5 Jun 2024

Smote reveal the release of gargantuan new double album

We are ecstatic to announce that Newcastle based band Smote are releasing a brand new double album called 'A Grand Stream' on 23 August.

Watch the Ali Crackett made video for the first track to be revealed 'The Opinion Of The Lamb Pt. 1 (Edit)' above.

Smote's Daniel Foggin says this about the track:
“This is Smote’s take on a party song, a quasi-dance track so to speak. The monomania is so prevalent here and pushed as hard as it possibly can be."

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'A Grand Stream' can be preordered now on Ltd edition 'Pink/Black' double vinyl, housed in a deluxe gatefold sleeve via this Bandcamp link, or via all good record shops:

Bandcamp

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Last Summer, Daniel Foggin, guitarist, writer and chief architect of Smote, uprooted himself from his usual home in Newcastle to live and work in a farmhouse in Kelso, near the Scottish border. “Through the summer when I was working up there, myself and Rob (Smote drummer) would finish work and go sit by a small river and have a couple of beers in the sun, and it was the best thing ever” he relates “So I guess the philosophy is that to some people it looks like any other stream, but to us it was supreme happiness. That can be applied to a lot of things in life”.

Hence came the title of the fourth Smote album proper, one largely recorded in this same farmhouse - A Grand Stream.

It’s an album that’s the truest incarnation thus far of his vision for this band - a full-scale psychic voyage into the ether and a drone-and-repetition-fuelled series of incantations that takes simple, primal ingredients and utilises them for the purposes of aural sorcery, summoning spectres and revelations aplenty in its wake. What has emerged from Foggin’s sojourn in the Borders may be imbued with a rich rural intensity but it’s also perhaps the darkest and more foreboding work that Smote have made to date. As he notes himself, the rawness of this record occurred in tandem with its recording process. 

“I’ve done this pretty DIY, and done stuff that will give most sound engineers nightmares” he laughs, “I’ve got 4 microphones and an interface, and had a whacky set up of my sound city 120 and a 4x12, some synths and basic percussion stuff like tambourines and shakers all in a tiny living room. Then drums, bass and all the other glue was added in my practice room at later dates. I’m really happy with the production on this one; it feels like one sonic journey”.

Barely a truer word could be spoken on this 70-minute-plus opus, which embarks on the most intrepid dive imaginable into the audial Deep End. Whilst the folk-tinged, ceremonial ambience that Smote have made their trademark is present and correct here, as on the ominous rhythms of ‘Coming Out Of A Hedge Backwards’ and the uplifting cadences of opener ‘Sitting Stone Part 1’, Foggin and his cohorts also waste little time exploring new more eerie and ethereal textures and dimensions. The meditative ‘Chantry’ in particular sees them gravitate towards a headspace akin to the drone-based epiphanies of Kali Malone’s ‘Does Spring Hide Its Joy’ filtered through the transcendent amplifier worship of ‘Earth 2’. 

“In terms of influences, I was listening to a lot of Anna Von Hausswolf, Maria W. Horn, and ØXN” reckons Foggin. “I think this is pretty significant in the fact that all of these artists combine traditional instrumentation with contemporary instrumentation, and it’s all fucking heavy. Not so much in the way of playing ridiculous mega riffs, but in terms of using the simple sound of instruments to create atmosphere. For example I think a violin playing double stops can be just as heavy as a cranked no-master volume guitar amp, just like an organ can be just as heavy as tuned oscillators and filtered synthesis”.

Said heaviness manifests itself most powerfully in the mammoth two-parter ‘The Opinion Of The Lamb’ – a near thirty-minute ritualistic voyage into the heart of darkness that melds Swans-style intensity, Trad Gras Och Stenar earthtones and Sunn O))) monomania to devastating effect. This marks the culmination of an album that takes this band – one who’ve always eschewed the cliches and stumbling blocks of all contemporary psych rock in favour of their own unique and wyrd vision - into a realm in which they transcend through willpower and skill alike into something preternaturally thrilling and intimidating, mapping out their own crepuscular new territory in the paranormal. Question is; dare you step over the threshold?

