FOTLED- Sun Water

This is impressive. Most music this quiet needs you to calm down, loosen up, and listen through earphones to take effect see. But ‘Sun Water’, the second record from one-man outfit Fotled (Brian to his mum), is powerful enough to punch through the fuzz of the world, the noise of the 9 to 5, and properly move you. Ok, sure, it owes a lot to genre godfathers like Godspeed, Red Sparowes and another Brian, right down to the titanic song titles, but Fotled pushes his project much further than cheap imitation or mere tribute, this is beatless watercolour noise of genuine quality. Opener ‘Beams Of Light Fell From The Sky’ is a soft and slow synth workout, ‘Only Bones…’ sounds like an alien chorus of strings, and ‘Peacefully, Unafraid’ is a brilliant experiment in sighs and echoes that says more in two minutes than other bedroom projects do across their entire existence. And unlike even Jonsi Birgisson’s recent advance into the ambient world, the slow-motion moves here come with an emotional weight that doesn’t need art, film, or a rocky icescape to make complete sense. Hell, if you can listen to the last thirty seconds of ‘Like The Severed Spinal Cords Of Distant Rotting Stars’ alone without checking over your shoulder for creeps and ghouls then you’re braver than anyone round these parts. Powerful stuff from a name to remember.


MONOTONIX. South Street, Reading. 17.08.09

Nowhere is safe. There are no hiding places. There’s no getting away with being a simple spectator tonight. Israeli six-legged, three-bearded, no-clothed monsters Monotonix are here see, and within seconds of their amps rumbling into life there’s beer, water and ice across the floor, bottles and cans flying through the air, a dustbin on the drummer’s head, and this stuffy little corner of Reading doesn’t know what’s hit it.

Before the headliners turn South Street inside out though, Empress, Throwing Knives, and The Black Heart Orchestra share band members, a love of Converge, and a desire to wreck all nearby eardrums. Of the three, Empress have got the best tunes, combining crusty hardcore with a dark metallic edge and aggression that comes out as an emotional punch rather than flying fists, but none are better than support band status yet.

Monotonix’s music isn’t actually that thrilling either- like Queens of the Stone Age with the peaks and tr
oughs rounded down into one chugging, persistent riff- but the three dudes on stage (and off stage and behind the bar and in the toilet) could be playing their favourite TV theme tunes and it wouldn’t matter at all, attached as it is to one of the most mind-blowing live shows ever witnessed. A set that starts, surges past frontman Ami Shalev stripping to his underwear and dry-humping the bar, guitarist Yonatan Gat playing on his back, on his head, and upside down, drummer Haggai Fershtman handing parts of his kit out to the crowd, and Shalev surfing the bass drum across the room, and threatens to never stop.

And really you can’t just witness this, you have to join in, you’re forced to experience it. And sure, there’s an air of menace here, there’s just no other way to describe a show that rumbles relentlessly on past blood, bruises, and the owner of the venue screaming in the promoter’s face to make it all stop. But bigger than that is a shameless joy, a grin-inducing excitement that’s catchier than swine flu, twice as deadly, but a billion times more fun. A gig not to be missed from a band on the edge.



What would you expect a record featuring members of Comeback Kid, Figure Four and Sick City, and produced by Devin Townsend to sound like? Whatever you’re thinking we’re willing to bet our entire CD collection (you remember CDs right?) that it isn’t anything at all like Sights & Sounds and their debut full-lenght ‘Monolith’. Instead of any red-blooded hardcore or mental metal see, this is an album of post-hardcore, experimental emo and epic rock songs. Opener ‘Sorrows’ sets the scene perfectly- peppered with piano and acoustic stirrings but powering along on serpentine riffs and melodic rises and falls that are more like Thrice than Throwdown and more like Saosin than Strike Anywhere, it’s a revelation, the sort of stirring rock that doesn’t get made enough anymore. Basically it’s bloody massive. And things only get bigger and better from there. ‘The Clutter’ is a smoky 7-minute marathon that’s never less than compelling, ‘Neighbours’ sounds like it could crumble castle walls and soothe you to sleep at the same time, and ‘Pillars’ finishes things up with a climax that could have been written by an orchestra not a rock band. And while some parts of ‘Monolith’ do still rage, it’s these softer, more slow-burning moments that really make an impact. Seriously good stuff, from a seriously surprising place.