Phlask come back with an EP that makes you yearn for a time when all you cared about was Sensible Soccer and staying out late on the weekends
Last year California’s Phlask released a series of singles that made everyone at thisyearinmusic sit up and take notice. They were brilliant, but in an outsider art kind of way. Each song had the feeling of a found object, that had been subverted to a purpose that wasn’t originally thought of when it was designed and built. The music was a hybrid of rock, but with elements of noise, comedy and jazz through in for good measure. Now they’ve returned and their new EP, 40%, shows that the best is yet to come!
Timid is anything but its title. Instead of unassuming muzak, what we get is a barrage of feedback and drum beats. Paul Bunyan sounds like the Beach Boys having a bash at garage rock. The pop hooks are there, but everything has been doused in a lo-fi charm that belies its overall punch. Monday Patchouli is the sound of a band experimenting, and improvising, with guitar pedals. There is a regimented beat holding everything together, but the effects give everything a watery, filmy, vibe and ends with a Withnail & I sample. What’s not to love?
Earthworm is the standout track on the EP. Kicking off with a Bill Hicks samples, it quickly progresses into a rhythmic guitar riff, before some absurdist lyrics remind us that the world is fun and full of wonder. The beat it pounding and keeps everything moving forward while the music gets filled with more and more animosity and venom. The final track, Hair, is a future shoegazing classic. Spiraling guitars engulf you while effects and synths give you a feeling of moving before a malevolent guitar kicks in and reminds you that easy listening this is not!
What 40% proves is that Phlask are not one trick pony’s. They are very capable of delivering an EP that is as diverse as it is terrifying. They are the new Butthole Surfers, but mixed a retro pop sheen and that gif you saw today and loved.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Knife Liibrary hath returned!
Five years ago an album was released. It was an independent release that was limited to 200 LP’s and about a million downloads. It featured mournful piano workouts and confessional lyrics. The majority of the world missed it, but those who did hear it were changed. It was an album of power and majesty. It was a dark wonder it was Drowners by Knife Liibrary.
Knife Liibrary is the nom de plume of Matt Loveridge, he of MXLX, Fairhorns, Gnar Hest and Team Brick. His music is always visceral, self-depreciating and loosely based around the Croatoa Institute, an organisation whose origins are discussed on Fairhorns’ 2016 cryptic opus Committee XIV. But “What does any of this have to do with anything?” I can hear you ask, Knife Liibrary is back, with another record, Relentless Hammer, full of gritty bittersweet laments about modern living.
So far the only track that has been released is Drowned a Bit But of the Water Screaming “Fuck Right Off” and it’s business as usual. Distressed piano kicks things off, before Loveridge’s layered vocals start wailing and bemoaning. As on previous Loveridge releases the production and arrangement is second to none. As the song progresses it builds the tension and atmospherics through an almost never ending rising piano, which slowly gets faster and faster. Two thirds of the way through the song abruptly stops, then after a few bars of ambient, and ad-hoc, noise, it starts up again, but this time the melody has changed and everything is jarring and discordant until a wonderful outro closes the piece.
Relentless Hammer is released on 8th April
The Answer release a single that goes back to their cultural roots
Ireland’s The Answer are riding a wave. Last year they released an album, Solas, that was as ambitious as it was melodic. It contained the song In This Land, which has now been released as a single. It was about being in a band, getting local, then national success and moving away, returning. Althought the song is set in Ireland, it is full of the characters that anyone who has ever been involved in a local music scene will recognise. Some make you laugh, some make you cry and other will leave you thinking “Um, are they talking about me here”.
Singer Cormac Nesson describes it “The song is about growing up in Northern Ireland and the sense of cultural identity that such an upbringing spawns. It’s a very colourful and wonderful place, at times contradictory, at times tragic but always unique and oh so memorable. It’s something we’re all very proud of; our little land has been responsible for its fair share of heroes, criminals and stars!” All of this come across through erudite lyrics, dextrous playing and a sense of arrangement that would make Van Morrison happy.
While The Answer might not be everyone’s cup of tea, they are excellent at what they do. At times you kind of want them to push the envelope, both sonically and musically, but In This Land is a great introduction to a band that have more to offer than a first listen might lead you to believe….
Django Django transform GULP into a delicious slice of woozy pop!
