The NBT Review 77

Heavy Water Experiments – Heavy Water Experiments (Intrepid Sound Recordings)

Sometimes the elements connect in just the right way and surround the listener with the right mood, environment, in which better to discover new music. Today as I explore this collection, the heat wave pulses, the road works outside shake and shout, in fact the whole damn day positively VIBRATES as I press play.

Welcome to the disturbance, it’s going to be a fine ride indeed.

This is the sound of a mirage, gentle shimmer of unreality, then that heat (now here in the speakers) explodes outwards, the dream figures melt, the colours collide, mesh frantic, the drums tiptoe up top the flames, and the song settles into an agitating lullaby. The vocals shift into focus, the harmonies subtle, and within all this fine magic, pop melodies strain against the ‘difference’.

Like a storm sneaking into the glare of a summer’s day, this band thrives on the ambiguity of it all, glorious messy mix of the chaos in the Jam and the structure of the song craft.

They let the instruments roar, and sing as people used to flying, finding the swoops and danger above somehow calming. There is a scent of the Psychedelic madness here, a tension grown from the soon to be freedom of the willfully frantic.

It is a place where the ghost of a traffic jam is filtered over the serenity of a deep forest, where the grit and grandeur of a festival edging into sunset along the howls of guitars is superimposed over forgotten photos of homes long lost by destructive lovers.

Never clumsy enough to be mistaken for simple hard rock, never bland enough to please those that seek the new age as a refuge from the difficult, it is an invitation to let go, to ride the hallucination bare back, to get fierce, to go crazy.

A LOT to discover here.

http://www.heavywaterexperiments.com/

Catch Tunes from the Album on the NBt podcast going out on the 8th July 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of the Tunes here

                               http://www.nextbigthing.co.za

  (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

   A chart made up from browsers rating and listening to the song streams can be found here:

                                      http://nbttopten.podbean.com/

The NBT Review 69

Starlit Apocalypse

Air

Endless – SNMT (Black Flower Music)

Plus Brand new Tracks from an upcoming release

I decide to listen to this music in the basement of my postwar (forever tween modern and ancient) German small town flat. I have this feeling that the ambience of the musty dark room full of wounded and dead appliances will suit these tunes. That as the sounds drift over the discarded machines of fun and comfort, and cardboard boxes packed to overflowing with no longer loved or listened to vinyl and comics begging for a future generation to love them, the rust and the glitter, the oil and the blood contained within the ragged rhythms will reveal themselves.

I have Three sets to go through plus new songs yet to find a home, and as a tense grey storm brews out there on the street I press random, then press play, lean back against the hard concrete and let the musicians have their chaotic way with me.

So if you expect some sort of order, the stability of one collection then the next, you are in the wrong place. This is for the senses, for the emotions provoked.

Oh I love the slow crawl into AWAKE that the first tune offers, airspace full of the crackle and shock of the moody electric. On this Floating Bridge, one must tread carefully, because it shudders and this is no silent vacuum of stars, here the squeaks shoot out sharp, always tempting the delicate balance to betray itself.

In this Graveyard, the ghosts are bloated, stumbling raw, they puff outward abrasive, yet believe (to the very core or their distressed hearts), that they can hug you, wrap around your soul, blanket like. So they chatter picking fraught phrases from the static. They are lost and there is something beautiful about that.

Now it’s time to fly once more, into a drift that is both unsafe and gentle, a shy startled seductive trip somewhere Between Space. The calm is deceptive though and The Turbo Lolita burns, as she drags us into her, this is Ragnarok , but no Gods on this level, these are men women, demons swimming in the heat, the confusion of yesterday’s failed flirting and tomorrows heavy rampage. They throw out the thoughts in waves that, to LoveYou is to fall, is to surrender to this fine noise, to perhaps find the melody where you may and ride it deeper (not AWAY) but inwards.

Then abruptly the Charm of an orchestra full of the scared and the hesitant brave, take a seat in the empty auditorium watch the blur on stage, the colours shifting as the music finds ways to heal itself. the Deep White entices, you want to dream here, though the unease shifts, sighs in its sleep abandoned baby birds, (clockwork or digital or just projection?) nag at us, to not relax too much, don’t let the REM movement take over

With this music

You may never come out.

