“If I do something that depresses, it’s because political life and history is depressing”-Anselm Kiefer


August tends to be a ‘quiet’ month in terms of album releases as the attention is focused on outdoor festivals around the world. There have been instances where we have welcomed very powerful albums during August in the past and this year was no exception. If there is one word that could summarize the effect of all these albums, then this word would be ‘raw’. There was nothing ‘delicate’, gentle or calming about the music that we loved and which formed the soundtrack of the previous month and below you can find out why.

First of all New Model Army‘s new album ‘From Here‘ has brought with it, the sonic heaviness with logo playlistwhich they have ‘hit’ us with, in ‘Between Dog & Wolf’, a fascination with nature, a poetic, existential, introverted sincerity and political comments dressed in captivating metaphors and humour. Because of the fierceness and unapologetic manner with which the subjects of this album, have been communicated, we consider it to be the ‘guide’ of this whole soundtrack. Read more about what we loved in the heavy sound of this album here.


In August, Grey Hairs, released their next album (now in the process of being repressed!) entitled ‘Health&Social Care‘. This album restores the balance between punk and post-punk both through its overall sonic style (rhythms, aesthetics, energy) but also through the band’s attitude towards punk music. Grey Hairs bring a different attitude (compared to your average punk and post-punk band these days) both on and off stage and through this album’s song titles they also make political comments . Evocative videos with a surrealist approach to their plots, accompany some of the songs, such as ‘Tory Nurse‘, a title that very cleverly makes a comment about the state of the NHS under this government and the well documented story of overworked and underpaid nurses.

Despite the fact that this video does not depict a nurse but is rather about a kidnapped clown who is driven to his place of execution, combining the visuals with the song’s title, allows for some very amusing inferences… Garage punk, punk and post-punk lovers will find songs that appeal to them throughout this album, where backing vocals add depth as well as a vindicating tone to all the verses they enrich. I really loved some particular moments in this album, such as the playfulness between the guitar and the drums throughout ‘Glugs‘, the relation between the electric guitar and the vocals in ‘Ghost In Your Own Life‘. The way the vocals seem to want to contest the guitar riffs in ‘Capable Man‘ but in the end, manage to work wickedly well together! Grey Hairs offered to us a great opportunity to listen to parts of this album live during their gig at Paper Dress Vintage earlier this month and if you have not already purchased their album, now is the time.

Screensaver‘s ‘Demos‘ was the second punk release that we loved from this band from Australia. We loved that Krystal’s voice brought to mind Nico’s vocals and in a way placed the sound of this album in a punk sonic environment. At other times, it was the sound of Rosa Crux and particularly their vocals that came to mind! The band states that it has been influenced by music made between 1977-1982, which is considered to be the ‘golden age’ of post-punk and their sound is testament to this. Adopting an early industrial sound (in its overall aesthetics), combined with analogue synths and sonic quality, Screensaver have released 4 songs that pay tribute to the minimalist side of the sound that has influenced them but also introduce themselves to us by allowing us to see how a ceremonial performance style can be combined with a post-punk sound.

The psych-rock side of this monthly playlist is being represented by the releases of Ty Segall, Monarch and Singapore Sling. Two years after the release of ‘Kill Kill Kill (Songs About Nothing)’, the Singapore Sling, band from Reykjavik, comes back with a new album entitled ‘Killer Classics‘. Bringing back to us, their signature noisy, distorted sound and the reverberating, aloof, almost ‘distracted’ vocals, Singapore Sling come back to sing about psychedelia in rock’n roll, suicide twist and confusion before death. The high pitched sound of the tambourine, together with a few electrifying notes, are the only ‘clear’ sounds in the sonic and conceptual dystopia that the band continues to create without ever being tempted to ‘sneak through’ any ‘brighter’ sonic areas.In the album ‘Beyond The Blue Sky‘ by Monarch, it is the guitar playing and the aesthetics of the vocals that place this album in the sonic realm of Jimi Hendrix and Jethro Tull.

