Not a Christmas song in sight...
1. 'Two Different Ways' - Factory Floor
As any regular reader probably knows, I'm not much of a dance music fan - never have been. However, I'm starting to think that LCD Soundsystem may have been something of a gateway drug. I couldn't get enough of Factory Floor's 'Fall Back' ever since hearing it, and have now invested in the self-titled album on which it appears (released on DFA, of course). There are a whole bunch of influences involved - post-punk, industrial, krautrock - but nevertheless it's undeniably a dance record. 'Two Different Ways' is one of the definite stand-outs, all recurrent synth patterns and crisp beats.
2. 'Faultlines' - Lanterns On The Lake
A warm welcome back to pretty much the only (in my view) decent band that Newcastle has produced. Epic and ominous, 'Faultlines' is an indicator that Beings picks up where Until The Colours Run left off.
3. 'Priestess' - Pumarosa
This supple slice of post-punk disco remains on regular rotation at SWSL Towers and now has its own video (not that it's really worth watching other than to hear the song itself once again).
4. 'US Mint' - Hot Snakes
The recent discovery of the Kreative Kontrol podcast (thanks to Pitchfork pointing me in the direction of an extended chat between Fugazi's Ian MacKaye and Steve Albini - comment on that to come at some point) prompted me to dig out Hot Snakes' barnstorming live album Thunder Down Under, of which this is a highlight.
5. 'Summer Simmer' - Battles
Having been finally won over by Gloss Drop, I was hoping that La Di Da Di would be amazing - it isn't really, but it has its moments, this being one of them, with John Stanier on top form.
6. 'Ignite' - Sky Architects
A serendipitous discovery via YouTube. The Danes' 'Ignite' is pocket-sized and fairly generic post-rock/epic rock, but very smartly done - and reminds me strongly of someone else who I can't quite put my finger on. Answers on a postcard...
7. 'To Melt The Moon' - Rangda
Despite the involvement of both drummer extraordinaire Chris Corsano and Six Organs Of Admittance/Comets On Fire guitarist Ben Chasny, I wasn't particularly impressed by this trio when they played at Godspeed's ATP back in 2010. This, however, is another thing entirely - a tasty fusion of Eastern-influenced guitars and 60s psych which promises much for forthcoming album The Heretic's Bargain.
8. 'Taman Shud' - The Drones
"We went ‘fuck it’ and went spaz. It’s a pretty weird record and you can
dance to it. It’s time to have a groovy Drones record. We’re sick of
being a bunch of drags." So said Gareth Liddiard - and, on the evidence of this lead single, he's not wrong. I'm still trying to get my head around the apparently abrupt change of course, but at least there are Liddiard's extraordinary lyrics - which tackle immigration and Australianness in his customarily blunt and witty style - to cling onto.
9. 'Oriar' - Heron Oblivion
Heron Oblivion are a folk-psych supergroup comprising members who've played with Espers, Comets On Fire, Six Organs Of Admittance and Sic Alps (to name but a few) and are signed to Sub Pop. 'Oriar', the first taster of the album due to drop in March, suggests it'll be for anyone who thinks Bardo Pond are perhaps a little too leaden-footed.
10. 'Too Small For Eyes' - Mothers
There's a charming rawness to this slice of folk, another track from an album set to surface early in the new year (When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired) - plus Kristine Leschper's voice is not unlike that of Angel Olsen.