ORGAN: Five music things – Dublin’s M(h)aol announce a debut album, Chicago’s Skinchanger bring on the brutal jazz, Ron Gallo has unveiled a new single, singer and experimental musician Lisel, Paradox Obscur’s oldschool ElectroGoth and…

Let the music do the talking, never mind the editorial bit at the top, same thing, different year. Another five slices of music thing again and however you slice it and of course it was sushi and here comes the introduction that heralds the latest Five Music Things thing and whatever the hell 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 better way? A cure for pulling flying pigs out of the clouds? Is there a rhyme? Is there a reason? Was there ever a reason? What do reasons make? Five more, everything must go and same as last time (and the time before that) 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 why we started this thing 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 really try to 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 about what gets played on the radio or indeed 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 it, who needs an editorial or words or worms 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 whatever it was we said you shouldn’t forget last time…

Here we go, five (or so) more musical things in no particular order and for no particular reason other than…

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1: M(h)aol are from Dublin, we covered them back in 2021 – M(h)aol’s Gender Studies, why does no one ever talk to them? The awkwardly good new EP is out this Friday… and then again at the start of 2022 when they announced live dates with Shellac and then, well, not a lot until today when news of a debut album and a couple of taster tracks including a song called Therapy which is out as single right now. Hear two tracks from the album on their Bandcamp page, hear Therapy on our January Spotify playlist and do take note of the fact that the spiky band’s debut album Attachment Styles is out on February 3rd. Expect more from the band who say they’re mostly about “Feminism, Animal welfare” and the very Irish thing that is “Chipper chips” on these pages before the album comes out….

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“Recently announcing debut album Attachment Styles out 3rd February via TULLE Collective and now Rough Trade Publishing, Ireland’s M(h)aol share new single ‘Therapy’, a light-hearted track that deals with very real subject matter…

“I wanted to write Therapy as a light-hearted addition to the album, dealing with a very real subject matter.”, vocalist Róisín says of the track. “It came from a conversation I had with a friend who was talking about a loved one not turning up to therapy, even though they were why she was in therapy, and I was thinking about people in our lives who are the reason we go to therapy and how we can often heal in spite of them.”

 Based between Dublin, London, and Bristol, the band is formed of Róisín Nic Ghearailt, Constance Keane, Jamie Hyland, Zoë Greenway and Sean Nolan. 

Attachment Styles is a record about social connection, queerness and healing where the listener goes on a journey. When Róisín was writing the lyrics, she used the theory of attachment styles as an overarching theme which is a theory that looks at the impact our inter-familial relationships and society have on how we relate to one another.

Bassist Jamie produced, mixed, and mastered the album where she wanted to capture the live element, meaning it was recorded in one small room with no headphones, minimal drum mics, and only a PA for vocals. 

They’re set to perform for Independent Venue Week from the end of the month as well as SXSW, before their own headline tour in May. Tickets on-sale here“.

Here’s the band’s Facebook page

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2: Skinchanger – An album out on a cassette label out of Chicago. I know we started out own label ORG as a casette based thing back in the last century but that was a case of needs must rather than a what’s cool thing, it was always a rubbish format if you ask me, don’t buy into all this tape being a cool thing business. There is a digital option as well, I don’t know, that isn’t “proper” either is it? I don’t know, is it out on wax cylinder?

“Hey Sean! I recently saw and really enjoyed your take on The Luttenbachers’ “Terror Iridescent.” I’ve been a big fan of theirs for a long time and have my own project, “Skinchanger” that is heavily inspired by them. It’s heavily sax-driven, noisy post punk with with plenty of chaotic free-jazz interludes.  We just released our 2nd album on Lurker Bias and I think you might be into it!”.

No real idea who Skinchanger are or where they’re from, the subject line in the e.mail just read “new release from brutal sax-punks Skinchanger” and the message just came with the link to their tape and that short message there that does actually tell you most of what you know. Skinchanger are a band of unknown number from who knows where, they have a new tape album out, it sounds very much like an album from a band that’s “heavily inspired by” those Flying Luttenbachers. Oh hang on, they do actually have their own Bandcamp page, seems they’re from Chicago – “Chicago sax fueled Brute-Prog. Members of Sick Sad World, Environmental Encroachment, Dirty Surgeon Insurgency, and Jaleo” – hey I could have been a private detective if art hadn’r eaten up my life.