Find out for yourself how one band makes so much chaos and beauty. Download from a vast selection of great albums here

http://blackflowermusic.com

You can hear tracks from all these sets on the next NBT Dark Electric podcast going out on the 17th June

http://nbtdarkelectric.podbean.com/

And Black Flower Music will be the featured label in July on the http://nbtmusic.de website.

                              If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of SNMT’s Tunes here

                               http://www.nextbigthing.co.za

                           (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

The NBT Review 68

Fly Gallery – Frequency Theater (independent release)

One mans journey into the heart beyond the switches, travelling along the giddy current, he rides the dark sparks into a unique messy world.

The intro hints at the disturbance to follow, ancient voices saved perhaps from apocalypse, counterpoint the alluring lethal future siren full landscape.

Fragile mechanical rattle shivers for a few seconds then POW the song explodes, driving martial foot-stomp brave, call to arms call to dance call to PoP over artifice, call to commercial breakthrough, the chorus will save us.

Then we feel the wave motion, sultry swim of the Modern Myth, recalling the exact moment the young boys from the Depeche machine, plugged in, tuned out and lost their innocence and found a wry sense of melody.

                                Ahh the poignancy of the retro electronica, the percussion slinks in, all criminal rough telling us this ballad is being lead, willingly, lovingly to the slaughter.

This Theatre loves the chaos, but loves the sadness too, hear how the almost drum and bass chaotic rumbles detached as a gentle tune unfolds. This is Frenzy sure, but a wry thing indeed.

The vocals are unwrapped from their steel camouflage, allowed to be flimsy even personal, within a song that dares to be modern soul, the orchestral syrup of the latter day urban.

The pilot of this rocked up spaceship, Nathan Butler has a keen ear for hooks and a steady grasp of the human emotional behind the flickering effects. These are chart songs shooting down from a cool planet.

Finally the squelch slow build as we are pushed Over The Edge, sculpted tension the song spirals seductively outward.

The bodies undulate, the trance smokes in, and all too soon the song gurgles out.

Take a breath.

Press play

Begin the journey again.

http://www.frequencytheater.com

Hear tracks from this album and thoughts from Mr Butler on the NBT Dark Electric Podcast going out on the 17th June 2010

http://nbtdarkelectric.podbean.com/

And later in June on the NBT Flagship Podcast

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

                              If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of Frequency Theater’s Tunes here

                               http://www.nextbigthing.co.za

                           (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

                             A chart made up from browsers rating and listening to the song streams can be found here:

                                      http://nbttopten.podbean.com/

The NBT Review 58

Time Is Fun When You’re Having Flies – AfterThem

AfterThem – AfterThem (Both Independent Releases)

SO

Your soul is conflicted, you want danger, you want to be provoked made tense, alert by the music coming to you, want to feel demands are being made, that on the other side of this listening experience you come out changed wiser maybe, crazier surely.

BUT

You also want to be warm, cuddly cuddled, want to be asked to pogo/dance/swing by that cute strange girl with the blue hair and piercing eyes, want to hum the hooks, grin that huge lazy grin you practiced, and most of all, charmed.

It seems like AfterThem is the band for you.

Within one tune you maybe gently rocked by a tropical breeze while being set on edge by sharp knife drill worthy of latter day Coltrane when he was bornAgainRadical. Within another the scratchy ghost of a Dr John look-a-like rumbles fiery against a slowed down Talking Heads (Eno period) minimal groove.

The funk here is all angles and spiky shiny jewelries dropped into messy bubbling stew, modern black magic indeed.

For the self titled album (which disc came first? And does it matter?) Female vocals are slid far down in the mix a delight for those who ever wondered what Jefferson Airplane might sound like fronting an extremely busy lo-fi Pavement. This selection rocks slightly harder than ‘’time’’ and brings the dirt to the fore, but the sharper focus of the other set clicks it slightly harder as the more rewarding listen.

Both sets though pleasure the brave listener

http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/Afterthem

You can hear tracks from both albums on the NBT podcasts

6th May on our flagship cast

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/
 5th may on the NBT Dark Electric

http://nbtdarkelectric.podomatic.com

The NBT Review 22

nbt-review-22

 Dag För Dag (Pre-Release EP)

Within the tension of the restrained feedback, do we hear playground ghosts?

