diskant is an independent music community based in Glasgow, Scotland and we have a whole team of people from all over the UK and beyond writing about independent music and culture, from interviews with new and established bands and labels to record and fanzine reviews and articles on art, festivals and politics. There's over ten years of content here so dig in!

 Subscribe in a reader

Recent Interviews

diskant Staff Sites

More Sites We Like

2010 Catchup

Posted: January 1st, 2011, by Marceline Smith

Happy New Year, diskant readers! I know there are at least 5 of you out there.

2010 was a very quiet year for diskant – we’ve all been involved in other projects, from blogs, bands and labels to organising festivals and running our own businesses, not to mention jobs, kids and moving countries. You can always see what we’re up to individually by clicking those author links on the right sidebar.

However, we have made the effort to bring you a catch-up of all our favourite things from the last twelve months – our best albums will be up tomorrow, followed by books, films, zines, TV, gigs, events and more.

And we’re not planning on going anywhere – if you do enjoy diskant then make sure you subscribe to our RSS feed to get the latest posts whenever they appear.

I only live here part 3: Call Mr Robeson & Inside

Posted: September 2nd, 2010, by Stan Tontas

CALL MR ROBESON, Zoo Southside, 21.8.2010

I liked this musical biography a lot, only knowing the vaguest picture of the singer’s life: Ol’ Man River, South Wales miners and not much else. He turns out to be tough, charismatic, intelligent, well-read and driven, reaching heights of international fame then battling on in the face of politically-motivated attacks. When he (as played by Tay? Aluko) talks of his father as his inspiration you shudder to realise that you’re only 3 full generations from slavery. That sobering fact is used to explain his determination to carry on in the face of travel bans and hostility.

The play uses music to great effect in two powerful scenes: switching his set to Negro Spirituals / Freedom songs on realising his audience had been segregated (these Walls of Jordan, going to come crashing down). And at a festival at the height of his notoriety, with a cordon of workers protecting the stage from an attack by white supremacists, a rendition of Old Man River in which he struggles to be heard over the blades of a police helicopter but finally drowns it out. Music as weapon in defence of human dignity and attack on injustice, in Aluko’s gorgeous voice that reaches you through your gut as much as your ears.

There are moments of humour, with a recurring joke about his womanising, but also harrowing psychological drama as he reaches his lowest point in the mid-1950s. It adds up to a complete portrait that returns to life a complex and driven man who has slightly fallen out between the cracks of history.

INSIDE, Zoo Roxy, 16.08.2010

First a caveat: I know nothing about dance except that it comes with music. While others in the queue for this were asking “are you here for the Jean Aubreu?” I was thinking about 65 Days of Static. (The entire reason I saw this show? Many years ago that band left a sticker in the 13th Note Club which held together my bikelight until recently.)

Overall I enjoyed the show with some reservations that may have nothing to do with its quality. The dancing was both muscular and supple; looked high standard to me. I have issues with the way it related its theme of imprisonment, which felt like it drew wholly on film and TV representations rather than any real-life experiences. I’d love for the clichés of rape, pecking orders and macho posturing to be supplemented (if not overturned) by a more nuanced portrayal. I was left with unanswered questions. Increasing numbers of people are imprisoned: what is it actually like? Surely a big thing about confinement is the lack of space, constraint of movement? That didn’t feature here as the dancers slid & scampered across the whole breadth of the stage.

Another avenue not explored is the two-tier power structure of guards and prisoners (think Stanford Prison Experiment). These dancers all seem to play the role of prisoners, and interchangeably so. It’s an approach but I think they’ve missed an opportunity ripe with possibilities for reversal and surprise. Maybe that would require a more political engagement than the media-led view; but it would have dodged the brief moment where it looked like a boy-band video.

Aside from this: it was too long. I didn’t see enough variation in the routines and would have happily sheared off 20 minutes. The music is good but the programme’s “experimental” tag overstates it slightly; QUIET-loud-QUIET style post-rock isn’t unfamiliar now. I could have listened to more of the harsh rhythmic-industrial parts, they seemed to fit well with the dancing.

