Brighton’s favourite live band returns with not only a new EP, but vision too

 

 

Since the release of Tano Dragon and thanks to countless gigs, Merlin Tonto have developed their indie prog sound thanks to Owen Thomas’ carefully arranged synth compositions and Miles Boyd and Stefan Eliades’ pulsating bass riffs and off-kilter drumming. But that’s not all, they have also grown not just as musicians, but as songwriters too. This is showcased in the themes of new EP Baotou. Not just content on setting some trippy synth loops to a beat, Baotou has a fully defined concept. When asked recently what Baotou is about, Miles said “The EP title is named after an industrial city in Inner Mongolia which has this huge man made toxic polluted lake, a by-product of all the industrial activity in the area. Apparently it’s created this dystopian, almost like alien environment which we thought really conveyed the sound and imagery of the EP”.

 

 

Although Baotou is made up of four songs, it needs to be played in its entirety and as loud as you can to get the full effect. Lead single Time Pilot kicks things off in fine form. It says “So you liked the last EP and have come back for round two? Good. We’re pretty much the same band, but you might notice some subtle differences…” These differences is that the rhythm section is tighter and the electronics more out there and ultimately it feels like a step up. Shimmering Mist opens with, well a shimmering mist of electronic drones and blips until the band comes together in glorious unison for a few moments and then a slow outro beings. Forest Primeval is chocked full of techno influenced pulses and bleeps, that show the bands influences aren’t just Kraut and Prog rock based. As it progresses it teeters on that brink of breaking and self-collapse, but luckily neither happen. Beat the Sun closes the EP with track that on one hand wouldn’t have been out of place on Tano Dragon, but shows how far they’ve come since then.

 

 

Over all Baotou sounds like Holy Fuck writing a twenty minute pop song, while Vangelis producers and orchestrates everything from his framework of synths. Their songs bustle with sci-fi motifs and lo-fi indie prog attitude, culminating in a sound that bustles and pulsates along while glitchy blips and hypnotic loops fire around you.

 

 

Rumour has it that the rest of 2016 will consist of gigging and writing and recording sessions for their highly anticipated debut album.

 

 

 

 

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Coosbay return after a six months break with a new hint at their woozy psych future

 

 

In January I stumbled a new band. It wasn’t at a gig, nor was it through a recommendation, I found them the old fashioned way by digging and following leads, man I sound like a detective/Batman, and eventually I found Coosbay. I was blow away by their scope and sound. Now they’ve returned with new song Lover.

 

 

This southern psych pop group make a laid back woozy sound that, as I said in January, is full of  luscious harmonies, sparse production, questioning lyrics its captivated me like little else has recently. Luckily Lover is more of the same. But this time the scope and scale of their ambitions is much, much larger. At four minutes long Lover slowly twists and skews itself along. Laidback guitars, sounding somewhere between Pink Floyd a-la Dark Side and Manchester’s early 2000’s indie psychers Orange Can, but with the vocals sounding more like Robert Harvey, him from the Music, than before. This works wonderfully well as in frontman George, they have a guitarist and vocalist who knows what he wants to do and more importantly how to do it.

 

 

While listening to Lover I’m reminded of the TV show Bored to Death. Coosbay would be the perfect addition to the much rumoured feature length episode/TV Movie. Throughout the series they have always picked quirky forward thinking indie rock, and this is exactly what Coosbay are. Live Coosbay are incendiary, and recorded they answer more questions than they ask. It can only be time before they put out an EP. But until then Why Do I and Lover will do us fine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cold Pumas have always been touted to be the business, now, with their new album, they’re living up to the hype

 

 

Since their 2012 debut Persistent Malaise Brighton’s Cold Pumas have done the hardest thing. Keeping things on track and staying relevant. This might sound like an easy thing to do, but after that first album comes out and you get a bit of attention, it can sometimes go to a bands head, and by the time album two is released the band have gone off in weird and isolating directions. Remember that band who were once big, oh and that other one who had that song that peoople liked? You know who I mean…

 

 

Luckily this isn’t the case on The Hanging Valley. Everything is basically the same, but different. The music is tighter, if that’s possible for a lo-fi indie pop combo, the lyrics get to the chase quicker, but without losing any of their guile and insightfulness and everything is lavishly covered in a filthy Pixies-esque sheen. In short it’s a joy to behold, and listen to.

 

 

Listening to Fugue States, and The Hanging Valley, is like reading your own mind’s worse fears and greatest joys. Discouragement, Self-inflicted unemployment, love, the repetition of life’s repetitions, redemption, creative dormancies of romantic contentment, inner-city commute. It’s all there. In thirty eight minutes Cold Pumas describe exactly what it feels like to be alive in 2016, for better or worse. This is their power. They managed to cross class, employment and education and get you right to the crux of the song. And at the end of the day, isn’t that the point…?

 

 

The Hanging Valley is released on 19th August on faux Discx/Gringo Records

 

 

 

 

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South Korean ethereal dream pop group release the musical equivalent of a freeze pop on a summer day

 

 

In two hundred words I’m going to tell you about something wonderful and hopefully make you a fan of this unique and exciting project.

 

 

For about a year South Korea’s Janice and the Pink Monkeys have been releasing slices of electronic dream pop. This is personified, and intensified, on their new release This Girl Harriet. Consisting of only three songs, but don’t think you’re being short changed, each track is at least twenty minutes long, we’re taking on a journey through a lurid musical landscape where there are no corners and everything is both fluffy and bubbly. Imagine a longer, slower version of Brian Eno’s classic Deep Blue Day and you’re on the right lines.

 

 

As the three songs, Harriet, Harrier Harriet and Never Afraid, take their time slowly snaking and roaming through vivid dreamscapes there isn’t really a stand out moment, apart from the start of This Girl Harriet to its delightful end. There is another reason to adore this EP. During the creative process Janice and the Pink Monkeys wrote, and published a diary about the process. This is a fairly frank, but surreal series of blog posts. If you want more of an insight into this South Korean’s recording procedures click on the link below!

 

 

Damn two hundred and fourteen words…

 

 

goodenough.webcomic.ws

 

 

 

 

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Morgan Delt emerges from his Topanga Canyon studio after a long hibernation

 

 

Last time we heard from Morgan Delt in 2014 they were melting our faces off with, well, liberal uses of Eastern percussion, feedbacking guitars, incendiary riffs, lo-fi garage rock symphonies and a general underlying feeling of enmity and acerbity. However now he’s returned, with an album called Phase Zero, and everything is more serene and a feeling of peace and contentment flows from it. Yes the Eastern influences are still there, but they’re more melodic.

 

 

Sounding like a mixture of classic hazy LA bands The Byrds, Notorious period, with a touch of the production values of Fleetwood Mac, Tusk era, Terry Riley electronics and general psych vibes a-la The Insect Trust and The Travel Agency and you have the idea of the kind of music Delt is now making. But these shorthand’s doesn’t do the music any justice, oh no, the more you hear the more you pick out, much like a draw full of phone chargers, MP3 player leads and headphones all tangled up, you’ve started on an unravelling that will take longer than you think.

 

 

Lead single The System of 1000 Lies is a slow burner that is the musical equivalent of a summer sunset. But just like a summer sunset if you stay out too long you’ll get burned, and this is what The System of 1000 Lies does through melodic guitars, rhythmic synths and stumble stop drumming. It starts off as a pleasant thing to do, but gradually, after more and more listens, it’s all over you and there is no escape.

 

 

As this is the first indication of Phase Zero, let’s hope that they follow in its delicious formula and its another collection of lo-fi symphonies that firstly you can’t ignore and secondly why would you want to?

 

 

Phase Zero is released 26th August through Sub Pop

 

 

 

 

 

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Cool Ghouls return, but this time they have more fire in their collective bellies

 

 

When listen to San Francisco’s Cool Ghouls it’s hard not to think of The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and a whole slew of one single Nuggets band. But don’t be fooled, this isn’t just tapping in to the past because it’s popular and trending.

 

 

As frontman Paul McDonald recently said “San Francisco has always been great and hopefully always will be but these days there are things we despise. The lifestyle The Bay once afforded artists has been decimated. This gold-rush of the tech industry is forcing prices up and it’s been a flood of bullshit. Some people are being forcibly displaced, others are disheartened and leave by choice. Our song ‘Never You Mind’ is a reminder to the creative community not to roll over. San Francisco isn’t dead until you let it die in your heart.” So it appears that on their third album, Animals Races, Cool Ghouls have come out fighting. You’d be forgiven, after listening to the comeback track Days that they’ve just released a song full of sunshine and blissed out optimism.

 

 

On comeback track Days opens a rhythmic strum of an acoustic guitar before a piano and drums kick in. Imagine a slowed down version of the Velvet Underground classic I’m Waiting for the Man, but with a slight Northern Soul vibe. As the music slowly meanders and chugs along, McDonald’s lyrics get more scathing and biting. “Another day, same as before, and the morning through your window, sheds no light on your door. What’s the use when all you get are days, another gone, another coming yet”.

 

 

If this is a sneak peak of Animal Races then we are in for a treat and a response to sugary summer pop songs that won’t keep you warm then the sun goes down.

 

 

Animal Races is released 19th August through Melodic

 

 

 

 

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1990’s punk attitude + 2016 styling / social commentary = Ledger

 

 

New Jersey has a rich musical heritage. Looking back over the ages and you’ll seen names like Count Basie, Bill Evans, Wyclef Jean, Les Paul, Frankie Valli, Nelson Riddle, Whitney Houston and a certain Mr. Bruce Fredrick Joseph Springsteen all hailing from the state.