The girl sings loud fierce in empty spaces, abandoned industrial rooms, there seems to be no standing still, arms in self hug internal, but a glorious dance and sway.

The echo of the drama, the theatre of the letting go.

Post rock, Post Modern, post sticky useless labels, a touch of young marble giants here, a shatter of newNew wave, beautiful voice and dirty guitars, Isolated Pirates on a scrawled animated Sea.

Then fragile Words. A country ballad refracted, reflected, distorted; the harmonies of light and dark.

Thank God it’s better now, this indie world, where subtle dark moments created with such seeming ease can drift across our computers and our homes, new best friends in the hard days to come.

A superb collection.

Catch the band across Europe and at the SXSW festival and watch out for a review of their upcoming gig with the Handsome Furs at Gebaude 9 in Cologne in April.

Look/Listen closer

 http://www.dagfordag.com/

Dark Mist EP – Marilyn Roxie (Independent Release)

Ahh, the heartbreak of the clockwork toy. As a child I couldn’t help but notice that even the jolliest of tunes was somehow rendered some what melancholic when played from a music box and in the opening track of this EP Marilyn Roxie captures that feeling with sweet simplicity.

This is a set of miniature sound poems, soundtracks perhaps to long lost TV shows, fragmented by the click of the remote, making a secret kinda sense as they flicker across midnight heavy living rooms.

Some are gone before we even realize it, leaving but a spirit, an essence of otherworldly loss and emotion, others are more complicated, sliding the fear and the danger and the soul across us, trapping us willingly deep into their stories.

Stand out track for me is Green Leather with its intimate eastern tinges and seductive swoon.

Minimal as this fine music is, in each tune there remains, in each new listen, a wealth of images and thoughts to discover.

Go to Marilyn Roxie’s MySpace and get this and many more EPS. And read her great blog as well

http://www.myspace.com/marilynroxie

http://afutureinnoise.blogspot.com/

(Love) An Asylum Amongst The Convulsions – Jordan T West (Independent Release)

This has been the long slow sultry season of the male/female Duet, especially for those who craft their songwriting with a country or shy folk slant, and the opening track of this thoughtful collection continues this trend.

In ‘The Procreation Song’, as well several other tracks here, West’s whispering vocals are counterpointed by the haunting clarity of Lindy Enns, at once removing the clutter of preconceptions and inviting the listener to join in this small circle of casual confessions.

As we continue into ‘lucky number 9` the isolated instruments warmly join together, sliding into introspective side of jaunty, and when the sad violin sneaks up to, lies down with, the minimal percussion of stand out track ‘Heart Hurts’ we are moved, captured and confided with.

The lyrics set out personal sagas of ambiguity, people do sad, silly hurtful things, but the singer remains hopeful, remains true to the power of what love might bring him, them, and us.

There is strength in this gentleness.

Find out more here

http://www.myspace.com/jordantwest

 

Hush – Claire Holley (Independent Release)

It starts with an escape.

A solitary woman alone but not alone, the world around her perfectly described and formed within the song.

Then as if old photos of happy people burn strangely into something else, we wonder about the unspoken tragedy(in the minds eye,  a double image of funerals superimposed )that lies throbbing, thrumming at the heart of ‘Wedding Day’.

The skill of the songwriting is breathtaking.

These are songs that Neko  Case or even Chan Marshall would be proud of, showing a attention to detail and atmosphere and proudly sigh fully entranced with the  sound of country music storytelling.

From the blues tinged ‘Stars fell on Alabama’ to the Guitar driven gentle instrumental, the haunting ‘Going West’ this performer never falters , never sinks into cliché.

It ends with an escape.

Into the comfort of dreams, safe in the knowledge of the mothers love, the song’s love. We watch we listen, from the doorway perhaps, and calmness descends.

Investigate further

http://www.claireholley.com

Hear all these artists next week on the NBT Podcast (20th Feb)

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Manik Music Rant: Zorch Factory Records

So, anyway, trawling around my list of links, e-mails subscriptions and Blog reader whatsits I come across a lone line advertising a free download of a French band Camp Z’s 6 track ep. Whoaw…free, I gasp..”This last release mixes electronic

backgrounds along with dark feelings, raw guitars and post punk energy!” says the blurb…colour me interested – I’ve sort of rediscovered the whole French/Euro coldwave genre of the 80’s as of late and have subsequently kicked myself at being so damnably Anglo-centric in my musical gleanings in those bad old days – ok, there was no internet, and the genre was largely ignored by the (Brit/USA) press of the day any mention of which was probably quickly passed by by the likes of I (not being able to see anything in the flesh as it were, also didn’t help), I mean, I thought Plastic Bertrand was all there was!! So, consequently I devote the latest Bullets From the Belfry (and this blog) to Zorch!

