The Digest - 22 April 2013

22 Apr 2013

Sandwell District, Cosmin TRG, and more feature in this week's set.

We've again rounded up the week's finest releases, with records from the States, the UK, Germany, and Romania. Read on for more, and read previous Digests over here.

Hop Along

Hop Along - Get Disowned

Get Disowned, the debut album from Philadelphia three-piece Hop Along, manages to wrench the increasingly bromidic guitar band form into agonising, beautiful contortions, all scabrous edge and sandpaper surface. It provides a point of triangulation between Saddle Creek heartrend and D.C. scream, in which frontwoman Frances Quinlin’s raspy, hair-trigger vocals meet their formidable match in guitars that tread a wavery line between hardcore discordance and muscular fuzz. They reference Keats and don’t make you hate them for doing so. What higher compliment could there be?

 

Bill Ryder Jones

Bill Ryder-Jones - A Bad Wind Wind Blows In My Heart

Ex-Coral man Bill Ryder Jones’ debut solo release was one of the most conceptually interesting records of the last few years, having been recorded as the score to an imagined film adaptation of Italo Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller. His second album is a much more conventional affair; a record so painfully autobiographical that it seems impertinent to listen, and so full of melancholia that it seems about to burst. A Bad Wind Blows...is a series of vignettes taken from a life that seems defined by pain, but from which Ryder-Jones has constructed something quietly but startlingly beautiful. A shoo-in for a Mercury nomination.

Cosmin TRG - Gordian

Cosmin TRG - Gordian

‘Put You Down’ seems a world away now. The TRG track that launched Hessle feels like a future garage artefact, and certainly there is little of its approach to be discerned in Gordian. Much has been made of the Romanian’s magpie approach to genre and indeed it is in full effect here, the record flitting around techno’s outcrops but never quite alighting on one. This is an album that never quite seems comfortable with itself, and it is this internal tension that makes it so gripping. But if there is an aesthetic that ties Gordian together it is that of the phantasm: this is a set that sounds like the afterimage of an event rather than the event itself; a motion trail rather than an object.

Sandwell District fabric 69

Sandwell District - fabric 69

Fabric 69 is perhaps the most intricately constructed mix in the series’ history. It begins in a barely apprehendable flash, flexing its way through five tracks in little over four minutes. It continues in this vein, alighting on a theme and exploring each of its possible permutations almost to the point of exhaustion. Fabric 69 is as viciously monochrome as one would expect from Sandwell District, and yet some of its highlights consist of moments at which colour is just about audible in the margins - as, for example, when Mark Ernestus makes an appearance three quarters of the way through. If Sandwell District are indeed packing it in, then fabric 69 is an enviable headstone.

 

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