17 Sep 2019

Listen to special Petbrick Mixtape via Cvlt Nation

Cvlt Nation has just published an exclusive Gabba/Breakcore mixtape compiled by Petbrick that features tracks by Shit and Shine, VVM, DJ Donna Summer, Full of Hell, Scotch Egg, Motorhead and many, many more.

Immerse here: Cvlt Nation


Velvet Sheep say some words about The Utopia Strong

They say:

“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today it’s an intense triple header, with an interesting brand new synth psych band called The Utopia Strong with its trio of esteemed members choosing a tune each. They consist of Steve Davis who has swapped the baize of his legendary snooker past for the 1s and 2s (by which I don’t mean a red and then a yellow), his partner-in-crime behind the decks Kavus Torabi (Gong/Cardiacs/Knifeworld/Guapo) and  the well-appointed Michael J. York (Coil/ Teleplasmiste/Guapo). The music is mesemerising, modular and magnificent, like The Heads meets John Carpenter, via John Carpenter and Loop and it’s on Rocket Recordings home of Teeth of the Sea (whose Mike Bourne introduced Steve to the modular synth), Gnod and VS favs Lay Llamas.

Steve has truly gone from Snooker Loopy to Loop, snooker god to disciple of Gnod – and in Kavus Torabi has found a spiritual touchstone that nobody could have seen coming and that I can see going for miles and miles, as the Byrds might have said once... 

See the rest of the piece here: Velvet Sheep


16 Sep 2019

Trebuchet Magazine reviews Julie's Haircuts 'In the Silence Electric'

They say:

Italian psych-rock veterans Julie’s Haircut have zoned in on making incredible, catchy, satisfying and challenging records for 20 years.
One of their two (so far) major releases of 2019 is In the Silence Electric which is as total a summation of a band hitting a blistering career peak as can be ascribed. Pulling influences from Spaceman 3, Can, and the Fall, they avoid falling into the trap of dwelling at length at either poles of the emotional spectrum. Rather they move effortlessly between bliss-laden trails and grinding paranoid depths, all the while propelled by grooves so epic, they’ll flap your flares for hours on end.

What marks this record above all other Julie’s Haircut albums or many other contemporary psych releases is the quality of the songwriting and production restraint. There is a tendency in psych to either milk an idea to death or bury it within a tonne of flourish, but Julie’s Haircut draw from decades of experience to maintain the sweet spot of stoned groove and captivating musical evolution on damn near every track. The one exception is “In Return” which is an exploration of 70s synth-driven evocative avant-garde and as such is beautifully decadent, wondrously unnecessary, and borders on sublime. Purposely cut from a different cloth than the rest of the album, this third-quarter psychic freak out downs the mood before the tribal jazz drums summon “Pharaoh’s Dream” and we’re back in pound land.

It is hard to fault this record on any front. As an album it works from start to finish and pulls you back for numerous rewinds. It has a ‘dance with abandon’ single in “Until the Lights Go Out” that is so ripe for remixes it might relaunch the disco-noise of electroclash. Furthermore the technical playing is so tasteful that despite having a pretty standard sonic palette (guitar, bass, drums, organ, synth, sax, and voice) the listener is carried away wholesale by the music. One is never drawn into considering specific facets such as ‘oh nice bit of guitar there’, ‘whoa synthy-synth time’ or ‘wow that drumming is pretty flashy’, despite there being plenty of ‘oh yeah’ moments. The balance of sonic elements emerges fully formed, seamless and boundless.,,,

Read the rest here: Trebuchet


iNews interview with Steve Davis about The Utopia Strong

They say:

On the list of things sports stars are supposed to do after they retire, releasing an ambient synth album won’t appear. After hanging up the boots, gloves or, in Steve Davis’s case, cue, the orthodox path is into property development, coaching, representation or punditry.

DJing at Glastonbury and putting out an album of woozy, wonky left-field music on a record label that hosts bands with names like Gnod, Goat, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs and Hey Colossus is indeed uncharted territory.

But then again, not all retired sports stars are Davis, the six-time snooker world champion, die-hard music fan and latterly modular synthesizer aficionado. This is a guy who arranged for one of his favourite bands – Magma, the French prog leviathans – to play in London so he could see them live.

Now he and two collaborators, Kavus Torabi and Michael J York – both professional musicians – have formed a band, The Utopia Strong, who released their self-titled debut album on 13 September.

“It is off the scale isn’t it?” Davis tells i. “I am sort of quite chuffed in a way because there was no plan to do this.

“There was no plan apart from me and the other two guys in the band getting on like a house on fire, hanging out and having a laugh, me getting into modular synthesizers and finding it a fascinating world and a total rabbit hole as well, then wanting to get better at playing at it.