Wow! Just wow is the only real response after listening to Django Django’s remix of Gulp’s Search For Your Love. Gulp is made up of Lindsey Level, Guto Pryce and Gid Goundrey, but there is a rag-tag bunch that contribute when needed too, giving the project a free flowing vibe, which complements the music.
Search For Your Love is a continuation of Gulp’s 2014 album Season Sun, but instead of resting on their laurels, Gulp have pushing their musical boundaries. Everything have as cinematic essence to it that oozes danger and heartache. There is also a 1970’s sheen to the production, making it hard to know when the song was actually recorded. Is this is new band, or have the tapes been hidden in a studio, like The Dragons,? But it’s the remix that Django Django delivered that is the real show stopper. It sounds like Duane Eddy has collaborated with Goldfrapp in the early 1990’s while Andrew Weatherall produces. The sound of the past is present, but everything has a contemporary pop sheen.
Search For Your Love is out now through O
Another slab of gypsy swing majesty from Jorge’s Hot Club
Jorge’s Hot Club are a breath of fresh air. Their brand of gypsy swing is infectious. For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of witnessing their barnstorming live sets Jorge’s Hot Club pilfer pop culture for its ripest musical apples to re-interrupt it to their DIY gypsy punk vibe. In the past Disney classics like King of the Swingers and Everybody Wants to Be a Cat have been put through Jorge’s musical mangle. Now they’ve turned their attention of pop music from the 1930’s.
Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen was originally a hit for the Andrew Sisters in 1938. Loosely translated to Mean That You’re Grand, the song is about trying to woe a partner by flattering them. The chorus sums this up “Bei mir bist du schon, you’ve heard it all before, but let me try to explain, Bei mir bist du schon means that you’re grand, Bei mir bist du schon, it’s such an old refrain, and yet I should explain, It means I am begging for your hand”, but it’s in the delivery that Jorge and co really sells its message.
2017 is looking like the year the gypsy swing really tries to crossover into the mainstream media, after bubbling along under the surface. Through the rise of the Post-Modern Jukebox the genre is starting to reach a bigger audience, but what separates Jorge’s Hot Club from their peers is their wild abandon, their ability to shred and their ability to turn even the most serious subject matter into something that makes you want to dance!
Coma Queens = short catchy lyrics + spiky melodies
A punk three piece works. It’s a fact. There is something about the mix of stripped down guitars, visceral vocals and a driving rhythm section that makes it hard to ignore. Michigan’s Coma Queens are the latest band to capitalise on this. On their recent self-titled EP, they’ve recorded and released four songs that are full of vigour and passion.
The stand out track is It’s You. Its ninety seconds of pop-punk perfection. With lyrics like “I’d tell you that I love you but you wouldn’t believe me anyway, Even though I just wanna be with you all day, Believe me when I tell you I’ll always be true, I never thought I could fall in love with a girl like you. Honey it’s you. When I go to sleep baby I only dream about you, I hope you never leave me honey I don’t ever want you to. Believe me when I tell you I’ll always be true, I never thought I could fall in love with a girl like you. Honey it’s you”It’s hard not to fall under Coma Queens’ spell!
Laura White is a name you might want to remember…
Imagine the scene, your at a Northern Soul night, the dance floor is dark and hazy, and suddenly a thumping beat kicks in, you go through your memory banks and can’t place it, but you dance on. In fact you dance as if your life depended on it. At the end of the song you traverse your way through the dancefloor to the DJ booth and ask “Mate, what was the last record?” the DJ gives you a sly smile and says “Laura White-That Girl”. You blink and look bemused. “Who?” you ask “You’ll know her soon enough” he replies before playing another banger and you are drawn to the dancefloor. When you wake up the next day you remember Laura White and play this as loud as you can take, and it all comes back.
That Girl is one of the best Northern Soul tracks to come out in recent years. The opening salvo break beats could have been recorded in any of the major production powerhouses over the past 50 years. White’s vocals have a classic vibe, but are grounded in 2017. And the backing track is to be embraced and adored. There are hints of Winehouse, but doesn’t do either artist any justice. White has her own thing going on, but there is that Winehouse ‘classic’ vibe to it. Basically White is that girl!
