Review

Iran Iran -
Milk Time For Spiders

Much like the exasperated parents who've been reduced to anthropomorphising broccoli in a vain attempt to get their sprog to eat it, maths teachers have spent weeks-worth of evenings trying to formulate ways to make their subject cool and adolescent-approved. I imagine that the first person 2 realise that certain numbers could be substituted 4 words thought they might have 1 the battle, but it's math-rock that has most successfully slung protractors and L-squares in favour of aviators and leather pants. It sauntered into the classroom and bashed two chalkboard erasers together in 5½/4 time, and now Iran Iran have emerged from the resultant cloud of chalk, with wide grins hidden underneath warped rubber masks of their favourite fifth-tier pop icons.

Review

Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat -
The Most Important Place In The World

With passing traffic as ambience and a ticking car indicator as percussion, 'On The Motorway' sees Adrian Moffat submit to the advances of the city and all of her perfumed promises. He disregards the message on a lorry's canvas, that “home is the most important place in the world”. For him, home is where the heart sinks into a dirty sofa and resigns itself to the rest of its banal and routine life, same as everyone. But he can push all that aside, all the checklist expectations of middle age. He doesn't have to settle like the biscuit crumbs in his kid's juice if he validates himself with the frivolities of a night in the metropolis, throwing caution to the wind and then pissing in it.  

Review

Mylets -
Arizona

Henry Kohen has been the subject of many a pinched cheek from fawning admirers. Being the age that he is (for perspective, Jurassic Park predates him), it's easy for us to latch onto. Sure, it's an inevitability of human wiring, but it feels unnecessarily condescending – the prowess of Mylets is entirely different to, say, a 3 year old ukuleleist making the rounds on YouTube, similarly lauded by the people as a whizzkid prodigy. It seems disparaging for Kohen to receive the same belly-rub chin-scratch treatment. I'd not want to direct attention away from what must be a considerable personal and technical achievement: Arizona is effectively the sum of his on-going tenure as an inhabitant of Sargent House, and it is remarkable, age notwithstanding. 

Review

Blacklisted -
When People Grow, People Go

With four full-lengths, a stack of EPs, several splits, a compilation and a bunch of globe-trotting tours under their belts, few would argue against Blacklisted’s reputation as one of hardcore’s hardest working and most prolific bands. It may be a little surprising, then, to learn that When People Grow, People Go is their first long-player in over half a decade; a relative eon when you consider the Philadelphia natives released their first three LPs in a four-year span. But, as is often the case, Blacklisted have returned — alongside trusted producer Will Yip — with their most varied and industrious release since 2009’s semi-classic Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God .

Feature

Off Beats #1: Murder By Death's American Slow Fade

Welcome, everybody, to Off Beats , Noted’s newest column, where a rotating series of writers will take on an artist’s discography and find themes beyond the normal or expected. These can be personal or strictly historical; either way you should expect a unique take on a body of work,  33 1/3  with a wider focus and smaller word count. In our first installment, New Yorker Rob Rubsam goes hard and long on Indiana indie-rockers Murder by Death.

Review

Alfie Ryner -
Brain Surgery

Risk breeds the fluttering heart and tightening chest, and whether we face it boldly or meekly, by choice or on impulse, it's the allure of the unknown that instils affirmation of life within us. Alfie Ryner's Brain Surgery is uncharted territory, an untarnished mountain-top lake with unobserved ecosystems. I play the role of frightened discoverer, taken by the upheaval that loads every glance, rooted by curiosity. This music, loosely formed but with the stinging impact of a slap, playfully defies what you've come to expect from this medium, yet it takes its sincerest form: freedom.

Review

Disappears -
Irreal

If you've ever played the classic neo-noir crime thriller Max Payne , you'll recall the ghostly platforms and graffiti-laced walls of the murky, menacing Roscoe Street Station , a place drenched in dystopian gloom and decorated by cracked mirrors and discarded, bloody needles. There was little in the way of ambience to blanket your hurried footsteps – save for the distant drones of dripping pipes and the occasional non-diegetic stab – and total respite from this near-silent stranglehold was only provided by the beretta-fire of drugged-up delinquents hell-bent on reducing you to ether. If you were looking to soundtrack the cloaked intent of those claustrophobic corridors, though, then the aimless, looping twitches of Irreal, the fifth full-length from Chicago’s Disappears , would provide an apt additional layer of surrealist threat.

Review

All the King's Daughters -
Because I Wanted To

A silk web has the fascinating property of great strength, able to bear much more weight than its appearance would have you believe, often as impervious to breaking as steel. I'm reminded of it – the fragility of its aesthetic in direct contrast against its form – by two sisters from Holland, their dainty voices pirouetting on the velvety cushion of equally delicate strums and notes, holding aloft their portly burdens in a display of quiet, staunch aptitude. 

Feature

UK Premiere: A Swarm of the Sun's 'The Rifts' Full Album Stream

Listen to the third record, The Rifts , from Swedish duo A Swarm of the Sun ; a tortured, brooding swell of sounds that fixates as much on loss as it does on redemption. We also caught up with  Jakob Berglund and asked him a few questions about blurring the artisitc lines, recording with  Magnus Lindberg and what it means to create an album. The perfect reading companion to a record that demands your attention.

