Efdemin discovers his folk-techno voice on ‘New Atlantis’, with results not dissimilar to a Richard Youngs experiment, or indeed, Efdemins’s recent collaboration with Oren Ambarchi and Konrad Sprenger, who also appears inside.
“Over eight tracks, New Atlantis oscillates between fast, kaleidoscopic techno, multilayered drones and acoustic instrumentation, fusing for the first time Sollmann’s deep dancefloor productions as Efdemin with his sound art and experimental music projects. The latter include 2017’s Harry Partch- inspired Monophonie performance and 2018’s Panama / Suez EP with Oren Ambarchi and Konrad Sprenger.
Long drawn to utopian musical traditions, Sollmann took inspiration for New Atlantis from Francis Bacon’s unfinished 17th century novel of the same name, which describes a fictional island devoted to social progress through the synthesis of art, science, technology and fashion. In the story, Bacon imagines futuristic ‘sound houses’, which contain musical instruments capable of recreating the entirety of the sounds of the universe; a 400-year-old prophesy of today’s digital sonic reality.
Through Sollmann’s lens, Bacon’s vision ebbs and flows over 50 minutes in varying speeds and colors, emerging as a tapestry of different utopian musical traditions – through billowing synth lines, early Detroit techno, resonant wooden percussion, trance, droning organs, dulcimer, electric guitars, hurdy-gurdy, just intonation, poetry, hymns and murmuring voices.”
Afrobeat-influenced broken beat soul and jazz flex from the 12 piece London/Leeds-based Nubiyan Twist
“One of the leading lights in the UK’s new generation of soulful, genre-fluid artists, the Leeds-born and now London-based 10-piece collective have created their finest recordings to date, effortlessly weaving together elements of jazz, soul, hip hop, African styles, Latin, dub, hip hop and electronics in a flow of thought-provoking and life-affirming music. Recorded at the band’s own self-built Henwood Studio in rural Oxfordshire, the album effortlessly moves through different voices from the band’s circle.
The inimitable, timeless vocals of Nubiya Brandon lead the way on the album’s title track about breaking preconceptions and promoting equality, “Where you from? I’m from wherever I be.” Saxophonist Nick Richards vocals the killer first single from the album about inner turmoil and a search for the truth, ‘Tell It To Me Slowly’ while rising Ghanaian star K.O.G. appears on the Afro jams ‘Basa Basa’ and ‘They Talk’.
Percussionist / singer Pilo Adami voices the infectious bossa-jazz jam ‘Borders’. The band also draft in two African legends for guest duties with the original Afrobeat maestro Tony Allen on ‘Ghosts’ and Ethio jazz pioneer Mulatu Astatke contributing vibes on the sinuous ‘Addis To London’. “The depth of talent and ideas that every member of this group has brought to the table for this album is incredible,” says producer and orchestrator Tom Excell. “Conceptually, "Jungle Run"; is all about connecting different people and cultures whilst exploring the journey of individuals. This album is the pinnacle of everything we have done to date and to collaborate with the godfathers of Afrobeat and Ethio Jazz and celebrate their music in a modern context was very humbling.””
Maria Minerva beautifully honours the memory of her collaborator Chelsea Faith Dolan, a.k.a. Cherushii, who was among the 36 people who died in the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, 2016.
Posthumously issued, the six songs of ‘Cherushii & Maria Minerva’ were written by Maria and her departed collaborator after they bonded during Maria’s first US tour, when they covered over 3000 miles playing 8 shows, including performances at venues such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Missoula, Montana, not usually known for fancy European music.
Sadly, the fruits of their friendship weren’t completed before the tragic Ghost Ship fire, so Maria has enlisted the aid of David Last, Adam Gunther and Brian Foote (Leech) to faithfully finish them off and pay tribute to Cherushii.
