Wondering what to buy this Xmas for that avant-noise enthusiast in your life? Hominid Sounds, the new UK underground label set up by four warped souls conjoined by a love of gig going and ace tunes, have released some absolute corkers throughout the year guaranteed to thrill the pants off even the most particular of musos. Drone, wonky electronics, space rock, sonic freakouts and balls-to-the-wall garage punk all catered for across 6 of the finest 2016 has to offer.
First up, Melting Hand, an instrumental psych rock supergroup comprising members of Terminal Cheesecake, Gum Takes Tooth, Luminous Bodies, Bong and Skullflower who drop their debut LP High Collider a five-track behemoth of deep, dangerous sonic experimentation and darkly engulfing grooves. Riffs descend from far flung dimensions wrapped in a maelstrom of sounds across space and time whilst propulsive drumming keeps every extended cosmic jam firmly on track. The soundtrack to a trip through Doctor Strange’s Dark Dimension with only a malfunctioning compass and an A to Z of Milton Keynes for directions, High Collider is a sublime intro to the Hominid stable. (4/5)
To describe Mark Dicker’s Frog Eggs as a difficult listen is an understatement, a wash of glitch and abstract noise from the Palehorse synth-man, at no point does it ease up and allow you space to breath. But, immerse yourself in its wonders and there is much to enjoy. It’s the vibrant buzz of a crippled NASA control room from a 70’s disaster movie enveloping dank, disconcerting beats over five constantly surprising statements of borderless intent. (3.5/5)
Driving riffs and soaring psych blues are the order of the day on Super Fancy Skeleton, the four-tune debut from Casual Nun, a heavy as fuck quintet featuring members of Throne and Dethscalator. Think early Sabbath gone Krautrock and you’re halfway to understanding the sheer magnitude of their epic repetitive noise, which is, without a slither of exaggeration, consistently a cosmic sledgehammer to the skull. (4.5/5)
If like me, you loved last year’s Shitwife album you’ll be pleased to know that one half of that duo (Wayne Adams) is also behind Max Hardy. Heated Patio is a vastly different beast to Big Lad, but the tech-noir synth jams provide just as thrilling a ride. Highlight “Polish Beer Helmet” (Adams has lost none of his ability to conjure up the greatest song titles) is woozy perfection and should be a contender for the Stranger Things – Season Two soundtrack, whilst “Rodents Of Unusual Size” should have featured on that Black Mirror episode set in the 80s (any scene involving rain). (4.5/5)
Proving just how diverse Hominid Sounds initial roster is We Wild Blood’s How About Never serves up a doom laden brew of grungy aesthetics and shoegazey ambience. Opener “Haunt Yerself” is classic quiet / loud dynamics and a great introduction to their noise but it’s the mental drumming and cascading clatter of “Primrose Road To Hell” and the mind-melting explosions of “Let’s Party” which offer the biggest delights. (4/5)
Finally, Death Pedals second album Meat House, the most anticipated thing to emerge from the label so far, is ten tracks of frenzied punk’n’roll that build on their majestic Hot Snakes-ish debut The Carvery to take in influences from the likes of Metz, The Men and USA Nails. It’s a full-on strap- yourself-in-mutherfucker rocket ship to hell, literally straining at the leash to unload their enthused party all over your grateful face.
Opener “Nil By Mouth” sets the scene as guitars, bass and drums do battle in a confined space whilst vocals suffocate in desperate agony before the whole thing slides effortlessly into the high-octane “Kronk”, two and a half minutes of on-the-edge punk rock that provides innumerable fist pumping moments before “Vicious Cycles” staggers home still wired on speed and cheap wine building into a crescendo of fevered lunacy as the drugs wear thin and the adrenalin kicks in. It’s an exhausting opening salvo which somehow is matched throughout with the fuzzy repetition of “Good Dog” recalling “Swastika Eyes” era Primal Scream as covered by Pissed Jeans at their most frenzied, the demonic “Bad Class” daring a (kind of) solo in the midst of all the rage and pulling it off, whilst “LOW” threatens to derail at any moment (so boisterous is its rhythm) before being hauled back from the brink with a magnetic vocal on the chorus. Meanwhile, “Count Of None” (surely a joke at the expense of beleaguered drummer and internet sensation Tom Brewins ) tears along without a care in the world.
If three tracks stand out however, it’s the thundering and anthemic noise pop of “The Sharps Cut Right”, the speedy crash of jubilant racket that is “Straight 8s” and the Hot Snakes aping (in a good way) “Egon Seymour Hoskins” that closes proceedings. Three tunes destined to propel Death Pedals out from the dingy cellars of London’s DIY underground and onto headlining appearances at 2017s choicest noise-fests. (5/5)