Post-punk

LICE ‘WASTELAND: What Ails Our People Is Clear’

“Destroy the cult of the past, the obsession with the ancients, pedantry and academic formalism” reads point one of 1910’s first Manifesto of Futurist Painters. Bold declarations of visionary intent are a distinct feature of the futurist movement, an avant-garde collective of artists and thinkers born in Milan and conceived by poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, eschewing social and artistic tradition to forge work that would upheave the very foundations of society as well as shun the archaic aesthetics of old. From the British Vorticists, Dadaists, and Russian Constructivists who followed, the many challenging and unorthodox pieces unleashed on to conservative society were routinely accompanied with manifestos proclaiming the ills of the cultural world and their noble crusade to rid of the obsolete and enter liberated modernity (despite some early aligning with fascism on the Italian part).

In a barren wasteland on the edges of reality, a hapless character known only as Paul discovers that his penis has become sentient, growing teeth and whispering snide remarks at it gnaws through the front of his jeans. Taking the drastic measure of removing the cognisant member, it grows further among the hospital refuse, eventually reaching humanoid shape and imitating the likeness of its previous owner. Like a twisted retelling of Nikolai Gogol’s The Nose were it written by William Burroughs, the ‘imposter’ walks on its testicles in the moonlight to Paul’s house, killing him and assuming his identity, replacing him at his workplace and coming into success before arousing the suspicions of the sinister R.D.C…

Talking genitalia, shape-shifting and shadowy committees are just a taste of the many surreal exercises in satire in Alaister Shuttleworth’s science-fiction short WASTELAND: What Ails Our People Is Clear. Both a journalist and frontman for experimental post-punk act LICE, Shuttleworth has been on a one-man mission to smash complacent music coverage and champion the potent avant-garde s̶c̶e̶n̶e̶ community currently seizing Bristol out of its trip-hop nostalgia. Taking cues from the litany of crusading proclamations of the futurists, Shuttleworth’s music magazine The Bristol Germ and the aforementioned fantastical text are replete with manifestos, with almost revolutionary rhetoric, urging the curious reader to free themselves from the shackles of stagnant artistic consensus and idle, surface participation. Caring not for the arbitrary peripheries of the album format, LICE’s debut LP via their own Settled Law Records encompasses iconoclastic music, puzzling prose, and a bizarre new instrument of their innovation called the Intonarumori.

The whirring clangour of the mysterious machine which opens the first track ‘Conveyer’ establishes the character of the record immediately: dissident and curious. WASTELAND… is an amorphous trip that veers between industrial abrasion and brittle minimalism with total ease, often within the same song. ‘Espontáneo’ weaves in and out of deep, cavernous disquiet akin to the sonic nightmares of Scott Walker’s The Drift, an eerie expanse of flickering vocals and phantom whispers percolate around Shuttleworth’s hushed recounts of time travel given greater introspective wrestle with Silas Dilkes’ exotic guitar picking. Hypnagogic trance grooves on the synth-based ‘Persuader’, a crisp drum machine anchors the dreamy haze that submerges midway in a mist of frenetic percussion and subliminal, numbered motifs, all deep-diving together similar to Radiohead’s ‘Weird Fishes/Arpeggi’. LICE display a true feeling for emotional scope on the haunting ‘Serata’ an intimately epic cut which is probably the most moving song about a robot’s friendship with a spider you’ll ever hear, while LP closer and epilogue ‘Clear’ is pure Lynchian lounge, foggy keyboards and sultry guest vocals from Katy J. Pearson and members of Goat Girl scoring the final collapse of the Wasteland, each line intriguingly sung as stage directions for a play.

For all of LICE’s cultural reference and intellectual rigour, they never let cerebral fancy stand in the way of rocking. Like Howard Devoto’s canny ability to marry philosophical esotericism with direct, unpretentious punk rock, LICE know when to throw a strike of urgent post-punk attack, albeit with proggy leanings. Gareth Johnson’s mean bass rattles along with Bruce Bardsley’s primal drums on the thrillingly raucous ‘R.D.C.’, a volatile pummeler which filters Louis Althusser’s heady marxism in a satisfying blast of SANS style noise. Their industrial inclinations hammer with Einstürzende Neubauten levels of heft on the bruising ‘Pariah’, massive guitar hack and chops while the Intonarumori cranks amid the din, Dilke’s heavy riffing against Shuttleworth’s metallic and acrid vocals beautifully alien and beefy.

