Posture’s debut single is an almost perfect slice of summery surfer indie pop

 

 

Last a song jumped into my field of vision and I found it very hard to get it out. The song in question was called All Dressed Up Not Dancing by a band called Dog. The rumour was that they were still in school and had the audacity to write one of the best slacker-pop tracks this side of 1996. What was more striking was that they’d dismissed the usual set up of current bands. Their main weapon, apart from their razor sharp wit, was a crappy Casio sounding keyboard. Its plinky plonky tones, juxtaposed with the sound of a guitar amp exploding was nothing short of glorious! Then it all went quiet.

 

 

That is until now. Kind of. Sadly Dog is no more. Whether it was put down, or ran away with itself we’ll never know but they are now called Posture. Their debut single, I Just Can’t Wait to See My Girl, is set for imminent release through the Beech Coma singles club. The first main difference, apart from there being an extra member, is the sound. The dour slacker rock has been replaced with sunny surfer indie pop. This makes sense as the summer is about to hit and people want soundtracks for BBQ’s, but there something totally captivating about an epic crap Casio. Lyrically its just as astute, but like the music it feels too easy. Saying that the lyric “She likes my favourite songs” does remind me of conversations with friends about their partners and what they have in common when I was at school and college.

 

 

I just need to clarify something before I go any further. I really like this song. Its infectious, poppy and catchy as hell. The chorus immediately jumps in your head, the hooks and melodies are perfect earworms and subtle change of pace at the end if inspired. I can’t wait to play this at BBQ’s and to go to BBQ’s where this will play all through the summer. My main problem is that I heard, and fell in love, with Dog first. If I hadn’t heard Dog this would be utterly perfect and I would argue anyone to prove otherwise. However I did, and I’ve got to deal with it. The B-Side Dreamin’ is unreleased, so maybe that might be my slacker fix. But as Posture say “And that’s how it goes…”

 

 

I Just Can’t Wait to See My Girl is released through Beech Coma on May 27th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guerraz were the surprise hit at this year’s The Great Escape

 

 

One of the best things at festivals is seeing a band or performer that you weren’t expecting and it totally blowing you away. Last weekend I was lucky enough to be at The Great Escape in Brighton and I saw such a band. It was during the Saturday afternoon break. I was at a loss, but knew where I wanted to start the evening, so I had some fish and chips on the seafront. It would have been rude not to, right? Anyway as I was walking back towards town I started to hear some drumming. At first I thought it was one of the many seafront bars putting on a show for their punters, or one of the evening bands warming up. As I turned the bend the drums got louder, but then a guitar was audible too. But I still couldn’t see where this mystery music was coming from. Eventually I saw a small crowd of people and then the band in question. They were set up in front of a closed shop in under the arches.

 

 

The band in question was Guerraz. This two piece consisting of Dave Osborne on drums and Thomas Himsworth on guitars make a brand of minimal instrumental noise post-rock that is hard to ignore. Especially when you’re confronted with it out of the blue. During the time I watched them, Osborne’s dance influenced off kilter drumming was unrelenting, but Himsworth managed to intertwine his guitar riffs and licks through and around them. As I was in a rush to make the next show I took down their name and hurried off.

 

 

When I started going through my notes the next day I wanted to checkout their tracks online to make sure I hadn’t made a mistake and they were that good. Luckily I hadn’t and I spent a glorious hour listening and re-listening to their music and looking forward to the time I’ll get to see them again. Of course that initial spark of “WTF is this…?” won’t be there, but I am relishing the chance witness their post-rock majesty again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stephen Steinbrink returns with first album in three years

 

 

It’s been three years since Stephen Steinbrink released his last album, the soaringly beautiful Arranged Wave, his first digitally recorded album. Now he’s back with Anagrams. Recorded over an eighteen month period in a converted church in Washington. Steinbrink said of the experience “The reverb was inescapable. Having this expansive palette to work with was so thrilling, especially after working in my home studio for so many years”.

 

 

While the change in sound is dramatic, the level of song writing remains as consistent as it always has been. Luscious hooks and melodies pull you in before you realise the lyrics are full of melancholic introspection. This has always been Steinbrink’s charm, but now we can head it all clearly. At times it feels like that bit in the Wizard of Oz and Secret Garden when it goes technicolour and everything makes sense.

 

 

There is still a few weeks before Anagrams is released, so we’ll have to settle with Building Machines until it is. Luckily this isn’t much of a hardship as Building Machines is a glorious slab of post-pop. There are flourishes of Steve Mason to it, along with the usual Avi Buffalo, The Sunday’s and R.E.M. references. Let’s all rejoice in this beautiful track before the machines take over!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Neon Deth Cult. The name says it all really

 

 

After spending the last three days at The Great Escape you’d think that all I’d want to do today is sit in a darkened room in self-imposed exile. But no. Not a chance. Instead I’m back at it trying to find the best new forward thinking music out there. Today’s offering fits this remit perfectly.

 

 

Neon Deth Cult make the kind of music that should only be experienced at high volume in small, dark and sweaty venues full of a throbbing seething mass totally transfixed by what they are seeing and hearing. As the title of the EP suggests these are just demo versions, but in this writers opinion, they’re perfect the way they are. Everything is muddy, distorted and visceral.

 

 

Bad Robot gets things going with peels of feedback before a monumental riff kicks in that wouldn’t be out of place on a Kyuss album. Over the next three minutes Neon Deth Cult show us what they’re made of. Musically it’s just a repetition of a few riffs with slight variations. Shaved Apes is more gentle and serene. Clean guitars intertwine with stark drumming before all hell breaks loose and it becomes the soundtrack to the apocalypse. The final track Are We Happy Yet? is basically a jam track that skews and mutates before our very ears. It’s dark, long and very, very, very listenable.

 

 

After hearing demos you immediately want to go out and see them live. As they’re based in Australia and I live in the UK this isn’t going to happen for a while. So as a compromise let’s hope that release another batch of doom punk before too long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Natanjah unveils her psychic mixtape on covers EP

 

 

For some unexplainable reason everyone at thisyearinmusic is really into covers at the moment. Some have been sublime, Husband Material topping this list, and others have been bizarre, Kevin Rowland I’m talking about you here. Natanjah’s latest release, #Ripoff (Thank You Thoreau), sits somewhere between the two.

 

 

#Ripoff (Thank You Thoreau) consists of three songs. David Crosby’s Guinevere, Stephen Stills’ Carry On/Questions and Adele’s Hometown Glory. These songs bear little resemblance to the original versions. Natanjah has stripped the song back to their most basic elements, guitar and vocals, but thanks to the recording they take on a far more intimate vibe. Background surface noises seep into these recordings giving the impression that they are being recorded in a room next to you. Given that Soan Kundanmal AKA SWAIN recorded and produced #Ripoff this shouldn’t be a surprise.

 

 

The star of the show is Hometown Glory. Scratchy guitars, lo-fi production and totally unrecognisable Hometown Glory showcases not only Natanjah’s unique and laconic vocal style but her creative vision. At first you don’t realise it’s a cover as everything that made Adele’s a hit has been stripped away and what we’re left with is just a beautiful emotionally charged performance.

 

 

 

 

 

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Michigan Producer Torm delivers knockout blow on debut EP

 

 

All that is known about †ORM is that he is form hell, well Michigan, and releases a hybrid of Witch House that incorporates Hip-Hip, electronica, Dark Rave, Gloomy House and Grave Wave. While these words individually don’t really mean much, other than †ORM has probably read too much Arthur Machen, musically however they mean something else entirely.

 

 

Throughout his debut EP, Ch∆rli∑, †ORM showcases his ability to evoke suspense and unsettling alarm through limited effects. ∆MEN opens with the sound of cutlery being dropped into a bag and rattled, then jittery synths wash over us, rooting us to the spot. After the initial salvo is over, slow rolling anxious beats kick in. This brooding swath is punctuated by a bell that even Hemmingway would shiver at. ∑∑∑ opens with a demonic sounding vocal sample. Sledgehammer betas knock us into shame while eerie synths and something that sounds like a child’s music box really puts the frighteners on us! The star of the show is the title track Ch∆rli∑. At seven and a half minutes it takes its time twisting and turning through dark wave motifs, uneasy ambiences and sinister basslines. But when it gets going it’s a tour de force and reminds you of what Gothic Electro can and should be! †∆urus closes the EP as it started, with creepy electronics and bowl loosening bassline. After the intro †∆urus descends into some awe inspiring dark rave.

 

 

Ultimately †ORM makes the kind of music that sounds like JUSTICE covering John Carpenter. Its dark menacing and incredibly listenable! Each beat sounds like a slab of granite being dropped from a great height in a sports hall. The resounding echoes of this gargantuan sound take the form of the synths that billow around us like banshees on a moor. Let’s hope Ch∆rli∑’s follow up isn’t too long in the making as †ORM looks and sounds like the real deal. Be that a very dark, bone chilling one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Husband Material tackle a classic and come out with something different, but totally their own

 

 

Despite contrary opinion, I have never been in a band. Yes I’ve come close a few times, but I have never strapped on a guitar and played chords in the background for someone else’s ideas. However whenever I did come close, the topic of ‘cover versions’ always came up. Mostly the conversation went “So what can you play?” after I gave my limited answers the reply was usually “We don’t play that. Can you learn this <insert 2000’s indie/garage rock bands>?” I said I would and this was generally as far as it went before the band either broke up or someone more suitable was found. But the idea of cover versions has always stayed with me.

 

 

When covering a song, it is better to try and do something original, rather than just copy the song  note for note. Personally speaking I want clever re-interruptions rather than another boring version of Wonderwall, Yellow, or Purple Rain. Switch the main instrument from guitar to keyboard, or vice versa.

