New Music Friday 03 May – The pick of the latest album releases

Get your ear plugs ready, it looks like this week’s pick of the new releases could be loud. We’ve got former Gallows front man Frank Carter with the third studio release from his Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes project. There’s also a reissue of the impossible to find debut from post-punkers Protomatyr and a debut from Swedish noise outfit Viagra Boys. Other forms of music are available (and some even feature in the list below).

Spotify playlist at the bottom.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – End of Suffering

Listen on Spotify

Protomatyr – No Passion All Technique

Listen on Spotify

Viagra Boys – Street Worms

Listen on Spotify

Flamingods – Leviation

Listen on Spotify

Versing – 10000

Listen on Spotify

Barrie – Happy to Be Here

Listen on Spotify

The Dream Syndicate – These Times

Listen on Spotify

Drahla – Useless Coordinates

Listen on Spotify

Saint Agnes – Welcome to Silvertown

Listen on Spotify

Wolfmanhatten Project – Blue Gene Stew

Listen on Spotify

Filthy Friends – Emerald Valley

Listen on Spotify

Here’s a playlist of all of the above if you want to listen to this week’s selected new releases.

Album review: Snapped Ankles – Stunning Luxury

Snapped Ankles - Stunning Luxury album cover

It’s really hard to describe Snapped Ankles. They’re part dance, part psych-rock, part crusty avent-garde, part post-punk and a whole heap of English eccentricity. This is a group that dress in ghillie suits on stage and look like shamanistic yetis (see my unofficial Mutations Festival 2019 awards article for more).

Stunning Luxury is the band’s second album, following the release of the fantastic Come Play The Trees in 2017 – one of my albums of that year.

It picks up where the last album left off, but if possible it’s even more out-there.

There is classic Snapped Ankles on show here, such as the incessant synth line on Tailpipe, that you just can’t help being sucked in by. Delivery Van is a cracking bass-guitar driven number that plays with some truly odd keyboard melodies and 60s pysychodelia and general nuttiness.

Drink and Glide is another slice of the band at their most unashamedly enjoyable, with guitar and synth working in perfect harmony to keep a smile on everyone’s faces.

Rechargeable is probably my favourite track, a proper toe-tapping, head nodder that builds speed and layers as it progresses from its minimalistic start.

There is greater experimentation is on show on Stunning Luxury, which sometimes works, but sometimes falls short.

Letter From Hampi Mountain is a little hard to get into and seems to revolve around something akin to a bagpipe that’s swallowed a 56K modem. By the end, though, you are on board with it all. Similarly, Skirmish in the Suburb‘s Blade Runner-style opening keeps you hanging on for the eventually satisfying drums and acid synth conclusion.

Elsewhere though we have Three Steps to a Development‘s electro funk, which takes some getting in to. Stylistically it feels all over the place. You’re waiting for all the threads to pull together at the end, which they kind of do, but perhaps the payoff isn’t as big as you would hope. With Dial the Rings on a Tree, you are also left wanting more.

All things considered, this probably isn’t as strong a work as their debut, but the sheer audacity of Stunning Luxury is most definitely worth checking out – even if you don’t think this is your style of music. I also have a feeling that this may be a grower. Don’t be surprised if my rating improves over time.

Release date: 01 March 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: Rechargeable

For fans of:

  • Phobophobes
  • Goat
  • Flamingods

Listen on Spotify

The (unofficial) Mutations 2019 festival awards

On 23rd February in a conference centre on an industrial estate just off a very sunny Portslade High Street, we witnessed the coming together of some of the most promising alternative music acts around.

The Mutations 2019 festival provided a feast for the ears and sometimes the eyes. Despite some issues with being able to provide enough beer to the thirsty masses, it largely went off without a hitch and provided a huge amount of pleasure to those in attendance.

With that in mind, I present my completely unofficial Mutations 2019 festival awards.

The consummate professional award

Winner: White Denim

White Denim doing what they do best

Headliners White Denim showed why they deserved to be topping the bill, with a incredibly tight performance and a huge sound that could fill any size of venue. They had to deal with a backdrop that had been glitchy all day but finally gave up the ghost completely at the start of their performance. However, such was the immensity of their stage presence that you hardly noticed.

The audience immersion award

Winner: Snapped Ankles

Snapped Ankles, or possibly a shamanic yeti

As soon as Snapped Ankles emerged onto the stage in their modified ghillie suits, looking somewhat like shamanisitc yetis, you knew you were in for an unusual performance.

From the opening bars of ‘I Want My Minutes Back’ you were glued to what was happening on stage. So much so that you hardly noticed the gradual invasion of other ghillie suited performers into the audience. One set up shop right next to me banging on a snare drum in perfect synchronicity to the goings-on up front, while others bounded through the audience flailing their arms as if held in a maddening trance by the sounds emanating from the stage.

The Snapped Ankles set was actually quite short, which may have left the audience wanting more but was probably a huge relief for those in the stifling costumes, given the amount of energy they were expending throughout.

Longest sound check award

Winner: Goat Girl

Goat Girl, once they finally got going

It’s not often you see a band standing around on stage sound checking for longer than the actual performance, but that’s exactly what it felt like when Goat Girl took to the stage as second top billing act.

They were clearly having some issues with feedback but spent far too long trying it sort it out and eventually the audience got a little impatient.

As a result – whether it was nerves from having stood on stage so long waiting to start, the sound adjustments made, that this new act are still a finding their feet, or a combination of all these things – but the performance was flat. As was the reaction from the audience. A massive shame, as I had really enjoyed their eponymous debut album and had been looking forward to their set for some time.

The ‘Audience in the palm of our hands’ award

Winner: Flamingods

Flamingods, possibly on fire

Flamingods have been playing their unique brand of exotic psych rock since 2010, and that experience showed as the audience lapped up their performance.

Their full-on set, coupled with some perfectly complementary visuals, made for an, at times transcendental experience that the crowd couldn’t get enough of.

My first experience of this band, hopefully not the last.

The international discovery award

Winner: Ohmme (USA)

Ohmme post gig

This Chicago group managed to meld complex harmonic vocal arrangements with some seriously noisy guitars to create a unique sound that was entrancing and explosive. They could perhaps do with a bass player to pack even more punch, but it’s well worth catching up with their (currently) small back catalogue. They told us after the gig they were straight off to Wales to record their next album. I’ll be reviewing their older tracks in anticipation of that release.

Notable mention: Joesfin Öhrn & The Liberation (Sweden)

And now for the big one…

Best set

Winner: TVAM

TVAM – they are there somewhere

Truth be told, this was the band I was most looking forward to seeing after the triumphant release of debut album Psychic Data last year (which made the top 20 of my Top 50 albums of 2018 list).

Fortunately they did not disappoint. It was a sparse setup for a group billing second on the second stage. Just a guitar and small keyboard between the two performers and an old CRT television displaying images and lyrics to the group’s songs. But the overall impression conveyed was incredible. The sounds they achieved with such minimal machinery completely drew you in and left your head swirling.

Hopefully they will be returning soon so that we can experience a full-on full set.

Hopefully Mutations will also be returning soon, though next time they might need to stock up on more beer.