Turn Up The Volume’s 20 BEST ALBUMS Of 2021

1. ‘New Fragility’ by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH (Brooklyn, NY)

Released: 12 February 2021

Ounsworth (mastermind): “The songs are politically motivated,
which is unusual for me. It’s about what I think we’re all experiencing
at the moment, certainly here in the United States, anyway, trying
to move forward amidst an almost cruel uncertainty.”

Turn Up The Volume: Riveting tunes, sharp-cutting reflections,
magical sparks, Ounsworth‘s feverish voice, and his glittery guitar
play make this LP the best one since the self-titled 2005 debut.
Bewitching all the way. My 2021 number one

Key single: New Fragility…

Stream/buy album here…


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2. SEEK SHELTER by ICEAGE (Denmark)

Released: 7 May 2021 – 5th LP

Turn Up The Volume: Finally, Iceage do what they were expected to do for a long
time. Creating a standout album that makes the hair in the back of your neck stand
up. Melodramatic with ardency, impassioned with vigour, emotional with grimness. Charismatic frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt leads the troops as never before.

Their fifth, their best.

Key single: Vendetta

Full album…


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3. ‘Calvacade’ by BLACK MIDI (UK)

Released: 26 May 2021 – their second album

Turn Up The Volume: From outlandish sonority – think Scott Walker – to
Zappa-esque adventurousness, from a ‘normal’ song (Marlene Dietrich) to
free jazz weirdness. The sonic search of this impressively inventive band is
both inscrutable and intriguing.

Cavalcade confirms the experimental brilliance of their debut LP.
Miles Davis going post-punk in the 21st Century.

Key single: John L

Full album…

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4. ‘Marriage’ by DEAP VALLY (Los Angeles)

Turn Up The Volume: The drop-dead gorgeous sisters in rock arms Lindsey Troy
and Julie Edwards celebrate their 10th year of producing high-powered turbulence.
Their bond is tighter than ever and their boogie-woogie more varied than ever.

Mind you, don’t expect a jazz record. Deap Vally are still about rocking ‘n rolling
while tackling their demons with vocal bravado and forthright ruminations.

Key single: Magic Medicine

Get married here…


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5. ‘Comfort To Me’ by AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS

Released: 10th September 2021

Turn Up The Volume:

Old skool punk ‘n’ roll? Absolutely. Any good? You betcha!

Amyl and her buddies made another blistering riff-manic-monster of
a hell fucking hell yeah record. Pogo madness is back. Sturm und drang
from start to finish. Holy Moly!

Key single: Hertz

Stream/buy album here…


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6. ‘CARNAGE’ by NICK CAVE & WARREN ELLIS (Australia)

Released: 25 February 2021

Turn Up The Volume: This black and white pearl is the work of
the romantic Cave crooner meeting the haunting Cave crooner. Idyllic
orchestrations, classical arrangements, and bad seed Warren Ellis
showing, once more, his refined grandeur.

A tantalizing tandem made in twilight heaven.

Key track: White Elephant

Stream album here…

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7. Full Spectrum by THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA (UK)

Released: 26 February 2021

Turn Up The Volume: Manimal and Samara are a poetallica sensation.
A new laser light at the end of a mythical and tenebrous tunnel.

Imagine Sylvia Plath fronting a mind-challenging, noise-exploring band.

Their debut album is a multi-faceted opus in sound and vision. Puzzling poetry
exploring life, death, birth, past, present, and future embedded in titanic thunder
and lighting symphonies going from perplexing metal to chill-out ambient.

Surreality becoming reality in a tormented world.

Key single: Psychopath’s Monologue

Stream ‘Full Spectrum’ here…

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8.’Infinity’ by GHOST PATTERNS (UK)

Released: 3 September 2021

Turn Up The Volume: The amplified haziness of Slowdive, the mystifying
soulfulness of Spacemen 3, the multi-layer-constructing skills of My Bloody
Valentine
.

Hallucinating soundscapes, synth shadowplays, and guitars dueling with
each other while tireless drums dauntlessly beat, and wailing voices wander
in an enigmatic fog of reverberation.

This is what the (sur)real world of Ghost Patterns sounds like.

Key track: House Of Lies…

Stream/buy album here…


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9. ‘Pressure Machine’ by THE KILLERS

Released: 13 August 2021

Turn Up The Volume: This time the bombastic rockers take another direction
to express their emotiveness. Moody, nostalgic, melancholically romantic with
frontman Brandon Flowers looking back at his teenage years in his hometown
Utah. Think Bruce Springsteen‘s sentimentality on his masterpiece Nebraska.