 

 

This is exactly what Husband Material has done on their re-interruption of My Bloody Valentine’s classic When You Sleep. Instead of the burst of bewilderingly groggy guitars, Husband Material has replaced it with wonderfully woozy keyboards and drum machine beats. The song, apart from being fantastic, takes on another life entirely. Due to the change of pace and emotional context of the vocals, the interplay between Rich and Charlotte, which sound like Sean Lennon and Miho Hatori duetting in 1998, is devastating. These changes give the song a meaning that the original didn’t have. Husband Material give the impression that this is the last time the characters in the song will speak as, basically, it’s all over.

 

 

Last year Husband Material released an almost flawless mixtape, so speculation is rising that 2016 will see them release an official debut album. While When You Sleep probably won’t be included on this unreleased long player, it does show how much they’ve progressed in the short time since their debut single way back in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brodka might just be the future of Post-Pop…

 

 

What happens if you mix Marianne Faithful, PJ Harvey, Sasha Siem, Nancy Sinatra, Bat for Lashes, Lukki Li and Lana Del Rey? Brodka!

 

 

Monika Brodka, or Brodka as she’s known professionally, is a Polish musician who makes delightful alt-pop with an indie twist. Her music evokes her native Poland, but also the UK and American music scenes. Its massive in scope, lavish in sound and literal. On current single Santa Muertre Brodka manages to evoke the feelings of love, loss and redemption, but through hypnotic carnivalesque guitars, soaring strings, pounding drums and a delightful pop-sheen it sounds upbeat and positive, rather than the bleak-fest it easily could have been. This juxtaposition is what made her previous single Horses such a tour de force!

 

 

With her fourth album Clashes has just being released digitally, but don’t worry physical fans, as a vinyl version is out in the next few weeks, 2016 is shaping up for Brodka to finally make her mark after skirting the periphery for the last few years. More importantly however is that she’ll be performing at this weekend’s Great Escape in Brighton. This show will be more than an allotted thirty minute slot. It’ll be another chance for Brodka to win over yet another unsuspecting crowd to #TeamBrodka!

 

 

Brodka will be playing Coalitation on 19th at 10.30pm and The Hope and Ruin on 20th at 12:30pm. Miss out at your own peril!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Three minutes of skiffle soul from Trudy and the Romance

 

 

Trudy and the Romance is a name that will stick in your head. Whether it’s for the right or wrong reasons is down to your tastes, but you will remember their name. Musically this trio are all over the shop. A bit of skiffle here, some Louis Armstrong and Tom Waits there, a dollop of the Coral and all wrapped up with a Libertines sounding bow. There is an infectious bounce, which all the best music has, to He Sings that makes it hard to get it out of your head once you’ve heard it. The stand out moment are the instrumental sections. Here the band show off their dextrous musical talents while never boring us through ‘incredible’ riffs and licks.

 

 

The two problems with He Sings are that the band influences are far too pronounced and the lyrics feel a tad flat. Instead of subtly teasing us with their collective loves they’ve rammed them down our throats. The inclusion of the skiffle is a nice break from what’s currently happening, but He Sings might have been better as a full on skiffle belter! And the lyrics feel a little two dimensional. This will hopefully change in due course, as Trudy and the Romance are still a relatively new band having only released a few singles. Putting these picayune errors to one side, He Sings is cacophonous, cavernous, carnivalesque and catchy! More of the same please!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pink Milk return with another slab of glacial shoegazing

 

 

As far as genres go, Scandi Shoegaze has a certain ring about it. After reading, or hearing it, it conjures up images of semi clad people making a right racket with guitars and effects pedals. Luscious waves of reverb floating atop oceans of choppy drums and eddying bass. Pink Milk’s new single Detroit offers all this and more!

 

 

Last year saw Maria and Edward release a cover of Foreigner’s classic I Want to Know What Love Is. It was a slow, broody and very sexy. At times you felt that your windows were frosting over, due to the geliding nature of the music. Detroit on the other hand is far more warming. Immediately the massive drums draw you in until the colossal hooks and titanic melodies swirl about until you are frozen to the spot. While this might not be the furious shoegazing you were expecting, its slower tempo doesn’t take anything away from its intensity.

 

 

Despite how it intricate and dense quality the music it, Detroit has a simple story, as the band recently explained “The song is written to a childhood friend. We were kids trying to be cool, smoking candy, blowing fake smoke in the air, dreaming about freedom.”

 

 

Rumour has it there is more music in the pipeline for 2016, and after hearing this on loop for an hour I’m glad, as Pink Milk have it and it would be a shame for them to hibernate in a studio when they could be drip feeding up titbits until their album is ready for release.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Patience, The Invisible’s return is getting closer so let’s all bask in Darstar’s remix until Patience is released!

 

 

In less than a month London trio The Invisible will release their third album Patience. If you are unaware of The Invisible then I suggest you rectify this listening to their 2009 self-titled debut and 2012 follow up Rispah. Both albums are chocked full of forward thinking music that somehow merges indie, soul, electronica, gospel and sheer pop.

 

 

Over the last few months The Invisible have slowly been drip feeding us information and songs until we are now in a lather for the release date. So far Easy Now, Save You and So Far have been released. Each shows a progression from The Invisibles previous releases, but they still retain everything we’ve come to expect from this powerhouse three piece.

 

 

The most recent release is a remix of So Far, which features Jesse Ware on vocals. At first I felt a bit let down, as it wasn’t a new track, or demo, but when I realised that Darkstar were re-working the original I felt less hard done by. In its initial form So Far is a tender ballad about love, rejection and redemption, however in Darkstar’s hands it has been mutated into a chopped up, almost glitchy at times, track with skittering beats and sparse vocals. Its more of re-interpretation than remix. Frontman Dave Okumu recently said “Darkstar’s version is evidence that songs can withstand interpretation. I love how they’ve given the song new meaning by recontextualising it. Dark by name, dark by nature. Big up the north!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Garden Centre team up with Faux Discx for debut album!

 

 

While listening to Riding by Garden Centre you might think it sounds familiar. That is because, in a way, it does. Garden Centre is the new project of Max Levy AKA King of Cats. Since winding down KoC , Levy has been quiet and it’s exciting to hear what his new project actually sounds like. On the surface its business as usual, but when compared to last year’s final KoC album Mircowave you realise that things are very different indeed.

 

 

Garden Centre isn’t just another Levy solo project, oh no, he’s brought some friends along for the ride too. The band is made up of members of Joanna Gruesome, Towel and Keel Her. Their brand of mercurial idiosyncratic indie pop is a joy to behold, or be-listen. From the opening strains of Riding you get the impression that this is going to be a rip-roaring, sing-a-long jaunt, but as soon you think that, the song takes a massive U-turn and mutates into a slow, introverted number until it’s delightful outro brings everything to a stand still. At time it feels like a Musial version of the film Memento, in that it ends where it should start. But like Memento after you’ve made it to the end and played it again everything makes perfect sense and you wouldn’t have it any other way!

 

 

Riding is the first taste from Garden Centre’s self-titled debut album, released 24th june on Faux Discx. The album is loosely based on the experiences and memories of a set of people who used to meet up in an abandoned plant nursery, but as the band say “(they) do not view the lives of these people in an objective or fair way”. If Riding is anything to go by Garden Centre and Faux Discx will have something very special in hands and possibly one of the albums of the year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Golden Age hint at their future with new single Tinted Windows

 

 

Golden Age are fronted by Sydney Sahr. In the 1970’s her grandfather owned some bars in New York. When his granddaughter was little he used to tell her about the people that frequented them. Some of this must have resonated with her, as new single Tinted Windows is filled with nostalgia and pathos.

 

 

 

“‘Tinted Windows” Sahr said “is about giving in to the pull of an enigma, which is a bittersweet sensation. It’s torturous to give yourself to someone who can’t be vulnerable in return. The lyrics reflect that struggle. But sonically ‘Tinted Windows’ is almost joyous because it feels good to surrender. I think if you’re putting yourself in harm’s way (which is sort of inevitable in love), you might as well go down dancing.”

 

 

 

Musically however Tinted Windows isn’t as interesting as its subject matter. Quiet vocaled verses, are underpinned by brooding synths and subdued drums, then for the chorus there is an explosion of trance-esque keyboards and euphoric sounding vocals. The problem is we’ve heard it all before, and sadly for Golden Age, better. Let’s hope this is just an early blip as, concept wise, they have something about them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brighton’s heirs to the Feak City throne Morning Smoke unveil new single and a slew of live dates

 

 

Like a hit of Krokodil, Waste My Time by Brighton’s Morning Smoke, gets under your skin and slowly eats you alive. At first you don’t realise that there is anything wrong. Then over time it becomes apparent that something’s wrong as you can’t stop listening to it. Then it suddenly dawns on you. Its past midnight and you’ve been playing Waste My Time for eight hours, and you’ve only just started to understand its deep darkly sardonic meanings. In a nutshell after one listen you don’t stand a chance.

 

 

 

But what is it about Waste My Time that makes it a dark horse for song of the year? Simply put it’s amazing. Walls of post-punk feedback and reverb grab you by the collar and don’t let go until it ends, then gives you a slight respite before grabbing you again for another five minutes! Billowous vocals cut through fugs of guitars and drums, like car headlines through fog on a narrow country lane after midnight. Was that a deer or a shadow you’ll never know, and the same is true for the vocals. You never really get a complete handle on what is being sung, but you get the gist, and it’s this gist that is important. The gist tells us that these are important words and feelings that can only be conveyed by massive brooding music.

 

 

 

If this wasn’t enough Morning Smoke have announced where they are playing at this year’s Great Escape, taking place in Brighton 19th – 21st May. You can catch Morning Smoke at

 

 

19th Electric

19th Nowhere Man (Evening Set)

20th The Globe

 

 

It can only be a matter of time before this quartet release a follow up to 2014’s In Euphoria and when that happens it’ll be anything but a waste of time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Italian Witch House from Amorth with a Slovenian flavour!

 

 

Amorth is a one man Witch House project from Trieste, Italy. The idea that a coastal city near the Slovenian boarder could be the back drop for some dark Gothic Electro seems unfathomable, but when you start to look at the city it all starts to make sense. The Piazza Unita, the Serbian Orthodox church, the Castello Miramare and the Grand Canal create the perfect backdrop for Amorth’s imagination to run riot.

