Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Sixty strings might sound like quite a lot for one record, but surprisingly they’re spread between only two musicians, namely Jesse Sparhawk (who plays a 38-string lever harp) and Eric Carbonara (on 22-string upright Chaturangui guitar). Both experienced musicians with exemplary training, they combine their love of classical minimalism and the weird-world spiritualism of later Popol Vuh expertly. ‘Sixty Strings’ is not simply an exercise in musical tourism by any stretch, this music is assured and expertly performed, and while the duo wear their influences on their sleeve,… Read more
Souterrain Tranmissions' scouring of the US underground has born considerable fruit in recent years, the German label bringing us key releases from Zola Jesus, Marnie Stern, CocoRosie and Moon Duo. Its latest signing is EMA, erstwhile frontwoman with Gowns, who unveils a debut album of real class and assurance. From its title you might be expecting some self-flagellating goth gear, but what you get is unreconstructed indie-rock at its most atmospheric and penetrating. 'The Grey Ship' begins in a reverb-heavy, lo-fi style and then, just as you think you've got a handle on it, there's a s… Read more
Tuesday, 10 May 2011
I must admit when I plonked this one on the stereo for the first time, I was pretty sure that No Babies were a Japanese band. There was something, I don't know, distinctly Melt Banana about them; the jagged punk intensity and shrill femme shrieking paired with that 'f*ck it all' attitude. They're not Japanese though, the band are from the sizzling musical hotbed of Oakland, California and this self titled LP is their debut release. It's darned good too, providing you've got a nagging desire to hear frenetic, angular punk music that's almost so brief that it's barely there. The album clocks in at … Read more
Sophisticated, techy and deeply melancholy D&B minimalistix from Bristol's Villem. Both sides are built swift and aerodynamic for the the dancers, with darting jazz keys synched snake-style to flickering Tech-step drums on 'Provide', and 'Red Matter' taking a more rolling route through crisply metallic drum timbres and brooding warehouse atmospheres. Classy gear for fans of Rockwell, or Felix K and the Hidden Hawaii series.
Monday, 09 May 2011
The fourth in legendary Norwegian rockers' Motorpsycho's series of blistering live documents, 'Intrepid Skronk' finds them joined by new drummer Kenneth Kapstad as they power through material from their sprawling back catalogue. This is what a real rock band should sound like; enviably tight, heavy enough to blow the roof off of whatever venue they should choose and laced with the kind of oozing prog compositions that would have had ELP gasping for breath. It's not going to excite all of you I know, but those with a taste for serious shredding and the kind of balls-to-the-w… Read more
Thursday, 05 May 2011
The tireless Bureau B dig out and dust down another gem from the Roedelius catalogue for a top-quality reissue; this time it's Momenti-Felici, originally released in '87 on Virgin's Venture imprint. It's notable for its contributions from saxophonist Alexander Czjzek, which when combined with Hans-Joachim's breezy keyboard chords on 'Guten Morgen' inevitably put us in mind of Vangelis. It's one of HJR's most charming and organic records - beginning with the clustered (no pun intended) piano arpeggios of 'Aufgewacht', which has a similar rural fantasia vibe to, say, Penguin Cafe… Read more
Described on their website as 'epic instrumental post rock', I can hardly disagree and with this sophomore album (following the well received 'Britannia Triumphant') they should cement their place in the listening piles of any discerning genre follower. Post rock seems to have split into a number of strands, and The Winchester Club have definitely moved their sound into gloriously dark territory, rather than for instance the chirpy anthems of Explosions in the Sky or even latter day Mogwai. 'Negative Library' is a record chock full of long, sprawling epics, near-metal levels of i… Read more
Following the widely acclaimed 'Two Dancers', 'Smother' is Kendal band Wild Beasts next attempt at the mainstream, and luckily they have managed yet another full-length without properly succumbing to the mainstream. Their drive is as propulsive as ever, and the electronic pop sheen that graced 'Two Dancers' is back in full force, almost taking them into Cold Cave's coveted nu-wave zone. The Beasts always had a sense of indie-rock about them though, and their distinct Britishness really stops them from placing two hands on the current cold wave fetishism. There are real British songs here, and whi… Read more
Endearingly angular and individual art-pop/punk from two bands rated enough by the Upset The Rhythm institution to share their latest Underground Series split. Housed in a unsettlingly weird picture sleeve and inner, both sides contain a garage-raw brand of punk truths. Spin Spin The Dogs' four tracks are quintessentially of an English post-punk lineage, built from skewed guitars and drums played with an intelligent and wry humour, and asserted by singer Vincent Larkin's deadpan delivery. London's Please trio take the other side, giving a confection of tightl… Read more
Sense-activating sci-fi disco-techno from Paul Woolford and his pal from Leeeds, Mat Playford. The pair embark on some cool intergalactic astrodance fictions over two tracks; Woolford offering the Transmat-debted killer 'Satire', full of shifty Latin drum shakes and serotonin-boosting synthlines, while the pair fuse forces on the flip for the rubbery disco bobble of 'Delerium', sure to pull 'em in from the red dales for miles around. You'll need to leave your trident/pitchfork at the door, though.
