Eclectic UK indie label Riot Season are bursting into summer with a succession of new albums that are set to confound expectations and surprise in equal measure.

First out the gate on 27 June will be RRR – the seventh album for Hey Colossus, and the third for Riot Season (also home to Circle, Acid Mothers Temple, Shit And Shine, Black Boned Angel, Todd, Sloath, Ultraphallus etc). This album follows last year’s Eurogrumble Vol.1 LP, which received broad acclaim as well as landing in some end of year ‘best of’ lists.

The band formed in 2003 as a five piece, based in London. Eight years on (and with line up changes reminiscent of The Fall) they are now a seven piece based in London and Somerset (though nine people perform on the album). RRR was recorded through the winter of ’10-11 in Dropout, South London, home to analogue tape and all things loud. Mixed by Drumcunt and Basspuppy, mastered by Hamilton Industries (Part Chimp’s tub thumper).

RRR is definitely more varied than previous Colossus records and it explores more subdued, quieter territory. Such moments of calm are not the only varied thing about the new record, Hey Colossus also evoke the swooping filmic sounds akin to many a film score, along the lines of Bernard Hermann’s Taxi Driver and Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti westerns. Some Krautrock-esque elements are also evident, combined with Nurse With Wound/DNA influences. Alongside this, ‘The Drang’ keeps up the one riff, one tune – like Sabbath done through Neu! There is a choice Berlusconi baiting Can inspired clangathon, ‘I Am Bunga Bunga’, with a coruscating subdued rant. The result of all of these amalgamating sounds is a Hey Colossus album unlike any other, out with the old and in with the new.

RRR is the perfect soundtrack for the spring and summer months, assuming you like the idea of the Butthole Surfers manning the BBQ, Faust cleaning out the pool, and GG Allin behind the bar. After touring heavily throughout the past year hitting up Germany, Holland, Belgium, Ireland, and Turkey (flying in for one gig with pals Part Chimp, to close an art gallery in Istanbul), Hey Colossus are preparing to invade venues across the UK – Though most dates are still being confirmed, it’s already panning out to be their biggest UK tour yet. They are set for a London show on Friday 24 June at Lexington with Part Chimp.


Next up on 4 July … two legends in their own right, Pikacyu*Makoto – an alliance between two figureheads of underground Japanese psych/pop, the musically promiscuous Kawabata Makoto (most famous for his leadership of the legendary Acid Mothers Temple), and Afrirampo’s Pikacyu. No strangers to one another, the pair have not only gigged together with their respective bands but also recorded together, when these two outfits temporarily fused in 2005 to become Acid Mothers Afrirampo (releasing an album of the same name). Now they have distilled their collaboration, all other players being stripped away to leave the core of Pikacyu’s manic drums and vocals, and Makoto’s schizoid guitar conjurings.

OM Sweet Home: We Are Shining Stars From Darkside is unlike anything either culprit has produced before, structured and freeform, tuneless and beautiful. Pikacyu’s drums pummel, jitter, crash and stumble, but steadfastly refuse to groove. She layers her voice several times; competing with maniacally pitch-shifted versions of herself to bring you what is, in their words, ‘a story about the cosmic shaman Pikacyu vs. the master of the darkness Makoto … including the full love from the universe!’ Makoto attacks his guitar, cloaking himself in reverb to produce a wall-of-sound, alternating between melody and noise.

The record’s opening gambit, the a capella ‘OM Marijana FU’, resembles field recordings of a gang of lady monks doing chants in the monastery, played back on dying tape walkman. Then you’re thrown straight into the deep end of one of the album’s epics – ‘Birth Star’.

Those holy women are joined by propulsive drumming, each guitar chord leaving contrails that weave together in a cathedral of reverb, forming a tapestry of noise that threatens to clash but never does. In the frenetic “Wild Rise” the Western listener, ignorant of the language is eventually left with the impression of wordless chants tapping wells of emotion that lie beyond the reach of vocabulary.

On the other hand, the instrumental ‘Pigamelan-Magamelan’ represents a total gear shift, its dry sound, attack-laden guitar runs and avoidance of time signature invoking the exploding-note theory of Captain Beefheart. The players’ behaviour appears unpredictable to the outsider, but like play-fighting dogs they magically pause and resume simultaneously, suggesting the presence of a logic known only to the protagonists.

‘Minakata Loid’ brings drums reminiscent of early Four Tet, while the guitar emits high-pitched detonations from the far-end of an empty auditorium. ‘Back to Your House Over the Rainbow’ exposes the knife-edge of Pikacyu’s most extreme vocalisations, sounding like the yodels of a spirit trying to escape its own skin (while Makoto calls up the spirit Sonic Youth’s Turquoise Boy).

OM Sweet Home will be released in July in a limited run of 1000 copies, packaged in a 350gm card gatefold sleeve. It is a serrated listen; a freeform assault; a crashing wash of expressive noise. This is a record in which all the building blocks of mainstream music are overridden by sheer force of expression; soothing melodies are rendered cutting by vehemence, beautiful guitar runs are needled by attack, and the lack of bass removes this music from the arena of the dancefloor, elevating it to some other plane inhabited by seekers of the healing power of noise. Keep ears open and eyes peeled!


And finally, due for release on 25 July, after the roaring success of Ultraphallus, Riot Season present another dark and twisted band replete with viscous guitars, unnerving vocals and disturbing power electronics. May we present… Dead Elephant who are: Enrico Tauraso (electric guitar, voice, power electronics, samples), Fulvio Grosso (electric bass, voice) and Omar Tomaino (drums).

Hailing from Cuneo in Italy, Dead Elephant formed in 2002 and previously released Sing The Separation (Unfortunate Miracle, 2005) then followed by Lowest Shared Descent (Robotradio, 2008). This year, they finally close the four year gap with a brand new and beastly album Thanatology.

Thanatology aims to investigate the process of acceptance of loss, a concept particularly timely in these transitional times in which we live. In order to understand precisely where the band are coming from with this concept, here is a deeper explanation: ‘In this order of things life can sometimes be cruel. Sometimes we feel caught in a strange trap. The events appear to us as a dark spiral and our destiny is lost in it. Within this dark spiral, it is very difficult understand what is right and what is wrong. There, something must burn and you must accept to lose it. From the consciousness that some things must die in order to for change to be born.’

Dead Elephant’s powerful sonic assault has a wide range of influences from the heaviness of bands like Cherubs, Jesus Lizard, Colossamite, Melvins, Black Sabbath, Celtic Frost to the psychedelic attitudes of Ash Ra Tempel, Cluster, Neurosis and Badalamenti soundtracks, all prevalent throughout this latest record.

On Thanatology, Dead Elephant attack the listener with their claustrophobic and visceral sonic forces and fuse these brutally heavy sounds with moments of genuine haunting beauty, which are actual samples of the funeral marches of Southern Italy. The effects of these galvanizing forces are that of ultimate catharsis that not only challenge the listener, but also force one to question preconceptions of heavy music.

There is no doubt that Dead Elephant are a compelling addition to Riot Season’s superb spectrum of the weird and wonderful.

Riot Season Homepage

Originally posted 2011-06-08 15:07:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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