My Life On The Plains

The sad news about the passing of Conway Savage prompted me to start to think about a tribute for the radio show and in doing so extract this wonderful album from the archive.

After the demise of the Moodists, and the first rustlings of the Coral Snakes, Graney and Moore, following their “eviction” from the UK and return to Melbourne, formed a new band called The White Buffaloes which was active in 1989 and 1990, until Conway left for the Bad Seeds. Conway brought Rod Hayward into the mix, which was a another key moment in the Graney canon. Ex-Moodist Chris Walsh (The Fabulous Marquises, The Moodists, The Negatives, The Reals) was drafted back in to complete the line-up.  The photo above is L to R Chris, Conway, Clare and Rod.

Dave subsequently met Robin Casinader (who had been in the excellent Play With Marionettes and The Wreckery with Hugo Race) on a bus and that eventually lead to the re-emergence of the Coral Snakes, which is a different story entirely.

This album finds Dave “inventing alt-country”with a set of marvellous compositions, including the remarkable “Robert Ford On The Stage” (featuring Marty Lubran’s evocative pedal steel guitar), and a selection of classic country-rock tunes from Gram Parsons, Gene Clark and Fred Neil and Tex Ritter’s traditional cowboy song “The Streets of Laredo”.

The version of Gene Clarke’s “In A Misty Morning” is another high point and would reach transcendent status on the live album “The Lure of the Tropics” (an album which inspired my obsession with Graney and Moores work).

The CD version also contains the proto- Coral Snakes UK recordings from 1988 released on the “At His Stone Beach EP” to the extent that the meta data on the CD lists the whole thing as the Coral Snakes and not the White Buffaloes. The first iteration of the  Coral Snakes included Louis Vause, Gordy Blair and Malcolm Ross.

  • Band : Dave Graney and The White Buffaloes
  • Country :  Australia (Melbourne)
  • Release : 1989
  • Label : Fire
  • Airplay : Aural Delights 302 – 13th September 2018

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To The Night Unknown

Lets be honest here, some metal of a doom/death leaning is difficult to listen to, mostly in those cases where technique and willingness to shock takes precedence over composition and emotional content. Morne have avoided those all to common pitfalls in their latest release which has a huge atmospheric edge over some other bands that would class themselves in the doom/sludge/crust mould. Parallels to early Neurosis can be made but overall this is a band taking the best of a disparate set of sub-genres and creating a fresh sound which is both recognisable and  also pushes the envelope.

Photography and design by Hillarie Jason.

  • Band : Morne
  • Country : United States (Boston)
  • Release : 7th September, 2018
  • Label : Armageddon
  • Airplay : Aural Delights 304 – 27th September

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The Persistence

Epic AOR proggy rock with a smattering of metal, with a big melodic voice from Diego Marchesi, and a definite stadium rock vibe which develops as the album progresses into more of a European sound.  Much of this genre tends to develop, in intent if not similarity, out of Rainbow/Whitesnake I guess, but then gets that sometimes grandiose post millenium vibe that I associate with Muse, Amplifier and bands of that ilk. The most interesting parts of the album are when they slow the pace down and tone down the bombast. The title track is particularly memorable.

Photography and design credited to Devilnax

  • Band : Kingcrow
  • Country : Italy
  • Release : 7th September, 2018
  • Label : Sensory Records
  • Airplay : Aural Delights 304 – 27th September

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Who Do You Love

Impressive combination of art and noise rock with tons of energy and some exciting elements including a raw garage feel in places, and more considered ballad like explorations in others. The important thing here is that in feels like an album rather a collection of songs. There’s a structure, narrative and a sequence to the whole piece which keeps the attention throughout. The martial revisiting/reconstruction of Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman” in a Tupelo era Nick Cave style is breathtaking.

  • Band : Arabrot
  • Country : Sweden
  • Release : 7th September, 2018
  • Label : Pelagic
  • Airplay : Aural Delights 304 – 27th September

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Soulstench

Death/doom group PULCHRA MORTE have released a limited-edition single featuring the haunting sounds of “Soulstench” on Side A and a rendition of Paradise Lost’s “The Painless” on Side B. Previously released in its demo form, “Soulstench” will appear on the band’s upcoming full-length while the cover track is exclusive to this release.