 

 

Hi I Am the Intro Nice to Meet You and Sara sound like a remixes of Brian Eno ambient work outs. Synths envelope you, but the beats and bassline keep everything moving along. There is a cinematic vibe going on too. Basically anything you do while listen to this will be heightened and appear hyper-real. Mind Blvnk is a darkly broody track. Every now and again a catchy hook breaks through the dark ether like sun rays through storm clouds. A Lost Battle and I’ll Tell You Twice and Majestica are CLASSIC WITCH HOUSE! The beats bubble along with hard core Hip-Hop menace, while repetitive droney Gothic synths help to create a skewed soundscape that is epic, euphoric, ethereal and enchanted while never losing sight of its original purpose. Namely to freak you out, but to make you want more! Mind Blank closes with the delicate Mask. This is somewhere between the classic Witch House of A Lost Battle and the Ambient fugs of Sara.

 

 

Overall Mind Blank plays out like a lost John Carpenter score. Dark heavy synths rumble along, while being interspersed by low-tempo, almost droney, break beats while a catchy bassline makes everything feel more immediate and, dare I say, poppy. Mind Blvnk is something that you could easily get lost in, but make sure you remember the way, otherwise you could be lost for sometime!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Outblinker return with new EP. This is good….

 

 

Last year I stumbled across a single. Singles don’t changed the world anymore, but this one changed 2015. It was simply titled Pink/Blue and it was by a new band called Outblinker. Pink was eleven minutes of prog infused indie dance. From the opening salvo of electro blips and 8-bit beats, I was locked into the groove until the end, very much like the 10” when it eventually arrived. Blue was a minute longer, but it was exactly the same. From those initial synth throbs there was no escape.

 

 

Now Outblinker have returned with a new EP The Remains of Walter Peck. The EP consists of three tracks: Walter Peck, Farrokh Bulsara and Ernest Becker. Like Pink/Blue opening track Walter Peck takes the John Carpenter inspired minimal electro sound, but just keeps layering and layering and layers guitars, drums, bass, synths until it’s a seething proggy, droney love in. Next up is Farrokh Bulsara. Instantaneously the room was filled with a wash of noise, swaths of layered synths, vibrant drums and crashing guitars jumping out at us and it’s hard to fend it off, and eventually we’re overpowered by not only its power, and hidden strength, but by its sheer relentlessness and over the top sound. But considering that it’s named after one of the most flamboyant and powerful singers of the past thirty years it’s not really a surprise is it?

 

 

Final track Ernest Becker is eleven minutes of surging bass, guitars swells and an outpouring of synths that make Vangelis’ Soil Festivities feel like a pop song. Throughout its duration you think “It can’t get any denser, can it?” but then a few seconds later Outblinker re-group and like an episode of Batman Ooof you’re sucker punched by a breakbeat and you’re left reeling on some packing crates, in a warehouse all the time being filmed through a dutch tilt camera angel. But none of this that surprising when you look at who was lurking in the back ground. The Remains of Walter Peck was produced by Benjamin Power, he of Fuck Buttons and Blanck Mass fame, which explains its dense use of sound and texture. At times it feels like molasses is seeping over you, and the more you try and free yourself the more you get covered. So don’t fight it.

 

 

The most worrying thing about The Remains of Walter Peck is that Outblinker have hinted there is a long player out later in the year. If these three songs didn’t make the cut, what the hell are we going to be given when it finally does drop…?!?

 

 

The Remains of Walter Peck is released through Stabbed in the Back Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Melbourne producer  Wabz channels UK Garage on new EP

 

 

When you think of Australian music, Garage, or UK Garage for that matter, isn’t one that jumps to mind. But you’d be wrong for thinking that geographic parameters would mean there isn’t a scene. One of the main figures in this messily burgeoning scene is Melbourne producer Wabz. Since 2012 Wabz has been releasing music that sticks to the original UK Garage ethos, but at the same time is full of his own ideas for the genre.

 

 

On his latest EP Sleep Less, Wabz has added elements of avant-garde experimentalism to create something that feels familiar, whilst feeling totally new and exciting. Avant-Garage if you will. Opening track NightRider is a low tempo slow burning that has more in common with chillwave than 2-Step. It smoulders with intensity and verve. Bells Ring Out is when we start to get an idea of what Wabz is really getting at, and what the crux of the EP is. Methodical, but lackadaisical basslines run amok with wonky breakbeats, while wispy synths eddy and swish around us. There is a recurring vocal sample, that helps break the track up, but ultimately doesn’t really add much. Bells Ring Out mixes into Melrose Park, with an effortless ease that would make many a club DJ smile. It’s more of the same, but a cruel purity oozes from the speakers throughout its duration. The beats are tight and the basslines dense. Melrose Park is the most immediate track on the EP. If it came on at a park, or club, dancing would become more frenzied and looks would be fierce and intimidating.

 

 

Shadow and Walk this Way close the EP. Both are harder hitting than the previous tracks, but this doesn’t mean they are any less listenable. Glitchy chimes open Shadow, and the whole song has a lurid lullaby quality to it. It sways and sweeps along until it slowly fades out. Walk this Way opens with an electro-owl bass hoot. At first the stop/start beats feel tedious and lazy as you just want to the bass throbs to continue, but as everything slowly starts to become in-synch you realise it’s another demonstration of Wabz’ production wizardry to create the song that way.

 

 

Ultimatley Sleep Less is an amalgam of classic UK Garage and early Hyperdub releases. Everything is a bit stark and murky. There are flourishes to Wabz’ palate that show his influences, but there are more that hint at his future. In the past my main problem with garage is the vocals/MC’s, but the majority of Sleep Less is instrumental, baring a few vocal samples. This make the listen refreshing and more rewarding as you can actually hear Wabz’ deft production touches, rather than them being buried under layers of inane vocal tracks. It can only be a limited amount of time before Wabz unveils his second album on a very suspecting world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Slugabed returns to the Activia Benz for another ilovesingles.club

 

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again the Acitiva Benz’ ilovesingles.club series is one of the most consistent and forward thinking singles clubs around today. After forty plus releases they are showing no signs of faltering, in both quality and imagination. But what marks the ilovesingles.club out isn’t that they pick the best new and existing talent around, but that they don’t charge for these releases.

 

 

The most recent, and forty fifth release sees Activia Benz’ founder and benevolent dictator Greg Feldwick AKA Slugabed returns to the fold, since last year’s hhhowllll. Like hhhhowllll Fuck Station Zero is a slow burner that sounds like Feldwick just plucked the elements out of the ether. The beats are lethargic and lysergic, the bass flows like a lyrical babbling brook, gently caressing our ears as the cool water rushes over our feet.

 

It’s been four years since Feldwick’s debut album Time Team on Ninja Tune, so let’s hope that its follow up is still in the pipeline. But if Feldwick has retired from long players, let’s hope that he still keeps releasing gentle bangers like this to fill the void!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bedroom troubadour SWAIN brings a friend along for the ride on new single

 

 

OK, so let’s cut to the chase, SWAIN writes and records lo-fi bedsit pop. It’s so DIY you can hear his floorboards creek during the songs. To some these imperfections would be annoying and distracting, but they are as important as the music itself. So far this year he has released a trio of EP’s, the most recent All My Friends Are Vegan and Complain When I Eat People. As the title might suggest, his lyrics have a tongue in cheek vibe to them.

 

 

Now he’s returned, a mere three days later with a new release, Psychic Sister. What marks this apart from his previous work is SWAIN is collaborating. His partner in crime is Natanjah Driscoll. Her vocals perfectly complements and contrasts the music equally. Opening with a stark bass string being plucked while Driscoll croons perfectly over it.

 

 

Very much like Caravaggio’s The Musicians, you feel like you are intruding on an intimate moment. You’ve opened the door the SWAIN and Natanjah are leaning in close by a microphone, dextrously using the guitar and their vocals to create something that is beautiful and daring. As you stand there like a lemon, you realise that your presence is now intricate to the recording and as you try and close the door quietly, it creaks and you are forever connected with the recording.

 

 

SWAIN’s brand of music isn’t for everyone, but his brazen talent and disdain for conventional recording techniques should be admired as much as his prolific release rate. I’m sure that by the time you finish reading this, he’ll have unveiled his latest opus upon an unsuspecting world. And this is what really matters more than field recordings and in-tune guitars!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oliver Wilde returns after an extended hiatus with new EP and threat of a new album too

 

 

It’s been two years since Bristol’s lo-fi psych downer pop troubadour Oliver Wilde released his last, and glorious, album Red Tide Opal in the Loose End Womb. In those fifty five minutes Wilde re-defined not only what an English guitar album could, but should be about. It sizzled with ideas, but most importantly it was back up with killer songs. Then he went quiet.

 

 

In the intervening years Wilde toured, wrote, recorded, but more worryingly was diagnosed with Cardiac Sarcoidosis. As he was finding out that his heart was scared, recording sessions were put on hold so he could make regular trips to hospital. Now these sessions has been completed and Long Hold Star An Infinite Abduction, a “long form EP”, and is set for release on his spiritual home Howling Owl Records.

 

 

These seven songs, eight if you count a bonus track, are just as powerful as anything Wilde’s previously released, but due to his hospitalisation there is a joyful vibe, almost euphoric at time, but under pinning everything is a cynical and embittered pang.

