New: Urtekk – Freedom

Urtekk open their latest single with a bass line as funky as Rick James’ hairdo. It seems like a weird departure for them, moving from pop disturbia to straight up funk. However, that swiftly flits into a Mogwai-esque synth alarm, alert tones ringing out with an urgency not felt since Liam Neeson had his daughter kidnapped.

This kind of dense, layered track is exactly what you want to hear when your hopped up on more speed, zooming through the futuristic cities of 2045 in your personal hovercraft. Or, you know, on the bus. Whatever works.

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Video(s): Harmony + Dark Mean + Monte

So many audio visual queues! By which I mean three. Enjoy!

 

Harmony-Water Runs Cold

So, if Nick Cave got even more bummed out, and managed to get Rowland S. Howard (RIP) and Mick Turner in a room together, you’d get something about half as powerful and simply beautiful as Harmony’s new song ‘Water Runs Cold’. You can expect a seemingly harmless phrase that becomes unstable when repeated with such passion and gusto, like Andrea Boccelli screaming ‘Fuck You!’. And you can also prepare yourself for a bunch of artistic nudity, by which I mean, no boobs or dicks. However, this song/clip is so good, you’ll forget the fact you’re a sex addict for just a second, and be transported to that magical place that only a lonely shower can summon.

 

Dark Mean-Albatross

Dark Mean are frighteningly similar to Harmony, if they were mixed with the good aspects of Arcade Fire. The duelling but dignified vocals, the poetic, thriving nature of the simple songs, the structure that makes out like a wooden hut on the middle of an isolated beach. Dark Mean are like the new generation of Neutral Milk Hotel’s and Pavement’s, with horns and everything! Tie this down with an urban soul search clip and BOOM!, you’ve got yourself a masterpiece.

 

Monte-Cascades

How great are those super long drives, where you just chuck on the radio, and shit whizzes by way too quickly, and by the end, you’re kind of bummed that it couldn’t have continued. That has happened approximately once in my fucking lifetime, and that’s because long drives usually suck horrendous amounts of shit.

The fact that Sydney-based group Monte can evoke that spiritual driving connection in me that I didn’t know existed, well, that speaks pretty great lengths of how great their music is. Seriously, just sink in, let the Mogwai vibes of epic ness crash onto your soul, and watch the shit outta this video. Monte and Chumpy should be stoked!

Album Review: Mogwai-Rave Tapes

Does…does this album even need to be reviewed? I mean…c’mon people! It’s a brand new Mogwai album! As in the Scottish group that made instrumental music exciting again! How can it be physically possible, humanly even, to not rave about Mogwai? The album is fucking called ‘Rave Tapes’!

Okay, if you must know, this album rules so hard, it’s difficult to know where to begin. The rolling textures, the sharp, knifey melodies, the introduction of more unnerving electricity into their work? Mogwai have always been a moody band, but they usually build up their songs to epic proportions. On ‘Rave Tapes’, things are almost constantly kept subdued, humming at a menacing level, like the world’s most attractive mosquito.

On this album, it feels as though the band haven’t had anything extreme happen to them personally, but they’re reflecting on more worldly issues. The music incorporates more forward, electronic dynamics that push the album in a straight, focused line. Its always buzzing, seething, but never blows up or exasperates itself. Anyone who’s been a teenager can connect with that feeling, of being so mad that you feel like its more effective if you silently pray for your offenders’ demise than directly attack them. If anything, ‘Rave Tapes’ is the ultimate passive-agressive soundtrack. Forget your go-to Metallica/Marilyn Manson/Slipknot loud-fests that are basically torture screams over guitars. You want something that actually broods and speaks to your inner angst? Listen to this album on repeat.

On a more specific level, the songs of ‘Rave Tapes’ are, unsurprisingly, interesting as fuck. Like, more interesting than a chat in an opium den with Einstein, the Dalai Lama and Jim Morrison. The album is unbelievably textured, shifting between a million emotional paradigms. At one point, ‘Hexon Bogon’, which features tumultuous feedback undercutting dilapidating piano strokes, gives a vulnerable side to Mogwai. And then, a couple songs later, ‘Master Card’ provides a re-strengthend, thought-provoking journey with a thrusting, aggressive guitar part whilst synth waves shake the song to its core.

But, as usual for Mogwai albums, the most memorable moments of ‘Rave Tapes’ come from the more epic and sinister parts of the album. It’s just what the band do best. ‘Remurdered’, is the first taste of the album (and most brutal overall) where we get to hear some cynical musical savagery. As if the title wasn’t enough, the song itself plays out like a climactic scene of a gory Cormac McCarthy novel. At the beginning, the lighter key parts hint at some sort of bullshit happy discovery scenario. But as the song delves further into its six and a half minute run-time, the gruesome nature of the track reveals itself bit by bit. Seriously, if someone were to make a remake of Se7en, just have ‘Remurdered’ be the score. The heavy, scrambling notes that appear about halfway through the track are both primal and futuristic, like Blade Runner, if Harrison Ford were played by a Neanderthal.

