Terminal Cheesecake – Dandelion Sauce of the Ancients


Despite admitting quite recently that the name Terminal Cheesecake meant absolutely nothing to me until not so long ago when the chance came to review their new record I decided to dive in and act like I knew what I was talking about. I think I just about got away with it.

Review (and exclusive track premiere) over at Echoes & Dust.


Black Dog Gaming: Ambient Gaming vs the Brain Jitters

I’ve been cleaning this sewer for close to 3 hours. The average level time is apparently 1.5 hours but I like to think I’m just being thorough. There appears to have been some sort of skirmish between unidentified alien beasts and sanitation workers down here, an encounter for which the latter party were grossly under prepared. Then later some military types must have come down to take out the aliens before they could do any more damage. Judging from the carnage the mission was a success. All’s well that ends well, right?

Wrong. Some poor fool has to clean up all the blood and guts and make sure word doesn’t get out. And that poor fool is me.


I’ve been lazy and stolen these screenshots from Google. In my defence it is not a good game to take photos in.

My girlfriend watches me mopping a bloody walkway curiously over my shoulder for a moment and asks why I don’t just mop the kitchen instead. I’ve been expecting this question and have been mulling it over for a while. “I can’t just jab three times at a square of kitchen and have it be clean,” I say. “There are rules here. Clear, understandable rules.” Continue reading

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – In Summer

In Summer‘s affectations could, in other hands, sound a little too zeitgeisty. Everything is smeared in reverb and the guitars somehow managing to sound somewhere between a shoegaze haze and the kind of synths you’d expect to hear in some post-Drive soundtrack 80s aping. It seems engineered to fit into a summer where Stranger Things’s prime-Spielberg era nostalgia has everyone wanting to be soaked in signifiers of that overly sentimentalised decade. But you know you’re in good hands once you look at Cantu-Ledesma’s pedigree: he’s been around the block, building an impressive back catalogue of releases with post-rockers Tarantel and in collaboration with the likes of Grouper, Barn Owl and Oneohtrix Point Never amongst many others. Even if it does sound so very now he’s got as good a claim as any to say, “hey, I’ve been here for ages, what took you so long?” Continue reading

Wanton Playlistery – 2016: Q3

I don’t think I’m going out on too weak a limb to suggest there haven’t been many bona fide classic records released in 2016. There’ll probably be a few that will grown in stature and be considered classic in time, and possibly for all my flailing around trying to hear everything (reader: I have a problem) that I’ve missed entirely. But right here and now nothing obviously stands up as Timeless.

And yet it feels like it’s been a great year for music already – the sheer breadth of wonderful sounds created boggles my tiny mind on a near daily basis. Much of it may be forgotten fairly quickly – but it was beautiful while it lasted. It’s nice not to think of posterity all the time and let stuff drift through your life like a cool breeze and enjoy it while it’s there. Right?


Indie Rock, they say, is pretty much a dead art – yet there go the likes of Dinosaur Jr, the Julie Ruin, Parquet Courts indie rockin’ away like the 90s never ended. Which for a guitar junkie like myself is always welcome. In contrast the realm of ambient/drone/modern composition continues to go through a veritible golden age with the likes of Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Jherek Bicshoff, Juliana Barwick et al weaving voice, electronics, organic instrumentation, field recordings and untamed static into wistful, melancholic, nostalgic slices of beautiful noise.

I keep thinking it’s been a poor year for heavy music but there are a few reliable stalwarts keeping the flame lit. Wrekmeister Harmonies continue to surprise with the scope of their dark epics, Neurosis continue to defy time and the laws of diminishing returns, Russian Circles just about keep an old formula fresh, Big Business continue to expand their sonic palette despite contracting in numbers and Ulver continue to keep everyone guessing. Newcomers MAKE bring a much needed sense of righteous indignation to post-metal and Helen Money showcases the under-explored heavy potential of the cello.

Yeah. It’s been a pretty good year. And it’s still not done, with a few big names left on the release calender and still more as yet unknown suprises afoot. It might have been a pretty shit year in most other respects for us as a species but there’s plenty of joy to be had hidden between a pair of headphones. We can always be thankful for that.

MoRkObOt – GoRgO


I’d like to claim to have some kind of process when it comes to deciding what I’m going to write about. That I have my ear to the ground at all times, waiting for just the right vibration to come my way that demands to be captured in 7/800 words of pithy criticism. That I’m Captain Zeitgeist, a lightning rod for what’s Important in 2016 that channels the electricity of the Now directly down into vital content for the masses.

In reality I just look around every now and again and think something like, “hey look – an entirely baffling twin bass wielding Italian metal trio! I should review that for a handful of interested weirdos!”

It’s not much but it keeps me entertained.

Review over at Echoes & Dust.

Melting Hand – High Collider


I’ve been a little obsessed with Mike Vest’s guitar tone this year. Ever since I got hooked on Haikai No Ku’s Temporary Infinity I’ve been rinsing his work in Blown Out and as Lush Worker and Basillica. It just sounds so strange and alien – I’ve invented an origin story for it involving Mike stealing it from a distant civilisation from across the stars. And god help us all when they come to take it back.

Terminal Cheesecake, on the other hand, I must confess to not being familiar with until recently. Sometime a band resurfaces after years in the wilderness with everyone hailing them as returning legends and I’m left scratching my head wondering if they’d somehow been retconned into musical history by time travelling trolls determined to make me feel silly. But having dug into their back catalogue it seems they’re worthy of the title.

So a collaboration between Vest and the Cheesecake’s Russel Smith obviously piqued my interest. Echoes & Dust had an exclusive stream lined up and needed some words. Both the stream and those words can be found here.