Gripes aside, a dance show that holds my non-dance fan interest has to have had quite a bit going for it.

I only live here part 2

Posted: August 30th, 2010, by Stan Tontas

Edinburgh’s slowest Festivals reviewer gets around to typing up his notes…

Although Edinburgh had more “Free!” events than in previous years, in most cases you were getting what you paid for and the standards were pretty low. Better to decide based on the quality of the beer than the banter. (A notable exception must be the Not-the-Perrier Award winner.)

One of the better free shows was News At Kate, at the Voodoo Rooms. Topical material from a performer who comes across as geniune and front-free, taking perceived-as-tricky topics like feminism and managing to make them funny. She engages with audience members without putting them down for cheap laughs and it’s impossible not to like her. Warm & funny stuff about her encounters with Peter Stringfellow and Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth.

I love unashamedly highbrow culture when it’s as open and exploratory as this. A near-capacity Usher Hall in rapt attention to 4 virtuosos, not just for straightforward crowd-pleasing chamber pieces but challenging works. The 3 scheduled pieces, by Steve Reich, George Crumb and Aleksandra Vrebalov were varied and made (discreet) use of delays and electronics.

The first piece comprised a tower of Babel of stringed instrumentation, starting with (I think) a one-stringed Tibetan thing and moving to and through melodies & rhythms that evoked klezmer, Raz Mesinai-esque Middle East and Japan.

The second piece, unmistakbly by Reich, was the least interesting. Pleasant string lines, with snatches of voice (which turn out to be Holocaust survivors, making me uneasy with the disjunction). It felt like the soundtrack to a Shinkansen documentary, lacking intensity and seeming too familiar. (Even as an evocation of train travel I liked it less than Henry Thomas’s hobo ballads.)

After the interval came the most avant garde piece, Black Mass, featuring bowed gongs and wine glasses. Austere passages of intense concentration on single sounds and their resonances, the possiblities of sound from the instruments. It’s not dis-similar to Improv in its approach. Rather disconnected on the face of it, has moments of beauty and is presented theatrically: dangling violins are silhouetted against the far wall of the Hall.

Edinburgh’s applause for Black Mass earned us an encore of Clint Mansell’s soundtrack to Aronofsky’s The Fountain, an absolute stormer. It uses melodic string lines with an underlay of electric guitar and drums to life you up and dash you down. The crowd went wild, in a refined, concert hall, way.

I only live here, part 1

Posted: August 13th, 2010, by Stan Tontas

It’s the Edinburgh festivals season. For a change, I have been going to shows this year (instead of scowling at tourists from out in the suburbs). So I’ll post some reviews, in a very-much-not-instant tweeting as the lights go up style.

After 2 days of intensive trawling through free shows at the Edinburgh Festivals, I’ve found the first one which I would feel good about paying to see.
Are You There? at the Roxy Arthouse (wendy squat style venue; sponsored by a beer company that’s not shit) is by turns creepy, funny and touching. It takes a ghost setup and instead of sticking to farce, says things about distance, communication, relationships and letting go. It’s a shoestring show that makes up for resources with care in the script and performances. It feels like what a Fringe show should be.
There are wee things that need tightening up — early scenes maybe run for longer than they need to, gaffer tape could be used at the top corner of the walls — but the two performances are already good and this was the first or second night I saw.

The Ultimate Very Best Other Album in the World Ever, Vol. 1-3

Posted: July 14th, 2010, by Simon Proffitt

Hi. To celebrate the fact that you haven’t had to deal with me or my nonsense for about 17 years on diskant, I thought I’d come back and do something vaguely generous (even though no-one knows who I am any more), all inspired by Marceline’s excellent post about everyone’s favourite kind of music, Other.

