Monday, 13 August 2007
Alt-country saucepot Jenny Lewis ditches The Watson Twins and returns to her day job as head girl in Rilo Kiley. A-side 'The Moneymaker' is the first single to be lifted from the band's forthcoming long-player Under The Blacklight, and finds them in extremely fine form. There is something a bit jarring about the '70s-ish funk rock stylings of 'The Moneymaker', but I suppose that's all very much in keeping with the pornographically-themed accompanying video that's gained the band a good deal of attention of late. On the CD format you get the B-side 'Draggin' Around', which frankly outdoes the s… Read more
Thursday, 09 August 2007
Calling your album The Sound Of Young America makes for quite a statement. Particularly if you're from Cardiff. After the high-octane mono chord pummelling of the opening title track, these nu-gazers (for I believe that to be the accepted terminology) let loose with the epic Slowdive stylings of 'I'll Always Be Within You When There's No One Left Inside'. The same chorus 'n' reverb drenched sound pervades over the remainder of the album too, with a touch of expansive whale song guitar soaring over 'Second Wave'. More interesting terrain is covered by the Spacemen 3-influenced droni… Read more
Finally available as a UK domestic release thanks to the lovely Bella Union label, we can safely say that after a year this album still has the same shocking effect on us, sending shivers down our spines after each and every play. It's one of the finest alternative pop records you could possibly find and if you haven't managed to get hold of it yet we suggest you grab it immediately! Beach House, a funny name for a band, or so I thought. It's the kind of band name that makes you put the cd to the bottom of your pile, the kind of name that doesn't really give you any connection with the music on … Read more
Wednesday, 08 August 2007
This New York tween punk combo is made up of Ivan (aged just 13) and his little sister Ada (a mere 11 years old) who under the adult supervision of producer Russell Simins (he of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) and a host of glittering star contributors, have fashioned a searing, alarmingly enjoyable debut album, rammed with thumping beats, borderline incompetent guitar thrashing and amusing discourses about children's entertainers and George W. Bush. Like Smoosh before them (by now probably regarded as senior citizens of the junior alt-rock scene) Tiny Masters Of Today are un… Read more
A fanciful collection of well-crafted bedroom folk-pop songs, Port O'Brien's debut album is a somewhat seafaring journey. No surprise then that the band's mainman Van Pierszalowski spent much of his life on a small island in Alaska, soaking up the sea breezes and allowing himself to be influenced by his parents' record collection. It's all a very involving listening experience too, the recording adding to the enjoyment rather than detracting from it and the two part harmonies from Pierszalowski and his female counterpart are simply gorgeous. With comparisons already made to the early… Read more
Monday, 06 August 2007
This mighty two-disc opus is a protest album of sorts, directed at what Cope perceives as the tyranny of monotheism, among other things. As ever, the Teardrop Explodes veteran is seldom short on opinions, and is verbose as ever in his anti-establishment rantings. The opening piece here is a nine-minute epic titled 'Doctor Know', which begins in a fairly tuneful, Velvet Underground-styled fashion, only to unfold into something a bit darker and more emphatically psychedelic for its final phase. 'Beyond Rome' comes across like a new wave reincarnation of Current 93, which fits nicel… Read more
The relentlessly prolific Rutger Zuydervelt returns to Type Records following his Lenteliedjes 7", this time in collaboration with American multi-instrumentalist Aaron Martin, whose cello performances form the central sound source for this project. The two pieces on this disc are based around a gallery commission which saw Martin recording improvisations ready for Zuydervelt's digital processing, the original piece 'Cello Recycling' is an extremely disciplined ambient composition, rewarding the listener's patience by the time you reach its mighty crescendo. Fro… Read more
The Tinhorn imprint unleashes this six-track mini album, with three tracks each by the bands Continental Film Night (featuring David Sheppard of Ellis Island Sound and State River Widening) and Tellerman. Both bands exhibit a similar proclivity for cinematic, sophisticated pop music, laden in strings and richly arranged acoustic instrumentation. The opening instrumental from Continental Film Night is especially involving - it's a piece of unplugged post rock that shuffles along in the most emotive, resonant fashion, lined with a simply wonderful stri… Read more