 

 

Echolalia kicks things off in fine form. Walls of delayed loops flood the speakers and slowly fade out as quickly as they appeared until a scratchy guitar and Wilde’s trademark woozy falsetto vocals make an appearance. Then the band kicks, each sounding like they’re playing a different song at a different speed. Delicious strings erupt and being order to the chaos. Wilde’s description for Echolalia was “Echolalia, the soft response to clean compartment ‘section-by’ sound columns tied to hard ones.Without veins of repetition, beautiful strings come miles to remind my agoraphobic open space to appease, and the band begins to play.” Blitch Scratch starts with gentle guitars and vocal, until it kicks off with flailing limbs and ravaged instruments. It also features fellow Howling Owl label mate EBU, along with Tara Clerkin, Silver Waves and MXLX as “The Hacked Singers”. Their inclusion helps lift Blitch Scratch to unparalleled heights and offers one of the stand out moments on the “long form EP”. The minute long outro is as exquisite as it is terrifying. Demonic sounding vocals a backed by baggy beats, giving the impression of an indie disco in hell. “‘Blitch Scratch’ is the sound the cardiac monitors play as I make bestest friends with ICD, the horse kick altruist.” Wilde explained.

 

 

Fade contains some of Wilde most evocative lyrical imagery on the EP. “We stayed up as the moon dials, In an ancient sleeping field” and “Go get the bed sheets, Some nice blankets, to sleep, The sun lays out all upset, Climbs into set, to unwind and rest” shows that he hasn’t left any of his early talent at painting both lurid and ambrosial pictures. Musically everything moves along nicely, there are not sudden jolts or juxtapositions of sound and texture.

 

 

It Was Nice to Have Met You closes Long Hold Star An Infinite Abduction in a subdued manner. Wilde said of it “‘(It Was Nice To Have Met You) is sad to listen to now, the great ironic apology not deserving or needed, the last hurdle of the longest tangent I ever wrote. Take it as it comes, like a good friend should.” These forty one words, along with this verse sum up the purpose of the song perfectly “We played dress up as shame, in our domesticated fame, Our cold read careful words, were turned back into dreams, Where no one can hear us in the, old shooting groves, Bow if you can hear me, or shake if no one’s in, Guess no ones in”.

 

 

On the Long Hold Star An Infinite Abduction Wilde is firing on all cylinders and challenging not just us, the listeners, but himself too. But there euphoria that permeates these songs. With confronting his illness, Wilde has confronted death and was able to move on and continue writing and recording. Rumour has it that he probably won’t tour this collection of songs, nor play them much when he does, but that’s fine. There are preserved here, forever in vinyl and on the internet, like mosquito’s trapped in amber.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No Dice Tapes want to get 2016 back on track with new compilation

 

 

2016 has been a mixed bag so far. Lots of celebrities and musicians have died unexpectedly. Leicester City won the Premier League showing that you don’t need to spend the GDP of a small country to be given a silver vase. Those amazing bods at No Dice Tapes have decided to draw a line under this and to try and make the rest of 2016 a sheer classic with the aptly titled 2016: the year all bad things went away and everything turned out to be fine.

 

 

Comprising of thirteen tracks from some of the most exciting and forward thinking bands around, 2016: TYABTWAAETOTBF is, as they eloquently put it “Here is a compilation of songs with no clear theme other than that they’re all really good”. And they are right. Nothing really links any of the song other than their brilliance.

 

 

Due to the nature of the recordings and bands the music jumps around from full on belters, loop-pop nuggets, lo-fi troubadours, DIY poets and heart-breaking laments. It’s this diversity that gives No Die Tapes and 2016: TYABTWAAETOTBF not only an edge over its peers, but its enjoyment. You aren’t really sure what’s going to come up next, but you are grateful when it does. The standout tracks come from Trust Fund, Garden Centre and Squeakeasy. Trust Fund build on their reputation of releasing honest knells about life in the twenty first century all wrapped up in a 60’s surf pop sheen.

 

 

Garden Centre is the new project of Max Levy AKA King of Cats. Since winding down KoC , Levy has been quiet and it’s exciting to hear what his new project is starting to sound like. Ultimately it’s similar to KoC, but there are enough subtle differences to keep us on our toes! Squeakeasy’s offering, Fanta Hunter, sounds like nothing else on 2016: TYABTWAAETOTBF. Fanta Hunter opens with backward loops, Casio beats, childlike lyrics and lo-fi charm. Basically it’s Sparks on a budget!

 

 

What’s more all the profits go to the amazing Manchester based Action for Trans Health. What more could you ask for? Great music that goes to a great cause. Let’s hope this compilation is the kick that 2016 needs to get itself back on track!

 

 

 

 

 

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Bedtime Stories showcases his classical side on new single

 

 

Earlier in the year French Witch House/Gothic Electronic producer Bedtime Stories released an album called Universes. It was forty six minutes of ethereal synths, laid-back hip-hop beats and everything was doused with a Neo-Gothic vibe. As you listened to the music you could almost see cobwebs forming on your speakers. Now he has returned with a new single Almighty Deities Kissing, but things have taken a slightly classical tilt.

 

 

Opening with luscious piano and haunting choral vocals, Almighty Deities Kissing swoons along for just over two minutes before is gradually peters out, just as delicately as it started. This is the perfect soundtrack to a Simon Sharma documentary on either the romantics or the renaissance. It’s just so epic that you need to be looking at a flawless work of art just to do the track justice.

 

 

While this isn’t in anyway Witch House, or Gothic Electronic, is it a captivating piece of work that contentiously sends shivers up and down your spine. What Bedtime Stories has effectively done is showcase his talents, not just as a producer and arranger, but as a musician. Songs like this don’t come along very often, and when they do you have to grab them with both hands and hold them close, much like artwork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Iglooghost unveils new side project. Laidback and quirky as! Business as usual then

 

 

Seamus Mal AKA Iglooghost has been a busy boy of late. Not only is he destroying speakers by releasing forward thinking electronic musings, but he’s winning over swaths of people with blistering live sets. Now Mal has a side project called Pyong Yang. As expected its pretty leftfield but bristles with clever productions and Mal’s trademark skewed world view.

 

 

Cat Eyes is a slow burner and never really gets out of second gear. This isn’t a dis on Mal as it works fantastically well, however if you were expecting some ear bleeping future bass you might be disappointed. Ultimately Cat Eyes sounds like a mixture of Prince and Tyler, The Creator jam sessions at four in the morning after a night out. You can almost see the dry ice oozing out of your speakers.

 

 

Whether Pyong Yang will become a full functioning project, or just a place where Mal can release stuff he’s made that doesn’t quite fit into his Iglooghost remint will remain to be seen. However if this just turns out to be his Barton Fink then that’s cool too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brazilian Rolando Bruno’s Cumbia psych via NYC’s Names You Can Trust

 

Sometimes you hear something and while it’s totally removed from your own background you absolutely get it. Brazilian guitarist Ronaldo Bruno started off playing punk, but then decided to explore Cumbia music. Cumbia is dance oriented music that is popular in South America. He took his knowledge of fuzz rock, and combined this with the Latin rhythms to create a hybrid. One on hand it is effectively Cumbia, but on the other it is psych fuzz infused rock.

 

 

Bruno recorded Marionetas himself using a backing track and looping his guitar over it. Once he had enough tracks, they were released through the Swiss label Voodoo Rhythm in 2011. Eventually the New York based label Names You Can Trust stumbled upon these recordings and remastered them. Now they are releasing the 7” single Supermercado Chino as the A-Side and Marionetas on the flip. Both tracks are filled with Bruno’s passion of guitar and love of layered madness.

 

Marionetas is a beautiful burst of audio sunshine that is as perfect at a BBQ as it is at work on a rainy Thursday afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bedsit pop just got better thanks to California’s SWAIN!

 

 

One thing about lo-fi music that helps sell it to the listener is its immediacy. Due to the nature of the recordings, usually cheap guitars recorded through cheap microphones, they have a ‘found’ or ‘field recording’ vibe to them. This added level of surface noise, be it floor boards creaking, neighbours talking, car alarms or even house mates banging about the noise, help the listener believe that the recordings have been made solely for their pleasure.

 

 

California’s SWAIN’s music falls into this category. Since February he has released three scratchly recorded EP that showcase not just his mastery of the guitar, but also his panache at song writing. Each of these nine tracks transports you to a place where SWAIN at arms-length regaling you stories of love loss and redemption.

 

 

On his latest EP All My Friends are Vegan and Complain When I Eat People, he’s upped his game. Everything is far more frenzied and immediate. There is a dirty grunge vibes that has hitherto be missing from his previous releases. Simple chord progressions are repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated until they’ve hypnotized you into submission. Thinkin Bout You is the stand out track on the EP.

 

Basically it’s a song about loss, but not in a ‘woe is me’ or ‘I’m so alone’. SWAIN is basically thinking about an past relationship/friendship, but so much time as past this is isn’t painful. The lyric “I’ve been thinkin bout you, do you think about me still?” sums everything up perfectly. The past still effects his emotions, but as he’s reminded of the past, he questions if they are thinking about him too. This is something that we’ve all thought, at one time or another, but rarely admit not only to ourselves, but to others. Through these times lines SWAIN is discussing the past, present and the future. Not bad for some bedsit pop eh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Loyle Carner: Bringing the south back without trap!

 

 

For the last couple of years my love of Hip-Hop has been renewed. There are many reasons factors for this, but mainly that there are artists out there making the kind of music I used to love as a kid, but sadly had slipped from my periphery. The Hip-Hop I loved when I was young wasn’t gangsta rap. Yes it was fun to put on but after the giggles at the profanity and macho boasts had faded there wasn’t a great deal to keep me interested. What I really liked was the DAISY Age/Back-Pack Rap stuff. The music was full of incredible jazz and soul samples, and while the beats weren’t as hard hitting as the gangsta stuff, what they were saying had far more impact. Then the Wu-Tang thing happened, which in a weird way combined the gangsta and the Back-Pack stuff, to me anyway, and I was at one with the universe, Hip-Hop speaking.

 

 

In 2014 a mixtape popped up in my feed. It was for an unknown rapper called Loyle Carner.  It was called A Little Late. I didn’t think a great deal but I pressed play. Since pressing play Carner’s brand of Conscious Hip-Hop has been with me. Last year he released two singles and did a track with Kate Tempest, another reason for my renewed love of Hip-Hop. Now he’s released his third single Stars and Shards.

