A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS – Fuzz Club Session

Once claimed to be “the loudest band in New York”, noise rockers A Place To Bury Strangers have carved out a true cult following since forming in 2002. By creating a sound that fused heavy distortion with gothic and shoegaze tendencies, their first two albums laid down some wantonly dense retro sounds, while their later releases somehow managed to feel a little more accessible without losing too many of the band’s most confrontational elements.

Their 2019 release ‘The Fuzz Club Session’ was recorded in a single day when APTBS visited Love Buzz Studios in South London at the end of a tour. According to frontman Oliver Ackermann, there are times where it’s possible for a band to feel tired of their own material after being on the road, so a little re-invention is needed to keep things interesting. That’s very much where this release comes in.

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NOVACROW – Criminal Mastermind EP

In 2016, Liverpool’s Novacrow released their debut EP ‘Black Syrup’, a melting pot of goth, grunge and funk with horror overtones that really captured a great sound. The riffs were often weighty, but most impressive of all were the vocals. It was immediately obvious that Kitty S. possessed a voice that really stood out above the heaviness; her clean vocal style made everything incredibly accessible and melodic, no matter how deep or intensive the riffs. Throughout the release, she sounded like a star in the making.

The following year came and went and things seemed to go rather quiet in the Novacrow camp. Finally, after what felt like forever, they returned with five new songs in the autumn of 2018. The resultant EP, ‘Criminal Mastermind’ isn’t as consistent as its predecessor and takes longer to get into, but when it really hits the mark, it presents a Novacrow that sounds as good as ever.

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SIMON HINKLER – Moving On EP

Simon Hinkler (aka The Wing Commander) was the guitarist with a formative line up of Pulp, playing guitar on their 1983 album ‘It’ long before Britpop was even a twinkle in the NME’s eye. He’s guested with Eden House and The March Violets and had an on/off solo career. For many, though, he will be best known as guitarist with The Mission, playing an invaluable role in the creation of their first four – and best – albums between 1986 and 1990.

Hinkler’s 2018 solo EP ‘Moving On’ might be short, but it draws heavily from years of experience and dabbles with different styles and moods, all with equal charm. The sharp changes in mood are probably due to the songs being written across a decade or more, but as an overview of a sometimes underrated talent, it all works brilliantly.

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