Some genres are uselessly broad, but well-meaningly applied. Remember trips to Our Price back in the early 90s? They split the whole world into the opposing forces of Rock/Pop and Dance, and if you were lucky and got a larger branch you could probably find a small Classical section (theoretically everything from 14th century secular music to Varèse, Xennakis, Pärt, Gregorian Chant, Vanessa Mae and allsorts in between, realistically only containing Vanessa Mae and a Classic FM compilation of Hovis adverts), Soundtracks (likely only containing 2 CDs, Buster and The Lost Boys) and Jazz (a handful of dreadfully recorded budget CDs of Charlie Mingus’ worst gigs).

At the other extreme, some genres, especially in the world of electronic music, are so convoluted and narrow as to seemingly only apply to one actual track. Others still, in this day of mp3s, are intentionally inaccurate, just for the lulz. Who hasn’t giggled mischievously while changing the ID3 tags on a Purulent Spermcanal album to ‘Children’s Music’? But if you’re the kind of person who does actually label mp3s with genres, it takes a special kind of slack-jawed vacuousness to resort to something as unimaginative as ‘unknown’. I can understand my Granddad not knowing about recent developments in the Abuja power-electronics scene,  but how does someone who doesn’t know how to classify Heavy Winged acquire it in the first place? It’s most likely, I suppose, that they’re ripping the CDs with something like Windows Media Player, and since the tracks don’t correspond to anything in the Gracenotes database, it’s deciding on your behalf that the music is too weird to sound like anything currently out there. But that can’t be true of all cases.

So then, I’ve been through my iTunes library and identified that I have quite a lot of ‘Other’. And there’s a really interesting range there – everything from lengthy spoken word stuff like Douglas Adams’ The Salmon of Doubt, the Hammond organ easy funk of Alan Hawkshaw, Ruins’ gonzo prog-metal, The Conet Project, all the way to stuff as shockingly mainstream as Scott Walker, TV on the Radio and – gasp – U2. In some cases, obviously only one or two tracks from an album have been ‘Othered’, the rest presumably being labelled correctly. I wanted, therefore, to put together a Best of Other compilation – to see whether it turned out that it was all garbage, or whether it would make a credible self-contained listening experience.

As it turns out, narrowing down 733 tracks (a total of 3.2 days of non-stop listening) down to the 10 or so necessary to fit on a CD is not possible. So I’ve lovingly and painstakingly sequenced and hand-crafted 3 discs’ worth of wonderful music, all of which has been categorised by somebody (not me!) as ‘Other’. All of which has baffled somebody enough for them to not be able to classify it adequately. I’ve deliberately avoided stuff much over 10 minutes in length, even though it might be awesome, just to fit as much on there as possible. This means, sadly, no Orthrelm (Ov is 45min), no Keiji Haino (Affection is 58min), Radu Malfatti (Rain Speak Soft Tree Listens: 61min) or Jonathan Coleclough (Casino/Tree Frogs/Beach: 58min), all of which I love as much as anything non-Other.

I now proudly present The Ultimate Very Best Other Album in the World Ever, Volumes 1-3 for you to download and enjoy. These will all conveniently fit exactly onto one CD each, so you can burn them and give them to your family for Christmas. I’ve even spent some time suggesting the correct genre for each track – because after all, there is only one right answer.

Volume 1: Rock/Pop
Deerhoof Dummy Discards A Heart – correct genre: Hipstercore
Bellini Marranzano – correct genre: Albini-ism / Maff(ia) Rock
Scratch Acid She Said – correct genre: Sleazepunk
Boris Feedbacker Part 3 – correct genre: Japanic-Attack
Alan Parker Maximum thrust 1 – correct genre: Easy listening
The Velvet Underground White Light/ White Heat – correct genre: 60s AOR / Classic Rock
Radiohead These Are My Twisted Words – correct genre: Rock / Pop
Starfuckers Saturazione – correct genre: Neo-agit-eurowave
Avarus Taivaalla tapahtuu – correct genre: Beards / Rural communism (instrumental)
Cocteau Twins Feet-like Fins – correct genre: Dreamgaze / Shoecore / New Age (Vocal)
Gastr Del Sol Crappie Tactics – correct genre: PoMo Arch-folk
John Jacob Niles The Two Sisters – correct genre: Traditional American Androgyny
Brainbombs The Whore – correct genre: Filth / Serial Killer
Heavy Winged Death Instinct – correct genre: Jam
Part Chimp Hello Bastards – correct genre: Cranial trauma
Man Is The Bastard She Boar – correct genre: Skate-cock shout-core
Vialka You Knew… – correct genre: Francospazz
Pale Saints Baby Maker – correct genre: Shoepop
Julie Doiron And The Wooden Stars Gone Gone – correct genre: Sadpop
Slowdive So Tired – correct genre: Sadgaze
U2 Drowning Man – correct genre: Bloated, self-righteous, epic stadium rock
Misora Hibari ???? – correct genre: Enka