 

 

Now a new name has been thrown in the ring, Ledger. This trio, consisting of Ed McWilliams on bass and vocals, Chris Bryson on drums and Mark Holdcraft on guitar and vocals, make a form of punk music that lies heavily with an early 1990’s American methodology. Think Green Day/Offspring/Social Distortion/bink-182 and you’re on the right lines. The guitars are heavy and distorted, the drums are fast and the vocals are guttural and snide. It’s basically what you want!

 

 

Ledger make music that is fun at heart. They’ve tapped into the playfulness that the early 90’s American scene had, but there are flourishes of social commentary that show that all is not well in 2016. The lyrics to Save the Clock Tower are basically a re-telling of Back to the Future. Through understanding the codes and conventions of the punk genre, and being able to reduce a tow hour film to just under four minutes, they’ve produced something that is as catchy as it is clever. Yes there are flaws, but we’ll just put these down to it being their debut EP and lo-fi recording. However these imperfections are endearing, like the early Ramones and Green Day albums were, as when they hit a blip instead of worrying about it they just carry on. This is the punk way. As the old adage says “Two chords is punk, three chords is jazz”. And this is definitely punk!

 

 

 

 

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SWAIN steps out of the studio and onto the stage

 

 

One of the best things about searching for much online is that within a few seconds you can find exactly what you are looking for. Spotify and Bandcamp have reduced what used to take hours, days and weeks into a simple operation. There is a downside though. Once you find your new favourite, unless they live near you, it might be really hard to see the live. This is a problem everyone at thisyearinmusic has a lot. One of our recent finds, and favourites, is SWAIN.

 

 

This American singer songwriter has us captivated. His low tempo take on the singer-songwriter troubadour is enchanting. So far this year SWAIN has released a slew of singles. Each song has a lo-fi feel to it. They’re like the old delta blues tradition. One song. One take. They are raw and have emotion to them. Basically it’s powerful stuff.

 

 

Now he’s released another single, For Shame, but this time it’s from a live set. Off the bat, you can tell this not the same guy, he’s an agenda and something to say. There is a power and level of aggression that isn’t on his studio recordings.

 

 

After the whoops and caterwauls from the crowd, SWAIN opens with the line “Styrofoam and xylophones”. This has a touch of Bob Dylan to it, when he would just put words together that rhymed rather than for their meaning. This is a clever technique and shows that SWAIN has more tricks in his box than originally thought. The music is frantic and rhythmic. There is a slight grunge/sludge feel to it, but due to being played on an acoustic it never loses sense of what it’s about. Being angry and venting it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Switzerland’s Charles Bronson Moustache Defenders return and show they can do it in the studio

 

 

A few months ago we showcased a live EP from a Swiss jazz group called Charles Bronson Moustache Defenders. We originally said “The band are tight, but there is an element of freedom to the playing. They all know their roles, but they are also aware that if they wanted to they could go off on ones and the rest of the band would carry the tune until they decided to come back to the fold.” Needless to say we loved it.

 

 

Now they have returned and instead of another slew of live tracks, they’ve opted for two studio recordings. Odissey is a serene gentle, almost cool jazz, number. It’s the sound of a lazy afternoon on holiday not doing very much. As the sun beats down, you lose more and more motivation for movement, and the same if true of Odissey. As it skews along for four and a half minutes, your interest in anything other than the song vanishes until all you can do is sit and listen to it on repeat. Again and again …

 

 

The second song, The Battle of Lausangeles, is a totally different beast! It’s much more abstract than Odissey. Spaced out drum rolls and guitar sonics open the proceedings, then all of a sudden it suddenly takes shape and a slow strutting funk rhythm appears. Think of the Miles Davis classic On the Corner and you’re on the right tracks, but more laid back. This pattern continues for just under seven minutes until it slowly potters out.

 

 

What Odissey and The Battle of Lausangeles show is that Charles Bronson Moustache Defenders can do it in the studio as well as live. The future is very bright for this jazz funk septet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Asbury Park quartet Modern Crowds sound great on debut EP, but don’t really push the envelope

 

 

If Paul Westerberg was dead he’d be turning over in his grave. Luckily he isn’t and isn’t. A reason for this hypothetical event to happen is the Modern Crowds debut EP Go. Westerberg’s presence hangs over it, like a tree’s shadow falling over you on a particularly sunny day. Well, maybe not, but you get the point. Modern Crowds is made up of Joseph Pellegrinelli on vocals/guitar, Adam Baczkowski on guitar, Michael McGowan on bass and Charlie Kupilik on drums and Baczkowski helped out behind the scenes too.

 

 

Where Did We Go Wrong kicks the Go off. Visceral hypnotic guitars intertwine with pounding drums and seismic bass. All the while Pellegrinelli‘s droney vocals keep things moving forward, but at the same time, keeping everything grounded. The highlight is instrumental breakdown about ninety seconds from the end. Malestroms of guitars swirl around us until, from nowhere, Pellegrinelli’s vocals cut through it and lead us out. Paradise sounds like a mixture of David Bowie and Green Day, but before you get excited, it doesn’t really do anything as interested as it could. There isn’t anything wrong with it, but at the same time and to quoting Courtney Barnett its, pedestrian at best.

 

 

As with most thing, Modern Crowds have saved the best till last. Green Light is a melodic, slightly tear jerking, number that is chocked full of Beatles-esque motifs. Think Dead Prudence covered by a melodic Guided by Voices and you’re on the right tracks. The message here, as has been subtly suggested throughout the EP, Modern Crowds have a softer side. It’s a fitting way to end EP. Instead of closing with some big dumb rock, like the opener, it gives us something to think about.

 

 

The downside to the EP is that we’ve heard it all before. Yes the EP sounds great, the drums are tight, guitars claustrophobic, bass throbbing and vocals guttural, but the lyrics are trite at times and feel like an after-thought. I totally understand that Modern Crowds are a new project and still finding their collective feet, so I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt as overall it’s a fun record. However their next release will show if they’re the real thing or just weekend warriors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Closet Goth releases his finest work to date on Warped You Records

 

 

Colin Bauer is a closet goth. Well, that isn’t actually correct. Colin Bauer is the Closet Goth. For most of the world these two sentences are the same thing, but for anyone who is a fan of Arizona’s Warped Your Records this means a great deal. Bauer has now successfully released one album and a handful of songs for various comps since last year, but now, with his second longplayer for the label Everything is Spinning, we see him delivering on his early promise.

 

 

Everything is Spinning opens with the instrumental maelstrom inducing Hyphen. It cuts a dark figure as it stalks around your ears. Love Matt Aurand and Isabelle’s Song are also instrumentals, but don’t think that due to the lack of lyrics they are just there to make up the numbers, far from it! They has as much power and intensity as anything else released this year. Musically its melodic, dark, brooding and a joy to hear. Its only on What is No One Laughing At My Jokes?, with its hardcore-esque screechy vocals that Bauer really lets rip and starts to get some anger off this chest. For two and a half minutes it slams and pogo’s all over the shop whilst repeatedly holding our collective collar and screaming in our face.

 

 

The next few songs, Is There a Dfference Between Red and Blue?, Time and I Spend My money,  are slower and more melodic, but the intensity is still there. I Spend My Time is the longest song on the album. In fact its intro is longer than most of the other tracks. Droney bass, atonal guitars and an overriding feeling of doom and malice pervades. Saying that its one of the most complete songs on Everything is Spinning and its stand out moment. Another instrumental, Teleprompter, shows up near the end. This is basically just a massive melodic solo. An abrasive sounding guitar cuts through our collective being as it meanders along. There are no other instruments other than Bauer’s solo guitar. The album closes with title track Everything is Spinning. Another darkly broody screamer. I couldn’t tell you what he’s singing about, but I know exactly what it’s about. Isolation. Alienation. Being ignored by the powers that be, and possibly girls. It closes the album with the same visceral power it opened with.

 

 

Sounding like The Cure in full on Pornography mode, his music doesn’t mess about getting to the joint. It cuts and jabs its way along jostling us one way only to relax its vice like grip for a few moments only to start pulling us another way. The phrase wall of sound gets used to often to describe things that it isn’t. On Everything is Spinning we, the listener, are confronted with a fall of sound from the opening note to the last reverb drenched chord. This isn’t so much music you listen to, but music that is thrust upon on. And I for one am glad it was!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Art is Hard’s Pin Pals singles club just got series thanks to Zee Town and the Dog Boys!

 

 

The good people at Art is Hard are at it again. Over the last few years they have come up with ingenious singles clubs. We’ve had postcards, pizza boxes, handcut square 7” records and a myriad of other things in between. Now they’ve hit upon the amazing idea of pin badges. Every month, for twelve months, Art is Hard will release a digital single with an accompanying one inch pin badge. So far Two White Cranes, Sad Culture and IYSAYA have all been immortalised in pin form, but now its Falmouth’s Zee Town and the Dog Boy’s turn.

 

 

Last year Zee Town and the Dog Boys released two EP’s that were nigh on flawless with their execution of wonky slow jams full of melancholy and longing. Their label Wavey Head puts it best when they say “an alluring haunting 15 minutes that takes you to the last sunset of the season, most probably on a cliff top in Kernow”. But that was then, what about now. Plastic Boy opens with psych flourishes before a breath takingly melodic guitar riff and faux marching band drum beats kicks in. Then Plastic Boy skews and sways along throwing beautiful harmonies, Kraut keyboards and walls of woozy guitars. Another element to Plastic Boy’s unyielding charm is that it was produced by Dan E Brown. Let’s face it, this is just the icing on the cake!

 

 

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Reflowered Girlz knock it out of the park on debut release

 

 

Reflowered Girlz have only being going since late last year. I find this hard to believe. Part of this disbelief is that their songs are fully formed and, as a band, they are tight and powerful. This isn’t an easy thing to do. Established bands find this hard to do, yet alone a band on their debut release. Whatever the magic formula is Reflowered Girlz know all about it.

