Peter Broderick

Grunewald
Erased Tapes

Just months after releasing Partners, his homage to avant-garde pioneer John Cage, multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick returns with five-track EP Grunewald. Recorded in one night, the EP is named after the church just outside Berlin in which it was conceived. Where Partners was thick in theory, this is much more straightforward. Its impact comes instead from the simple, beautiful interaction between the music and its immediate space.

In Broderick’s words, “For anyone who likes reverb, the Grunewald is a dream come true.” Consequently, no artificial reverbs or delays were added during mixing, only the natural acoustics of the church’s vast interior. The EP opens with ‘Goodbye’, a perfect introduction to the building's sonic environment. Chords are left ringing in space and pauses between passages are deliberately left wide open to allow the reverb of the room to cloak the music. This effect is felt across the EP, as simple melodies resonate powerfully inside the belly of the church.

‘Violin Solo No. 1’ widens the record’s palette with cascading, bowed strings, again amplified by the magnitude of the room. ‘It’s A Storm When I Sleep’ recalls Lubomyr Melnyk’s ‘continuous music’, where piano notes are played rapidly with the sustain pedal held down. Chords wash over each other, creating a single, huge soundscape, a moment of grandiosity in an otherwise relatively minimal record.

Above all else, Grunewald captures the fleeting potency of music born of a specific space, and the natural relationship between Broderick’s solo performance and his surroundings.

Aidan Daly

Hickory Signals

Noise of the Waters
Self released

As far back as I remember, I've always seen folk as the ultimate British genre. There's a school of thought that actively mocks the genre, often misunderstanding the calm demeanour as bland. Nostalgia, homesickness and a love of nature are part of folk, yes, but what most people don't get is how it's a manner of oral tradition. Tales of old, accompanied by gentle instrumentation, are in its DNA.

Brighton-based Hickory Signals take a good hold on the oral history of folk, grabbing a cornucopia of literary references to weave a joyful musical quilt. The result is the comfortable sounds of Noise of the Waters. The lead track takes its name from James Joyce's poem, painting grey skies, an autumnal seaside and capturing the exact moment winter breaks in as a violent gust.

'Bows and Arrows' displays Hickory Signals' gorgeous folk sensibilities. The crisp sound captures Laura Ward's powerful vocals, which drive every song home, straight into your heart. Don't get me wrong, the arrangements in each track are beautiful, but it's Ward's vocals that elevate Noise of the Waters into a rarefied atmosphere.

Hickory Signals pay their dues with a cover version of 'The Unquiet Grave'. The gloomy folk standard waltzes in, in the arms of an imaginary truant from the Midlands. It's a beautiful take and a palate cleanser for 'Irish Ways', the stark EP closer that displays Hickory Signals' oral history skills perfectly.

Samuel Valdéz López

Kurokuma

Advorsus
Medusa Crush Recordings

All the best bands inhabiting the herbally-infused end of the metal spectrum know that groove and rhythm are key, and crucially Kurokuma know this should still be the case regardless of how far down the heaviness and extremity rabbit holes you go.

This Sheffield three-piece combine filthy, savage doom riffs and hefty screams with Latin rhythmic tendencies, the whole beast coming across as a perfectly formed titan, with the various influences emboldening rather than toppling their mammoth sound. The guitars and vocals are thick and chunky, with a surprisingly clear quasi-funk bass tone cutting through to the forefront. It’s bassist George Ionita and drummer Joe Allen who ensure that the Latin rhythms are fully integrated into these churning grooves, not merely used as light relief, meaning that none of the oppressive weight is lost.

Though this is definitely a doom metal release, Kurokuma manage to keep the pace varied and exciting across the three tracks of Advorsus, splicing droning mantras with adventurous and comparatively uptempo romps.

The doom and sludge metal scene in Sheffield, and Yorkshire more widely, is really gathering steam and making an impact of late, but in truth Kurokuma have been ahead of this game for years. Advorsus is the overdue recorded statement which deserves to cement them as leaders of the Sheffield riff pack, a position anyone who has seen their crushing and energetic live sets will argue they already hold. There needs to be more where this came from.

Richard Spencer

Last Shadow Puppets

The Dream Synopsis EP
Domino

Opening with a live version of lead single ‘Aviation’ from their latest album, Everything You’ve Come To Expect, showcases how incredible this band are live, with swirling, dramatic strings and elegant vocals emphasised in the mix. The extensive touring is also heard in the camaraderie between tracks. The addition of natural dialogue between takes give the whole EP an authentic sessions feel, something John Peel would’ve overseen decades ago.

As yet we’re unsure whether the band are bridging the gap between albums or just getting the creative juices flowing, but standout track ‘Les Cactus’ sees Alex Turner cover Jacques Dutronc and sing entirely in French. High Green’s finest aren't scared of pushing creative boundaries. The flamboyant classic rock feel that bleeds through this EP may even hint at what is next for Arctic Monkeys, and it’s quite a long way from the skinny lad that used to sing about taxi ranks and fruit machines. As for retro vibes on this release, Turner, Miles Kane and co execute them seamlessly. From Bolan to Bowie, it’s brilliant.

The cover of Rob Chapman's ‘This Is Your Life’ has a classic Puppets feel as the atmospheric strings elevate you immediately. It feels like it could be an original tune, which is always a sign of a great cover. The whole EP is the sound of a band having fun. Both now established international musicians in their own right, Kane and Turner come across as two old friends having a laugh between day jobs.

Lewis Budden

Angelina

Vagabond Saint
Wonderful Sound

Lounging on a sofa somewhere between the bluegrass and the western country sits a comfortable sound owned by Angelina, who’s actually from the Isle of Wight. The combination of acoustic guitar and big drums cradles a vocalist of emotive intensity, iced with the twang of the south, which reminds us of so many things. Love and excitement seems to be the order of the day and each number sways to and fro on the temperature chart of experiences.

Vocal melodies seem to drive the music and chord structures quite often match the vocal lines in symmetrical packages. This simplistic approach gives each drum beat a resounding impact and allows reverberations to travel through the music with a lot more fluidity than something a little more intense. We get a more holistic view of the music and each piece of the whole feels at home in the mix.

Elements of fusion occur in subtle places. There's a distinct reggae rhythm in a few parts and the use of strings and trumpets gives a layer beyond the reach of traditional music from this scene. Giving fresh blood to an otherwise well-loved and easily formulated genre allows Angelina to assert herself both as a modern musician and as a traditionalist, something which isn't always easy to do. Slipping the elements of novelty in covertly and allowing the main sound to remain true to genre, this is a clever way of taking us by surprise without blowing the whole thing to bits.

Rowan Blair Colver