“We hung out just so we could have a laugh together. But we made some music, improvising and jamming just for the fun of it and it was recorded by Mike, who had the presence of mind to record the sessions. We listened back and went ‘bloody hell! This is exactly… we would like to listen to stuff like this, why don’t we make it into something more?’ It was all arse-about-face in a way. Because there was no plan, it has been a surreal journey into the unknown.”...

Read the rest here: iNews


Loudwire say some words about Petbrick

They say:

Sepultura legend Igor Cavalera has unveiled a new industrial project, Petbrick. The band, which also features Big Lad’s Wayne Adams, will release its debut album, I, on Oct. 25 via Rocket Recordings and Closed Casket Activities.

The two musicians decided to collaborate after Cavalera found himself impressed by a Big Lad gig in London. The duo eventually made their way to Adams’ Bearbiteshorse Studio and began tinkering with industrial sounds under the influence of caffeine.

"We wanted to do something different than the other projects we were involved in. Making horrible noise was the first concept behind Petbrick," says Igor.

“I think we realized that we were both pretty much in tune with each others taste, both into a lot of weird electronic music, as well as some decent far out guitar stuff,” Adams adds. “For me personally I definitely pushed the electronics in a much harsher direction.”

"I think the industrial side of things probably comes a lot from Igor’s playing. He hits hard, really fucking hard, and just goes like the clappers, so mix that with gabber and noise you have instant industrial vibes. Yet rather than being an album with its foot firmly on the accelerator throughout, it's one just as comfortable with the elegiac atmospherics of a track such as ‘Sect’ as the hyperactive breakcore-damaged brew of ‘Roadkill Ruby.’

Petbrick released the new track “Horse” earlier today (July 17), which is reminiscent of bleak Ministry works and Alessandro Cortini synth textures.

Read the piece here: Loudwire


13 Sep 2019

Andrew Weatherall spins two Julie's Haircut tracks on latest NTS show

Tune into Andrew Weatherall's latest NTS show to hear the first radio plays of TWO Julie's Haircut tracks from their forthcoming 'In The Silence Electric' album.

Listen here: NTS


The Utopia Strong released today

We are exceedingly thrilled to release 'The Utopia Strong' featuring Steve Davis, Kavus Torabi and Michael York and their self titled debut today.

The album is now on sale via all the best outlets on LP/CD/DL & comes in a special holographic foil board sleeve for the vinyl edition & hot foiled front on CD. There are 3 versions avialable froim today, if you go to watch the band live you can pick up the ultra lim ited 'Two colour Black Hole' version, plus there is a ltd indie exclusive in 'Fireball Orange' and a second ltd version in 'Dark Matter Transparent Blue'.

Buy/Stream: The Utopia Strong 
Bandcamp: Bandcamp

"A storming debut”
The Quietus
"The band’s pulsing krautrock and hazy synthwork should appeal to freaks of all stripes”
"Effortlessly mixes progressive rock, Krautrock and modern electronica”
"An extraordinary marriage between celestial radiance and hallucinatory repetition”
Circuit Sweet
"An hypnotic and ever changing musical soundscape”
Backseat Mafia
"Not bad for the man nicknamed Mr Boring as a snooker player”
The Mirror

The Press Release:

  The overall sound was pretty accidental” reckons Kavus Torabi. “I certainly didn’t expect the music to sound so ecstatic and positive, Without wanting to puncture the mystery, there really felt like an element of magic at play in making this album. For the most part it was incredibly effortless”

“The band evolved from having had so much fun together and also sharing similar musical tastes” continues Steve Davis, “Mike (York) was living in Glastonbury where Kavus and I DJ’d in 2017. We all hung out together during the festival and the Utopia Strong was born. The name came later and I suppose reflects the fact that - once we’d jammed together and listened back to the improvising - the music felt pretty euphoric and otherworldly. It was very psychedelic but also strangely wonky”

It was never any secret that Davis - even at the peak of his household name status in the 1980s - was as happy putting a needle on a vinyl record as anything else involving a cue. Renowned as an aficionado of soul, jazz-funk and progressive rock from the seventies onwards, he famously once single-handedly promoted three nights at the Bloomsbury Theatre for French esoteric leviathans Magma, so frustrated was he by their absence from
British shores.

Steve was first introduced to the modular synthesis world by Teeth Of The Sea’s Mike Bourne at a show the latter was playing with Hirvikolari at Cafe Oto in 2016. “Like many others before me, I was intrigued by the wires, knobs and blinking lights of the modular synth and it wasn’t that long after that I felt the need to get my own, even though I didn’t have a clue what I was letting myself in for! The instrument has the ability to create whatever your imagination can deal with”

What’s more - with his tastes having moved into the fringes of experimental electronica as his record collection expanded exponentially, his music obsession took on new bounds after his retirement in 2016, with his DJ partnership with Torabi (Gong/Cardiacs/Knifeworld/Guapo) taking him to festivals and clubs for many a head spinning rampage, in which the wide-eyed assembled would be as likely to hear Autechre as Black Sabbath.

