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Wall Release Debut Single, Announce EP

October 26, 2020

Wall

On the occasion of their 32nd birthday, APF has released Wrath of the Serpent: the debut single by twins Ryan and Elliot Cole's new project WALL. You can listen to it now on Spotify, Bandcamp, YouTube and all the usual places.

Elliot and Ryan Cole have been stalwarts of the international stoner doom scene since they formed Desert Storm a decade ago in their home town of Oxford, releasing five albums with that band and touring Europe like dogs ever since. They are two parts of the quintet which is The Grand Mal, also signed to APF Records, whose self-titled debut was released in 2019.

Their latest project Wall was conceived during lockdown. Frustrated at not being able to tour, and stuck at home together, Elliot and Ryan found themselves seeking a substantially creative way to kill the boredom. Over the course of a few weeks Ryan wrote the riffs whilst Elliot sat next to him slapping his hands on his knees to create the grooves. As soon as it was safe to do so, they entered Shonk Studios in Oxford with engineer Jimmy Hetherington and laid down the intoxicating mix of riff and groove with which we now present you.

Wall is a five track EP chock full of Iommi-worshipping instrumental sludge doom. The homage to Black Sabbath is manifest in an electrifying cover of Electric Funeral, featuring vocals by The Grand Mal’s Dave-O. The duo’s sludge roots are present and correct, particularly on the raging fourth track Legion, and there’s a nod to both their other band Desert Storm and Karma To Burn (with whom the lads have toured) on the mighty Obsidian.

Wall

Ryan Cole says of the EP:

‘We’re pretty happy with how the EP turned out. We went into the studio with 4 tracks and decided to do a Black Sabbath cover as well. We had never jammed them properly, as it was all written unplugged at home. Wall was initially started as a covid lockdown project, but we’re up for touring and writing more for sure...we’ll what happens!’ 

HEAR WRATH OF THE SERPENT HERE:

YouTube: https://youtu.be/BmB3TYZ0HqM

Bandcamp: https://wallbandrocks.bandcamp.com/track/wrath-of-the-serpent

Under Announce Training Resource #5

October 19, 2020

APF Records is delighted to announce the release of Under's new EP, Training Resource #5, on 13th November 2020.

Under is a power trio from Stockport, Greater Manchester. Born in the local sludge / stoner / doom scene, their sound is gloriously hard to pin down with elements of prog, noise, punk rock and avant garde blended into their infectious grooves. Under create jagged, slow, off kilter riffs combined with abstract lyricism evoking a trippy and sinister unease; influenced by Swans, Mr. Bungle, Melvins and Radiohead among others, but sounding like none of them.

After the success of their debut EP First Attempt (2015), Under signed to APF Records in 2017 in time for their much-anticipated, self-produced debut full length album Slick. They played live throughout 2017 and early 2018: both as headliner and as support to Whores, King Parrott, Church of the Cosmic Skull, Slabdragger, Elephant Tree, The Hyena Kill, Hundred Year Old Man, Gurt, Part Chimp, Primitive Man and Slomatics. The band also performed at the Dreadfest, Cvltfest and Gizzardfest festivals as well as the APF Records Showcase in Manchester.

Sophomore effort Stop Being Naïve landed in October 2018 to universal critical acclaim. An eclectic listen - chock full of crushing riffs, odd time signatures, and a mixture of aggressive screamed vocals and clean sections – the record landed them high profile support slots with Nick Oliveri’s Mondo Generator and Yawning Man. The album was genre-defying, with three-part vocal harmonizing, moments of dissonance and dark humour, plus epic melodic textures and sections of pure musical terror. Under had created a sound and genre all of their own: one we like to call “uneasy listening”.

Photo: Nadine Moores

2020 was meant to be the year Under released album number 3, but then the pandemic hit and plans changed. New EP Training Resource #5 was tracked live, with minimal over-dubbing. The four songs flow into one another - the EP is designed to be listened to as one continuous track. It features three Under originals plus a ferocious cover of Black Flag’s My War, and neatly encapsulates all that is unique and life-affirming about this Stopfordian powerhouse outfit.

Matt Franklin (bass / vocals) says: "When our album number 3 plans were brought to a halt we decided to try a no-frills live (in the studio) EP. None of us could have predicted how well this recording would come out and it was a much needed boost for us. I hope these tracks can provide some humour and cathartic aggression for anyone else melting into the cycle of boredom and fear that this year has become."

Pre-orders for the CD and tape are now open in our website store, and the digital download can be ordered from our Bandcamp page: https://apfrecords.bandcamp.com/music

Pist & Mastiff play socially distanced show in Manchester

October 14, 2020

 

APF Records PRESENTS: PIST + Mastiff at Manchester Academy.

A safe, seated and socially distanced show. Friday 30th October 2020. Early show: Doors 6pm | Curfew 9.30pm.