Ty Segall‘s take on psychedelia is very different on his latest album entitled ‘First Taste‘. Using playful rhythms, sometimes ‘lighter’ in mood and other times much ‘heavier’, a 60s aesthetics in the overall feel of the sound and krautrock experimentation, ‘First Taste’ is a journey through the many sides of psychedelia. I loved the addition of tribal drums and the role layered vocals play throughout this album and I also liked the way in which rhythm and melody has been shared between the different instruments and not divided among them. This quality makes them feel almost deconstructive in their aesthetic while in fact they are not.

Indie rock was finely represented by the releases of Possible Humans and The Murder Capital. ‘Everybody Split‘ the debut album by Possible Humans, is one that could have been released in the 70s if we listen carefully to the ‘thin’, ethereal guitars and the dreamy vocals that hover above them. There are nods to The Velvet Underground scattered around this album, as to the garage side of 90s rock. Blue Oyster Cult also came to mind at some points as well as the nice rhythmic flow I have encountered in the music of Dire Straits. If we have managed to intrigue you with all these comparisons, then listening to this album can only add to all of this. ‘When I Have Fears‘ the debut album by The Murder Capital, will definitely appeal to fans of New Model Army as it carries through, some of the same heaviness NMA have been filling us with the last few years. Of course, when the vocals ‘break through’ the cinematic atmosphere that the drums and the ‘scratching’ guitars are creating at the back, first impressions about this album are being revised. You will find emotional guitar trembles that weave attractive melodies in between the, truly punk in style, vocals and you will also feel energized by every note that is being played.  I really love what the guitar is doing in ‘Slowdance I‘ as well as the addition of keyboards in ‘Love Love Love‘ and the sounds that replicate that of a signal about to be lost in an old tv. We will be able to enjoy the band live in London on October 10th at The Dome and we cannot wait enough for this gig.

Death Instinct in their EP entitled ‘The Offerings‘ follow the path that Sad Lovers and Giants have created and offer a lyrical album whose music creates a sound that has qualities which are both emotionally ‘reserved’ and truly attractive, leaving us with the only thing left to do…enjoy them. ‘The Unforgiving Current‘, the new album by Horsebeach, is dreamy in its atmosphere and ‘laid back’ in its overall energy, while at the first half, you might also notice a few guitar riffs that manage to bring to mind those of the Cure!

Before moving on to the noisier, electronic part of this soundtrack, the new album by Klimentovo Pole entitled ‘Syaivo‘ should be mentioned. It is the only darkwave release that we liked this month not only because of its ceremonial atmosphere but also because the lyrics are Russian and this is something we do not usually encounter in this music scene. The album has moments that feel strongly ritualistic and quite static and other moments during which everything flows towards a luring darkness.

We particularly liked the electronic/noise side of this monthly playlist, not only because it contains as many albums as all the other categories combined, but also because each band has delved into different sides of sonic darkness. Holod, Föllakzoid, Dead Voices on Air, Metalogue, Blac Kolor, Pharmakon and HIDE have been our ‘guides’ into the depths of electronic darkness, employing different levels of dramatisation in their performances. Two tracks were released from Holod last month and both of them were minimal in their aesthetics. While ‘Fatal‘ has added industrial textures and darker sonic colours, ‘Zodiac‘ has a better flow and ‘lighter’ sonic colours deriving from its gentler melodies. ‘Of Silence For The Sea‘ is the new album of Dead Voices on Air, Mark Spybey’s solo project of 27 years. Dark ambient in style, and quite cinematic in their effect, the echoes and the distant sounds, the samples and the overall dreamy but sinister atmosphere that is being created, transfer us into an environment of powerful emotions.  The rhythm and the energy is multiplied exponentially through the new albums of Metalogue and Blac Kolor. ‘Decentralized Coercion‘, the new album by Metalogue, has an intriguing title that is being used to create or even describe, the very complicated sound environment that is being created; it does so by using tapping sounds with different textures in order to create depth and ‘animate’ the space that surrounds them, as flickering lights do in a dark environment. At times the sound takes up almost psych trance qualities but its aim seems to be to somehow ‘coerce’ us to respond to it; or maybe it is their composer that is responding to an (unknown to us) and probably undefined, creative, decentralized coercion. In any case, listen to this album and you will soon find yourselves into a sort of infinite loop, the question then is…will you want to exit from it?