Overall an emotive and melodramatic
record without going over the top.

For some critics, it’s too mellow.
For me, its gripping mellowness
that works just fine.

Key track: Quiet Town

Dim the lights…

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10. ‘Mutator by ALAN VEGA (US)

Released: 23 April 2021

Liz Lamere (Vega’s widow) remembers: “Our primary purpose for going into the studio
was to experiment with sound, not to ‘make records. I was playing the machines with Alan manipulating sounds. I played riffs while Alan morphed the sounds being channeled through the machines.’

Turn Up The Volume: Most of the lost albums that eventually came/come to the
surface one day should have stayed lost forever. If they were good enough to be
released the moment they were recorded they would have never ended up in a
smelly cellar or, worst case, in a trash can.

So what about Alan Vega’s lost one? One: it feels special to have the legend back.
Two: the album seems to come from a very dark mind, from the obscure places
of Vega‘s soul, creating a nightmarish and Kafkaesque chill-out atmosphere for
a 30-minute David Lynch film-noir.

Talking about a great find!

Key track: Nike Soldier

Stream/buy full album here…


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11. ‘WE… ARE DOOMED’ by THE IRRATIONAL LIBRARY (The Netherlands)

Released: 15 January 2021

Turn Up The Volume: The rap and roll venom of Rage Against The Machine, the
fuck-you-hypocrites grimness of Black Flag, the punky saxophone of X-Ray-Spex,
the sharp poetic spit and sneer anarchy of Mark. E. Smith, the challenging spirit
of open-minded-and-ass-kicking-anti-establishment doom and gloom crusaders.

Sounds like 2021, like the end of the world as we know it.

Key single: And The Next Song

Stream album here…

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12. ‘For The First Time’ by BLACK ROAD, NEW ROAD (London)

Released: 5 February 2021 – debut LP

Turn Up The Volume says: Like Pavement going prog rock with the sound- exploring
state of mind of Mogwai. Jazzy and classical music textures make sure your curious mind
is focused all the time. And singer Isaac Wood‘s voice resonates freakishly identical to the chilling voice of American songwriter Conor Oberst from indie band Bright Eyes.

It’s not a happy record, but who needs a tsunami of cheesy pop tunes in these science-fiction-like times, anyway. I know it’s their first time, but these hungry noise crusaders
will stun us again in the future.

Believe the hype!

Key track: Science Fair

Full album…

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13. ‘SURVIVORS’ by ONISM E (San Antonio / NYC)

Released: 19th February 2021 – debut album

Turn Up The Volume wrote: Gusto, high-spiritedness, and anxiety are the
keywords here. This warm-blooded record is a heart-rending reflection of the
group’s state of 2021 mind. A galvanizing collection of cohesive poignant emo
songs influenced by the disturbing way our troubled world is handling human
issues, once-in-a-lifetime dramas, and the personal turmoil of frontwoman
Eline Chavez.

Her soul-stirring and powerful (Aretha Franklin / young Tina Turner) vox, the weeping
guitars, and the electrical intensity are at times overwhelming and heartbreaking. Impressive!

Key track: Stay


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Stream/buy album here…


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14. ‘Putain Royale’ by PINK ROOM (Belgium)

Released: 12 Match 2021

Turn Up The Volume: The essential message of this new powerhouse album is loud and clear: noise-challenging turbo Pink Room is here to stay! Their tsunami energy is beyond any decibel regulation. Again, loudmouth Bart Cocquyt leads the rip-roaring trio.

As I said before his vocal range is out-of-this-world. He easily could front a death metal band (Stay Black/Stay White) or a Nirvana reunion (Losing/Skin) or kick Ozzy Osbourne‘s ass (Hail Satan). Expect ear-shattering jackhammers, over-the-top frenzy, and clamorous lockdown paranoia.

Putain, putain, c’est vachement bien, nous sommes quand même tous des bohemiens.

Key track: Losing

Stream/buy here…

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15. ‘G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END!’ by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR

Released: 2 April 2021

Turn Up The Volume: A exquisite soundtrack for the funeral of the present,
and at the same time for the re-birth of humankind in the future.

Somber, apocalyptic and longing.

The Canadian mavericks are looking
for a way out of all the (pandemic) mess
with a mesmerizing fervor. Remarkable.

