I know this is a bit old/out of date given that the Mercury Music Prize took place a few weeks ago, but recently I’ve been thinking of past winners and who should have won. So here is the list if I had been the sole judge.

 

 

1992: John Tavener & Steven Isserllis-The Protecting Veil

 

Not only is this a fantastic album, but it is the pinnacle of Tavener’s illustrious career. The main problem with the MMP is no one really knows what the criterial for winning is, other than being nominated, so making this the first winner would have sent a strong message about what the award was for.

 

1993: Suede

 

I can’t really argue with this one, as it’s a solid album and, whether it knew it or not, laid down the blueprint for the next batch of bands to copy and improve on.

 

1994: The Prodigy-Music for the Jilted Generation

 

Remove M People from the list and 1994 is very strong. Any of those albums would have been a worthy winner. I’ve gone for the Prodigy as they were the first band I really got in to and felt were my own. This arguably their best album and their political message still feels valid.

 

1995: Guy Barker-Into the Blue

 

Out of all the albums on the 1995 list the two I’ve played the most since are Elastica and Guy Barker. This is a classic jazz album that still sounds great and exciting.

 

1996: Norma Waterson

 

Norma Waterson’s debut album could be the greatest British Folk album ever. As with all classic folk albums there is a mixture of trad. covers and originals. The stand out track is God Loves a Drunk. It sums up ever hangover I’ve had and everyone to come!

 

1997: Roni Size/Spiritualized-Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space

 

While agree with this winner, the album that should have won was Spiritualized’s classic Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space. This doesn’t really need to be discussed. You know it’s better than every other album on the list!

 

1998: Gomez-Bring It On

 

Gomez are a bit of a dirty word, even in 1998 they were a shock winner. But it felt, and still does for that matter, like a classic MMP winner. Their ability to transform Southport into a blues delta should be commended. Its aged fairly well too. Unlike a lot of 1998’s list, Propellerhead’s I’m looking at you…

 

1999: Talvin Singh-OK

 

What’s going on? I’ve agreed with the last three winners. Talvin Singh’s OK is a great album that push the boundaries of where Eastern and Western music could meet, have a drink and a laugh.

 

2000: Death in Vegas-The Contino Sessions

 

2000’s list is a bit of a non-event really. The Delgados, Nicholas Maw were good albums, but Death in Vegas’ second was chocked full of bangers and just pips the others at the post.

 

2001: Radiohead-Amnesiac

 

Another list to forget really. Amnesiac is the last great Radiohead album. It should win just for when the drums break on Pyramid Song!

 

2002: The Coral

 

The Coral’s debut album is a weird one. On one hand it’s one of the most exciting and inventive debut albums, but on the other, once you crack their code, it’s just ripping off all the best blues, cult psych and bubble gum pop tracks ever!

 

2003: Dizzee Rascal-Boy in da Corner

 

Another worthy winner, but mainly because it showed the mainstream how far the underground was from caring about their opinion of them. They were making music for themselves. They had their own language and style. After 2003 the UK music scene wasn’t the same again! Soweto Kinch’s debut is a close second to Dizzee though!

 

2004: Amy Winehouse-Frank

 

Not only is it Winehouse’s best album and one of the best debut’s ever, but compare it to Jamelia’s album, who was at the time a contemporary/rival, and you’ll see how forward thinking it really is! But Winehouse didn’t need to win the MMP to advance her career, but maybe Franz did…

 

2005: The Go! Team-Thunder, Lightning, Strike

 

This is possibly the most pop album that has ever been on any shortlist, and that might explain why it lost. In a list that was either cutting edge MIA/Polar Bear, MOR Pop Tunstall/Magic Numbers/Coldplay, or indie schmindie Bloc Party/Hard-Fi/Kaier Chiefs/Maximo Park, The Go Team stood out as the true winners by creating an album that encouraged you to have fun while listening to it. Oh and it had a amazing Nancy Sinatra sample on it too!

 

2006: Arctic Monkeys/Richard Hawley

 

The 2006 award was always going to Sheffield. I’m fairly happy with this winner, but I also would have liked Hawley to have won it, if only as a nod to is fine body of work.

 

2007: Basquiat Strings

 

On year the weird jazz/classical album will win the award and this should have been the year. Next to everything else on the list it’s miles ahead! This is an album everyone needs to own and play on a regular basis!

 

2008: Portico Quartet-Knee Deep in the North Sea

 

Another year the weird jazz album should have won. Portico Quartet’s is one of the most intriguing albums ever to grace a MMP shortlist. Even now, years and years later I’m still transfixed by that is contained in those 9 tracks. It can be played at any time of year, any time of day and it sounds different and exciting.

 

2009: Speech Debelle-Speech Therapy

 

Poor Speech Debelle. After winning the MMP it all feels like a downward spiral. Which is sad as Debelle has an interesting world view. The Invisible debut album would also have been a worthy winner.

 

2010: I Am Kloot-Sky at Night/Bring Me the Horizon

 

Only for being around for so long and never doing anything. Oh and that xx album is massively overrated and totally boring! However, BMTH’s second album was hands down the album of the year. Why doesn’t/won’t the MMP ever feature any metal on it…?

 

2011: Ghostpoet-Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam

 

Ghostpoet is a talent and with every album he releases he gets that little bit better, but Peanut Butter is a pretty much flawless piece of work that describes what is was like to be alive in 2011. Maybe some of the production flourishes sound a bit dated now, but overall it’s a wonderful album.

 

2012: Django Django

 

Like The Go-Team before Django Django’s debut is a pop masterpiece and this is probably why it didn’t win. I think the MMP judges like their albums to be on a downer, rather than embracing the fun/happy side of life.

 

2013: Laura Mvula/Jon Hopkins

 

While James Blake was a shock winner, Laura Mvula’s debut would have been a magnificent winner, given how last three winners were white indie bands/music. Jon Hopkins also released the album of his career!

 

2014: Young Fathers/Kate Tempest

 

There is nothing I can saw to disagree with this one. A total punk-hop classic. On a personal note I would liked Kate Tempest, but her winning would have helped her career out, whereas it definitely helped out Young Fathers, in the short term. And that sadly is that the MMP is turning into. A list of artists they helped either break, or give their highest chart placing/sale boost too.

 

2015: Eska/SOAK

 

While I was happy with Benjamin Clementine’s win, like Debelle he has a great world view, Eska or SOAK would have been worthy winners. SOAK’s simple stories of inner city life was infectious but Eska’s folk-pop odyssey is something else!

 

2016: Skepta

 

Like Dizzee’s win in 2003’s Skepta shows how far the genre has come and how little regard it has for every other genre and the mainstream. For the first time ever 2016’s list left me cold, minus Skepta, Kano and Jamie Woon of course. It was full of people who had either been nominated before, Bat for Lashes, Bowie, Anohni, Radiohead, Savages or albums that fit the criteria of the MMP ‘breaking’ new bands i.e. The Comet is Coming.

 

 

 

 

Here is a playlist of who could of won each year’s MMP, minus Guy Barker and Basquiat Strings as his music isn’t on Spotify. Sort it out guys…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is Bliss collectively say, through very very woozily, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

 

 

There isn’t anything new or clever about Hampshire’s Is Bliss. They’re just taking a winning formula and showing that it’s still great. A dollop of 60’s revivalism, a smidge of drone, season with shoegazing and garnish with indecipherable lyrics and there you are. However there is something fun happening on their debut EP Velvet Dreams.

 

 

After a chance meeting, just over a year ago, over My Bloody Valentine T-Shirt, bassist Dean Edwards and guitarist Jimmy Stuart started talking and through a shared love of Slowdirve, Spacemen 3, Verve and The Cure decided to form a band. This is fortunate as if you wanted to describe Is Bliss’ sound it would be like this: Think of Verve or My Bloody Valentine covering a Nuggets band and you’re on the right track. Massive chugging bass, tight repetitive drumming, vocals reverbing on themselves for infinity and a wall of sound to make Phil Spector blush! It’s all there but whether you like it not is something else.

 

 

On the 1st of October Is Bliss are on tour. Here are their dates:

 

 

01/10: Southsea Festival

05/10: London, Hoxton Bar and Kitchen – supporting Flyying Colours

11/11: Glasgow, Broadcast – supporting The Primitives

12/11: Blackburn, Darwen Theatre – supporting The Primitives

13/11: Sheffield, Greystones  – supporting The Primitives

14/11: Birmingham, Sunflower Lounge

16/11: Leicester, Soundhouse

19/11: Portsmouth, Al’burrito

15/11: Ipswich, White Swan

 

 

Velvet Dreams is released on 4th November through Club AC30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Glider are the second release on Hidden Bay Records. Double plus good!

 

 

When a cassette is titled ‘Demos’ sometimes it’s hard to know whether these are rough cuts full of duff notes and studio bants, or the lo-fi versions of completed songs to try and entice a label to splurge and pay for a session in a fancy studio. Luckily, after listening to a couple of tracks, these are raw as! Glider’s songs contained are fully formed, but at the same time from this lump of clay any producer worth their salt could see all the raw materials are they, they just need to shape, bake and paint it.

 

 

But how do the band see their own work? Glider, AKA Tom Lobban and Louie Newlands, recently said “We’re based in the southwest of the UK. These are essentially the first songs either of us has written or recorded. We’ve been sending them back and forth between each other for a couple of years (as we live in different counties) and realised we have enough now to make an album from them. The recordings are rough ‘cause we have cheap gear and limited technical knowledge, but we’re fine with that” And so are we Glider!

 

 

Demos is released 8th October through Hidden Bay Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Very Fresh’s new EP is a must have for any grunge revivalists out there!

 

 

It’s been about six years since Cindy Lou Gooden, AKA Very Fresh, started to wage her merry war against music. Since originally being in a Pavement cover band, Babement with Sadie Dupuis, her from Speedy Ortiz fame, Gooden has released a slew of EP’s and singles that range from grunge to slacker pop and everything in between.

 

 

Now Gooden is gearing up for her latest EP, Hey, it’s Me!, set for release on 4th November. So far only one song, Schedule IV, has been released. From the opening bars you’d be forgiven for thinking that Schedule IV is a serene indie-pop track, as Gooden’s vocals are sugary sweet. Then, with a crescendo of guitars and drums, her voice, and the song, changes and becomes a banger.

 

 

However that isn’t to say that Gooden doesn’t know when to bring it down again. The verses, and middle eight, are melodic and gentle, but when the chorus kicks in, everything goes up a notch. Gooden’s vocals soar and growl at the same time. Let’s hope that the rest of the EP is fun, and lairy, as Schedule IV otherwise I might lose my control!

 

 

Hey, It’s Me! Is released 4th November through Inflated Records and New Professor Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Juan y Los del Campo creates music as he sees the world. Part of me wants to live in this world, but part of me is glad I don’t…

 

 

In an ideal world we’d all have theme music. I haven’t quite worked out if you only get one, or if you get a different one for your altering moods, but at this moment I’d like my theme music to be composed and played by Juan del Campo.