 

 

Their debut EP kicks off with Love Song. Opening with the lines “I don’t care what they do, I just wanna be with you, I don’t care what they say, I just wanna love you all day”, that is after a barrage of drums and distorted guitars. These are themes we’ve heard hundreds of times before, but Anna Reflowered Girlz really wins us over. This is done through an honest delivery and catchy hooks. Living Un-Normal sees the band tackle mundane subjects and question them in an extensional manner. “It feels like I’m living inside of my mind, My head always hurts from just being alive, My eyes can see thermal, Living un-normal” sums this malaise up perfectly. Again it is backup by driving drums, purring bass and visceral guitars.

 

 

There are traces of The Go-Go’s, Sleater-Kinney, The Detroit Cobras, The Replacements, Runaways and a slew of other seminal bands throughout the Reflowered Girlz EP. Some of them are as obvious as a tone of voice, others a more subtle, a turn of phrase/guitar sound, but instead of sounding like a pastiche or a rip-off, it all works to make Reflowered Girlz one of the most enjoyable and exciting releases in recent months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jellyskin are part of a shoegazing revolution sweeping the nation!

 

 

Shoegazing is back! In all fairness it never went away, it just dropped off everyone’s periphery, but now there is a resurgence in the genre. On any given night across the country you can see amazing new bands with heads aimed at their pedals.

 

 

One of these new bands is Leeds trio Jellyskin. Debut track Grey Glass Hat sounds like a Broadcast covering Yo La Tengo while Kevin Shields produces. Opening with woozy synths and dark soundscapes it tracks and ethereal trail for four minutes.

 

 

Later in the year Grey Glass Hat will be part of Sea of Skin Records’ new compilation album. Given in that sealand are also on the album this is something that none of us will want to miss!

 

 

 

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The Bug unveils new single before he drops yet another EP! Prolific needs a new definition….

 

 

It seems like only last week that Kevin Martin AKA The Bug was releasing his last EP. It was in fact August 2015. In that time frame it’s looking like the world is falling apart, countries are imploding under petty nationalism, heads of state are dropping like flies and unprovoked violence is on the rise*. Despite all this global horribleness there are a few things to look forward to. I don’t want to list them all, but one of them is Martin’s new release, the double A-Side Box/Iceman. Box features rapper D Double E while Iceman features Riko Dan.

 

 

Musically it’s business as usual. Deep basslines meander through valleys of stark drum machines and layered effects and studio trickery. Its dense, dark and devastating. But it’s the lyrics that are the main event. Box showcases that D Double E is at the top of his game. He uses a simple word like ‘Box’, then due to his references and inflection it has a totally different. At one moment he’s saying be different thing outside of the box, then if you are too different you’ll be inside a box, like dead, then a moment later he uses a football reference that means you have to twist and turn to get in space so people can see you for what you are. All of these thing have different meanings, but because they are all grounded by the same word they are all the same. Clever man…

 

 

* Um, didn’t Martin kinda predict this on his last two albums?

 

 

 

 

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WERC’s debut EP for Bedlam Music could be the coolest thing released this year!

 

 

WERC’s debut EP for Bedlam Music, Framewerc, is cool. In fact it could be the coolest thing released this year. Its oozes machismo. Vibes effortless cool and gives off a blasé feeling that would make Zinedine Zidane feel uncomfortable. Basically it’s cool as!

 

 

“So how has WERC created an EP of this quality?” I can hear you ask. Well each track on Framewerc is made of multiple samples. Most of the samples are full samples, but cut up’s that have been manipulated, very similar to how William S. Burrows wrote The Nova Trilogy. A slight vocal line here, half a drum loop there and a vague feeling of bass and its done. Each track on Framewerc sticks to a certain genre and this feeling of cohesion really helps to win us over. Of course WERC isn’t just sampling, he’s adding his own loops and concoctions to the mix to create something that has the same feeling of familiar as a dream. You know where you are and who you are talking to, but everything is slightly skewed and lurid.

 

 

Stand out track is A2. On this track WERC samples classic, and (un)classic Hip-Hop. NWA rubs shoulders with ODB, to name a couple, while WERC himself layers loop upon loops to create a feeling my claustrophobia, the likes of we haven’t heard since Carl Crack’s debut. Is dense, confused, unyielding and very, very, very listenable!

 

 

Framewerc is the equivalent of meeting your hero and then having a pint with them, only to swap numbers/emails at the end and start up a lifelong friendship. Yeah, it’s that cool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Post-Punk-Ambient-Dream-Pop outfit sealand show that Manchester’s still a hot-bed for emerging talent

 

 

Some people think the biggest announcement this year coming from Manchester was the Stone Roses releasing their first new material for twenty years. This turned out to be a massive damp squib, but the biggest announcement was Post-Punk-Ambient-Dream-Pop band sealand releasing their latest track Holy Head. No? Don’t believe us? Read on while listening to the link below.

 

 

On their previous track Vehicle they sounded like I Wanna Be Adored, but played by Scallys. Nothing wrong with this but it didn’t set our collective interests on fire. Holy Head on the other hand sounds like a totally different band! It slowly meanders and skews along not rushing where it needs to go, but at the same time there is an vibe of it not really know where it is going and it might all breakdown at any moment. This element of collapse keeps us on our toes.

 

 

When Holy Head gets fully underway, after its gentle intro, it sounds reminiscent of Spacemen 3, droney guitars, stream of consciousness vocals, but all grounded with a driving bass and ethereal keyboards. You know like Revolution or Hypnotized, but you know, less druggy.

 

 

sealand are band who know what they love and don’t care if you don’t. They’re trying something different and succeeding. They have an unrelenting belief and appear to want to do things on their terms. Its early days but this could be the musical resurrection that Manchester needs…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Norfolk’s finest Mr. David Viner returns with first insight to new unreleased album

 

 

Mr. David Viner is a musician who has never really let everyone at thisyearinmusic down. Each album shows a marked progression from the one that came before. As he’s got older, and more confident in his song-writing abilities, Viner has been redefining acoustic-indie-blues. His dextrous finger picking and penchant for wistful lyricism, but all wrapped up in bedsit chic.

 

 

New song Plaza opens with a jaunty finger picked intro before Viner’s dulcet tones envelope us like a favourite towel after a bath. We’re warmed by his tones of love, rejection and redemption. This is Viner masterstroke. At first you think the lyrics are as upbeat as the music, but after a few listens you realise this is not the case.

 

 

As the years go on, Viner sounds more and more like Leonard Cohen. This is not a bad thing, as Viner’s songs are filled with pathos and tongue in cheek jokes. This is exemplified with the following lyric “And I stand before you soaked through and undressed, And I sing before you broken blind and blessed”. Given this is the only song off Viner’s next, and so far untitled and unreleased, album it’s hard to tell what the rest will be like, but let’s hope it’s as flawless as his 2004 classic This Boy Don’t Care.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Oh it’s getting heavy” Kushal Gaya sings during the opening salvo of ‘Dot to Dot’, the first track on Melt Yourself Down’s new album Last Evenings on Earth. Gaya and YMD aren’t joking, MYD’s 2013 self-titled debut is pop music next to Last Evenings on Earth. The compositions are more complex, the music tighter and everything has an immediacy that was missing. Well missing is a bit harsh maybe, but it didn’t sound as vital as this though!

 

 

Three years ago, when Pete Wareham for MYD and they released their debut album they sounded like no one else. It was the perfect mix of jazz time signatures, punk attitude, Afro-Beat rhythm section and electronic blips and beeps filling in the gaps. In short it was as if Fela Kuti was fronting Antibalas while they ran through some punk numbers. Now they’ve returned and it’s business as usual, and that business is making forward thinking music.

 

 

The real power of Last Evenings on Earth comes from the intensity of the songs. ‘Dot to Dot’ kicks the album off in fine form. Hip-Hop rhythms are interspersed with one of the tightest horn sections since the JB’s, all the while the bass rumbles on with enough power to cause landslides along the Jurassic coast, if played loud enough. Lead single ‘The God of You’ follow hot on the heels of ‘Dot to Dot’. MYD’s blueprint is in full effect, expect everything has a slightly aggressive slant to it. Wareham and co. are pissed off and have something to say. This focused fervour is refreshing and gives the album an edge over its predecessor.

 

 

‘Jump the Fire’ shares more than just a name with Harry Nilsson’s 1971 classic. Both open with shouty vocals, but whereas Nilsson started off as a straight rock track that mutated into faux-psych, MYD never deviate from their electronic jazz mission statement. Synth loops and blips are under pinned by raspy horns that would make Hypnotic Brass Ensemble jealous! It’s the stand out track on the album. The horns swirls around you like a maelstrom trying to pull you inside out, but bass and beat keep you grounded so you end up feeling like an inflatable wind-dancer outside a car showroom on a Saturday afternoon. The opening guitar riff to ‘Bharat Bata’ is possibly the catchiest thing not only MYD have ever done, but that has been released this year! It lodges itself in your brain and coupled the vigour and energy of the playing it’s hard to ignore!

 

 

One of the most notable differences on <i>Last Evenings on Earth<i/> is that lead singer Gaya now sings in English instead of Mauritian. This change is only a subtle one, but it might attract them a bigger audience during festival season. Another profound difference is there is an apocalyptical vibe going on, but given the title this is hardly surprising. ‘Last Evenings on Earth’ is as vast and sprawling as their self-titled debut, yet at the same time it’s concise and refined. MYD were once described as the sound of Cairo ’57, Cologne ’72, New York ’78 and London 2013. This isn’t that accurate. Let’s update that to London 2018, as this doesn’t just show us London, and music’s current climate, it shows where it could go. It’s been three years since their debut, and I can’t see where MYD will be in three years’ time. However let’s just hope that ‘Last Evenings on Earth’ isn’t a prophetic as the title claims to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We’re told that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The same is true for albums. I dread to think how many times I’ve been digging in a shop and come across an interesting cover and immediately thought “I have to have this”. Sometimes it worked the Garden of Delights comp and other times it, well, didn’t. Thanks Terris! If you were in your local record shop and came across Yoni & Geti’s Testarossa album, you’d definitely pick it up! Against a green background a white toy Ferrari Testarossa hangs in space while what looks like candyfloss spews from its open door.

