We've commented before on the profligacy of Absentee as far as side projects goes, and while three of them readied a Wet Paint album lugubriously voiced singer Dan Michaelson booked some studio time of his own and invited some friends round - Steven Adams of the Broken Family Band, Romeo Stodart of the Magic Numbers, the Rumble Strips horn section, one of Fields, Bjork/Bonnie Prince Billy producer Valgeir Sigurdsson, that sort of friend. What emerged as Saltwater by Dan Michaelson & The Coastguards, released via the ever reliable Memphis Industries on March 9th, an album that simmers down the guitars and, partly with the aid of piano although there are still some songs that wouldn't sound out of place with the main band, attempts to emphasise the alt-country shuffling and/or celebratory aspects of the parent outfit's sound with a bruised personal honesty and tenderness akin at high points to Will Oldham. On the quiet this could touch a good number of people.
Dan Michaelson & The Coastguards - Ease On In
Holy Roar Records make a point of "working with bands tha have no peers within the UK", and with a back catalogue including Dananananaykroyd, Rolo Tomassi and Cutting Pink With Knives you can well believe it. Out next Monday is a self-titled EP by their latest discoveries Holy State. Theirs is the ultra-raw riff-based hardcore of Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes, John Reis' outlets either side of the brief and relative cash cow that was Rocket From The Crypt, as well as the likes of the Jesus Lizard, Pulled Apart By Horses and mid-period Husker Du.
Holy State - Comatones
And while we're at it, Rifle Fire Rifle are from Leeds but pay little lip service to whatever movement is coming out of there at the moment. Think of it as a bludgeoning take on post-punk, somewhere between The Bronx and early Foo Fighters.
Rifle Fire Rifle - Burn To Exile
Shitgaze, they call it in informal company, don't they? Anyway, there's suddenly a lot of it around, and Knight School are right up there with it with album The Poor And Needy Need To Party. Another Lostmusic Records production, the press release makes connections with the lo-fi ideals of C86 and the Pastels, and certainly The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart wouldn't take offence at these miniature (14 tracks in under 24 minutes) buzzsaw garagey, fuzzy hook-laden songs, but by the same token there's plenty of tape recorded hissy, distorted lo-fi a la Times New Viking etc on top of most of these songs.
Knight School - Maggot
Headless Heroes are a collective comprising David Holmes, Alela Diane (she had Rough Trade's album of the year in 2007), Screamadelica co-producer Hugo Nicholson and Eddie Bezalel, who as every single piece of British press on the album notes worked on Mark Ronson's Version but is something of an A&R guru in New York. Between them and a horde of highly respected musos they've created The Silence Of Love, an interesting if uneven collection of spectral covers of, Just Like Honey aside, largely little regarded songs, Nick Cave, Daniel Johnston and Vashti Bunyan as well known as it gets. Here's one not by any of them.
Headless Heroes - To You
And for comparative reasons, the original from 2001's highly recommended Natural History album, produced, engineered and mixed by one Guy Garvey.
I Am Kloot - To You