The no wave Manhattan Sonic Youth and Swans contemporaries release a new studio album (following last year’s first release in almost thirty years). The current material features both recently recorded and archive tracks taken from over three decades.

The first half of the album contains new recordings from 2019 to 2020 and starts on the Sonic Youthesque abrasive guitar streams of single ‘In A Perfect World’, with founder and guitarist Mark C on vocals, moving onto the walking bass of the re-recorded version of 1987’s ‘Debbie’s Headache’ and ending on the dystopian ‘Twin Towers’.

The second side of the album then switches to Live Skull’s 1987-89 archive recordings, taken from John Peel sessions, opening with the ringing and whirring guitar punk rock track ‘Safe From Me’, which is then followed by the smash-and-grab sonic stampede of ‘Adema’, both with Thalia Zedek on vocals, a singer who joined the band for their ‘Dusted’ album. The record draws to a close on the stripped back funky drive of ‘Alive Again’ with Zedek’s conversational lyrics.

‘Dangerous Visions’ is available now on CD, limited coloured vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.



Since 2014 Cabaret Voltaire has been under the direction of its sole remaining member, Richard H Kirk, who has only been touring the band as a live performance, that is until now – the band’s new studio album comes 26 years after their last release and is a 21st Century entry that leaves much of the past behind.

The eight-track album is a departure from their funkier sound; it’s more of a dance record that relies on sampling rather than vocals. Despite being written before the current situation, the tracks are a representation of Kirk’s coincidental paranoid visions, starting on ‘Be Free’ and ‘The Power (Of Their Knowledge); the latter is a stripped down rhythm track with energising pulses that then transforms into driving marching drumbeats.

Whilst there is a move away from some of Cabs’ previous sound, there are similarities with earlier releases such as in ‘Night Of The Jackal’, which hearkens back to their second studio album, ‘The Voice of America’, with ‘Kneel To The Boss’ and its glassy keytone beats. It moves onto ‘Papa Nine Zero United’ which sees bubbling light tones overlaid onto heavy, dystopian organ riffs.

‘Vasto’ contains a strong oriental Eastern music influence which is reminiscent of ‘Yashar’ on the band’s studio 1982 album ‘2×45’, while the last track, the band’s single, ‘What’s Goin’ On’, has the jazzyness of ‘Breathe Deep’ and the sampling of Chris & Cosey’s ‘Put Yourself In Los Angeles’. With further releases scheduled for next year this looks to be just the beginning of Cabs exciting new recording face.

‘Shadow Of Fear’ is available now on CD, cassette, coloured vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.



The long awaited album by the Factory records dance-punks comes after twelve years but the wait is well worth it. The band’s eleventh studio album inserts much needed zest into 2020’s moody blues, featuring tracks that uphold the band’s essence whilst also hosting a fresh contemporary sound.

The album opens on ACR’s first of two singles  releases, ‘Friends Around Us’, which is split into two parts: a laid-back, jazzy alternative piece that then explodes into whirring, electronic tinged funk. The following track is ‘Bouncy Bouncy’; funk filled as the name suggests and was recorded with the late Denise Johnson, who sadly passed away before the album’s release.

‘Yo Yo Gi’, inspired by fast paced Japanese city life, sees the more electronic side of the band’s repertoire (previously on ‘ACR:Box’ in ‘Spirit Dance’), with Cabaret Voltaire stylised alien vocals and hints of percussion throughout. Other songs can also relate to previous band material; ‘Always In Love’ mirrors ‘The Big E’ (and it’s acoustic re-recording ‘Won’t Stop Loving You’) and the audacious ‘Family’ heartens back to the band’s 1980 cover single ‘Shack Up’, providing an educational lesson to this ever conflicted world we inhabit.

The second single on the record is ‘Berlin’; glossy wineglass keystones echo against catchy repetition and drummer Donald Johnson’s precision drumming. The album ends in a similar vein to the band’s live performance encores of ‘Si Fermir O Grido’ with brassy percussion track ‘Taxi Guy’. This album is quite simply the sound of A Certain Ratio in 2020.

‘ACR Loco’ is available now on CD, cassette, coloured vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.


WIRE – 10:20 (PINK FLAG)

Originally intended for release for Record Store Day, this compilation contains stray tracks recorded by the band across either end of a decade, featuring past members Bruce Gilbert and Margaret McGinnis.

The record begins on ‘Boiling Boy’, which appears on Wire’s 1988 studio album ‘A Bell Is A Cup…Until It Is Struck’, which during the ‘00s was developed further from its recording through the band’s live performances, becoming a trance instrumental that is so typical of their live performances.

‘He Knows’ was developed while Bruce Gilbert was still in the band; abrasive track’ Underwater Experiences’ sees another rendering since its last appearance on 2013’s ‘Change Becomes Us’. ‘The Art Of Persistence’, only available previously on deleted EP ‘The Third Dayor’ and as a live version on legal bootleg ‘Recycling Sherwood Forest’, is the studio version that has been performed live by the band in recent years.