 

 

On his new single Psicodelia Rural, he, well, let’s let him explain… ‘Psicodelia Rural es una pelicula sonora que habla del amor, el agua, el fuego y el fin del mundo. Una obra conceptual hecha en lo profundo de las sierras cordobesas y para el mundo. Un saludo de hasta luego y un abrazo en la distancia.’ If you don’t read Spanish, translated it means ‘Rural Psychedelia sound is a movie that speaks of love, the water, the fire and the end of the world. A conceptual work done in the depths of the cordoba and for the world. A greeting from until then and a hug in the distance.’ This is exactly what every Monday should be about. Delicate guitars, haunting vocals, field recordings layered over it all and a heavy dose of cinematic suspense. Musically it’s haunting, eerie and ultimately fantastic. At times it sounds like a theme from a night mission in Red Dead Redemption, or Red Dead Undead. The tension as the single progresses until either your nerves can’t take it anymore or the song fades out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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QAMI releases For the People EP, but the price tag isn’t for everyone…

 

 

Trap has a bit of a bad press in some circles. Some of my friends don’t really like, or get, it as a genre. They claim the music is too slow, and aggressive, and that the lyrics are too fast to be able to understand what’s actually going on. While I see their points, and slightly agree with them, these are the fundamental elements that make Trap so exciting and needed in 2016. Luckily producer QAMI has released a seven track EP full of instrumental tracks that showcase how vibrant the genres can be!

 

 

 

Moctezuma gets things off to a woozy start, comes out of the gate faster than FC Lorient vs. Lyon. The basslines are filthy and has a hint of the RZA to it, if the RZA made wonky bass music. While listening to Moctezuma you get cinematic imagines of people cruising around in classic cars, or of a club scene where a character is tripping balls and trying to find a way out to get some fresh air. Finish Them, as the title suggest, has an air of malice and danger to it. Skewed synths was underpinned by a clean piano/keyboard line that has the power, if played enough, to get stuck in your hear.

 

 

Chef Boi Sauce Up is one of the stand out tracks on the album. There is an Oriental feel to it, if you know the Shogun Assassin soundtrack then you’ll get what I mean. Murky claustrophobic productions make it hard to pick out the lower levels of the mix, but the high end is clear and sharp. XXL 2017 feels like an off cut from a John Carpenter score, given a trap remix/re-jiggle. Y7B and Dirty end the EP on fine from.  Both are slow repetitive beats and basslines. The synth line that closes Y7B is one of the stand out moments on the EP.

 

 

Of course the downside to this EP is the price tag. At $50 a track and $1,000 for the complete seven track EP, For the People isn’t for the people at all. And this is a massive shame as there are lots of inventive and forward thinking motifs at play here. I totally get that QAMI is using For the People as a show reel so people can hear what he’s capable of, and this ultimately isn’t for mass consumption, but even so, the price tag really puts a sour note on what is a remarkable and exciting EP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cannibal Hymns unveil their latest signing, Abattoir Blues

 

 

Despite only being around for a year Brighton’s Cannibal Hymns is making a name for themselves as purveyors of forward thinking noise-pop. Anyone who has heard last year’s Morning Smoke and this year’s Dream Wife releases can attest to this. Now Cannibal Hymns are trying to continue this run with new signing Abattoir Blues’ double A-Side single Sense/Fading.

 

 

Opening with claustrophobic guitars and euphoric drumming Sense  showcases Abbatoir Blues’ understanding of collective loves, post-punk, post-hardcore and post-rock. When Harry Waugh’s vocals kick in Sense jumps up a notch and starts rise toward it’s majestic chorus. Oh what the song means to him, Waugh recently said “A fundamental theme of the song is desperately trying to find clarity or rationality and both of those things feeling completely alien”. Three quarters through all the subtle build up is rewarded with a visceral explosion of guitars and walls of feedback. The outro takes things down a notch until its glorious fade out closes the song. Fading was inspired by the ongoing migrant crisis, and shows that Abattoir Blues can tackle the big topics as well as personal ones.

 

 

Since their inception in 2015, Abattoir Blues have supported Yak, Wytches, Wolf Alice, Dilly Dally and Merchandise and played a barnstorming set at this year’s The Great Escape. Cannibal Hymns have done it again and found a band that not only fit in with its ridiculous roster, but stand alone and try and push their own boundaries. This is a label and band with a bright future, despite how broody their music may sound.

 

 

Sense/Fading is released on 4th November through Cannibal Hymns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The steel city has a band that lives up to its moniker. Baba Naga are that band…

 

 

Baba Naga make a primordial psych sludge, or “psychedelic pagan doom” in their own words, that hits harder than a Lukas Podolski shot from 10 yards. Given that so far in their short career they’ve released two singles, which total just under thirty minutes, expectations are quite high for this Sheffield trio.

 

Now they’re set to release their next single, a self-released 10” that is the second part of a trilogy of records. So far only the title track Plná Krvy has been released but, trust us, we’re not complaining! Opening with a barrage of hypnotic guitar then descending into wah-wah debauchery before a searing riff ushers in the verse. Singer, and bassist, Dan Booth has vocals reminiscent of Ben Gautrey, him from The Cooper Temple Clause fan, all gravelly, but with the ability to harmonise, sometimes with himself. This is key to Baba Naga’s appeal. Despite how loud and heavy it gets, you always have the vocals to hold onto. The middle eight is just a massively slow building wall of feedback that suddenly breaks into the original riff before a face melting solo kicks in. The rest of the song is just the hypnotic riff again and again, while ethereal harrowing harmonies sway about like banshees.

 

 

As well as gearing up for their second 10” release Baba Naga also have some impressive live dates lined up:

 

 

23/09/2016: Preston The Ferret

24/09/2016: Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia

30/09/2016: Brighton Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar

01/10/2016: Southsea Festival

30/10/2016: London The Shacklewell Arms

04/11/2016: Nottingham Rescue Rooms

05/11/2016: Sheffield Queens Social Club

08/11/2016: Leeds Headrow House

 

 

Plná Krvy/DeificYen is released on the 4th November

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Look out because FEHM are coming for you!

 

 

Since their inception Art is Hard have put out some of thisyearinmusic’s favourite releases. Luckily this trend seems to be continuing in 2016. The Pin Pal singles club has yielded a fan favourite with Sad Culture and now new signings FEHM look set to continue this.

 

 

Lead track Nullify, taken from the Circadian Life EP, is a broody three and a half minutes that is fill with as much bleak sounding aggression as a Donald Trump rally. But unlike a Republican confrence there are losts of positives to take away with you. Firstly FEHM are tight. I don’t just mean they get on well, when they play you know they mean business, like a Jean Claude Van Damme in Kickboxer. They’re one first away from victory and they know they can do it. Secondly their songs run the gambit of classic post-rock, but instead of sounding like a pastiche of their peers they sound fresh and invigorating. And lastly, and this should come as no surprise, their songs are just great!

 

 

Its looks like Art is Hard and FEHM is a perfect mix that should deliver flawless releases after flawless released. But don’t take our word for it, listen for yourself until you nullify your inner critic.

 

 

Circadian Life EP is released 25th November through Art is Hard Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lancaster’s nosiest duo, The Lovely Eggs, return with new 7” single

 

 

Are you the kind of person who hates it when you overhear someone talking about, either, how trashed they were the night before, or even worse, they are at that moment in time? Same here. Firstly I don’t care that you did some Congo Bongo at a tech-house night, got Yakk-ed at a yacht rock night or trout-pouted yourself to collapse at a grime night. It’s boring and so are you. Luckily Holly Ross and David Blackwell, AKA The Lovely Eggs, feel the same and have written a fuzzed out banger about it.

 

 

As with all Lovely Eggs tracks it’s a slightly wonky, sardonic look at life. The music is more psych influenced than recent releases, but the droney repetitiveness of it helps only hammer home the tedium of listening to drug bores. However the lyrical imagery is as surreal and lurid as the records cover, created by Casey Raymond, “The outside, the inside, oh outside the inside, its’ all about you” all delivered with a vitriolic verve. But this is what we, at thisyearinmusic, love about a band that has spent 10 years, yes TEN YEARS, recording and touring without the help of a label or booking agent. Their persistence, and resistance to musical fads, makes them one of the greatest bands in a long list of underrated and under-appreciated bands.

 

 

Drug Braggin’ is release on 28th October through Egg Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Octopuses channel the plight of bees in to three minutes of fried gold

 

 

If you just judge Octopuses’ latest single just on the title, it might seem like a dig on 2000’s alternative stalwarts The Bees. In a weird way this makes sense. Both bands are named after creatures from the animal kingdom, both bands hail from the south of England, The Bees the Isle of Wight and Octopuses from Brighton, and both make a kind of skewed indie-pop. However this isn’t a beef track, but a thought provoking song, and vide, about the future of bees.

 

 

Opening with pinky plonky keyboards and spoken/shouty vocals that conjures up the Human League’s Don’t You Want Me Baby. The chorus is full of power chords, strongharmonies and that keyboard motif again. Basically all verses that sound like Art Brut and choruses that are reminiscent of New Order, this is possibly the most ‘indie’ song I’ve heard in recent years. Not the Bees is the title track taken from Octopuses’ new EP No the Bees, which is released on 30th September. As expected the rest of the EP is a sharp does of delightful indie-pop, with humours lyrics that get more poignant with each listen.

 

 

As well as being championed on BBC 6Music it’s also been bigged up by Caroline Lucas, Green party MP, Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Rosario Dawson, Natalie Bennett, The Soil Association and Sussex Wildlife Trust, along with fifty environmental journalists and organisations.

 

 

Not the Bees is released on 30th September through Lick Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sam Evian puts his foot down and speeds off into the sunset on debut album Premium

 

 

New Yorker Sam Evian is a music fan’s wet dream. Not only does he look like an amalgam of all your indie heroes, but he has a voice that was made to be swooned over. Oh he also writes songs that are delicate and exude a retro charm. The word poignant doesn’t quite do it justice, but it’s one of the first words that springs to mind when listening to his latest single I Need a Man, and his debut album Premium, released 30th September.

 

 

Since its release in August everyone at thisyearinmusic has had to ration its playing. This is partly because it’s just over three minutes of woozy pop that is evocative not only of those classic albums from the 1960’s that felt like rays of sunlight shining out of your speakers, but it also hints to classic comedown albums too, but also because we weren’t listening to anything else. The music is slightly lethargic, but that’s cool because who wants to jump around in the sun anyway?