Get it here: mediafire.com/?mydrw3yzyjz2flh

Volume 2: Ambient
Stilluppsteypa On The Right There – correct genre: Electronic
Assumed Possibilities Starwyte – correct genre: Electro-acoustic Improv
Harry Partch Time Of Fun Together – correct genre: Other
Jonny Greenwood Tehellet – correct genre: Modern classical
Birchville Cat Motel Invisible – correct genre: Drone
Drona Parva Hollow Breath, Pt.2 – correct genre: Drugfolk
Hugh Davies Shozyg I & II (Duo With Richard Orton) (1969) – correct genre: DIY / Bric-a-brac
Eric Dolphy Iron Man – correct genre: Jazz (bearded)
Thomas Bloch Redolfi, Michel – Mare Teno – correct genre: New Age / Space / Mystical
David Kirby The Gospel According to Dave Quam – correct genre: New drone
Jeph Jerman Chicken wire in rain – correct genre: Field recordings
Oren Ambarchi Triste Part 2 – Remodel – correct genre: Nu drone
Thuja Suns 1 – correct genre: Forestry / Spiritual free-folk
John Fahey Joy to the World – correct genre: Holiday / Religious

Get it here: mediafire.com/?mznomyjytftoioy

Volume 3: Dance/Urban
Scorn Doors – correct genre: Dark Bass Fuck-hop
Various Artists 6 – correct genre: Berlin Heroin House
Gas Zauberberg 4 – correct genre: Kompakt
Tricky Overcome – correct genre: Coffee-table Trip Hop / Dance (urban)
Mulatu Astatke Yèkatit (February) – correct genre: Ethiojazz / Africafunk
Gus Gus Monument – correct genre: Nordic Electro-Gothpop
Autechre Medrey – correct genre: Glitchtronica
Quinoline Yellow Arnica – correct genre: Glitchtronica
The Conet Project tcp d3 4 english lady jammed irdial – correct genre: Spyware
The Tuss fredugolon 6 – correct genre: Acid Disco
Salvatore Not Chello! – correct genre: Dance post-dance rock
Bernard Parmegiani Accidents / Harmoniques – correct genre: Electro-acoustic / musique concréte
Satanicpornocultshop 99.2142 feat. frosen pine – correct genre: Sampladelic Mentalism / Plunderphonics / Turntablism / Rap
Aethenor I – correct genre: Black Ambient Doomgaze / Isolationism
BJ Nilsen Impossibilidad – correct genre: Psychoambient
Mika Vainio Further, higher! – correct genre: Ambient / Electronic

Get it here: mediafire.com/?zieorqzmtvo3jm4


FRANK SIDEBOTTOM – Guess Who’s Been On Match Of The Day (DL, Cherry Red)

Posted: July 8th, 2010, by JGRAM

It was genuinely sad news to hear thatFrank Sidebottom (or rather Chris Sievey) had lost his fight against cancer a few weeks ago.  When news initially broke that he had unfortunately got the disease the fact that he was continuing to perform on the live circuit suggested that he was going steamroll and power through the illness.  Sadly this was not to be.

Originally I thought Mark Radcliffe was Frank Sidebottom or vice versa but soon it became apparent that they were both birds from the same tree, from a rich Manchester scene with a staunch and glowing legacy.  Frank Sidebottom was a hilarious creation, a lo-fi character that was always around but never seemed to quite get the breaks or the right vehicle with which to work his magic.  Undaunted however he kept plugging away in a manner that should serve as true inspiration to anybody in either comedy or music that carries on regardless in the face of slack apathy.