‘Small Black Reptile’ is highly developed from its primitive recording on 1990 album ‘Manscape’, with the addition of Simm’s whirring guitar streams. The album ends on the last track the band played live this year, ‘Over Theirs’ which was last performed live around the time Wire unveiled their latest studio release, ‘Mind Hive’; heavier drumming now replaces the bouncy bass on 1987’s ‘The Ideal Copy’.

’10:20′ is available now on CD, vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.



Following on from his last album with his band The Invaders Of The Heart, 2019’s ‘Realm Of Spells’, the former PiL bassist has a new seven-track album featuring songs that he already released digitally last year.

Such a song is the title track ‘Ocean Blue Waves’, which Wobble has also been playing live for a while prior to release, but there’s also a selection of unheard tracks beginning on the dreamy ‘Fly Away’.

The album then heads into the reggae jive, ‘Take My Hand’ and, like all of his releases, Wobble includes dub versions of tracks, on this album with ‘Mind Floats Free’. The record ends on ‘Quirky’; a heavy bass drill throughout with keyboard experimentals.

‘Ocean Blue Waves’ is available now on CD and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.



The product of a year’s work, the PiL and Killing Joke bassists release features a long list of special guests and artist collaborations with a multi-genre take on world music, rap, rock, reggae and even electronic set to Wobble’s constant and steady basslines, or in other words Youth’s contemporary artist repertoire and Wobble’s dub put into an exploding blender.

It opens on single ‘Breaking Shells’, which is sung by west London musician Hollie Cook; an infusion of Wobble’s bass dub and love of world music so prominently shown in his current recording and touring band, Invaders Of The Heart.

‘Inspector Out Of Space’ featuring Rhiannon, sees Wobble’s deep dub basslines against the singer’s Slits style vocals whilst Vivien Goldman (The Flying Lizards) sings in stand-alone heavy rock guitar track, ‘Rhino’. After some reggae and soul, the album suddenly features another unusual song called ‘Luna Dawn’; electronically built with drum machine brackets. The record finishes on some free jazz set to heavy metal(!) in ‘Panzer Dub’. There’s something for all tastes in this starburst-style collaboration of two punk musical geniuses.

‘Acid Punk Dub Apocalyse’ is available now on CD and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.



The second release of his 2016 BMG label deal, Almond returns with his 24th solo studio album, written with producer and pianist Chris Braide, whom he also worked with on 2015’s ‘The Velvet Trail’.

The album, focused on the theme of mortality, opens on the oxymoronic ‘Black Sunrise’; a desperate last breath amongst the inevitable abyss of separation, it ends on a guitar solo. The theme of death continues in the departed ‘Dust’, which precedes the album’s dance track single, ‘Slow Burn Love’, then giving way to the electro-pop beats of ‘Fighting A War’.

The second half of the release enters the chaos-apocalypse theme, with the song ‘Chaos’ ushering in a letting go in accordance with a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’: “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” The subject of letting go continues into the soothing ‘Dreaming Of Sea’; a mergeance with nature in accordance with the record’s pagan themes.

The album draws to a close on guest Ian Anderson’s (Jethro Tull) pan flute in ‘Lord Of Misrule’, an alternative Christmas song full of pagan mischief and ‘The Crows Eyes Have Turned Blue’; the final departure and uplifting goodbye from the darkness and chaos of the world sung to Braide’s piano and violin.

‘Chaos And A Dancing Star’ is available now on CD, vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.



The band’s 17th studio album and first since they surpassed 40 years sees their ongoing quest to separate themselves from the past and bathe in progressive ventures, however, still maintains links with the last few years, but now cannoned through a floating confidence.

There are two consecutive singles on the record, ‘Cactused’ and ‘Primed And Ready’, the latter of which makes a title reference to an earlier track, ‘Re-Invent Your Second Wheel’, from 2013’s ‘Change Becomes Us’, and contains three-dimensional bass. The album is slower than their previous releases but delivers the same punchy rhythm (such as in opening track ‘Be Like Them’) with a hairy underbelly of guitar sound.

As well as maintaining Wire’s trademark galloping guitar in ‘Cactused’, featured in several of the recently preceding albums, the record also revisits ‘Change Becomes Us’: ‘Unrepentant’ has a feeling of ‘& Much Besides’ and Graham Lewis’ vocals in ‘Oklahoma’ give the impression of the disjointed ‘Eels Sang’. The last track, ‘Humming’, is like a slowed down version of ‘Sleep On The Wing’, from Wire’s last studio album, ‘Silver/Lead’.

On the other hand, the aluminium summer tones of ‘Off The Beach’ is an unusual venture for the band. although at the end of the song they sardonically jab at the hypocrisy of society, taking them right back to their roots.

‘Mind Hive’ is available now on CD, vinyl and digitally.

© Ayisha Khan.