 

 

As I Need a Man hints at, Premium is a throwback album to a time when the only worry was how much petrol you had in your tank, are your sun glasses close to hand to stop the glare while driving through Big Sur and knowing that when you got in you had the new Beach Boys albums to play loud. The songs are full of confessional anecdotes that could easily be taken out of an episode of Girls, but they immediately relate to your life, even though you don’t live in New York.  Of course there are contemporary motifs peppering the album, and at times it does feel like Connan Mocksin re-working Serge Gainsbourg. But in all fairness, what’s wrong with that?

 

 

Premium is released 30th September through Saddle Creek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Human Outlet unveil their brand of neo-folktronica pop. Bask in its glow as the sun goes down

 

 

Tired of Being Tired – Tired of Being is the new album by Human Outlet. It’s just over thirty minutes of delicate acoustic guitar finger picking, chugging power chords, harmonica melodies, haunting rattles and slightly surreal lyrics. The surrealism makes more sense that you’d originally think as each track has a vocal sample. Some of them are interviews with Salvador Dali and snippets of propaganda films from the 1950’s, Neville Chamberlain war speeches and Monty Python.

 

 

These samples generally tell us about the themes/point of each track, take Are You Gay, for example. The opening gambit is from a propaganda film about homosexuals and what to do if you encounter one. The music is rhythmic, repetitive and the heaviest track on the album. The lyric “I’m your mother, Do what I say. I’m your mother, Are you gay?” kind of sums this up perfectly.

 

 

Basically Human Outlet make skewed folktronica that is full of inventive motifs and lyrics. The use of vocal samples at the start of each track really helps gel everything together, just like Queens of the Stoneage used the fake radio stations on Songs for the Deaf. Yes this is slightly different as those skits were written for the album, whereas these samples were selected on purpose. Actually, harking back to the surrealism, they feel like Marcel Duchamp’s ready mades. Tired of Being Tired – Tired of Being is a brave and interesting album that is more rewarding with each listen, the only problem now is I’m tired of being tired of conventional albums.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Right, imagine the party vibe twenty minutes before the end of the Wicker Man takes place. Got it? Good, this is where GOAT’s new single should be played

 

 

GOAT look mental. Well, that’s a bit too harsh, but they definitely look like a band formed of people who appeared in Charles Freger’s Wilder Mann book, who decided to form a band. Each Wilder Mann bought an instrument from their region, along with their national dress, and they just started playing and recorded, and released, what happened.

 

 

They are now on the cusp of releasing their third album, Requiem, but before that they’ve released their new single Union of Mind and Soul. As with most GOAT releases Union of Mind and Soul is out there, composition wise, and chocked full of ad-hoc melodies and off kilter time signatures and rhythms. There is a recorder riff that borrows deep into your head, lays eggs that hatch causing the riff to get even more lodged in your head. About two thirds of the way through a fuzzy guitar kicks in, but it sounds like its being played at the wrong speed. While this could sound jarring, in GOAT’s dextrous hoofs it makes perfect sense.

 

 

The irony is that Union of Mind and Soul isn’t on Requiem. Its actually an alternative version of album opener Union of Sun and Moon. The difference between both versions is the way the vocals are delivered. Union of Mind and Soul has them sung, whereas Union of Sun and Moon has more a spoken word delivery. Either way it’s a totally banger and

 

 

 

Requiem is released 7th October through Rocket Recordings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Baishe Kings smash it on freestyle jam

 

 

For years thisyearinmusic has been saying that Baishe Kings are the future of UK Hip-Hop. So far this hasn’t quite come true. But who judges sales as a mark of success? We don’t! if you ever wanted to see the proof of their excellence, then all you need to do it watch the video below. Oh, be warned that it does get a bit esoteric, enigmatic and recondite.

 

 

Swaishe Brapp Freestyle is part of Brapp TV’s freestyle series and sees the Baishe Kings emerge from a barbershop and spit lyrics in a disused carpark for about three hundred seconds. What’s most impressive, apart from the sheer quality of the rhymes, is how easily, and effortlessly, they merge and interact with each other. Apart from a couple of hiccups, near the near the end, South London’s answer to the Wu-Tang deliver lyrics that are full of juxtaposition, pathos and poignancy. As usual the vocals are raspy and Tricky-esque, but given as they’re drinking throughout the video this is understandable.

 

 

The only downside to Swaishe Brapp Freestyle is that we are again scratching our collective heads and wondering when their debut album is drop. Yes they’ve released a slew of mixtapes and oods and sods albums to date, but that elusive studio debut is missing from their back catalogue. They clearly have the skills, given this vocal workout, and their beats are nigh on flawless, so I guess it’s just a matter of waiting. I just hope that that wait will have been worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Falmouth’s AM-EN usher us into their dark, reverb drenched world. Better keep your arms in the ride at all times…

 

 

Lo-Fi duo AM-EN, Samuel Bedford and Jack Baker, have released their debut EP American Enthusiasm. Spread over seven songs is enough heartache, both the athos’s, pathos and bathos, and reverb laced music to give even the most cynical something to moan about.

 

 

Three Years kicks everything off with a massive garage rock guitar and echoy drums. As the song progresses tender verses are introduced, along with a middle eight that wouldn’t have been out of place at the Matrix. Stand out track Utter Con takes uses jaunty guitars and steady drumming to tell its tale of love, loss and rejection. The chorus is simply put “I know that we have so much for live for. I know that we have so much for live for. I know that we have so much for live for now”. Are they talking about a relationship break up, or a Romeo and Juliet pact? Let’s hope it’s the former…

 

 

Broken Wheel picks up the pace, but it’s business as usual. Clever guitar play and inventive drumming keep everything hurtling toward the logical conclusion. Pathetic does what it says on the tin. In thirty seconds AM-EN reduce you from a triple gold medal winner, to the perineal last placer.

 

 

What is really striking about AM-EN is, well, how they just like to play loud and frayed. I don’t mean frayed as in that American band that had that ‘hit’ with that song from that TV show, oh no, I mean in a everything feels like if you could grab it and give it a had pull the song would fall apart, and end up in a pile of string in front of you. Basically what I mean is that AM-EN stick to their musical convictions and are brave enough to release what they think sounds good, rather than trying to cater to the ‘masses’. Cheers lads, we appreciate!

 

 

American Enthusiasm is available now via download through AM-EN’s bandcamp or on limited cassettes released through Breakfast Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gangly join the AMF Family

 

 

For about a year Gangly have kept us guessing. Guessing as to who they are and whether they’ll release another single. Luckily we now know the answer to both. Spoilers Alert – It’s a yes.

 

 

Let’s deal with the who’s who before we delve into the wonder that is Holy Grounds. The band consist of Sindri Már Sigfússon from Sin Fang, Úlfur Alexander Einarsson from Oyama and Jófríður Ákadóttir from Samaris. All made names for themselves in their native Iceland and mainland Europe and all craft music that merges post-rock, straight indie and pop to create something as magical as the landscapes they call home. This is exactly what Holy Grounds sounds likes, but everything has been ramped up and put through an ethereal NurtiBullet.

 

 

Holy Grounds opens with an eerie manipulated vocal before the verse kicks in. Ákadóttir sounds like Lorde fronting a laidback Salem, while Einarsson and Sigfússon show off their abilities at wonky post-pop. A delicious chorus kicks in, the world then slows down and blurs, then you realise this is what you’ve been missing all these months. It’s the kind of pop music that only Nordic’s can create. It is full of space and clever rhythms, but there is a melancholy longing to it that pulls at your psyche and gives it an immediacy that their peers can’t even begin to match. Sadly Holy Grounds has to end, but the slow barrage of beats, strings, synths and Ákadóttir’s to die for vocals make it a bitter sweet conclusion.

 

 

Gangly are a band to start to get excited about, but let hope that they don’t want another year before delivering their next slice of Post-Pop majesty!

 

 

Holy Ground is released through AMF Records now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome back O.Chapman, we’ve missed you!

 

 

We haven’t heard a lot from O. Chapman since a secret show at last year’s Mutations Festival and a gig at the Prince Albert in January. Part of me thought they’d call it quits and emerge with a new name and sound. Another part of me thought they’d done a Spinal Tap and we wouldn’t hear from them for eight years, but both of these thoughts were premature.

 

 

Instead of returning with an over produced single, we’ve got a rare insight into the creation process, as they’ve up loaded a demo. This is actually the best thing they could have done, as like in maths exams, they’ve left their workings in the margins.

 

 

Sounding like last year’s exquisite Art is Hard single Best Friend, Low is a chocked full of lo-fi harmonies, catchy riffs and delectable lyrics. The highlight is the middle eight which, personally speaking, could be extended forever and wouldn’t get boring.

 

 

Rumour has it there is more in the pipeline from this underrated and fascinating band.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sires are into me, um, sorry, but you get the jist

 

Sires feel like more than a band. This is probably because their music has a pop immediacy that gets the melodies and choruses stuck in head on a first listen. It’s also probably that coming from Des Moines Iowa that they were removed from the big scenes of NY and LA that they could breath and experiment until they’d found their sound. And it’s probably that they are made of Ross Klemz, Graham Howland and Dylan Sires, who gives his name to the band. Their debut album Soul for Sale is released 21st October through Station 1 Records.

 

 

When asked what Soul for Sale was about Sires said ““I explored my seven deadly sins and turned them into pop songs. Each track was made with the intent of creating my own version of a hit song; hence Soul for Sale because it’s absolutely true. This album was made to be heard, and if I had a soul to sell, it’d be on Amazon.”

 

 

Soul for Sale was produced by Brandon Darner, he’s recently worked with Imagine Dragons, Holy White Hounds and Envy Corps, so expect it to sound classic and messy! Which is exactly how lead singles She’s into Me is. Massive shouty vocals, chugging guitars, pounding drums, a dollop of feedback and doused with a pop sheen. Sires recently said “The song is about using someone’s romantic interest to your advantage. It’s bare bones and primordial in nature, which is where the video came from. We wanted to make a video that was part horror and part teenage wet dream”

 

 

Sires sound like the Holloways if they’d only be listening listened to The Beatles and The Datsuns for a decade and decided to give it another go. She’s into Me is a fun romp through heartache and redemption. Yes its repetitive, yes its repetitive, yes its repetitive, yes its repetitive but that’s part of its charm.

 

 

Soul for Sale is released 21st October through Station 1 Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gonjasufi’s third album in three years is another lo-fi classic

 

 

Sumach Ecks AKA Gonjasufi first appeared on the scene seven years with the single Holidays/Candylane. Since then he’s released two genre defining albums, a slew of singles and a remix album. Now Ecks is about to release his third album CALLUS, and as A Sufi and A Killer and MU.ZZ.LE showcased it contains the contents of his psyche DJ box.

