Music

Noise Annoys: Alumna, Dutch Schultz, Adam Leonard, Sounds of Belfast and Sounds Collective

David Roy


 

Alumna's new single is out now


:: Alumna – Car Park Songs (single, self-released)

THE new single from Girls Rock School NI grads Alumna arrived slightly too late to make it into the last Noise Annoys, but the three track release has been getting regular airings over the past two weeks since I first clapped ears upon it and thus demands to be top o' the review heap today.

Stefanie, Aisling, Charlene and Karishma have front-loaded their latest release with a remastered version of their debut single Peach. Opening with a deceptively croonsome bit of three/four part close harmony, Peach remains the stompy, fuzzy, catchy melody-laced pop grunge kiss-off (chorus: "cuz I don't need you") it was when it first came out back in 2020, it now just sounds a little punchier with slightly more definition to each instrument in the mix.

However, the real gold here is in the two new songs Wait and The Ride: the former is all rumbling bass, groovy/slack drums and sing-songy "I'm so bored with this/you" vocals and sounds not unlike a long-lost demo that somehow slid down the side of Th' Faith Healers' busted sofa sometime in 1993, while The Ride is a slower, moodier, more sonically abstract, speak-sung affair based around melancholic Seamonsters-esque guitar doodling, a mesmeric meandering bassline, plus some more gloriously baggy drums which add a definite Pixies flavour to proceedings.

With lyrics involving "rundown carparks", being "bundled into the backseat" and listening as "the driver's door opens and shuts", there's a distinctly automotive vibe linking the two tunes – hence the title Car Park Songs (well 'duh').

It's good stuff and I want more soon. Inhale their fumes immediately via alumnaband.bandcamp.com/album/car-park-songs.

 

Dutch Schultz


:: Dutch Schultz – Levil9 (single, self-released)

THE mighty Dutch Schultz return with another muscular slab of heavy, super-catchy quiet/loud/quiet/louder/quiet/loudest alt-rock titled Levil9: just to keep up the 'car park songs' theme established by Alumna, the lyrics here may or may not be about descending into the multi-storey from hell ("hello, I'm sliding down – but believe we can leave via levil 9") and the accompanying video definitely re-purposes some sort of 1960s American public information/road safety film in which two Californian teens take their da's muscle car for a joyride, pick up a couple of 'babes' and then get chased by the Highway Patrol with predictably disastrous results.

It might be the most infectious tune they've served up since It Bends In The Middle, so be sure to hitch a lift now at dutch-schultz.bandcamp.com.

 

Octopus Part 10 will be released on October 10


:: Adam Leonard – Octopus Part 10 (album, self-released) / Echoes In Rows – Click Click Drone (mini-LP, Tectona Grandis)

INVADERBAND leader Adam Leonard has been in touch recently to flag up a couple of new releases bearing his own name rather than that of his thrilling beat combo.

Octopus Part 10 is the latest instalment (the 10th, I'll wager) in Manc-Derry transplant Adam's occasional series of 'mop-up' collections which gather together musical oddities that would perhaps otherwise languish in obscurity/deletion-induced oblivion.

As he explains in the accompanying press release, "the ongoing Octopus project is an audio exhibition of Adam Leonard's recorded work over the last two-plus decades, under his own name, pseudonyms, side projects and collaborations, bringing together music from sold-out limited edition releases plus out-takes, demos, live versions, soundtrack work, BBC sessions and cover versions.

"Each release (or 'tentacle') features previously unreleased and/or new material."

'Side one' of Part 10 features five tracks of a more electronic/electro nature, kicking off with a great pulsing mid-tempo dancefloor-friendly number I Know You'll Never Die, a previously-released collaboration with fellow Derry-based artists Warriors of The Dystotheque featuring vocals by Mr Leonard.

The spooky, atmospheric Brian Aldiss has more of a early-80s synthpop vibe that's perfectly suited to a tune inspired by the late great sci-fi author: I'm not sure how accurate Adam's lyric "Brian Aldiss, he's buried under WH Smiths" is, but it made me laugh. This one was a collaboration with David Ansara under the Echoes In Rows moniker (more about which in just a moment).