The Painted Door will be released 10th February through iluvlive Records
L.A. Witch ooze cool. As corny as that sounds it’s true. Before even hearing their music, they look like girls you would want to hang out with. Their thrift stool vibes and ‘take no prisoners attitude’ is enough to tell you that they mean business. And then you hear them…. The world starts to skew horizontally, everything goes into slow motion and you are captivated. The elegant ragged beauty of their songs belies their collective power at melody and hooks.
Latest single Brain sounds like Donita Sparks and Wanda Jackson rolled into one covering the Velvet Underground at the Brown Derby on a Thursday night. But their music is much larger in scope. L.A. Witch conquer up the feeling of early evening sound checks, hazy sunlight drifting through dusty windows, a drink in the sun after finishing work, an stolen laugh as you cycle past a couple, catching the eye of someone special in a crowded room, the threat of violence during a incendiary gig, and all of it being captured in beautiful Kodachrome.
Brain appears in L.A. Witch’s debut album, which has all the hallmarks of being the must have slow burning psych album of the year.
Here are L.A. Witch’s upcoming fixtures:
See L.A. Witch live:
13th Feb – BE Bruxelles, Le Chaff
14th Feb – UK Manchester, Night and Day
15th Feb – UK Bristol, Crofters Right
16th Feb – UK Glasgow, Broadcast
17th Feb – UK Leeds, Temple of Boom
18th Feb – UK London, The Lexington
19th Feb – UK Brighton, Hope & Ruin
20th Feb – FR Le Havre, Mac Daid’s
21st Feb – DE Köln, Sonic Ballroom
22nd Feb – DE Berlin, Kantine am Berghain
23rd Feb – DK Copenhagen, Stengade
24th Feb – SE Gothenburg, Skjulet
25th Feb – SE Malmö, Grand Öl & Mat
26th Feb – DE Hamburg, Hafenklang
27th Feb – DE Frankfurt, TBA
28th Feb – DE Tübingen, Epplehaus
1st Mar – FR Lyon, Le Sonic
2nd Mar – FR Strasbourg, Laiterie
3rd Mar – FR Rennes, Ubu
4th Mar – FR Paris, Paris Psych Fest
5th Mar – CH Vevey, Studio 603
6th Mar – CH St. Gallen, Schwarzer Engel
7th Mar – CH Lugano, Il Casotto
8th Mar – IT Torino, Blah Blah
9th Mar – IT Roma, Monk
10th Mar – IT Firenze, Tender
11th Mar – IT Carpi, Mattatoio
Young Fathers are the band, on the Trainspotting 2 soundtrack and firing on all cylinders!
Back when I was at school a film came out that, basically, shook everything up. That film was Trainspotting. A stories about junkies in Scotland was about a million miles away from my live in Dorset, but there was something about those characters, that film and its soundtrack that really connected with a teenage me. Now there is a sequel, T2, and its looking like all those old emotions could be re-awoken.
The lead single from the soundtrack is Only God Knows by Young Fathers. When this Hip-Hop trio exploded onto the music scene in 2010 they were a breath of fresh air, but little did we know that their 2014 debut, Dead, was going to win the Mercury Music Prize and birth their genre shifting follow up White Men Are Black Me Too. Only God Knows follows on from this, but blurs the boundaries of what Hip-Hop is/could be to the point that by the half way mark you don’t know what you’re listen to.
Only God Knows opens with a throbbing church organ and the Leith Congregational Choir delivering some soul saving vibes, before Young Fathers join the party with a pounding drum beat, subtle basslines and evangelical lyrics. Halfway the song breaks down to faux acapella revelations before everything it build up again.
The real power of Only God Knows is how it mixes Hip-Hop, gospel, a DIY recording ethos and the lyrically fervour that Young Fathers are praised for. In a nutshell, its gospel-punk sounds like nothing else around at the moment. But the stand out moment is whenever the Leith Congregational Choir join. At firs their inclusion was jarring and felt out of place, but after a few listens they anchor and ground the song together. Why did Young Fathers want to work with them? Because “There’s nothing like singing with your Aunties” the band exult. And who doesn’t like singing with family? Only God Knowns…
Only God Knows is released now through Big Dada, physical release in March
This is an album for all lovers out there
There is a day approaching that fills some with pleasure and others with dread. I don’t mean Eurovision, I’m talking about St. Valentine’s Day. For some it’s a day of candle lit dinners and picnics in the park and for others it’s about blotting the whole thing out with booze. American Hip-Hop producer Ollie has come up with a selection of songs that sum up the good and bad parts of a relationship.
