Welcome to the first Foundation Vinyl newsletter! I’m sure the structure of this will evolve and change over the coming months, but the basic aim will remain unchanged – to bring you all the news and reviews of the latest arrivals at Foundation Vinyl. So, here we go:
- Recommended New Releases
- From Liverpool With Anarchy
- Highlights From 2022
- One You May Have Missed
- Shows and Tours
- Coming Soon
Recommended New Releases
Morrow return with their third LP, and this successor to the superb Covenant of the Teeth (2016) and Fallow (2018) is their most complete work yet.
Morrow’s template remains constant – a masterful fusion of thunderous d-beat with the soaring defiance of melodic crust. This is overlaid by furious call-and-response vocals from Alex CF (previously Fall of Efrafa) and guest vocalists drawn from bands as diverse as Archivist, Autarch, Drei Affen, His Hero Is Gone and Socialstyrelsen, which work to truly monstrous effect. The band’s instrumentalisation continues to refine, violin and cello mournfully weave their way through the wider crushing aural assault. The result is an album that is in equal parts reflective and raucous. It burns with anger, but above all with hopeful defiance.
Slow Ends, comprising former members of Archivist, have fused raging hardcore punk with shimmering shoegaze to brilliant effect.
Further underpinned by almost industrial expressions, Obsolete Bodies reveals a wonderful pop sensibility that manifests itself through soaring choruses and achingly beautiful melodic hooks. The title track even conjures thoughts of Neil Tennant guesting for Pitchshifter. Lyrically, the album explores the commodification and sanitisation of modern life in sardonically elegiac fashion. This really is quite the treat.
A Culture of Killing (ACOK) return with their third album and what a rare gloom-drenched post-punk treat it is.
The compositions themselves initially strike as sparse yet are, in fact, lush in detail (glockenspiel anyone?), lending the whole record a shimmering austerity. Blended with energised call-and-response vocals that are skilfully juxtaposed with the at times almost ethereal instrumentalisation, the Italians bring new perspectives to their anarcho-punk heritage. With nods to The Cure and even Billy Bragg, a pop sensibility quietly underpins the band’s deathrock delivery without diluting its undeniable urgency.
An evocative exploration of memory and place, these five songs are a constant tug between the good times enjoyed and the mistakes made, things said and left unsaid.
Hazy guitars retain a striking melodic clarity as they shimmer above wonderfully fluid percussive rhythms, and interplay with passionate French / English vocals. The effect is reverie inducing and will take each of us to quite different places, whether that be Litovsk’s Brest, the rain-swept beaches of childhood holidays in North Wales, or somewhere else entirely. A thoroughly welcome return.
From Liverpool With Anarchy
‘The greatest power the capitalist class have over our lives, is convincing us that betraying each other is the only way to survive’ (Inferno, Dawn Ray’d).
I’ll be honest black metal generally does little to stir my soul. For me, it too often lacks the hardcore-inspired velocity of the 1990s’ death metal that spawned it, and too often seems to be mired in the grip of decidedly dubious politics. There are of course honourable exceptions – the most notable of which, perhaps, have been Liverpool anarchists, Dawn Ray’d.
‘The men who stole our lives, can not be allowed to enjoy their prize’ (Requital, Dawn Ray’d).
Now I must confess, I have always been something of a fan. Even before, I suppose, they actually existed in their current form, having first discovered their then-maelstrom of folk-infused black metal as We Came Out Like Tigers. And yet I can say without hesitation that, as much as I have hugely enjoyed their previous releases, the band has set new heights with the release of their fourth full-length ‘To Know the Light’ (Prosthetic Records).
‘There is grief in seeing yourself hardened, your younger smiling self pummelled’ (In the Shadows of the Past, Dawn Ray’d).
It is not that they have reinvented themselves, but rather that they have heightened what they already did in every sense, taking it to a new level of intensity. Musically, they continue to forge an expertly constructed blend of blast-beat driven black metal and haunting violin-driven folk, not just juxta positioning them, but deftly intertwining them, so that they become a single, organic entity. One would mean nothing without the other. This is an album that sweeps seamlessly from brutal rage to mournful melancholy.
‘I can’t help but smile, at the fascists curious insistence, of demanding to have a master, and daring to call that resistance’ (Wild Fire, Dawn Ray’d).
Yet this is not the melancholy of defeat, nor the yearning of misplaced nostalgia, but a defiant rage at what we have allowed the UK to become. It is a fierce recognition that alternative futures can be realised. Lyrically, the album is perhaps best engaged with as a political polemic, not that the band would necessarily see it as such. Not every prescription or solution may be wholly agreed with, but the challenge to society’s rampantly engrained socio-economic inequality and the cartel politics that have hollowed out our democracy, is an essential one.