Skinchanger do their thing rather well, yes it is very Luttenbacher flavoured but that’s no bad thing, they sound a little cleaner cut, not that much, but that really dirty skincutting edge isn’t quite there, that feeling that that rusty wire that you cut your fingers on could well be costly, they’re not quite The Flying Luttenbachers but hey, that’s no bad thing, who needs a Luttenbachers cloneband? Yes, this album does sound a lot like the kind of album The Flying Luttenbachers might make but Skinchanger have their own flavours here, an identity that sounds like it wants to break though, that there might be bigger things to come. This is already a very very good album, if you like the idea of a slice or two of punk-edged new wave jazz confrontation, then this is well worth your time, and as good as this is, feels like there’s more to come from Chicago’s Skinchanger. Here’s to more (tape) albums and, yes, he or she was right, we’re into it…

Find the album here and Skinchanger’s own Bandcamp page here

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3: Ron Gallo has unveiled a new single and tells of a new album to follow – “just want to publicly acknowledge that Chiara’s bass, Jerry’s Mellotron and Josh’s drum feel are insane f**king good on this song” so said Ron Gallo in terms of this first taste of the new album due out in March on Kill Rock Stars. Here it is….

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Ron Gallo has today released “YUCCA VALLEY MARSHALLS” the latest single off his blistering, brand new studio album, FOREGROUND MUSIC due out March 3, 2023 on Kill Rock Stars. With the new song, Gallo reflects on a solo west coast trip. After roaming around Los Angeles by himself, he found that LA can be the loneliest place on the planet if you are an outsider. He shares, “I took that feeling with me on a day trip to Joshua Tree and ended up stopping at the Marshalls in Yucca Valley. There’s something really sad and hilarious about seeing a glowing Marshalls sign in the middle of the desert but since chain stores are all the same inside I took it as an opportunity for some familiarity. We recorded this song mostly live in a studio in upstate NY and added that mellotron part later at home which became my favorite part of the whole recording.”

4: Lisel – LA-based singer and experimental musician Eliza Bagg aka Lisel announces a new album called Patterns For Auto-tuned Voices and Delay, released February 17th on Ba Da Bing Records, she’s also shared the first single/video, One At A Time.Patterns combines Renaissance and Medieval vocal styles with electronic processing, manipulating virtuosic, classical singing with autotune and delay effects to create an instrument that is both human and machine, here it is….

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The press release hype sheet things tells us the following, al we have rigt now is this one track and one swallow does not make for a fine album, damn good first swallow though..

“For the video we had the idea of planting seedlings over and over again, which requires patience and care, since it can only be done piece by small piece — one at a time. We shot it in Angeles National Forest, California, which is arrestingly beautiful, and Brielle Brilliant the director approached the location, the light, the flora, to be active collaborators in our work. The forest eels disorienting in its relationship to time – it’s like an overgrown remnant, an old road, from our current era. The costume is sartorial nostalgia from a future time. It’s a nostalgic take on several different eras in history, made in a not so distant future time, and it resonates with how the album brings together a historically vast collection of styles and sonic references.” Eliza Bagg (Lisel)

Eliza Bagg leads a complex musical life: working as a classical opera singer, she has soloed with the New York Philharmonic, performed in Meredith Monk’s opera at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and toured Europe with the legendary John Zorn. She’s also collaborated with renowned artists including Lorde, Lyra Pramuk, Julianna Barwick, Tim Hecker, Ben Frost, esperanza spalding, Nico Muhly, David Lang, Daniel Wohl and Bryce Dessner – all while playing indie rock venues and lovably dingy basements. One day, it’s Lincoln Center or The Kitchen, the next it’s an outdoor LA ambient series. She was always torn between her two worlds, and it wasn’t until she began work on Patterns for Auto-tuned Voices and Delay that she discovered a way to merge them together.