Stream/buy album here…


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16. ‘Crawler’ by IDLES
17. ‘Blue Weekend’ by WOLF ALICE
18. ‘Better Than Life’ by GLASS SANDS
19. It’s Critical by SAVING JACKIE
20. ‘Vivre’ by ARNO

Poetallica Sensation THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA Triumph With ‘FULL SPECTRUM’

21 December 2021

Band: THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA
Who: London-based duo comprising Daphne Ang (Singapore) and Andrea Papi (Italy). Drawing inspiration from TOOL and Kraftwerk, as well as the poetry of Sylvia Plath,
Virginia Wool
f, and Jim Morrison, TCOMAS fills a gap in music by bringing literature,
art, and history together into a space where rock and metal meet electronics.

Album: FULL SPECTRUM – debut LP
Released: 26 February 2021

Turn Up The Volume wrote: Manimal and Samara are a poetallica sensation. A new laser
light at the end of a mythical tunnel where anything can happen. Imagine Sylvia Plath fronting a theatrical and mind-challenging psychedelic noise band. Their debut album is a multi-faceted opus in sound and vision. Compelling poetry exploring life, death, birth, past, present, and future embedded in a titanic thunder and lighting symphony going from perplexing metal to chill-out ambient. The final result is at times jaw-dropping, at times weirdly confusing, at times dumbfounding but always flabbergasting and fascinating. When surreality becomes reality you know something is about to happen.

Congrats, Daphne and Andrea!

If you didn’t discover the puzzling world of
Samara and Manimal yet, do it here and now…

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THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA: Facebook

Available via iTunes and Amazon

A Chat With London’s GHOST PATTERNS Who Impressed With Their Stunning Debut Album ‘INFINITE’

19 November 2021

GHOST PATTERNS is a 4-piece London-based indie band that started its journey only
two years ago. Last September they released their stunning debut LP called INFINITE that struck me instantly as much as the debut full-length Bedroom by bdrmm struck me last year, a British band who also operates in the multidimensional world of shoegaze.

Infinite is an astounding accomplishment mixing the amplified haziness of Slowdive, the mystifying nightmares of Spacemen 3, and the multi-layer-constructing skills of My Bloody Valentine. Ghost Patterns design hallucinating soundscapes, sonic shadowplays where synths and guitars duel with each other while tireless drums dauntlessly beat, and wailing voices wander in an enigmatic fog of reverberation. Without a shadow of a doubt one of the most fascinating records I heard all year.

So I really got curious to learn more about the authors of Infinite. Thank you very
much Terry Hale (vocals/guitars/keys), Somrata Sarkar (vocals) and James Walker (drums
and percussion) for taking the time to do this chat. But, as usual, we’re starting an interview with music to get us all in the right mood. Here comes one of my fav tracks
on the longplayer…

Hello Terry, hello Somrata, hello James

Who or what triggered you to start a band?

Terry: “Essentially, James and I had a gig offer to play a Club AC30 record label night in London back in May 2019 without a band! It was off the back of a submitted demo, which later became our debut single ‘Disappears’, so we had about 6 weeks to pull a full band together! We played that night under my own name ‘Thale’ and have had the same line-up since then, but about two months later we settled on Ghost Patterns for the permanent band name.”

What’s the story behind the band’s name?

Terry: “After our debut gig, we started collecting band name ideas well into the hundreds, but basically the drop-dead rule was to make sure it was a unique name not taken on any social media, Bandcamp etc. We had to chop and change a lot of word combinations to make it unique, but in a way, I also think it seemed quite representative of the sounds we were producing too, so that could be why we all stuck with it.”

Which song would you pick to introduce yourselves
to people who never heard of GHOST PATTERNS?

Terry: “It may well be ‘Disappears’, our debut single, or ‘House Of Lies’ off the new album. But for forthcoming releases, we could look at other ways of writing and collaborating as
I don’t think were totally confined to any one particular sound at this point. For example, expect some more fuzzed up psychedelic type sounds on the new tunes we are currently working on.”

Recently your stunning debut album INFINITE came out.
A true triumph. Is the final result what you had envisioned?

Terry: “In some ways, it’s an accurate reflection of our circumstances, but in other ways, it’s not at all as it was originally envisaged. We had some outline demo ideas from around late 2019 and was about to book some studio time in London with engineer/producer James Aparicio, who has worked on some great records for Fuzz Club and other labels.

