[sic] Magazine

2018 Artists Picks – Burning House


2018 has been a very encouraging year for Burning House. Since releasing our debut EP ‘Tracer’ back in February, the response been overwhelming. Buoyed by the support of innumerable blogs and magazines, we are now spurred on to scale whatever artistic heights we so envision. We’re acquiring fans, and fervent ones at that, the more we unveil of the band and are looking forward to releasing our epic debut album Anthropocene in early 2019! 

AARON MILLS – Vocalist/Lead Guitarist:

Sun Kil MoonThis is my Dinner.

Anyone that knows me will find this inclusion unsurprising. Although it got absolutely hammered by Pitchfork, I think this is the best iteration of what has been pejoratively called Mark Kozelek’s ‘Dad-rap’ or ‘Loafer-Lounge’ project. I adored ‘Benji’, and everything released up til that point. Red House Painters are one of my favourite bands of all time, with Kozelek’s lyrics and imaginative song structures renewing my interest in song-craft. His metamorphosis as a performer is quite perplexing given his former image as a melancholic tunesmith, that said I think what he’s doing is pretty much in-keeping with the zeitgeist – just an exhaustive list of information, with little time for reflection, or relevance. It’s like someone’s Facebook statuses set to music, where the intimate and seemingly banal moments of our lives must be shared and glorified to verify an importance that belies their inherent everydayness. In a strange inversion of reality, the inability to commodify every paucity of our lives – however meaningless – and the propensity for secrecy is equated with mental illness, The track ‘Linda Blair’ cracked me up. It sounds like Battles, meets The Carpenters and quite literally, Linda Blair (The girl from The Exorcist.) He’s like the Stewart Lee (British Comedian) of Music now, endless, monotonous repetition until you submit and forget whether or not this experience has any ‘value’ or it’s even funny or ‘musical’ yet the absurdity and sheer nerve of it is enthralling. But then I have a penchant for music that is willfully perverse and ‘irritating’ that is to say, it’s in my DNA to tend towards anything that’s off-script. 

Marie DavidsonWorking Class Woman. 

Although I’ve followed the Ninja Tune label for years, my introduction being Jega’s electronic masterpiece ‘Geometry’, see ‘Rigid Body Dynamics’: a superlative composition of sequenced electronic glitches and technical hiccups, Davidson’s music came to my attention via a sponsored ad on Facebook. This has subsequently led me to track down earlier works. She’s a fascinating artist. There’s a kind of Madonna/ Grace Jones meets Throbbing Gristle, or Clock DVA sonic feel to her music. Her delivery is interesting. It’s meta-referential – she seems consumed with the idea of ‘media perception’ and puts herself in the mind of a journalist, fan or peer perceiving her own work – and ideological inasmuch as one might imagine a biosphere existing with her specific ecology and economics; an accelerated cultural and technological insanity mirroring our own. Recalling the excesses of the 80s, in ‘Work It’ she congruously sounds like Belgian industrial pioneers Front 242, something like ‘Headhunter’ from ‘Front By Front’. Here Davidson’s production is phenomenal. Lyrically it’s like an ironical take on Rihanna’s ‘Work’, an informed self-awareness of the erosion of meritocracy and the impending threat to ‘human’ labour by mechanisation and automisation, where the political ‘injunction’ “to work” supplants gainful, rewarding employment, with a promise of replacing constant existential rumination with mental and physical exhaustion, and only scant security for the atomised multitude who can see no way of transcending their circumstances… the most impressive album of the year! 

LowDouble Negative

“Zalasiewicz (Senior Lecturer in Geology at the University of Leicester, UK) is convinced that even a moderately competent stratigrapher will, at the distance of a hundred million years or so, be able to tell that something extraordinary happened at the moment in time that counts for us as today. This is the case even though a hundred million years from now, all that we consider to be the great works of man—the sculptures and the libraries, the monuments and the museums, the cities and the factories—will be compressed into a layer of sediment not much thicker than a cigarette paper.” 

- Elizabeth Kolbert – Sixth Extinction. 

I was blown away by this record. The front cover’s pareidolia staring back at you sets the tone for the music therein, where primitivism and technology clash in a kind of ‘divine obsolescence’ the clipping and glitching static-noise conceals a human face crying to be recognised through the din. It’s unnerving. What springs to mind is the “drop” at sleep-time just before losing consciousness, thought to be evolutionary signal to grasp the trunk, lest we plummet from the tree and expose ourselves to our predators… this music too stands at that same precipice. All art should. I can think of few bands as consistent as Low. I can name at least five albums of theirs I deem essential. They’re forging ahead, defying expectation, and I’m enthralled. 

