Thursday, 24 March 2011
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are (along with Vivian Girls and other Brooklyn-based operatives) at the center of an American indie revolution. A revolution that seems somehow to have set its sights on the most unlikely of targets - British twee pop. The band's self-titled debut was a triumph of classic indie songwriting, and had more in common with Heavenly, The Wedding Present and the Sarah Records catalogue than with the rest of the Brooklyn scene at the time. Now they're back with sophomore effort 'Belong', and the winsome jangle and innocence of their debut has been shake… Read more
'Liquorice' is the second album by Hamburg's hugely respected Stimming, serving thirteen tracks of Diynamic electro-acoustic Tech-House. His production values are head and shoulders above many in his field, allowing for a more expansive and intricately nuanced sound. His appreciation of downtempo electronic groove composition places him broadly in the same bracket as Nicolas Jaar, as he incorporates more exotic Middle Eastern melodies and percussion and hints of jazz into a beautifully spatialized mesh of rhythms and acousmatic sound. This really isn't club material, but makes a deeply engrossing l… Read more
As a member of Bus (with Daniel Meteo) and Sun Electric (with MvO Trio / NSI.'s Max Loderbauer), Tom Thiel can claim to be a core member of the "Berlin Scene" for the last 20 years. So, it's about time he delivered his debut solo album! His eponymous effort is a pure example of the Berlin electronic dub aesthetic, eleven tracks of dynamic, atmospheric, and economical productions sculpted by an experienced and refined hand. From the sine-wave test signals of 'Pulse' to widescreen, The Orb-like ambience on 'An Isle', through the enchanting outernational influences of 'Craxa', 'STHG's sliding Tech-Hou… Read more
I've always had a soft spot for Hamburg-based band Mountaineer. Led by the silky vocal tones of Henning Wandhoff, 'The Real McQueen' again finds him accompanied by Alexander Rischer on guitar, Anna Berermann on vocals and Christian Ebert on omnichord. It's unsurprisingly sunny stuff too, bringing together the crisp Latin-via-alt country haze of Calexico and the nostalgic glow of classic 70s exotica to create an album that unreservedly revels in the finer things in life. This might sound too positive for some of you cold, dark souls out there but 'The Real McQueen' isn't sugary, rather Henn… Read more
"T-Bone Walker was crucial to the formulation of modern blues. Lovers of blues piano might not like that fact, but without T-Bone's innovatory approach to playing the guitar there would have been no B.B. King, no Buddy Guy, no Freddie King, no Eric Clapton, nor any of the plank-spankers who strut the stage at blues festivals and club gigs. The line began with TBone, who along with his friend Charlie Christian invented the vocabulary for the amplified guitar. Christian died early but T-Bone adapted the improvisatory techniques of the jazzmen he encounter… Read more
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
"Interplay is a collaboration between John Foxx and electronic composer and synthesizer collector, Benge (Ben Edwards). He's best known for his 2008 album, Twenty Systems which was described by Brian Eno as 'a brilliant contribution to the archaeology of electronic music.' Moody and atmospheric, but also full of songs that are actually more ''pop'' than avant garde, Interplay pulls various strands of electronic music together - from early '80s electro to 70s Krautrock, even flashes of Cabaret Voltaire and Foxx's first band, Ultravox! One track, 'Watching A Building On Fire' features M… Read more
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Better buff up yer clogs because it's time to get on the 'floor, this selection bouncing off the walls from epic Latin Hi-Tek to futuristic Acid-House, acrobatic D&B and Footwork concrète! As usual we've tried to mix up tracks from well known producers with those bits that fall in the cracks, basically including nowt but the good stuff. It's fair to say there's an 'ardcore lean to many of these tracks, from Falty DL's AGCG-referencing killah 'Lucky Luciano' from his incredible 'You Stand Uncertain' album, to Splurt's psychotic 'The Return VIP' or to ghostly effect on Pangaea… Read more
Monday, 21 March 2011
Chief arrived at their new home on Domino from complete obscurity - an increasingly rare feat considering the size and stature of the label - with not an ounce of buzz surrounding them. Perhaps one reason for the band's fast-tracking is that they're a fundamentally 'classic' sounding outfit, dipping into West Coast pop sounds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young styled multi-layered vocal high jinks. In the demographic stakes you could reasonably place Chief somewhere between the adept, electrified folk of Fleet Foxes and the more arena-friendly, sing-along, Americana-inflected sounds you'd ex… Read more
‘Winchester Cathedral’ is the third album from Clinic - Liverpool’s Grammy-nominated masked lords of mutant- pop. "Winchester Cathedral" delivers in style, at times even delving to a more reflective corner of the room, not often frequented by the band. Expect lots of hype - give it a listen.
The second single from Glaswegian art-rock quartet Correcto pushes all the right post-punk buttons, tapping into a kind of Buzzcocks/Magazine-style barbed urgency, delivered with an authentically scrappy sound, right down to the weird, affectations of the vocal. For those not already in the know, Correcto include members of Franz Ferdinand and The Royal We, leaving them open to 'Domino-supergroup' tags, but these guys certainly don't sound like a side-project. Good, rabble-rousing stuff.
Clinic are a band who've never quite received the attention they deserve from the great record buying public. Despite their part in a Levi's ad campaign and tours with Radiohead and Arcade Fire - not to mention being championed by every other credible band you could care to mention - they've never quite made that jump into the mainstream. The band's off-kilter brand of pop has arguably never sounded better, thanks in part to the mixing talents of Jacquire King, who has previously worked on recordings by Tom Waits, Kings Of Leon and Modest Mouse. The songwriting is especially commanding here too, wit… Read more
"Devonté Hynes has produced a lot of music. Some for himself (Test Icicles, Lightspeed Champion), some for others (Basement Jaxx, Florence & The Machine, Theophilus London, Solange Knowles, Cassie, Diana Vickers), and somewhere in between all of this, Blood Orange was created. Informed by the equally neon atmosphere of Chris Issack, Billy Idol, 80s Japanese pop such as Yellow Magic Orchestra and French singer FR David, and also by transgender icons such as Octavia St Laurent and the playful high-gloss nihilsm of Gregg Araki movies, Hynes took the songs that form 'Coastal Grooves' on a trip to the West Coast where he worked with producer Ariel Rechtshaid in LA."
Plenty of bands have been faced with the difficulty of following up successful debuts this year (Bloc Party and Arcade Fire to name but two), but only Arctic monkeys shall be faced with the irksome proposition of having to deliver a follow-up to the fastest selling debut album in UK history. Favourite Worst Nightmare seems to sidestep much of that pressure by continuing in a similar vein. Where most bands might get an orchestra involved or even toss in a few electronic beats here and there, the Monkeys seem happy to keep their heads down and craft another serving of finel… Read more