Tickets £8.00 advance + booking fees from Ticketline (https://www.ticketline.co.uk/pist-and-mastiff)

Ticket Restrictions: 6 per transaction, in pairs from the same household only. A full track and trace system will be in place, you must sign in on arrival at the venue. Staggered check in times. There will be a table service for drinks and a one-way system around the venue including for toilets and merch. Wear a mask.

Salford-based independent label APF Records brings two of it's finest bands to the Academy: Bury-based heavy metal riff jugernaut PIST and self-described miserable band from a miserable town, sludgecore scarrers Mastiff.

Sit down and admire the blast in a covid-secure environment. More details in the run up to the event.

October 06, 2020

Rest in peace EVH.

Indica Blues: The First APF Interview

October 03, 2020

Introduction by Andrew Field – APF Records

Indica Blues signed to APF Records in July of this year. Over the previous year or so one of their huge fans, a certain Mr Hoenikker, had kept on nudging us to check them out. The lads in Desert Storm had mentioned Indica Blues were a band who would fit like a glove on APF. We quite liked what the band had done on their previous releases, with the track ‘Reigns End’ becoming a particular firm favourite.

In June Indica Blues emerged from the studio having recorded a new album with Steve ‘Geezer’ Watkins, who had done wonders in the past for both Desert Storm and The Grand Mal. I asked to hear it. It was one of those rare moments, where you press play on something new and 40 minutes later you are just floored. I listened to the whole album more than ten times in quick succession and my love for it just grew and grew, to the point where I felt sick at the thought of any other label releasing it. When I contacted the band to ask if APF could sign them I had to try hard not to beg…

That new album is called ‘We Are Doomed’, and it’s being released on APF Records in January 2021. For those familiar with Indica Blues already, you should know that the Oxonian quartet has absolutely smashed it out of the park this time round. It’s got the things you know and love about the band already, but with everything turned up several notches: the songwriting, those earworm riffs, the performances, the sheer sonic power. It bristles with vim and energy. It sounds like a hundred million dollars. A band reborn.

You’ll be hearing something from ‘We Are Doomed’ next month. In the meantime, we caught up with Tom Pilsworth for his first interview since the band joined our roster.

All photos by Matt Peake

Q: You’re one of APF’s newest signings. For those of our followers who are unfamiliar with Indica Blues, how would you describe yourselves as a band?

Tom: We call our music Psychedelic Doom. We are four unpretentious guys who love to jam and make heavy music together. We bring an element of surprise - when we get on stage, I don’t think people expect to be hit with 10-minute songs layered with multiple riffs, FX-laden solos and ear-splitting volume. We’ve lurked in the basement of the underground scene for a while now, but those that find us generally stick around. We’re excited to reach a whole new bunch of people through being on APF.

Q: Your first release on Bandcamp was the 2014 Towers Rising EP. Tell us about how Indica Blues began and how you got to that first release.

Tom: That first EP was a solo record, recorded at home in a damp little box room stuffed with wires and mics, with Zdzisław Beksiński posters on the wall for inspiration. For a long time, I’d wanted to play music like Kyuss, Electric Wizard etc. but the band I was in wasn’t going anywhere. Around this time, I met John (Slaymarker – guitar) at a gig, and saw his band Caravan of Whores. They blew me away; these huge riffs, and monster jams. I thought to myself “that’s the kind of band I want to be in”. I realized the only way to start something like that was to do it myself.

The first track I recorded for ‘Towers Rising’ was ‘Elephant Skull’ and I was trying to recreate what I heard during those Caravan of Whores gigs - these massive, fuzzed up riffs and John’s signature psychedelic, FX-laden solos. But of course, when you do that, try as you might to copy something, you end up with something different… and that’s where the Indica Blues sound started to develop from.

Shortly after I put that record out to some mild local acclaim in Oxford, Caravan of Whores split up. Me and John got chatting, had a couple of jams, and we came to the conclusion we should setup a band under the Indica Blues name. He brought in his riffs and I wrote lyrics to them, the first being Wasted Landscapes. That formula still produces some of our best tracks. We recruited Andy Haines-Villalta on bass and our previous drummer Ed Glenn, and things got rolling quickly - within a few months we supported Elder! 

Towers Rising has been far surpassed by what we’ve done as a band, but it helped set the tone and style of Indica Blues. 


Q: Your two albums (2016’s Ruins on the Shore and 2018’s Hymns For A Dying Realm) were self-released, to critical acclaim. Why sign with a record label now? How do you look back on those two records with hindsight?

Tom: We came to the conclusion if we wanted to reach more people and take the band further, we really needed label support. As time goes on, the genre just gets more and more saturated. So, it’s not enough to rely on some YouTube algorithm to make you popular, you need support and to collaborate with other people. Signing with APF provides us with the opportunity to do just that.

‘Ruins on the Shore’ was a great record. We were really surprised by the reaction it got. Ed Glenn was our drummer at the time and he is a huge Metallica fan, so it is definitely our most ‘metal’ release. The opening seconds of the first track really grab your attention. But our songwriting and playing has come a long way since then.