The previously unreleased Weird Woman finds Adam deconstructing a tune by Liverpool cult band Citron Inoxydable d'Accord in a minimalist post-punk style, while In Receipt of Zeros and Ones is a breezy yet melancholy-tinged synth-powered Krautpop instrumental that sounds like something you might have heard in the closing credits of a 1980s kids sci-fi programme.

Another new tune, the excellently titled I Died In a Line of Ambulances, cranks up the drum box for a spacey/spaced out electrodisco trip which gradually builds in intensity.

Over on 'side two', we get a selection of acoustic guitar-based home recorded sketches and mini-symphonies: plucked from Adam's audio archive, the pretty ballad Year One is an amusing rumination on the sleep-deprived 'joys' of early parenthood (its subject, Adam's son Jude, is now 22 and made the pop promo for Invaderband's classic Cheese Slices single), while an alternate version of his space-themed ditty The Mercury 7 is a great stab at a Beatlesy/Dylany lullaby performed on harmonica 'n' guitar.

A collaboration with United Bible Studies/Current 93 man Richard Moult, Hour Glass is the chiming, orchestral mini-epic the humble egg timer has long deserved, the acoustic-guitar based drinking song Esme's Song takes its impassioned inspiration from Roy 'is it still OK to claim him as an influence?' Harper, and final tune Sod Off! samples a lawn mower for its "affectionate pastiche of the music of Adam's best friend and regular collaborator, Gareth Davies of Mancunian maximal cult band Suburban Vegetable". John Shuttleworth is also claimed as a key influence on this chucklesome budget electronic organ-powered tale of gardening-based hazards.

The 10th tentacle in this 'no song goes to waste' collection makes for enjoyable supplemental listening for Invaderband fans and should send a fair few down the Octopus series wormhole in search of further obscure gems.

On the subject of which, what about the aforementioned Echoes In Rows? Well, Adam has also recently re-released the duo's 2013 EP, which featured a slightly slower, more ominous sounding version of Brian Aldiss and what I guess is the original version of the Invaderband tune Implausible Man, plus three bonus tracks to upgrade it into a mini-LP sized 22-minute long affair.

If you're into synthpop of the austere 'n' arty late-70s/early-80s pre-New Romantic variety then you will certainly enjoy these six tunes hewn from authentically primitive sounding electronic sounds.

Find, listen and purchase everything you've just read about at adamleonard.bandcamp.com (Octopus Part 10 will surface there on October 10) and be advised that Invaderband have just announced a live show supporting their homies Here Come The Landed Gentry at The Nerve Centre on December 30.

Tickets for that cost £10 and can be had via nervecentre.org

:: Sound of Belfast 2022

THE Sound of Belfast festival will return for its ninth year from November 10 to 20, bringing with it more than 40 events across 12 venues to highlight our new Unesco City of Music status.

Charlotte Dryden of festival organisers Oh Yeah said: "We are really proud of our Unesco status, it proves beyond doubt that music plays a significant role in our community life, is woven into the fabric of our vibrant and welcoming nightlife and demonstrates the rich heritage, present strength and future potential of our music scene.

"The Sound of Belfast festival is about being proud of what we offer as well as taking the time to talk about the challenges. Thanks to all that have contributed to this year's events, it's a fantastic snapshot of a thriving music city."

Full programme details are available now at Soundofbelfast.com

:: Sounds Collective at Banana Block

FINALLY for this week, yet more creative musical stirrings in the east of the city: Pure Class Productions launches its first event tomorrow night at Banana Block on the Newtownards Road with Sounds Collective.

This will bring together an eclectic collection of artists including Tanya Agus (harp), soprano Emma Morwood and Roger McCann (double-bass and director of Pure Class Strings) to bring you "dance music through the ages".

Poet Clare Dwyer Hogg will read some of her work accompanied by Arborist man Mark McCambridge before Dan Ferguson will take over on DJ duties until midnight.

Get involved tomorrow night from 7.30pm at Banana Block. Tickets are £10 in advance via bananablock.org.

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