 

 

Opening with a laid-back laconic guitar riff, until Carner’s vocals and drums kick in and then we’re off. Again it’s another slice of social commentary about a low-rent characters who feel as real as anything in Penguin Classics or that the RSC perform. As Stars and Shards continues the tension is raised through the combination of Carner’s wordplay, and the dextrous instrumentation. This is what Carner does better than most of his peers. He limits the elements in his songs, a few instruments and a ‘simple’ track. But through this less is more approach he makes the listener pay more attention to what is going on, rather than bombarding us with a thousand channels of beats, bass and blips and beeps. Through focusing us thus, we get the message/moral of his story quicker as we don’t have to fight over bass drops and ‘clever’ production techniques. As Carner says himself “Bringing the south back without trap”

 

 

Where Carner excels is when, through his exquisite wordplay, he puts us in the exact moment he’s describing. Whether we have seen the exact events take place is by the by, what is important is that we can relate to it. Either because we have all either seen or experienced similar. His unflinching social commentary marks him apart from his peers. Rumour has it there is an album in the pipeline later this year, and that is something to get VERY excited about. But as I’ve been saying for a long time Loyle Carner is one to watch, it looks like everyone is starting to wake up and pay attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sleeper Radio unveil comp that culls their collective lo-fi loves

 

 

Boston’s Sleeper Radio has a lot to answer for. Firstly they play the best in the ever expanding DIY/indie scene, and if you haven’t heard their live shows SHAME! Secondly they’ve just released the Sleeper 1 compilation and, I’m sure I’m not the only one, it’s all I’m playing. “But how good can a comp be?” I can hear you think (I’m not really like Professor X, but in this case I am). That’s easy true believer. It consist of twenty seven track. Yes I did say TWENTY SEVEN tracks. Each track is different from the one that proceeds and follows it. The music contained is straight up lo-fi jams, woozy pop songs, and introverted strum-a-thons and full on ear blistering rockers. What’s not to love, yeah?

 

 

Vundabar kick things off with an idea of how the Ren and Stimpy theme tune could have sounded, if it had been recorded by some kids form Philli. Current live sensations HINDS show that they can also deliver in the studio. Chugging guitar riffs duke it out with melodic melodies while Carlotta Cosials and Ana Garcia Perrote’s vocals act as mediators. Du Vide slow things down an make us do a bit of soul searching before the next maelstrom of guitars and drums starts up. Later the Orielles pop up and remind us why they’re slowly become our new favourite band before Midriffs suckpunch and pummel us into submission with a hi-energy lo-fi thrash out.

 

 

The standout tracks however are by Boston native Jake Rollins and London based Zooz. Regular readers will know that these are favourites of everyone at thisyearinmusic and it can only be a matter of time before they put out a split release, or form a supergroup Zooz Rollins. Rollins’ first track LSD follows on from this month’s Figure it Out. Its loud, brash and incredibly playable. His second song Bed Bugs (Thank You Bay State) is more of a diretribe/short story set to music. The music is lo-fi, sparse and jaunty that show’s another, hitherto unseen, side to his song writing. Zooz’s offering is last year’s fantastic Surf in the Storm. This slice of slacker surf pop sounds more relevant now than it did originally.

 

 

The comps real power comes from its timelessness. Any one of its twenty seven tracks could have been released anywhere in the last thirty years. At times it feels like this is a lost mixtape that was found in a junkshop or car boot lodged in a tape deck. The new owner of the tape deck decided to play it before wiping it. When it was played it unveiled eighty minutes eclectic indie/guitar pop, a-la the original Cambodian Rock compilation. However all the tracks were culled from current bands, but its fun to dream right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nathan Melja joins Ninja Tune’s Technicolour family

 

 

When a label gets to a certain size it realises that it can diversify from its original mission statement and create sub labels to cover everything else. One of these labels is Ninja Tune. I’m not going to re-word this to make me sound cool, rather than the rabid fan-boy that I am, but Ninja Tune is my favourite. Always has been and, probably, always will be. This means I’m not as subjective toward its releases as I should be, but they have released a lot of stuff over the years that if I hadn’t been so anal about them I probably would have missed. Nathan Melja is one of these artists. With the ink still drying on his Technicolour, remember those sub labels I mentioned earlier, Melja is yet to put anything out, but his debut No No No EP, is lined up for a May 13th release. No No No takes his over saturated minimal techno to new directions.

 

 

Opening with woozy synths and hypnotic samples until a wonky beat and pulsating bassline marches us to the nearest dancefloor by the scruff of the neck for the next few minutes. Whilst listening to No No No, hazy dancefloors, sticky bar areas, surely door staff and finally the first rays of a new day, making us squint as we walk outside all come to mind. At time it’s hard to work out if these are mine, or shared memories, but ultimately it doesn’t matter as the music rises above it all like an early morning ethereal fog on a cold morning.

 

 

After hearing this track, Melja should change the name of the EP from No No No to Yes Yes Yes!

 

 

No No No is released through Technicolour on May 13th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mastodon and Game of Thrones. Perfect combination!

 

 

As some of you will know Game of Thrones started up again last night. For those of you who haven’t seen the TV show or read the books, Game of Thrones is an epic saga set a medieval world where various families and individuals are fighting/scheming/duplicitously trying to become King of Queen of this world whilst trying to defeat an army of frozen dead/zombies, called White Walkers, from taking over the whole world. It’s pretty brutal and gory at times, but in a weird way it all seems justified. Basically Lord of the Rings with a bit of religion, loads of swearing and decapitations.

 

 

Each series musicians and actors join the rank and file of extras. It’s like a cooler Where’s Wally. Last year saw Prog-Metal band Mastodon join this illusive club. How could they not with a name like that right? They were part of the White Walker hoard that appeared near the dramatic end of the series. To mark this occasion, they wrote a song called White Walker for the inclusion of a free mixtape. The song proved to be a hit with fan so earlier this year they released a sweet double sided picture disc.

 

 

Musically it’s a departure from Mastodon’s face melting brand of hypnotic progressive metal. In the past intricate heavy riffs have been interspersed with lyrics about white wales, wolves, space and Russian Czars. White Walker on the other hand is a slow and sombre number that is built around drummer Brann Dailor’s haunting vocals. As the song progresses the intensity builds until it reaches a beautiful zenith and then the outro gradually starts.

 

 

If you haven’t seen Game of Thrones this video should get you up to speed for series 6!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bodega Shaman might have released 2016’s summer album

 

 

Over the years there are a few genres that thisyearinmusic hasn’t really covered. Reggae and R&B/Soul. There is no real reason for this apart from things that have been covered were slight more appealing at the time. Despite not being to back it up with reviews and features, we do listen to quite a bit of each. Not to the level when we can call ourselves connoisseurs or massively knowledgeable, but we do know what we do and don’t like. Today’s track is something that we DO like!

 

 

Bodega Shaman’s latest offering, the quasi-instrumental Soaring Phoenix is twenty two tracks, YES 22 TRACKS, of forward thinking laid back Hip-Hop infused, electronic Neo-Soul with jazz leanings. You might think “I don’t have time to listen to twenty two tracks!” but once you press play, you’re transported to a land where crisp beats mingle with pulpous bass and clever vocal samples and time seeps away. Most of the tracks are sub two minutes and due to the nature of the compositions, bouncy bass and rhythmic beats, they zoom past you.

 

 

At times the compositions sound frivolous, but it’s a mistake to feel like this. Nothing is slap-dash and aught is left to chance. The real power of these tracks is the space that Bodega created between the swaths of bass, beats and vocals. This space is what gives the tracks their movement and overall enjoyment!

 

 

As the summer is just about to hit, this is the perfect album for walks home in the sun, adhoc BBQ’s and impromptu parties. The music is non-aggressive, non-offensive and pro-fun. What’s not to like?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Death of Pop show off their softer side on their new glorious single Don’t Bother Me

 

 

The Death of Pop are on a roll! Since 2016’s has started they’ve brought in a ringer on bass, played some flawless gig, writing and recorded the exceptional Locomotive and recorded a cover of Memory Babe for the exceptional We’re All Boo’s comp, and they’ve hinted there is more in the pipeline.

 

 

The next of these pipeline tracks has just been released Don’t Bother Me. Instead of coming out of the tracks like a deranged greyhound, as they usually do, Don’t Bother Me takes its time to slowly build exquisite layers of guitars and drums, until an impeccable catchy chorus of “Don’t bother me, I’m still lost, Don’t bother me, ahhhhh-haaaaaaa” washes over you.

 

 

This change in pace is a subtle touch, but telling touch. Don’t Bother Me that shows that TDoP can do more than the savage sonic assault we have been recently used. Instead they’ve wrapped the melodies in a gossamer filigree that hugs us like a long lost friend, even though we’ve just met.

 

 

Currently TDoP have got us in Pavlovian frenzy every time they’re mentioned. Rumour has it this is going to carry on for the rest of the year. In Don’t Bother Me, TDoP sing “Do you know what you want anymore?” Yes, yes we do. More of this please!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Australian Swedish Electro Pop titans go all Eastern on new track

 

 

Fantastic Fantastic are, well, fantastic. Their brand of forward thinking propulsive electro pop has set them apart from their peers. Their compositions aren’t just chocked full of inventive ideas and stuio tracks, they are, but also rammed with deceptive hooks and melodies. Just listen to their last single Call Me if you want a better idea.

 

 

On their latest track, Neon Light, released part of Activia Benz’ fantastic ilovesingles.club saga, takes their blueprint, but somehow increases everything ten-fold. The beats are crisper, the bass throbs with power and everything crackles with pop majesty.

 

 

If any of this wasn’t enough, about a quarter of the way through Bakubaku Dokin pops up and delivers some flawless rhymes. Sadly I have no idea what they’re about, please don’t be anything against Human Rights, but they’re delivered with such conviction and poise that they are the stand out moment of Neon Light.

 

 

Rumour has it there is a long player in the pipeline and everyone at thisyearinmusic can’t wait for it to drop, if their previous releases are anything to go by!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dorset’s hidden heroes PoweredCows are about to release their opus. You have been warned!