Likewise, the track ‘Deesh’ stands out for its significantly villainous overtones that, although cut with some hopeful synths, bring the mood to a thoroughly bleak outlook. Even the closer of ‘The Lord Is Out of Control’, a track that was probably inspired in some part by the work of Jason Pierce’s Spiritualized, holds a certain darkness to it. The organ rings and robot-filtered vocals bring the song, and encapsulate the album’s overall vibe, of being the sort of future that is run by a Skynet programmed by the Westboro Baptists Church. Hell, maybe there’s actually a whole Terminator thing going on, and this is the only way the guys from Mogwai know how to warn us simple mortals.

‘Rave Tapes’ is not Mogwai’s best work. That being said, it’s not their worst either. It’s in a beautiful middle ground, very similar to 2003’s ‘Happy Music for Happy People’. Its minimalistic approach (for Mogwai, anyway) is different but for a mostly positive effect. But, despite the connotations of the title, ‘Rave Tapes’ is a pretty shy work. It never wants to point the finger, and rarely retreats out of the framework to give off the signature epic Mogwai blasts of emotion. Nonetheless, ‘Rave Tapes’ is accomplished, well-produced, and is more conceptual and resonating than 9/10 modern albums. And all this from a band that say nearly fuck all.

If you’re keen, (as you very well should be) you can hear an exclusive stream of the album here on The Guardian’s website, right here. ‘Rave Tapes’ comes out on the 17th of January, via Sub Pop/Rock Action/Spunk Records.

Video(s): Best Coast + Montero + Speedy Ortiz + Mogwai

Mo’ music videos, mo’ problems. I believe thats an age old adage, or something. Anyway, coming at you from all sides are a bunch of videos from around the globe that will make you a worse person as you inhale sinful things through your eyes.

Best Coast-This Lonely Morning

The last time I saw a music video on Funny or Die, it was FIDLAR’s ‘Cocaine’, and Nick Offerman got his dick out. No cocks in this picture, only Best Coast’s absolutely lovely bleached surf-rock sounds. Wistful and fun, ‘This Lonely Morning’ is about as irresistible as having high tea with Beth Consentino.

Simple as always, Best Coast play tennis in the best way, by taking out all the factors of speed, fitness, velocity and flying balls, and reducing the sport to hitting a standstill object. Although not the best tennis-based music video of the year (that would go to Courtney Barnett, with ‘Avant Gardener’) but this is still a great clip/song.

Monteo-Dead Heads Come to Dinner

Imagine Kevin Parker teaming up with ‘Congatulations’-era MGMT, and then fry that result with way too much acid. The result would either be a manslaughter case or Montero, the soulful psych-pop project from Melbourne. Goddamn, ‘The Dead Heads Come to Dinner’ is a great song, half nervous laughter, half-drug induced coma, and all jittery, good times.

However, the music video steals the show, with hands down the freakiest shit of 2013 making a very welcome appearance. SEE: Purple Witches Raise the Occult With Hula Hoops! WATCH: Christmas-themed Creatures from the Swamp Confusedly  Rise To Their Rightful Thrones! ADMIRE: A Jellyfish Just Doing Its Thing!

Speedy Ortiz-No Below

Off their debut LP, its ‘No Below’ by Boston’s Speedy Ortiz. I feel like this video encapsulates everything the far right wing fears about the hippie culture. Even though I wouldn’t call Speedy Ortiz a hippie band, their usual stamp of tunes being a scuzzed-up modern nod to the Pixies etc., there are bugs crawling around on some boobs and what appears to be an orgy in the forest. Seems pretty hippie-like to me. Maybe these kids are on drugs!

Mogwai-The Lord is Out of Control

In case you’re a newcomer, Mogwai are a post-rock band from Scotland that everyone loves. And they make long songs. Except their new track ‘The Lord Is Out of Control’. Huh? That’s fucked up. However, the song itself is pretty par for the Mogwai course, a mixture of tantalising sounds all collapsing into waves of torturous noise. Although ‘The Lord Is Out of Control’ seems to hold a bit less of the usual attention grabbing sounds that Mogwai are capable of, the Spiritualized-ish tone of the track is delectable. As for the video, well its basically an art show in the video medium and it looks goddam good.

New: Mogwai-Remurdered

Mogwai have returned! Even if everything is completely fucked in your life, it cannot be as bad as living in a world without Mogwai. The world’s best band without words have released the first brilliant single from their upcoming record, and in usual brutal Mogwai fashion, it’s called ‘Remurdered’. Up and comers take note, that is how you name a fucking song.

As for the song itself, its a deep, brooding thing, a hulking beast. It motors about, swaying its many heads like Cerberus or Fluffy, the reference will be depending on whether you’re into Greek mythology or Harry Potter. Listening to Mogwai has always had an epic feel to it, like facing the final boss in a video game, or fist-bumping Freddie Krueger. But on ‘Remurdered’, shit just gets a little way more real, and listening to those synth drones makes my heart beat just a little faster than what is probably healthy. The things we do for Mogwai, am I right?