Patterns comes out of Bagg’s experience as a vocalist singing Renaissance and Baroque music along with the work of modern-day minimalists like Steve Reich and Philip Glass. “I developed a vocal processing system that allowed me to change the idea of what my instrument is,” Bagg says of the album’s genesis, a system that combines her virtuosic singing with autotune and delay effects to create a melding of human and machine. After years of using her voice in highly specialized ways (as in singing the music of Caroline Shaw with Roomful of Teeth), Bagg wanted to explore what that level of vocal technicality can do when combined with technology. What results is a full spectrum sound journey through the potential of the human voice; the new Lisel album explores a world of singing that maintains melody as it pushes boundaries. “I rely on my body as an object and resonant instrument,” she says. “Now, what begins inside my body and continues on the computer is one process, and the ideas that result from it are my instrument.”

Sure, she’ll admit it. “I’m a sci-fi nerd,” she says, with a laugh. “I’m a Blade Runner and Battlestar person. I love things that explore how society interacts with machines.” Recently, her thoughts have focused on the hovering feeling of apocalypse along with the question of our own obsolescence. It was only a matter of time before she absorbed the capabilities of technology into her own music. Through experiments with Ableton, she realized she was making music that was more expressive of humanity, not less. “We are tempted to see rapid technological change as an impediment to the traditions that ground us. But I feel our connection to ancient forms can be amplified and transformed by this new reality, not lost.” Bagg says.

While making Patterns, she dove first into Renaissance polyphony and chant. The music of Hildegard von Bingen, Thomas Tallis, and Carlo Gesualdo is a familiar world to her. Starting with Renaissance and Medieval singing styles and idioms, she added processing and electronic world-building to bring out new, expressive qualities of those styles. From there, she improvised in these styles, fed the performances into Ableton, and incorporated modern day hyperpop (like SOPHIE) and ambient electric sounds and aesthetics – as she says, “I am going for a maximalist sound, but my sources of inspiration also include minimalists.” From Philip Glass to Charli XCX, Carl Stone to Grimes, Patterns makes radical connections. 

Yet, it was important for Bagg to maintain the spiritual origins of these vocal techniques. As she describes it, “The album uses layered singing as a pathway to spirituality, as it has been throughout history.” Patterns for Auto-tuned Voices and Delay stands within those traditions, using voices to transcend the cerebral and overwhelm the listener, all while evoking a unique set of references that span 500 years”

Here’s the Bandcamp

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5: Paradox Obscur – This rather rich rather lush, rather oldschool piece of dare we say electro goth music and video arrived here a couple of days ago, Paradox Obscur are the Athens, Greece-based synth duo of Kriistal Ann and Toxic Razor, the press release tells us they have “built a devoted global following over the course of five studio albums since debuting in 2014”. They signed to Metropolis Records to issue the ‘Singles & Rarities’ collection in 2021 (available here), their current studio album ‘Morphogenesis’ followed in mid-2022. They are a rather delicious throwback, that’s no bad thing, they taste of the 90’s and Darkwave days in dark clubs with their “shards of minimal techno, house and trance heard alongside synthwave and industrial sounds”. Not sure what this is going landing here in the first week of 2023, they sound like they should bwe on a nemisis bill somewhere in Camden in 1994 but then these things are surely timeless? Well no, but somehow Paradoc obscur don’t feel dated. Late December also saw the group issue the latest in a series of videos for songs from the record, with a promo clip for ‘Monoclone’ being the fifth to date, here it is, find more videos here (Kriistal Ann has some rather interesting solo work as well)

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“One of the few electronic outfits to record their albums in real time, Paradox Obscur capture the magic of the moment without resorting to sequencing and editing software. They even take things a step further, utilising vintage synths and drum machines to create their raw sound.

The pair initially met via very different artistic disciplines, with Kriistal Ann having studied classical music and piano at the Prague State Conservatory, while Toxic Razor is a synth and drum machine enthusiast who had been recording his fledgling ideas on tape. Apart, they have both created successful solo work and collaborated with other musicians. As Paradox Obscur, the pooling of their talents has been critically acclaimed and led to their inclusion at numerous festivals and events, where they have shared stages with other important artists on the minimal-electro, cold wave and post-punk scenes”.

Their 2022 album Morphogenesis can be found on Bandcamp

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And while we’re here, a touch more from M(h)aol…

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