 

 

The music on Testarossa is as lurid and surreal cover, but this is what we’ve come to expect from Yoni & Geti, bearing in mind they were in cLOUDDEAD and Cavanaugh respectively. ‘Umar Rashid’ opens the proceedings with eerie beats, mournful piano and sultry synths. Lyrically it’s easy to tell that Yoni and Geti aren’t in the best frame of mind. ‘Allegheny’ carries on these themes. Everything is downtempo, almost ambient at times. Yoni and Geti’s verses are delivered at breakneck speed one moment and then beautiful crooning. The lyrics have a stream of consciousness vibe to them. This is exemplified with the line “Charge my phone, let me call my home, let me eat this scone”.

 

‘Madeline’ is the closest thing to having deliberate musical hooks. The music pulls us in with catchy melodies, and the lyrics are half sung/half spoken and have a lullaby quality to them, but instead of lulling us into a stupor, it keeps drawing us in with popping beats and inventive wordplay. ‘Frank’ is one of the stand out tracks on Testarossa. It is chocked full of laidback catchy hooks and has the closest thing to a conventional chorus on the album “F is for my buddy Frank. U is for growing up, B is bandana, U is for umbrella. Met a woman called Ella, Used to be a feller, We were on sassafras, She was my Cinderella”.

 

 

It’s around this point that you start to realise that there is an under lying concept. Maddy and Davy are lovers and have children. Davy is in a band and goes off on tour. While he’s away Maddy has to try and make ends meet and gets a job as a cocktail waitress. She gets lonely and has an affair with Davy’s ex best friend and band mate. I won’t tell you how it ends, but you probably get the idea.

 

 

Testarossa is an album that gets better with each listen. At first is all seem random and nothing appears to make sense. Yes you’ve enjoyed it, but the overall point appears to be missing. The music doesn’t seem to have any relation to the lyrics subject matter, but then it all clicks and you start to pick up on recurring themes and lyrics. The sadness and regrets of the breakup of a relationship. Sin and repentance and ultimately redemption. All this is underpinned by darkly comedic lyrics and scenarios, think Mike Leigh and you’re on the right track, delivered only as Yoni and Geti can. With flawless timing and straight faced panache. So can you judge an album by its cover? In Testarossa’s case, it’s not even close!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In 2014 Derwin Schlecker AKA Gold Panda went to Japan with photographer Laura Lewis hoping to capture some field recordings for a new album. Along with the accompanying visuals Schlecker hoped to create a sight and sound album that would brake the traditions of what an album could and should be. On one now fateful afternoon Schlecker and Lewis took a taxi and as they were getting out the driver said “Ganbatte, Kudasai” which loosely translated means “Good luck and do your best”. These words resonated with Schlecker. The now unnamed project and album had a name, and as Schlecker said recently “Once you have a title things come together a lot easier for what it’s going to be”. The resulting album is ten tracks of forward thinking music that runs the gambit of jazz, folk, electronica with boom-bap rap beats. Schlecker explains that everything sounds “quite motivational, quite positive”. The album was recorded in Schlecker’s Chelmsford studio, but Japan’s spirit and atmosphere permeates the whole album.
‘Metal Bird’ opens with album with soaring, glitching vocal samples while a delicate guitar underpins everything. If you were expecting another dose of high energy electronica, like Gold Panda’s 2013 album ‘Half of Where You Live’ then you might be disappointed. What ‘Metal Bird’ tells us is that Schlecker has slowed things down. There is still plenty going on, production wise, but it’s not as in your face as previous releases. Half way through everything goes up a notch as the breakbeats lope and skitter, showing that Schlecker might not have changed his way entirely. ‘In My Car’ is more of the same, as laidback beats cement the song in your head while quasi-60’s soul vocals dance around in a hazy sunset of forward thinking electronica.
‘Song For a Dead Friend’ sounds in places similar to fellow Chelmsford musician Squarepusher. The beats skitter past with lunatic delight while the synths and loops swirl about us like morning fog. The real stand out track is ‘I Am Real Punk’. Despite its acoustic calm, it packs a real punch. Repetitive guitar loops keep the song grounded while laconic bass, flitting beats and luscious strings give everything an eerie ethereal early morning vibe. This is probably down to the time of year Schlecker travelled to Japan. “Japan has this light that we don’t get here. It’s hard to explain. Well, Japan has this… at certain times of the year, it has this filter on stuff. So when we went the first time, there were a lot of pink and green colours.” ‘I Am Real Punk’ also acts as a lynchpin on the album for what has come and what to expect.

Another stand out track is ‘Time Eater’. Being chocked full of chiming samples that evoke Japan’s musical heritage they are juxtaposed with popping beats and euphoric synth loops. This is mixture of the traditional and the contemporary sums up the album perfectly. Its relaxed but self-assured yet full of unending charm and a positivity that is hard to ignore. ‘Unthank’ closes the album and acts like a bookend to ‘Metal Bird’. There is no percussion on it all, just layered droney synths. It feels like a post-modern lullaby at times, and if the album opens with a blazing sunshine vibe, this is a melancholy full moon.

When you get past the electronic glitches, jazz flourishes and folk tendencies, ‘Good Luck and Do Your Best’ feels like a garage album. Choppy beats and rhythms along with shuffling percussion helps create a feeling of urban movement and flux. There is a slow a swagger to the songs that is hard to ignore. On ‘Good Luck and Do Your Best’ Schlecker has created the album that he has always hinted at. In the past the tracks on his albums have compete with each other for your attention and praise, but here they complement each other, giving the album a complete feel. It’s safe to say that Schlecker has definitely done his best on this incredibly diverse and listenable album!

 

 

 

 

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Darko Riddims releases Hip-Hop that doesn’t mess about getting to the point, but at the same time it’s abstract as hell!

 

 

Hip-Hop has come a long way since Kool Herc and co. started finding jazz breaks and looping them at block parties. Part of me wonders if they would have known what was to come whether they would have got lawyers and copyrighted the shit outta their legacies? Probably not, but it whiles away some moments at work. Anyway, as I was saying, Hip-Hop it a varied and diverse beast now. If you can conceive it you can find it. Gangsta Trap, Goth Boom-Bap and straight up Grime. It’s all there, just a fingertip away.

 

 

On producer what manages to subvert all of these genres, while keeping in line with the original ethos of the genre is Darko Riddims. On his most recent album ATGS, Darko showcases his deft touch at production and composition. After a brief intro, the title track kicks things off in fine form. Disjointed basslines surge from speaker to speaker while a tight beat powers everything along. Good start. What’s up next? The Ministry takes a classical piano sample and chops its up, slows it down, then shoves a massive choir over it while a claustrophobic beats makes it far more edgy than it should have been. Over all great stuff!

 

 

As the title suggests The Scene sounds like a Mark Snow/Brad Fiedel mash up. Worryingly it works perfectly! After three flawless tracks The Arsenal takes a weird turn by starting with an Arsenal FC football chant intro that then goes into quite a hard and serious beat. The chant doesn’t appear again, making its inclusion confusing and disorienting. Did Darko think “This track needs something, I know a football chant!” or was the whole thing an accident? Either way we’ll never know, but it’s inclusion is jarring and bizarre. The Solution tries to get things back on track, but due to the intro of the last track, it doesn’t really work as we’re waiting for a moment of madness to derail a solid beat, bassline and synth melodies. The Technique is basically The Ministry Part II. Glenn Gould sounding pianos are backed by stark and menacing beats. All of a sudden a maelstrom of synths whips everything up, before calming down again. The Result closes the album. It’s like a trap Ennio Morricone remix. While it pops in the right places and has a nice bounce to it, it doesn’t feel as cohesive as ATGS’ earlier tracks.

 

 

Basically Darko Riddims makes the kind of Hip-Hop that doesn’t mess about getting to the point, but at the same time it’s abstract as hell! There are a lot of ideas going on and most of them work, but sadly when they don’t everything suffers. The overall point is good and the fact that nothing here is that conventional is a tour de force, but some of the samples and concepts don’t flow as well as they should. Saying that adding some of these tracks to playlists would be advantageous as would boost your reputation as being someone who knows about new forward thinking music.

 

 

Darko Riddims is a producer that needs to be monitored closely as it’s only a matter of time before he gets everything right and produces something that isn’t just abstract, but contagious too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Diving show us grunge ain’t dead with new single and forthcoming album

 

 

If you are expecting a song full of gospel charm and biblical references this might not be for you, but if you like your music loud, dirty, loud, pummelling, grungey, loud, raucous and, um, did I say loud? If you answered yes then you’ll love Happy Diving’s new single Holy Ground.

 

 

At just under two minutes it shows that the work on their 2014 debut, Big World, wasn’t wasted as it surpasses its finest moments. As caveman-esque riffs swirl round us, Matt Berry’s granite vocals cut through it and hit us where it hurts, our minds, until everything peels out in a slow blast of feedback and attitude.

 

 

Let’s hope that the rest of new album Electric Soul Unity is exciting and exhilarating as this slab of sludge rock majestry!

 

 

Electric Soul Unity is released on 19th August through Topshelf Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Veils channel Nick Cave on come back single!