The DFA's latest signings, Prinzhorn Dance School, hale from the UK, and while these tracks were recorded in Portsmouth they were mixed with assistance from the DFA themselves over at their NYC HQ. The A-side is a lo-fi ditty, with a feel reminiscent of The Kills, or perhaps if you're feeling a bit open minded, you might detect a hint of Menswear's 'Daydreamer', and heck, you might even like it. The lyrics are top notch. Check the chorus, all delivered in a suitable cockney brogue: "It's a five o'clock shocker/ It's a five o'clock shocker / It's a five o'clock shocker /Knock kn… Read more
There's something a bit Garth Marenghi about the seriousness with which Sunray go about their quasi-mystical sloganeering. Bad enough that they should call this (actually rather impressive) live piece 'Incantation' in the first place, but writing things like "An ancient to the future production" on the back sleeve or referring to "the expression of infinity as sound" is several bridges too far. The recording itself dates back to 1993 at the Vertigo Club in London, and finds the band stirring up a lo-fi Sun-Ra inspired dirge, fuelled by pattering percussion, tranc… Read more
Thursday, 02 August 2007
I've just been reading an article that places sixties Greenwich Village queen Karen Dalton as the Nick Drake of the Noughties. I'm not sure why the music press insist on using such lazy comparisons - but I can honestly see what they mean on this occasion. Dalton never really achieved the success she deserved and the cult status and hero worship she has attained since has only really come in the last few years. Despite being referred to by Bob Dylan as one of Greenwich Village's most important figures she never really managed to capture public imagination … Read more
Wednesday, 01 August 2007
Erica Garcia established Mountain Party specifically to fill a slot in a Devendra Banhart-curated music festival (the snappily titled Hypnorituals and Mesmemusical Miracles Hanging In The Sky festival, to be precise). As you'd imagine from that snippet of background information, Mountain Party's sound is very much informed by hazily recorded psych-tinged folk, citing Andean music as a particular influence. You can certainly hear elements of that in tracks like 'Guarani' and the wonky Ry Cooder-isms of 'High Way'. Elsewhere the witchy, muffled incantations of 'Himno 3' bring to mind a… Read more
Thursday, 26 July 2007
This selection cultivated from the first part of Ontayso's 24 Hour Box project provides an abridged catch-up capsule for anyone wanting to dip into Koen Lybaert's incredibly ambitious year-long project of field recordings. Ontayso's plan is to produce two hour-long CDs per month, each condensing a day's worth of environmental and location sounds into a processed piece of ambient music. At least I think that's the gist of it, it's all rather complicated and concept-heavy. Irrespective of any such cumbersome accompanying baggage, the disc functions perfectly well as an i… Read more
Sometimes records float by our way that almost totally defy all classification, and I'm very happy to say that 'Athlantis' by Eyvind Kang is one of those rare beasts. Coming from Mike Patton's reliably insane Ipecac imprint you've always got to expect the unexpected, but I could have never predicted an album quite like this. Kang is a trained violinist and has turned his hand to doing string arrangements to a whole host of fabulous artists such as Laurie Anderson, Laura Veirs and Blonde Redhead but here he puts his mind to something far grander in scale, taking advantage of his friends to help him… Read more
I've long had a soft spot for Common, and although he might not always end up with great records you always get the sense that he does what he does for a reason. 'Like Water for Chocolate' was for me the pinnacle of that late-90s sound, it was conscious but it lacked the self-congratulatory preachiness of so much conscious rap, and more importantly the production was jaw-dropping throughout thanks in part to a certain J.Dilla. 'Finding Forever' is the veteran rapper's seventh album and in my opinion his best in years, thanks in part to again being pitted against some quite inspired production. An… Read more
Our man Trim is back on a grime tip again with this followup to the Soul Food cd we had no so long ago. This time around we're treated to some serious lyrical grime damage and with a lineup as sick as this I'm sure there's gonna be some interest - on the beats we have Wiley who is as on form as ever, Jerzy, Mega and DVA and the quality is as high as you'd expect from Trim. This is hot stuff and won't last long - grime is hot again right now, so check it out.