“Elevate all attempts at originality, however daring, however violent” reads point three of the Manifesto of Futurist Painters. In their quest to produce work that is vital and radical, LICE have dropped an extraordinary record that successfully combines journalistic endeavour, a dynamic range of aural exploration and honest-to-god rock ‘n’ roll with impeccable harmony. WASTELAND: What Ails Our People Is Clear is an eternally fascinating and electrifying debut that resoundingly honours their crusade against the banal and derivative.

Spit ‘n’ Static! 1020 Radio #18

“我爱北京天安门, 天安门上太阳升!”

Everyone’s favourite synthpunk invasion smashed into the 1020 Radio studio like Deng Xiaoping’s disembodied head today, another acrid hour of garbled alien interference glitched out with 16bit HappySoft viruses!! ☭ 🎮 📡 👽 👌

Glaciers Noods Radio #19

The 19th Glaciers show hit Noods Radio last Wednesday, another hour of the usual chilly post-punk and ice-wave vibez but spiked with a little arcane magick for good measure! Check it!

Spit ‘n’ Static! 1020 Radio #17

“Rats mutated from the acid rain, feel that radiation going into my brain!”

6̷9̷4̷1̷0̷ ̷6̷9̷4̷1̷0̷ ̷0̷3̷9̷3̷2̷ ̷0̷3̷9̷3̷2̷ ̷4̷2̷1̷7̷5̷ ̷4̷2̷1̷7̷5̷ ̷7̷2̷9̷6̷4̷ ̷7̷2̷9̷6̷4̷ ̷7̷9̷3̷8̷3̷ ̷7̷9̷3̷8̷3̷ ̷3̷2̷6̷4̷4̷ ̷3̷2̷6̷4̷4̷ ̷4̷1̷9̷6̷8̷ ̷4̷1̷9̷6̷8̷ ̷8̷1̷6̷0̷0̷ ̷8̷1̷6̷0̷0̷ ̷2̷7̷6̷4̷5̷ ̷2̷7̷6̷4̷5̷ ̷0̷1̷6̷6̷8̷ ̷0̷1̷6̷6̷8̷… 1020 Radio picked up some shortwave intelligence today, the Spit ‘n’ Static! signal beaming the usual synthpunk sludge with queasy interference from the mysterious numbers at 4625 kHz! E̷͈͗̊̆̔̈̔̀̌͠n̸̘̥̠̠͔̑́̓d̶̟̥͖͈̆̓̄̿̍̅́͘ ̸̯͙̖̞̳͕͚̂̀̀̒̃͑̈́ŏ̴̧̢̡̠͔̠͖f̵̢̢͖̜̬̘̞̽̓̓͜ ̴̳͈̥̑̀ẗ̴̛͈̮̙́́͒̃̑̕r̴̨̩̺͖̆̍͗̓̇́͝ä̸̛̛̙́̈́̋̒͌n̸̨̨̛̛̛͍̥̓́̍̇͠͝s̸̡̻͙̩̭͚̦͖̋̏̋̂̀̅̅̃̕m̵͙̜̿̄ǐ̶͕͗͜s̴̟̺̦̮̀̄͊̔̕s̷̨͕̿̓̑̈́̃̾̊̓i̸̡̛̗̺̲͒͘͝ȏ̸̧̡̰͉̖̪̯̞̋͋͒̈́͐͐͝ņ̷͍̲͇̳͍͒́̎̂̀͋̈́ͅ

TV nightmares by Haydiroket

Glaciers Noods Radio #18

The latest Glaciers is up! Another exquisite traverse across chilly synythscapes and new wave tundras! Make sure you head to Noods Radio for the next hour of all things icy, ethereal, and glittering! 🎹 ❄️ 👌

Belle Royals ‘FTBAASBVSREP’

Geordie noise rock trio Belle Royals are full of intrigue. Is there self-coined ‘9wave’ genre a sincere reference to Ivan Aivazovsky’s Ninth Wave or a deprecating jibe at new age, ‘third eye’ dross? What does their latest EP title FTBAASBVSREP stand for? Is the ‘Battle of Black And Red’ graffitied across their Rage Against the Machine pastiche of a cover a historic, Tyneside skirmish, or merely referencing the Tyne-Wear football derby? With their Bandcamp info statements short bursts of inscrutable jocularity, frontman Duane Eggers pushes the band’s idiosyncratic humour to the fore which creates their own irreverent brand of mystique.

Following from the electronica slicked post-punk of prior release SCPPFTBAASEP, latest EP FTBAASBVSREP is another blast of crunchy, mutoid cacophony. First track ‘Recourse to Pile’ is a soldierly collage of martial drums and Gang of Four groove that marches together with earnest propulsion, Eggers vocal delivery reminiscent of Ian MacKaye and Al Jourgensen’s Pailhead project. Expert garage rock saturated with polluted buzz shows the band’s guile for a good tune on the electric ‘Four Foot Big Foot’, a sparky guitar solo soars irresistibly amid choppy punk riffs. Third and final track ‘BVSR’ ends things on a chaotic note, industrial clangour and atonal synths wrestle belligerently in a cavernous swirl of erratic tempo and juddering beats.

