Guest Column: No Pain In Pop
Snotty and hung-eyed, NPIP emerges into the end of October having suffered fever dreams nightly – brought on, we suspect, from some sensory overload that is required to work its way out in small-hour hallucinations; mind’s eye retreating from the squalor of fell Autumn leaves, pupils squint averse to the keener angle of the sun, nose dripping from too many open night bus windows, ears turned inward after a month of post-summer sound sulk.
First great gloom came with Arch M at Dalston’s Café Oto on the 8th. Appearing on day two of Kaleidoscope’s second annual Galvanised! Festival, Corey Reid plays three songs, each built to an extent on loops that unfold in spite of any other sonic circumstance they may encounter, such as fedback guitar hiss, the bite coming from Reid as he spits – “psssht!” – into the microphone or rhythmic backing from the Arch M bedroom band, a barely controlled motley of samplers and wire-bound paraphernalia I’ll only embarrass myself trying to identify more specifically. Two of those three tracks stand out in particular – there’s the small tragedy played out in ‘Cat Grave’ as the animal heads into the soil sporting a sore, bitterly infectious limp and then, played last, ‘21st Union’, which we at No Pain In Pop first wrote about and posted back in July. It’s a composition that continues to grow – rhythm pounds inevitably behind the sound of rushing gas and a wandering guitar line that shoots rueful looks the way of missed and possibly momentous opportunities, like the lag-eyed ignoramus who developed photos of God in the dark room of Dalston Snappy Snaps back in 2005, but was too hungover to notice.
‘Cat Grave’ is the first track of nine on Arch M’s Mountain Tan Commercials, which you can download for free from here. A 12” record, Moon-Tan, will be issued through the Cavern label at some as yet undetermined point in the future.
Continuing on our dark-eyed jaunt through October 2008, the Deep Medi label, run by Mala of Digital Mystikz repute, slung a pair of their own vital twin 12”s our way in the shape of Silkie’s ‘Sky’s the Limit’/‘Poltigeist’ and ‘Stand’/‘Eden’, by Quest. Both releases continue the recent extrapolation of dubstep into uncharted realms where the likes of Martyn, Rustie and Flying Lotus are also to be found, flung variously remote from the movement’s signature lurching kick and those sub-bass swells that sound like they’ve swallowed the moon.
Quest and Silkie arrive at a point some distance away from the techno/bleep/Dilla flecked noises made by the three above, however – theirs is a mystic dub, high on lurking horns and bass fumes, stretched-out rollers that for the most part rattle along harried by dancing percussion, depressed Detroit synths and the odd vocal sample. You can hear a sample of ‘Stand’ at the Deep Medi MySpace page, and though we weren’t able to grub our mitts with any mp3s for the ‘blog, we can’t recommend the two 12”s highly enough – both are available from Boomkat here.
The walls of a teen pit in Bedford, Indiana, US must protest weary at the sight of Trevor Fitzhugh plugging up for more bedroom noise. The 13-year-old channels Bradford Cox, most obviously, in his superhero din dreams as Natural Numbers, though recovered scraps of My Bloody Valentine and the throb of No Age’s ambient segues lingers also in the hubs of the two tracks we posted, here, ‘I Wasted My Time’ and ‘June’. A new album entitled Forest Diving should arrive on New Year’s Day, while you can delve into the 13-year-old’s vast back catalogue here.
Staring anxiously at our watches, we’ll allow the last word if we may to the dimly-lit lo-fi magic of Baltimore’s Baby Venom. ‘Moms and Dads’, again, is something we posted a couple of months back, but the promise (and first glimpses) of new material cut us slack, this is – or was, imminently – the first column of ours to find its way here and no doubt more will be heard of Baby Venom in the not-so-distant future, cads. Plant the flag for pain-relief as pop music; more synaesthetic, allegernic anaesthetic to glow through the frigid winter months ahead. Bigup Dan Gentle Friendly for the BV tip; hold tight.
Our shows this month:
31/10 – NPIP Hallowe’en Party @ Goldsmiths Student Union
El Guincho, The Big Pink, The xx, A Grave With No Name + Prancehall, Tomb Crew DJ sets
15/11 – Rustie + more @ Amersham Arms, New Cross
21/11 – Gentle Friendly EP launch party @ Old Blue Last, Shoreditch
24/11 – NPIP and EYOE presents – Telepathe @ Catch, Shoreditch
27/11 – Future of the Left @ Amersham Arms, New Cross