“It’s what I like to call a “conceptual beat tape” meaning the even tho no one is rapping or singing the beats and the samples i found to create these batch of beats tell a story about a man who has been looking for love in the wrong places. This man finally meets a women who he falls head over heels for and they end up dating. And everything is going good in life because he believes he’s met the love of his life.” But it’s not all love and roses as Ollie continues. “As time goes on, this woman starts to change. The relationship doesn’t feel the same. The man doesn’t feel the same. Eventually he finds out she has cheated on him for some time and he doesn’t know what to do. He doesn’t know how to feel. If he should forgive her, or break up with her. He even contemplates suicide. Over time tho, he eventually grows as a human being after the experience he has with this women and decides it’s best for him to just end things. Even tho his heart is broken, it’s not dead.”
Lead single You Come Into My Heart is four and a half minutes of joyous instrumental Hip-Hop. A simple vocal sample is underpinned by a laid back Boom-Bap beat. The sample comes from a the 1956 classic by the Platters with the lines “When the twilight is gone, and no songbirds are singing, When the twilight is gone you come into my heart” being repeated, chopped up and generally sonically abused, but in a weird way they are also being treated with care. Ollie has made a track that is full of emotional content, but not schmaltzy. If you are unsure what to give someone this Valentine’s, don’t waste your money on chocolates and flowers, give them the Love EP instead.
The Love EP is released February 14th
CAT/ has teamed up with some friends. It is nice to have friends…
Collaborations are tricky things to get right. If one person takes charge it doesn’t quite work, and one person is left out, have it too loose and it’s a free for all and no one is happy. Luckily CAT/’s jaunt in the studio with WRCKTNGL and KTNG is a slice of post-dubstep, dark electro perfection. Each artist has their own say, and their style is represented, but at the same time it doesn’t feel like a single producer’s work.
Throughout it’s all too short duration Glare throbs and pulses and digests itself, while never losing track of its purpose, yet at the same time never quite keeping to its brief. But what is that brief? To create a track full of ambient moans, claustrophobic bass drops and oppressive break beats. It’s a tour de force, not just for CAT/, WRCKTNGL and KTNG, but for the Titan Squad umbrella that covers them. Let’s hope there is more of this in the pipeline, as its too good to be a one off!
Grindustrial throws convention to the wind and delivers an album that mauls the senses
Deviation is the spice of life. Well, kind of, but liking a variety of different music keeps you on your toes. And the new Grindustrial album, No Wi-Fi, definitely keeps you on your toes.
Grindustrial is an Italian band that offers up a short sharp dose of industrial grindcore that is peppered with inventive samples. This is exemplified by the opening track Lento-Veloce. After a barrage of internet-dial up noise blast beats and savage guitars explode out of your speakers and let you know what you are in store for. Title track, No Wi-Fi, is just under thirty seconds of psychotic riffs and chopped up vocal samples. Pollos at times sounds like its being played backwards with an intensity that inspires.
Despite its short length, No Wi-Fi offers a break from the tedium of modern life and shows that despite conventional songwriting structures, no choruses or verses, just sheer hooks and unadulterated melodies. It’s a harder and heavier cousin to the Residents’ classic Commercial Album.
Not only does VANIA sound good it has A E S T H E T I C
Vapourwave is s term that has been banded about since the early 2010’s, but what is it? In a nutshell it’s a genre of electronic music that borrows heavily from 1980’s music, but infuses it with elevator, soul, jazz and lounge. The samples are slowed down and cut up so they take on a whole new meaning. But there is more to it than slow retro samples. There is heavy leaning on commerce, capitalism and Japanese culture. And it’s that artistic penchant that have led some to call vapourwave an art movement, rather than a genre. However most new vapourwave artists don’t follow this blueprint to the letter, instead they make a hybrid of chill/synthwave with retro predispositions.
