Circuit Sweet Interview, Feature, Reviews

Rad Releases 20 – A-Tota-So

December 21, 2020

Rad Releases 20 – A-Tota-So

It’s that time once again, as the countdown to the end of 2020 rapidly approaches and we quickly want to move away from this year- we take a personal look back on familiar names, labels, promoters, and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. In what has been a challenging year for all, the one constant has been how artists and their labels have adapted and produced some of the best records of our time and it’s those releases that have the audience has depended on to get them through the year.

This year the Rad Releases special celebrates 10 years, to mark the decade-long feature we let our favorites take over the site to tell us the records that have kept them going throughout this trying year. Telling us how they’ve adapted, if they’ve returned to a loved record and what we can look forward to from them next year.

Next up we hand the site over to good friends A-Tota-So. The trio have had an unusual year with the lack of live shows, there really is no other band like A-Tota-So, the amount of shows they’d perform and attend was astronomical in the pre-covid times. We know it won’t be long until they will be back on the road again. With the pause in shows this year they’ve been focusing on a new record which is so exciting. We speak to Marty best known for his work in A-tota-so and his promotions company Buttonpusher.  Marty shares which albums have shaped his year…

Top Releases

Deftones – Ohms 

I didn’t really expect to like this album as much as i did, deftones were always a band i loved growing up but kinda just stopped listening to over time but after one listen through i was hooked on Ohms it just sounds like deftones at their best and reminded me of better days pre-covid which was a welcome relief at points.

Idles – Ultra Mono 

I was so late to the party with all the idles hype, didn’t care about them and never paid them much attention then one day during the OG lockdown i put it on and gave it a proper listen and it just clicked and I became border line obsessed with them and just delved in to the back catalogue and never turned back. great band that i’m itching to see live now!

Phoxjaw – Royal Swan 

I love this record, it’s full of weird obscure grunge/metal vibes and these guys are another band I really want to see live especially since we played a festival with them last year but they started as we finished so we only managed to hear them from the van.

Run the Jewels – RTJ4

This dropped and made a powerful statement in the midst of the George Floyd murder and while the world was in a state of rage. It almost sounded like it had been written days prior to it’s release as Killer Mike raps “I Can’t breathe” in “Walking in the snow” but the lyrics were about Eric Garner who had suffered a similar fate to Floyd back in 2014,  everyone was angry and this album speaks volumes.

Sugar Horse – DRUGS 

Sugar Horse are some of Bristol’s finest misery merchants. They released DRUGS in April this year and it just felt perfect for the mood the country was in. It’s very angry and full of punishing riffs and screaming. Basically, this is what happens when shoegaze meets black metal I guess. 

The best show you have played this year?

We unfortunately didn’t manage to play a single gig in 2020 which is pretty nuts as we used to spend all our spare time playing gigs so we’re itching to get back out there again. Live music is such a big part of our lives and having that ripped away from us has been really hard to deal with at times but we’re coping by remaining productive in the meantime.

Has there been any record that’s got you through this year? 

I’ve been listening to a lot of Nine Inch Nails (again) this year and a tonne of weird jazz stuff but some other bangers worth noting are Coriky, A burial at sea, Elephant tree, Bitch Falcon, Twisted Ankle, God Alone 2 and Hidden Mothers

How have you adapted with releasing/recording/promoting during this year? 

We basically took a break from social media and decided not to bust our balls trying to promote ourselves or force things to post about (not really much change there) We”re just at the point where we’re happy making music together when we can which annoyingly hasn’t been as often as we’d like for obvious reasons so we’re pushing ourselves to experiment a lot more and writing remotely it’s been kind of nice to take stock and really appreciate the things that we do miss as a result of this pandemic and staying away from my phone has been great when i actually manage to stick to it. We’ve been lucky that we could still get in to JT Soar to start recording our next album so thats given us focus and something to look forward to in the new year. As for the bUTTONpUSHER side of things that just stopped dead in it’s tracks when the pandemic started and i’m so totally ready to get back to it even if it means just putting on small BBQ gigs next summer. 

Best discovery this year? 

I took the time to actually sit down and properly listen to to the Vennart discography which is banging, he just released a new album recently called “In the dead, dead wood“which is also very good.

As this is our 10th year of Rad Releases, we want to look back on your 10 years- has there been standout moment of the past 10 years for you?

Holy Shit that’s a really tough one, stand out moments in music generally tend to revolve around ArcTanGent these days so we’ll go for that (no year in particular, they’ve all been great and i really hope we get to go back next year, i’d actually relish that shitty weather for a change)

Artist/Band to watch for 2021

WHAT? NAH from Leeds have just released their debut single and are very worth checking out as are First Signs of the Aftermath from Nottingham who are currently working on a new EP

Plans for the New Year

There’s talk of a live streamed gig at some point which would be nice to blow the cobwebs off and we’ll be releasing our next album at some point later next year which we’re extremely excited about, we’ve put a load of effort into this one to make something we’re immensely proud off and stamp a period of our lives that we will never forget so we’ve got quite a few surprises up our sleeves so the early part of 2021 will be finishing up recording and mixing with Phil at JT Soar.  I’m also really hoping to get back to putting on bUTTONpUSHEr gigs again next year if we get the thumbs up and a return to live music. I can’t cope for much longer without it in my life again.

A huge thank you Marty, we can’t wait to be reunited at a show in 2021

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