 

 

The first time I saw the Veils was when I watched them live around 2002 at the Joiners in Southampton. I was at uni at the time and going to the Joiners on a whim was almost a daily event. What struck me was the visceral power the band had. Not only were they confident enough to make a woozy pop with dark provoking lyrics, but their main weapon was having a genuinely transfixing frontman in Finn Andrews. I saw them a few more times over the next few years and got their three albums. Then in 2013 Andrews and co released Time Stays, We Go. It was heavier and more menacing than their previous work, but it held that single strand that connected the albums together, but made them stand on their own. Then they went quiet and I feared the worst.

 

 

That is until now. Lead single Axolotl is possibly the most exciting thing they have released. Sounding like Nick Cave having a fight with a drum machine it’s a thing of beauty. Instead of listening to it, it stalks you and you find yourself fending it off, but with each passing moment its symbiotic nature makes it harder and harder to ignore until you’re totally transfixed and instead of trying to fight it off you are dancing with it. Yes I know this sounds a bit Lynchian, but hell, Andrews is in the new series of Twin Peaks.

 

 

But it isn’t just the music that makes you fall in love/lust with it, the lyrics are full or Nick Cave and Tom Waits motifs. The stand out lyric is “Who needs the devil when you’ve got the lord?” This could easily have been lifted from Heart Attack and Vine or from And the Ass Saw the Angel. Either way it’s so succinct that on one hand you can pass it off as flippant, but you can also hold it close to your on dark nights while you wait for the peace of morning.

 

 

Axolotl is the first single from new album Total Depravity, released 26th August, and was produced by El-P, he of Company Flow, Cannibal OX and Run the Jewels fame. It is filled with his trademark deep beats and dense production, but there is still that pop sheer that marks all of this best work. That being said this is clearly a Veils track.

 

 

It’s hard to believe that as I was walking home that night after watching an incendiary set that over fifteen year later the band would still be releasing mind melting music and getting me excited about another, as yet, unreleased album. That’s total depravity!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Texan electro band Count Nebula deliver the goods at the first time of asking!

 

 

Count-Nebula could be the most exciting new band out there at the moment. Mixing elements of indie, baggy, rock, electronica but with a marvellous pop sheen. Imagine Kasabian covering Visage while Feedle produces. It’s full of a bounce and vigour that is hard to ignore. If this had been released when I was a teenager and played in the indie-disco’s I frequented I would have been a very happy chap!

 

 

So far they have only released two songs, The Day You Remember and Red Chino Shuffle. As the latter’s name suggests, it’s about having fun and a dance, preferably in red trousers. Red Chino Shuffle opens with wonky synths, jittery vocals and a sense of fun seldom seen in contemporary music, then a huge beat kicks in, that conjures up the best dance pop singles from 1996’s, and the party is now underway! There is a playfulness that holds everything together and makes you realise that deep down Count—Nebula don’t really care if you like the music or not as they’re having the time of their lives.

 

 

We should be under no illusions that this is still early days for Count-Nebula, but given how good Red Chino Shuffle, and The Day You Remember are this is a band to get excited about. I mean, REALLY excited about!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Theater 1’s twelve month single project is complete

 

 

It’s been twelve months since Japanese juke and footwork producer Theater 1 started his single series. Each month he has released two new songs. These were generally about six minutes long and featured his trademark slow tempo skittering beats and industrial levels of bass.

 

 

New single Nero is no different. Cantering beats get things going in the right direction, while a liberal use of loops and re-loops makes it sound like your computer is glitching. There isn’t much variation, but that is the beauty of Theater 1’s work. The B-Side however takes on a more ambient vibe. At just over ten minutes long it’s the longest song Theater 1 has released. Slow maelstroms of synths and ricocheting beats engulf you, until its exquisite outro brings everything to a close.

 

 

What Theater 1 does now is anyone’s guess. Will he start another singles series or will be release a full length album? Whatever he does do it will definitely be forward thinking and exciting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pathos Pathos are the bright summery fix we all need now!

 

 

When I think of Orlando basketball, people dressed in animal costumes, sea creatures kept in captivity and Rodney King comes to mind. Now there is another, and more positive, imagine in my minds eyes. Pathos Pathos.

 

 

Sounding like Freelance Whales covering the Spinto Band while Vampire Weekend produce, or it that the other way round, Pathos Pathos make the kind of indie pop that gives you a feeling that you want to jump around like a child not caring what others think of you, whilst giving you optimism. A rare trait in these bleak times.

 

 

As their name suggest this is all done in a way that makes us, the audience, believe their stories by creating emotional response. The music skitters and sways along, sometimes math motifs appear only to be repressed by an indie exuberance. The star of the show however are frontman Matt Walsh’s vocals. They float about, around and through Summer Nights, giving it an effervescent sheen.

 

 

The Pet Names EP is released 8th July

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trust Fund remind us why we got in such a slather about them in the first place!

 

 

Last year Ellis Jones AKA Trust Fund released two exceptional albums that showed that you didn’t need to be a big studio, or in tune instruments, to create music that slaps you about the face while picking you up and dusting you down at the same time. In a way it’s a shame that Jones didn’t keep Seems Unfair back until this year as its lead single Football would have been the soundtrack of the summer. But he did and ultimately we are grateful.

 

 

Jones has now released his first album of new material of 2016 titled We Have Always Lived in the Harolds. Like his previous releases it’s a rollercoaster of lo-fi sounds and confessional self-referential lyrics, with his tongue firmly in his cheek. Recorded at home in Leeds during 2016, We Have Always Lived in the Harolds has a charming lo-fi vibe to it that is refreshing in these over produced times of ours.

 

 

wwsd kicks off the album with swirling keyboards and disjointed guitars. Jones’ vocals are falsetto and fantastic. There is a feeling of disorientation quietly bubbling underneath everything. One moment its drawing you in, the next its doing your hear in and you can’t focus on it anymore. Would that be an adventure? is up next and sounds like a vocodered Gruff Rhys tackling some Paul McCartney. Everything soars and swells as the song progresses until the chorus breaks and you start to sway like loon. Melody Gloucester Pegasus is classic Trust Fund. Discordant harmonies and stark guitars. That’s it. That’s the magic formula.

 

 

Together is the closest thing that Jones has to an indie pop banger on We Have Always Lived in the Harolds. Everything shabams, pows and whizzes during its two minutes. It’s the equivalent of seeing a mate on a bad day or making it to the pub as your team’s keeper saves a shot that wins them the game. You’re filled with euphoria and glee. Whalith ends the album in a melancholic slant. While it sounds slightly downbeat, there is a vein of hope running through it, as there is with the rest of the album and this is a fitting way for it to end.

 

 

The only real downside to We Have Always Lived in the Harolds is that its only twenty minutes long. Part of me is craving for another couple of songs, but in all honesty, it’s perfectly fine the way it is. Yes it’s not as raucous and poppy as Seems Unfair, nor is it as jaded as No One’s Coming For Us, but instead its rough around the edges, like drinking a cup of tea hungover in a friends kitchen while wearing an old knitted jumper with a holes in the elbows. Jones isn’t trying to dress these songs up and he’s comfortable in our presence. How many other musicians can say that?

 

 

We Have Always Lived in the Harolds is out now and Trust Fund are on tour throughout August and September

 

August

 

26 Cornwall, Knee Deep Festival
27 Bristol, Roll For The Soul
28 Chatham, Riverside One Studios
29 London, The Lexington (matinee)
30 Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
31 Leeds, Wharf Chambers

September

01 Middlesbrough, Westgarth Social Club
02 Aberdeen, O’Neills
03 Edinburgh, Opium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When will Torm’s creative reservoir run dry?

 

 

This is getting silly now. For the last few month’s American producer †ORM has released just under fifty new songs. While that doesn’t sound like a great deal, let’s just think about that for a moment. Fifty songs in about four weeks, that’s roughly 12 new songs a week. That’s just under two a day! But this isn’t the most remarkable thing. Each song is a surging powerhouse of Gothic Electro.

 

 

Just like clockwork †ORM has released a new clutch of songs titled No Fear of Shadows. Contained under this banner songs called No Feat, You Can Kill Him and Like a Warrior showcase his perchance for devastatingly brutal song writing, but with genuine hooks and melodies that are hard to ignore. What separates No Fear of Shadows from his previous work are the drums.

 

 

In the past †ORM has been content to give us sturdy, but unchanging rhythms. It’s generally a standard 4/4 that is supporting gargantuan synths and keyboards that the only logical outcome is it all falls over under its girth. But what †ORM is showing us here is that he can use drums as well as anyone! Here they sound ‘live’ and chittering. Nowhere is this more prominent that on opening track No Fear. From thirty seconds in the drums are skittering and scattershot. Think of Portishead’s third album and you’re on the right lines. But this isn’t No Fear’s greatest moment though, not even close. On it †ORM sounds like Battles covering John Carpenter at his most prosaic. It’s poundingly visceral, but with a touch of humanity that is hard to avoid.

 

 

So where can †ORM go from here? Anywhere he damn well pleases!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hieroglyphic Being mixes Sun Ra’s dense Afro-Centric rhythms, with disco fun to create something exciting yet intriguing

 

 

Since Jamal R. Moss, AKA Hieroglyphic Being, released The Fourth Dimension of Nubian Mystic on Ninja Tune imprint Technicolour in 2014 it’s been on a semi constant rotation. There is something about the mix of melody, emotional content, Afro-Centric themes and hard hitting techno that made it such a beguiling listen.

 

 

Now, two years later, Moss is returning to Technicolour to release the album The Disco of Imhotep. So far all that has been released is the title track. As the title suggests there is a slight disco vibe going on, but don’t worry, Moss’ trademark murky productions and incongruous rhythms keep you on your toes. This is something that needs to be played loud, possibly in a darkened room, full of sweaty people dancing.