VANIA is one of these new artists. While VANIA’s new single, Electro Queen, isn’t 100% Vapourwave, it does borrow from it to create a version of it that is, on one hand just a laid back electronic track, but on the other it oozes A E S T H E T I C. Electro Queen opens with a repetitive loop that slowly sounds dulled, until a jaunty break beat kicks in that sounds like classic 1970’s soul and Daft Punk at the same time. This continues along its merry way until it a false ending rears its head, but after the fade up it’s business as usual until its outro.
What Electro Queen really does well is showcase VANIA’s skill at arrangement and production. From a few elements, and some clever tricks, Electro Woman sounds massive, catchy and incredibly fun. This is exactly what you need after a hard week at work. A short dose of retro themed fun! Whether VANIA can carry on this momentum into another release will remain to be seen, but so far this is definitely A E S T H E T I C!
How do you protest against protest songs? Fast Romantics have the answer!
Whenever I see a six piece band I always think “If this was a 5-a-side team, who would be the sub?” and just like clockwork I get this thought when I see a picture of Canada’s Fast Romantics. This sextet is made up of Matthew Angus, lead singer, guitar, Jeffrey Lewis, bass, Kirty, vocals, acoustic guitar, synth, Kevin Black, guitars, Lisa Lorenz, keyboards and Nick McKinlay, drums.
After releasing their debut album, Afterlife Blues, in 2013, Fast Romantics gigged and recorded, then in 2015 they unveiled The Julia EP, another dose of retro fuelled rock majesty. Now they’ve returned with their new single Why We Fight. If you can imagine Arcade Fire covering Bruce Springsteen then you’re on the right lines. And just like the Boss Why We Fight is big, loud, proud and incredibly catchy.
Why We Fight feels like someone shouting into a well of torpidity and apathy rather than being aggressive, abrasive and mordant, as the title suggest. Fast Romances’ singer songwriter and guitarist Matthew Angus explains: “’Why We Fight started out as a song about myself, about what it is that drives me to even be in a band in the first place. But it quickly evolved into an ode to anyone who finds themselves hungry for something that might seem out of reach.” This feels like the battle cry we are in the need for, during these transient political times.
Why We Fight is released on 27 January through Light Organ/Postwar Records
Guero delivered an EP full of music to enjoy and cherish, rather than listen and forgot.
Seventeen days down and Michigan native Guero has already released a mini album, [ white elephants ] and an EP that is playful, but not a pushover. [ loops. ] is this EP. Though it only has six songs and lasts less than fifteen minutes, it contains some fantastic motifs, ideas and more importantly Guero nails every one of them to create an EP that begs to be played again and again.
Opening with harp strings and a melancholy flute, Dorothy1 sounds like a Cut Chemist pissing about with some lost ?uestlove drum beats an classic Hollywood scores. Session follows on this classic vibe and proves the old adage that if it isn’t broke, don’t try and fix it, it certainly true.
Strangrstringss is the standout moment of the EP. Its built around a beautiful string and vocal loop, that Guero has slowed down and underpinned by a delicious breakbeat. It’s woozy, hypnotic and frankly remarkable. Due to its understated nature it treats the same with care and kindness, rather than manhandling it through a samples and chopping beats around it. Sai and Dorothy3 close the EP with more laidback, wonky hip-hop. The samples are again chosen to complement the music, rather than just being picked as a vocal hook is needed.
Let’s hope the Guero continues this style with another longplayer. It would be interesting to see how he’d work with an MC, but that might get in the way of the music and that would be a shame, as this is something that needs to be heard!
Raise the flags, fire up the klaxons, Lupen Crook has returned!
Today is a good day. This is something that we all want to say a lot, but sadly we can’t. In all fairness it only takes one thing to make a day good, so it’s a shame we don’t say this more often. Today’s one good thing is that Lupen Crook has release his first new music in what feels like years.
But instead of just one new song, the Crooked Man has unveiled two. No Clothes sounds like an out-take from his current Sex-Cells project. It has an Add N to (X) vibe to it, but it is still chocked full of his trademark sardonic charm. Woozy synths do battle with robotic beats, while depth-charge bass wobbles keep everything chaotic. Forty Winks is a more traditional Crook track. Acoustic guitar, slightly baritone vocals, but halfway through Krautrock influences start to emerge showing that he’s not just the fight-folkie we’ve come to love and admire.