 

 

Back in 2012 I went to a gig in a pub in Bournemouth with friends. It was just a load of local bands playing and given previous nights I was looking forward to it. I can’t remember the full line up, but a fledgling band was taking its first steps in to the live circuit. That band was PoweredCows. They were great and on the way home we chatted about seeing them again soon.

 

 

Fast forward four years to 2016. Whilst having a well needed cuppa today I saw that PoweredCows had released a new single PoweredCows from their forthcoming album Ways the Universe Could End. I pressed play and the next five minutes were a blur. So pressed play for a second time and again I’d lost another five minutes. We’re not talking X-Files pilot episode here, but due to the glorious noise that emanated from the speakers everything else faded into the ether.

 

 

Don’t Lie in the Sun is neo-revivalist-shoegazing. The guitars are big and woozy, the bass swoons all over the like a teenager walking to the bus stop after an exceptional first date and the drums cascade around you like lumps of hail.

 

Basically it’s amazing.

 

Basically it’s amazing.

 

Basically it’s amazing.

 

 

The lyrics, at first, wash over you but as you listen more they start to come to the forefront, until you can’t really hear the music at all. At first you think they are about the usual love, loss and rejection that all the best songs are about, but with a heavy lean on the pathos side. Then, after they have sunk in and got under your skin, they start take on new connotations. Is it about a breakdown of a relationship, losing something special or a bereavement? Personally I don’t want to know, but I think I have an idea.

 

 

Don’t Lie in the Sun is the first song that PoweredCows have released that fulfils the early promise that was on show in Bournemouth four years ago. 2014’s Laguna showcased how far they had progressed, but Don’t Lie in the Sun, and Ways the Universe Could End, are pushing their sound, and lyrics to new unchartered waters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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London’s Cat Videos look set to make a stir, but don’t try Googling them just yet.

 

 

Try Googling Cat Videos and see what comes up. Yup that’s right. Videos of cats. Some are funny, some are rubbish and others are sad. If you keep scrolling down you’ll eventually come across a London indie pop quartet. Sounding like Talking Heads being covered by a The Strokes and Two Door Cinema Club super group their music is full of angular riffs and stuttering drums. Needless to say its great music of a picnic in the park.

 

 

The only real downside to Cat Videos, apart from not being able to find them online that easily, is that so far in their career it’s all a bit 2-Dimensional. Yes the music is well written and arranged and the duelling guitars is a great touch, but lyrically we’ve heard it all before. But The Strokes never really pushed things forward lyrically did they?

 

 

It’s not all doom and gloom though. Cat Videos have recently been added to the BBC: Introducing The South playlist, which is rightly justified. Let’s hope that Cat Videos will flesh out their lyrics the same way they’ve fleshed out their sound, and eventually they’ll be the first result on Google. But if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to finish watching a video of cats failing to jump and getting stuck in vases…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Scattered Purgatory pull out all the stops on new ambient album on Guruguru Brain

 

 

Taiwan’s Scattered Purgatory have been releasing forward thinking Post-Rock since 2014. Instead of going down the Mogwai, 65daysofstatic and Mono route, the quiet/loud blueprint, they have opted to forge their own, ambient path on new album God of Silver Grass, released on Japan’s Guruguru Brain.

 

 

Their last album 2014’s Lost Ethnography of the Miscanthus Ocean, also released on Guruguru Brain, was chocked full of heavy riffs and hefty ideas. On God if Silver Grass everything has been subdued. The guitars are almost unrecognisable under layers of reverb and delay. The juxtaposition of these organic, yet heavily manipulated, sounds with the sub-zero synths gives everything a post-apocalyptical feeling of desolation, loneliness an regeneration.

 

 

Opening with Pao-P’u-Tzu, a 12 minute jaunt through dark chill-out, they are telling us “Oh you thought you’d be getting Ethnography II? Sorry to disappoint you, but we’ve found this whole different school of thought that we enjoy more. You’ll hear snippets of our old sound, but ultimately this is a totally different beast.” What’s even more remarkable is that after the initial shock that there aren’t any drums or catchy searing guitars, you find yourself being drawn in by, well, nothing. I don’t mean nothing in a John Cage way, far from it, but in between the dextrous guitar runs and bass throbs there is this level of synth/noise/effects that is nigh on impossible to ignore. When listening to the cassette version of God of Silver Grass it’s hard to tell where Pao-P’u-Tzu ends and Pathway Ghost starts, as it all merges into one via a droney throb.

 

 

Pathway Ghost is a totally different beast to its predecessor. Most notable because of its use of percussion and vocals. Don’t worry Scattered Purgatory haven’t gone pop, but the use of chanty vocals, coupled with a basic rhythmic beat does bring to mind images of sacrifice and pagan idolatry. But underpinning the whole song is a Vangelis-esque synth/guitar. It not only keep the song moving forward but also cements it in the not too distant future.

 

 

Title track God of Silver Grass closes the album with epic swaths of noise, confusion and ultimately pathos. Guitars wail, synths engulf us like Will-o-the-wisps while whispering their secrets and nonsense in our ears, trumpets from other realms play slowed down lurid versions of the last call. While this is happening deep bass rumbles on, totally oblivious to the rest of the band, but somehow bringing everything together. At twenty five minutes God of Silver Grass can take its time to get where it needs to be, and the song is better for its slow meted phrasing.

 

 

What Scattered Purgatory has effectively done is not only re-write, but re-define what Post-Rock can be in 2016. While it never unleashed gargantuan riffs of monolithic proportions, it does have subtle peaks and valleys.  Instead of using that guitar as its main weapon, Scattered Purgatory use a combination of trumpets and percussion to hammer home their message of alienation and redemption. This is chill-out for the Doom Generation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brighton quintet MØSS channel the spirit of 2008 on debut single

 

 

MØSS are new. So new in fact that they only have one song on their soundcloud. Who says thisyearinmusic doesn’t bring the ‘new’ music? This Brighton quintet consist of Luke (vox, synth and guitar), Nick (lead guitar), Balint (synth), Gavin (bass) and Declan (drums). There are elements of Habitats and Foals rolled up in an indie dream pop ball. On the weekend I managed to catch their thirty minute set as part of the Record Store Day event. I wasn’t blown away, but at the same time I didn’t hate it. There was something bubbling under the surface that was intriguing.

 

 

Their debut single, Pales Seas, was released on Saturday. After closing the set with it, it only seemed fair to check it out the next day. The main problem with this single version is it doesn’t give the band a decent account of themselves. Live Luke’s vocals has a power to it, when he sings you stop chatting and listen, here however this power and emotion has been lost. Then same can be said for Nick’s guitar. Live there appeared to be a free element of improvisation in places, but here its rigid and contrived.

 

 

The jury is still out on MØSS, as this is their debut track they need to iron out some issues in the studio, but they do hint at having something lurking in the background that could be very exciting. However at times Pales Seas sounds like a stripped back Two Door Cinema Club album track. While there isn’t anything wrong with this, you want a bit more than Topshop Pop don’t you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Squid shine at Brighton’s Record Store Day all dayer!

 

 

Yesterday was Record Store Day. For some of you these might just be some random words that have been thrown together, others might start grinning at the thought of the lovely things your bought yesterday and some of you might chide me for mentioning something that is now just a way for major labels to flog records no one asked for in the first place. Whatever your response it happened yesterday.

 

 

In recent years I have gotten up at the crack of dawn, jumped on a tube, stood outside a small shop in Notting Hill for hours only to walk away with a couple of hundred grams of plastic. This year however I adopted to do something different. I woke up at normal time, had a nice cuppa and at about 10.30 left for my nearest record shop. The plan was to meet with a photographer, observe and talk to people about their experiences and if I could get, the one record I wanted and one for a friend who doesn’t live near a record shop. When I got to the record shop, Resident in Brighton, the queue was pretty big. I decided to head to another shop I knew was partaking. Luckily this shop wasn’t busy at all and had plenty of stock, and luckily the one record I wanted. After buying this and talking to the shop owner, I went back to Resident. It was now about 11:15. The queue hadn’t really moved and was as long as it was before. After meeting up with the photographer we spent a good couple of hours chatting to people about their purchases and how they felt about the day.

 

At half one I left the photographer as our job was done, plus the weather had turned and we were wet and cold from a freak hail shower. He was staying out with friends, but was going to take more pictures of he saw people with purchases in pubs. I, on the other hand was going to an all-day gig. The line-up was full of 20 of the best and most diverse Brighton bands. Needless to say I had a great time and it was the perfect antidote to the somewhat crass and over commercialised morning. I won’t name all the bands I saw and how much I enjoyed them all, but for different reasons, but I will just mention one band that I really engaged with. Squid.

 

 

Squid are a quartet that combines jazz, post-rock, rhythmic indie and dance elements to create music that pulsates, crackles and fractures why it challenges your conception of what music should be. Basically they are a post-rock version of the Portico Quartet. During their thirty minute set Squid showcased not just their musicianship and ability at arrangement. This is showcased on their most recent song Perfect Teeth. A slow burning instrumental full of breaks that flaunt their capacity for improvisation. It’s one of the best songs of the year so far!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Death of Pop team up with The Blog That Celebrates Itself for its Boo Radley compilation

 

 

The Boo Radley’s are one of my favourite bands. EVER! There was some whimsical that set them apart from other bands when I was growing up. However, like a lot of people, my first introduction to the band was Wake Up Boo. You know that song with the happy guitars and bouncy rhythm and catchy chorus, that is actually, well, bleak? When I first heard it I liked it, but wasn’t sold. However I must have liked it enough to ask for the album as a birthday present. To judge the album by that single is to judge the England team because Francis Jeffers played for them once. Just below the surface Wake Up brims and bubbles with psych ideas and inventive word play. Soon I had all their albums and I realise how important they are.