Prior to this year’s World Cup beginning Frank was already pushing his World Cup single (hey, he might as well, every other schmuck was) and as soon as his passing was announced immediately people on Twitter began suggesting that his fan base get together and attempt to fire the single to the top of the charts.  Quickly some kind of campaign began to take place and before long a realistic amount of followers looked in place to get the song a decent chart positioning.  Unfortunately things then took a turn for the worse as it was discovered that Sievey had passed away without leaving any assets and it appeared that his family would not be able to afford a fitting funeral for such a treasured performer.  With this the Twitter campaign took on a different role and within days £21,000 had been raised for his send off.

Now the time has come to release the single.  Originally it was supposed to be “3 Shirts On Me Line” but I sense/fear that that song was never correctly recorded in time.  Instead the good people at Cherry Red have quickly pulled together this digital single of typical Frank delivery in the style of George Formby gone chipper, Manc and mental.  The song barely lasts a minute but that’s not the point, its Frank!  Under such circumstances who can deny?  The other track is “The Robbins Aren’t Bobbins” which is his ode to his beloved Altrincham.  It sounds like it’s from a different era, which is perhaps/probably is.

Seldom do charity records feel worthwhile but for once this release does as it represents tribute to a genuine and truly entertaining individual that is a sad loss to the profession and industry.  For years I have vowed never to open an iTunes shop account but especially for this release I did.  With proceeds going to cancer charities here is hoping that the record places high on Sunday 11 July (World Cup Final day).  It will, it really will.

Take care.

Thesaurus moment: frolic.

Frank Sidebottom

Cherry Red



Posted: June 28th, 2010, by Marceline Smith

So, I just had a bit of a minor rage incident and finally deleted all the contents of the Genre field for all my music in iTunes. It was someone marking a track’s genre as ‘Other’ that finally pushed me over the edge but it’s been a long time coming. It’s partly the endless rows of ‘Rock’, ‘Pop’ and, ugh, ‘Alternative’ that make my music collection look so much more boring than it actually is, and partly the thought that someone might think I myself chose some of the more cringeworthy genres – AlternRock anyone?

In some ways it’s an eye-opener, a peek into the life of people whose music collections are so tedious they put Mogwai and Tortoise in a genre of Unclassifiable, or people so rockist they think Saint Etienne are Classic Rock. For all that, there have been some great moments – Christmas Song by Mogwai marked as ‘Holiday Music’, The Pastels as ‘Twee’, a live Joanna Newsom track simply as ‘Awesome’ (I disagree but applaud the enthusiasm) and The Teardrop Explodes as ‘Pop-Psicodelico’ (um).

I’m thinking of doing as many have and re-using the Genre field for record labels unless anyone has any better suggestions? And please share any moronic/hilarious genres you’ve come across yourself.

LEVENSHULME BICYCLE ORCHESTRA – “Nine Doors” (Concrete Moniker, CD/Download)

Posted: June 27th, 2010, by Dave Stockwell

Nine Doors cover

Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra. That’s gotta be one of he best band names of all time. Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra. Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra. It’s so satisfying to say. It’s almost as satisfying to type out, time and again. Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra. The best thing about the name is that it’s wholly accurate: Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra are a troop of musicians  based in a certain district of Manchester who come together to make music from all kinds of instruments, including bicycles. They’ve been a going concern for a few years now, but this is their debut release; a full-length CD album (or download if you’re so inclined) capturing nine of their collective improvisations for posterity and general confusion.

“Marlon. Marlon Brando are you the famous film star?”

And he says, “yes I’m afraid I am.”

“Why aren’t you happy with your existence?”

“Well that’s the question isn’t it?”