Blac Kolor‘s ‘nephi‘ takes its title from a name whose origin is unknown, but has been associated with Gnostic, Kabbalistic, religious traditions as well as with a prophet, founder of Nephite people and great contributor to the Mormon teachings and doctrine. In the booklet of this album though, there is an extract from ‘2 Nephi 4.28’ which is associated with Nephi the prophet and this leaves no doubt about the reference point of the album’s title. While we cannot possibly guess what exactly has inspired Blac Kolor from this personality, we can admit that whatever it was, made hendrick grothe a.k.a Blac Kolor to create the four powerful tracks contained within this album. Tapping on both the melodic and the industrial sides of noise and IDM, ‘nephi’ is a strong, vibrating pulsation that lasts 22′ and when it stops, it leaves us want to go back and re-live it. Using vocal samples and other sonic samples with dexterity and a vision about something greater, ‘nephi’ is a cinematic album with sound of great volume and depth throughout.

Föllakzoid‘s ‘I‘ works your mind in a seamless way and you will not even realize when you will find yourself in a trance state. We really loved the gentle way that the sound of this album evolves, increases its rhythm and its style and eases us into a state that we did not anticipate to find ourselves in and at the same time we do not feel uncomfortable in it… This album’s gently trance atmosphere, is also the result of the organic and experimental way the band works aiming at “…unlearning the narrative and musical knowledge that shape the physical and digital formats and conceptions available…“. All the instruments that you can listen to, have been recorded separately in 60 different parts, which the producer Atom TM, was then asked to re-organize at will, with no guidelines or other restrictions. The band said: “We invite you to join us in sharing the experience of being led by this non-rational, sonic artform and its energy. It is also an invitation to connect once again with your inner master and his intuition, erasing the systematic rationalization that usually follows creative forces when perceived, to guide you on this holographic simultaneous simulation where reality is rooted in.” and we urge you to take them up on this invitation…

Now, forget about all the melody and the nice flow of sounds as Pharmakon and HIDE are not interested in any of that, but rather in how to represent the spiritual turmoil caused by the raw ugliness that comes from both people and behaviour aiming at imposing their ways in one way or another. Both albums are very relevant today, in the age of heightened social cannibalism, in the aftermath of ‘Me Too’ and everything that it has caused, in light of the (still unresolved) problem of rape and abuse concentrated on females and those who identify as females. Pharmakon’s ‘Devour‘ was recorded live and can be perceived as the sonic print of an organism that struggles. This is an album inspired by very strong concepts as Pharmakon has stated: ” ‘Devour’ uses self-cannibalization as allegory for the self-destructive nature of humans; on cellular, individual, societal and species-wide scales. In our cells, our minds, our politics and our species, humans are self-destructing. But this behavior does not happen in a vacuum. It is an instinctive inward response to a world of increasing outward violence, greed, and oppression. Turning these wounds toward ourselves can be seen as an attempt at “balancing feedback”, within a never-ending positive feedback loop of cause and effect.” Even though, the very concept of self harm shall not inspire anyone for anything in our humble opinion, creating art out of it, is inspiring in many ways and can be part of the solution…Having said that, the throbbing sound of this album is perceived like a chisel that scratches and pierces a very hard surface. Drilling sounds that reverberate and layer themselves, characterize this whole album’s atmosphere while the vocals, have nothing identifiable as ‘human’ left in them. ‘Devour’ sees no ‘light’ ahead, in contrast with the previous album ‘Contact’ released  two years ago where the source of inspiration was quite ‘lighter’.Where ‘Contact’, at least conceptually, was all about the mind transcending the physical body, ‘Devour’ seems to be about the failure of the mind to find an outlet elsewhere. Where in ‘Contact’ the feel was that of a slow moving piece of machinery, in ‘Devour’ the feel is that of a throbbing vein. There were moments of disquiet contemplation in ‘Contact’ but nothing allows for something like that to happen in ‘Devour’. You should approach this album, with an empty mind in order to allow its sound to influence you fully.