A lot changed between ‘Ruins…’ and ‘Hymns for a Dying Realm’, our first full length record. The UK was turned on its head by Brexit, Ed left to concentrate on family and we recruited Rich Walker on drums. His free flowing, old school style allowed us to explore some other influences, particularly proper doom - Candlemass, Saint Vitus etc. We wanted to bring that side of our writing out as much as possible on that record. ‘Hymns…’ is very consistent in its atmosphere and sound, helped by Chris Fielding’s Skyhammer Studio pristine mixing. I think the end of ‘Psychedelic Haze’ is one of the best things we’ve ever recorded. But I don’t think there’s any doubt ‘We Are Doomed’ is our strongest record yet.

Q: Your forthcoming album We Are Doomed is so strong that you could have picked and choosed which label you signed with. What was it about APF that secured your signatures?

Tom: APF has a reputation for being hugely supportive of its bands, and being completely transparent in the way it works with them. Our experience so far tells us that reputation is very much deserved.

Q: Do you have a particular affinity with any of the other bands on APF, either through being mates or just because you dig their riffs?

Tom: We have a lot of love and respect for Ryan and Elliot Cole of Desert Storm. They pretty much single handedly built a scene for us to play in, in Oxford. Without the gigs they put on, Indica Blues wouldn’t exist. They are also an incredible act - we’ve been going to their gigs for years now and they still get better every time.

We seriously dig the new The Brothers Keg record too.


Q: We Are Doomed is a monster. Tell us about the writing and recording of it, and what your fans can expect from it.

Tom: We took the same approach we always take with writing; usually we jam some riffs out, or someone brings in an idea, then after we’ve tried it out a few times I’ll write lyrics and put a structure together.

There is something very organic about the way the process happens. I honestly don’t think we intended to create another full album, we thought we’d maybe do a four track EP, but once you get started, you get pulled in, the pressure builds and you find yourselves working really hard to get as many tracks done as possible. The last track ‘Scarred for Life’ was written about 3 weeks before we went into the studio and, somehow, we got it in there.

It was John who suggested we record with Steve ‘Geezer’ Watkins, who also recorded albums for our label mates Desert Storm and The Grand Mal. I must admit, as he was local and we weren’t travelling far this time, or staying over somewhere, I thought this might be an easier album to record. Actually, Geezer probably pushed us far harder than anyone else to get the best takes and also had a completely different approach to recording to what we used previously. Each track was laid down by the whole band live, then we would add layers on top, perfecting everything. There was no metronome involved, no drum replacement/quantizing etc. The result is an album which is absolutely true to our live sound… the first time we’ve achieved that on record. But although it has that live energy, every single element you hear was probably refined at least six or seven times.

All the work was done at Wormwood studios, built in an old cottage deep in the Oxfordshire countryside. Tony Iommi had recorded some parts there - there were pictures of him on the walls. It also had the largest collection of lava lamps you’ve ever seen, so when things were going well Steve would stick a few on.

It was a huge amount of work. But it must have been worth it, as it got us signed to APF!


Q: There is a lot more “dirt under the finger nails” on this album, particularly in the guitars. Was there a conscious decision to get a bit more gnarly? And if so, what informed that decision?

Tom: That’s the band’s true sound coming through. Both John and Andy have always used a lot of fuzz. I think on previous records the engineers have perhaps softened our sound a little, or cleaned it up a bit. But Geezer was very much all about capturing our sounds and tones the way they are.

Q: You will have written the lyrics to the title track before the current pandemic, but they seem more apt now than ever. It feels like we’re going to hell in a hand basket. What’s your take on where we are at in 2020?

When I wrote ‘We Are Doomed’ it was around the time chemical weapons were used in Salisbury, where our drummer Rich grew up. The lyrics are an answer to these questions: what if everything that is happening now, all these insane world events that seem to increase in frequency and severity every week, are leading up to a nuclear war? And what would that look like?

As we were recording it, COVID-19 happened.  And driving back in the early hours of the morning through foggy country lanes, with all this shit kicking off, I found myself thinking; are we actually going to get this album out before there’s some sort of civilizational collapse? It was a genuine worry. Still is. We are in frightening times, there’s no two ways about it. And because we consume news through our phones now, it’s very hard to switch off - the apocalypse is playing out right there in your hand, live. 

But every generation thinks they are doomed, I’m sure.

Q: How have you kept yourselves busy since the shit hit the fan in March?

Tom: We’ve been sorting out mastering, artwork, and videos for ‘We Are Doomed’ - it’s been good to have a project to work on during all of this!

Q: Finally, any message for the APF heads reading this?

Tom: Thank you for supporting APF and its roster. Without people like you buying music, bands like us simply wouldn't exist.  And in the post pandemic world, you will be the ones that help rebuild the music scene. See you 2021.

 

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