See Smote live:
29 Jun / Hyper Inverter Festival 
2-4 Aug / Oxfordshire / Supernormal Festival
22 Aug / Glasgow / The Hug And Pint
25 Aug / London / Moor Beer Vaults
28 Aug / Ipswich / The Steamboat Tavern
30 Aug / Bristol / Crofters Rights
31 Aug / Birmingham / Supersonic Festival 
05 Sep / Paris / Supersonic
06 Sep / Den Haag / Paard
07 Sep / Ghent / TBC


Front cover sculpture by: Rosie McLachlan

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31 May 2024

Gnod's new album 'Spot Land' is released today

"I can’t think of much higher praise for this record." 'Album Of The Week' 
The Quietus


"Embracing a new sense of freedom while retaining the essence that defines the band." Backseat Mafia

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Gnod's very special new album 'Spot Land' is released today.

You can buy this Bandcamp exclusive release on Purple Vinyl via this link below:


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See the mighty Gnod live:

27 August / Bristol / The Exchange
28 August / Utrecht / DB's
29 August / Nijmegen / Doornroosje
30 August / Rillaar / Down The Hill
31 August / London / Bush Hall
01 September / Todmorden / The Golden Lion

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With a recalibrated sound and a new sense of freedom, 'Spot Land’s five songs are tender and detailed, unfolding slowly with wistful guitar textures, brushed drums and interjections of lap steel, piano and kalimba.

As founder member Paddy Shine says, "the results sound like old GNOD and new GNOD at the same time". On the face of it, Spot Land is a big step away from the intense, loud, sludgy offerings found on the group’s more recent studio albums, such as 2022’s 'Hexen Valley' – nevertheless, these too are heady fogs to lose yourself in, with on-record personnel starting at different points and meeting on the same wavelength. Its exploratory sense might make seasoned GNOD heads think of 2014 triple LP 'Infinity Machines', or really early oddities like 'The Somnambulist’s Tale' from 2008, but you can also jump in right here if needs be because 'Spot Land' has its own unique vibe. 

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29 May 2024

Video of Ex-Easter Island Head playing live at 'Full of Noises'


Watch this great footage of Ex-Easter Island Head playing live at 'Full of Noises' on 13 October 2023

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Alison Cotton brings 'Engelchen' to London


ALISON COTTON & WAF PRESENT:

'ENGELCHEN'

SAT 22 JUNE (2PM), THE BEDFORD, BALHAM

Tickets/info

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Alison Cotton will present a multimedia production on Saturday 22 June (2pm) in the beautiful music room of The Bedford, Balham as part of Wandsworth Arts Fringe.

The production is inspired by the lives of local residents and opera fans, Ida and Louise Cook, who used their love of music to help 29 Jews escape Nazi Germany.

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“Heartrending storytelling by deeply poetic folk spirit”  Uncut

“Alison Cotton’s moving rendition of the Cook sisters’ story serves as a timely reminder of the radical, even life-saving potential of the profound social bonds forged through a shared love of music.”  The Quietus

“Spellbinding" Shindig!

Alison Cotton has announced details of an event encompassing performance, talk, poetry and music devoted to, and inspired by the lives of Ida and Louise Cook, two sisters who used their love of music to assist 29 Jews to escape Nazi-occupied Germany. The sisters, who were born in Sunderland, lived for 60 years in the Borough of Wandsworth, and the event is presented in association with Wandsworth Arts Fringe.

Engelchen (“Little Angels”) was the term used to address the sisters in letters from people requesting their help. Alison Cotton’s music (from her recently released album Engelchen on Rocket Recordings) portrays their dangerous journeys, the lives of those they saved, those they failed to save, as well as the voices of refugees of today – given the times we live in, this story which highlights the plight of refugees feels particularly relevant and poignant.

Alison Cotton has curated an event that will include a performance of Engelchen (with Chloe Herington). Alongside the performance, refugees (currently living in Wandsworth and members of CARAS - Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers), will read letters that they've written to loved ones back home. Professor Angela Smith (University of Sunderland), who has researched Ida and Louise, will give a short talk about the Cook sisters' life and work, and poets Hilaire and Joolz Sparkes will perform a reading of local poet Hilaire's poem 'The Cook Sisters Contemplate a Final Visit to Nazi Germany', a poem from their joint poetry project ‘London Undercurrents’.

The sisters themselves were opera fanatics. Their obsession, which saw them travelling the world to attend performances and meet and befriend their favourite female opera stars, led directly to their rescue work. They held gramophone record listening parties at home when they weren’t travelling, and to bring those parties back to life, audiences arriving and departing the event 22 June will be able to enjoy a gramophone playing the music of Ida and Louise’s favourite opera singers.

There will be also be a display of artefacts relevant to the time from Wandsworth Council’s Heritage Collection, plus photographs and letters from refugees who Ida and Louise saved. Inspired by the sisters’ incredible acts of kindness, there will be stamped envelopes around the venue where the audience will be invited to write a letter or note to themselves or to someone else, with their own promise.