Now, unfortunately, I have not been able to source any copies (as yet!), but I encourage you to seek this album out wherever you can – it will reward your engagement.
Highlights From 2022
This debut LP from Copenhagen’s Hævner is a brilliantly layered fusion of hardcore and post-punk.
Dissonant, discordant, but ultimately melodic guitars, coalesce powerfully with an unrelentingly intense rhythm section, while it’s clear the vocalist long ago decided that hope is an emotion best reserved for fools. Flirtations with death rock and dark punk add flourishes to the already dense, complex riffing. Yet despite its raw abrasiveness, this is a record that entices you into its thrall, urging you to dance and abandon yourself to its dark rhythms. A heady mix indeed.
High-energy melodic punk from Barcelona that delivers a real punch with a wonderfully layered vocal attack.
Pöls sound is built around powerfully clean sung Spanish lead vocals, which are brilliantly complemented by backing vocals that at times inject rage, at others raucous call-and-repeat, and at yet others waves of undulating harmonies. This ever-oscillating vocal interplay lends a boisterous vibrancy to each of these uplifting bursts of anthemic punk.
Brilliantly layered, bass-propelled post-punk from Leipzig-based Maraudeur.
Detached, sardonic vocals in German, French and English (reflecting the band’s Swiss origins) exercise the power of repetition to mesmerising effect. The songs are built around chunky bass lines and fluid percussion, angular guitars deployed sparingly, but to well-judged effect, alongside often brass-influenced programming. And yet despite the austere aesthetic, this is an infectious album that seeps into your flailing limbs almost without you knowing. You can’t really ask for much more than that.
Raging, atavistic hardcore from Cleveland that wreaks havoc the way only a Super Gremlin can.
Nihilism can come in many forms. It can manifest itself in a misanthropic relish at humanity’s complicity in its own demise. The likes of Gehanna and Shai Hulud have this pretty nailed down. Alternatively, you can be cognisant that the world is going to hell in a handcart and conclude that blazing, blues-infused guitar solos and a few beers is a more apt response. Both approaches have their merits, but I think it’s fair to say that Woodstock 99 very much fall into the latter category. Buckle up – this is a wild ride. Oh, and if you like gongs (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), this is definitely the album for you.
One You May Have Missed: Difficult Loves by Ghostlimb
‘As often as I readily commit, to what I still hear and read and see, that life is still worth living, without gods or masters or heroism’. (Brushfire, Ghostlimb)
Difficult Loves sees Ghostlimb continue their exploration of powerfully disciplined hardcore, skilfully constructed song structures that interweave raw, infectious melodies and moments of quiet reflection to both amplify and leaven the band’s crushing intensity. Lyrical themes range from ecology to urbanism, totalitarian purges to US interventionist foreign policy, ensuring that this is an album that unashamedly nurtures intellectual engagement nearly as much as the desire to hurl yourself from a stage, which is surely what all great hardcore should do?
Shows and Tours
This section lays no claims to being a definitive listing! It is simply gigs coming up in London that catch my eye and that I think people who read this newsletter might be interested in. I will always try and highlight where a show forms part of a wider UK tour.
8th May Bib, Decultivate, The Annihilated, The Domestics plus many more (New Cross Inn)
9th May Delivery plus support (Shacklewell Arms / UK Tour)
13th May Poison Ruin, Powerplant, Keno (New River Studios / Matinee)
27th May Yleiset Syyt plus support (New River Studios / UK Tour)
2nd June The Flex plus support (New River Studios)
3rd June The Restarts, Destruct, Fatalist, Subdued plus many more (New Cross Inn / Destruct UK Tour)
4th June GLAAS, Zeropolis, Turbo (New River Studios)
9th June Savageheads plus support (New River Studios)
16th June Physique, Circle None, Skitter (New Cross Inn)
9th July End It, Spy, Combust, Initiate plus many more (New Cross Inn)
10th July Fuse, Dregs, Stingray, Antagonizm plus more (New River Studios)
18th July Doldrey, Harrowed plus more (New Cross Inn)
19th July Diploid, Casing plus more (New River Studios / UK Tour)
20th July Iron Deficiency, Sentient plus more (New Cross Inn)
21st July Jotnarr, Wreathe (Bird’s Nest)
4th August Gag, Plastics, TS Warspite, Unjust plus more (New Cross Inn)
Destruct ‘Cries the Mocking Mother Nature’ LP (Skrammel Records)
Drill Sergeant ‘Grim New War’ EP (Refuse Records)
Existence ‘Go to Heaven’ LP (Quality Control HQ)
Fairytale ‘Shooting Star’ LP (Quality Control HQ)
Hellshock ‘Shadows of the Afterworld’ LP (Ruin Nation)