‘Your Maker’ starts off with Malcom Catto-esque drums, but slowed down and echoed up, plus a bassline that Krist Novoselic would be proud of. Then the star of the show appears. Ecks half drawl/half spoken vocals. Even after a few listens its hard to work out what he’s on about, but that doesn’t really matter as the music and his delivery tell us everything we need to know. He sounds like he’s hurt and in pain, but the worst of it is over. Whatever caused the pain has past and all he needs to do now it wait for the wounds, internal/external, to heal. We’ve all been there, and sadly will be there again. ‘Afrikan Spaceship’ is a three minute glitch work out. It’s hard to get a grip on it to begin with as the beats are machine gun fast and cut up like the William Burroughs novel. The bassline is so hidden under all this you don’t even notice it on a first listen. Then a maelstrom of synth starts to whip up a third of the way through that engulfs everything. Again the lyrics are laconic and elliptical. The final third of the track is a disjointed guitar solo that after a first listen feels like an after-thought, but after a few listens, and checking out the titles feels like a Sun Ra riff form 1967 that was discarded/unused until Ecks got his hands on it!

 

 

New double A-Side single ‘The Kill’/’Prints of Sin’ is a slow burner filled with searing guitar solos, luscious string sections, ad-hoc electronics, tight drum loops and Ecks trademark distorted stream of consciousness vocals. Both songs book end each other perfectly. The Kill opens with angry drums and soothing synths, until Ecks starts to deliver poignant lyrics after poignant lyrics. As The Kill progresses it gets slower and more abstract until it segues in to Prints of Sin. Kicking off with a bubble of electronics and following with this blueprint until its warped outro. Both songs complement each other perfectly showcase Ecks eclectic personality.

 

 

‘Krishna Punk’ is the song that sums up Ecks past, present and future perfectly. The title alone screams this. 8-Bit beats and vocals that boarder on guttural whines and moans make up the songs mains elements. As Ecks bemoans multinational corporations the music crashes down around him, much like his thoughts on big business. This is as concise as CALLUS gets and it’s a total banger too! ‘Poltergeist’ is the most jarring and haunting track on the album. The opening strings feel like nails being dragged down a chalk board, and when the faux-Witch House kicks in everything takes on a macabre vibe. “Keep holding on” Ecks croons over melancholic keyboards and guitars. The suddenly everything swells up and sounds like an epic nightmare featuring characters from AKIRA or Stranger Things. ‘When I Die’ is Ecks take on Joy Division. Bassing throbbing bass riffs, claustrophobic keyboards and an underlying feeling of unease. ‘Last Nightmare’ closes the album as it started, which the sound of a man going through the wringer, making it to the other-side and telling you about how to survive it when it’s your turn.

 

 

CALLUS was written and recorded over a four year period. In a nutshell it is a raw Punk-Hop album. Throughout its fifty minute duration Ecks creates music that is so lo-fi you can see the glue holding the samples together and with a vocal delivery that boarders on primal scream therapy. These themes, and production, make it Ecks’ most honest and purifying album to date. It goes to show that even when you are angry and hurt you can turn that to create something positive and beautiful.

 

 

Callus is out now on Warp Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tess Conway has the perfect answer to a rainy weekend. Pull the curtains, and crank up Aesthesia

 

 

Synthwave is has been trending over the last few months. Most notably because of the soundtrack to Netflix’s instant classic Stranger Things. The whole score that Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein created was as much an homage to the 1980’s as the show, but with contemporary production techniques and sounds.

 

 

Tess Conway isn’t new to the synthwave game, her 2013 Depth release on Phantasma Disques was an underground favourite. Her new single Aesthesia is in the vein of her early releases, but there is a propinquity to it that was missing in the past. Opening with a swath of wonky synths and vaporous bass fill the speakers. As Part 1 progresses it has a miasmic quality to it that is as addictive as it is virulent. Part 2 carries on in the same vibe, but everything is more ethereal.

 

 

There is a subtle euphoria that permeates Conway’s music. In other hands this would have sounded like a Slinky big room track from 1999 re-jiggled with synthwave stylings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brandt Brauer Frick’s new album is joy

 

 

Daniel Brandt, Jan Brauer and Paul Frick are the trilogy that give their name to an electro group, that since 2008, have been pushing dance music’s boundaries with both compositions, instrumentations and production methods that are anything other than, well, out there. But what would you expect from classically trained musicians that decided to turn their hands at techno?

 

 

So far they have released three albums; 2010’s You Make Me Real was chocked full of minimal techno, 2011’s Mr. Machine was a recording of a live set with a ten piece classical ensemble and 2013’s Miami was, to date, their career high. It pushed their sound, but also filled it out with melodic hooks and funky rhythms. 2016 will see the release of their fourth album Joy. Sounding like an amalgam of You Make Me Real and Miami, Joy gives everything a euphoric sheen, that pushes their sound to a whole new direction and, hopefully, wider audience.

 

 

Lead single Holy Night channels John Carpenter, Cliff Martinez with David Byrne crooning away in a late night lounge club, while the regulars get up to extra-curricular activates. There is the smell of danger, sex and excitement in the air, but if you want a quiet drink no one will bother you. As the band continues with its synth-wave techno parts of the contingent turn into a writhing mass until the music stops, house lights come on and everyone, ungracefully, files out into the cold night air.

 

 

Joy is released on 28th October through Because Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kishi Bashi top trumps his previous two singles, and his peer on Can’t Let Go, Juno.

 

 

From the opening synth stabs, rising Oriental strings and laidback beat, Can’t Let Go, Juno, by multi-instrumentalist Kishi Bashi, gets your attention. Being the third single taken from his third album Sonderlust, Bashi would have to deliver something special.

 

 

Through the use of violin and vocal looping, along with conventional recording techniques and instruments, Bashi creates maelstroms of post-pop that swirl and lash about your ears. One moment he’s quietly whispering to you, the next he’s unleashed a wall of pop upon you. Basically this song is an all-conquering monsters and even when the pre chorus sounds like Sophie B. Hawkins’ Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover, it still sounds amazing and make Can’t Let Go, Juno get stuck in your head even more.

 

 

This shouldn’t be a surprise given that Bashi was a member of psych pop behemoths Of Montreal and the New Wave inspired Jupiter one. You can see elements of both bands, along with help of producer Christ Taylor, engineer Pat Dillion and drummer Matt Chamberlain they give Bashi’s music a delicious pop sheen.

 

 

Can’t Let Go, Juno is not only a massive slab of post-pop, but a statement of intent. Bashi has crafted a song that not only gets better with each listen, it does, but something that stands head and shoulders above his peers.

 

 

 

Sonderlust released 16th September through Joyful Noise Recordings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Art is Hard releases a split 7” from Something Anorak and Gorgeous Bully that sounds as good as it looks!

 

 

OK so this has been floating about in the ether that is the internet for sometimes and it does feel a bit churlish to start banging on about it now, but as the physical only dropped onto my doormat on Monday, and I’ve been playing it pretty much since then it seems like the write time to give it some love!

 

 

Housed in glorious red vinyl are four songs by two bands that, in their own way, have soundtrack a large portion of recent time. Gorgeous Bully’s 2015 Nobody Hates You as Much As You Hate Yourself EP, also on Art is Hard, is fifteen minutes of frenetic self-deprecating, self-loathing put to a 4/4 lo-fi garage pop sound. Plus is features one of the funniest/stupidest covers in recent times. Something Anorak’s Tiny Island, their debut album released on Howling Owl, was a sleeper hit of 2014 and their follow up Ageist EP proved they weren’t just a flash in the pan. So on paper this split 7” works well, but paper is one thing, it’s how it sounds that counts…

 

 

Gorgeous Bully get things going with Just Like Before. This is everything we’ve come to expect from Manchester’s finest. Distorted chugging guitars explode as soon as the needle hits the vinyl, then it slows down a bit and reverb leaden vocals juxtapose the musical onslaught. However as Just Like Before progresses things start to wind down and delicate melodies and rhythms come to the fore. The second Gorgeous Bully song is Beaucoup. Slow and slightly more melancholy than the opener, Beaucoup’s stand out moment is the when the lyric “It’s a year, It’s a day, and it all just fades away. Yeah it nice, just to waste, Let it all just wash away” is sung and the music just slightly drops off and Gorgeous Bully allow you take in the wonder of not only that lyric, but what it means too.

 

 

As you flip the record over, so does the vibe of the single. Something Anorak are purveyors in a form jangling indie that could have been released anytime of the last thirty plus years. My Kid has the feeling of a classic delta blues track, all scratchy guitars and pining lyrics. Shake Fist at Sky on the other hand is something else! A lyrically languid guitar riff kicks things off, then laconic vocals enter the mix. Everything continues along like this until the melodic ‘chorus’ starts. After this, we’re back with the riff and vocals combo and everything is warm and fuzzy again. This is the stand out moment on the single and possibly Something Anorak’s career to date.

 

 

Gorgeous Bully/Something Anorak Split 7″ is out now on Art is Hard Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Merge Records reissues Sneaks debut album Gymnastics. Cheers Merge!

 

 

Last year Washington DC’s Sneaks, AKA Eva Moolchan, released her debut album Gymnastics. It wasn’t a break through smash, but it did create some waves. Enough waves that Merge Records have decided to give it a reissue. This is great news as not only does it give people who heard it a chance to say “You need to get this album”, which you need to do, but it’s also a great excuse to write about an musician who not only pushes herself, but has fun doing it.

 

 

Speaking of how she writes her music Moolchan recently said “I was playing with how we use language and twisting the words of mundane slogans, ads, and repetitive symbols I was seeing while attending school” This definitely comes across in the lyrics of Red. Part of the time you get the impression that Moolchan is just putting words together that sound good, like Dylan in the 60’s, but then after hearing the scattershot single Red a few times you realise there is a cohesive theme and thread to them, like Dylan in the 60’s. Moolchan also said “The songs came together pretty fast, very tongue-in-cheek”. Again this is evident not just on Red, but throughout Gymnastics.

 

 

Musically Speaks takes the ideas of Post-Punk, but subverts it with a driving disco ethos that gives the whole piece a playful edge. In a weird way it’s like ESG covering The Fall. What is most striking is how minimal it all sounds, but given that Moolchan plays everything herself this is understandable.

 

 

Rumour has it that Gymnastics follow up it currently being written and recorded as we speak, so expect it early 2017. Given the power and playfulness of Gymnastics this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing from Speaks!

 

 

Gymnastics is released digitally 9th September and physically 11th November through Merge Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Emotional Response Records teams up with Croque Madame to release their charmingly up front debut album

 

 

In normal everyday life a Croque Madame is a Croque Monsieur with an egg on it.  However in the musical world Croque Madame is super group made up of lo-fi legends Rob Storey and Dave Perlis with French singer Florence Raynaud. The music that they make is skewed pop with wonky chanteuse leanings. This is evident on lead single Natation.

