disparate locales uncover commonalities that hint at wider, even universal, human conditions”.

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“Karen Schoemer is a poet and former music journalist who frequently collaborates with musicians including Oli Heffernan, Mike Watt, Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby. She contributed words to Ivan the Tolerable’s “Out of Season” (2020) and words and vocals to The Long Year (2021, both released by Stolen Body Records). With Mike Watt she records as the duo Jaded Azurites. She is vocalist for the upstate New York band Sky Furrows, which released its self-titled debut album in 2020. Peter Taylor has been making music as Mortuus Auris & the Black Hand/MAbH since 2008. He is also a visual artist working across many disciplines including photography, animation, illustration, miniatures and painting. He is based just outside of South West London by the River Thames”.

And as we keep tellng Ben, our words aren’t really needed, not when Karen’s words and Peter’s rather warm sound art, his perfeclty balanced music are there doing all the talking. Peter’s sound flows so well with Karen’s almost perfectly toned words, her cherry wallpaper and blueberry denim. More via the Cruel Nature Records Bandcamp page. Cruel Nature seem like a rather rewarding label, shame abour cowman’s piss poor attitude and his fake press release bulshit, all his trying to pull the wool over our eyes rather than just being straight up, kind of taints it all. We’ll explore more of what the label has to offer in a bit…

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And on we go, off to Berlin and…

4: TEll A ViSiON – “Evolution not revolution, TEll A ViSiON is the moniker of Berlin artist/producer Fee Kürten, having been through a creative and environmental metamorphosis. Written and recorded at her home studio in Berlin, the finishing touches were made in London, with the mixing and co production by Hannes Plattmeier at Ashfield Street Studios. Influences include artists such as The Fugees and Santigold. Her debut album is due for release in early 2023 via Duchess Box Records”.

Call Me By My Name is a brooding thing, an abstact beast, I like her pace, like the way the track take all the time it needs to get where it wants to go. We’re told (via the press release that just came in) that this is the first taste of her debut album, she does seem to have quite an extensive back catalogue lurking there on Bandcamp though? The 2019 album Add Land offers more of what we hear here with the “debut” single. There’s an excellent album, Music on Canvas, released back in 2011 and featuring music recorded between 2007 and 2010, there’s rather a lot to explore, this latest single is a rather fine place to start…

“It’s speaking to myself but also to the outside world. It’s connecting the dots of an isolated feeling and the wish or intention to connect. “Call me by my name: So I get reminded of who I am, so I wake up from my dissociation state”. And also: “Call me by my name” in terms of “See me, how I am, with all the facets I bring”. It’s about the search for identity. The video sums up some of my facets n faces, but it also describes the dissociation state of mind I sometimes fall into.” TEll A ViSiON 

5: Tons time and some heavy duty sludge, a track from release that will see the light October 7th via Heavy Psych Sounds. There was a time when bag loads of this kind of thing would creep in to us, we don’t seem to hear it so much these days which maybe why Tons sound so damn good? Hell, you could almost do that Candlemass doom dance thing they took the time to give us lessons in back at the old Wardour Street version of the Marquee. Do like the way this builds and builds, do like how high Tons get…

“After the infamous split album with the almighty Bongzilla, Tons are back with their third full-length studio album. Hashension is composed by six heavy reefer songs which express the band’s devotion to the Green God. The recipe is the same, but always evolving: an infusion of slow and swampy doom/sludge metal with hints of psychedelia, and the band members’ hardcore-punk background gives the record a groovy and personal feel throughout”.

And now listening to Tons nas kicked up some BLack Rainbows, not listened to Black Rainbows for ages and ages, played them a lot on the radio show back there, this album came out in 2013, O do believe they’re on Heavy Psych Sounds as well…

Meanwhile, back in the 70’s before Plastic Bertrand or Captain and the Softees or The Damned or TV adverts or the chicken or the egg….

And that should do for today, we’ll leave Ben to pull it all apart again and then tell us none of it is as good as his band, let him write another bitter blog about it all. We’ll be back in a few days with another five, maybe…

Did you check out last Sunday’s radio show yet, they’ll be another along this Sunday, listen to it here

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