Review

Rishloo -
Living As Ghosts With Buildings As Teeth

It’s been five years since heralded progressive outfit Rishloo last graced us with an off-kilter time-shift or a soaring conclusion to an eight minute stargaze, and despite having an impervious explanation for this passage of time — they broke up; vocalist Andrew Mailloux decided to pursue other avenues whilst the remaining members carried on as the instrumental The Ghost Apparatus — there has always been a feeling that they’d cut the chord too early, that they’d not yet made the record they’d been reaching for with Eidolon and Feathergun .

Review

Cracked Actor -
Iconoclast

I don't know enough about sleep-science to properly enforce my intuition that upon waking up, I'm without identity. Most mornings, once the cogs are turning and the echo replies received, I'll think back to those initial post-sleep moments with bemusement. I'm utterly useless in that window, disregarding my phone alarm as some sort of technical malfunction, stumbling through a fifth-dimension buffet of absurd half-dreams like a cat after anaesthesia. But it soon dissipates, to exist only in the form of sporadic remembrances so vague as to render it practically non-existent. And yet, Iconoclast evokes an extended trip into that formless state; a northbound train to consciousness come away from the tracks. A safari in the psyche.

Feature

2014 in Review: Our Favourite Albums

Arriving fashionably late as ever, we're kicking in your New Year's bash retrospectively with a list of 30 albums that affected us the most over the past twelve months. There's a decent variety we reckon, and we've even gone to the trouble of penning a little diatribe at the start. Enjoy, relax, read and imbibe, and we'll be back soon with an announcement that will knock your new socks off.

Review

Pianos Become The Teeth -
Keep You

Spending their early career straddling the line between sentimentality and ferocity, Pianos Become the Teeth has always dabbled with sonic ideas, intertwining post rock melodies with screamo fundamentals as it has searched for its defining sound. Pianos has never been the most original band but the execution was clearly there, with their The Lack Long After marrying the two spectrums seamlessly and effectively. That album’s closer ' I’ll Get By ' succinctly hinted at other potential avenues to be explored , avenues embraced on their latest offering, Keep You .   

Review

The Smith Street Band -
Throw Me In The River

Wil Wagner and company are doing okay. It's a relative term, of course; their version of equilibrium might be past the tipping point of saner men, but consider that they've managed to rally a troop of diligent fans, many homegrown and more from the other halves of the globe – it's likely an over-fulfilment of any success envisioned underneath Melbourne skies. Now they have the unique (at least in the grand scheme of things) privilege of being able to visit various locations around the world, alternate-dimension local watering holes where strangers know not only their names but their struggles. Throw Me In The River is the fruit of their labour, laden with uncertain ecstasy and the compromises of un-fucked-with dreams .

Feature

A Turn Too Far - The Curse of the 2xLP

The other weekend I found myself in a familiar trance. I was perusing the wares of HMV — the unheralded vinyl king of Nottingham — looking for bargains to pad out the slither of space left in my Ikea Kallax shelving unit. I picked up some overlooked essentials as a matter of protocol ( Disintegration , Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots ) before plucking for a wild card that I hadn’t gotten round to listening to: You’re Dead! , the latest release from Californian hip-jazz experimentalist Flying Lotus . I suppose as a long-time fan of Ellison’s work it wasn’t that big of a risk, and the prospect of removing the mint plastic covering of a beautiful double gatefold record — adorned with the vibrant illustrations of renown Japanese comic artist Shintaro Kago no less — was too much to pass on.

Review

The Guru -
Pretty Things

With the charming, life-affirming ethos that playing music with your closest friends becomes more joyous with each passing show than going it alone does, Connecticut’s The Guru are a mysterious, technicolour relic of a time gone by, a troupe of young companions that enjoy the same simple pleasures — fond memories, shimmering shorelines, hanging out, that one girl — and, with refreshing maturity, do not mistake thematic complexity for substance. Pretty Things is just that, pretty things , hand-crafted by infectious indie-math loops, fun-loving surf-pop harmonies, jazz-fusion psychedelia and an honest, sun-kissed sentiment.

Review

Spencer Radcliffe & R.L. Kelly - Brown Horse

Brown Horse plays out like an audible approximation of a millennial ceiling-starer's vacant state of mind, their eyes wide open but only painted on. Its introspections, from various places on the scale between personal and philosophical, are awash with digital interference and the winsome remnants of home recording – plosive pops and static hisses – the sum of which is as well met as a warm bath. By definition it is a split LP, but the outputs and thought processes of Spencer Radcliffe and R. L. Kelly are in tandem – to the point where one is the hand, the other the glove.  