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Wowsers, well you don't see a lineup like this on many sleeves do you? David Garland the acclaimed Downtown Music Gallery associated composer, guitarist and radio host of WNYC's acclaimed 'Spinning on Air' has obviously got some sickening connections as he drags Diane Cluck (possibly my favourite female vocalist around right now), Viking Moses, Sufjan Stevens, Mira Romantschuk (of Mi and Lau), Greg Saunier (of Deerhoof) and many more into the fold to create a quite effortlessly great album. I mean with that lineup you pretty much haven't got a choice but to do something great I suppose, but w… Read more
I think we all like a bit of classic Bollywood funk and seeing as how these sort of compilations always fly off the shelves I'm pretty sure you all out there like it too. Well this particular compilation comes from the spiffy as you like Guerilla label and collections some absolute oddities, an absolute goldmine for the crate diggers among you I'm sure. This is funk music as re-imagined by Indian movie composers and in being such we get an absolutely bizarre collision of styles, one part 70s cop show one part Bollywood. There are appearances from legendary singer Asha Bh… Read more
Monday, 23 July 2007
Hopewell's Jason Russo earned his indie rock stripes touring with Mercury Rev at just age 19. Hopewell carries over the psychedelic pop influence such an experience will inevitably have on a writer and results in Russo's embrace of elaborate and fanciful hooks. Jason's brother Justin ploughs a similar furrow in his similarly excellent band The Silent League, but while the multi-instrumental excursions of that band are suggestive of an epic, orchestral ambition, Hopewell succed in the field by adopting a comparatively straight-forward approach to psych-tinged classic rock. 'Bethlehem' isn't to… Read more
Back in stock! Dubplates and Mastering admirable assistance in reissuing this series of beautiful Wackies music can really be seen in all its glory on this 6 tracker. Killer Pallas pressing of some understated but still sublime three part vocal harmonies. The mood is well dread with four cuts resembling prime period Black Ark Perry productions and the heartical pull of two Marley inflected numbers, making this another fine addition to the swelling back catalogue of joy emanating from Lloyd Barnes New York based Bullwackie vaults.
Back in stock! More goodness from the now Basic Channel affiliated Wackies Crew! Further adventures with Lloyd Bullwackie Barnes - the man who worked formatively in Lee Perry's Black Ark, then relocated to New York, with a crucial take on classic period Scratch production techniques and part of his equipment. So it is no coincidence that the drifting analogue detail in the rhythm tracks owes much to Mr. Perry's classic period. Providing a bridge from the well documented seventies heyday of roots reggae into the less well covered mid eighties - all Barnes work is worth checking and this is no exc… Read more
Back in stock! Remastered rerelease of 'Reggae Vibes', female Roots duo the LOVE JOYS first album, initially released in 1981 on the Florida-based Top Ranking label (when it was also entitled Jah Light on the inside labels). It features 10 tunes produced and recorded at Wackies NY, ranging from Lovers Rock Reggae Style and uptempo dance vibes to roots and reality. Official cooperation and re-release program by Basic Channel (Berlin) and Wackie's (New York).
Back in stock! One week later, come down Act 3. As crucially essential a set of dubwise vibrations as that of Act 2. The Bullwackie sound crew that includes Chosen Brothers (percussion), Jackie Mittoo (elec piano) and Sugar Minnott (dub voices, 'I') lay down track after track of sparse but musically rich tracks from 1983. Sounding truly timeless - again we have a lot to thank Mark and Moritz for..... fantastic.
