Noise Annoys: Robyn G Shiels, Documenta, The Dreads & Galants
What do Robyn G Shiels, Galants, Arvo Party, Documenta and The Dreads have in common? They're all in today's Noise Annoys, that's what...
IT'S review time at Noise Annoys towers this week, as I attempt to get up to date with some new and recent local releases.
First up are Belfast's premiere garage rock outfit The Dreads, whose new Know Your Name / Desires is out now as a limited-to-300-edition seven-inch single with cool handmade sleeves courtesy of ex-Spacemen 3 bassist Will Carruthers (more about whom in a moment) via Satsumas Home Entertainments.
The lead tune is a slinky, catchy garage pop blues number which marries simmering, shimmering verses to an explosive chorus with lead man Benny Dreadful repeatedly working himself into a howling, plaintive tizzy: there's a great psychedelic guitar solo in there too.
On the flip, Desires is a more aggressive groover which finds the Dreads whipping themselves into a frug-edelic psyche garage frenzy – they even channel the gonzoid spirit of proto-metal gods Steppenwolf at the very end, just for good measure.
Get it now via Thedreads.bigcartel.com, so that you might become suitably familiar with both tunes by the time they're aired at the upcoming release party at The Menagerie in Belfast.
Yes, on Friday October 26, promoters Sunglasses After Dark are bringing together Satsumas Home Entertainments and Touch Sensitive Records for a fabulous free Halloween-themed double record release party also featuring the latter label's star act, Documenta.
Belfast's esteemed drone popsters are putting out a new 12-inch EP titled Lady With The Ring, featuring a lead/title track narrated by the aforementioned Mr Carruthers.
He begins a tall tale of graverobbery, resurrection and sudden death based on the Lurgan legend of Margorie 'twice buried' McCall as the band create a gently psychedelic instrumental beneath, before second song The Blue Sleep explores cosmic jazz territory via sighing pedal-manipulated guitars, shuffling off-the-beat drums, mournful violin and breathy vocals courtesy of Documenta regular Roisin Stewart.
The slowly swelling sustained notes and swirling noise of instrumental piece It's Quiet Now suggests a journey between planes of existence, then Documenta come over all moody and minimal for the glacial and ghostly Jack Morbus prior to Will's return with words on Margorie's fate during the EP's synth-powered outro, The Fullness Of Years.
A pleasingly experimental tangent for the band, Lady With The Ring will hopefully be played in its entirety at the Menagerie release show, where members of Documenta will be performing DJ duties.
Listen/buy now at Touchsensitiverecords.bandcamp.com/album/lady-with-the-ring, where the limited 12-inch version is already sold out.
Moving south of the border for a moment, the artist formerly known as Jamesy Yakuza has been in touch with news of a new release from his current outfit, Dublin-based shoegaze rockers Galants.
Their new single Follow is a dreamy yet driving slab of old skool indie rock laced with soaring vocals and chiming crystaline guitars, propelled by a thrumming bassline and Jamesy's thumping backbeat.
It's a fine follow-up to the quartet's last release, the rather more melancholic In Vain, which appeared back at the start of the summer and somehow evaded the admittedly fairly unreliable Noise Annoys review radar – sorry, lads.
You can hear and purchase both tunes via Galants.bandcamp.com, where the band's entire discography is currently on sale for less than the price of two pints – and we're not even talking Dublin prices here. Bargain.
Northwards we plough for words on murder balladeer extraordinaire Robyn G Shiels, whose new EP Death of The Shadows is best enjoyed while digging a shallow grave for your ex and her thoroughly dismembered 'fancy man'.
Due for release on his own Black Tragick imprint at the end of November – we've already waited almost two years for the EP, so what's another month between friends, eh? – this five song affair can be pre-ordered now at Robyngshiels.bandcamp.com should you feel the need to 'lock in' a purchase right now.
The EP kicks off with Open Road, a deceptively upbeat guitar and banjo-based rumination on life and love featuring a darkly humorous chorus – "it's an open road so keep on driving, it's an open road that I should lie in" – a lyric which sets the tone for what follows.
Robyn's offering an immediate download of second song An Offering As Such as a purchase incentive: this brooding slow-dancer finds the Kilrea-bred troubadour dueting with Ellen Turley on what probably passes for a love song in the Shiels household.
"We were doomed before we were damned/ by the workings of unreasonable hands/ and I will blow all their makings to hell – an offering as such," he intones ominously.
If they say romance is dead, Shiels is worryingly ready and willing to play a few tunes at its funeral.
"May your soul cry a river of blood to your heart, where the wind will howl forever in the dust that we become," he croons with tangible glee on the haunting A River.
I mean, I'm not sure if Hallmark are actually hiring at the moment, but he should probably give them a call anyway.
Deceptively pretty finger-pickin' folk dirge If I Were Thy Demon (which got a stand-alone release out back in 2016 and still sounds just as good now) is up next, followed by what is quite possibly the highlight of the whole EP, Black Moon.
This dusty, banjo-plucking, slowie is a broken down cowboy lament – "another sad tune to drink and f*** and fight to", its lyrics inform us – which is greatly enhanced by the choice deployment of melancholic melodica-based melody and spooky saw-wobbling antics.
It's worth the price of admission (£15 for the limited 10-inch vinyl or £7 digital) alone, so have your card at the ready.
As an added purchase incentive, the first 50 folks to pledge allegiance will receive a free CD copy of his excellent debut album, A Lifetime of Midnights and some RGS badges.
As if that wasn't enough, Robyn has roped in some friends and allies to do remixes of every song on the EP just for pre-orderers: look forward to hearing Therapy?, Robocobra Quartet, Documenta, Arvo Party and exmagician doing their respective things to the aforementioned tunes.
There will be a Belfast EP launch show on November 29 at The Strand Arts Centre with support from Black Tragick lablemates Oisin O'Scolai & The Virginia Slims as support - get your tickets for £10 in advance via Ticketmaster.ie.
Now that I've mentioned Arvo Party, AKA ex LaFaro man Herb Magee, it would be remiss not to mention his new album, II, which is creating all sorts of buzz including a NI Music Prize shorlist nomination for the single, Liberté.
It's one of the busier tracks on this album of headphones-friendly ambient tuneage, a slow-building wave of sinister, swelling synths and muffled, pulsing beats which eventually peaks in danceable territory.
While excitement levels are immediately flattened by the next track Number 93, a sparse, dissonant downer, the album returns to relatively upbeat territory once again for another couple of single cuts, the brooding (Dust) and the woozy/glitchy, soft-focus swirl of Danse.
Elsewhere, listeners can contemplate the druggy, dreamlike electrogaze of the futuristic Lilacarch and the eight minute long filmic pulser 37 Degrees, the latter suddenly errupting into a multi-layered rush of repeating synth riffs after three minutes of chilled minimalism.
While reviewing the first Arvo Party LP last year, I wrote that it sounded a bit like something 1980s synth soundtrack master Jan Hammer might cook up while suffering through a crushing hangover: II is an even more intriguingly abstract, downbeat affair that could well be the score to his repeated visits to rehab.