Alison Cotton explains, “I hope to create a moving experience though my event by performing music inspired by the lives of Ida and Louise Cook, a story of such bravery and kindness which is so relevant to the times we live in today. As the event premiered in Sunderland, where they spent their early years, it means a lot to me that this should be followed by a production in the area they lived in for over 60 years of their lives.”

Tickets for the event are available here - Alison Cotton (wandsworthfringe.com)

Alison Cotton’s album inspired by the sisters, Engelchen, is out now via Rocket Recordings. The 7-track album relays the sisters’ story, whether acapella or by means of richly emotive string arrangements, with a deftness of touch, sensitivity and intensity that matches the feverish nature of the experiences and the unforgiving environs in which they took place. Summoning foley work to sum up the atmospheres of their journeys (from train noises to the sound of gulls on the English coast, to the ominous military drumbeat) Engelchen is a transporting work whose spirit is situated in a very specific time and place.

Ida Cook sums up their utilitarian attitudes, which took them not only to Europe but on scarcely conceivable journeys to the US in the 1920s, here; “you never know what you can do until you refuse to take no for an answer. In this very amateur way, we did manage to rescue 29 people and set them on new lives. The same mentality that had made us reckon the expenses of our first American adventure to the final penny now enabled us to think in terms of adding shilling to shilling, week to week and effort to effort"

This is more than merely an inspirational tribute to two mavericks who beat the odds in an unforgettable feat of altruism. It’s a celebration of the human spirit, one that reflects a universality in its narrative which transcends the boundaries of history and impacts very urgently on our daily lives. Whatever attempts may be made to tell this story, it’s hard to imagine one that resonates deeper than Engelchen.

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Buy the album 'Engelchen'

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See Alison live: 

22 June London / The Bedford
06 July 
London / The Idler Festival
09 July 
Barrow-in-Furness / Full of Noises, Piel View House
12 July 
Hebden Bridge The Trades Club
27 July 
Fano / Folk Festival (DK)
29 July 
Colchester Arts Centre
14 Nov / Norwich / UEA (w/ GOAT)
15 Nov / Oxford / 02 Academy (w/ GOAT)
16 Nov / Nottingham / Rock City (w/ GOAT)

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24 May 2024

The Janitor's album 'An Error Has Occurred' is released today


"A monstrous wall-of-psychotic sound surrounds your mind and turns it upside down." 
Turn up the volume

"Haunting melodies and heavy rhythms evoke a sense of dystopian rebellion." Psychedelic Baby Magazine

"Steeped in darkness." Backseat Mafia

"This is heavy, fuzzy psych rock that gives you the right chills." Hymn

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Swedish drone-rockers The Janitors  new album 'An Error Has Occurred' is released today on Rocket.

The album is available on a lush Orange/Green Splatter vinyl and housed in an third-eye opening gatefold sleeve that can be bought now in all decent record shops plus via the Bandcamp link below:

Bandcamp


See The Janitors live at these up-and-coming shows, including a special album launch party tonight in Stockholm:

24 May / Stockholm / Geronimos FGT
29 May / Bristol / The Crofters Rights
30 May / Northampton / The Black Prince
01 Jun / London / Peckham Audio 

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For 'An Error Has Occurred' The Janitors rehearsed intensely together before laying down everything live, over two days and nights, in a converted missionary church.  

The resulting songs have the menace of Melvins, the swagger of The Stooges and the cosmic heft of The Heads. Though you will also find dronier numbers, drawn out with soundscapes and textures influenced by The Velvet Underground’s sonic experiments and the equally immersive atmospheres of electronic acts like Massive Attack. 

Watch the videos to the two singles for Anger The World which has received over 60K views and the second single Lies here:

Anger The World

Lies

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22 May 2024

Listen to exclusive 'In Gnod We 'Always' Trust' playlist


To celebrate the imminent release of Gnod's new album 'Spot Land', Rocket have compiled a deep dive playlist into Gnod's eclectic and highly absorbing back catalogue (from what tracks are available on spotify).