 

 

But this is how Moss sees The Disco of Imhotep “It’s about creating Frequencies and Vibrations for the Listener that are conducive for him or her to Heal The Mind and Body and Enrich the Soul by creating Hemi-Synced Harmonies and music that contains embedded Binaural Beats. We have been made to believe that electronic sounds are just for Movement, Enlightenment, Primal Afflictions and Entertainment purposes, but it’s much more… It’s Sound Healing, but the ancestors would call it Frequency Medicine. Medicine is Healing and this project is dedicated to one of Earth’s first Healers: High Priest Imhotep. The One who comes in Peace, is with Peace.”

 

 

The Disco of Imhotep looks set to be one of the albums of the year, regardless of the genre, and will cement Moss even more an artist who doesn’t just challenge what music can and should be, but challenges himself by never phoning it in or treading water. I’ve really missed him!

 

 

The Disco of Imhotep is released through Technicolour on 5th August

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Player Piano unveils a video that needs to be seen to be believed!

 

 

Naming yourself after a 1952 Kurt Vonnegut Jr. book about the deterioration of society due to automation was always going to ask questions and raise eyebrows. Luckily, however, Jeremy Radway AKA Player Piano layer their songs full of irony, sentimentality and devastating hooks to make you realise, like the book in question, that’s it’s all a bit of a sardonic joke.

 

 

Sounding like a psych pop cover of Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer, with David Byrne on vocals, Kings and Queens pulls you in and sucker punches you with melody after melody until you are left reeling in the corner and begging for mercy. However being duffed up by delicious pop songs sounds like a perfect afternoon to me. When you surrender to its skewed charm

 

 

But the star of the show is the video. Constructed from six thousand yes 6,000 chalk drawings and painstakingly put together by TJ Reynolds, it looks like nothing else this year, which is handy as that’s how it sound too! If seeing is believing then hearing is, well, convincing us of Reynolds’ talent.

 

 

In the Vonnegut’s novel the player piano represents that learning to play an instrument in your spare time is pointless as machines can do a ‘better’ job. Luckily for us this isn’t the case, just yet, and thanks to Reynolds’ dedication and devotion to his art we’ve got songs like these to enjoy and cherish.

 

 

Kings and Queens is out now while the album Radio Love is out on July 1st.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bedsit troubadour returns with new EP

 

 

Last time we heard from Dan the Human he was just about to release his Part One EP. The music contained on that EP was full of “Exquisite languid melodies and enervated themes permeate this EP. Dreamlike vocals wash over you but jaunty guitar riffs keep you from drifting off into the ether.” Yup that’s what I said and I still stand by them!

 

 

Now he’s now released his first new material since Part One, one the subtly called Part Two EP. The main difference between Part One and Two is that Dan has still kept his lo-fi sensibilities, but he’s added a repetitive feel to the tracks. Simple guitar lines are repeated again and again and again. This isn’t because Dan is lazy, or has run out of things to say, but through repetition he gets his hammers home his ideas of how weird life can be. Each day we leave at the same time, go to the same place and do the same things all day, only to leave at the same time in the evening, go home and, in all probability, do the same things before going to bed at about the same time. This is exemplified on Float. Catchy guitar melodies wash over us, while he croons away.

 

 

The difference between the two EP’s is remarkable. While the music contains the same visceral elements that made Part One a vibrant and exciting listen, Dan has somehow managed to up the discordance in his vocals but keep it catchy as! Let’s hope that we don’t have to wait another ten months for Part Three!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Giant Swan return to save us from torpidity and inane clever music

 

 

When I started writing this review, I went off on a tangent. Like most tangents it was flawed and after I’d finished, made a cuppa and started to re-read it I realised it had nothing to do with the Giant Swan new single Earn. So, like so many times before, I scrapped it. Then I started to re-assess what Giant Swan have released, because you know, that was the whole point in the first places.

 

 

If this is your first time listen to Giant Swan let’s get the introductions out of the way. Giant Swan are a duo from Bristol that make a form of electronic dance music that is more in-line with the original electronic pioneers Kraftwerk, CAN, Cabaret Voltaire and to a lesser degree Silver Apples, than with Charanjit Singh and Phuture. Through the use of synths, keyboards and circuit bent instruments they create swaths of mesmerising music that cut through the conventions of what is and isn’t acceptable. Earn shows us an alternative from the mainstream. They show us a place where is doesn’t matter if music sounds like a stream slowly undulating while abrasive breakbeats keep everything moving, and our attention with it, and on to the next part of the song. Giant Swan however don’t care if you like it or not. They aren’t bothered about reaching the masses and winning over the non-believers. They know their audience and make music tailor made for them.

 

 

Earn, for all its noise, glitches and breakbeats is nearly eight minutes of escapism. Escape from the rat race, escape from the hum drum, escape from our over thinking minds that question everything we hear and see to the point of it being meaningless. This is what Earn is, a collection of meaningless noises, melodies and rhythms that create a cohesive mass that when played at the right time has the ability to take you away from yourself for eight minutes. What could be better than that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ulrika Spacek show off their film noir influences on new video Ultra Vision

 

 

2016 will be a year to remember for Homerton’s Ulrika Spacek. Not only have they won over audiences and critics a-like with their incendiary mind-bending live shows, but their debut album, The Album Paranoia, was met with almost universal praise.

 

 

Now they are about to head out on a seven date tour and a longer tour that seems them play for most of September and October around Europe, with notable appearances at Visions and the Paris and Liverpool Psych Fests. To mark this occasion they have released a video for the song Ultra Vision.

 

 

The video features stark shots of a nameless couple living through the malaise that is modern society and what a relationship can be once the spark has gone out. Basically it’s Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Age of Reason directed by Carol Reed! At first you don’t care about the lifeless characters watching static on TV, but as the video, and story, progresses you realise that you are the same as them, and you’re watching just watching stuff to kill time, rather than doing something productive. It’s a strangely moving experience coupled with the sombre, driving beat and rhythmic guitars of Ultra Vision.

 

 

Here are Ulrika Spacek’s upcoming fixtures

 

 

Ulrika Spacek Live Dates:

 

June 18 Best Kept Secret Festival Hilvarenbeek
June 19 Paris Psych Fest Ferme du Buisson

June 20 Trone  Brussels, Belgium

June 21 Trix Belgium s/Parquet Courts

June 22 Shacklewell Arms London s/Preoccupations

June 23 Old Blue Last London s/Preoccupations

June 30 Musiques en Stock Cluses, France

August 6 Visions Festival London

August 13 Route du Rock St Malo, France
September 3 Misty Fields Festival Asten-Heusden, Netherlands

September 24 Liverpool Psych Fest Liverpool

September 25 The Cellar Oxford

September 26 Start The Bus Bristol
September 27 Electrowerkz London HEADLINE SHOW

September 30 Sudpol Luzern, Switzerland

October 2 Rome Psych Fest Rome, Italy

October 4 Zukunft Zurich, Switzerland

October 6 ACUD Berlin, Germany

October 7 Gruner Jager Hamburg, Germany

October 8 Stengade Copenhagen, Denmark

October 11 King Georg Cologne, Germany

October 12 Green Door Store Brighton

October 13 Soup Kitchen Manchester

October 14 The Fulford Arms York

October 15 What Became of Us Leicester

October 16 Hug & Pint Glasgow

 

 

The Album Paranoia is out now on Tough Love Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Soul of a Leader’s autobiographical lyrics and inventive composition make them an exciting prospect

 

 

Brighton is a hotbed for new bands at the moment. Just walking to the shops it feels like you are witnessing bands form and projects getting formulised. Another band adding their name to this list is Soul of a Leader. Technically they aren’t a Brighton band as most members are from Hull, but they are just finding their feet and in our book that makes them a BN band!

 

 

Their debut single Palm Pleasures offers a lot to get excited about. The massive opening riff gives you the impression that this is going to be a slice of generic faux angst indie rock, but as suddenly it started it stops and a melodic morality tales based song takes over. Basically it’s about vanity and sexual promiscuity in mod culture. And you thought it was just another boy meets girl tale, right? When the chorus kicks in all hell let’s lose again and the big riff is back. This pattern follows until an exquisite middle eight kicks in. The stand out moment of the song.

 

 

As this is Soul of a Leader’s debut single it shows a lot of promise. Interesting subject matter, inventive arrangements and enough swagger to make it stand out on a packed dancefloor. There are some negatives, mostly that the lyrics sounds muddy in the mix. Let’s hope this is just down to the recording and mixing and will be sorted on their next single, which rumour has will be out later in the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Leeds’ guitar bothers Team Picture release their debut single Birthday Blues

 

 

After the fuss of your birthday is over, you generally have a bit of an emotional blue period, or red if you breakfast at diamond shops. Leeds based fuzz pop rockers Team Picture have put this feeling to music.

 

 

Massive drums roll over fuzzed out guitars, throbbing bass while ethereal lyrics float above everything giving is a lurid vibe. Imagine 1996 Dandy Warhols releasing a six minute Spacemen 3 cover, whilst they cover Altered States. While this is a vague and lazy comparison, it is very accurate.

 

 

This is the first of a proposed slew of singles that Team Picture have proposed to release this year. There is a musical revolution happening in the North and bands like Team Picture and Avalanche Party and their acolytes are at the crest of this wave. You have been warned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Odonis Odonis are about to unveil their sonic Sci-Fi nightmare

 

 

Toronto’s Odonis Odonis have become a fixture on the scene since their 2011 breakout Holandaze. Showing that you could seamless mix pulsating Sci-Fi synths, dance sensibilities and through provoking, almost opaque at time, lyrics. They follows that up in 2014 with Hard Boiled Soft Boiled, this was more of the same. Now they’re ready to unleash their third album Post Plague, but before they do, they’ve just released the single Pencils.

 

 

After an elongated introduction, the first thing you hear on Pencils is a tight drum beat. Sounding not that dissimilar to that of the Might Boosh’s Killeroo, then vocals drenched in echo fill the mix. Siren like synths then wash over us as a delicious warming female vocal juxtaposes the starkness of the music so far. The rest of the song follows this pattern until it slowly peters out at the end.