Their six songs are about celebrating the good times, with Maria’s dreamy vox floating over 100% silky trax in gorgeous style on the plush slink of ‘A Day Without You’, the decadent swing of ‘Boyfriend Shirt’, and the dusky deep house hustle of ‘Out By Myself’, while Leech chiefs in with feathered gamelan-like riffs on a more hushed, sweetly elegiac edit of ‘A Day Without You’.
Soul Jazz Records re-release the debut album from the legendary Steve Reid in a new edition.
"As a radical jazz artist, Steve Reid played with an extraordinary group of artists - Miles Davis, Sun Ra, Fela Kuti, James Brown, Ornette Coleman, Lester Bowie and many more. He began his career as a teenager in the 1960s as a drummer at Motown. Reid was born in the South Bronx and grew up in Queens, New York, three blocks away from John Coltrane. In 1969, Reid refused to enlist to the Vietnam war and was arrested as a conscientious objector and given a four-year prison sentence.
On his release in 1974, he formed the Legendary Master Brotherhood and the independent record label, Mustevic Sound, to release his debut LP ‘Nova’. At the start of the 21st Century, Steve Reid began a successful collaboration with Kieran Hebden (Four Tet), who Reid referred to as his “musical soul mate,” resulting in a number of joint albums.
Steve Reid died in New York in 2010. Subsequently, the Steve Reid Foundation was set up in his name, to help aspiring musicians and artists."
Comprised of the quintet of vocalist Taichi Nagura, guitarist Koki Miyabe, drummer Shin Yokota and electronics/noisemakers Taro Aiko and Etsuo Nagura, ENDON’s music is contained chaos, bending and colliding genres into one another atop a bed of thunderous distortion, feedback, and unearthly squeals.
"Vocalist Taichi’s voice embodies an unreal number of personalities with wordless howls seething one moment and agonized cries the next, before desperate gasps for air. It comes as no surprise that they have been credited as the most extreme band in Tokyo.
‘Boy Meets Girl’ was envisioned as a soundtrack to an imagined horror film about love. The core of the ensemble’s song structures are often built around Koki’s fuzz-laden guitar and Shin’s drum bombast which propel torrents of hisses and squelches from Taro and Etsuo. Taichi’s largely lyricless screams, moans and whimpers are potent messengers of the songs’ emotional heft. There lies an ecstatic, excited energy amidst the anarchic defiance ENDON’s music exudes. Born of the same Japanese scenes that gave rise to the likes of Merzbow and Boredoms, their sound is equally diverse and abrasive. ‘Boy Meets Girl’ demonstrates ENDON’s singular faculty to produce music that is at once tortured and transcendent."
Air Max ’97 pushes the tempo and intricacy of his sound in Vessel, shelling down a brace of five highly strung and fractious club decimations via his DECISIONS label.
Reduct sounds like frozen footwork rhythms warped for the Niche crowd; Suede lunges in like a 2-step garage riddim dropped into ‘nam battle scene in a computer game; 3YE splices garage and hardstyle with G-force inflicting torque; Vessel comes off like an early Horsepower Productions piece sent to the asylum; and Chalk yokes back to a trampling techno triplet structure that recalls the mutant styles of Jesse Osborne Lanthier’s recent ace for Raster-Noton.
Séance Centre revive a clutch of driving, tracky machine jams from Short-Term Memory’s first cassette album, reissued along with two previously unreleased ‘90s recordings
Hailing from early ‘80s Kansas, U.S.A., Short-Term Memory’s short-lived run would see them included on Hawaii’s highly sought-after ’SNX’ boxset beside their self-released Lp and tapes on Silly Poodle Music.
‘Plus or Minus Two’ features four songs from their first album, ‘Every Head Needs Cleaning’ , rounding up the proto-Detroit techno pulses of ‘twitch & Jerk’, the grubbing but piquant minimalist electro of ‘Hysteria’, and the forlorn synth-pop of ‘The Words’. From their ‘90s phase, we also hear the keening, Krauty dance jam ‘Yelping Doggies’, and the very Eno/Hassell-esque ‘City In Mind’.
