Friday, 31 January 2014

Album Review:Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra– Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything


Overshadowed by instrumental rock stalwarts Godspeed You! Black Emperor, with which the band shares most of it's members, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra have none the less managed to build up a large discography of their own with seven albums and two EPs to their name. Despite some confusing alterations in the band name over the years (they've also have been know as A Silver Mt. Zion, Thee Silver Mt. Zion, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band the group have been a reliable source of music for fans of innovative and grand rock music, especially since the demise of Godspeed. The two groups share a lot of sonic ground, with ambient passages, samples and a string section and non-traditional instruments along side the standard band set up but Mt. Zion have always set themselves up to explore more than just the tense and bleak atmospheres of their sibling band.

Their provocatively titled new album Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything is a snarling attack on austerity and the attitudes and society it has created. Where as other groups lumped into the post rock genre spend a lot of time staring at their feet and twiddling with their collection of delay pedals, Mount Zion deliver an immediate and angry art-punk cacophony.

It opens with Fuck Off Get Free (For The Island Of Montreal) which plays out like a manifesto for open dissent. The song's closest attempt at a chorus comes from a repeated refrain of 'There's fire in our dreams' delivered by band leader Efrim Manuck in a half-slurred, spirited and wild fashion with a sound that comes across like the wall of sound punk-rock of fellow Canadians Fucked Up. The song breaks out some earth scorching heavy riffs half way through. The result is exciting, lyrically embodying a punk ethos in it's defiance and presenting it in a crushingly heavy style.

Austerity Blues continues to dish out some big riffs, getting close to Led Zeppelin territory, before upping the tempo as guitars and violins wrestle out a huge and violent melody. The song seems to up the stake till it can go no further and spend the second half of its fourteen minutes wind back down allowing the strings to come forth creating some calm after the carnage. What We Loved Was Not Enough takes a softer approach but is no less direct in it's message. By the time it reaches a repeated phrase 'Are our children gonna die' at its climactic peak this post rock ballad does veer along a line between melodrama and impassioned emotion.

The group ends the album with Rains Thru The Roof At The Grande Ballroom (For Capital Steez) a tribute for the promising nineteen year-old rapper and Pro Era member who committed suicide in 2012. The track feels like a moment of hopelessness, the image of the abandoned venue show a possible future where music is no longer valued lies at it's centre as piano and a mellotron choir back the image. With Fuck You Get Free We Pour Light On Everything the band create a forceful justification of their art over expansive and experimental punk anthems. This album makes for a bold statement and a visceral listen, proving the band is much more than just an offshoot.

Originally posted on

Saturday, 25 January 2014

This Weeks New Music feat Damon Albarn, Actress, Moderat and more...

The weekend is so close you can almost hear it so you know what that means right? Yeah okay, it's almost time to go out to the pub, but its also time for your weekly helping of brand new music. This week I've got some hazy electronica, lazy Americana and the first solo album from one of the UK's best pop musicians.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Album Review:Mogwai – Rave Tapes

(Rock Action)

Making the transition from writing albums to composing soundtracks isn't always a smooth one but it'd be hard to disagree that Mogwai's distinctive instrumental rock would make them better suited than most. Their brand of music could be considered cinematic in scope, with tracks sometimes long enough to play out like a story arc. Since releasing their seventh album, 2011's Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, the Scottish group have worked on the soundtrack to the French drama series The Returned. The result was a stripped back affair for Mogwai, avoiding the distorted peaks that many of their songs arrive at. Instead they created an ambient but melodic score that create a sense of unease to fit the supernatural mystery playing out on screen and the restrictions that come with putting together a soundtrack seem to have had a positive influence on the group's latest full-length album Rave Tapes.

There are many signs on this album of a band gently tweaking and tampering with their already proven formula rather than starting anew. Album opener Heard About You Last Night begins like a older Boards of Canada track, minimal keyboard notes ring into each other before being joined by drums and guitars which, as the song develops, rise up like a string section creating the kind of grand sweeping melody, filled with a barley contained sense of power.

