Miss the heat? Then you’re probably not near Italy’s Mount Etna or Hawai’i’s Kilauea. Rock music provides the perfect soundtrack for an eruption, and this fall’s crop has riffs to spare. Like last year, the best albums were slow to arrive, but now the music is flowing like lava; which is literally post- (and pre-) rock.
Rich’s Pick: Jerusalem in My Heart ~ Dada’iq Tudaiq (Constellation, 10/5)
The title translates to “minutes that bother / oppress / harass,” making this the most timely album on our fall release slate. The LP, best experienced alongside the live 16mm presentation, is political in all the best ways, demonstrating anger through voice and instrumental power while modeling what an international ensemble can be. The 15-strong Beirut orchestra, assembled by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, includes musicians on buzuk, riq, derbakeh, qanun and santur, and if you’re familiar with each of those instruments, you’re more educated than we are. Suffice it to say that this collision of east and west arrives at the perfect time, hoping to raise the level of public discourse, building bridges as others build walls.
Heavy, Heavy Monster Sounds
The video for Sonnborner starts so softly one wonders if this will be Nadja‘s ambient album. But be patient ~ the explosions are coming! For the impatient, skip to 4:48 (Broken Spine and Daymare Recordings, September 4). Aidan Baker also appears on Orchestral Favourites as Hypnodrone Ensemble alongside members of Caudal and thisquietarmy (Wolves And Vibrancy, October 12). We’ve already reviewed the new A-Sun Amissa album, which follows a similar path, crouching in the darkness before pouncing on unsuspecting listeners. The shifting collective continues to impress, with current guest stars including Christine Ott and Jo Quail. Ceremony in the Stillness is out September 14 on Gizeh and Consouling Sounds. Richard Knox is only one degree of separation away from Frédéric D. Oberland, his partner in Rustle of the Stars; Oberland’s own Labyrinth is inspired by Dante’s Inferno and the legend of the Minotaur, and was initially composed as the soundtrack to a subterranean installation. The album is released October 6 on NAHAL. Members of SVIN drink blood, chortle and riff about in the vampiric video for Cuts. The album Virgin Cuts seems tailor-made for Halloween (Mom Eat Dad Records, September 21). Doom rears its beautiful head on The Existential Haunting, the patiently paced album from Future USSES. The music may be slow, but so is lava (Pelagic, September 14). Mexican psych trio Tajak leads listeners to the dance floors (and perhaps some very slow mosh pits) on Ciclos, due September 17 on buh. And while it may be bold to introduce an album with a quarter-hour track, SUMAC‘s Love in Shadow is a four-track, hour-long affair, so it’s not like there was any choice! Expect multiple time signatures, polyrhythms, occasional guttural blasts and an overall sense of everything but the kitchen sink (Thrill Jockey, September 21).
Mood and Melancholy
Guitar and violin create a pleasantly moody soundscape on Gypsy Moth, the sophomore album from “Weird Britain”s Mésange. The album won’t be out until November 2 on God Unknown Records, but a healthy sample can be heard on “The Return,” streaming below. Similarly dark is MOSE’s Film Musik, the season’s most noir-ish release. Awash in creeping elegance, the album sneaks up like a stranger in an alley. Better leave the lights on (Klangbad, September 28). And members of Coil, Wire and Tomaga team up as UUUU for a mesmerizing self-titled EP, offering hints of motorik rhythm and an overall atmosphere of gloom (Editions Mego, October 12).
Post-Rock and Math Rock
When mountains appear on two out of three album covers, it’s a safe bet to guess that.a band is post-rock. This is indeed the case with Old Faith (formerly named Bombardier), whose self-titled album will be released September 14 with options including t-shirt, splatter vinyl and bottle opener. Single “Reunion” reflects the joy of returning to music following a personal loss (Refresh Records). More of the classic post-rock sound can be heard on Recollection of What Never Was, a dark and often distorted album from The Clouds Will Clear. This one is also available with multiple options, including a wolf-t-shirt to rival the one sold on Amazon (September 21). After four years in the making, Italian band 42DE‘s Fall of the Moon is ready to be unveiled: a little bit of post-rock, a little bit of Pink Floyd (Fluttery Records, September 8). Heavy French post-rockers MAJJ offer the theme and visual image of fire on Relapse (September 21). And we’re super-excited about the return of Rumour Cubes, who will be releasing the single ¡No Pasarán! on September 14, followed by another single in October. All we can tell you right now is that the first single is one of the best post-rock tracks of the year, a statement of hope in a world dominated by division.
