September 2, 2013
All This Stuff Happening With Calories And Its Offshoots Makes Our Head Hurt 'Cause It's A Lot Of Things All At Once, Like This Awesome New Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam Record
The men behind Calories seem to have decided that, like the protagonists at the climax of "Ghostbusters," now may be the appropriate time to cross the streams. There was a time when the criminally unsung Birmingham, England-based noise-pop foursome appeared content to have a go at taking projects in turn. But at the moment four related entities are issuing new music, prepping new releases or, in the case of the completely mega but long defunct rock band Distophia, ramping up for a reunion show. All the moving parts and machinations have tempted us to create diagram of all the various band members and where they fit, but, you know, then we didn't, so we're hoping this round-up will suffice to go beyond these earlier blog posts (1, 2) to clarify who is doing what (frankly, it makes our head ache, and we wish we had a UK correspondent to deal with this, *makes "call me" hand motion*).
Here is where we stand today. There was a band called Distophia, they made all of these awesome songs (1, 2, 3, 4 and so on),and then suddenly about six years ago there was not a band called Distophia. Thereafter Pete Dixon, John Biggs and Tom Whitfield from that band formed Calories, which thankfully still exists. Sometime in the past year the then-still-a-trio decided they did not rule hard enough, so they added producer extraordinaire Dominique James on bass and Mr. Dixon moved to guitar. Along parallel tracks, there has been other action in recent years, namely the establishment of two side projects. First, Mr. Dixon has created a bass-free, noisy wonder called Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam with gentlemen who are called Andrew Bullock and Ralph Morton. Meanwhile, Mssrs. Biggs, Whitfield and James launched a new project of their own, the more moody Burning Alms.
OK, that's the who, here's the what. Calories announced late last month its third long-player is on the way. While no release date or label has been disclosed, the quartet has released to the wilds of the Interpants the strikingly ethereal preview track "Mausoleum." Calories has for some time been drifting from blunt, brief and anthemic post-punk toward a more billowing, spaced-out sound, as evidenced by the looser proceedings of its tremendous sophomore set released in 2010, Basic Nature [review]. But the dream-like "Mausoleum" -- which is pushed along by a high guitar riff we swear appears somewhere in the Modest Mouse oeuvre -- is an exciting step further into more spectral and indefinite spaces; a video for the new song is posted atop this item. "Mausoleum" is not the first new music we've heard from Calories this year: attentive readers will recall the band issued the EP DMT in January.
But wait! There's more. Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam at long last today issued its tremendous, self-titled, debut long-player. The collection -- recorded live to tape at Birmingham's Highbury Studio -- is filled with 11 bracing and noisy guitar pop songs that make a very strong argument against tagging the three-piece as a side project to anything. The sparkling preview track "Ibiza Rocks" -- which moves at a brisk pace, fist-banging through verses to gently pulsing choruses -- made its way online over the summer, and is not too far afield from the big, anthemic guitar music of Calories. Indeed, to a certain extent we feel that Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam, of all of the aforementioned projects including Calories itself, is the one that most resembles the band that made the forthright belters of the first Calories full-length, Adventuring [review]. Just take a listen to the cracking opening triptych of "Sea Chanty," "Orange Grove" and "Sooooooo." Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam is crammed with very strong tracks, from which we have a hard time identifying favorites, although the echoing ballad "Teeth" distinguishes itself, perhaps because it is the first major downshift the collection executes. A very small number of physical copies of Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam will be available at the band's next show, in a bundle that includes one of two shirt concepts, but the majority of us will just have to live with the fact that we're not going to get our mitts on one of those. Fortunately, the record is available as a pay-what-you-like download which you can access via the embed below.
Not to be outdone, a brief note atop the Burning Alms Facebook page promises the band's debut LP will be released this year. Your move, Burning Alms! As if all this activity was not enough activity from which to infer an extreme state of activeness, it was announced last month that Distophia will perform a one-off reunion show Nov. 16 in Birmingham. Could this lead to an official release of the legendary "lost" Distophia record Beat Dysxlexia? Cross all those fingers. Then download the SFL record and take the rest of the day off, that was a lot for you to read on a Monday.