Thursday, 19 May 2011
Eponymous album debut from Evan Brody's Family Portrait ensemble, including production and playing from his best friend Julian Lynch. You'll also find cameos from La Big Vic front woman Emilie Friedlander on violin and back up vox, besides Dream Band's Jackson Pollis on drums contributing to a wholesome family affair. LP includes colour insert and and download coupon redeemable from the label.
It's that time of the week again, when we stick the pin in the map of the US of A and it lands on Portland. I know, I know, you thought you'd heard every piece of music that Oregonian paradise could possibly cough out, but no - there's more. This time we are introduced to the music of Marcus Cotton, who prefers to be known as Channel In Channel Out, and his debut is a warming and familiar blend of the lo-fi weirdness of Daniel Johnston and the dry folk of Neil Young. There's something half-heard yet honest about Cotton's compositions, and the homespun production doe… Read more
*Free Download Code Redeemable from the Label* ISAM is Ninja Tune stalwart Amon Tobin’s first record since 2007, and his loyal legion of fans will no doubt be pleased to know that it doesn’t stray too far from his tried and tested sound. The Canadian DSP wizard has been chipping away at his very specific brand of electronic music for many years, and here he makes a good case for ISAM being his most consistent to date. Dragging in traces of Brainfeeder-patented beatplay, dubstep and lord knows what else, every sound is crushed into AE-like realms of electrified experimentation. Drums crash through hig… Read more
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Sturdy rebuild of a classic 1970s jazz-funk staple, backed with a nimble Photonz remix. The fourth release on Don't Be Afraid remakes and breaks down the original motif over a crafty rolling rhythm sitting somewhere between Acid, House and Techno and made to do the business in style. Photonz remix tucks in more breaks and deft edits for the fleet-footed, and there's also a more sparse and succinct 'East Acyd Shelter' version. Cool.
Bear Funk pull out all the stops for Bottin's much anticipated 'Horror Disco' album, presented in heavyweight gatefold jacket. Inspired by the chance loan of a tempestuous Farfisa organ, Bottin has indulged in fantasy scenario melding late '70s Italian disco kitsch with soundtrack-y themes referencing the movies of Lucio Fulci or Dario Argento and a wealth of Goblin vibes. The result is a bespoke, hand-crafted selection of authentically naughty disco spanning 12 twelve tracks with a keen attention to detail. It's one for the connoisseurs.
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Big room-primed House music from the 'Reckless' fellas. 'Hungry For The Power' comes like it's 1991 all over again, fusing tail-end-of-boggie bass licks with sultry jack beats and layered American male vocals. There's an acapella for the adventurous jocks, or weird people who just like to listen to accapellas, plus a serious dub on the flip riding inflated bassline and sumptuously dynamic synthlines. Bound to be big!
Monday, 16 May 2011
*Includes download coupon redeemable directly from the label* Experimental but funky fusions of Krautrock, Dub and Jazz from Slowfoot's dextrously versatile in-house band. Label head Robert Logan makes a prominent appearance with some dynamic synthwork on dub drowned electro-jazz-funk of the title track, while 'Dead Skin' makes a much darker statement, with label co-owner Frank Byng's deft jazz drums and Charles Stuart's muffled jazz vocal elevating the track from an abyss of doomy drones and electronics. Locked in, they continue to shapeshift from minimalist electro-acoustic rock reminding of I… Read more
Mysterious Isle of Wight singer-songwriter Puzzle Muteson sure has talent, but he might well have passed under the radar had he not been discovered by producer and Bedroom Community boss Valgeir Sigurðsson and his buddy Nico Muhly. Sigurðsson - whose past production credits include Bjork, Maps, CocoRosie, Magic Numbers and Ben Frost - has now recorded an album's worth of songs with Muteson, setting his tremulous voice and finger-picked guitar in an honest but exquisitely reverbed ambience, with Muhly's bold, beautifully-weighted string arrangements lending real grandeur and emotional heft to … Read more
"Brown Recluse formed in 2006 around the core of Timothy Meskers and Mark Saddlemire. Their debut release, the six-song Black Sunday EP, is a brilliant blast of pop invention, blending influences from the psych pop of The Zombies and Margo Guryan, the tropicalia of Os Mutantes and 60s producers like Joe Meek and Phil Spector. Over the next year, the duo expanded to a six-piece that played numerous East Coast shows with bands as varied as The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Tyvek and Dirty Projectors, writing new material and winning new fans along the way. The Soft Skin EP was recorded … Read more
Saturday, 14 May 2011
French art poppers Gable describe their sound as 'luxury DIY', and while I'm not entirely sure what they mean, it gradually begins to make sense over the course of 'Cute Horse Cut'. With strange, abstract vocals and the kind of toybox approach to sampling you'd expect to hear from a class of Icelandic schoolgirls, the different in Gable's sound seems to be that their production is far from lo-fi. The band know what they're up to, and when they sample vacuum cleaners and the tearing apart of wooden boxes it's with high fidelity. 'Cute Horse Cut' is an endearing slice of art-pop, and by the end of… Read more
Thursday, 12 May 2011
New New Age practitioner Matt Baldwin might now have a wide-reaching scene around him that probably wasn’t as visible when he released his debut album ‘Paths of Ignition’ in 2008, but he still sounds totally alone in his vision. A favourite of one Julian Cope (who describes Baldwin as ‘a one-man heavy metal band’), it’s not hard to understand why Baldwin’s music has been accepted in the outer realms of music present. On ‘Night In The Triangle’ we hear the guitarist take on Judas Priest, Neu!, The Durutti Column and Conrad Schnitlzer, a daring task for any musician but for a solo gu… Read more
Purple-hued Dubstep grine from Magnetic Man's Skream, featuring a funky D&B remix by Shy FX. Possibly taking some tips from Joker, Skream slips into Zapp-mode on 'Where You Should Be', laying Sam Frank's effected intimacies over lascivious synthwork and buttered-down bass. Shy FX aren't having any of that on the flip, instead delivering a party-primed liquid D&B funk roller with wicked bongos.
Since leaving famed dream pop legends Galaxie 500, Damon & Naomi have spent the last umpteen years perfecting their haunting, melancholy songs this side of The Tindersticks. On the last three albums the duo have been ably assisted by Ghost guitarist Michio Kurihara, and he again joins them along with Massachusetts trumpet legend Greg Kelley and his ex bandmate Bhob Rainey. Together they put together yet another collection of meticulously crafted pop songs that just manage to get their hooks under your skin. The duo’s label 20/20/20 famously issued the stunning ‘International S… Read more
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
Two sleazin' mid and downtempo synth-boogie jobs by New York's Midnight Lab Band. 'Lazer Tag' is the propulsive mid-tempo strutter, made for the darker, red-lit corners of the disco. 'Don's Demo' is naughtier still, reworking an obscure Don Stark production with nuff 'tache-tweakin potential.
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.