Connected conceptually with Pharmakon’s album is HIDE‘s new album entitled ‘Hell Is Here‘. Its 10 songs condemn objectification of women, talk about emancipation of one’s mind and express all the emotional intensity contained within situations of pain, grief and anxiety. Despite the momentum that the noise scene is seemingly gaining, this band certainly belongs to the underground part of this genre and we love it more because of that. While it is hard to describe the qualities that make a band part of the underground culture, an increased level of artistic experimentation, a sense of a more free exploration of sound and a lack of pretentiousness in the overall performance and choice of concepts, are definitely elements that we think, place an artist in the underground scene. HIDE is a multidisciplinary duet, which started in the DIY scene of Chicago and is comprised of Heather Gabel and Seth Sher. We have included their debut album entitled ‘Castration Anxiety’ in our playlist for March 2018 and we identified the element that distinguishes them from other bands that explore noise sonic routes: it is their way of making space for a brief, discreet but noticeable melody, within their heavy industrial soundscape. In ‘Hell Is Here’ this happens again within an evidently ceremonial atmosphere but this time, the vocals become harsher, ‘coarser’, more personal, more direct and more ‘invasive’ in a sense. The sound of ‘Castration Anxiety’ consisted of identifiable elements, beats and notes and this was consistent with the concept of the album. This time, the sound is heavily distorted, noisier and instead of the rhythmic element, it is the dramatic emotional energy that fills the space. The vocals have a completely different character in this album, nodding sometimes at Diamanda Galas’ aesthetics. We will have the chance to experience the music of HIDE in London on October 3rd at The Shacklewell Arms.

The soundtrack of this month finishes with two releases that occupy a dark ambient, post-rock sonic space. They are the albums of Sam Rosenthal with Nick Shadow and Steve Roach and Russian Circles. ‘Blood Year‘, the new instrumental album by Russian Circles, ‘paints’ the image of an autumnal, nocturnal landscape, at a time of day close to dusk. With heavy rhythms and electrifying, doom metal- inspired guitar riffs and trembles, the 7 tracks of this track will make your mind navigate, with increased determination, within even the more difficult paths of your soul. Enjoy the trip!

the gesture of history‘, the new collaborative album of Sam Rosenthal with Steve Roach has a soothing, dark, ethereal melancholy and a great flow between the tracks. We must stress the importance of this collaboration as far the influences of these musicians is concerned. Steve Roach who has two Grammy nominations already, has been inspired by Vangelis and Tangerine Dream, has composed organic music on what concerns its reference point since 1982 and has been constantly enriching his influences throughout his career. Sam Rosenthal formed ethereal band Black Tape for A Blue Girl in 1986 and Projekt in 1983 and Nick Shadow is a talented violinist and member of Black Tape for A Blue Girl, having written and performed in, two songs at the ‘Blood on the Snow’ EP of the band.  ‘the gesture of history’ creates an ambient, almost disquieting sound that has modern classical characteristics and a peculiar ‘lightness’ to it.Sam Rosenthal has said about this album: ” ‘The Gesture of History’ began with an instrumental I created for the Black Tape For A Blue Girl Blood on the snow EP utilizing processed and sequenced viola.”. We think that this album will even out the energy that all the previous albums have created and will make you approach the releases of next month with a renewed energy.

We hope that you enjoy our playlist as much as we enjoyed making it!


Blaue Rosen box


Spread the word by sharing this