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MicroshiftForget everything you know about Hookworms. Ok, maybe not everything; the
urgency and viscera both live and on record that led the Yorkshire-based fivepiece
to prominence across two blistering full-length LPs-2013's Pearl Mystic
and 2014 follow-up The Hum-remains. However, as they return with their muchanticipated
third record Microshift, the title of the record connotates more than
just the intended nod to the audio plug-in their vocalist MJ regularly uses; it could
also be an understatement of a three-year narrative that's brought about changing
circumstances, influences and subsequent evolution.
Microshift is a record that largely pulls back the dense fug of guitars and Modern
Lovers-esque blasts of organ that have become Hookworms' hallmark, replaced
instead by a plethora of electronics and synthesizers. There's far more to Microshift
than just rock band going electronic however; indeed, the fact it's here at all is a
relief after a series of setbacks for the band. Striving through the devastation of MJ's
Suburban Home Studio-not just the rehearsal and recording space of the band, but
home to the producer's livelihood-as well as relationship breakups, family illness
and the death of the band's close friend and live sound engineer, it is perhaps no
surprise that this record is one of both defiance and darkness. With it, Hookworms
have pulled off a triumph against adversity, a comeback with what they may see as a
Microshift, but which is in fact a massive step forward.1. Negative Space
2. Static Resistance
4. The Soft Season
6. Each Time We Pass
7. Boxing Day
9. Shortcomings$21.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Pearl MysticPearl Mystic is an absolutely thunderous statement of intent for Hookworms (MJ - vox/keys/analogues; JW - guitarist, SS - guitarist; MB - bass; JN - drums). After a portentous couple of years of live shows and limited releases, a debut self-titled EP initially came out on cassette for Sun Araw's Sun Ark label. Soon after, there was a vinyl release on Faux Discx/Gringo Records. Both sold out. During this time their live shows continued to increase in intensity, cementing their reputation treading the boards.
Live and on record, like Spaceman 3, they pointedly subvert the tripped out sound environments of psychedelia with a darkly malevolent punk menace; unlike J.Spaceman et al, there's no chemical assistance, these concepts and feelings come with clarity.
A relationship lost, a battle with depression, and as MJ puts it "a half-hearted suicide attempt" are running narratives throughout the album. Tracks like 'Away/Towards' possess an infectious energy that juxtaposes with a subtext of a bi-polar approach to coping with loss. "Preservation", too, is in keeping with the group's live shows, though deals with existentialism, whilst several Raymond Carver influences are scattered in and among the bold textures of sound. "In Our Time" is inspired by hill MJ would cycle up near Otley in Yorkshire after the break up to catch his favorite view in the world
The record was recorded and produced in MJ's own Suburban Studios - where he's worked on records for Mazes, Eagulls and Spectrals and more.
Indeed, the most impressive thing about Hookworms is that, through this torrent of emotion, there's always the sense that they're in control of it all, so committed are they to this catharsis that they refuse to throw any of it to chance.1. Away / Towards
2. Form and Function
4. Since We Had Changed
7. What We Talk About
8. iii$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The HumHookworms return with their new album, The Hum, which follows the Leeds quintet's debut album Pearl Mystic - a record that steadily went on to become
one of 2013's most impactful breakout statements in the UK!
Even more ferocious and uncompromising than its predecessor and yet more
melodic and focused, The Hum further cements the band's status as a vital
force in British independent music. The Hum takes the blueprint of Pearl
Mystic - proto-punk, garage rock, Washington DC hardcore, 80's British
spacerock - and further stamps it with the band's seal. Leaner, meaner and
more propulsive thanks to the muscular playing of new drummer JN, the
record boasts both the most straight-up punk song the band have written to
date in eviscerating opener "The Impasse" ("we wanted it to sound like
Suicide if they had a full band", explains MJ) and moments of patient,
widescreen beauty only hinted at previously.
"We were writing Pearl Mystic to an audience in the same way your diary has
an audience", says guitarist SS. "It's written to one but if no one ever reads
it that's not a big deal. This time round though we knew we had a really clear
audience, so The Hum is really about different freedoms and constraints -
with Pearl Mystic the possibilities were almost too vast, this time around we
had a much clearer idea of what the record should be like and that became
freeing because we didn't need to worry about its direction so much. That
word "free" is a good way to approach The Hum, a record that could only be
made by a band in total command of their personality.1. The Impasse
2. On Leaving
4. Radio Tokyo
7. Off Screen
9. Retreat$21.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Weird SisterWe're excited to announce the release of the debut album by thrilling Cardiff-based noisepop five-piece Joanna Gruesome. Brimming with irresistible pop melodies and spiked with dissonant fuzzy jangle, their songs are shot through with loud discordant feedback and super-fast, hardcore punk drumbeats. Kicking it against sexism and homophobia, nothing is off-limits, drawing inspiration from DIY scenes such as Riot Grrrl/noisepop/C86/K Records as well as post hardcore like Drive Like Jehu/Converge and the art rock of The Velvet Underground, Swirlies and My Bloody Valentine.
Joanna Gruesome comprise Alanna on vocals, Owen on guitar, Max on bass, George on guitar and Dave on drums. Most of the album was written during a month long stay in a seedy west Brighton hotel called The Hell House and recorded under the guidance of producer MJ of the much lauded Hookworms. Awash with nods to mental illness and the dark recesses of the mind, the record is littered with references to the devil or zombies and allusions to comic books.
Take first single "Secret Surprise," in which mental illness takes a physical form and is fought using razor blades. Or Anti-Parent Cowboy Killers, which is about stealing a scooter and driving it into the ocean when you should be in school LEARNING. Or Sugarcrush, about spending a summer burning knitwear. Slotting in with contemporaries like Swearin' and Speedy Ortiz, Joanna Gruesome offer a staggeringly diverse album, unexpectedly quiet and surprisingly loud.
"Abrasion, anger, attitude. One guitarist is in the audience, but this isn't too much of a stretch. There are slower parts where the musicians take a second to breath. There are noisier bits where the musicians take a second to reflect. There are thumpy bits where the musicians take a second to dance and enjoy themselves. Everyone's smiling. Everyone's hugging themselves. What a glorious mess of a noise to be a part of. What a glorious sense of community." - Everett True, Collapse Board
A brilliant band from Cardiff who love their fuzzy melodies and songs dripped in scuzzy reverb. Huw Stephens, Radio One.1. Anti-Parent Cowboy Killers
3. Wussy Void
5. Lemonade Grrrl
6. Secret Surprise
7. Do You Really Wanna Know Why Yr Still In Love With Me?
10. Satan$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now