This was back in February 2020, but soon after the entire plan collapsed due to COVID!
So, I continued making more home demos, which gradually became more and more integrated into the finished songs and mixes. Sometime around the end of summer 2020, we ditched planning any studio time and simply because it just wasn’t possible! We also abandoned an E.P. idea to focus on creating a full album totally from home recordings, then mixed and mastered it ourselves.

Quite late on, we added and re-mixed two previous singles from our earlier
release, ‘Oracle’, and the song ‘Infinite’ eventually become the album title.”

The opening track INTRO (DEATH WISH) doesn’t sound like a song
about the birds and the bees. What about the death wish?

Terry: “This came from an instrumental piece based on another demo from a few years earlier. I think it became apparent during the writing of the album that this would be a good ‘intro’ type opener, so we left it without lyrics and kept the overdubbed vocals in
the final mix.

As for the song title, this goes back to a somewhat curious forced position back in summer 2020 of having to return to some kind of ‘normal’ life again at the first unlocking attempt, even though no one had access to vaccines, or even proper test and trace systems. Hence, it felt like a bit of a ‘death wish’ to put ourselves in that position at the time.”


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Single HOUSE OF LIES is a flaming rocker. What’s the song about?

Somrata: “‘House Of Lies‘ is about the death of a friendship, realising someone isn’t
who they say they are. I was going through a difficult time processing betrayal from
a close friend. The song came out of anger, of realising this person who I trusted
really had no substance.

House of Lies describes a person who has carefully crafted their persona but is
ultimately empty on the inside. I spent a long time recovering from the emotional
damage I’d suffered from this person’s manipulation and narcissistic behaviour. When I wrote the song, I was fed up with feeling horrible. I just wanted to clean out any memory of them from my life. But I also felt stronger and in a space where I finally felt free of them.”

What or who decides who sings what song?

Terry: “I almost always do the music first in demo form together with the overall structure, so then it’s a case of working out who feels more comfortable to sing and develop lyrics and melodies over the music for each song.

I think ‘Safe’ was probably the only song that I had fully written and decided to keep my own vocals in. For the others, we did the vocals quite late on, as Somrata and I were only able to meet up once in person at our rehearsal space in April to go through the vocal demo ideas!

Prior to this, Somrata did her vocals for ‘Feel it Out’ at home based on instrumental
tracks that we had done and then mixed it into the finished song.”

How’s life in London post-BREXIT?

Terry: “It’s maybe a curious atmosphere of denial and a wish to move on, but also probably there’s still an element of fear too at the same time! Lockdown has ended
and Brexit has started, but there is an underlying current of uncertainty on both fronts.

I also co-run Other Side Promotions in London, booking bands from all over Europe
and beyond and having to deal with all the red tape and extra costs that goes with it.

Luckily, bands are still eager to play in the UK, so I’m happy to play a part in it and give exposure to bands on the psych, shoegaze, and post-punk scenes to help them along their musical journey. I think it also helps Ghost Patterns too to meet and share some great gig nights with other bands.”

What’s a GHOST PATTERNS gig like?

Terry: “It’s quite hard to judge that one to be honest, being in the band! Especially as we have had few opportunities to play live because of the pandemic. As we are still a new band, I’m sure we will find our own way to bring the recorded sounds and atmospheres into the live shows. It’s still a work in progress I’d say and will evolve further, but I think
the live experience could be slightly different as a distilled version of the recordings.”

Which movie would you choose to play on a big screen
behind the band while playing INFINITE in full?

James: “I think Last Year In Marienbad would look great as a backdrop to the album.

It’s a French arthouse film made back in the 60s. It’s like a brilliantly shot never-ending sequence of corridors, stages, and expressionless people. You’re not sure what’s supposed to be real and what’s supposed to be a performance. It’s open to interpretation (which helps!) but essentially, the people in it and the environment that they’re in, are trapped
in an infinite loop, where time and reality are questionable.

So, I think this fits well with the concept of the album. Within that are themes of deception, so I think it also really suits the single ‘House Of Lies‘. You’ll know what I mean when you watch it!”

Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine

Terry: “It’s an interesting one this..I’ll say MBV, but the ‘shoegazing’ genre wasn’t something I was really hugely into at the time. Keyboards are my original obsession
when it comes to instruments, so I was probably more into The Charlatans around that
1991 period.