The Hubro label is prepping a trio of releases for fall. The first out of the gate is Møster! with States of Minds, a jamming, jazzy, rock-based double extravaganza (September 7). This will be followed quickly by Geir Sundstøl‘s Brødløs, a cinematic suite reminiscent of Ennio Morricone and the Old West, and Moon Relay‘s upbeat, punchy, post-punk IMI (both due October 19). Once again, Father Howl has some crazy art to display, this time for their album Wayward Doctrine (pictured right). The trio’s music is similarly lively, although they also reserve a space for their music box. It’s post-rock with a sense of fun. Math rockers a-tota-so combine members of Alright the Captain and Cheap Jazz on their self-titled debut, set for release September 17. Neither band seems to have broken up; each is allegedly on hiatus. When one reads the title Tabula Rasa, one thinks of a blank slate, and quiet music; the opposite is found on the fourth album from Set and Setting, a hard rocking release that verges on metal without deserting its post-rock roots (Pelagic, October 12).
Snappy, Happy and Fun
epic45 offer dream pop on Through Broken Summer, which laments the social and ecological stagnation of modern Britain (Wayside & Woodland, September 28). PILES is another outlier, a French percussion trio who makes a holy racket on eight energetic tracks and pairs the release with an art book. Plies – Una Volta is out September 21 as a dual release on Aagoo and REV.lab (previewed below). Electronics meet psych on Go March‘s II, whose lead single Chop Chop channels the spirit of A Flock of Seagulls and other 80s new wave bands (September 28). Midway between free rock and punk rock lies Chris Corsano and Bill Orcutt‘s Brace Up! This raucous record might inspire slam dancing, so be sure to be safe while listening (Palilalia, November 2). The Sheen‘s Trash Hazard is a perfect soundtrack for skateboarders. The live album features two drummers, is packed with rebellion and sounds like a summer street riot (September 4). Bass, guitar and effects pedals are the only instruments used by Stringmodulator, but it’s hard to tell from the lively “THUMP & SHRIEK,” one of two lead singles from Manifesto (Submarine Broadcast Company, September 10). The breakdown sounds like a Hawai’ian vacation. One look at the cover of Tropical Gothic (above) and the viewer is intrigued; the oxymoronic title is an early draw. Mike Cooper has fun with this one, released October 5 on Discrepant. And a lost, never-before-heard surf album from Lee Hazlewood has surfaced just in time for autumn’s hurricane waves; ironically, some of the songs were covered by The Ventures, Dick Dale and even John Paul Jones. Cruisin’ for Surf Bunnies will be released by Light in the Attic Records on September 14 under the artist name Lee Hazlewood’s Woodchucks.
Bring on the Brass!
Gent trio Steiger is hard to classify, as it calls itself a piano trio that’s not a piano trio while adding drums and bass. The trio’s sound recalls Mouse on the Keys with its combination of jazz and post-rock, but the band is still a different animal. Give Space is out September 14 on Sdban Ultra. Russia’s no name label returns on September 23 with new music from Transnadežnost’, whose engaging horns make them sound like (yes!) Chicago. The highlight of the release.is a full-length video from .noa that looks like a lava lamp mating with a Twirl-O-Paint. Fender bassist Sam Wilkes invites alto saxophone and other instruments to the jazz party on the somewhat-self-titled Wilkes (Leaving, October 5). Psych, dense with sax, appears on the appropriately titled Another Shape of Psychedelic Music from Mythic Sunship (El Paraiso, October 5). Want more horns? Try HHY & the Macumbas, a band comprised of three percussionists and three brass players. Beheaded Totem dabbles in dub, drone and darkness, and will be issued September 28 on House of Mythology. Even livelier is the new album from Get the Blessing, which includes the rhythm section of Portishead but could never be mistaken for that band. Bristopia is released by the Kartel Music Group on September 21. And we’ve saved the most ebullient release for last. The fourth album from 10-strong São Paulo collective Bixiga 70. Quebra Cabeça comes across like an international dance party, and like Jerusalem in My Heart, reminds us of the joy of globalism. But this one has cowbell (Glitterbeat, October 12, pictured above).
Coming tomorrow: Fall Music Preview ~ Experimental!