Spectre "Stick to Your Guns"
Life in 2022’s a bit shit, isn’t it? The planet is burning to death, the cost of living crisis has taken a bite out of everyone’s finances, and governments worldwide are sliding further and further to the right. As grim as this is, however, it means that hardcore heroes Stick To Your Guns are emerging from the woodwork at a time where they are needed most with their first album in five years. As with any record the Californians put their name to, Spectre is more than just a riff-fueled cathartic blast – it’s both astute in its commentary and revitalizing in its mood, brimming with the energy that could lift even the most desperate soul off their knees.
STYG’s seventh record is, naturally, full of mosh-worthy moments sweetened by rousing choruses – early highlight Weapon emerges with galloping rhythms and all the ‘whoa-oh’s you could possibly want, and if that’s somehow not enough, the dauntless, uplifting post-hardcore of A World To Win will sort you right out. Elsewhere, Hush storms in with blazing aggression but loses none of its weightiness even as it decelerates in tempo, and the pounding Liberate fuses heavy sounds with heavy subjects in one of the record’s most politically charged moments.
Yet Stick To Your Guns remain just as potent when they let themselves become more vulnerable. Though the barbed yet catchy Open Up My Head is fragile in its verses, a fighting spirit bubbles underneath, bridging the gap between the record’s harder and softer sounds. Father, which deals with the passing of guitarist Chris Rawson’s father, is a lump-in-throat moment, making ferocity funereal with its pained roars of ‘True freedom is death,’ while contemplative acoustic ballad No Way To Live is vulnerable in more surprising ways. Sonically, it’s a stark outlier, but its candour is captivating as frontman Jesse Barnett contemplates what it means to hold love for someone with radically different political views.
With its consistency, authenticity and underneath, a sense of fun, Spectre more than makes up for five years away.
Improvement Movement "Don’t Delay, Join Today!"
Atlanta, Georgia outfit Improvement Movement have shared their subversive debut album, Don’t Delay, Join Today! out now via Acrophase Records.
The new record is perfect for fans of bands like Drugdealer, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Theranos, and WeWork. On Don’t Delay, Join Today, Improvement Movement is made up of a rotating cast of Atlanta musicians like Tony Aparo, Zach Pyles, Marshall Ruffin, and Clark Hamilton.
“You are about to permanently alter the course of your natural life with…Improvement Movement,” the band say. “Usually when a band starts an album cycle a press release is written in an effort to build a story around the band with mentions of all star producers and recording trips that yielded songs from the most famous studios on earth. For Improvement Movement we are here to dispel any of the unfounded rumours being spread that lay heavy claims of the project being mislabeled as a ‘cult’ or ‘multi-level marketing scheme’. By the end of this EPK you will find yourself a believer in the greatest movement the world has ever seen.”
Friendship "Love the Stranger"
Friendship’s Merge debut, Love the Stranger, moves like a country record skipping in just the right spot, leaving its fellow travelers longing for a place they’ve only visited in their dreams. Guitarist Peter Gill, drummer Michael Cormier-O’Leary, bassist Jon Samuels, and hawkeyed balladeer Dan Wriggins map out the group’s particular, breathtaking landscape and invite the listener to share in its glory.
Between instrumental pit stops at “Kum & Go” and “Quickchek,” local references in Love the Stranger create a catalog of human perception, presented as roadside attractions. From grape jelly residue (“Ramekin”) to the site of a demolished cathedral (“St. Bonaventure”) to King of the Hill quotations (“Smooth Pursuit”), the record’s images craft a symbolic language of high and low Americana, both evocative and consistently accessible. Spending time with Love the Stranger creates a community—one in which the window between the listener and the music-maker shatters in full, until all that remains are the fragments you decide to pick up together.