 

 

Lead singer Dean Tzenos explains their sound and current method of song-writing thus The time for half measures has passed. We need to be bold to make the changes needed to ward off an impending doom.  Enough of constant overanalysing and overthinking that has stopped progress. We need to look deep into the abyss and jump head first into the darkest substance ever known”

 

 

Post Plague continues the themes, and sounds, on Pencils and previous lead tracks Vanta Black, Needs and Nervous to create a stark but admiringly uplifting album.

 

 

Post Plague is released 17th June through Felte.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brighton Noise team up with Red Deer People, The Emperors of Ice Cream and Lunar Quiet for a gig at Marwoods this weekend

 

 

So 2016’s European Championships are well under way. The summer is officially here.  If football isn’t your thing, or you’ve lost interest due to England’s ejection, JOKING, then Sunday at Marwood’s in Brighton might be your thing!

 

 

Those audio deviants Brighton Noise have put together another programme of forward thinking local talent. The first name on the bill is Lunar Quiet. Not much is known about these guitar bothers apart from they play fast, and after we saw them at this year’s The Great Escape their live shows are incendiary! Next up are The Emperors of Ice Cream. This quartet have been making a racket for a while now, but it wasn’t until last year’s Picture Pout/Small Time Hero 7” that is all started to make sense. They sound like a pub rock band that plays in 13/5 time and doesn’t care whether you like it or not. It’s loud, abrasive and thanks to their tongue in cheek lyrics, very funny. This is exactly what you need on a Sunday night!

 

 

The headliners are the Red Deer People. Sounding like British Sea Power covering Kraftwerk while Kurt Stenzel produces, their brand of driving showgazing Motorik needs to be heard live to be believed! Like TEoIC lyrically they have their tongue firmly in their cheek and use surreal imagery to get their message and vision across. Lyrics likes “He’s permanently looking for the fun, fun, fun, Like a fly round a light bulb when all he wanted was the sun, And I know it’s hot, but it never hits the spot” and “I haven’t read that book since I was fourteen, And ten year later now Holden seems – such a whiny little thing, He’s so unimpressed with everything”. As they only appear to release songs in April we might have a wait until their next single, so you better catch them while you can!

 

 

Tickets can be bought from the link below

 

 

http://www.wegottickets.com/event/361231

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ILLingsworth releases the album he’s been hinted at for years

 

 

The suns out, kind of, so that means I was light, bouncy music to listen to while I watch the Euro’s muted. I did start off with some Shostakovith and Tavener, but this didn’t really work out, as the pace of the football was faster than the tempo of the music. Then, after some digging, I decided to put on ILLingsworth’s latest longplayer I Didn’t Ask For This.

 

 

As expected from one of Detroit’s greatest hidden talents, ILLS showcases not only his deft production touches and flourishes but his ability to spit some sick rhymes. As ILLingsworth explains “these are weird songs that no one asked for. people forget i rap and sometimes i do to. this is a step towards changing that. i wrote all of the raps that i recite and i made these beats. everyone else who raps on this project wrote their own raps. we’re racist against ghosts = we don’t use ghostwriters but we probably wouldn’t mind being paid to BE ghostwriters lol” So that explain that then.

 

 

The beats are as hard as Ben Davies tackle and the lyrics are as tight as Switzerland’s defence! While all of I Didn’t Ask For This is a pure joy to listen to ILLS save the best till last. Title track really ramps up ILLS’ lyrical prowess and sense of humour. Lyrics like “see all my customers bought it, with this uncomfortable logic, you’ll be able to run for republican office” shows he’s swallowed and digested the rhyming dictionary. “change your diet up, next week, don’t fry it up, matter fact you should eat less meat, meditate, less tweets” is a prophetic waring for all us who take ourselves too seriously!

 

 

Yes we never asked for this, but we’re sure as hell glad you delivered it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s that time of year again when it’s ok to wear an England shirt in public and not feel like a UKIP supporter. Well, kind of. Of course I’m not talking about the EU Referendum, but about the European Championships taking place in France.

 

 

In the past there have been some awesome football songs, Collapsed Lung’s Eat My Goal and Fat Les’ Vinderloo being tournament winners, and the forgettable Sven Sven Sven by Bell and Spurling acting as the equivalent as finishing bottom of the group stages. This week sees the release of Four Lions-We Are England. Four lions are Shaun Ryder, Paul Oakenfold, Kermit and Goldie. On paper this is a single that is full of promise, much like this year’s team, but sadly on closer inspection it has a weak back four.

 

 

As this is Ryder and Kermit’s second England single, the first been 1996’s England’s Irie, they know the drill. Shouty chorus, tongue in cheek verses and all wrapped up with a dance-pop beat. However when you listen to more than once you realise that the verses aren’t quite as funny or insightful as they should be and the chorus, “We’re England until we die!”, just comes off as, well, lazy. Yes this is a chant that every football fans knows and has sung, its one that has always felt rather hollow. Ultimately football fans are fickle. When the going is good they’ll scream and shout anything in droves, once the rot sets in most will flee and when the remaining fans sing “<insert your team here> until I die!” seem a tad sad.

 

 

But the real let down is the video. In the past Four Lions have been in great videos. Black Grape Kelly’s Heroes was just as ridiculous and fun as the song and Goldie’s Temper Temper still fills me with a sense of dread and malice even to this day. We Are England’s video however contains Ryder and Kermit on street corners singing, Oakenfold and Goldie filmed their cameos in LA and Thailand. Randomly Bez and Irvine ‘Trainspotting’ Welsh both makes appearances. Bez going through the motions of pilled up gurning and Welsh is almost un recognisable as his hoodie is so far over his face it’s hard to work out who he is, or why he is there. “But what about the football?” I can hear you say. Don’t worry, the obligatory ‘street’ footballers practicing is interspersed, but their tekkers are more in line with David Dunn than Cristiano Ronaldo.

 

 

Sadly We Are England had the potential to be another zeitgeist in Ryder’s career, but it just feels like a missed penalty. The ‘beats’ feel dated and the lyrics feel like the rantings of your uncle when he’s merry thing trying to remember songs, but getting them wrong. “We’re England until we die!” or until we get knocked out at the group stages, then we’ll revert to what team we got in the work sweepstake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lum’s remix of club blanking perfectly sums up life in a post-modern world

 

 

Lum’s credentials speak for themselves. Being part of the Bedroomer collective with Swim Good, Eytan Tobin and Hudson Alexander, Lum is well versed in DIY electronic, bass house and generally everything termed experimental pop. Boy Bye has all this in spades. OK, OK Boy Bye ultimately is a remix of Beyoncé’s Sorry, but this feels more like a re-work, or a cover in places. Chillout chimes get everything going before delicate pop vocals start to tell a story about being in a club, seeing someone you don’t want to, blanking them and then trying not to think about them while thinking about them. It’s something we’ve all done and received.

 

 

While this internal monologue goes on the music chops and blips about with surging bass and Trap-esque beats. But this isn’t the best bit. Underneath this there are intricate synth and keyboard loops, motifs and riffs kicking about. Some follow through form start to finish, while others mutate and skew through its two and a half minutes and others just appear for a moment only to vanish without a trace straight after.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Exam Season look set for their recorded and live debut on June 10th thanks to TRNS

 

 

We’ve all been there. After a prolonged period of time we find ourselves living back at home. Sometimes it’s after uni finishes, the breakdown of a relationship or, sadly, after the death of a parent. Most of us try and grin and bear it and count down before we can move out again. Ed Watson decided to write some songs about it.

 

 

Under the guise of Exam Season Watson wrote five songs that make up their debut EP Mostly Home. These songs are about having a teenage mentality, even though you aren’t a teenager and, as Watson explains, “still getting publicly pissed off with banal things like coach services. Realising that lifelong friends do grow apart, and realising that the concept of a childhood home doesn’t last forever.” These are all things we’ve been through, but most of us don’t express them so eloquently and with as gleeful pop exuberance, as shown on lead track A Pretty Song.

 

 

After an intentional stuttering start and a peel of feedback, A Pretty Song kicks in proper and a lusciously soaring melody grows and swells around us as galloping drums and driving bass propel the song. However it isn’t until the chorus when everything comes together and the song goes up a notch. To call it wondrous doesn’t really do the song, or word justice, but I’m going to call it that as, like the jangly rhythm, it just fits perfectly.

 

 

Mostly Home is released on June 10th through TRNS Records. They also make their live debut on 10th June at Winchester in Bournemouth supporting Elvis Depressedly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yellow6 team up with Silber for a slab of lurid ambient post-rock

 

 

Picture the scene…

 

 

It’s 5 o’clock. You’ve just finished work. On your way home you swing by the beach*. You sit on the front and watch people on the beach sun bathing, paddling, throwing balls for dogs and the waves as they hit the beach. You hear the slam of the waves on the beach and their roar as the sea goes out again. In the distance you see people having a BBQ and you get a gentle waft of the smoke. You start to walk along the prom enjoying your free time, not thinking about anything and living in the moment. Then you start to hear snippets of music drifting towards you, but you can’t see the musicians. You decide to walk on until you find the band. The music start to become clearer.