Robert Hood’s minimal techno blueprint back in circulation for first time since 2010.
Originally despatched in 1994, Robert Hood’s debut album ‘Internal Empire’, along with his ‘Minimal Nation’ 2x12” for Axis in the same year, found Detroit techno stripped down to sleek, whirring mechanics in a way that would irrevocably influence the next generation of producers.
The album is perhaps most highly regarded for the clinical, bleeping cadence of ‘Minus’, which, along with the slippery subaquatic motion and synth washes of ‘Home’, the skudgy grind of ‘Chase’, and the pace-setting ace ’Spirit Levels’, marked a pivotal turn from the distorted, macho styles of European and Midwest techno toward a supremely classy, precision-tooled and more elegant form borne in the home of techno.
Unmissable gear for anyone watching techno looping back to its formative, accelerated phase!
Yann Tiersen returns with the first album to be recorded at his new studio, venue and community centre, built in an abandoned discotheque on Ushant, a small island positioned in the Celtic sea between Brittany and Cornwall, Tiersen’s home for the past 15 years.
"The album, mixed and produced by Tiersen and Gareth Jones, continues the themes of environment and a connection to nature explored across many of his albums but especially on 2016’s ‘EUSA’. Incorporating field recordings from Brittany as well as from a forest of redwood trees in Devon (on ‘Koad’, recorded at Schumacher College, part of the Dartington Hall Trust) and at the decommissioned Tempelhof airport in Berlin (‘Tempelhof’).
For ‘Usal Road’ Tiersen returned to a particularly significant spot in California (Usal Road, situated on the Lost Coast) to record violin. This place holds symbolic meaning to Tiersen after he was chased by a mountain lion there in 2014, an event which triggered a renewed and deeper connection to nature and specifically our humble place within it.
Predominately sung in Breton, the album features several guest vocalists: Anna von Hausswolff (‘Koad’), Ólavur Jákupsson (‘Erc’h’) and Breton singer-songwriters Denez Prigent(‘Gwennilied’), Emilie Tiersen and Gaëlle Kerrien."
Eddie Russ's debut album 'Fresh Out' was recorded in Detroit in 1974 and released on the independent Jazz Masters label. Twenty years ago it also became the first release on the fledgling Soul Jazz imprint and this reissue commemorates the fact. It features Russ leading The Mixed Bag group of Detroit jazz players on a funky, frothy jazz-funk vibe with a loungin' appeal.
"Eddie Russ was an important figure to emerge from the vibrant underground jazz scene that thrived in Detroit in the early 1970s, existing in the cultural and economic desolation of the city after the departure of Motown in the late 1960s. This scene included the musical collective Tribe (including members Wendell Harrison, Marcus Belgrave, Phil Ranelin, Harold McKinney and Doug Hammond) and Kenny Cox’s Strata Records."
Elena Setién is an artist defined by her vivid songwriting and nuanced compositions. Her music exudes the bold individualism and sense of empathy associated with her homeland of Spain’s Basque region.
"Setién is a skilled multi-instrumentalist and performed nearly every part on the record save for a few select guitar parts by Steve Gunn. While Elena’s recordings are decidedly pop, she has considerable experience as an improviser. ‘Another Kind Of Revolution’, Elena Setién’s Thrill Jockey debut, is a work of entrancing, effortless beauty.
Setién grew up during a period of political upheaval in Spain, in the Basque region. The turmoil of the post-dictatorship period of the 1980s and the intensive civic actions left her with a sense of duty to fight for progress. Her lyrics throughout ‘Another Kind Of Revolution’ describe the beauty of everyday life and nature and promote the forces of change, not as a burden but as the very source of hope to draw from.