 

 

Opening with jaunty guitar is conjures up Francoise Hardy, Belle and Sebastian, Brigitte Bardot albums and feeling of never ending summers hanging out with exchange students. While the music is up-beat and buoyant, the lyrics have a slightly darker, sadder theme. Raynaud sings about a past relationship and how it turned sour. But due to the backing track and some tongue in cheek lyrics, it doesn’t turn into a total downer.

 

 

Croque Madame is out on September 19th on Emotional Response Records

 

 

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Yuki Kikuchi steps from behind the lens and delivers a slab of lo-fi pop perfection

 

 

Yuki Kikuchi’s new single I’ll Be Next To You is, well, a bit of alright. But considering that Kikuchi is a music journalist, photographer and artist it isn’t that hard to work out why. Kikuchi as he recently said of the his song writing process “I try hard to make something pure, even if people say it’s rough that comes from a person’s true feelings and not just that kind of technical skill or information gotten from outside somewhere”. This is definitely displayed on I’ll Be Next To You.

 

 

Through sparse lyrics I’ll Be Next To You is a touching and tender love letter to Kikuchi’s mother. Lyrics like “You forgot how to count the stars, Smile and say tomorrow is so far”, “You can not hear the wind song again today, So I’ll be your wind, And sing this song for you, You can sleep all day, While your life gets away” and “But you’ll see It’s true, I’ll be next to you” gets the message across without being schmaltzy.

 

 

The song is produced by lo-fi man of the moment Mac Demarco. As expected it’s full of his effortless languid slacker cool vibes. What Demarco really brings to the song is space. This space helps get Kikuchi’s themes across. But Kikuchi’s breezy guitar and delicate vocals are the real star of the show.

 

 

Given the strength of I’ll Be Next To You let’s hope there are more releases, and a long player, in the pipeline because Kikuchi’s honest and endearing song-writing warrants more releases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ivory Orchids deliver on debut EP. More of the same please!

 

 

Picture the scene. You’re in high school and a guy says “Man. I’m bored. Let’s form a band. What can you play?” after a few moments of shock you reply “Um, guitar”. “Cool” the guy says “Come over to my house after school and we’ll jam”. The rest of the day is spent with a lethargy that only excitement and worry can bring. After school you go home pick up your guitar and head over to an unknown garage for a jam. Months, hours of practice and a few line-up changes, later, your debut EP is released upon the world.

 

 

Ok, ok, this isn’t how it happened, but it is in my mind. What we do know is that The Ivory Orchids met, and formed in a New Jersey high school with the intention to make music that they enjoyed and said something about their lives. Their debut self-titled EP does this perfectly. Throughout its twenty six minute duration, it incorporates US alt-rock, dream pop, post pop and lo-fi to create something that does feel pretty unique and individual.

 

 

This is exemplified on stand out track Hijacked. Opening with jaunty guitars and keyboards Hijacked is chocked full of hazy summer sun and enough woozy vocals “I was dreaming” is repeated during the outro like some mantra to stop you from having an afternoon siesta. The main event however is Greg Wudroff’s darting guitar riffs and subtle melodies. This under pins the whole track and makes it the tour de force it is.

 

 

Sounding like a mixture of Connan Mockasin and the Nap Eyes, The Ivory Orchids make woozy pop music that sway and drifts past you, like blossoms falling on a morning walk through an orchard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vlimmer shows us another slice into his psyche with EP IIIIII

 

 

Some bands think that releasing five EP’s is good going, but not Berlin’s Dark-Kraut Vlimmer. Oh no. Vlimmer is set on releasing a series, saga, chapter, call it what, of eighteen EP’s. Four have been released so far, and today sees the release of number five.

 

 

Like the previous volumes IIIII is full of dense productions, ambient drones, sinister melodies and an overall feeling of dread and malice that would make Tuliphead want to leave the room. But through this sea of fuggy Dark Gaze there is an overriding feeling of euphoria and positivity. Final track Rippenstiche is relativity poppy and up beat in its demeanour. The beat is as close to 4/4 that Vlimmer is filling to get and the synths and loops that pulsate underneath it all, fizz and zip about giving the piece a feeling of movement and flux.

 

 

Opening track Zielschwund gives off the impression of being moody and angsty, but like most teenagers it really isn’t. Once you get through the layers of black clothing, some faded due to too much wear and washing, you find an articulate and well balanced track underneath. Yes this isn’t Herb Alpert, but at the same time it isn’t the complex and introverted listen it first appears. Tentakelbau’s mind hook is a plinky plonky piano. Well plinky plonky in a Dario Argento kinda way. It’s so jarring against the rest of the track that is sets your teeth on edge, but like all great horrors you can’t turn it off. The longer it goes on the more and tension is racheted up until at the end you are glad that it’s over. If they wanted to make penalty shoot out’s a more horrifying experience this should be played at full volume from the PA system. Just to make sure everyone is paying attention…

 

 

Whether Vlimmer reaches his total of eighteen EP’s or not is irrelevant. He could have picked thirty or even fifty. The number isn’t important. What is important is that Vlimmer doesn’t want to play it safe. He’s set himself a herculean task, but as there isn’t a time frame it doesn’t matter when he gets it done. The only real problem is the consistence. So far volumes I-IIIII are strong and have showcased an artist who knows what he wants and, more importantly, how to do it. Encased in these EP’s is some of the more forward thinking, and at times, eerily beautiful music that has been released in recent times. Saying that volume IIIII is not only a high water mark of the series, but at Vlimmer’s career.

 

 

EP IIIII is released now through Black Jack Illuminist Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One half Producer, one half MC The Mircophonist is looking like the complete package

 

 

Sometimes reading an artists bio can ruin the listening experience as they generally just list as many bands and musicians that they either think are cool/cult. The expectation is so high after reading a good one that the music can sound flat. However after reading The Microphonist, which I have included here, the music makes more sense and, for once, lives up to the hype:

 

 

Inspired by the sounds of J Dilla, Nujabes, Madlib, 9th Wonder, Pete Rock, and DJ Premier, Microphonist first got into beatmaking and Hip-Hop production at the age of 17. It all started on an iPad, a plethora of music-making apps, an ear for sounds and samples and a bit of inspiration. He is best known for his usage of soul and jazz based samples and frequently produces beats either with an iPhone 6, or on a third-generation iPad. His production could range anywhere between Trap-inspired beats with a jazzy tone, or a smooth, soulful boom-bap beat, backed by loud and punchy drums. Take a listen and enjoy the layered gumbo of sounds and samples meshed together to create a kind of music inspired from all forms of Hip-Hop music and sub-genres.

 

 

Usually this would sound like someone at a party banging on about what seminal albums tey like, how it’s inspired to the make music and humble bragging about how they make music on in lo-fi studio. However when listen to Microphonist’s latest release, Loveless, you realise that it does live up to this initial. Opening track Ace of Hearts juxtaposes classical samples and hard beats. If you’re thinking of the Ghost Dog soundtrack then you’re on the right tracks. The vocal samples soar, but the beats are dirty and keep everything from getting stagnant. Quest follows this pattern but, as the title suggests, it feels like the start of an adventure. Epic Theme follows on many of the motifs of the first two tracks. Massive vocal samples and huge beats lead the way. Loveless ends with Doom and Meteor. Both of these tracks follow the blueprint set out in the opening salvo, but the melody is ramped up until it totally consumes you.

 

Overall Loveless is a fun fifteen minutes. A little bit more variation would have been nice, but given its short length, it all feels like one big suite, rather than nine short tracks. Over all it Loveless feels like the soundtrack to a non-existent computer game re-boot of Golden Axe, but if it was set in a post-apocalyptical world. Golden Axe 3000 maybe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Royal Air Force take us on a high octane romp through the codes and conventions of 70’s cop shows soundtracks

 

 

One of the best things about music, is when you find a band you love, and then you realise that they also have a side project. This just happened. A few months ago I was exulting the virtues of Swiss jazz funk outfit Charles Bronson Moustache Defenders. If the name isn’t enough to want to check them out, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!? Um, yeah, anyway, I then find out that the bass player, Joe Moustache, is in a band called Royal Air Force.

 

 

Like with Charles Bronson Moustache Defenders Royal Air Force make a music that is steeped in the past. The 1970’s to be honest. Lead track Funky Spider sounds like an outtake from an episode of Starsky and Hutch, Kojack or a slew of cop shows. As Funky Spider starts out heroes have spied the villain and begin the chase. It’s all running on foot through busy streets/parks until the baddie steals a car. To keep up the heroes have to commandeer a car and the track picks up pace and tempo. After driving recklessly the villain crashes and then the chase starts off on foot again. Eventually he is cornered and after a slight scuffle he is arrested and brought in the questioning.

 

 

That’s it. This is a high octane romp through the codes and conventions of 70’s cop shows soundtracks. But don’t be deceived there is more than meets the eyes. The composition is complex and rewarding on repeat listens. There are subtle flourishes that at first you don’t notice, but on the third, and fifth listen, jump out and try and mug you at knife point. In a nutshell Lalo Schifrin would be proud!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Connan Mockasin and La Priest team up for a skewed slice of delicious pop

 

 

Right, so this is happening then… Sam Dust AKA LA Priset or him from Late of the Pier has teamed up with Connan Mockasin, him from Connan and the Mockasins, to record an album. The self-titled album took five years to record and fits inbetween Mockasin’s debut Forever Dolphin Love and its follow up Caramel and Dust’s Late of the Pier classic Fantasy Black Channel and his LA Priest debut Inji.

 

 

If lead single Lying Has to Stop is anything to go by, then Soft Hair will be chocked full of retro synths, exotic instruments, ad-hoc time signatures, woozy vocals and tongue in cheek lyrics. The album was recorded in places that neither of Mockasin or Dust had used before. This gives the album another worldly vibe. What they are playing sounds like music you’ve heard before, but at the same time, you can’t pin point where what music or where it has come from.

 

 

Thanks to Soft Hair, this autumn looks set to be a more enjoyable and lurid place thanks to their bockety brand of ponderous pop.

 

 

Soft Hair is released on 28th October through Weird World

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Hunna, London’s indie quartet, are a band that don’t come around very often. As the myth goes this time last year they were in a band that wasn’t really going anywhere. Yes they played regular gigs and rehearsed, but they weren’t setting the world on fire. Nothing unusual here so far, then after Christmas they decided to jack in their jobs and try and make a proper go of it. Eight months later they have over 17k Twitter followers, over 200k Facebook likes and one of the most hyped debut albums, titled ‘100’, in recent times.