Let’s hope that this is the start of a year-long project that sees the Crooked man releasing one or two songs a month, that grows into a larger, more cohesive project. Or maybe it’ll give Crook the impetus to pick up his old seven string and bash out some new classics. Either way 2017 is starting to look very rosy along the dirty mile.
Can Wrestling Wave become the underground sound of 2017? Let’s hope so!
Last year an album came out that on the surface was just a bit of fun, but after repeat listens it became something far more enjoyable and important. That album was Wrestling Wave by Limousine. At first it was a hilarious trip down memory lane, as the songs are made up of samples of classic wrestlers’ interviews and promos with underlying music that sums up the vibe of the track. Limousine has now returned with Wrestling Wave’s follow up Long Limousines. I managed to interrupt Limousine’s hardcore diet of synthwave and to ask a few questions.
Where did the idea for this project come from?
The Limousine project all came about by accident, I had been in a lull for about 3 years of not really doing anything musically, I had previously been in metal bands and electronic music projects both solo and in groups. During those 3 years I listened/purchased a ton of music, I had been heavily listening to vapourwave for a couple years, around a year and a half ago I decided I wanted to create something different but still be a part of the vapuorwave family tree, that’s when I decided to create ‘wrestling wave’ the genre, I was at work doing my daily routine, listening to vapour mixes on YouTube when I accidental clicked on 2 videos at once: 1. A Vapourwave mix, I don’t even know which one probably one by Jason Sanders (Shout out to Jason), and the second being a WWF shoot interview with references/footage to past matches etc, at first I thought it was part of the mix but then I realized I did it by accident, I fell in love with that accidental taste and tried to create an entire sound around that, almost like an epiphany really. Glad I went through with it though now.
Do you have the idea for the artwork first and then make the music match it or the other way round?
When I realized I found something new with Wrestling Wave the genre I went all out from the gate, I remember my ideas were flooding through me for the first few months completing up to 3 drafted songs a day, instrumental and vocal just like that, so from the beginning I was churning a lot of tunes as I had tons of ideas from the last few years, finding & holding onto samples here and there. By the first 3 months I was sitting on 100+ tracks, some with vocal some just instrumental, I come up with my album concepts after I have a heap of tracks to pick and choose from, there’s a narrative in there if you’re listening closely.
What is it about wrestling circa 1982 – 1996 that makes the promos and interviews so samplable?
This is almost a question more so for the listener as its 100% nostalgia, for me to be honest it’s all about the ego, in the sense that it’s the wrestlers themselves that really carry these songs, the history they created that sadly has been forgotten over the years, I mean these guys were literally strung out on drugs spitballing in front of a camera some of the greatest things that have ever been said on our planet straight off the dome, that shit wasn’t little league, it’s also 100% ego as I don’t have to work with real singers/vocalist as that becomes an ego battle in itself, so I don’t need to compromise for anyone else at the end of the day as I’m a one man show, if I like the way something sounds I’m running with it.
Were you a WCW or WWF fan?
I was born in 1990, so I was brought up in a household that celebrated both Hogan and Flair in their own rights, as did I respect Sting & Undertaker for their roles, during the mid 90’s it’s almost like it wasn’t just WCW & WWF, it all felt like one for a while(2Become1 Spice Girls style), those moments, shit was real, loved them both but stopped watching wrestling altogether around 2001 after the WCW/NWO Invasion, we all died a little bit that year, Lucha Underground is dope though, I’ve been to a handful of their tapings in LA in the last year, shout out to Pentagon Dark! (0M)
Who is your favorite wrestler of all time (face and heel if it’s easier)?
The cynic in me is screaming ‘La Parka’ the original one though (L.A. Park), who I do love and adore, but it’s hard to put my finger on just one, I loved the stables, NWO was hard as shit, no way around it, they changed it all with a double edged sword, 4 Horsemen, I was a huge fan of Doink, Scott Steiner (who deserves to be in the HOF), I love them all, all the wrestlers I’ve worked with rank high on my list.
Which wrestling films and books are your favourites?
‘Wrestling With Shadows’ & ‘Beyond the Mat’ both impacted my outlook on what we saw on that square box each week growing up later in life. Both tell the truth of what goes on behind those wacky merch commercials, behind those weekly title changes, behind those illustrious entrances, it’s mostly sad really, lots of heartache, real life betrayal & temptation. I give those guys a lot of credit for doing what they did and the sacrifices made, ‘The Wrestler’ also does a pretty good job of conveying it for the mainstream.
