So we’ve been at this for just over a year now. Since APF Records first release – Under’s “Slick” album – hit the shelves on 31st May 2017 we’ve put out music by Diesel King, Blind Haze, Mastiff, Tronald, RedEye Revival, BongCauldron, Ba’al, The Wizards Of Delight, Desert Storm, The Hyena Kill, Pist, Trevor’s Head and Nomad. Not bad for 52 weeks eh?
For the first time in over 12 months we have a nice little pause before the release schedule cranks up again in the autumn. A time to recharge the batteries, reflect on that first year, and get the forthcoming new stuff manufactured and ready to batter your eardrums later in the year.
Next up from APF is a new Under album. Likely to hit the streets in late September it’s a 10 track beast which shows the Stockport trio taking a giant creative leap forward from “Slick”.
The riff which opens the album is jaw dropping. Simon Mayo’s guitar work throughout is some next level shit: alternating between filthy, strings-hanging-off-the-fret-board nastiness to moments of sublime and beautiful melancholy (and all points in between). Matt Franklin’s bass is guttural, and his howl even more frightening than before. Andy Preece’s drumming is immense. And when all three blend their voices into that signature Under harmony, its pure goosebumps.
What is clear with Under is this: the ‘First Attempt’ EP and ‘Slick’ were just these boys warming up. The new one isn’t just in a different league, its a whole different sport. Prepare to be amazed.
Also this autumn we’ll be releasing the debut album by Barbarian Hermit. Recorded in May at Skyhammer Studio by Chris Fielding, its a great big fat widescreen monolith. I had the pleasure of visiting the studio when work was in progress, and on the last evening of recording got to hear rough mixes. All the things you loved about Hermit on their February 2016 EP ’01’ are there – groove, swagger, riffs that could frighten a herd of angry bulls. But there is so much that is new, and it’s all good – from Ed Campbell’s gravel-inflected vocals to Spadge Fafner’s thrills of bass fancy to Gaz Manning’s sheer brutal power. The way the songs ebb and flow is different and thrilling, but they still contain the majestic Robertshaw / Regan six string mindfucking riffs you’d expect and want. The closing track is the very definition of the word “epic”. It’s a massive sounding record. You’re gonna dig it.
Before the end of the year APF will release a new Battalions album, their third after 2016’s “Nothing To Lose” and last year’s “Moonburn”. Over the last 12 months the Hullensian quartet have delivered some immense shows (including a UK tour with label mates Pist – which by some miracle they survived), whilst honing material for the new record.
One of the joys of owning a record label is getting WhatsApp messages from members of your bands ripping through the new songs in their rehearsal rooms. I’ve had several from Dennett and Mott of Battalions over the last few months so have watched the songs on the new record gestating. Fans will be pleased to know that Pete Cross continues to have a seemingly bottomless supply of swampy riffs which he can summon at ease – for The Fumb and Walker to pummel into submission. And Phil Wilkinson continues to be the only frontman who can look so cute yet make small children cry with his vocals. It’s all sounding ace. No babies have been thrown out with the bathwater. Its pure Battalions and it will make your arse move.
Several of our other bands are beavering away on new material. Pist have an album’s worth of songs written, and keep writing more. Their next release is gonna be a bit special. BongCauldron are recording something shortly – but I’m not saying what, or why yet (all will be revealed soon).
No one’s heard from Diesel King in a while. But that’s pretty usual.
This is just the beginning. Loads more coming from APF. Wish I had the time to tell you about it all. It’s all exciting.
See you at a show.