It’s finally the spooky season which is the best season of the year for music, if you think about it. I’ll take a re-watch of The Craft and some Screamin’ Jay Hawkins over Santa and Wham any day. That being said, we haven’t exactly got a Halloween special here but there’s some South Korean dark, post-rock that sounds like it could feature on an updated version of House, progressive metal which could maybe fall into the sci-fi/horror genre at a push, swooshy Lana Del Rey style vocalists and plenty more. So curl up with a pumpkin spice latte and have yourself a little listening party.
Our contributors this month include Thomas Mannay (TM), Bill Cummings (BC), Carmel Walsh (CW), Michael Turner (MT).
Vvon Dogma I – The Kvlt of Glitch
I decided to listen to this purely because of the name and because a description said it combined progressive metal, electronic music, vocoders, and djent. It was such an intriguing combination that I had to know what it sounded like.
It sounds…pretty good actually. It doesn’t lean too far into “check out how fast I can solo!” territory, keeping a good balance between technical prowess and simpler hooks; melody and rhythm; fast and slow. It’s not too show-offy in other words, making sure to back off before it gets a bit much (which it very easily could given the genres being combined here). You might need to give it a couple of listens for it to click, but I reckon it’s worth the effort. (TM)
Jambinai – Apparition
Ever listened to traditional Korean folk music and thought “darn, I wish this were heavier”? If so, this is the EP for you. Combining “the piri (bamboo oboe), the yanggeum (hammered dulcimer), geomungo (zither) and saenghwang (reed mouth organ)” with standard Western rock instruments, Jambinai create massive dark post-rock, verging on post-metal at times. It’s a combination that works exceedingly well. “From the Place Been Erased” features guest vocals by SWJA, whom I understand to be a big deal in the world of K-Pop. If you’re not a fan of K-Pop, don’t worry – her voice fits very well with the band’s heavy sound. (TM)
Winona Driver – Yellin
Winona Driver are a quartet based in Chicago IL they recently released a brilliant new single ‘Yellin‘, with echoes of the likes of Bikini Kill, the Breeders and PJ Harvey, chunky abrasive bar chords rattle along like four people stood on the hood of a Mustang as they speed down the highway! Riven with the entwined vocals of Dani and Mickey Driver, an addictive kickass chorus has singalong qualities that spiral into infectious licks. Teetering on the edge of falling apart and yellin’ “why aren’t you listening?” indeed!
Winona Driver formed in the Spring of 2022. The Chicago based quartet released their first single Yellin’ on September 1st which was quickly shared on Secret Groups Spotify playlist that boasts over 17,000 saves and played on Chicago’s local CHIRP Radio. The band’s lineup features Dani Driver (vocals/guitar), Mickey Driver (vocals/guitar), John Perrin (drums), and Alex Rackow (bass). Winona Driver will be releasing their second single on Friday, October 13th. (BC)
AESOP ROCK- Mindful solutions
Legendary MC Aesop Rock delivers an awesomely inventive stomp of future hip hop of the present tense/tension with new single Mindful Solutionism, the opening track from the forthcoming ‘Integrated Tech Solutions’ LP
Enlivened by electronic crunch and funky beats ‘Mindful Solutions’ sounds as urgent as a the wordplay of a Run the Jewels’ joint grooving with the electronic samples of Afrika Bambata. Rock thrillingly and playfully weighs up the pros and cons of technology, delivered by the underground hip-hop mainstay in typically unique fashion. Like Killer Mike becoming a nutty professor, this is superbly prescient as AI threatens creativity and humanity itself, Rock pushes back with a laser-focused cut riven with detail, wit, and hooks. (BC)
Gal Musette – Pendulum (self-released)
Gal Musette is a San Clemente, California based artist that landed on my radar thanks to another music writer friend in West Palm Beach, Florida, who sent a message that I’d love it. Gal is a bit hard to place within the indie music scene as her music is a bit more cinematic in a lot of ways with bigger production and use of pianos and strings, which makes sense as it was produced and mixed by Jon O’Brien (Magnolia soundtrack, of Montreal).
At other times, Gal reminds me of a goth gateway artist — if you enjoyed this, you could easily find your way to late-era Cocteau Twins and the more carnivalesque Siouxsie and the Banshees songs. “Pendulum” is the title track from her upcoming album, which comes out December 6th. The vinyl is a short run of only 100 copies, so I wouldn’t sleep too long on this one. (MT)
Flooding – Monolith Girl (The Ghost Is Clear / Manor Records)
If you asked me to tell you what was going on musically in Kansas City, Missouri, I’d honestly reply that I have no clue, but there is a band called Flooding that are channeling some heavy Mogwai meets Low meets 50 Tons of Black Terror / Penthouse vibes in the best ways possible. Flooding is playing a perverted game of musical Twister with one foot in hardcore, one foot in post-rock, one hand in slow-core, and one hand in midwest emo.
I chose the song “Monolith Girl” off their eight-track album ‘Silhoutte Machine’ as I feel it might be the most divisive of the bunch with its brutal post-rock directness and hardcore harshness, but it’s only that more rewarding when they follow it with some of the most slow and delicate slow core around. The album is available on LP / Cassette / CD / and digital, so you can get any format you prefer. (MT)
Collate – The Product (Domestic Departure)
Collate from Portland, Oregon, has been buzzing and building a following for over 6 or 7 years now. Each release of their mutant-disco-meets-post-punk output almost instantly goes out of print. “The Product” might just be my favorite track of their new album ‘Generative Systems.’ The song gyrates in the best Pylon “get your ass on the dance floor” way while it jerks and jolts like an early Wire song where you are caught off guard in where it goes in the best way possible.