‘Another Kind Of Revolution’ tells its stories through an expansive sonic palette. Pianos and Wurlitzer take on various timbres for each song, trickling in and out of the foreground with Setién’s distinguished voice gently gliding overtop. Careful attention to specific recording techniques and allowing for the slight imperfections in the instruments and amplifiers, bring a depth to the recordings that is both direct and organic. Elena Setién’s work is elemental and bold. Her music bends simple, familiar sounds and compositional forms into thoroughly unique songs. With ‘Another Kind Of Revolution’, Elena Setién continues to defy convention with songs as gorgeous as they are auspicious."
Sensitive sound sculptor Jonny Nash follows the utopian terra-forming of ‘Eden’  with a more pensive trip into the ether on ‘Make A Wilderness’, his first LP for pals at Music From Memory after a self-released stack on Melody As Truth
Taking cues from the vivid literary description of landscape and environment in work by authors Shusaku Endo, J.G. Ballard and Cormac McCarthy, on ‘Make A Wilderness Jonny limns an “other” space, relaying a series of sonic postcards from an ancient non-place of the imagination.
Nash wrote and recorded the music in Amsterdam, London and Venice during 2017 and 2018, bringing in vocalist Laura Giavon and cellist Janice Wong to add fleeting human presences to the album’s wilderness themes. The results, while steeped in ideas of isolationism, are perhaps best described as introspective, laced thru with Nash’s signature, heart-rending melodic flourishes and delivered with his achingly patient timing, always keeping listeners hovering, anticipating his next note.
Wavey slow disco and synth-pop sauce by Berlin’s Eva Geist. No fuss, no fight, just sultry balms for the ’floor
“Eva Geist's music has the power to open doors. Her enchanting sounds are always an invitation to explore the most concealed nooks of our own perception. Therefore, it's not surprising to learn that, for her, music is often a way to answer some of her mental question marks. In the case of 'Urban Monogamy', this questioning refers to the diverse ways of understanding affective relationships in our time. She explains it in this way: "A sort of Pandora's box opened up, to offer me and pretty much everyone around me, a variety of relationship forms of all kind. Polyamory, open relationships, monogamy and whatsoever. It was very confused. I think this track represents that confused time." The feeling is perfectly conveyed through the track's restrained but steady groove.
Eva's trademark occultist melodies and breathy lyrics that are both a celebration of freedom and an acceptance that, as emotionally complex creatures, we're destined to be dazed forever when it comes to figure out our feelings for others. In their remix, Velvet Season & The Hearts Of Gold transform the mysterious charm of the track into a weapon of dance floor seduction by adding a no-frills motorik beat and beefing up it's sub-low frequencies. It's not surprising that the remix has already been played by the emperor of cosmic sleaze himself: DJ Harvey. On the flip, 'Green Healing Highness' opens another type of gates, in this case of consciousness. As Eva recalls, the track was written in just one night after an acid trip in France in which the plants in a garden had showed her "something pure and magic", helping her understand "what it means to be healing". Overall, it feels like a more radiant take in her sound, with its whimsical arpeggios and melodies adding a bucolic touch to the psychedelic journey.”
The Chi Factory unfurl lushly overgrown 4th world drones, voices and field recordings made on a greek island, naturally drifting between time-slowing beats, FM radio interference, and languid instrumentation in four parts that describe a transition from dawn to dusk...
“Dedicated to the life and work of Robert Lax (1915-2000), the American poet who lived on Patmos, Greece, as a self-exiled hermit since the sixties. Jack Kerouac called Lax “one of the great original voices of our times, a Pilgrim in search of beautiful innocence”.
The Chi Factory would like to give special thanks to his good Patmian friends Ulf Knaus and Nikos Eliou, who showed us his house on Patmos (everything is still the same since he left) and also his favourite old wooden door (see leaflet). His great minimalistic poetry became a source of inspiration for the Mantra Recordings. His life on Patmos was far away from public attention - quiet and always surrounded by the skies, seas, cats and birds. Lax was a real dreamcatcher.”