"The Magic I.D. is a Berlin-based quartet exploring the juncture of song forms with abstract music. The band, consisting of Margareth Kammerer (vocals & guitars), Christof Kurzmann (vocals, g3 & lloopp), Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke (both clarinet), formed in summer 2005 after previously being connected via smaller groupings and projects. The musicians expand song forms through the prism of experimental sensibilities and mesh the two remarkably fluidly. 'I'm So Awake / Sleepless I Feel' is their second release and consists of ten intricately constructed gems, each with … Read more
Tuesday, 03 May 2011
Blues was never a genre that sprung to mind when listening to Fleet Foxes debut EP 'Sun Giant' or their breakthrough self-titled debut full length. The sunny, shimmering near-choral folk was certainly referential to music past, but to something far more upbeat than blues, surely? Well this time around the darker, sadder side of the band has been exposed, and it's hardly surprising. The way their debut was received was just so conclusive - the album was instantly hailed as a classic and swept up enough sales to prove it, with mums and dads weighing in just as much (maybe even more?) as … Read more
Saturday, 30 April 2011
Due to popular demand Kris Needs presents a crucial followup to his 'Dirty Water' compilation, readdressing the 'Birth Of Punk Attitude' through 19 expertly chosen tracks covering spiritual jazz, reggae, primitive rock 'n roll and much more. Across tracks from Captain Beefheart, Suicide, David Bowie, Bo Diddley, MC5, and Patti Smith, Kris gets closer to an aural version of Zigzag, the crucial fanzine he edited in the '70s, taking in the myriad elemental factors with catalyzed an upheavel of the music industry and revolutionised music forever. Recommended!
Thursday, 28 April 2011
The opening track from Cut Copy's 'Zonoscope' LP comes with typically epic remix by Carl Craig, a languid Architecture In Helsinki version and an extended Gavin Russom remix. 'Need You Now' is already primed for stadiums and corporate festival moments, but Carl Craig tempers the pop factor with stealthier arrangements for the 'floor, while Architecture In Helsinki slow it down to Lambchop like Country with extra synths. Russom's remix is the most successful, stripping everything down, mostly erasing the kickdrums and foregrounding the synth for a luscious and learned widescreen pop dream.
Monday, 25 April 2011
Starkey steps up to his 1st solo plate on NHNH (also their first by a non UK-producer), following his remixes of Tempa T and Silverlink for the premier Grime label. Having recently joined BBC 1Xtra's dubstep roster, Starkey is riding high at the moment, a fact surely justified by this ace release. 'PC' links with up-and-coming MCs Merky Ace & Kozzie on a Road Rap-styed halfstep/HipHop riddim built from crushing drums and a breakdown sounding strangely like Hot Chip. 'Peacekeeper' is one of his symphonic synth efforts full of extravagant, fluorescent melodies and Gangster-boucing beats. Strong.
Thursday, 21 April 2011
The latest album from Prefuse 73 is an odd one indeed, it's been a while since he's really trodden the rap deconstructionist path of his earlier records, but 'The Only She Chapters' is possibly the furthest he has moved away from his roots to date. Taking the female voice as the conceptual base for the record, he has made a noisy, unpredictable and hazy record which seems almost like a tribute to its pack of collaborators. Across the space of eighteen tracks we see Zola Jesus, Shara Worden, Adron, Niki Randa, Nico Turner, Faidherbe and most crucially the late Trish Keenan, and these … Read more
Despite sounding like a Northern European disco songstress, Eleanoora Rosenholm is actually a serial killing housewife created by the splintered mind of Circle core-member Mika Ratto. Along with Pasi Salmi and Noora Tommila, he makes freakishly weird electronic 'concept' music, which tells the peculiar story of suburban housewife Eleanoora Rosenholm. 'Hyväile Minua Pimeä Tähti' is the band's third album, and takes their very unique blend of chamber music and disco into deeper, darker realms without losing that unique sense of fun we know and love. There is something so de… Read more
A freakish sideshow exhibit of an album ‘Wild Go’ is the debut from gothic folkies Dark Dark Dark. The band is led by smoky-voiced vocalist Nona Marie Invie, and her near-cabaret tones lead the songs through the neon-lit underbelly of folk music. There is a disarming carnival flavor to ‘Wild Go’, and while it might sound pretty downplayed on the first listen, the more you pick out from each track, the more the album’s dark, beating heart is revealed and the band’s true intentions shine through. As their name suggests, there’s no lightness here – ‘Wild Go’ is just as blackened as you’d hope. Think an evil mirror image of Joanna Newsom and you might be half way there…
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Two robust minimal Tech-House tracks from Ryan Elliott, produced exclusively for OstGut Ton. Surprisingly, the 'Rocksteady EP' is his debut solo release, following remixes and edits for the likes of Audion, Kate Simko and Osborne. The fluid groove of 'Rocksteady' puckers up classic Detroit techno chords over sensual, strafing subbass and spacious atmospheres. 'Steadyrockin' inverts that energy for a stealthily slinky and hypnotic effect. Recommended to fans of Tobias, Cassy, or Martin Buttrich.
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Techno backed with a proper T++ styled remix from Calibre! The A-side has some fusion of Bluesy indie guy vocals over crooked techno, but it's really that Calibre remix you want to be checking - clocking in at 140bpm with ricocheting drum delays and sparse but techy syncopations an sparingly used chords. Check!!
Pair of lean and agile minimal D&B/Neurofunk steppers. Skeptical's 'Structure' features MC Fokus on a snake-style twyster; all minimal, metal-tipped snares and muzzled subs in a darting syncopation. Ant TC1's 'Mode Destruction' starts out echoic and dubby but soon evolves into a hard-stepping beast with snarling neurofunk synthlines.
Saturday, 16 April 2011
"Rose Melbergs musical journey began in 1992 with the formation of Tiger Trap in her native Sacramento. Trading in immaculate crash-pop that was as influenced by English C86 indie-pop as it was by the US underground, Tiger Trap released a string of great records on the estimable K Records that became foundation documents of US indie-pop. Tiger Trap is an oft-cited influence on young indie bands, and Melbergs writing, singing and playing contributions to the band have cemented her status as one of the leading lights of the post-riot-grrl indie scene. After the dissolution of Tiger Trap, Melb… Read more
Thursday, 14 April 2011
Chrissy Murderbot does the Chicago quickstep onto Planet Mu with some help from DJ Spinn and remixes by Rashad, Atki 2 and Ghosts On Tape. His 'Bussin Down' original built with Spinn should hold it's ground next to the more linear productions from Rashad and the Ghettophiles crew, while 'Braaain' goes for the effect of DJ Roc's 'One Blood' but comes off maybe a little more like Shitmat. Toying with 'The Vibe Is So Right' Atki 2 takes MC Zulu on a swaggering tribalist House vibe with flashes of deep-end jungle, while Rashad & Spinn cut in a razored Footworker and Ghosts On Tape jam out a cut-up Dancehall wounder.
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Brand new single from the elusive Bonnie 'Prince' Billy reunited with guitar wizard Matt Sweeney in their first joint recordings since the superlative 'SuperWolf' album.
Merrill Garbus's debut album under the Tune-Yards (not gonna bother with the wacky lettering, sorry) moniker was a peculiar beast; one part lo-fi (she recorded it all on her laptop, with a cheap clip mic) and one part the kind of tuneful world-wise pop that even Vampire Weekend fans could get behind. It makes sense, then, that her second record 'Whokill' has had the production turned up to eleven, and Garbus's incredibly distinct soulful wails are now pushed right to the front of the mix. Make no mistake 'Whokill' is just as weird and unpredictable as its predecessor, but at the same time th… Read more
Thursday, 07 April 2011
Ahead of a highly touted debut album, Hyetal drops the arresting side of 'Diamond Islands' backed with a ghostly Boddika remix. 2010 was a bumper year for Hyetal, a year in which he cemented his reputation on collaborations with Peverelist and Hyetal besides his synthual eruptions with Julio Bashmore as Velour for Night Slugs. His return is a coolly-calculated fusion of rickety, Prince-referencing drums harnessed to hydraulic bass, signature midnight keys and an ethereal Folk/R&B vocal, like an insoluble mixture of Actress, Various Production, o0o00 and RP Boo. On the flipside Bodd… Read more
Four hungry Hi-Tech Garage/Funky grooves from Submerse and his pal, Resketch. Still riding high from his 'Hold It Don' anthem and a a wicked hookup wth Neat for Airflex Labs, Submerse opens the A-side with the zippy speed-garage styles of 'Mecha' next to the more skippy and tranced-out chords of 'Searching'. With Reskethc on the flipside, 'Fruit Salad' comes off like a flavoursome Crazy Cousins romp, while solo on 'I Can', Submerse reverts to his heart-tugging melodic tricks.
With releases on both Sacred Bones (home of Zola Jesus) and Woodsist (home to everyone else cool, ever) you'd think Moon Duo would be bigger than Radiohead by now, and in many ways they should be. The San Francisco duo blast through Krautrock-inspired productions with all the druggy haze of Jason Pierce back at his prime. There's a tendency for people to call shenanigans when anything is labelled as 'lo-fi', but there's no lack of musicianship in 'Mazes'; at times it even reminds me of Velvet Underground at 45rpm - thick, dark and sincere but with a motoric pulse urging you to the dancefloor. Well good.