Sharp discordant guitar tones, driving danceable minimal basslines, a disco beat drummer who loves cymbals and hi-hat work as much as their snare, and some guy/girl vocal interplay are tools of Collate’s trade. If you are a fan of late 70s / early 80s post-punk and messthetics art punk vibes, then Collate is the best band going right now covering that scene. (MT)
Connie Lovatt – Zodiac (Enchanté)
Connie Lovatt’s new album Coconut Mirror is setting up to be the sleeper hit of the fall. I’m not seeing a flood of press on it, but the people who are writing and discovering it are the ones with the taste I trust the most. Coconut Mirror is instantly timeless; it’s hard to pinpoint it from the 60s to the present date.
You might know Connie’s name from some of her previous work in Smog, The Pacific Ocean, Alkaline, or Containe, but the songs on Coconut Mirror place her in the same breath as Laurel Canyon greatness of Joni Mitchell, the lost genius of Sibylle Baier, or the essential free-folk goodness of Vashti Bunyan. Connie is joined by a who’s who of indie rock with Bill Callahan (Smog), Jim White (Dirty Three), James McNew (Yo La Tengo), James Baluyat (Versus), Rebecca Cole (Minders / Wild Flag / Pavement), and more.
I chose the track “Zodiac” because it showcases Connie’s gift of being a true songwriter. She writes about the death of a childhood friend who drowned near her home growing up, but instead of a song about loss, it’s a tribute to life, and a kind remembrance focusing on the life lived and not the life lost. It’s truly beautiful. (MT)
Time. Space Repeat – Consequences
Time. Space. Repeat. is not just another musical endeavor. It’s a one-man recording project rooted in Southampton, UK. The two teasers for their fourth album Consequence due at the end of the month are tantalising. The enveloping atmospheres of ‘Bossa Nova’ are decorated in gaze guitar arpeggios and celestial synths, it reminds one of elements of Ride or Slowdive, with musical percussion woven with riffing that rings with an engaging melodicism that turns up the fuzz pedals in the second half.
While ‘The End’ wears its more post-rock and ambient tones on its sleeve in its opening bars, chiming bells, synth swathes, elegant pianos, the resonance of zithers, gather like a majestic cloud across the sky, swirling with thudding bass guitars and a sighing tornado of guitar layers, into a storm of majestic crescendos that lashes against the rocks. This is imperious work.
James says of Consequence it marks “a departure from previous releases with a darker, guitar-led tone. This transition is especially evident when contrasted with the ethereal vibes of Oneironaut. The auditory journey starts on a bright and optimistic note but skillfully evolves, guiding the listener towards a deeper, more somber realm.” (BC)
Dudley Corporation- What we Lost
Dublin Indie trio The Dudley Corporation play fierce, fuzzy, melodic 90s-inspired slacker rock, rich with wit, verve, romance and book smarts. The Dudley Corporation describe their music as ‘sprightly music by slothful gentlemen.’ They have four LPs under their belts and their 2003 album, In Love with the Dudley Corporation, was lauded by Hot Press as the 59th greatest Irish LP ever while Alternative Ulster placed the album at Number 9 in its albums of the year, one place behind The Darkness.
They commenced trading riffs in 1999 and although life and responsibilities have taken over, they still clearly have the grá for grunge. Now in 2023- the twentieth anniversary of their second LP, In Love With The Dudley Corporation, the band has launched a new project called, ‘Grand Notions’ where they drip newly polished versions of demos from the fifth LP that was never released.
You can hear the first four tracks on Bandcamp. The fourth track from this project ‘What We Lost’ is a slice of shoegaze heaven, with pounding percussion and hazy soaring harmonies. It’s a fierce earworm of a track. The band said, ”Fun fact – this recording was started circa 2012, but some of the vocals were only added yesterday! That’s My Bloody Valentine levels of procrastination.” We can’t wait to see what they find ‘behind the couch’ next. It’s like finding treasure! (CW)
Amy Ellen – Dead and Gone
Rising Irish indie artist, Amy Ellen, weaves dream pop with 90s underground verve. The Dublin artist is currently living in the French Alps on the shores of Lake Geneva, a spot which she describes as “undeniably beautiful and inspiring everyday.” As a fan of Green Day, Broken Social Scene, Soccer Mommy and Kurt Vile, Amy’s latest track, ‘Dead and Gone,‘ reflects those influences juxtaposing gritty 90s slacker rock riffs with ethereal Mazzy Star like vocals.
In her latest track, ‘Dead and Gone‘, the hazy swirling riffs coil around the listener like smoke, taking them on a triumphant road trip that could soundtrack the apex of an indie film. Pounding bass lines punctuate her honeyed vocals as the slanted melodies dance over a bed of undulating riffs. The darker shadows of ‘Dead and Gone‘ only make the lights shine brighter in this soaring indie anthem.
Her previous single ‘Leave Me’ surpassed 20k streams on Spotify. ‘Dead & Gone’ builds on that momentum, propelling her forwards in this spellbinding shoegaze track. (CW)