 

 

 

 

 

Subsequent investigation led me to Zorch Factory Records and their eclectic stable of artistes from Europe (and other parts of the globe) in the dark indie/goth/deathrock/postpunk/coldwave/electronica field of things that i generally immerse myself in. Headed up by Manu, member of aforementioned CampZ, his dream to present a forum, a home, a promotional tool for some of the many truly independent artists forging out into the interwastes trying to elevate themselves to better things. All the material is published under Creative Common License free to download. His aim to create a fanbase for the bands so that interest is tweaked, demands made and the music industry swings their way, whether interest by some established label or enough interest is created to make music sales of future product viable. Manu’s dream is based on love, not profit, the artists free to move on to greener pastures whne their boat comes in!

 

 

 

 

After hastily glomming the CampZ goodies : a dark buzzsaw caterwaul of postpunk excess- with strong leanings back to coldwave, overlaid with Manu’s harsh, angry vocals – no fake Brit/Amerikan tones here….without meaning to sound condescending, the French accent is perfect for this music! I went for the rest with glee.

 

 

 

 

Joy Disaster, also from France have a recent live concert recorded in Italy up for grabs. I suppose any band described as postpunk and having ‘Joy’ in their name is going to be compared with, ah, Joy Division…well yes, the comparisons are there, perhaps an early JD, maybe even Warsaw rather, harsh, brash, angry (I entertain the notion that if Warsaw formed today and listened to Interpol a lot…) Cyclic, all music is cyclic but in doing so it does not have to immitate, re-invention is part of the game, re-interpretation, it does not have to cater to some fixed audience to ‘fill a dance floor’ ( She Wants Revenge….pheeggh!!!). I take emotion over polish any fucking day – I see big things for Joy Disaster.

 

 

 

Mmmmmm, Mexican goth/punk/deathrock, I love it, ever since I frightened folk off the dancefloor with the likes of Los Meurtes Vivientes and the Ultrasonicas! The Acid Bats have a couple of releases on Zorch Factory, an 8 track ep, ‘Exhumacion’ and a earlier demo recording…fabulous stuff, can’t wait to ever be invited back into a dj booth with this in my must play box!! (If I promise to play at least one She Whines Revenge track, can I ? Can I???)

 

 

 

The more eclectic Crimson Muddle do a wonderful cover of Joy Divisions ‘Means To an End’ on their ep, their sound veering into almost steampunk territory, but still with that endearing coldwave feel.Lamentations Psychotiques and Nuit d’Octobre round off the ep in a darkly whimsical manner.

 

On and on, it’s like stumbling into a sweet shop of delights, Les Modules Estranges evoke the spirit of Siouxsie Sioux on tracks like Crash, Cocteau twins on say Am I Blind. lovely vocals, fragile guitar, veering toeards but not drowning in shoegazer territory. More tracks including remixes are available here.

 

From Spain come the enigmatically titled Red Crayon Aristocratic Club, think Yeah Yeah Yeahs meets Ladytron whilst picking up The Cranes on the way… A splendid cover of The Clash’s ‘Stay Free’ is a gem on the cd.

 

Germany’s Monozid have 2 ep’s available on the Zorch Factory site, think postpunk, think Chameleons, early Psychedelic Furs, Wire here.

 

Rounding off the podcast this week- The Trespass, perhaps the most traditional goth/deathrock band on Zorch,’ traditional’ being a misnomer really in that their roots are solid postpunk, a bit of Echo and the Bunnymen lilting through their epical sweeping songs.

 

All in all, a valuable cause to support..and download, and hopefully, eventually, lay hard cash down for! Zorch Factory Records, Bullets From the Belfry salutes you!!

 

http://www.zorchfactoryrecords.com/

 

Listen to some of the amazing Zorch artists here on the BFB Zorch Factory Records Special Podcast

http://nbtdarkelectric.podomatic.com/