Drummer Clayton Gore says, “When it came time to decide what song we should release first, we had a difficult decision. While all of the songs on this record fit into a cohesive palette, they are all very different from one another and no single song is representative of everything we do. But we all agreed that ‘Soulstench’ serves as a great introduction to what PULCHRA MORTE is about and the corner of the musical world in which we exist.”
Adds guitarist Jarrett Pritchard on the Paradise Lost cover, “We very proudly wear our inspirations on our collective sleeves and really wanted to give a nod to Paradise Lost, particularly from the Gothic-era of their career. It is personally my favorite song on that album, and in general I’m still impressed at how all of their songs from that record are just feeling and dark melody. It was a really big influence on us at the time. It showed that all things heavy didn’t really have rules. It wasn’t all about speed and technicality. It still isn’t. Feeling and intention are still everything.”

THE VERDICT – This is epic death/doom full of cascading twin guitar riffs, raucous vocals, and additional operatic backing vocals.  Excellent ear scorching metal!

Soulstench/The Painless is available digitally now via the band’s official Bandcamp page . A limited vinyl edition will be available in three color variants — 100 metallic silver opaque, 100 smoke (clear with heavy black swirl), and 100 black. Preorders are available now at the Bandcamp page and ship in November.


PULCHRA MORTE features guitarist Jarrett Pritchard, best known for his time in Eulogy as well as his production work with the likes of Goatwhore, Gruesome, 1349, and Wolvhammer. Together with drummer Clayton Gore (Eulogy, Harkonin), vocalist Jason Barron (Sidirial, Harkonin, Bastard), guitarist Jeffrey Breden, and bassist Dylan Kilgore (Withered, Waited), PULCHRA MORTE evokes a style reminiscent of the early waves of death/doom metal.

Both tracks will be featured on the September edition of Sonic Attack Aftermath via Mixcloud.

 

On Dark Horses

The cover to Emma Ruth Rundle’s fourth solo record, On Dark Horses, has a blurry photo of the songwriter obscuring her face with a large toy horse with broken legs. The photo suggests something candid but also hidden, graceful but also fractured—a fitting portrait for an artist who has established a career by moving between shrouding herself in mystery and exposing her wounds to the world.

Her first solo release, Electric Guitar: One, was a collection of Fripp-like guitar instrumentals written and recorded in a tour van during her tenure in Red Sparowes. It’s a record devoid of context, revealing nothing of Rundle’s personal narrative. The first peak behind the curtain came with Some Heavy Ocean, where layers of distortion were retired in favour of acoustic guitar and Rundle’s beguiling vocals. There was a distinct difference by the time Rundle released Marked For Death, a stark and deeply personal meditation on mortality and self-destructive behaviour. Her entire musical trajectory—from the cinematic instrumentals of Red Sparowes to the lush haze of Marriages and onward through her solo career—seems like a gradual disclosure of intimate secrets. With On Dark Horses, Rundle doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable realities or retreat into a private world, but it does capture an artist who has survived their personal nadir and come out stronger on the other side.

“In the wake of weak beginnings, we can still stand high,” Rundle sings over banks of electrified minor chords and ghostly guitar leads on “Darkhorse”. It’s a statement of purpose and a recurring motif throughout the album. “The record is about overcoming—understanding and embracing the crippling situation and then growing beyond it,” Rundle says. “Horses keep working their way into the lyrics and visual dimension of this record. They’re powerful and beautiful yet not free really. So the dark horse works for me in a visual way, as a representation of a contained force that will win the race or exceed the expectation of society and self.” The horse metaphor takes a darker turn on the reverb-soaked gothic Americana song “Races”, where Rundle draws a parallel between alcoholism and being a “touring vampire wastoid… creeping around in the night dragged along by the need.”

Taking the full arrangements of Marked For Death on the road needed a backing band, which Rundle pieced together from tour companions—first Dylan Nadon from Wovenhand and Git Some and later Evan Patterson and Todd Cook from Jaye Jayle. Rundle’s budding romance with Patterson prompted a move to Louisville, Kentucky, which not only amplified the equestrian themes of the record but also yielded a new writing process. “This the first time I haven’t played all the guitars on my own record,” Rundle says of Patterson’s contributions to the writing process. “It was stressful letting go but it was also rewarding.” The collaboration worked both ways, with Rundle contributing to Jaye Jayle’s No Trails and Other Unholy Paths. That album’s “Marry Us” mirrors On Dark Horses’ “Light Song”, with the union of Rundle’s siren vocals and Patterson’s poised baritone conjuring a dizzying and feverish update on the duets of Johnny Cash and June Carter.