After supplying our AOTY 2018 with the amazing ‘Stadium’, Eli Keszler further explores noirish aspects in ‘Empire’, a very worthy follow-up EP for Shelter Press
Succinctly focussed in three parts, ‘Empire’ finds Keszler contracting the widescreen vision of his previous record to limn shadowy, late night scenes of rustling interaction between people, place and space, or as the label put it, “finding stillness, tranquility and beauty in a dystopian landscape”.
Employing his favoured drums and percussion, plus vibraceleste, vibraphone, amarelion, violaskapa, Keslzer nimbly operates in the overlaps between jazz fusion, modern classical and electronics in a style he can safely call his own. ‘Enter The Bristle Strum’ feels out the space first with gently skittish drums ribboning in all directions around the murmur of chatty keys and vibes, before he takes us outside into the cold, dawning atmospheres of ‘Corrosion Kingdom’, where Keszler seems to improvise against the sound of a city slowly coming to life, and his unique grasp of meter and spatial manipulation beautifully comes into play in the furtive hush and rustle of ’The Tenth Part of a Featured World’.
A perfect addendum to ’Stadium’, no less.
Last heard in collaboration with Mika Vainio (R.I.P.), Franck Vigroux strikes cold and solo in a stark 4-track EP taking in crushing noise, devilish drum programming and cavernous spatial designs
’Théorème’ describes a tension between opposing forces of dark and light, industrial and pastoral, synthetic and real. On the A-side he comes like a heavyweight slugger with the sparring boom/smack and jabbing noise of ‘Carré’ giving way to a roof-razing metal guitar sculpture, ‘VX90’.
Flipside, he works those sparring kick/clap syncopations with a cannier sleight of hand in the electro-step pointillism of ‘TT’, comparable with Vainio of classic Alva Noto, while ‘Nord’ appears to transition from wide open, skeletal pulses into synthesised vision of lush, crystalline cave systems.
The rogue producer brands his new label, Decisions, with a pair of cold, but bright twysters hitting a unique sweetspot between techno, grime and ballroom tropes.
'Core Work' locks into a kinky regime of stern EBM kicks and off-kilter polyrhythms twisting in chromatic spirals. If SOPHIE did gym music…
On the other hand, 'Expenditure' is less stentorian, much looser 'round the edges,
meshing spare, pistoning drums with percolated bleeps in elliptical, Eskified club construction.
Straight tipped to fans of Trax Couture, M.E.S.H, Pearson Sound...
Tokyo’s widely-touted Powder spells out her woozy definition of house in an 18 track mix for Beats In Space
She may not be breaking the mould but Powder does have a fine grasp on the binds between deep house and its jazzier, offbeat, ambient cousins as she dreamily lopes from Samo DJ & Hidden Operator’s gauzy opener to the esoteric new age feels of COS/MES via rhythmelodic charms from Don’t DJ, Tiago, Vertigo Inc and Lord Of The Isles and more.
Analogue synth wizard Martin Jenkins returns to Ghost Box with a glorious vision of retro-futurist electronics in ‘Hollow Earth’, the sequel to ‘Stasis’ 
At just under 1 hour long, ‘Hollow Earth’ weighs in as one of PCA’s most significant, broadest artist albums (as opposed to compilations). It finds the widely beloved project reeling inwards after the extrospective exploits of his ‘Stasis’ LP to reflect on themes of “subterranean exploration and submerged psychologies.”
Gassed on the spirits of Berlin skool synth improvisation and the new age chuff-on that informed early ‘90s house music, the album unfurls as a nightflight over undulating internal topography, roaming from signature slow techno wonders to weightless, vocodered waltz in ‘Descent’ and furtive, ghostly shapes in ‘Claustrophobe’, before raising the energy level with strident dance tracks such as ‘Mindshaft’ and ‘Core sample’. But it’s int he later quarters that we find some of the most precious material, such as the deliciously moody atmosphere and sylvan slink of ‘Dancing Shadows’, the mind-bending noise sculpture of ‘Quad Tape Substrate’, and his Carpenter-on-quaaludes emulation, ‘Buried Memories’.