Yumi And The Weather S/T

Ruby Taylor is one of the most talented songwriters/musicians I know. Her grasp of melody is enviable, not to mention she is an extremely engaging performer. The emotion is palpable. I saw her perform ‘Callum’ at St Pauls in Worthing, where Burning House shared the stage, and I was deeply moved. We’re ardent fans of each others work – and she’s been extremely supportive of Burning House. I hope we can work together in the future. 

Honourable Mentions:

Jenny HvalThe Long Sleep

(Technically an EP) The musical equivalent of an orgasm. All her songs are about anxiety, capitalism and the question of whether love can exist in this disintegrating world/ climate of competing fictions. She also writes beautiful melodies, possessing a voice like a lightning bolt going through your body or a hand pushing through wet sand.

Anna Von HauswolffDead Magic
NothingDance On The Backtop

Dominic Taylor: Drums, Percussion

Sloppy JaneWillow

The creative force behind Sloppy Jane, Haley Dahl, describes the album as “the story of a great adventure. Willow is a girl, who existed inside of a strip club in Inglewood, who ran away to the desert to hustle pool with a lion, and who burned herself alive for my freedom.” Willow is a raw, gritty, tapestry of grunge, a sublime blend of sounds reminiscent of Babes In Toyland and Tom Waits with the storytelling of Frank Zappa. 

HorsefliesSea Control

Portsmouth’s answer to Fugazi, Horseflies have captured the raucous energy of their live performance very well indeed with Sea Control. The album is a journey through political punk blasts, sinister sounds and oceanic grooves; truly a sonic encapsulation of the anxious, fragmented time we live in.

Skating PollyThe Make It All Show

Probably Skating Polly’s finest release to date, this album is a showcase of everything the band excels at: Kelly Mayo’s dynamic, aggressive voice that leads the charge, Peyton Bighorse’s beautiful, soaring vocal melodies, a powerful triad of guitar, bass and drums as harmonious as it is heavy. The Make It All Show opens with an absolute jumper, Classless Act, and closes with a pristine ballad, Don’t Leave Me Gravity. The album also boasts a guest spot from Exene Cervenka of California punk legends, X.

Honourable Mentions:

Dream WifeDream Wife

In its inception, Dream Wife was half art project and half excuse to have a holiday in Canada, according to frontwoman, Rakel Mjöll. What grew from it however is an addictively electrifying band and a terrific debut album. The most notable lyrical themes in the album include body image (in the mantra, “I am not my body, I am somebody”), and feminist empowerment.

Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring MothersBought To Rot

She Makes WarBrace For Impact.

Patrick White – Bassist, Drones

Guided By VoicesSpace Gun

Robert Pollard and co are a real force to be reckoned with, this is the man’s 102nd album and this is probably the most polished and concise this outfit have put out since 2003’s ‘Earthquake Glue’. Although, of course everything they put out if worth anyones time. 

This album has it all, actual space ray-gun sounds on the title track. Beautiful slack-ballad songs Ark Technician & I Love Kangaroos. Roaring drums on Colonel Paper. Classic GBV moments with ‘Flight Advantage’ & ‘See My Field Flight Advantage’. With a dollop of classic sounding GBV with ‘Blink Blank’ & possibly my favorite ‘Greyspat Matters’.

Field MusicOpen Here

Fronted by Brothers David & Peter Brewis this band empathises everything I love with 70/80s British guitar pop. There are very clear influences from the likes of XTC, Prefab Sprout, Scritti Politti, and the Cardiacs. However rather then retreading those that came before they have carved out their own little niche.

This album is full of irresistible ear-worms that will get stuck in your head for months on end, my personal favorites are the Beatles White Album-esque ‘Open Here’ and Andy Partridgeian ‘Share a Pillow’.

Aidan Moffat and Rm HubbertHere lies the body

Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert, who have both collaborated with each other before countless times have come together to make their first full length collab, and its one of the most hauntingly crushing and beautiful albums of the year. 

Here Lies the Body’ is a story that starts with former lovers briefly crossing paths and ends with an idyllic squat in the forest. The mix of Hubby’s enticing flamenco-punk inspired guitar work and Aiden Moffat’s devastating croons of despair is a match that leaves both a a gaping pit and hope in your being.

Honourable Mentions

Snail MailLush
Courtney BarnettTell Me How You Really Feel

Yo La TengoThere’s A Riot Going On

Melody’s Echo ChamberBon Voyage


Jump to Features for more Artists Picks.