True to the empowering mission statement of On Dark Horses, album opener “Fever Dreams” speaks of “a life spent uneasy / in pieces, always in pieces / life rent completely” but still exudes an overall air of vitality and strength. It charges out of the gate with an intensity that continues in the duality of dream pop and distorted deluges on “Control” and onto the haunting guitars, galloping percussion, and majestic vocal delivery of album centerpiece “Darkhorse”. The eight tracks of On Dark Horses capture the evolution of Rundle as an artist, with vestigial traces of the savvy guitar work of Electric Guitar: One, the siren song beauty of Some Heavy Ocean, and the amplified urgency of Marked For Death all factoring into the album’s rich tapestry. Rundle arrives at the end of the album with an ode to a traumatised and heartbroken friend on the grand and triumphant “You Don’t Have To Cry”. After laboring over the majority of the material for the album, she wrote the finale in one sitting, describing its easy birth as a gift from the gods. It’s a fitting closer, a song announcing Rundle’s newfound hope and reminding us to take control during our darkest moments instead of succumbing to them.

On Dark Horses was written in the fleeting moments of downtime during Rundle’s relentless touring schedule in the latter half of 2017 and into the early months of 2018. It was engineered and produced by Kevin Ratterman at LA LA LAND in Louisville, Kentucky over the course of ten days in February and March.

Sargent House release On Dark Horses on September 14, 2018 on CD/LP and all digital formats.

THE ALBUM WILL BE FEATURED ON AURAL DELIGHTS 302 ON 13th SEPTEMBER 2018

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Fly I Will, Because I Can

Brooklyn-based quartet My Favourite Things have announced the new album ‘Fly I Will, Because I Can’, which is planned for release on July 14, 2017, but are already teasing the first single ‘A Little Closer, loaded with shoegaze and dreampop goodness.
This is the third album from My Favourite Things, founded in Brooklyn by Dorothea Tachler (formerly of Igloo, The Swirlies, Alles Wie Gross). Fans of  dreampop and shoegaze should enjoy the album’s melancholic swaying, melody-rich offerings. This album should also appeal to lovers of artists such as James Yorkston and Bonnie “Prince” Billy.
From a young age, her Korean/German/Croatian background has immersed her in a diversity of musical influences, which have shaped her. In 2009, she released “rarara” (Afterhours/Japan), followed by “Tomorrow’s Far Away” in 2013, featuring guest vocals from several friends and former band-mates, including Valerie Trebeljahr of Lali Puna, Damon Tutunjan from The Swirlies, Daru Oda (Norah Jones), Sean Meadows (June of 4, Lungfish), and Doug Scharin (Codeine, HIM, Rex).
Once again, Dorothea wrote and produced all the songs with their many textures, owing to the use of multiple instruments, many of which she also played: violins, flutes and autoharps weave in and out of twinkling glockenspiels, vibraphones and intricate, sometimes shredding guitars, delivered on a solid bed of a grabbing bass and ripping drums, with Dorothea’s balmy voice hovering and twinkling atop.
When performing live, My Favourite Things appear in different formations, ranging from a solo act to a five-piece band, featuring prominent musicians from the buoyant New York scene: Yoshio “Tony” Kobayashi on drums, Yusuke Yamamoto on vibraphone and synthesizers, Michael Figgiani on bass, and various other talents.
The band has played many venues in the unforgiving NYC music circuit, transporting transfixed audiences from their chaotic built-up urban environments to a twilight world of their own favourite things. Last year, My Favourite Things also toured Germany, featuring Notwist frontman Markus Acher on drums, along with other talented and experienced musicians from Germany’s active band scene.
This album marks a new era for Dorothea, who uses songwriting as a medium to deal with difficult situations that life has dealt her. “This album has made me grow as a songwriter, producer and recording engineer. From a different perspective, this record was like my journal in a difficult time, ridden with a lot of changes: a lot of my friends and family had moved away, my relationship ended, I lost my apartment and had to move, and I became sober, which lead to losing specific social contacts I had until then, who I had thought of as friends – it was all hard, but rewarding in the end to go through this process,” explains Dorothea Tachler.
“Music was my anchor and my lighthouse in stormy and dark nights, and putting my inner turmoil into words really helped me process it better. It was kind of my metamorphosis, being disintegrated like a chrysalis, and being shaped into something new.”
This is an exquisite collection of songs and Tachlers voice is rich and incredibly moreish – to be featured on Aural Delights 237.