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Nic's Picks

Nic presents some of his favourite titles from the last couple of months: 

Scraps -  New World LP (Moontown Records, 2021)

When revisiting Scraps previous full length TTNK (pronounced Titanic, also on Moontown Reocrds, 2016) in the lockdown of 2020 I found it more affecting than when I first purchased it sometime near the release date. Maybe there was some fatigue from the mid-decade influx of synthesizers into the DIY world, but it shines more brightly on it’s own. While New World isn’t just more-of-the-same from Laura Hill (aka Scraps) it certainly retains all the enjoyable qualities. Bits of this record remind me of the introverted-joy of those early Frankie Knuckles/Jamie Principle jams, as well as Young Marble Giants, and for that I find it a lot more enjoyable than the austere coldness of most so called synth-wave. It’s top tier 21st century synth pop, right up there with Holy Balm and Sex Tourists. 

Spike In Vain - Disease is Relative LP (Scat Records, 1984/2021)

Spike In Vain have been dominating my both stereo and music related thoughts along with Along with Chic - C'est Chic, The Clash - Sandanista, and the No Trend box set. You can read my relatively in depth reviews of their 1984 debut here and the previously unreleased follow up here, but here I want to point out this excellent long-form interview SIV guitarist Robert Griffin (also the founder of Scat Records, wow) over at Tony Rettman’s No Idols blog. There’s nothing salacious in there but it’s a very interesting and revealing history of the periphery of US Hardcore, the Cleveland underground, “noise rock” and much more.

Destrifan - Fantasies CS (Knotwilg, 2021)

This one has really stuck with me the last month or so. Destrifan is Donald Smith of Surface Of The Earth and Entlang (who share two members of The Garbage & The Flowers). This is the project's first release of uneasy synth works that orbit in a similar void to Half High, Call Back The Giants, Blue Chemise or even the Richard Pinhas album 'Iceland'. Moving stuff.

Hypnotizing Chickens - (I'm On) Time 7" (Knotwilg, 2021)

Max and Richie of Watery Love fame, sitting in a room armed with guitars, fingers, voice and a recording device. Levels fluctuate in a woozy kinda way. There's a stark contrast here between two bros vibing on electric and acoustic guitar, with the biting hostility Watery Love fans know and cherish. 

Evil - Possessed By Evil LP (Nuclear War Now, 2021)

Still can’t get enough of this one!! Japan’s Evil evoke the originators of extreme metal (Sodom, Celtic Frost, Show No Mercy era Slayer etc) with a Gism-like eccentricity that takes it from the realm of record-collector-music and into something genuinely possessed! Unbridled barks and crude blasts merge with soaring solos and sensational songcraft. How the hell does one evoke the crude origins of Black Metal but with epic chops reminiscent of Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate, heck even Thin Lizzy? Evil are incredible.