Confusion? Yes. It’s not like they don’t warn you: open up the beautifully packaged CD, pull out the bonkers fold-out poster and look on the back; you’re confronted with what reads like the ramblings of an insane man and a small disclaimer: “All lyrics improvised at time of recording and sung by Zeke S Clough”. Pity the fool that volunteered to transcribe them.

Zeke S. Clough (voice, synthesizer, percussion), perhaps better known for his insane artwork for Skull Disco that also adorns this release,  is just one of the quartet of fearless improvisers that make up Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra. Huw T. Wahl (bicycle percussion, clarinet, piano, voice), David M. (for Magnus) Birchall (bass, small instruments, percussion, voice) and Josh J. Kopecek (synthesizer, piano, flugelhorn) are the other constituent parts that make up this glorious whole.

So what is the sound of confusion? The album opens up with some typically deranged moans from Zeke, before some clattering of bicycle percussion, fizzing pedals and rhythmic random percussion. This builds up to a point of tension before Zeke begins his first sermon, quickly accompanied by bass thrums and other assorted layers before it all collapses into the next song. “Starved Dog” features a piano accompanying what sounds like someone playing a bass guitar with a slide, a kazoo and god knows what else. “Oily Film” features what sounds like the ghost of crazed organist playing the soundtrack to Chopper Chicks in Zombietown, accompanied by creaks, groans and moans and the odd whoop here and there. “Whale in a Duckpond” almost sounds like an actual, recognisable song at various points, with some welcome musicality as David plays the bass like an upright and Zeke croons in his best Geno Washington impersonation. Then it all goes wrong; maggots start crawling over the windows and hell gradually breaks loose. “Marlon Brando”? Well, you know how that one goes. Everything starts falling apart by the time we reach “Primate Engineer” and Huw’s clarinet starts wailing over the top of abstract piano phrases, phased bass rumbles and some beatboxing. Eventually it all comes to a crashing, triumphant halt with final track “Nine Doors”, which runs a full 20 minutes and encapsulates virtually everything that precedes it, mutating from broken-down church organ jam to skeletal percussion workout to bizarre melody hopscotch, all held together by another bizarre, nonsensical story. A glorious hymn to the power of collective free improvisation, it’s probably the finest moment on this fantastically cock-eyed album.

“Nine Doors” is the sound of what happens when you lock four like-minded musical voyagers in a room for 2 days and distill their inevitable improvisations down to something that approaches the coherent “music” your lazy brain desires. Live, Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra must sprawl all over the place as they take different paths towards collective enlightenment. On record, you’re served the mere highlights of their wanderings, jumbled-up and thrown together to create this mind-flaying assemblage of sounds, textures, noises, words and song. Running nicely over an hour, it might be too much to take in at one sitting, but keep listening and it’s the collective inspiration that frazzles your mind. Awesomely inspired and dazzlingly weird, simply nothing sounds like Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra.

LBO are out in the mainland of Europe right now blowing minds night after night. If you’re anywhere near anywhere they’re playing, I suggest you take a trip and check them out:

28th June – Basel @ Obst & Gemuse
29th June – Dornbirn @ TIK
30th June – Geneva @ Cave 12
1st July – Grenoble @ Le 102
2nd July – Stuttgart @ FFUS
3rd July – Prague @ Final Club
4th July – Leipzig @ Conne Island
5th July – Berlin @ Madame Claude
6th July – Hamburg @ Golden Pudel
7th July – Mainz @ Walpoldenakademie
8th July – Amsterdam @ Delicatessen

Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra website

Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra on Myspace

Concrete Moniker website

The Theatre of Eternal Football

Posted: June 14th, 2010, by Stan Tontas

I’m not going to pretend to care or know about the football part of the World Cup. What I love is the peripheral stuff — ill-informed, national chauvinist commentary, folk taking passionate positions on the correct weight of a football, counting the number of times African teams are described as “colourful”, or having “natural flair”.

But the chief delight this year is the fact that all of the matches are soundtracked by LaMonte Young. A cheap plastic trumpet, the vuvuzela, multiplied by 50,000 makes for a two hour drone performance worthy of the Dream Syndicate or the Theatre of Eternal Music.