Friendship is probably already your favorite band’s favorite band, a long-revered IYKYK of DIY with a devoted cult following from Wawa to In-N-Out. With Love the Stranger, the Friendship universe only continues to expand and grow more open-hearted, more inviting, with every passing note. It’s a record that locates the listener exactly where the listener is, and wherever that may be, makes a friend out of them, too. All said and done, the age-old maxim of “Mr. Chill” holds true: “You be real with me and I’ll be real with you.”
Barry Adamson "Memento Mori (Anthology 1978-2018)"
BARRY ADAMSON has announced details of Memento Mori (Anthology 1978-2018), a 40th-anniversary release charting the artist’s writing and recording career, along with two very special live shows in October at Manchester’s RNCM Theatre and London’s Union Chapel.
Says Adamson, “I’m immensely looking forward to bringing my anthology, Memento Mori, to the stage – complete with strings and brass, flutes and whistles – along with my band, seething with excellence, chomping at the bit, to bring you the full on Barry Adamson experience. A special album release, worthy of everything I can bring to the table. From Moss Side Story to Memento Mori (before and beyond). Not to be missed.”
Memento Mori charts Adamson’s career from 1978’s Magazine track, ‘Parade’ (co-written by Adamson, from their debut album Real Life); to his work as founding member, alongside Nick Cave, of the Bad Seeds (‘From Her To Eternity’, co-written by Adamson); through his nine solo albums, from 1988’s Moss Side Story to the latest Love Sick Dick EPs, bringing everything up to date with a brand new unreleased track, ‘The Hummingbird’.
Memento Mori (Anthology 1978-2018) is out on limited edition double gold vinyl, CD and download on 26 October 2018, on Mute. The live shows follow on 29 October in Manchester and 30 October in London.
Barry Adamson has been creating all of his life. Brought up in Manchester’s Moss Side, Adamson learnt to play the bass overnight for Magazine, Manchester’s most influential band of that era. When they disbanded, five albums later in 1981, his singular style was spotted by The Birthday Party, with whom he played several times.
His establishment as a solo artist came after a three-year stint with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds with the release of his classic first solo album, Moss Side Story – the ultimate soundtrack to an “imaginary film” – which raised Adamson’s name as a composer of diverse complexity; able to tell a story with music, where the images were those supplanted in the minds of the listeners. Adamson has worked with some of the film industry’s most intriguing mavericks including Derek Jarman (The Last of England, 1987), David Lynch (The Lost Highway, 1997), Oliver Stone (Natural Born Killers, 1994) and Danny Boyle (The Beach, 2000).
Having released nine studio albums, including the 1992 Mercury Music Prize nominated Soul Murder, 1996’s Oedipus Schmoedipus, which includes collaborations with Jarvis Cocker, Nick Cave and The Associates’ Billy McKenzie, and his most recent release, Know Where To Run, which was in part inspired by a recent US tour, back playing with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds after 23 years, Adamson’s talents are as much demand by new generations of artists as he was after his first solo release, with collaborations in recent years across a variety of art forms, including an Olivier Award-winning ballet performance by Sylvie Guillem and the Ballet Boyz scored by Adamson.
It was always a logical progression for Adamson to move behind the camera and once again his brooding film noir style and dark comedy has seen him write, direct and score a number of short films, including ‘The Swing The Hole and The Lie’’ (2014), as well as the recent video for They, Walk Amongst Us (2017).
Barry Adamson’s most recent releases, Love Sick Dick and Love Sick Dick Remixed – the latter featured a 6Music playlisted reworking by A Certain Ratio (featured on the Anthology) as well as remixes from Gazelle Twin and ADULT. – have seen Barry Adamson back on the road, recent shows included a unique live performance cut straight to lathe as part of an evening at the British Library examining the Soviet vinyl bootleggers.
Dates have been announced for October in London and Manchester to coincide with the release, and a 2019 performance is confirmed for Rockaway Beach festival. Before then, Barry Adamson will be DJing on 16 August at Somerset House as part of their Film4 Summer Screen series, alongside a screening of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet.
Musician, composer, writer, photographer, filmmaker. Barry Adamson is not a man to take it easy.