Back in stock! Absolutely kicking dubwise rockers from the Wackies stables, this is a great selection from the archives. Possibly outsmarting even the recent African dub series revivals, head straight from the top for the title cut, a beyond fierce stepper. Check some of the cuts through a pa and you'll be as close as possible to having your own dubplates, without getting your hands dirty. Nice extra version to Rockfort Rock tucked away on here, its a pleasure at last to have this cultural item back around once more. Unmissable.
Back in stock! This angelic full lengther from Sugar Minnott makes a coherent lunge for the mature soul audience. With its almost Muscle Shoals organ fills and wider than broadway, faintly metallic riddim sound, this album is just so beautiful for its overall sound. "Freedom Train" could almost be prime Gamble and Huff Philadelphia, just minus the strings. The title cut is a well tasty extra piece to the Stalag saga, Sugar throughout as composed and comfortable as you could wish, like a reggae Jon Lucien almost at the top of his powers. Such genuine soul is a priceless commodity, and Suga… Read more
Back in stock! Originally hailing from 1981, Wackies have chosen to end an amazing year of regeneration with this long lost, utterly genius example of rubbadub deejaying style, across album length. The feeling is still New York/Yard, militant on "State Trooper Style, reality for "Rent Man", versioning "It's a Shame" to stunning effect on "Sheep Skin Gone Clear" . And for the body of this album, Clive treads a great line in dancehall interjection- prescient of the whole eighties, years clear of Shabba on "Ting-A-Ling A-Ling", yet also as well versed in the classical heavy manners o… Read more
Back in stock! "In the North Bronx, straight up White Plains Road, as far as you can go, past Tad's, and Brad's. and Moodies - as far uptown as you can go, is City Line. This is Bullwackies country" as the cover aptly puts it. Around 1980, London-based Bullwackies fan Ed Brennan circulated amongst his friends a homemade cassette of his own favourite Wackies productions. In turn, Lloyd Barnes made his own selection from this Pirate's Choice - adding several debut cuts, but retaining Ed's title and much of his artwork, yet omitting the barcode which he had snipped from a can of drink!. Li… Read more
Back in stock! Since its original release in 1977, Creation Dub has been most wanted amongst reggae bounty hunters as its Wild West cover typography suggests - every track a killer, a key Bullwackies dub album. The record inaugurated Wackies' fruitful London connection: the second-pressing sleeve carries a nostalgic distribution credit for the long-gone Maroons Tunes shop, run by Rae Cheddie. The core musicians here are Allah, Clive Hunt and Jerry Harris, with outstanding contributions from hornsman Sel Wheeler and Roy Robertson on bass, and John Clarke on the single vocal track. Included a… Read more
Back in stock! Another blinder from Basic Channel's Wackies re-issue programme finally gets its long awaited release. Between stints in Jamaica for legends like Glen Brown and Junjo Lawes, Wayne Jarrett travelled from his Connecticut base to record this album during the same weeks as the sessions for everyone's favourite - Horace Andy's Dance Hall Style. These are two of the great vocal reggae LPs of all time - no questions asked. With Clive Hunt in full effect, Showcase Volume One follows the six-track dub-showcase format and Wayne never sounded more like Horace with his yearning throaty g… Read more
Back in stock! **Volume 1+2** Basic Channel continue on their mission to re-present the Wackies catalogue in full, both volumes of Reggae Goodies came out around 1977 on Bullwackies' City Line imprint, which celebrated the Wackies HQ, and the NY subway track ending at White Plains Road. They are based on a compilation of 7" a-sides, which had appeared over the previous few years on labels like Versatile, Rawse and Senrab. The original sleeve notes of volume one reflected that 'today, reggae music is reaching its peak and this album is a perfect example of the roots of its success.… Read more