Extra Life have decided to call it quits. A great shame as they were one of the most unique and exciting bands around, equal parts intellectual technique and savage uproar. They leave a solid catalogue of great work though, all available on Bandcamp. Third - and now sadly last - LP Dream Seeds was released in April of last year.
Below is the track Ripped Heart, a personal favourite from the EP of the same name. It defines the band pretty well: complicated arrangements of classical music theory/stadium rock collage that swerve unnervingly quickly from delicate to violent.
"The fucking pubs are fucking dull
The fucking clubs are fucking full"
Pub punk from Splodgenessabounds about the difficulty of getting them in before the bell. Oi! doesn't get you anywhere, apart from maybe Top of the Pops. Keep it civil. Leaning over with your elbows out on the bar makes you seem pushy, but you don't want a sidler to skip in. Just calmly try and catch the eye. And don't wave your money, for god's sake, it's not the races.
Formed in Peckham, The Splodges supposedly won the Melody Maker band competition in 1976 by appearing naked apart from cardboard boxes on their heads. This track was their debut single, released in 1980 with a parody of the theme for Return of the Saint and Michael Booth's Talking Bum as b-sides. It reached #7 in the charts and is now tragically best known as the basis for the title of a humourless 'sitcom'.
Not to be confused with the Canterbury scene prog band of the same name. Relaxing, cheerful UK folktronica in the vein of I Am Robot and Proud. Hypnotic flow of skittering beats over mellow loops of harps, soft piano, strings, bells and other dulcet tones. The whole Flicker and Fade EP is pay-what-you-want at Bandcamp.
For their 5-year anniversary, Mexican Summer are releasing a limited 1000-print book/vinyl package with contributions from their roster.
Contained within, this track by Brooklyn's R&B gem Autre Ne Veut and Austrian master of treated guitar noise Christian Fennesz.
All I have to say in response to this is: collaborative album, please!
"The treacherous pulse of savages"
The Only Thing is the closest Time of Orchids have come to a straight up rock anthem. But the falsetto vocals are too strained, the discordant slips of the guitar lines too jarring and the xylophone too reminiscent of the childlike hammering of a horror soundtrack for this to lie outside of their usual disconcertingly dissonant brand of avant-garde music. Founded in New York in 1999, Time of Orchids have produced five albums of experimental rock music that fall somewhere between the theatrical freakery of Mr Bungle and the jazz inflected June of 44; dense, complex and cinematic.
Check them out on bandcamp.
A song that tells "of how war appeared on earth" in mythic style, from their album In Praise of Learning. It contains one of my favourite lyrics, "violence completes the partial mind", which has some kind of perfect rhythm to it and neatly summarises the idea of the track, that war is an inevitable conclusion of dumb humans being led by godlike, bloodthirsty forces beyond their control. "Boasting they are led by peace" is also a nifty turn of phrase that skewers the crusading, 'mission accomplished' attitude of war throughout the ages. Essentially, there is no better song about war - including every earnest Vietnam folk song and punk fuck-you anthem. When faced with the horrifying, go with the bizarrely allegorical every time. The Fall covered the song on their album Middle Class Revolt.
Henry Cow repeatedly deny that they named the band after forearm pianist Henry Cowell, claiming it meant nothing much of anything. Perhaps Fred Frith and Tom Hodgkinson once met a cow named Henry, a meeting they swore never to tell of again.
Around 60 countries are currently involved in wars around the world, so click here to support Responding To Conflict, a peacebuilding and non-confrontation consultancy organisation.
Art & Design
All contributions by Kieran Gosney unless otherwise stated.
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