The musical project of Jake Webb, Methyl Ethel have always been a surrealist outfit - a dark and obscured expression of life set to the backdrop of dream pop hooks.
"‘Triage’ is a more reflective album than their previous two however, featuring ‘Scream Whole’ and ‘Real Tight’ it explores the notion of coming of age, only to reference it for the snapshots and passing memories that it has become."
Hyper-fresh boing from Air Max ’97, bouncing the 3rd EP on his home-pumped Decisions label.
His 1st shot of 2016 finds him trimming back the neon colours to a more greyscale tonal palette of tricksy militant percussion and scything dynamics; HPE gears up with limb-pronging, pointillist arrangement mutating thru tumbling cycles; Swelter follows with bellicose snare rolls re-coiling around bilious white noise explosions, holding a lip-biting tension that gets resolved with the flood of rolling techno bass and clambering abstract noises in Thrall; whereas Inside Outside explores gutted club construction with intestine-twysting syncopation helmed by churning subs and rinsed-out with hydraulic dynamics to a mutant grime coda.
Levels are right up there. Tip!
Szare follows one of 2018’s biggest techno anthems, ‘Kodiak’ for Different Circles, with the inaugural 12” of grimy techno for Bristol’s Polity Records
In bolshy mode, he throws down the swingeing percussive voodoo of ‘Miner’ like a Dabke song for ruffians not allowed to join the wedding dance, before buffing up his brass sample pack for the militant 130bpm grime swerve of ‘Cut with Glass’, and slopping out with the immense, trampling pressure of his slo-mo industrial slug, ‘Drop Shadow’.
Big RIYL Mumdance & Logos, Muslimgauze, early Skull Disco
Barn Owl’s Evan Caminiti plunges ever deeper into electronic realm with the aqueous, dubwise style and pattern of ‘Refraction’,
Crafted on Make Noise Records’ patented modular synth set-up with results ripe for fans of Space Afrika, Pole, Automatisme, Andreas Tilliander
Bjarki showcases the full spectrum of his sound in ‘Happy Earthday’, touching on everything from ambient, downbeat styles to proper Braindance in his hyper, melodic style for a fine away day from Nina K’s Trip and bbbbbb
Half of Bellows with Giuseppe Ielasi, Nicola Ratti contributes 20 minutes of swooping subbass and tranquil solo piano minimalism to Preservation’s Longform Editions, making for a sharp contrast with their recent Nozomu Matsumoto release...
Lady of Mine is the 1989 debut LP by self-made Italian-American Joe Tossini. An astoundingly honest, passionate record of cosmopolitan lounge music, he willed this charming suburban oddity into existence without any formal musical training.
"Sicilian by birth, Tossini drifted around the world between Italy, Germany and Canada, before finally settling in New Jersey. After the passing of his mother and the breakdown of a second marriage, an anxious and depressed Tossini took to songwriting as a form of therapy, crafting disarmingly candid lyrics from his extraordinary life and loves. Whatever industry savvy or musical virtuosity he lacked was made up for by unflinching resourcefulness and infectious charisma. Befriending bandleader Peppino Lattanzi at local club The Rickshaw Inn, he was encouraged to animate his singular songs with an ambitious cast of 9 players and 5 backing vocalists, sincerely credited as his Friends.
The Atlantic City basement sessions are a low budget, high romance testament to Tossinis character and the power of positive thinking. From the defiant, Casiotone samba of If I Should Fall In Love, to Wild Dreams dizzying escapism and the native tongue croons of Sulla Luna and Sincerita, Lady Of Mine hums with the inimitable magic of a true original. Piercing the heart with an effectively sparse combination of humming keys, CompuRhythm drums, horn flourishes and backing divas, ample room was left for Tossini to frankly deliver his much-needed life lessons.