Held together by a cohesive slop of abrasive, lo-fi production yet allowing distinct characteristic hues among the three tracks, FTBAASBVSREP firmly confirms that Belle Royals are ones to watch out for in the ‘9wave’ underground of both the Toon and Mackem.

Spit ‘n’ Static! 1020 Radio #16

‘I’m wired up! I’m wired up! I’m wired up!I’m wired up! I’m wired up! I’m wired up! I’m wired up! They got Stelazine, Thorazine, and Largactil!’

“That’s not reggae, it’s imitation” to misquote Dr. Blair. There’s a giant carnival shaped hole that was filled with Spit ‘n’ Static! sludge over at 1020 Radio today, the synthpunk intrusion garbling with weird reggae, alien dub, and the noxious fumes of The Thin Blue Slime in flames! 🐖 ☢️ 📡 👽 👌

Purple fuzzy void by Roberto Malano

Juicebumps ‘Hello Pinky!’

Before the millennials came of age, nostalgia looked like film. The brief moments of colour in Scorsese’s black and white opus Raging Bull depict La Motta’s facade of cosy domesticity in intimate 16mm, the very grain of each frame in the celluloid reel prodding the wistful sentimentality of prior generations. For kids of the 90s, warm reminiscence is a rather noisy media buzz of worn VHS’s, queasy DV digital grit and crowded Geocities World Wide Web clamour. Could the video horrorshow of The Memory Hole have ever gained traction outside the distorted humour and inexplicable acerbity of the 2010s?

Irreverent and idiosyncratic penchants for the crude aesthetics of tawdry infomercials and ‘edutainment’ dross ooze all over San Francisco spank rockers Juicebumps. Audio clips of slasher turkey Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2, dated internet demonstrations and the like saturate debut album Hello Pinky!, a record that feels perpetually tuning itself between differing stations. Recruiting Spencer Owings for synth duties, Juicebumps advance from the jerky garage rock of prior EP Jelly and delve deeper into their eccentric art-punk playfulness.

The sticky yolk of eggpunk secretes all over their self-described ‘spookwave’ yet avoids the genres characteristic lo-fi style in favour of a bright and confident production, each riff and beat striding with satisfying clarity. This skewed radiance is deftly exemplified on the catchy as hell ‘Hairy World’, a feverish indie number with echoes of Devo, frontman Parker Richard exploring the pungent world for a ‘hairy friend’ while jumping between frantic gusto and angular, nasal whine. Second track but first proper song ‘Wet Leather’ infuses their brash virtuosity with a steady dose of motorik beat that paces alongside offbeat keys and explosive guitar attacks and smattered with garbled audiotape effects, parading their dexterous handling of keen musicianship and avant-garde proclivities.

The expanded palette of sounds yielded by producer Spencer Hartling’s studio expertise shine on the warped synthpop of ‘c0mput3r_p30pl3’, a disorienting stew of fizzy drum machines and atonal guitar scoring the themes of societies hopeless tie to technology expertly, the line “people work, computers think” bristling with particular pertinence. Subtle rockabilly twangs on the contorted ‘Wet Boi’, while the arrangement and tempo of ‘Trash Crimes’ point to ELO at their pomp. Album closer ‘Asphalt Kiss’ is all groove, a nimble swagger of strutting bass wading through a marsh of muggy synths and preset sounding percussion, the gurgling electronics finally enveloping as you sink completely in its analogue murk.

Imbued with the best of their San Fran art-punk predecessors, Juicebumps delivers an urgent debut that takes intriguing mixtures of disparate styles and unexpected detours in composition, demanding constant attention throughout its 36 minutes. Hello Pinky! firmly places the band as one of the most exciting acts in California right now.

Glaciers Noods Radio #17

The chilly punch of Glaciers hit Noods Radio once again, another hour of minimal synth and frosty vibes. Cracking cover of ‘Rhythm Is a Dancer’ too! Check it!

Viral Nights w/ VHS¥DEATH Threads Radio

Was a pleasure to guest on VHS¥DEATH‘s debut show Viral Nights for London’s Threads Radio, a show for all things post-punk, goth and cold-wave! Taking thematic guidance from the ‘isolation’ angle, I’ve contributed a cheeky 45 mins of instrospective rumination to round off the mix, enjoy!

Check out VHS¥DEATH’s band Returning Videotapes too!