 

 

‘Bonfire’ get the album started. After an acapella intro, surging drums and power chords will the speakers. The chorus is nasal shouts over a catchy backing track. It shows that the band understand the dynamics of alternative pop. As the guitars chug away the chorus comes back. As expect from the titles, smokes, ashes, flames, matches and wind are all mentioned. It’s a masterclass at insipid banality. ‘We Could Be’ is up next and its more of the same. Indie-Disco beats and angular guitars, but lyrically The Hunna are doing something almost interesting. As if expecting flack from future reviews they’ve basically written a track decrying these bad reviews. Lyrics like “I bet you wish that you bothered, When this band gets discovered, Don’t worry yeah we recovered”. “When you’re in your car with your driver, You’ll hear how we blew up like a bonfire, God knows we’re survivors” is a slightly meta as it references the opening track, but the lyric that really hammers this home is “We could be on top, If it weren’t for shit like you”. ‘She’s Causal’ slows things down a bit, showing that they can be heartfelt as well as all lairy and rowdy rowdy. Again the lyrics feel more like an after-thought “She makes my heart beat go faster, The thing is I trust her.” And “Because she’s casual she likes it, Mine and she knows it, Gives when I need it, Says to me “Can you feel it?” She’s casual but she don’t mind.” Really sum this up. Yes the band are saying ‘nice’ things, but ultimately they’re saying nothing other than “I’ve got a bird and she loves me, even if I’m a bit of a lad and our relationship is casual, she loves it as she loves me”. I could go on with the next track and the one after, but I think you get the point. Musically it’s all bit and brash, apart from when its quiet and sentimental, and lyrically its big and brash, apart from when its quietly sentimental. Granted there is something wrong with this method and it’s gotten The Hunna where they are now, which is sitting pretty with a heavily anticipated debut album in the bag.

 

 

After reading this review the next part might surprise you but I wish ‘The Hunna’ well and I’m glad that they exist. In this day and age of playing it after and not rocking the boat ‘The Hunna’ had the gumption to try something different and to take a risk. So for that I say “Fair play to them!” However the real problem with the band and their debut album is that for however well it was recorded and produced it isn’t actually saying anything. For all their collective efforts to make it sound edgy, angsty and provocative it, and the band too for that matter, it comes across as banal and boring. These sounds could have been recorded by any other band and they would have sounded the same. That isn’t what I’m after these days, and in due course, maybe their fan base too.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Old Man’s Back Again…

 

 

‘The Childhood of a Leader’ is a film by debut film maker Brady Corbet. Loosley based on Jean-Paul Sartre’s short story of the same name and John Fowles novel The Magnus. The plot is that in 1918 an American boy witnesses the creation of the Treaty of Versailles. This is the defining moment of his life and it shapes every decision he makes after. The music was composed by cult singer songwriter Scott Walker.  This is Walker’s first new material since 2014’s ‘Soused’ and it marks his third film score after 1999’s ‘Pola X’ and 2007’s ‘And Who Shall Go To The Ball?’ Like his previous scores it is a visceral affair and not for the faint hearted.

 

 

The score opens with the sound of an orchestral tuning up, then BAM, we’re off and running. ‘Opening’ sounds like a mixture of john Williams’ Imperial March and Bernard Herrmann’s theme from Cape Fear, but with the strings tuned to psychotic. It tells us this is going to be a choppy ride that will have us on the edge of our seat, both visually and musically. After the emotional rollercoaster of ‘Opening’ ‘Dream Sequence’ has a more electronic vibe to it. Droney synths form the backbone of the track while rumbling bass and screechy stabs interspace it, giving the whole piece an unsettling feeling. ‘Run’ is an ephemeral shot in the arm. Initially soaring strings envelope us as until they begin to rush through us like banshees on a misty moor. ‘Versailles’ is the lynch pin of the album. It’s a massive claustrophobic mind fuck. At times it’s almost impermeable. Dense layers of abrasive music prevent you from finding your way then, like a Cornish fog, it clears and you can see the path, only for it to be obscured a moment later. What ‘Versailles’ does perfectly is take the motifs of and emotions of ‘Opening’ and reinterpret elements of it, whilst hinting at what is to come.

 

 

‘Boy, Mirror, Car Arriving’ ratchets up the tension from the start. By the half way part the strings have been surpassed for chugging cellos. The sea-saw motion is fantastic and really closes the song on a disturbing high. ‘Third Tantrum’ feels like a reworking of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, but you know really, really terrifying! As the name suggests ‘Printing Press’ is rhythmic and mechanical. It also shows that Walker’s inventive streak is at an end. On his more recent albums he has incorporated non-instruments into his compositions. Glasses hitting a wooden table top and a man punching a dead pig have all been included. Here Walker sounds like he’s incorporated an old type writer that is being put through a wringer. Then Morse code explodes from nowhere sending out a hidden message in an unexpected moment of calm, before the tension is ramped up again. ‘Finale’ acts as a bookend to ‘Opening’. Huge, almost, distorted horns enclose us, while stabbing strings keep everything moving in a fluid manner. As with ‘Opening’ the Hermann motifs are back, but now played for all their worth. Everything sounds unrelenting, inspiring and terrifying.

 

 

Overall ‘The Childhood of a Leader’ sounds like an angry Sibelius, Delius and Shostakovich with a bit of Mica Levi thrown in for good measure and by the end of it you feel like your teeth have been pulled and your nerve endings are frayed. The only real problem with ‘The Childhood of a Leader’ is the first album in over a decade when Walker appears to be following trends, rather than creating them. This isn’t to say the album is bad, far from it, during its thirty minute duration there are moments of sublime ecstasy that make you realise how far ahead of the game he actually is. However there are moments that sound like other musicians and that isn’t what we want from any Scott Walker album, regardless of whether it’s a new solo album or a film score.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thundercat unleashes catchiest, and surrealist track to date

 

 

Surrealist pop just got a new anthem. Brainfeeder lynch pin Thundercat has unleached his new single, Bus in These Street, onto an unsuspecting world. This is the first new material Thundercat AKA Stephen Bruner, has released since last years The Beyond… Where the Giant Roam. And like that mini album it’s insanely listenable.

 

 

Over two minutes Bus in These Streets is full of playful basslines, heady melodies and a joyfulness that is lacking in most pop songs. But don’t let it’s fizzy vibe XXX you, the lyrics are a scathing attack on our societies obsession with social media and pointless updates. Anytime you’ve seen a post/tweet that saying “Had a burrito”, “Socks rule!” or the classic “FRAZZLES!!!!” and you rolled your eyes, this song is for you!

 

 

All in all Bus in the Streets sounds like something that would appear on Sesame Street warning children about the perils of technology and acting like a dick. As I listen to it for the, who knows, twelfth time I have muppets, fraggles and chickens dancing through my head. If that isn’t a great way to start a weekend, I don’t know what is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Warning this post contains spoilers. The majority of the spoilers are for the tracks contained in the mixtape, rather than what happens in the excellent Stranger Things, but I can’t promise I won’t let something slip by accident.

 

 

For those of you who might not know Netflix’s series Stranger Things is pretty much the biggest thing going at the moment. The basic premise is in 1983 a twelve year old boy, Will Byers, goes missing on the way home after a mammoth game of Dungeons and Dragons. Everyone thinks he’s just run away, but his mum and friends think differently. In a nut shell its Super 8 meets Pan Labyrinth, with a load Spielberg, John Carpenter and Steven King thrown in for good measure. The soundtrack chocked full of 80’s hits and the original score is cool neon synthwave. Needless to say it lives up to the hype!

 

 

If this wasn’t enough DJ Yoda has now make a mixtape inspired by the series and, basically, all the films it references. Opening with a sample from the series when Jonathon says “We made you a mixtape” then samples of Mike showing Ele his toys, including Yoda. Over the next hour John Carpenter, John Williams, Toto, Dolly Parton, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths, even though the time frame of the series and their releases doesn’t quite match up and of course the Clash. As the mix carries on your transported back to Hawkins and to the hunt for Will.

 

 

What makes Yoda’s Stranger Things Mixtape so enticing, and playable, is how he manages to evoke the sense of the series through using music from the period, snippets of dialogue and make it a lot of fun. Because in essence that is what the show it. Lots of subtle, and some blatantly obvious, pop cultural references that make us as audiences giggle with glee at the thought of the pay off!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Get ready for Ulrika Spacek to destroy a venue near you soon!

 

 

Ulrika Spacek are slowly becoming more than a name whispered in dark backrooms throughout the country. They have the sound, hypnotic psych influenced motoric garage rock. They have the songs, this year’s debut The Album Paranoia was chocked full of them. And now they are getting ready for a sojourn through Europe thanks to a twenty seven date tour. But this isn’t all. They’re also releasing a 7”, Everything: All the Time, through Tough Love Records.

 

 

Everything: All the Time is everything we’ve come to expect from Ulrika Spacek and more. Massive guitars dance with echoy bass while their trademark drums keep the dancers forever spinning and gyrating. This is the sound of a band who know exactly what they want to do, and more importantly, how to do it! The B-Side is Lady Godiva’s Operation, which like the A-Side needs to be played LOUD!

 

 

Ulrika Spacek’s EU Tour Dates:

 

 

02/09/2016 Antwerp Het Bos Belgium

03/09/2016 Asten-Heusden Misty Fields Netherlands

10/09/2016 Liege Live Club @ CU Festival Belgium

24/09/2016 Liverpool Psych Fest Liverpool, UK

25/09/2016 The Cellar Oxford, UK

26/09/2016 Start the bus Bristol, UK

27/09/2016 Electrowerkz London, UK (HEADLINE SHOW)

28/09/2016 Point Ephemere Paris, France

29/09/2016 Lyon Le Sonic France

30/09/2016 Luzern Sudpol   Switzerland

01/10/2016 Ancona Loop Club Italy

02/10/2016 Psych Fest @ Monk Club Italy

04/10/2016 Zurich Zukunft Switzerland

06/10/2016 ACUD Berlin, Germany

07/10/2016 Grüner Jäger Hamburg, Germany

08/10/2016 Stengade Copenhagen, Denmark

10/10/2016 Paradiso Noord Amsterdam (s/ Ultimate Painting)

11/10/2016 King Georg Cologne, Germany

1210/2016 Green Door Store Brighton, UK

13/10/2016 Soup Kitchen Manchester, UK

14/10/2016 The Fulford Arms York, UK

15/10/2016 What Became of Us @ the Cookie Leicester, UK

16/10/2016 The Hug & Pint Glasgow, UK

17/10/2016 Cluny 2 Newcastle, UK

22/10/2016 All Year’s leaving @ Hare & Hounds Birmingham, UK

03/11/2016 Lieu Unique Nantes, France

04/10/2016 Lorient Les Indisciplinés @ Le Manège France

 

 

Everything: All the Time is released on 23rd September through Tough Love Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ocean Floor pulls something special from his archive

 

 

Please forgive me, but this review might get transcendental and esoteric. These aren’t things I massively believe in, but given the subject matter, this is the way things might go. The reason for this disclaimer is that Bristol’s premier ambient merchant Ocean Floor released a new single, though its far more than that, a few months ago and it’s taken this long for to get my head around it to pen some words.