Underperforming commercially at the hands of short lived label IEA Records, Lady Of Mine has since earned a place in the outsider music canon. Recently peaking interest as a cornerstone of the Sky Girl compilation, the private press trades for inordinate sums, typically with no financial benefit to its creator. Lady Of Mine is now finally reissued on the artists own terms via Joe Tossini Music, in partnership with Efficient Space, restored from original master tapes with unseen photos, extensive liner notes and Tossinis trademark wisdom.
Devoutly independent, Tossini has previously self-released the 2015 instrumental album When You Love Someone as well as two books - a new fiction novel The Devil In White and his autobiography The Account of My Life."
Jan Jelinek and legendary jazz percussionist Sven-Åke Johansson probe ideas about the “anthropology of drumming” with entrancing results for Luxembourg’s Ni-Vu-Ni-Connu label.
A sterling addition to Jelinek’s catalogue of solo releases and experimental collaborations, ‘puls-plus-puls’ finds the German artist properly indulging a formative passion for jazz music alongside one of free-jazz music’s most respected percussionists. Of course, this being Jelinek, the results are craftily complex but underlined by a hypnotic quality and bedevilling precision that’s always been key to his best work.
On the most immediate level, ‘puls-plus-puls’ is a steeply absorbing display of rhythmic psychedelia and percussive voodoo, pairing Johannsson’s sizzling, free-metered fray with Jelinek’s electronically penned patterns and iridescent drones. On another level, however, it’s a study in the nature and semantics of both machine and human-driven drumming styles.
Jelinek & Johansson’s follow a long tradition of German artists fascinated by rhythm-driven music - from Can and Kraftwerk, to Neu!, Basic Channel and T++, while also dovetailing with Mark Fell’s arrhythmic click-guided percussionists on last year’s acclaimed ‘Intra’ LP. Over the piece’s morphing composition, it’s difficult to separate the machine from the man, or expressive inflection from pure precision: the two are beautifully bound in a richly tactile, haptic, psychedelic roil that highlights percussive music’s ancient history, while questioning its ambiguous, human context in the binary information age.
From four individual parts, with distinct musical pasts but also overlapping histories, a new unified chapter begins with Piroshka and the quartet’s thrilling debut album ‘Brickbat’.
"The album is named after the word for a missile, which nails the record’s heavyweight lyrics if not the music’s gorgeous, bittersweet and euphoric pop. Think of ‘Brickbat’ as a wolf in sheep’s clothing - which suits the name Piroshka, the Hungarian take on the wolfterrorised fairytale hero Little Red Riding Hood - a subtle nod, too, to a certain red hairdo that stood out in the 1990s Brit-guitar-pop scene…
The four band members are former Lush vocalist / guitarist (and former redhead) Miki Berenyi, former Moose guitarist KJ ‘Moose’ McKillop, Modern English bassist Mick Conroy and former Elastica drummer Justin Welch. The connections between them are a veritably tangled family tree. Before they lived together and raised a family, Miki and Moose were notable figures on the so-called shoegaze scene, while Elastica were Britpop peers. After post-punk pioneers Modern English split for a second time, Mick became a latterday member of Moose, while Justin joined the reformed Lush in 2015. And when Lush required a bassist for what proved to be their final show (in Manchester) in November 2016, Mick stepped in.
It was the rehearsals for that Manchester show that laid the foundations for Piroshka. “We sounded great!” says Justin. “Like a proper punk band. Mick brings a huge amount of enthusiasm and livens up the room, and I thought, this is the kind of band I want to be in again.” Mick agreed. “I’d seen Lush so many times, it was like playing with old friends. Miki agreed it was good fun too. And with Moose available, we thought, let’s all have a bash, see what happens.”
Though ‘Brickbat’ kicks off with a squeal of feedback, the album is far from a proper punk record, with as much sublime delicacy as physical force, with guitars to the fore but also electronic flourishes in all manner of spaces. Combined, they drive the nuggety melodic bombs long associated with Miki’s songwriting"