The drone always has something of the ecstatic about it, from medieval plainsong  to buddhist chanting — now its introduction to the World Cup seems to be backing up all the clichés about football as religion, stadia as cathedrals.

Apparently it reaches 130 dB in the stadium. Imagine what it’d be like on the pitch, moving through that, the way the sound would change in an almost physical way.

I just wish that my TV’s red button gave me an option to silence the commentators and immerse myself in the noise of the vuvuzela. Maybe then football would make sense to me…

DEATHPODAL – “Exu__Wow” (Electropapknit Records, CDEP/Download)

Posted: June 7th, 2010, by Dave Stockwell

Death Podal

Deathpodal are otherwise known as Alistair Chivers, a resident of Glasgow and a veritable one-man band. “Exu__Wow” is his debut EP, consisting of six tracks and a refreshingly huge bundle of ideas. Released earlier this year on Electropapknit Records, this is a total DIY job with bits of songs recorded all over the place; at home, at university, in a portaloo, etc – you get the picture. With contributions from members of Copy Haho and Project Ven Hell, it’s a tasty morsel that I thoroughly enjoyed getting stuck into. I’m going to review this one track-by-track, as each is unique and deserving of its own attention:

Opening track “Robert” starts with understated guitar motifs and gorgeous clarinet breaths that wind their way around each for half the song, before beautifully blossoming into a lovely melodic instrumental downer of a jam that makes me think of prime-“A Thousand Leaves”-era Sonic Youth. Aye, it’s almost ‘post rock’, but only in that classic sense of every added layer of instrumentation (including some really nice subtle synth) adding depth and texture to the sound as the song progresses.

“Squirrel and the Fox” starts similarly quietly, but adds vocals and elements of musical tension that recall the quiet moments of Guy Picciotto’s songs for Fugazi in the best possible way. Again, the song takes an abrupt departure at the halfway point, breaking down into a quick squall of various off-key reeds  and squeeze box that flare up and die down before allowing a reprise of the original refrain.

“Every Superstition Shall Be Removed” starts with some scrappy guitar scratching before numerous layers kick in with an aggressive hardcore riff and strident vocals – ratcheting the tension levels up a billion degrees and sounding like almost a completely different ‘band’ to the previous songs. Screamed choruses reveal an impassioned frustration at god knows what, but it’s pretty damned exciting. My only minor quibble is that the drums are mixed too low to give the song the real sense of momentum it needs. A harsh howl of a solo brings everything back into focus for one final flourish before the whole song collapses into itself, leaving guitars flailing around a black hole of frustration.

“Sycamore” is a brief experimental diversion into processed sounds revolving around the reverberations of a select few piano chords. It’s atmospheric and a welcome pause before we make the final ascent.

Closer “There Is A Diagram For This” builds on the promise of all preceding songs by creating a mini-epic of murky, brittle guitars and cello that build up into an inevitable climax of a chorus, (with screamed vocals that bring old diskant friends Cat on From to mind) via a breakdown that also functions as a lovely Slint homage. From this impossible peaks the song quickly collapses into abstraction, clutched notes, ringing dischords, piano stabs and assorted other sounds. This devolution continues into snatches of vocal snippets and a final, anguished cry of pain.

This is a mildly fantastic and deeply heartening release – it’s refreshing to hear someone bursting with so many ideas whilst retaining a discipline and sense of musical aesthetic to make a coherent songs. Deathpodal covers more ground in these six songs than I’ve heard in other bands’ careers, but almost all of it sticks,and convincingly so. I can’t wait to hear where Deathpodal goes from here.

“Exu__Wow” is available as a CD in a full colour digipak with 300 gsm textured finish card, and artwork by independent publisher / designers Sing Statistics. Or you can download it from the usual places (Amazing Tunes, Amazon and iTunes. Deathpodal advises you to get it from Bandcamp, it’s the cheapest for you, it’s ethical and the money doesn’t go to third parties!). Support DIY! Buy! Buy! Buy!

Deathpodal website

Electropapknit Records website