 

 

Simply titled 7/9/14 it consists of just under twenty minutes of swirling synths, fuggy drones, carefully crafted organs and no beats/percussion. In a nutshell it’s about as ambient and atmospheric you can get without having Brain Eno written on it. The sleeve notes are as sparse as the music itself, but it was recorded at The Islnd by Henry Liam Collins on 7/9/14, hence the name, as part of Noisseenoise. And that’s about it. We don’t know if this recording was part of a bigger performance, or something that Ocean Floor came up with before, or maybe after, a set. What we do know however is that this piece was recorded in one go, and possibly improvised too, and everything we hear is in real time.

 

 

Given all this information a standard review won’t really work for this one, so you understand my opening disclaimer. These are ethereal musings for a nocturnal meditation. I’m not saying you have to practice yoga positions or anything, but playing this when you are in a calm and complacent mood makes perfect sense, and if you’re like me, playing at night, with the lights on dim makes this music, and your surroundings, take on a different vibe. It turns into a place where the little people might venture, or if you remember Arthur Machen, then White People!

 

 

The real power of 7/9/14 is that after repeat listens it asks more questions than it answers. Why did this take so long to be released? Is this part of a larger, and more diverse piece? What was the audience reaction? Was this recorded for personal listening to test out a new piece of kit? When will the follow up to Jupiter be released? Overall though this doesn’t really matter as Ocean Floor has delivered another slice or ambient majesty that isn’t a single serving drone loop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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K.Flay unveils the EP she’s always hinted at!

 

 

Kristine Flaherty AKA K.Flay has been on my musical radar ever since I first heard her remix of Gucci Gucci in 2011. While that song was decent, Flaherty’s remix was something else. Even before I’d finished listening to it, I’d googled and was buying and downloading everything she had released. After that fateful day when two stranger’s futures were intertwined, I’ve been a loyal fan. When Flay released the Eyes Shut EP through Sony I was convinced this was Day 0. Sadly, like the album she recorded, nothing came of it and she remained in the shadows while lesser musicians got bigger. Since Eyes Shut Flay has released a slew of singles, a youtube book club, EP’s and her debut album, Life as a Dog. They all showcased her deft touch at production and razor sharp lyrics, but they were missing something. The inventive zeal of Eyes Shut wasn’t quite there, that is until now, until Crush Me.

 

 

Crush Me consists of four tracks that range from a straight up garage rock banger to a tender and sentimental ballad. But the most remarkable thing is that they all flow together than carry a loose story arc. The EP opens with Blood in the Cut. This is the most aggressive, and catchy, track on the EP. Loosley it’s about being single and angry. Musically this is summed up by sounding like a mixture of the Dead Weather, Nick Cave and Trentemøller. The lyrics however are the star of the show. Flay’s drawly delivery, coupled with nuggets like “Met back up with the boy I love, Cried on the streets of San Francisco, I don’t have an agenda, All I do is pretend to be ok so my friends, Can’t see my heart in the blender”, “Lately, I’ve been killing all my time, Reading through your messages my favorite way to die, Take my head and kick it in, Break some bread for all my sins”, and the chorus of “It’s too quiet in this room, I need noise, I need the buzz of a sub, Need the crack of a whip, Need some blood in the cut” eloquently sum this up perfectly. This is Flay at her best!

 

 

Hollywood Forever is up next. This time Flay explains her fears and anxieties. Again the lyrics are the star of the show. Opening line “I’m hiding from mirrors, I’m frightened of sex, Despising my image, I’m enlightened and slightly obsessed” feels slightly beatific. “I used to be so confident, So sober and awake, I never thought to act, Devoted and ashamed, Wanted to call my ex, To hear him say my name, Over the phone to me” is something that we’ve all gone through, but Flay sums it up succinctly and laconically. The music is a slower version of Blood in the Cut, but instead of the anger, we have slightly redemptive tones and a subtle aching of melancholy.

 

 

The next two songs are slower, and this pace if reflective in the subject matter. Dreamers is basically about if you could what would you re-do differently, but at the same time realising that only you can control your life. The EP closes with You Felt Right in which Flay tells the story of a romance that never quite happened, but resonated deeply. The music is laidback, but with occasional bass drops, however the soaring chours could be the stand out event on EP. The lyrics are like a diamond bullet to the head “I’m always in the wrong place at the wrong time, Headed on a bad trip with the wrong high, I don’t really know why, But you felt right to me, I hadn’t had a good thing in a long time, Moving in the fast lane with the wrong guy, I don’t really know why, But you felt right to me”. In a weird way You Felt Right should open the EP, as it’s the start of the story, but ending it feels more fitting.

 

 

Crush Me shows that Flay hasn’t lost any of her musical and lyrically prowess, as it’s is visceral, yet tender. This juxtaposition is what makes Flay one of the most exciting musicians on the scene today. Let’s hope that there is more of this calibre in Flay’s harddrive as it sounds like her has a fire in her belly and something to say. When an artist has these at the same time anything can happen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paris based Acid Arab look set to release one of the albums of the year

 

 

Acid Arab are a Paris based production duo, comprised of Guido Minisky and Herve Carvalho, who since 2012 have blurred the boundaries between countries, genres and cultures to make music that pulsates and throbs with malice and delight. After a first listen of lead single Buzq Blues it’s hard to work things out, but after a few dozen listens it all seamlessly merges into one cohesive four minute banger.

 

 

The most potent element in Buzq Blues is how the Eastern and Western elements gel, rather than sounding like a sound clash. Acid Arab recently said “we are fascinated by Eastern Music and its codes, such as complex rhythmic structures, which drive dancers into a trance, just like acid house does”

 

 

Rumour has it that Acid Arab’s studio is based in Entrepôt, the 10th Arrondissement, and that after they’re written a song they always play it out in a club that night. This idea of experimentation and test driving is refreshing, compare to some electronic artists and how long it takes for them to release their music. MIA and Aphex Twin we’re talking about you here…

 

 

After releasing a slew of EP’s and singles their debut album, Musique Du France, is due for release at the start of October. Giving their almost flawless back catalogue, and the sublime Buzq Blues, Musique De France looks set to be the electronic release of the year.

 

 

Musique Du France is released 7th October through Crammed Discs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last year’s inaugural Together the People, curated by those good people at One Inch Badge, was a mixture of established acts Super Furry Animals, Roots Manuva, Levellers, Billy Bragg and Brakes playing alongside up and coming musicians such as Lucy Rose, Public Service Broadcast, Ghostpoet, Normanton Street and the Neon Satins Brass Band. Together the People wasn’t just about music though, there were local interest events going on too. From Beach Hut Writers, Sea Shepherd UK, Brighton Housing Trust, Future Brighton Debate all giving the local community something to engage with while they were waiting for their next musical fix.

 

 

This year’s festival is following a similar path. The Saturday Night headliner is music legend Brian Wilson performing the Beach Boy’s best known album Pet Sounds live. This alone looks set to be the highlight of the weekend, but it’s the acts below Wilson that look the most appealing.

 

 

Suede are joining Wilson as Co-Headliners. Since 1992 Suede have released forward thinking music, and have a back catalogue that will definitely offer something for everyone!

 

 

The Horrors also feature on the bill. Their infectious mixing of garage rock, shoegazing and indie-prog should be enough to win over another crowd. Last year Melbourne’s Hiatus Kaiyote’s breakthrough album ‘Choose Your Weapon’ won over music fans and critics alike. Their brand of prog, heavy rock and psych neo-soul got them a Grammy nomination too. Hiatus Kaiyote are predominately a live band though and their set looks too good to miss!

 

 

Hip-Hop is your thing, don’t worry as there is plenty on offer, most notably US rapper Sage Francis. Francis has teamed up be B. Dolan to present Strange Speech, Famous Development. Let’s hope other members of Strange Famous and Speech Development roster are added as special guests, most notably Scroobius Pip, Buck 65 and even the illusive Jackamo Brown! If you want something on a free style tip, then Poets Vs. MC’s is for you. This Brighton intuition. Basically a team of rappers takes on a team of poets in a word-play street battle. Expect it to be pithy, barbed and epigrammatic!

 

 

If you like things a bit more soulful then Max Jury on Saturday and Stevie Parker on Sunday should be right up your steet. Jury’s self-titled debut album puts him somewhere between George Harrison and Gram Parsons. Parker on the other hand uses electronic influences to get her stories of love, loss, rejection and redemption across. You might need some tissues ready after these sets.

 

 

Together the People isn’t just about established bands. Oh no. Brighton is the owner of one of the best music scenes in the country today, and this is also on display. Egyptian Blue, Fur and Post Heather, who all played incendiary sets at The Great Escape in May, look set to make a claim on ‘Best Band in Town’ with sets throughout Saturday.

 

 

 

But if you want to sit and enjoy some familiar musical friends in a slightly unfamiliar surrounding then Turin Brakes and Gaz Coombes might be more up your alley. Last year saw Coombes’ second solo album, Matador, receive a platitude of praise and awards. Turin Breaks’ blend of laid-back acoustic indie folk makes them a great addition to any festival line up.

 

 

One Inch Badge will have us salivating like Pavlovian dogs until September every-time they make an announcement relation to the festival!

 

 

Together the People is taking place September 3rd & 4th in Brighton’s Preston Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Michael Simmons AKA Conformist is back with his second album Lifestyle Bible. If it is anything like 2013’s debut Paid to Fake It, Lifestyle Bible will be critically acclaimed and further cement Simmons as a forward thinking electronic music producer.

 

 

Lifestyle Bible is composed of eight songs, each one being an example of Simmons’ layering production techniques and ad-hoc approach to composition. So far only Komputer Jenerated is only track released and it gives clear indications of Simmons’ artistic progression and what to expect from his second long player.

 

 

Komputer Jenerated sounds like a mixture of Paul Hardcastle, Bentley Rhythm Ace and Coldcut whilst being produced, and subsequently cut up, by Brion Gysin. As it skitters along samples, and motifs, appear and re-appear giving Komputer Jenerated a cohesive feel, while at the same time making it all sound idiosyncratic and totally playable!

 

 

Lifestyle Bible is releasing on 14th October through Consumer Cosumer Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If Loyle Carner and Rebel Kleff always worked together the world would be a better and catchier place!

 

 

OK, this might get gushy. Loyle Carner is basically my favorutie musician at the moment. So far he’s released five singles, one with the living legend Kate Tempest, and a six track mixtape. Out of these six releases there are thirteen tracks and I adore them all.