Soft vocals take the forefront on Blues Hour accompanied by sparse piano notes and creates a mood more in key with the bands darker, austere musical beginnings. The lyrics create a sense of tragedy out of the mundane with lines like 'Train lines going nowhere/No destination found'. It isn't all bleak though, Repelish weaves a sample of a man’s overly serious analysis of subliminal messages in Stairway to Heaven. It may be an excuse to get the words 'You gotta live for Satan. Master Satan' into a song but it injects a little humour to a genre often marked by its dour seriousness. On Remurdered the group relies on analogue synthesizers to build tension around a 4/4 kick before a restless lead line plays out over a powerful stomping drum beat building up like an update of an old Giallo film soundtrack.

Electronics have long been a part of the bands musical arsenal and on Rave Tapes they often form a crucial backbone to the tracks whether it's the thick buzzing keys of Simon Ferocious or the dystopian John Carpenter-esque synthesizer pulse of Deesh. The album closer Our Lord Is Out Of Control might be the most un-Mogwai track here. It revolves around a strangely haunting auto-tuned voice in which the indiscernible lyrics form a melody for the drum machine beats and guitars drones to support. The effect is mesmerising as it plays out like a serene astral hymn.

There are occasional moments like on Hexon Bogon or Master Card where it doesn't feel like they bring anything new to the mix but they're still neatly crafted tracks here. Nothing is as dynamically wild as Young Team, everything here carefully eases its way into your mind. It isn't their loudest or boldest record, in fact much of it feels like an experiment in restraint. Many of the songs hang around the four to five minute mark so whilst there is nothing comparable in length to Mogwai Fear Satan not a second feels wasted over the album's ten tracks. Rave Tapes shows a band that have honed their craft into a finely tuned art and as such this album sounds like it was effortless to make and easy to appreciate.

Originally posted on

Friday, 17 January 2014

Album Review:September Girls – Cursing The Sea

 (Fortuna POP!)

Following a run of well received singles the Dublin based five-piece September Girls have shown up with their debut album Curse The Sea. They have spent the last couple of years bringing together the harmonies of girl group pop, swept under a wave of noisey guitars and organ keys and put through a grainy and reverb laden wall of sound production. Alongside the more pop moments, the record is filled with its fair share of minor key melodies reminiscent of that point where post-punk met goth music in the early eighties with jagged tremolo guitar lines and heavy drums which alongside the dream pop vocals create a fitting balance between bubblegum and misery. 

Starting with the title track Curse The Sea's quick tempo and soft vocals seem to share a sound with another Irish group, touching on My Bloody Valentine's jangly noise from around the time of their You Made Me Realise EP. This sound reveals itself through the album; in the high energy ferocity of album closer Sister with its swirling guitar distortion and relentless drum rhythm and the dark twang of the guitar lines on the dark pop of Another Love Song.

One of the bands first singles shows up here and with good reason, Heartbeats is a perfect slice of noise pop, its four chords running along on a surf rock beat. The lyrics concerns themselves with relationships that never really make it of the ground, 'I'm not your boyfriend' accompanied by a back up of oohs it comes across like The Jesus & Mary Chain covering an early Beach Boys single. The group's pop-penning chops are also on show on the sunnier and punky Someone New and the beach combing rock of Talking. They rarely break away from the three minute (noise) pop format and with the groups penchant for darkness it often feels like a twisted take on the Phil Spector guided girl groups of the sixties. There are plenty of girl group touchstones, with call and response vocals on Green Eyed and the layered vocals of the lovelorn Shangri-Las-like Daylight, repeating 'I can't sleep at night' as lush harmonies wash together with the bands many voices weaving together in their ocean of sound.

The reference points are sometimes a little obvious but instead of blatant emulation, you get the feel of admiration for these eras of pop, whether its the sweetness of the sixties are the darker eighties guitar music. For those who like something a little rough around the edges there is a lot to enjoy here and beneath the layers of noise there is a real pop core to the song writing.

Originally posted on

This Week's New Music feat. Wild Beasts, St Vincent, Liars and more...

Well, It's been a while but after a prolonged Christmas break I have returned, eager as ever to share the cream of the crop of the music to emerge during the past week. Being a little more lenient with tracks that I may have missed over the last few week's, I've got some big tracks from St. Vincent and Liars and interesting new turn from Wild Beasts And the first track from Dean Wareham (of Galaxie 500) first solo record amongst a whole host of other delights.  

Monday, 6 January 2014

Dragons of Disgust's Top 10 albums of 2013

Yep, 2013 has come to an end so I figured I should put together one of those list things everyone seems to do. Read on for my top ten albums and a further selection of recommended records that didn't quite make the cut...