I didn’t get a cd of ‘Loveless’ until about ten years after it was released! But once I heard it, that was it, the penny dropped. It covered everything, from the underlying songs to the ingenuity of the sounds and satisfied my psychedelic leanings being into that late 60’s period as well.

For Slowdive, they were a more recent re-discovery, apart from ‘Alison’ and ‘Souvlaki
Space Station
’ I’d say. ‘Slowdive’ from 2017 is an amazing sounding record and a stunning comeback as such.”

Ride or Swervedriver?

Terry: “I remember Ride’s early singles/ E.P. from seeing them on a great alternative
music show out in the late 80’s/ early 90’s called ‘Snub TV’, but they seemed to go off
my radar even by the time the first album ‘Nowhere’ came out.

So, for me, it was a case of re-discovery again about ten years ago listening back to
albums like ’Going Blank Again’. As for Swervedriver, I was never really familiar with them
to be honest, maybe I’ve missed a trick there!”

Best song and or album of 2021

Terry: “Margaritas Podridas self-titled album – amazing shoegaze/ psychedelic grunge from Mexico. A must see when they come to London! Or, from the UK, I’d say the White Flowers, ‘Day By Day’ album, which really is a beautifully produced record.

Next step for GHOST PATTERNS?

Terry: We are doing demos for our next bunch of songs at the moment, so hopefully this will be out in early 2022. It’s fair to say I think these songs will have a more tripped-out groove-based psychedelic sound than the intensity that’s on display for ‘Infinite’. We also have some great shows lined up with Qlowski and The Third Sound in January next year and hopefully, we will play live a lot more next year.

Thanks a bunch guys for this interview.
May the road rise with Ghost Patterns!

Don’t miss the band’s fantastic debut.
Stream/buy the album here…


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GHOST PATTERNS: Facebook  

 

Psychedelic Shoegaze Trip – London’s GHOST PATTERNS Score With Debut Album ‘INFINITE’

Best longplayer of September 2021

1 October 2021

Band: GHOST PATTERNS
Who: London based quartet formed in 2019 blending
psychedelic, shoegaze and post-punk influences
into their music.

Debut album: INFINITE
Released: 3 September 2021
You can purchase the record via Bandcamp

Turn Up The Volume: The amplified haziness of Slowdive, the mystifying nightmares
of Spacemen 3, the multi-layer-constructing skills of My Bloody Valentine. Hallucinating soundscapes, sonic shadowplays, synths and guitars dueling with each other while
tireless drums dauntlessly beat, and wailing voices wander in an enigmatic fog of reverberation.

This and much more is what the (sur)real world of Ghost Patterns has to offer. Put your headphones on, open your mind and ears and you’ll experience a wondrous, psychedelic shoegaze trip. Strongly intense debut! Don’t miss it!

Single: House Of Lies

Stream/buy full album here…


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GHOST PATTERNS: Facebook

Vocals/guitars/keys- Terry Hale
Vocals- Somrata Sarkar
Bass- Letitia Austin
Drums & Percussion- James Walker

Lyrics/music
Tracks 3,4,6,8,9 – Somrata Sarkar/ Ghost Patterns
Tracks 1,2,5,7 – Terry Hale/ Ghost Patterns

Recorded by Ghost Patterns
Produced & mixed by Terry Hale & James Walker

Pic credit: Serge Kutuzov

London’s GHOST PATTERNS Reflects On Life In A Big City On New Haunting Single ‘DISAPPEARS’…

Daily fuel to load your sonic batteries…

23 November 2019

Band: GHOST PATTERNS

Who: International quartet based in London producing “swathes of layered guitars and icy synth textures washed in reverb, juxtaposed with pounding bass lines and abrasive drums to round off the sonic palette.”

Pick: DISAPPEARS – New single – “A bittersweet homage to the huge metropolis we live in here in London, with all its pressures, taken opportunities, missed opportunities and its transient nature… nothing stays still here for very long so it’s an overall reflection of that.

Score: This new single reflects the band’s ambivalent feelings of living in a big, faceless city and being confronted with its daily race in the fast lane. The haunting guitars à la Interpol, the darksome sentiments, the doom-like vocals and the jittery orchestration all point in the same uncertain, feverish direction. Urban tenseness translated into a mind-blowing psychedelic escapade. A spine-chilling experience with a staggering finale. Top stuff!

Capture the vibe here…


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GHOST PATTERNS: Facebook 

(on top: promo photo via band)