Darker With The Day

Nick Stephan


12:00 AM - 2:00 AM

Darkening the pre-dawn hours with a mix of experimental, underground and alternative music from Meanjin/Brisbane and beyond.




29 May, 2024

This morning's episode features an interview with local musician, producer, curator, writer and label-boss, Lawrence English. Lawrence is the head of the Brisbane-based record label Room40, the organiser of the Mono experimental music nights held at The Institute of Modern Art (IMA) and is curating the upcoming Open Frame festival being held at Brisbane Powerhouse. His new collaborative album with Akira Kosemura, Selene, is out May 31st.

Plus the following review, featured just before the Gastr Del Sol Song,The Bells Of St. Marys.

Gastr Del Sol - We Have Dozens Of Titles (Drag City)

Released May 24th, 2024

Louisville, Kentucky hardcore band Squirrel Bait existed for but a few short years in the mid 80s and released one album and an EP, plus a handful of demos and singles. Their music may no longer be familiar to many, but the bands that rose from their ashes would go on to create some of the most interesting and important music to come out of the early post-hardcore scene. It was guitarist and vocalist David Grubbs however, who would truly embrace the avant-garde and transcend the modest beginnings of his punk-rock youth, first with Bastro, then with Gastr Del Sol.

Within Bastro, Grubbs had already begun to explore music well beyond the traditional boundaries of post-hardcore, but it was with Gastr Del Sol that his creative instinct would truly be unleashed. After original members Bundy K. Brown and John McEntire departed and formed Tortoise, multi-instrumentalist Jim O’Rourke joined. Together, this duo, despite welcoming the contribution of various collaborators, would remain the group’s core and only official members, until their demise in 1998.

Twenty-six years later, Gastr Del Sol return with We Have Dozens Of Titles, an assemblage of unreleased studio takes, live recordings and other rarities. Interestingly, despite the radical changes that have occurred across the musical landscape in the quarter of a century since Gastr Del Sol’s last record, their music still feels innovative, exploratory and eccentric.

I admit to being only casually acquainted with Gastr Del Sol’s discography, beyond Crookt, Crackt or Fly much of their work is a mystery to me and I am far more familiar with each member’s more recent solo records. For this reason -and for me at least- We Have Dozens Of Titles is a timely release and a suitable entry point into the group’s unique musical catalogue.

Many of the songs on We Have Dozens Of Titles are long form, about half exceed the eight minute mark, while two stretch to almost twenty minutes. This is not an album of short, catchy singles designed to be added to playlists and consumed out of context. Even though the songs that comprise the album are from different eras, sessions and shows, they are compiled and curated to be consumed in one sitting. 

Choosing favourites is a difficult task, particularly when repeat spins reveal new details and intricacies not heard on the first listen, but that said, the album is not without its standouts. The Bells Of St. Mary’s is a short but beautiful piece of piano and sleigh-bell minimalism that was only released in Japan on an album of experimental Christmas music. Blues Subtitled No Sense of Wonder (Live) is a sublime piece of electronic wizardry that, even at eleven minutes, feels far too short, whilst the album’s shortest track, The Japanese Room At La Pagode is memorable for it’s playful mixture of piano and musique concrete.

There is much to love about We Have Dozens Of Titles; and even more to digest. Initially imposing, the record’s 105 minute runtime allows for an immersive experience that would be lacking from a more concise compilation. Gastr Del Sol prove that co called “difficult” music can be beautiful, by being simultaneously challenging and charming. We Have Dozens Of Titles may not be for everyone, but those who do persist will be richly rewarded with a listening experience few other groups can provide. 

Nick Stephan

Nick Cave & The Bad SeedsShow Intro - Darker With The Day (Excerpt)AUS
Primitive MotionAnnouncer Backing Track - Portrait IV (Excerpt)LOCAL
ELiving Waters 12:01:08
Loscil & Lawrence EnglishUltramarineLOCAL 12:16:44
InterviewLawrence English Part 1LOCAL 12:21:50
Madeleine CocolasExhaleLOCAL 12:32:31
Keiji HainoBlack Petal (Violent) 12:39:08
InterviewLawrence English Part 2LOCAL 12:46:35
Akira Kosemura & Lawrence EnglishMirroring FeldsparLOCAL 12:59:09
Ex-Easter Island HeadLodestone 01:06:45
Amby DownsWhat Season Is ThisAUS 01:14:25
Gastr Del SolThe Bells Of St. Mary's 01:24:27
Kathryn MohrCut 01:28:42
LowRome (Always In The Dark) 01:37:58
MamaleekVileness Slim 01:44:37
AgricultureBeing Eaten By A Tiger 01:44:35
Couch SlutFull Disclosure 01:47:34
Jeremy Gluck (With Nikki Sudden & Rowland S. Howard)Four Seasons Of TroubleAUS 01:53:46