 

 

On the horizon you see a guy with a guitar, but that can’t be what you’re hearing as its just one guy, and the music you hear is layered complex. But as you get nearer you realise that what you are hearing is coming from just one person. As he works his guitar an ethereally layered sound sweeps over you. Melodic riffs swirl around heavy slabs delay and reverb. At times it reminds you of the Dead Man soundtrack as motifs and riffs continually appear and reappear. After what seems like a minute, but is in fact ten, the song ends, the guy packs up and moves along the prom. You sit on the nearest bench and contemplate what you have seen. Then, like something from a dream, the faint music starts up again as you stare at the sea whilst being drenched by the last rays of the sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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* or park if you are land locked

Gnucci delivers another slice of tongue in cheek pop

 

 

“Hey you’ve got to hear this new Gnucci track Ultimate Syndrome which featurs Tami T” a friend said to me. “Alright, but I’m busy now” I replied. A day or so later they asked “What did you think of that track I sent you?” Sadly I hadn’t played it, but I felt bad that they’d chased me so I immediately did. After thirty seconds I felt like a dick that I hadn’t played it immediately!

 

 

Ultimate Syndrome opens with chimes that wouldn’t be out of place in the Legend of Zelda, Ultimate Syndrome then skews into kind of wonky-electro-pop that has put Activia Benz on the map. Gnucci’s opening lines “Don’t you want a girl with wit and a lot of class? I can talk back, got a smart ass”. This tells you everything you need to know about the song. Soundling like a mixture of Princess Superstar and Lil’ Debbie, Gnucci makes us smile as much as she makes us blush with her hilariously crude rhymes. However it’s when the chorus kicks in, which Tami T handles, when the pop levels are really ramped up to earworm proportions. “I get it all, I get it all boy, Let me be your ultimate girl. What you want, What you want girl, I can be your ultimate boy”.

 

 

Ultimately this is the sound of someone who grew up playing Nintendo/Sega games, listening to unadulterated pop and R&B, then decided to mix it all together and see what happens. Luckily this works well, oh so very well, and Gnucci has ended up with something that could be a sleeper hit. But after listening to this on a loop for an hour I just want to play Zelda or Golden Axe, it’s just a shame its 25 degrees outside and glorious sun. Oh well, that’s why we have curtains right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The sun is rising. I can see it slowly getting brighter outside, as the light slowly climbs the house opposite. This is that special time of the morning when only a few people are awake. Some have chosen to do this, others have had this honour thrust upon them. It’s a times like this when you feel that anything is possible and, dare I say, magic is still in the air. Looking out the window I see the early morning dog walkers, or are they Neanderthals walking their Pleistocene Epoch beasts.

 

 

These are the thoughts that run through my head as I listen to Maps and Diagrams lead track Sea Dragons, from their new EP Tango, released through Handstitched*. The music is hauntingly ethereal. Drone chimes open the track until woozy synths wash over us, like the first warming rays of a new day. As Sea Dragons progresses the electronic influences come to the fore, until it sounds like some an internet dial up tone from another dimension before slowly fading out as effortlessly as it started.

 

 

Tango is released on July 1st through Handstitched* Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brighton Noise put on another night of forward thinking electronics

 

 

In March Brighton Noise put on a night at The Prince Album. For those who turned up it was a night full of intriguing conversations, delicious local ale and of course excellent music. The headliner was Merlin Tonto, the undisputed heavy weight champions of Brighton’s music scene and the support, who are not slouches either, was made up by INWARDS and VCOADSR. Long after our collective ears, and the PA stopped ringing we knew we’d seen something memorable!

 

 

But that was the past. Let’s look to the not too distant future. This coming Friday, June 10th, Brighton Noise are back with another strong line up. Septillion J is first up. Give his recent support slot at Merlin Tonto’s EP launch this looks like a set for those who want to dance. Don’t expect any breaks in his tight, techno influenced set. Next seen one third of Merlin Tonto, under the pseudonym Japanese Sweets, give a rare solo performance. If you like eerie electronics, this one is for you.

 

 

The headliners are Native Ray. Those of you familiar with Hypnorized and Polymers know what to expect, for the rest of you this duo deliver multi layered electronica with an ear on the dance floor. While they are just finding their feet live, on record, or MP3 they have it all worked out. Imagine Raymond Scott working with Add N to (X) and you’re on the right track!

 

 

The doors open at 8, or 20:00 is you are of a military persuasion. Tickets are available from the link below as well as a limited number on the door on the night.

 

 

 

http://www.wegottickets.com/event/347379

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ani GLASS shows us how life could be on new electro-pop single

 

 

So it’s Friday. Phew! Another week is over and the weekend is about to commence, so let’s listen to something that sums up our collective feeling of euphoria and expectation. Today’s go to track is Y Ddawns by Welsh electro-pop producer and singer Ani GLASS.

 

 

As the title suggests this is a Welsh language pop song, but translated it means The Dance. Loosely translated the song is about downing tools in the factory and going out and enjoying life and art. Throwing off the shackles of the mundane and escaping into a technicolour pop world and, well, dancing. The music is in keeping with the industrial nature of the lyrics as the beat and rhythm sounds like the pumping of the pistons and clanking of machinery, but there is the pop sheen to it with catchy keyboards, driving basslines and Glass’ soaring vocals.

 

 

Glass has recently collaborated with artist Ivor Davies and she is currently working on an EP based on his work. This is a project that both excited and intrigues, but hopefully we won’t have to wait long before its results are revealed. But I’ll leave the final words to Glass herself “Wyt ti’n gaeth i’r teimlad? Wyt ti’n glwm i’th ffawd? Wyt ti’n ofn y dyfo”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Modern Studies make chamber pop the likes of which you have only envisioned

 

 

When you witness Modern Studies live the first impression, before they’ve played anything, country and western. This is because they all wear matching embodied denim shirts and wear cowboy boots. You expect them to make a kind of indie-country. But when the start to play you realise, very quickly, that this is entirely wrong as Modern Studies make gorgeous chamber pop.

 

 

The crux of Modern Studies charm is the Victorian harmonium. This is the heart and soul of the band. As it delivers flawless melodies it also creaks and wheezes, giving the songs a living feeling, that at any moment it could break/die and the song will come to a premature end. This is most heard on lead single Dive Bombing.

 

 

Dive Bombing is a dream, sumptuous and pensive slice of indie-pop built around the Victorian harmonium. Beautiful instrumentation and Emily Scott’s delectable vocals waft over us like an ocean spray. This is more than just a clever ploy on the title. Modern Studies debut album Swell to Great was recorded in a Perthshire studio so the sea features heavily.

 

 

As Swell to Great isn’t released for a few more months let’s hope that there are more songs to come to whet our whistles for what should be one of the highlights in a year full of highlights!

 

 

Swell to Great on the 12th September through Song, by Toad Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Baishe Kings remind us why we got excited about them in the first place on new mixtape SuperKush

 

 

“I can see the see, can you see the wave? Oh my days, trying to find a rave” is one of the first lyrics you hear on Baishe Kings’ new mixtape SuperKush. If you’ve never heard of South London’s best kept Hip-Hop secret, this tells you everything you need to know. Their lyrics are filled with these subtle lines that mix England’s past with its present. Oh my days was a line I grew up hearing every day and after I turned twelve I heard about raves most day, but until this exact moment I’ve never heard the two together. If you are a fan of everything Baishe, then this line will make you smile as you know they haven’t lost any of their charm and comic timing.

 

 

If this is your first time listening to the Baishe Kings, don’t try and force it and follow everything from start to finish, as you’ll miss some amazing name drops and beats. Instead just let it wash over you, but keep an ear open for some reference that seems tailor made just for you. While the lyrics are the heavy weight title main event, to use a Baishe wrestling reference, the music is definitely worthy of a ladder match or intercontinental title match. The beats are laid back with inventive samples that pop and fizz in the background, rather than banging and slamming in your face. If you think Tricky and Prince Paul you’re on the right track. In fact SuperKush sounds like the Baishe Kings only had the Tricky vs. the Gravediggaz EP as kids and decided to make music that sounds like it.

 

 

But enough about the music what about the all-important lyrics? If I was to list all the amazing rhymes on SuperKush this would just be an annotated lyrics sheet. Instead I’ll pick out a few that made me smile. Pennies contains a lyric that sums up Baishe Kings, and no it’s not about wrestling! “Hmm Bop, that’s Hanson. HA! That samples Hanson” gets spit, but there is almost a lack of belief that they’ve firstly sampled Hanson and secondly got away with it! You can almost hear him corpsing as he delivers it. Pennies also features the line “Ip dip dog shit, your boss is an idiot” takes a playground rhyme, but subverts it so that it applies to everyone’s feeling about their boss. Paperboy has the surreal line “Paper, paper, paper, big boy paper. A4 paper”.

 

 

As this is Baishe Kings have already released an album and two mixtapes so far this year, the quality on SuperKush is pretty high and consistent to what’s come before. This is only downside with the release. If these songs have just been gathering virtual dust why weren’t they released before, but if the deck is being cleared, when is the new ‘new’ material out? This will be answered in due course. And that’s the bottom line as the Baishe Kings say so!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Inmiriam’s brand of post-pop is a joy to behold

 

 

Pop songs are generally written about love and loss. These are the themes that have always excited audiences and delivered that big emotional punch. “I love you, and can’t live without you” is something that has been retold and packaged since pop music started. London based InMiriam has other ideas.

 

 

Instead InMiriam has decided to write a suite of songs that explores themes of addiction and faith. And what’s more, on lead single The Soul Does, she doesn’t use any beats. OK, ok, near the end there is a little bit of percussion, but compared to her peers, this is a beatless wonder!

 

 

Opening with just vocals and swaying synths The Soul Does sounds somewhere between Imogen Heap, Julee Cruise and Karen Carpenter. Everything is ethereal and lucid. However its InMiriam’s lyrics that really pack the punch. During the chorus she croons “But the soul does, what it needs to do, always, always” then she sings “And it can live without you, and it will, when it has to” you realise that this is experience talking and not some polite poetic story.

 

 

This is an EP to get excited about as it ignores pop’s very structured codes and conventions and goes off piste to forge its own path.

 

 

InMiriam is playing the Winemakers Club in Clerkenwell on July 3rd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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