Sweater weather calls for sweater songs and Tropic of Cancer’s “Court of Devotion” is my kind of sweater song. The pairing of Camella Lobo’s frigid, monochromatic vocals and dark electronic melodies moving at sinister speed, makes me want to curl up and not open my eyes until Spring. And to think, fall just started yesterday. Restless Idylls is out now on Blackest Ever Black.
This four minutes is all the proof I need that those burly, instrumental rockers in Pelican are back in business. “The Cliff” is tight and concise. It rumbles with purpose with gut and but shaking strength and retreats with a slight, even-paced melody. You see, album-side heavy is so 2009. The new Pelican (with Dallas Thomas on guitar) have been around long enough and know better than to rely on excess to make a point, especially when focus suits them so well. Pelican’s new one, entitled Forever Becoming, is available for pre-order through Southern Lord Records.
The best Future of the Left, is unhinged Future of the Left. The same could be said about Andrew Falkous’ first band, Mclusky, too. Falkous has this way with word and song where he can turn even the slightest grievance into a crime against humanity. 2012’s full-length, The Plot Against Common Sense, wasn’t unhinged. It was slick and Falkous’ barbs came off as either calculated or obvious, like he had to actually work at coming up with clever insults. “bread, cheese, bow and arrow,” and its terse metallic riffs and looney bin vocals is a nasty, welcome return. Just don’t say such a thing to Falkous. Merely implying his band shit the pot could get your name ravaged on the next Future of the Left record. Future of the Left’s How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident will be released 10.21 on Prescriptions Music.
If I Rock Cleveland had one of those “Bands to Watch” photo galleries, Toronto’s Odonis Odonis would be near the top. It’s not easy to make punk sound fresh in 2013. Being a throwback is the much safer route. Yet, as “Are We Friends,” opens with a programmed beat ripped from New Order’s playbook, but replayed in the style of crunching, robotic feet on a concrete floor, and back up that beat with all manners of industrial screech, I’m reminded again why I’ve filed Odonis Odonis away in that don’t forget this band’s name section of mind. They don’t have the name, yet, but they’re getting tougher to ignore.
Give this one a minute, and at least wait until the simple casio beat is integrated into the song as a whole. I know, it’s the first beat you learned, too. It came programmed on your first keyboard. Mine, too. Let Dead Gaze do his thing. For after that casio moment, comes a light, sweeping guitar melody, one which hints at Mogwai’s grand, “Mogwai Fear Satan.” “Stay, Don’t Say,” isn’t grand like that. Instead, there’s some coffee shop acoustic hitched to the hind of the electric. Elegant, down-tempo isn’t the easiest style to master and escape with rep in tact, and despite the casios and coffee shops, Dead Gaze does just that. Dead Gaze’s Brain Holiday will be released 10.22 on Fat Cat.
“Invitation to Ruin” is a taste, but a taste of Grails’ latest offering, the Black Tar Prophecies 4, 5, & 6 collection. Two-and-a-half minutes is hardly enough time to get lost in their heady, meditative instrumentals. There isn’t a heavy movement, or a sinister movement, or an archaeologist’s adventure movement to be had in this one, just a slight mystical melody holding sway until the time to rip existence from its slumber has come.
Bluesmen should make blues and beat-makers should stick to their beats, that’s what I say. At least, that’s what I usually say, except on those rare occasions where the two mix and the results aren’t cringe-inducing rehashes of Fat Boy Slim and big beat. Darkside’s “Paper Trail,” is both dark and deft, solemn and serene, a retelling of shit gone wrong and proof positive there’s (sometimes) more than one way to communicate the blues. Darkside’s Psychic will be released 10.08 on Matador Records.