Review

Sounds Like Sunset -
We Could Leave Tonight

In a vacuum, the sunset is a medley of the warmest shades of red and orange immersing the entire sky, a sight that's globally gazed upon with utmost reverence, held as a standard for that which is naturally and superlatively beautiful. As a daily recurrence, though, it is also the soft fabric that bridges the space separating day and night when they're at an impasse, the motley in-between of binary oppositions. That's the crux of We Could Leave Tonight; it too, in a vacuum, is a veritable array of colours and textures, dense enough to hold its own sentimental cargo – but on a larger scale it braids together the yin and yang of love-sickness and heartbreak and toes the resultant fragile line.

Interview

Interview: Old Soul

Purveyors of bleak, choke-you-out black metal, Old Soul are the type of band that could soundtrack a violent thunderstorm over an empty ocean. They are monolithic movers of shapes and sounds, yet despite their tongue-in-cheek self-classification as 'dreamo', they avoid genre tropes through the injection of taught technicality and hidden concepts. We caught up with them for a quick chat during the middle of their recent European trip to discuss tour life, the Czech Republic and Deafheaven.

Interview

Noted meet James Joys and Peter Devlin

The collaborative LP Devil, Repent! by James Joys and Peter Devlin is a fascinating one -- at times, difficult to listen to, but ultimately it's a fine electronic translation of human erring and the industrial. It's an ensnaring affair, which is the sort of quality that begs for the upheaval of context and intentions so that we may extract as much from the experience as possible. And both Joys and Devlin have wonderfully indulged us with their perspectives on Ireland and the literary left field.

Interview

Noted meet Sunwølf

Sunwølf did something quite special with their new album, Beholden To Nothing And No One. Presented in two parts, what's immediately recognisable is the sense of scope with which they work. Their offerings are grand and archaic, a deft exploration of what can be achieved through instrumental music. What in one moment seems an experimental rummage can turn into deliberate, concentrated wonderment, and without the bindings of musical expectation, they're left to amaze us just as the world does -- in unpredictable bursts. Below, we aimed to pick their brains in return for melting ours.

Interview

Noted meet Strand of Oaks

No matter the circumstances, no matter the person and their methods, everybody needs time to heal. We find solace in company and in solitude, we reconsider our direction, we put our headphones on and release ourselves momentarily of burdens and commitments. Tim Showalter 's chosen technique is self-assessment through his music; except with the intent to aid the healing process for as many people as he possibly can. And rather than delicately tend to his wounds with cotton swabs and kisses, on HEAL he took a more heavy-handed approach. “I ripped out my subconscious, looked through it, and saw the worst parts. And that’s how I got better.”

Interview

Noted meet Odonis Odonis

Hailing from the Toronto underground, Dean Tzenos and his newly-acquired bandmates are renowned for their involving, energetic live shows and a sound that dances between the jagged edges of arrogant noise-rock and the oft-hidden melodic flashes of industrial. If it sounds unusual, it's because it is; Hard Boiled Soft Boiled is a sonic experiment as much as anything, with a narrative as vivid in timing as it is in theme. We caught up with Dean to disuss the LP, his involvement with Buzz Records and how tight-knit the Toronto DIY scene has become. 

Interview

Noted meet DOOMSQUAD

With their wondrous and eclectic debut LP Kalaboogie, DOOMSQUAD captured both the fluttering of curious birds and the faceless fires of industry in a sound that blended the mercurial with the mysterious. It was an ambitious work of art founded on a set of principles shared by three siblings, and represented an ethos that was as much about their heritage as it was about looking forward. We took the chance to catch up with Jacklyn Blumas to discuss the bands' processes, influences and manifesto. 

Interview

Noted meet Jonathan Boulet

Designated a skate rat, albeit a “precociously inspired” one, Jonathan Boulet has achieved a fair modicum of success as an indie rock musician. However unlikely as it may seem, by 21 he was signed to the major Aussie label Modular – for context, this is the same label who house the likes of stalwarts Tame Impala, Cut Copy and The Avalanches – and found two of his songs getting featured in separate FIFA console games, where they were able to etch their way into the subconscious of millions of players worldwide. It's the career start that many dream of, and we spoke to Jonathan so that we may ascertain the spring of his course.

Interview

Noted meet Foxing

As nuanced and intimate as The Albatross is on first impression, no small amount of mystery remains in repeat listens. Another run through affords the listener time to foc us on the soft noodling of each guitar, the quietly busy rhythmic undercurrent, or to try and piece apart some of the more interpretable lyrics. We took a little time with the band’s vocalist, Conor Murphy , and learned that while Foxing has only just begun to test the waters with their wonderful debut LP ,  t heir writing process and direction are anything but timid.

Interview

Oozing Wound

Oozing Wound are a band that aren't difficult to like. They play music for the same reason we listen to it --  it's fun, engaging, and hopefully unpredictable . It's fair to say that they aren't the most serious guys in the world, but at the same time, they definitely care about their output. In a world where thrash metal has become that dodgy uncle at a party, it's refreshing to see that the carnage from the old metal days -- massive riffs, stupid-BPM blast beats and Swanton Bomb's off stages -- still has a place. Oozing Wound are here to remind you that you're not that fucking important after all. We had a quick chat with them, and this is what we learnt.