World What World (Trouble In Mind)
From New Haven, Connecticut, Mountain Movers have been going for some 15 years and play psychedelic rock that shuffles between a few modes while maintaining its own personality; isn’t as easy to bracket as many bands under the psych umbrella, but could appeal to a few discrete subsets of rock fandom.
World What World, their third album for the reliably good Trouble In Mind label, has a few outbreaks of relatively abstract instrumental frazzle-jamming, such as Final Sunset. However, guitarists Dan Green and Kryssi Battalene are by no means frit of melody, with a number like Way Back To The World almost jangling its way into Paisley Underground territory. Vocalist Green’s croon on Haunted Eyes is a touch Thurston Moore-like, and the spectre of Neil Young’s Crazy Horse looms over much of this album: grandiose yet downhome, happy to stretch out arrangements and in love with the sound of electric guitars.
words NOEL GARDNER
Distant Populations (Epitaph)
When legendary post-hardcore pioneers Quicksand re-emerged in 2017 with Interiors, it was met with slight trepidation. With a faultless back catalogue, there was always the risk that they could ruin their legacy. That anxiety was quickly eased, making new album Distant Populations something to embrace.
And embrace it we should, as this is an album of the year contender by anybody’s standards. The band have put more emphasis on forceful riffs and bigger hooks this time around, giving the album a more sustained upbeat feel than previous outings. Evidence of this can be found in the two opening songs Inversion and Lightning Field, which come flying out of the traps, and with everything on here clocking in near the three-minute mark, urgency is very much the order of the day. The power trio of Schreifels, Vega and Cage have created yet another vital album to add to a catalogue already full of vital albums.
words CHRIS ANDREWS
SepulQuarta (Nuclear Blast)
If there were any positives to be found in lockdown, then some of the amazing musical collaborations it threw up is surely one; Sepultura regularly participated, playing live via video link. The Brazilian metal legends have now taken it a step further by collecting their efforts together on an album.
SepulQuarta sees the band collaborating with some of their peers from the metal world, such as Phil Rind of Sacred Reich, Anthrax’s Scott Ian and Danko Jones, to bang through some choice cuts from Sepultura’s renowned back catalogue. If it’s a Welsh connection you’re looking for, then check out the cover of Motörhead’s Orgasmatron featuring our very own Phil Campbell.
The album cover, by Eduardo Recife, depicts a beautiful flower emerging from the carcass of a deceased bird, perfectly summing up the feel of the album. If SepulQuarta isn’t quite essential listening, it’s an interesting experiment by a band who never shy away from pushing the envelope.
words CHRIS ANDREWS
My Name Is Suzie Ungerleider (MVKA)
The artist formerly known as Oh Susanna has returned to her autobiographical, diary-like writing style for this excellent first release under her given name, Suzie Ungerleider. Now a veteran of the alt-country scene, Ungerleider has inspired a generation of female (and I’m sure male) singer-songwriters with her intimate recordings and rousing live performances as Oh Susanna – taking her stage name from the ubiquitous pre-country classic. But, having discovered the deeply racist origins of the Stephen Foster song, Ungerleider has dropped the moniker to move forward under her own name.
The songs on My Name Is… live up to the bold title through deeply personal content that creates a lasting intimacy. Ungerleider’s writing conjures images of broken families – the quietly heartbreaking Baby Blues and Disappear – alongside smalltown characters, North Star Sneakers and past loves, Roses. The result is somehow a frozen tableau of Ungerleider’s life with all these moments, memories and imaginings captured by honest lyricism and small, subtly enchanting melodies.
words JOHN-PAUL DAVIES
Goitse A Thaisce (A Compilation Of Irish Music – Volume One) (Skinty)
There’s no surprises in the quality on display in Goitse A Thaisce, an excellent new compilation of traditional Irish music. From the blistering opening instrumental, Martin Wynn’s / The Longford Tinker by The Bothy Band to The Dubliners’ classic closer The Parting Glass the standard doesn’t drop. But a surprise may come in knowing that the curator behind this collection, Tom Coll, is the drummer of postpunk outfit Fontaines D.C.
Coll decided to do his bit for the traditional music that had surrounded him in his youth, on the west coast of Ireland, and has put together a peerless, generation-spanning set of songs. After a recent, prolonged return home, Coll was steeped once more in the sounds of uilleann pipes – heard here on a great Planxty track – and the a capella folk singing of artists such as the more contemporary Lisa O’Neill.
Perfect as an introduction to traditional Irish music, this will also open ears, new and old, to both classic artists and those they have inspired.
words JOHN-PAUL DAVIES