 

 

Now let’s fast forward about 15 years. The Blog That Celebrates Itself has commissioned an album full of Boo’s covers called We Are All BOO´s. Covering the bands career from their debut 1990 Ichabod and I up until their flawless 1993 shoegazing epic Giant Steps. As expected the bands in included on this comp are the crème de la crème of the current indie/shoegazing from across the globe. Duelectrum rub shoulders with Heaven while Jett Brando have a nice chat with Stella Diana about delay pedals.

 

 

The stand out track on the album is The Death of Pop’s take on Memory Babe. The original is a fast paced woozy shoegazing affair, with flourishes of psych. The middle 8 whips around you like Willo-o’-the-wisp and the face melting severity of the guitars on the chorus proves that punk wasn’t for nothing. The Death of Pop’s version however feels like a totally different beast. Opening with warm acoustic guitars and crisp vocal harmonies. There is a slight holiday feeling to it. Whilst listening to Memory Babe, you can almost imagine yourself on a patio or veranda watching the last rays of the sun set while you are serenaded by local musicians that is until the outro kicks in a gentle maelstroms of psych guitars engulf your ears. The beauty of this track is that it strips away all the noise and confusion of the original, but what we are left with is pure heart felt emotion. It’s the most striking track on the comp as instead of trying to out delay/drone/muscle the original songs, The Death of Pop have tapped into what it’s about and executed something that delivered on all levels.

 

 

The only real downside is there wasn’t more tracks from their underrated debut Ichabod and I, or non-album tracks I Want a Rainbow Nation and Sunfly, but this, in all fairness, is petty nit-picking on my behalf, as the actual songs covered showcase the bands depth and diversity. If you are expecting to find covers of Wake Up Boo, Find the Answer Within and Ride the Tiger, this isn’t the album for you. However if you want to hear reinterpretations of their early shoegazing, noise-pop material then this comp will find a very happy home on your harddrive and a very lazy day you will have!

 

 

The full tracklisting is:

 

 

  1. 93MillionMilesFromTheSun-Kaleidoscope
  2. Duelectrum-Lazy Day
  3. The City Gates-Towards the Light
  4. Did You Die-The Finest Kiss
  5. Lava Divers-Does this Hurt
  6. Heaven-Firesky
  7. Stella Diana-Lazarus
  8. Seven Tin Stars-Barney (…and Me)
  9. Juvenile Juvenile-Wish I Was Skinny
  10. Jeff Brando-Spaniard
  11. The Death of Pop-Memory Babe
  12. Fuffytails-Aldous
  13. 93MillionMilesFromTheSun-Foster’s Van

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quintet WE-ARE-Z are our outsider bet to make 2016 the year of Wonky Pop!

 

 

WE-ARE-Z write songs in the same way that Camus and Satre looked at the world. While we may see table as a device to put cups of tea and letters on while having a little sit, they might have seen a device that the weight of the world can rest upon without cracking. The same can be said about WE-ARE-Z. They don’t see a relationship as a collection of intimate moments between two people, but continued stories serialised at intermittent intervals, with each moment having a beginning middle and end. This is what their latest opus Easy feels like to us.

 

 

Opening with woozy synth sways, chugging guitars and choppy beats Easy inspires a confident and arousing manner, but when the introspective and soul searching lyrics kick in you realise very quickly this isn’t your usual brand of guitar bothering rawk. Part of WE-ARE-Z’s charm is probably their disdain for convention. Nothing is as you’d expect it and just when you think you know what’s going to happen the opposite happens, or at times nothing at all. This disdain probably comes from their inception. The fact that they call their music Wonky Pop should be enough to make you fall in love with this quintet!

 

 

Forming after impromptu jam sessions in bass player Marc “Archie” Arciero’s flat after heavy nights out. You can almost hear the conversations that started the band “I love this track. I bet I can play along with it. Where is that bass?”, “This would have been really great if David Byrne had written the lyrics it instead” and “It’s a shame Jacques Brel never released a post-punk album” Where else can you find something that sounds equally like Men at Work, XTC and Serge Gainsbourg, while never sounding like any of them at all!

 

 

WE-ARE-Z give you faith in everything. Their music is wonderful and idiotic. Somehow they managed to combine contrasting influences and schools of thought to create lurid soundscapes that would be out of place in either a David Lynch dream sequence and a full on Disney song and dance number. This is one band that isn’t picking the easy path, but who wants to do things the easy way?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brighton newbies Nova are off to a good start, but lets hope their name also isn’t an allegory for their career

 

 

New bands are great. When you listen to a new band for the first time you run an emotional gambit. Like, hate, anxiety, angst and apprehension all take control. After a few seconds you know whether you want to continue and by the end you know if you’ll be playing it again. All these feelings and emotions, plus a slew of others, I went through when listening to Nova, the latest in a long list of new Brighton bands.

 

 

It’s hard to judge Tattoos fairly as it’s more of a rough guide for what’s the come, than it is full song. When listening to it you can spot the areas that are marked for drum fills, guitar solo and soaring orchestral strings. But what is on show is Nova’s ability to write emotive lyrics that get you where it hurts and to tell a concise story without being too obvious about the overall themes and stories.

 

 

Despite the scratchiness of this recording there is something that is transfixing and beguiling. Under tinny guitars and lyrics filled with renunciation Nova grab you in a primal way. You can’t look away and when you do you can feel it boring into you. This is an impressive thing to do so early on in their career. The only worry is that when they re-record Tattoos everything that makes it remarkable will be washed away and they’ll just sound like every other band.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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John J Presley offer an interesting take on a classic song

 

 

When I first heard John J. Presley a few years ago, I commented to a friend that he sounded like a mixture of Nick Cave and Tom Waits, so his new track is no surprise. The only real surprise is why has it taken him so long to record and release it?

 

 

The main difference between Waits’ version and this is that Presley has slowed it down. At first this sentence doesn’t make sense, given that the original was never played at breakneck speed, but Presley’s version is slower. At firs this sounds jarring and you hope it’ll speed up, but after a few listens you get it and realise that the space between the notes and vocals is transfixing and adds something that Waits never had. Malice.

 

 

While Presley makes this cover his own, it never eclipse the original. This isn’t a unexpected as Waits’ 1980 version is a classic. However given Presley’s vocal range and penchant for the blues, this could have been something very special indeed.

 

 

Tour Dates
April 20 – The Shacklewell Arms, London
May 24 – Indo, London
July 25 – Golden Slippers at Blacks Club, London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Boston’s bedroom troubadour returns with new song and bigger sound

 

 

It feels like eons since we’ve had something new from Bostonite Jake Rollins, but in fact it is actually thirteen months since his debut album was released on New York’s 80N7 records. Now he’s returned with a new song Figure it Out for Memorials of Distinction’s aptly named Sentimental Journey compilation. While this is classic Rollins, it is also a departure from his astonishing debut album Spend A Few, Make A Few.

 

 

Previously Rollins was the King of Betsit-Pop. His songs were full of scratchy guitars, woozy vocals and the kind of lo-fi production values that everyone at thisyearinmusic loves. From the muffled looped intro, you realise that you aren’t in Kansas, or Boston anymore. On Figure it Out however everything is clean sounding and there is a majestic pop sheen to the proceedings. Lyrically Figure it Out is a step forward too. In the past he’s used quiet introspection to tell his stories of love, loss and redemption. Now Rollins sounds more confident and, dare I say, brash. What’s more it all sounds a like Suede circa Coming Up era. Never a bad thing.

 

 

Let’s hope that this is the opening drop of rain before the monsoon of new material. Rollins is a definite talent, but he needs to release the album that backs up his early praise and promise. Giving the quality of this new track he’s not only figured it out, but managed to capture it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hotei returns with another slice of big dumb fun!

 

 

You probably know Hotei’s music and don’t realise it. If you’ve ever seen Kill Bill then you already know is work. Remember that track with the massive retro beat and incendiary guitar riffs? It was probably played as Uma Thurman cut her way through an unending stream of bad guys before she could get to their boss and another name on her list. Yeah? Cool! That was Hotei. Well since then he’s toured the world, recorded and released seven albums and is has just dropped his latest single, Move It featuring Richard Z. Krupse. You know, him from Rammstein and Emigrate.

 

 

Move It perfectly fills the void for fun massive riffed, big beated rock. Hotei and Kruspe aren’t trying to be subtle, or clever with the juxtaposition of the music/guitars/vocals. It just is what it is. A load of fun. Each riff is are more devastating than the last and by the halfway point you are disoriented and thankful for the slight reprieve that Kruspe’s vocals give. While this doesn’t have the same impact as Hotei’s earlier work, it is just as enjoyable. Do yourself a favour today. Indulge in three minutes of riff rock majestry!

 

 

Move It is out now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Valeur d’usage Records has teamed up with FTOR for their third release

 

 

In recent years musicians and record labels have had to come up with interesting ways to package their products. Some have gone down the route of limited edition covers designed and created by the musicians themselves. Others have opted for heat sensitive covers. Some have gone down the route of releasing art prints with downloads, and this year Scottish post-rock group Outblinker decided to use broken watches in custom made boxes instead (this mirrors the art work perfectly). One French label, Valeur d’usage Records, has gone one step further.

 

 

For their third release, FTOR’s La T album, Valeur d’usage have packaged the four suite forty five minute CD by the experimental drone artist in a concrete container. Let’s just let that sink in for a minute. A concrete container. The dimensions of this container are unknown, but this what they had to say about it:

 

 

The T pattern is made of three main ratios: height and diameter (15/10), two different widths with spout or handle (22/21), handle and diameter of the central orifice (11/5,5). These three fractions define T-scale intervals. Combining them systematically yields fifteen positive fractions, including six fractions containing two of the six numbers from the three main relations, i.e. seven main intervals (between the root and the six fractions) and seven secondary intervals: a scale with fourteen intervals, i.e. fifteen degrees.

 

 

Valeur d'usage Records

 

 

So reading between the lines, La T is a musical and mathematical interpretation of a teapot that was created last year by the artist FCK. The concrete packaging pays hommage to the inception of this project. The teapot was measured and these proportions were used to set both the pitch intervals as well as the musical events and durations of the four stuites. Given that the sole picture we have of it has nothing be base height or width, it’s unsure whether this is a small item or not. However judging by the picture, this is something that wouldn’t be out of place in your local garden centre or boutique designer.