All this aside, few would have expected the artist whose previous recorded output comprised one Top Ten hit in 1986 (The Matchroom Mob featuring Chas & Dave’s ‘Snooker Loopy’) would be a part of the aural epiphanies that are chronicled in The Utopia Strong’s debut album, The combined forces of Davis, Torabi and Michael J. York (Coil/Teleplasmiste/Guapo) have arrived at no less than a modular-driven kosmische colossus of transcendent power enough to drive all talk of green baize firmly into the blue yonder.

An extraordinary marriage between celestial radiance and hallucinatory repetition -  in which Davis’ modular geometry and ambient structures weave with Torabi’s keen and skewed sense of melody and York’s various gifts for pipes, drones and fevered abstract - the result is a beguiling tapestry as likely to remind listeners of the countercultural benchmarks of Terry Riley, Cluster and Fripp/Eno as the later vortex-voyages of Emeralds and Seefeel.

Perhaps the centrepiece of the record is the ten-minute ‘Brainsurgeons 3’, in which techno-style exultance, hypnotic foward-motion and the perhaps unlikely but crucial arrival of York’s bagpipes collude to provide a truly formidable endorphin rush. “Kavus and I started programming an unmixed version of Brainsurgeons 3 into our DJ sets and the reaction was amazing!” concurs Steve. “Some nights the track got the most thumbs up of the set. We broke Shazam with it!”

“in twenty years of making records it’s certainly been the easiest and most enjoyable to make” reflects Kavus. “Now, this may have been partly due to us having no preconceptions or expectations but it wasn’t just that. There was absolutely no conflict, and we spent a lot of time together working on it - in my experience that’s a total fucking miracle”

“The personal journey I’ve been on since January 2nd 2018 with Kavus and Mike has been surreal” reflects Steve. “Probably more so than even the path that unfolded for me in snooker. That was pretty far out but this seems otherworldly! Maybe Glastonbury is a mystical place after all”


The band will be out performing a few shows over the coming months:
08 Nov | Golden Lion | Todmorden
11 Dec | The Cluny | Newcastle
12 Dec | Hare & Hounds | Birmingham

13 Dec | The Cube Cinema | Bristol
18 Dec | The Crescent | York
19 Dec | Deaf Institute | Manchester
20 Dec | Cafe Oto | London
21 Dec | Ramsgate Music Hall | Ramsgate

So enjoy the 'Medical Grade Music' that is The Utopia Strong


Bonnacons of Doom's Esus released today

Bonnacons of Doom's new EP Esus is released today as a special edition cassette that is ltd to 100 copies.

Esus, a four track EP features a brand new composition called ’Esus’ and three incredible remixes by Liars, JD Twitch (Optimo) and Capac - all three are remixes of songs taken from their S/T debut album.

Unfortunately we have sold out however the band will be selling them on their up-and-coming shows below, or you can buy WAV/MP3s below here: Rocket Bandcamp

17 Sep / Huddersfield / The Parish

18 Sep / London / The Lexington
19 Sep / Brussels / Magasin 4
20 Sep / Berlin / Sneaky Snake Festival
21 Sep / Strasbourg / La Grenze
08 Nov / Bristol / The Lanes
09 Nov / Middlesbrough / Middlesbrough Town Hall


12 Sep 2019

Listen to Teeth of the Sea and The Utopia Strong special on Reprezent Radio

Listen to Teeth of the Sea and The Utopia Strong special playlist they created for Ailbhe Máiréad's  Reprezent Radio show...

You can listen here: Reprezent Radio


FREQ reviews The Utopia Strong

They say:

Composed of British-Iranian musician and composer Kavus Torabi (of Knifeworld, Guapo, Gong and Cardiacs fame), Coil and Téléplasmiste’s Michael J York, and Steve Davis (yes, snooker’s number one of yore, now fully bewitched by all things modular), The Utopia Strong‘s self-titled debut LP is a light and airy piece of work.

Theirs is an embryonic exploration with an appreciation of Cluster‘s tune-leeching lactose and a slight kosmische kiss to its eel(ing) curves. I was expecting something wholly motorik, pumped to the nines in commerciality, but was pleasantly surprised to experience a bunch of ideas that are happy finding their own narrative.

The weevilling magnetics of “Emerald Tablet” and the building trajectories of “Konta Chorus” both demonstrate a lovely crafted vibe. The sun-dappled contours of the first chorusing in lush swiping motions, the latter chewing on trippy melodics and keystroke ascends that are begging for an ’80s type of twelve-inch EP kitchen sink remix. The deftness of touch here is impressive, the palette a delicate array of colour jivering in soft melodic interjection...

Read the rest here: FREQ