Articles by Stuart Benjamin
Here at the subterranean, blast shielded headquarters of Echoes and Dust, one of my erstwhile colleagues described the album as “a children’s Zeuhl album, baby’s first avant prog record. It’s adorable.” Which on first hearing is a fair description. But it’s yet another triumph for France’s burgeoning experimental/RIO scene.
If pop should be anything it should be experimental (it rarely is) but if you listen to Le SuperHomard’s MeadowLanePark you’ll understand exactly what is missing from the homogenized hit parade of 2019. This is grown up pop music, satisfying, and glorious.
French Rock In Opposition band Ni return to their first full-length player since last year’s collaboration from Poil. No knights here who say their name, just a whole bunch of phobias and bludgeoning riffs. Every band however deserves to make at least one really heavy album, and this is theirs.
Brickwork Lizards are a sometimes surprising mix of Middle-Eastern/Eastern European folk group, 1920s gin-joint jazz-band, and rap ‘n’ roll dynamics. ‘How hipster’ you might say, but whilst most things hipster have an air of the inauthentic, the Lizards make this combination work delivering a record that is, by turns, joyous, melancholy, sinister, and uplifting.
Lusterlit’s new EP is something of a joy for both lovers of music and books, and well-worth seeking out if you haven’t found it already. Simply gorgeous.
CAN didn’t just fool The Kids into listening to Jazz, they also produced a number of singles all of which are brought together in this collection for the first time. Essential for fans and a great leaping in point for the new and curious…
Cult Japanese experimental noise-core band Melt-Banana have returned to our shores! Echoes and Dust check out the Bristol date of the band’s not-to-be-missed UK and Ireland tour.
Perhaps some of you missed Hinterlandt’s Ode to Doubt when it was released on Art as Catharsis back in January? Well, now’s your time to make amends, and make friends, with this sublimely gorgeous recording.
Another Russian band to watch out for, Dvanov’s latest album has all the dark sophistication of 1980s Goth but with all the verve of modern Psych-Rock. Well worth a punt if you have the time.
Once more Tim Bowness delivers an album full of sublime heart-breaking and life-affirming prog. ‘Lost In The Ghost Light’ expands Bowness’ music into concept album territory with a somewhat timely reminder of the glories lost by a fictional 1970’s rock superstar. Well worth a look.
Cobalt Chapel reeks with the possibility of forbidden pleasures or occult horrors – the possibilities of sex and violence – that blazed down a cathode ray tube late at night.
‘Single Shot’ is certainly a strong contender for one of this year’s better jazz releases, has a great deal of crossover appeal, and transcends the genres from which it was born, and by which it was influenced. A stunning odyssey into jazz-funk-fusion.
Stuart Benjamin asked the guys behind Australian band Hashshashin some questions. “If I had to describe it to someone I would say something like “heavy progressive rock with psychedelic, experimental, drone and Middle Eastern/Oriental influences.”
On The Dry Land is a heady mixture of psychedelic pop, avant-garde folk, English Hymnal, and electronic experimentation. Imagine a world, if you would, where all the kids bought Syd Barrett’s ‘The Madcap Laughs’ instead of ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ and wanted to be like the quirksome Floydian frontman rather than the Bermondsey Odd-bod.
Diploid’s “Is God Up There?” is a full bellowed Edvard Munch style scream at a world which, in 2016, rapidly seems to be going down the toilet. Stuart Benjamin caught up with Reece and Mariam from the band for a brief Q&A about mass murder, serial killers, death, and Prince.
Bold and challenging, the punishing grind of the record is split into two parts both of which crunch down on your body as effectively as the heavy broken-glass encrusted boots of a team of angry riot-police trying to destroy a wasp nest.
The Fall Dance has real cross-over appeal, don’t think of it as a just a jazz record, but think of it as a great record. The playing is just superb, it’s a wondrous thing to hear. A totally sublime experience.
Above all else this album is great fun, from the thunderous psychedelic explosions of ‘The Ascetic’ and ‘Immolation’, through to the laconic slow pulse of ‘Disintegration’ there’s never a dull moment or anything that feels remotely like filler. If you have any feeling for psych at all, you’ll lap up the whole damn lot of it. I loved it.
“Sludge! Sludge! Glorious Sludge! Nothing quite like it for Barnaby Rudge!” So wrote Charles Dickens and what he didn’t know about Sunn O))), well, it wasn’t worth knowing in all honesty. Dickens would have loved many of the Doom/Sludge albums that hav …
An effortless, authentic West Coast psychedelic fuzzy-rock sense which Cosmonaut inhabit totally across the ten tracks on this long-player, check out ‘Discophilia’ if you need further convincing. Anyway, I’m convinced and I’m buying.
All the tracks revel in their ability to deliver shock-and-awe music like nothing else. It’s music which simply cannot be pigeon-holed. Brilliant. – By Stuart Benjamin