 

 

The sad thing about this release, is that the most interesting thing about it is the packaging. Throughout the forty five minutes, La T never really does anything. Yes the music is pleasant and the tones are polite and cordial, but it never deviates from the opening note of each track. This is the perfect soundtrack for anything that you need to concentrate on. Essay writing/studying, working with headphones at the office, yoga, preparing and cooking a big meal, reading, self meditation and washing up. The music was originally commissioned for a soundtrack an installation from ceramist’s FCK.

 

 

But there is not enough variation and fluctuation of sound for me personally. If you were walking around the installation and this played it would enhance the experience, but without the art it kind of doesn’t work. A reason for this is there are no gentle valleys and subtle peaks of music/noise, it’s just constant. While I might be missing the point here of skilfully arranged complex nuances, it feels like a slightly missed trick not to change the inflection during each composition. Yes I understand that this is meant to be played as a whole, it’s about the completed journey instead of detours and shortcuts, but after a while it all blurs into one and you have no idea what track you are actually listening to. And edited vinyl release would work better as you’d have the surface noise of record making each listen a singular individual experience.

 

 

La T is available through Valeur d’usage Records now for instant digital downloads, but the physical copies will be shipped mid June.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Moon Bounce joins the club we all want to be members of. Activia Benz!

 

 

Corey Regensburg AKA Moon Bounce has been making forward thinking music for a few years now. His music is immediately recognisable due to its incendiary beat, R&B leanings and overall fun/tongue in cheek themes and lyrics. Regensburg has unleashed his latest opus, Wingman, onto an unsuspecting world.

 

 

Wingman is that unusual track that not only lives up to the title, but the expectation connected to the artist in question. Regensburg has created a track that is part banger, part life lesson. Anyone who has ever had the unfortunate experience of being a wingman knows it’s a horribly degrading and single serving feeling. Luckily Regensburg fills the vocals with pathos, rather than depression.

 

 

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to regular readers, but Wingman was released through those beat maniac’s Activia Benz as part of their ridiculous ilovesingles.club. Yet again they’ve made the right choice with adding Regensburg to their roster of the best established and up and coming producers in the world today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kwake Bass proves why he’s the one of the hottest drummers in the world with his debut mixtape

 

 

When Kwake Bass released this mixtape a few weeks ago I umm-ed and arr-ed whether to write about it, but I decided that I needed more time to digest it. After playing it on a semi constant basis since then, now feels like the perfect time. One of the factors for this change of heart is that he was part of Kate Tempest’s band when she recorded the exquisite Brand New Ancients album and was part of her live band for the Everybody Down tour. “But those albums came out in 2014 and the tour finished last year mate!” I can hear you say “Why bring that up now?” Well, dear reader, the answer is simple. Tempest’s debut novel The Bricks That Built The Houses has just been published, and it tells the complete Everybody Down story. Imagine that the Everybody Down album is the trailer for The Bricks That Built The Houses. The main characters are introduced and we get the idea of the story, but the allegory’s and themes haven’t been full explained. Sorry, I got carried away, this isn’t about Tempest, its about Kwake Bass!

 

 

The KwAke BaSs MiXtApE is twenty six minutes of some of the tightest drumming you’ve heard for a long time, and this is juxtaposed with loose electronic experimentation and sublime sampled loops. Opening with a self-referential tag “Kwake!”, that also pop’s up again and again throughout the MiXtApE. This helps sections and suites seamlessly blend into each other and gives the piece a cohesive feel. There is a slightly surreal and lurid vibe too. But unlike a lot of surrealism, the KwAke BaSs MiXtApE is grounded in the real world thanks to the beats, thus heightening its lurid feel and separating himself from his peers. Throughout the mixtape there are vocal samples from tracks that are clearly close to Bass’ heart. Dub roasts sit comfortable on top of ethereal siren-esque wailing vocals. It shouldn’t work, but it does, perfectly. Samples from 90’s video games are also thrown into the mix with wild abandon. Street Fighter II’s iconic “Yoga Flame” shout crests hard hitting beats and delicate piano riffs, to create something that is familiar, yet totally new and forward thinking at the same time.

 

 

What KwAke BaSs MiXtApE shows is that Bass does not only have the skills to pay the bills through his drumming, but he also has the scope and vision needed to create vast sprawling soundscapes. Let’s at least another hope for another MiXtApE soon, but also that proper long player is in the pipeline, as Bass is too gifted to leave us with this sole solo effort!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oliver Wilde returns with another giddy psych pop sit down classic!

 

 

Since 2014’s lusciously ambrosial Red Tide Opal in the Loose End Womb Oliver Wilde has been like a phantom haunting me musically. Everywhere I go and almost everything I listen to I can feel and hear him, permeating through the songs pores and drenching me in a cool psych pop spray. Thankfully Wilde has now returned with a glorious new song Bifida and it’s as if he’s never been away.

 

 

Bifida opens with a black and white laconic guitar strum before drums, bass and woozy guitars come streaming out of your speakers in technicolour. Hypnotic kaleidoscopic rhythms form tesseracts of sound that are both two and three dimensional at the same time. As Bifida meanders its giddy and whimsical way along you realise that Wilde is almost at the peak of his powers and everything he has released, thus far, has been sublime and majestic.

 

 

After a few listens, as always happens with Wilde, is you start to notice the lyrics more and more. At first it doesn’t really make much sense, but after repeat listens phrases and snatches of words drift by you like faces in a dream. Lyrics like “No now nights wise owls, build us in some meaning, Such eloquence, such a beautiful evening, The Keepsakes are leaving, so precious and just” and “But were cut from the recurring dreams, Where my demons drink kerosene, No body knows why they’ve fire to breathe, But you do well to return in one piece, Happy as can be” say so much, but give up none of Bifida’s hidden secrets and codes.

 

 

Rumour has it that album three will be released this year, after twelve months of touring and writing and rehearsing. If Bifida is anything to go by we are in for a treat as Wilde and co march on, following their own path, but leaving technicolour trails everywhere they go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RSD just got a bit more interesting thanks to the Velvet Hands

 

 

It’s getting near that time of year when music fans either love or loath. Record Store Day. I’m not going to get into the whole debate about it, but I will say these few things. Firstly what started as something to help indie labels shift some of their stock in a fun way, has been co-opted by the major labels. Instead of interesting split singles and missed albums having a day to shine we have list that is full of pointless re-issues and inane one offs. Saying that, if someone goes in and buys an Aerosmith re-issue and happens to pick up something from a small DIY, likes it and goes back the next week to buy something else, then isn’t that the whole point? Getting people who don’t normally venture into records buying and listening to records?

 

 

Right, that’s enough of the cynicism and naysaying. If you look through the RSD list you will find some releases that are worth getting excited about. One of these releases is by The Velvet Hands. Never heard of them? That doesn’t matter. Nor does it matter that they are a quartet. And them coming from Cornwall means nothing either. All that really matters is that Trains is a fun slab of fuzzy indie pop, played for a sake of playing it, rather than to fulfil a recording obligation.

 

 

Yes it does scream turn of the century indie more than it does contemporary social commentary, but that’s fine as it’s a fun track and sometimes you just need a bit of fun in your life. The Velvet Hands’ career is ahead of them, and if they continue to release songs like this, they shouldn’t get derailed any time soon!

 

Trains is released April 16th through Easy Action Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t worry! DITZ are your new favourite band!

 

 

Remember these names Callum Francis, Anton Mocock, Caleb Remnant and Myles Waring. Individually this might not mean much, but collectively they are DITZ. DITZ are a new band from Brighton. They are so new, that until this week they hadn’t released anything. Thankfully this has now changed. Their debut single as we all know is named after the actor who played Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter saga, Rupert Grint.

 

 

Opening with a droney guitar that slowly mutates, through delay and feedback into a majestic and hypnotic riff. Form this point DITZ and Rupert Grint shift gear and really let rip. Francis’ vocals are somewhere between Mark E. Smith, Beck and Eddie Argos and underpins a lo-fi jangly Motorik Sonic Youth sounding monster of a track. Throughout its six minutes it skews and stutters all over the shop, like a Saturday drunk on the high street, but unlike the drunk it knows exactly what it’s doing and where it should be going.

 

 

If their debut opus is anything to go by, DITZ are definitely a band to keep your earballs on. Rumour has it that there is more of this in the pipeline, along with some live shows in the summer. I think we’ve all just found our new favourite band!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ben Chatwin returns with two minutes of captivating modern classical

 

 

Since dropping the moniker Talvihorros, Ben Chatwin has been pushing his modern classical composition deeper into experimental and slight droney avenues. Last year’s The Sleeper Awakes, released through Village Green Records, proved this. Using H.G. Wells as a back drop he create a selection of music that was chilling and ambrosial in equal measure. But now he has returned with a new album Heat and Entropy, and his first offering has us reaching for the light switch and duvet in equal measure.

 

 

Inflexion sounds somewhere between Cristobal Tapia de Veer’s genius Utopia soundtracks, Mogwai on Les Revenants mode and a slowed down creepy Yann Tiersen demo. The melodic chimes are underpinned by haunting swells of synth and eerie bass thuds. The octopod cover is fitting, as anyone who has ever watched them move and swim can vouch. They move elegantly through murky depths, vanishing when they think danger is near, only to re-appear at the opportune moment. This is what Inflexion does. It slowly makes itself known and mesmerises you with its chiming beauty, then suddenly it reaches a sucker filled arm at out and the terror freezes you.

 

 

While Inflexion doesn’t give a great deal away of what Heat and Entropy will eventually sound like, and it leaves more questions than answers, it is safe to say that Chatwin’s brand of dystopian chamber music is as infectious as it is unsettling. More of the same please!

 

 

Heat and Entropy is released July 29th through Ba Da Bing Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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