Evi Vine celebrates the Sabbath, Wooden Horsemen stock up, Avantasia go big, Overkill stand tall, Gabriel Birnbaum goes it alone and more in today’s Roundup. Welcome to the weekend! Somebody get me a drink!
1 What are your favourite things? You can be honest; no matter how weird they are, they can’t hold a candle with filmmaker Craig Murray. According to the video he just directed for the darkly intense number Sabbath by London alt-rocker Evi Vine, Murray’s favourite things are liquids, hair, sealife and horror. That probably makes him pretty hard to shop for — but it sure as hell makes for one disturbing, gory and artfully cinematic video. And if all that isn’t enough, the song also features soon-to-be Rock And Roll Hall of Fame member Simon Gallup of The Cure. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “We saw Craig Murray’s work for the first time when Mogwai released Teenage Exorcist, and we just wanted to work with him. The idea has been in the ether for a few years, we just needed the right track & for the stars to align. He’s an incredible filmmaker, art and music go hand in hand.” Lights, camera, liquid above!
2 Hey kids! Wanna make a video for your rockin’ teenage combo without wasting all your hard-earned beer money on junk like film, cameras, personnel, production value, storyline or anything else? Take a tip from the creatively frugal gents of Vancouver’s Wooden Horsemen, whose new clip for the tellingly titled bluesy rocker It Don’t Matter consists entirely of random bits of presumably free stock footage cobbled together willy-nilly. After all, the kids will watch anything on the YouTube, right? And here’s another solid piece of advice: Make sure to get some government funding for the whole affair to boot! That way, you end up with even more bang from the bucks! SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “It Don’t Matter is a reflective analysis of the erosion of truth in modern times, exacerbated by the media and manipulated at will by those in positions of power. An angry acknowledgement that we’ve arrived at a dead end.” And how!
3 Avantasia mastermind Tobias Sammet has at least one thing in common with Mike Ehrmantraut: He clearly does not believe in half-measures. At least, not when it comes to his German rock-opera supergroup’s eighth album Moonglow. When it comes out in February, the disc will be available in various packages, including one with a 64-page coffee-table art book with photos, interview, liner notes and illustrations of Victorian painter Grimshaw, who apparently helped inspire the disc. Get a taste of what you’re in for with the lyric video for the high-flying 11-minute — yes, 11-minute — epic The Raven Child. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “I really can’t wait to unleash Moonglow. First reactions by press and friends are the most enthusiastic comments I have ever gotten in my whole career of 27 years. No bullshit, it’s the truth, Sascha and I are overwhelmed!” Join the club:
4 In 2020, New Jersey metalheads Overkill will celebrate their 40th year in existence. I don’t know if that makes them the last men standing of their scene, but it does give them licence to title their latest barnburning single and lyric video Last Man Standing, a sneak peek at their 19th album The Wings of War. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “Bobby (Blitz) Ellsworth comments, “The time has come, for a first taste, Last Man Standing. This cut got the unanimous nod to open The Wings of War, all they way back to the first demos in March, so much so, it was mock titled OPENER up until the recording. Sometimes everyone is on the same page, wtf!. So dig into some old school thrash, with a side order of Jersey made, head-banging.” And hey, nothing says New Jersey like endless clouds of radioactively green dust.
5 The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. And the journey of a solo career begins with a single — in this case, the song Stack the Miles from Wilder Maker singer-guitarist Gabriel Birnbaum. Gently propelled by Birnbaum’s twangy guitar and drifting dust-cloud vocals, the understated number is the first peek at his forthcoming solo disc. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “Known for an arresting vocal performance, Birnbaum’s solo material boasts a compelling, gristly likeness to Randy Newman and Bon Iver at once. He upholds his reputation for inventive songwriting, but brings powerful new focus upon emotion with deliberate instrumentation and folk sensibility.” Take a walk on the milder side:
6 “The gecko didn’t have any legs.” It sounds like the first part of a coded greeting between spies on a park bench. In fact, it’s apparently the translation of the Creole chorus to Belgian-Caribbean singer-songwriter Charlotte Adigery‘s single Paténipat, a preview of her coming EP Zandoli (which is also the name of a lizard). I don’t know how the poor gecko got that way — but you’d also have to be legless to resist moving to the relentlessly infectious groove. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “I wanted my dance to be as instinctive as the music. I wanted it to be spontaneous and to translate how I personally use my body. It had to be a gateway to a state of trance. Plus, I watched a lot of traditional Martiniquan/ Guadeloupean Gwo Ka: music that was made by the enslaved, my ancestors in the Caribbean in the 17th till 19th century.” Let that lizard loose:
7 Everything comes back eventually. Even music that was once dated becomes novel. Or should I say N0V3L? That’s how Vancouver’s Novel like to write their name. And much as their handle utilizes a mix of letters and numbers, their throwback sound, as displayed on their songs Natural and Two Whom It May Concern, also combines various elements — all from the spiky post-punk and new waves days of the ’80s. Or should I say 3!6HTIE5? SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “N0V3L occupies a sonic landscape that recalls spring-loaded post-punk dissonance, new-wave’s downcast dance anthems, and laser-precise political funk. NOVEL, their eight-track debut EP, is a fluorescent, freshly scorched declaration of intent, a martial, brutalist slab of nimble melodics and group-yelped anti-capitalist mantras: “Time is a resource/To use and to treasure!” they cry on opener, To Whom It May Concern. From the numerics in their name to their black/white/red aesthetic scheme, N0V3L is a carefully calculated machine.” And a recycled one:
8 Look, ma! Chicago rapper Ric Wilson — a peer of Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa — just released a new single produced by Madeon and Lido. And just in case my clever intro didn’t tip you off, the irresistibly cool, finger-snapping little ditty is fittingly called No Hands. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “This song is for everyone that I’ve inspired and has been an inspiration to me. We young and we out here and we got this.” Hand it to him:
9 Here’s how religious I am: When I hear the names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, I don’t think Bible, I think Boutique. As in the song from the Beastie Boys album Paul’s Boutique. Well, since we’re heading into Christmas and all, it’s high time for me to make a change. From now on, in addition to thinking about the nimble wordplay of Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock, I’ll also think about California bluegrass outfit Marley’s Ghost, who just released a rootsy new gospel single by the same name, from their next disc Travelin’ Shoes. And not surprisingly, their version of the tale hews a little closer to the traditional narrative than the Beasties did. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “Produced by acclaimed virtuoso Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm), who was previously behind the boards for their highly acclaimed 2016 album The Woodstock Sessions, Travelin’ Shoes is a joyous and surprisingly diverse set of songs, a celebratory salute to the finest traditions of American music.” Praise be:
10 Even the smallest reminder of summer at this time of year is always welcome. No matter if it comes from Britain and Norway. The former is home to electro-pop outfit Hælos, who issued the warm single Buried In The Sand last fall. The latter is the stomping ground of knobtwiddlers Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, who apply their remix skills to the song. Just in time for the shortest day of the year. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, who have expanded the song with their driving disco beats and turned it into an exhilarating track for dancefloors across the globe.” Put both feet in: