Thursday, 25 February 2010
Jazz explorers Polar Bear first came to wider attention in 2005 when their second album Held On The Tips Of Fingers was nominated for the Mercury Prize. The same year, the band's leader Sebastian Rochford received the BBC Jazz Awards Rising Star gong. For this fourth Polar Bear record the band have drawn as much influence from classic soul as from their more conventional touchstones, and this manifests itself not only in the structuring of the music (particularly with its riff-heavy horns) but in the warmth of the vintage-style production and heated up drum sound. Peepers cements Polar Bear's p… Read more
Kingston Sounds turn their attentions to uncovering sixteen tracks of original ska music from the vaults of the Wirl and Federal studios. The foundational piano work of Theophilus Beckford is at the centre of this collection. Theo was a celebrated pianist who established a laidback style with 'Easy Snapping' for Coxsone Dodd and laid the foundations for the Skatalites. We have a selection of his classic tracks, from 'Flip, Flop and Fly' to 'Mr. Downpressor' and the timeless 'Bajan Girl', plus other productions from the forgotten heroes of ska like Frank Cosmo's 'On Your Knees', Shenley and Annette's 'Now Your Gone' or Daniel Johnson's uplifting 'Come On My People'.
This has to be one of the strangest records you'll ever hear. It's a reissue of cassette recordings from the mid-eighties by a 10-year-old mohawk-adorned kid from Elma, Washington, who went by the name of the Human Skab. Playing buckets, spoons, pots, pans, toy guns, gardening tools and even the microphone that came with the toy version of Snake Mountain (as in Skeletor's lair), the young Skab (aka Travis Roberts) laid down wildly discordant improvisations about the joy of smashing neighbours' windows and the horror of radiation poisoning. These recordings came to the atten… Read more
Swiss tech-house maestro Ripperton caps nearly a decade of lauded productions with his debut album 'Niwa' for Joris Voorn's Green imprint. His releases and remixes as Lazy Fat People and Ripperton have graced some of the world's most famous house and techno imprints like Planet E, Dessous and Wagon Repair, and brought him much love from players like Laurant Garnier, Tobias and DJ Koze, so you'd expect something suitably upper-crust from his first album. 'Niwa' is just that, a considered and elegantly balanced blend of minimal, classic house and European techno with a rich seam of melodic personality a… Read more
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Neuter River is a new project from Jan St. Werner of Mouse On Mars, one which concerns itself with the more experimental, far-out sounds within the producer's repertoire. The label describes the LP thusly: "Neuter River is not exactly a band or a person, it's the remains of an idea, a shifting light cube at the end of a ragged kaleidoscope. Atonal precission / pentatonic noise." Quite what that means will be unclear even after you've heard the record, but then it's the extremity of the abstract sound-sculpting at work here that makes the record as engrossing as it is. It's fairly heavy-g… Read more
A wonderfully subtle piece of acoustic songwriting from regular Constellation artist, Eric Chenaux. On 'Warm Weather', Chenaux's soft, husky vocal is a thing of extreme loveliness, finding accompaniment from gently, jazzy acoustic guitar phrasings. It's definitely a cut above the general singer-songwriter standard, but when you hear the B-side it's all the more impressive: 'La Vieux Favori 4' is a violin-led drone piece reminiscent of C. Spencer Yeh's output, showing an admirable range of this man's talents.
JSL brings the dubstep rave with three joints for Boka. 'Jack Cates' hurls out screeching mid-range riffage and rooted reggae samples and 'Badman Riddim' hits low and dirty with another rave special. For fans of Kromestar and N-type.
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Really excellent deep house/techno jams from Rogan on the occasional Enclave imprint. The label is home to a gang of Irish deep house and techno enthusiasts including the well respected Lerosa and Telepaticos. The '78' EP is, quite shockingly, the debut production from Rogan. We say that because this sounds like the work of much more experienced producer, bearing the subtly supple application of bass and classically arranged percussion of somebody who really knows what he's doing.The dirty bass grind and Larry Heard-esque synth pads of 'Options' is our favourite, closely followed by the Deep Transportat… Read more
Monday, 22 February 2010
Firin' garage-rave goodies from Brackles. 'Rawkus' follows up his anthemic 'LHC' 12" with two tracks of tightly wound killers made for the dance. Basically everyone is raving about this guy, from Jackmaster to Cooly G, all in awe of his highly concentrated style of bass bounce and febrile rhythm mechanics. For us, the best thing about Brackles tracks is that they sound like they're a composite of two tracks dead-locked into the groove, probably taking inspiration from his lauded mixes (which you can find elsewhere online), where he jams garage, grime and this future sh*t together in ruffneck-syncopat… Read more
Thursday, 18 February 2010
Wémé presents six tracks of sideways acid and cheeky rave experiments from Ceephax. Making a nod to the fact that he doesn't actually live in the midst of a perpetual 88-94 feedback loop, 'Souley Man' pays tribute (kinda) to the man like Omar with flashes of Mid-eastern synth flair licked into a dubstep rave style production. 2008 better watch out! The brilliantly titled 'Bacardi Breezer' retruns to more melodic acid house terrain while 'Electric Transit' does the junglist thing and 'Ticker Tape' broadens the range with a classic moment of beatless tranquility.
**Orange Vinyl** Raffertie comes to ruff up the rave with two steppers for Black Acre's sublabel, Special Branch. 'Pumpin Like Reeboks' rules the A-side with warping Bassline traits altered for the spooned rave crew, hence the helium vocals and liberal use of digital FX. On the flipside we get 'Vomit Riddim', literally taking the title for the sickest drop in dubstep with regurgitating peaks cleaving a murky subs driven halfstepper in all the right places. To be fair, he's not the first person to do this, check Otto Von Schirach's 'Pukology' to hear this taken to the nth degree, but it's guaranteed to induce a wry grin here and there.
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Fact fans will be keen to note that London band Wolf People are the very first British band to sign to Jagjaguwar. The quartet are fronted by Jack Sharp, a veritable historian of British rock music made between the sixties and seventies. Amazingly, the recordings that make up this album were all self-recorded in Bedford between 2005 and 2009, but the attention paid to recreating all the details and recording quirks of the era is mind-boggling. Tidings sounds like something from the prog or Canterbury scenes from forty years ago - and that's a high compliment: the level of musicianship and craf… Read more
The A-side here was specially recorded for Rough Trade Shops' Indiepop 09 compilation, and now gets a limited vinyl outing. It's a kind of synth-pop bossa nova, building up to a tremendously catchy chorus that's every bit as charmingly cutesy as the holidaying dormouse adorning the sleeve. B-side 'Im In Love With A Girl Who Doesn't Know I Exist' is a cover of the 1988 Another Sunny Day song - one of the best loved entries onto the famed Sarah Records catalogue - and is handled with due care and affection by this duo.
Thursday, 11 February 2010
An unexpected treat from Ramp recordings, dropping a Dave Aju remix of the Clouds track, 'Timekeeping'. House heads will probably know Dave from his Circus Company anthem 'Crazy Place', but he's taken a different tack with this one sailing between zig-zagging synth squiggles and a coarsely textured rhythm occupying a niche between skanky house and wonky hiphop. It's as odd as it sounds, and actually good enough to justify the one-sided pressing.
Once you've negotiated your way around all the gratuitous nudity of the gatefold digipak, you'll find a piece of comedy mislabelling on the disc that bills the album as a compilation titled: Best Of Wanky Wizard Jamz, featuring popular bands like "WEALTH", "No Mage", "Pocataunted" and "Conjuroo-oo-oor". Indeed. Foot Village's particular brand of underground semi-improv proves to be a right mess on this album, but then that sort of tongue-in-cheek chaos is surely all part of the plan. Much of the record is populated by boy-girl screaming exchanges, insane drumming and percussive bouts plus … Read more
Monday, 08 February 2010
Featuring members of Crystal Stilts and German Measles, Beachniks are a scuzzy bubblegum combo, delivering four songs about the simple joys of summertime. Leading with 'Brighton Beach' the band set out an agenda of fun-but-dumb lo-fi played out with the kind of charming technical ineptitude you just can't fake. 'Coney Island' opens with a spot of fairground organ, but the song soon settles into a familiarly out of time jumble of one-minute-pop ephemera. Flipping over yields a further two ditties, 'L8' and the ace boy/girl garage rock duet 'I Can't Stand You'. The sleeve's rather nice too, folding out to reveal a whole slew of alternate cover art options.
Brackles brings the double drop special this week with a 12" on Apple Pips and this slick killer for Planet Mu. The man has earned himself an enviable reputation as a Garage/Dubstep DJ of choice for the radio heads, placing him up with jocks like Oneman or Ben UFO as one of the best decknicians in the scene. 'LHC' takes these influences and wraps them up tighter than a gnat's chuff, taking cues from the grimier end of the grime/garage crossover field with shades of Black Ops or L.A.S in the sublow wrigglin' bassline and snappy riddim while well squeezed purple synths blaze out overhead. T… Read more
Here's a strange one for you: London trio Nedry fuse the gut-pummelling bass and rhythmic lurches of dubstep with rock-styled, guitar-based songs, and strangest of all, it sort of works. The electronic components are the key, gelling the fearsome low end throb with soaring vocals from Ayu Okakita as though it was a natural match. The effect often brings to mind Bjork in its combination of edgy production with properly presented songwriting ingredients, something best laid out on ace opener 'A42'. 'Apples & Pears' takes a more conventional electronica slant, bitcrushing the percussion and indulging i… Read more
Thursday, 04 February 2010
Eggs is the second album by five piece Oh No Ono, and their first for The Leaf Label. The record was originally released in the band's native Denmark by the 01-11700170 imprint last spring, so it's taken a while getting over to these shores. The first thing to strike you is just how grand and swollen it all sounds. 'Eleanor Speaks' arrives in a tangle of flurried horn squeaks, Eastern sounding strings and all manner of other epic orchestral gestures. More and more as it unfolds, Eggs transpires to be a tremendous achievement in terms of building sound-worlds. 'Swim' is a little jauntier in its h… Read more
Thursday, 28 January 2010
After appearances in numerous end-of-year charts, Raffertie continues to meddle with the DNA of UK dance music on two ready made anthems. Both tracks have been given the seal of approval by both Mary-Anne Hobbs and Simon Reynolds (but we're sure the kids are down with them too), and currently feature on the playlists of some of the biggest rave mongers arounds. The more ballistic side of Rafferties oeuvre is shown on the blazing '7th Dimension' with crushed house beats alloyed to swooping bass wobbles and head searing synths, while the oddly affecting 'String Theory' should only add to his fa… Read more
Midlake's sophomore album, The Trials Of Van Occupanther was a surprise hit back in 2006, and the group's reputation only seems to have snowballed as the years have gone on. The '70s rock feel of that album seems to have been substituted in favour of British prog-folk as the central influence this time around however, and much like Espers, Midlake appear to revel in the sounds of Pentangle, Fairport Convention and King Crimson. Quite unlike an Espers record though, is the commercial and crossover potential in The Courage Of Others. While Greg Weeks, Meg Baird et al are likely to rema… Read more
*Special LP+CD edition, hosted in a very original slipcase, by Giuseppe Chiari (of Fluxus) and pianist Daniele Lombardi (futurist musik). The Giuseppe Chiari LP is a concert recording with Frederic Rzewski (playing the 1964 groundbreaking piece "La Strada"), Giancarlo Cardini and Daniele Lombardi. The CD edition is the Daniele Lombardi "Costellazione" album recorded in 1978 and published in the occasion of the Exhibition at MUDIMa gallery, Milan (2008) in a lavishly packaged numbered and signed edition* Following the incredible Henri Pousseur editio… Read more
Crosstown Rebels hatch a strange-house plan from Luke Solomon & Justin Harris as Freaks, backed with a killer mutant Funky remix from Radio Slave! The Freaks original of 'Umakenosense' is a cool slab of grubby acid house schematics , building over the duration to a throbbing old-school Chicago style for 2010. But the real heat is all contained on the flip, as Radio Slave's 'Rekid Riddum Mix' takes the most viral influences of UKF and winds them up into an hypnotic groove tool set askew by a psychoactive earworming synthline and a kinked Afro-Latin rhythm far removed fr… Read more
"Third in a trio of limited edition new LP's from the ever mysterious Vibracathedral crew, returning from another relatively quiet period with an uncompromising set of outre' jams. Slightly reorganized around a lineup of stalwarts Mick Flower and Adam Davenport with frequent collaborators John Godbert (Total) and John Moloney (Sunburned Hand of the Man), the band here stretches way, way out over these six sides, taking in several different styles while maintaining "that" sound all the way through. Smoke Song's more gentle exposition starts with Davenport's santoor (a type of hamme… Read more
"Second in a trio of limited edition new LP's from the ever mysterious Vibracathedral crew, returning from another relatively quiet period with an uncompromising set of outre' jams. Slightly reorganized around a lineup of stalwarts Mick Flower and Adam Davenport with frequent collaborators John Godbert (Total) and John Moloney (Sunburned Hand of the Man), the band here stretches way, way out over these six sides, taking in several different styles while maintaining "that" sound all the way through. The Secret Base starts up at full throttle, straight into the middle of a raw … Read more
Monday, 25 January 2010
**White Marbled Vinyl** NYC's Proper Villains come to tear the club up with 8 party bangers of fidget, B-More and booty. The a-side is powered by a slew of heavily sampled classics reformed inna B-more style, from 'Ready Or Not' lifting the same sample as the Fugees, to a fidget version of Paul Johnson's 'Get Down', while the flipside remixes Machine Drum's 'Late Night Operations' and even Outlanders rave bomb 'The Vamp' isn't safe. All copies are pressed up on black 'n white marbled vinyl and primed for plug 'n play pressure. Fans of Diplo, Kazey & Bulldog etc. your time.
Reissue of Ninja Sonik's 2008 party pack for Philly's Flamin' Hotz crew. It's a bit of a frat-boy booty affair, tumbling from sing-a-long B-More styles on 'Tight Pants' and 'Holla For A Dolla', backed with hiphop and party style remixes from Telli Gramz and Elsewhere. On the flip Pharoah's '4x4 On The Floor Mix' of 'Internet Bitch' attempts to recreate UK Bassline styles without much success and Ninja Sonik himself give ODB a B-more booty relick. Packaged in high quality full colour pic sleeve.
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Having already self-released demos and an EP last year, Talk Normal get around to releasing their full-length debut via Rare Book Room Records. This duo restrict their sonic repertoire to a collision of distorted bass, drums and vocals, recalling the more extreme output of New York's no-wave scene, or more recently the harsher, early output of Magik Markers. Even when the band slow things down, they retain a spiny, sinister edge, as most memorably upheld during the witchy 'In Every Dream Home A Heartache', which takes three-and-a-half minutes of organ-driven illbience before kicking in with a furious blast of shrapnel-spewing drums.
**10 tracks lifted from The Sticks' CD album presented on gatefold 7" double-vinyl** Hailing from Brighton, The Sticks are the latest lo-fi sensations out of the Upset The Rhythm stable. This garage-loving party band have gaining comparisons to the likes of Black Lips and No Age, and you could certainly link this lot to a musical kinship with the former along with the countless rockabilly scuzz-nicks currently filling up the rosters of labels like Woodsist and In The Red. Still, it's nice to hear that sound given a British twist, and The Sticks bring an extra air of discordance and musical i… Read more
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
A twenty-minute, single-sided 12" release showcasing Spencer Krug's Moonface project. Krug is best known for his work in Wolf Parade, but you'll also find him fronting Sunset Rubdown and playing in bands like Swan Lake and Frog Eyes. For the purposes of this release however, Krug turns to (and I quote) "Marimba and shit-drums", but that's far too tinted with undue self-deprecation. Krug fashions a glorious long-form song out of fast, rhythmic rhythms with guitars and vocals woven into the minimalist tuned percussion patterns. Ever the valiant wordsmith Krug supplies not o… Read more