 

 

What Carner does, that most musicians find it hard to do, is to get over his point over quickly and make you feel what he is on about. After a few bars you get what the track is about, musically, and then after the first verse you know exactly what Carner is driving at. This is the same on new single No CD. After a massive Led Zep-esque guitar riff, Carner goes straight into the chorus “Oh please, We ain’t got no P’s, because we spent all our money on old CD’s. It’s like, On please, We ain’t got no P’s, because we spent all our money on old CD’s. We say, On please, We ain’t got no P’s, because we spent all our money on old CD’s. We got some old Jay-Z’s, some ODB’s, placed them up in perfect order, because of my OCD, won’t let me keep it.” I dare you to play this back-to-back and not get the chorus stuck in your head. After this intro the track puts it foot down and let’s rip. Backed by a huge beat and more classic guitar riffs. Then just when you thought you had the track worked out producer Rebel Kleff ups pops up. Kleff appears about half way through and drops some great verses, as well as the beats, that really tie the whole thing together. Now if the track and subject matter weren’t enough Carner and Kleff has delivered an amazing video too. In it Carner walks through a house and in every room different people are playing Rock Band along with No CD, again this is something I know about.

 

 

If Carner tried to write a song for me, he would never get it as spot on as No CD. This is something I know all about. When I younger I’d rather buy music then go out on a Saturday night. When I was at uni I went without food to buy records and books. And as an adult I’ve gone without holidays and new work clothes to get that must have item. Things have changed a bit now, but still this song strikes a chord with me like few every have.

 

 

 

Rumour has it that Carner is working on his debut long player and if his six previous releases are anything to go by it’s going to be a greatest UK Hip-Hop album not just in recent years, but ever!

 

 

No CD is out now being released through AMF Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edinburgh pop chauntress Emilie gets our ears wagging on debut

 

 

Emilie is new. Like REALLY new. Eyes for You is her debut track taken from her debut EP, I Can  See You In The Darkness, released 16th September. So what do we know about Emilie? At the moment not much, which just adds to the enjoyment factor, other than she lives in Edinburgh, writes, plays and produces her own much, which a little help from an unknown producer, and she’s supported SG Lewis.

 

 

At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter who or where she is based as Emilie is releasing delectable slices of pop that require repeat listens, upon repeat listens. On Eyes For You Emilie sounds like London Grammar, but you know, better.

 

 

Given the strength of Eyes For You there is enough going on to warrant checking out I Can See You in the Darkness. Whether it will surpass this slice of electro-pop will remain to be seeing. However Emilie has done enough for our eyes to be on her…

 

 

I Can See You In The Darkness is released 16th September through Stellar Recordings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shy Layers release on Growing Bin Records could be the sleeper hit of the year

 

 

JD Walsh is a master of melody. He’s sings are chocked full of a pop sensibility that other musicians would love to possess. The real kicker is that he could easily make big and brash summer pop hits, but he’s decided, instead, to make laidback electro pop/Afro-Lounge bangers. They are perfect for playing at BBQ’s, pool parties, or whilst strolling by the sea as the sun sets.

 

 

Don’t let the title confuse you as Black and White is anything but! Woozy synths mix with choppy Afro-beat rhythms and heavily vocodered vocals. You don’t really know what’s going on as the Afro-Beat and electronic elements juxtapose, rather than complement each other, but there is a feeling of easy and companionship. Famous Faces feels like a reworking of Fleetwood Mac’s classic Albatross, but you know a synth-lounge. It’s a song for long late night conversations and longer drinks. Stabilized Waves is a woozy and wonky soundtrack to your favourite summer holiday. Lazy melodies and rhythms jostle for your attention, whilst never exerting themselves as the temperature is too high. You can almost see the heat waves coming from the speakers when it plays. This is a fantastic piece of music and when the Afro-Beat guitar kicks in you’ll get even more comfortable on your sun lounger.

 

 

Holding it Back picks up the pace a bit with a driving bassline. The beats slowly pop around us while laconic synths engulf us like a summer mist. The vocoder is back, but its inclusion is delightful and really brings Hold it Back together. Bees and Bamboo showcases Walsh’s gift at melody. Throughout its three minute duration Walsh doesn’t hold back. Afro-Beat guitars wash over us continually, as the sea on a shore. Just bubbling below the surface are delicate synths and basslines, but it’s the guitar that is the start of the show here. The album closes with 1977. Again Walsh shows off his softer, melodic side. A shuffling beat welcomes us while a 1970’s-esque vocal keeps everything moving forward.

 

 

If any album could be the surprise sleeper hit of the summer, this could be it, but given how you can only get it on vinyl from an indie in Germany, and it isn’t on i-tunes/Amazon might put some people off. Saying that the album is culled from Walsh’s previous two EP’s so it is possible to put it together. Either way this is irrelevant as Walsh has crafted ten songs that appear to be made of pure sunshine and fun. If this doesn’t soundtrack your summer, and if we get one, Indian summer then you’re doing it all wrong!

 

 

Shy Layers is out now on Growing Bin Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PWR BTTM unleash their tender side on new single

 

 

In the past lo-fi punk duo PWR BTTM have released songs that range a chocked full of dirty riffs, lurid imagery and an overflowing self confidence that would make Michael Phelps stand back. But now they’ve returned with possibly their most tender and heart-warming/breaking song, which will appear on the UK release of their album Ugly Cherries.

 

 

New Hampshire opens with the line “When I die please bury me in New Hampshire, I really like the leaves. Don’t be sad I’m done my share of living, I think I have to leave”. This could be one of the most brutally honest lyrics in a very long time and it sets up the rest of the song perfectly. Melancholy guitar and drums chime away, until just after the minute mark there is an explosion of feedback. This pattern carries on until a charming solo kicks in half way through the song, backed by a xylophone. After this the song tried to pick up the mood a bit with a euphoric surging guitar and some delightful harmonies until everything stops. Very much like life itself.

 

 

What New Hampshire shows is that there is more to PWR BTTM than just queer punk. They know what it is to, and die, and they have no fear to do either. It’s a brave move and one they should be applauded for.

 

 

Ugly Cherries is out on 7th October through Big Scary Monsters and the December tour dates are:

 

3rd – Brighton @ West Hill Hall*

4th – Leeds @ Brudenell Games Room*

5th – Glasgow @ Hug & Pint*

6th – London @ Shacklewell Arms* – sold out

7th – Amsterdam @ Sugar Factory*

8th – Cologne @ Blue Shell*

9th – Berlin @ Lido*

10th – Hamburg @ Molotow*

 

* = w/ The Spook School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Neo-Yé-Yé band La Femme have the summer in their hand, oh and you’re there too

 

We’re getting into silly season now. Bands left right and centre are releasing their biggest and catchiest songs in an attempt to get you to buy their releases and see them at all the festivals they play. The latest band to win us over are Paris’ La Femme.

 

 

Sounding like, well, not much else La Femme combine, then whisk pop, surf, psych, chanson, electro, hip-hop in to a neo-Yé-Yé that has the ability to make you smile and dance at the same time. This year they have released the exquisite, sublime and bizarre singles Sphynx and Où va le Monde. Each one not only showcase their skill for melody, but also for their disdain for playing it safe. Sphynx sounds and feels like a lurid freakout dream sequence from a Jodorowsky film. The psych disco beat keeps everything moving forward, to what feels like impending doom, while delicate vocals charming synths hint at a light at the end of the tunnel. Où va le Monde on the other hand feels like the lightest, brightest and poppiest thing, all warpped up with a delicious beat and warming vocals. At times it’s hard to fathom that the same band made both tracks and they appear on the same album.

 

 

The album they appear on is called Mystere, an apt name if ever we heard one, and it out on Disque Pointu on September 2nd. Mystere is chocked full of fifteen songs that fit in perfectly between Où va le Monde and Sphinx. Everyone here at thisyearinmusic likes to think of ourselves as people who don’t give out spoilers, but all we will say is that you’ll want to stick around for the final track Vagues….

 

 

Mystere is released on 2nd September through Disque Pointu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It appears that if you want to be in a band at the moment you need to have a cover in your arsenal. Nirvana had Leadbelly. Adele has Dylan. Dylan has Sinatra and now Noise Funeral have, well, five.

 

 

What is great about this EP is how lo-fi and ad-hoc it is. At times it rounds about as ropey as you can get, out of tune, bum notes and distortion. However at other times it sounds like the best thing ever, out of tune, bum notes and distortion. Noise Funeral have really tapped into what the songs are about and exploited that on every track. About a Girl, in its original form, is a heavy, feed backing rocker about, well, a girl. This is all carried over in their cover. Like the original its catchy as hell and like the original there are part when you think the whole thing will fall over and make a mess on the floor. The same is true for Paranoid. The Black Sabbath original is a total monster of a track. Its loud and proud and so is Noise Funeral’s. Coming out of the blocks at a hundred miles a hour, and not letting up for a second, this is one of the stand out moments on the EP.

 

 

As the title says Organ Covers. I you don’t like celestial sounds organs, maybe give this a miss, but if you have a soft spot of kooky covers, Russian organs and anything kitsch this  is for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Newcastle’s Kane Dare Records and Mausoleum’s release an EP full of dark electro and brooding basslines

 

 

Synth wave, dark electro, lucid pop and witch house are growing in popularity by the day. Labels like Rain Dragon and Retro Promenade have been releasing quality release after quality release for a few years now. There is something about massive synths, dark basslines and a retro sheen that makes everyone here at thisyearinmusic smile.

 

 

An EP that has defintley made us smile today is Mausoleum- Mausoleums. This six track banger is chocked full of everything we love, and have already mentioned. Tiki Mask kicks things off in fine form. An synth welcomes up, before slightly freaking us out a bit with eerie motifs and phases. Just after the beat kicks in a cryptic lyric of “When they see me right behind you, When they see me I disguise you” accompanies the music as it swells and pulsates. Five opens with driving bassline, squelchy tweeks and an unrelenting beat that makes the Eastern Bloc look like Butlins!

 

 

Sounding like Kraftwerk being covered by John Carpenter, Mausoleums manage to capture brooding intensity of Carpenter’s films, while never losing sight on a deviantly  simple rhythm. This is the music working out montages, spring cleaning and saving humanity from supernatural annihilation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hunck unveil their latest opus. This time romance is on the agenda!

 

 

Love is hard to find. Some people think you bump into when you least expect it. Some think it can’t be bought and others think it can. I have no idea about where London’s avant-pop group Hunck think it comes from, but thanks to their new single All Dressed Up we know what they’ll do when they find it. Basically take it out and show it a good time!

 

 

Like their songs the video for All Dressed Up is a skewed take on the genre. Instead of the classic “band-performing-while-stuff-happens-around-them” Hunck have chosen to channel their inner Frank Sidebottom. Fred and Thom are the stars of the video. Fred getting all dressed up, then waiting around watching Japanese TV, while Thom stars on the TV then delivers an incendiary solo.

 

 

As with all Hunck songs, and this is no disrespect to the music, the lyrics are the main event. Fred’s deadpan, tongue in cheek delivery makes these words of love even more devastating! “If only she would look my way, A thousands suns would melt away, today” and “I’m gonna take a chance and ask, if I can take her out to dance, tonight” sum the song, and the band up perfectly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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