'In Gnod We 'Always' Trust' playlist starts with the latest single 'Pilgrim's Progress' and then takes you on a 5 hour, 42  minutes of wonderment:


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'Spot Land' is released on 31 May on ltd edition Purple vinyl and can be preordered exclusively via Bandcamp here:


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See the mighty Gnod live:

27 August / Bristol / The Exchange
28 August / Utrecht / DB's
29 August / Nijmegen / Doornroosje
30 August / Rillaar / Down The Hill
31 August / London / Bush Hall
01 September / Todmorden / The Golden Lion

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17 May 2024

Ex-Easter Island Head's album 'Norther' is released today


“Simply transcendent.”

The Quietus

“Ex Easter Island Head have made their masterpiece." 5/5
NARC Magazine

"It’s yet another Eureka! moment." 8/10 Loud & Quiet

"Liverpool’s Fab Four might just have scaled a career peak." Terrascope


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Today sees the release of 'Norther', the impressive new album by Ex-Easter Island Head.

Buy the ltd edition album from your local record shop or via this Bandcamp link:

Bandcamp

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The bands tour starts tonight in Bristol:

17 May / Bristol / Cube Microplex
18 May / London / Stoke Newington Old Church (Matinee and Evening) 
24 May / Manchester / St. Michael's 
25 May / Sheffield / Sidney and Matilda
26 May / Pewsey / Acid Horse Festival
31 May / Hebden / Hebden Bridge Trades Club
07 June / Brighton / The Hope
08 June / Cambridge / Storey's Field Centre

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Building on over a decade of activity, Ex-Easter Island Head have long been a cherished part of the UK underground. Functioning variously as a kind of deconstructed rock band, ambient chamber ensemble and minimalist compositional workshop, on 'Norther' we find the group combining their wide musical experience into something singular and coherent with a deeply emotional core.

Largely orbiting around their extended use of the electric guitar, their approach might at times recall the experiments of Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca, but across the album we see a band whose musical vision extends well beyond the iconoclasm of 80's New York. Drawing on hypnotic musics from across the spectrum, they bring a compositional approach to sounds often associated with freeform sprawl or more academic settings, never letting pathos be lost to process. Equally reminiscent of the gentle rolling momentum of The Necks as they are the coiled precision of an act on Kompakt; this is a music which ebbs and flows, lives and breathes.

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16 May 2024

GNOD reveal 'Pilgrim's Progress' from new album 'Spot Land'

We are delighted to share the chanting ambient rock frazzler 'Pilgrim's Progress' taken from their forthcoming album 'Spot Land' released on 31 May. 

Tender and detailed, unfolding slowly with wistful guitar textures GNOD recalibrate their loud sludgy punk sound with a new sense of freedom.

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'Spot Land' is available on Purple vinyl and comes with an insert. It can only be pre-ordered via this link below:

Bandcamp

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See Gnod live:
27 August / Bristol / The Exchange
28 August / Utrecht / DB's
29 August / Nijmegen / Doornroosje
30 August / Rillaar / Down The Hill
31 August / London / Bush Hall


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15 May 2024

Smote announce tour, plus watch more exclusive footage of the band performing live in Blank Studios

Smote have announced the following live dates, with more to be announced:

June
29 Fell Foot Woods / Hyper Inverter Festival 

August
2-4 Oxfordshire / Supernormal Festival
22 Glasgow / The Hug And Pint
25 London / Moor Beer Vaults
28 Ipswich / The Steamboat Tavern
30 Bristol / Crofters Rights
31 Birmingham / Supersonic Festival 

September
5 Paris / Supersonic
6 Den Haag / Paard
7 Ghent / TBC

Also watch this great footage above of Smote laying waste to Blank Studios with their track 'Banhus' taken from last album 'Genog'.

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3 May 2024

Obey Cobra's 'Mwg Drwg' is released today


"Obey Cobra show they mean business right from the start."  
The Quietus

"An album that sounds modern and yet manages to invoke the past.”
The Sleeping Shaman

"Dazzling in the sun as a cast of thousands slowly proceed towards their doom.”
Joyzine

"This band is completely in a world of their own."
Weirdo Shrine

"Distinctly Lynchian feel to it.”
God is in the TV

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Today sees the release of Obey Cobra's new album 'Mwg Drwg'.

You can buy/stream from here, or pick-up a copy from all good record shops:

Bandcamp

Sadly, thanks to brexshit and a hold-up in customs, the albums will not be in the shops until 10th May – but all bandcamp preorders will already have been sent out to you.

Plus if you are at the band's album launch show tonight in Cardiff, the band will have copies for sale on the merch table!

Up-and-coming shows are:

03 May / Cardiff /  Clwb Ifor Bach
21 June / Bristol / The Exchange
23 June / London / Shacklewell Arms

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