Evening. Just three records - three very deserving records - make up this week's picks-of-the week. Down with 'flu so moving more slugglishly than usual, plus got so excited by sudden unexpected arrival of NEW HEAVY METAL that we basically ran out of time. So be smart and check the site for lots of strong new arrivals not featured here from Dronga, Heldon, DJ Slyngshot, Paleman, SKRS +++.
HARBINGER SOUND | LP | £14.99
Third album from the best band in the world (according to us), "THE NIETZSCHEAN SUPERMEN OF DUSTBIN ROCK" (according to them)...another masterpiece of disaffected, unsanitary murder-punk for internet-era layabouts, providing ballast against - as well as comment on - our general cultural malaise but ultimately confirming that we’re all fucking worms and we get what we deserve. Three LPs in two years, but lest they be accused of jogging on the spot, this set - their best yet, though we always say that - finds the “mysterious” Oz-Deutsch outfit breaking "new" ground, by channelling grooving, groin-led early '70s rock’n’roll…Too Sick For Total Punk indeed. ‘Motherfuckers In The City’ sounds like Sticky Fingers meets The Door & The Window, strung-out Keef-Bill riffage strapped to a Tomy-tronic drum machine from Woolworths wheezing its last.
Elsewhere they casually toss off Killed By Death-grade anthems like the pigeon-German 'Explosionsgefahr' and ‘Today Is The Last Day Before Tomorrow’, swerve into bizarro DIY (‘Like Two Sheds In One Garden’), and perfectly capture the bathos and absurdity of the new Cold War ('Hacked By The Russians) before ‘Tighter Than Seagull’ sees them break on thru to a new plain of drugsick downer pysch that comes over like the deformed offspring of Juergen Gleue and BJM’s Their Satanic Majesties' Request. As if all that wasn't enough, they easily outdo their legendary take on Rod Stewart's 'D'Ya Think I'm Sexy' with a droogish cover of Cameo’s 'Word Up’, placing them in the esteemed company of Korn, Gun and Little Mix - i.e. exactly where they belong.
Speaking of covers, we won’t spoil the surprise of what lurks behind ‘You Are The Antichrist’ - suffice to say it makes crystal clear the louche, smacky, chateau-dwelling inspiration behind this STONE cold genius LP. Gold vinyl with insert.
ARCOLA | 12" | £10.99
Don’t know what we were expecting from this new Rian Treanor, which also kicks off Warp’s revival of their short-lived but much-loved Arcola sub-label (last seen 2004), but it definitely wasn’t this… basically the sharpest, baddest GRIME record we’ve heard this side of 2005.
Philistines/stuckists that we are, we normally steer pretty clear of Computer Music©, which tends to be especially enervating when it pretends to be DANCE. Honestly just can't be bothered. But though we’d sort of placed Treanor in that world (rightly or wrongly), this 12” totally obliterates those preconceptions. It's plainly amazing material. Without shirking their meta-rave/braindance responsibilities, its four perfectly formed tracks pop and lock and swerve with a proper feel for how bodies move in space WHEN THEY'RE HAVING FUN, managing to sound totally tweaked and futuristic and complex but at the same time bone-crunchingly simple and forceful and ardkore-economical as foundational bleep’n’bass, somehow digesting 20 years’ worth of ‘nuum R&D into the most compulsive, precision-moulded stabs and drum edits. Constantly mutating before your ears while also keeping its hair on, maintaining the necessary tension and pleasure-centre-bashing repetition that make this stuff - when the chips are down - TEKNO and not abstract electroni-blaaaaah (the one section where is does lurch into juddering plasticine trance chaos feels earned, and properly exhilarating).
Honestly can’t think of a Warp record in nigh-on two decades that has so successfully broken nu ground while feeling absolutely, unmistakeably aligned with the label’s sound-murdering founding spirit. The programming is nuts, as forensically detailed and hectic as the pottiest lab-rat IDM, but also ultra-minimal, shadowy and COLD to the touch: check the subzero UKG flex of ‘Position_B1’, the epileptic eski of 'Contra_A1'. For the ravers, not about the ravers…or both, at any rate. Either way, 12” of the young year so far.
CARLOS MARIA TRINDADE / NUNO CANAVARRO
URPA I MUSELL | LP | £23.99
Having opened their account last year in classiest fashion with a reissue of El Sueño de Hyparco's Ambientes Hormonales, Barcelona’s Urpa i musell turn their attention and expertise to a 1991 holy grail of fourth-world ambient/minimalism from two luminaries of Portuguese pop/rock: Carlos Maria Trindade (Corpo Diplomático, Heróis do Mar) and Nuno Canavarro (Street Kids, Delfins, and the cult 1988 solo LP Plux Quba). A sample-heavy, electro-acoustic evocation of "ancient maps, distant travels and evocative landscapes", it’s very much Nice Music…and though its prevailing mood is undeniably one of barefoot, bumbag-wearing Utopianism, sustained listening reveals all kind of strange instrumental flourishes and reality-wrinkling repetitions…deep thought triggered with a light touch; a cumulative psychedelic intensity. Having said that, things do get particularly tasty on side 2, where the sunlight begins to cast some shadow: ‘ven 5’ is a highlight, as is the Hassell-esque controlled menace of of ‘Aelux'. If you’ve enjoyed your Pep Llopis, Jorge Reyes, Luis Delgado, Cybe…this one’s a no-brainer.