What is your favourite match and PPV of all time?
WrestleMania X-Seven, one of my last GREAT memories of GREAT wrestling, Rock v. Stone Cold ’nuff said! I do not have a favourite match off top..
When creating the music do you try and match their theme songs perfectly, as that tends to explain the character perfectly, or are you more about creating an overall vibe for the song?
More about the vibe honestly, yeah the wrestlers are dope and they need to stay respected to keep it from coming off too ‘cheesy’, but I use their vocal as more of an instrument at times, others I’m celebrating the words they’re actually expressing. Sometimes it just comes out perfectly and I give The Universe a lot of credit at times.
Have you sampled anyone and the music hasn’t quite worked and it didn’t make an album?
YES, seriously, I have had some brilliant ideas come up in my head (Mr. Wonderful, Sid Vicious, Scott Steiner, Iron Sheik) that I thought would FOR SURE be fire but crashed and burned about halfway through, like I said earlier I’m sitting on a couple hundred tracks at the moment and most will never leave my hard drive more than likely because 100% of the samples I use are from YouTube so the quality sucks to begin with so some stuff just ends up trash like any other artist would have, I have a few WWF/Blackbox PPV tapes from back in the day I’m planning on re-watching one day if I’m not burned out by then. I have a shit ton of Flair tracks done and completed, I debated releasing an album 100% dedicated to Flair/4 Horseman samples at one point, may still do the Horseman idea but I’d get bored I would think and so would the listener.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Lots of things cooking in the kitchen, currently have a handful of projects in the works, trying to figure a schedule to make everything fit while working my main 9-5, I’m working on re-presses of the tapes, Wrestling Wave the album will 100% be seeing a repress/new versions in the coming months, new releases are bubbling but not giving any Info/Titles up on that yet, but expect tapes, vinyl, hats more condoms and other weird things I can find to make to be up on the Bandcamp eventually. Also there are a couple LIVE events that are lining up here soon, more than likely only LA & SF for now but that’s still in the works but expect an ‘animated’ live show once I do get around to them, neon signs, world titles, ring aprons..
Do you want wrestlingwave to become the sound of 2017?
At the end of the day this is a micro genre I created, I’d love to see other artists join the movement and am always up to listening to tracks/collaborating to put out on my label Total Power Records, but we will have to see, I’m just about creating fun memewave albums, creating awesome merch for people to keep forever and riding my wave, they can ride with me if they wanna find me.
What shall we do to the Drunken Sailor? Buy their releases of course!
London’s based Drunken Sailor Records make waves with every release. Last year’s LP II from Hakan was thirteen tracks of Italians punk that is obsessed with Turkish culture was a high water mark. With the release of S.B.F.’s self-titled EP this appears to have equalled, if not eclipsed it.
S.B.F. are made up of two Californian’s, Cruz and Raymond, and a drum machine. Both of these American’s play the kind of punk that is catchy, infectious and hard to ignore. But the real kicker is the use of a drum machine. This conquers up memories of Big Black and the Misfits, the viciousness of Albini’s playing, the power of Danzig’s vocals and the rhythmic beauty of Roland’s drumming. Despite the power of the music there is an underlying compassion to the lyrics. It’s like Driving Miss Daisy with a brutal car chase in the middle.
S/T 7” is out now on Drunken Sailor Records
JW Ridley and Speedy Wunderground are getting 2017 off to a fantastic start
To quote the late, great, Roddy Piper “Just when you think you know the answers, I change the questions”. Not only is this an amazing quote, but it’s also true thinking about London based label Speedy Wunderground. This label, that famously only releases 7” singles that are written and recorded from scratch in a 24 hour session, has been responsible for some of the catchiest and most forward thinking music in recent years, but considering Dan Carey is at the helm and Alexis Smith is engineering this isn’t a surprise. What is surprising is how the managed to trump themselves with each release. And SW20 is not exception.
This time the musician getting the SW treatment is JW Ridley. Ridley is an art school graduate from London and his debut single sounds like, as he eloquently said “Everything (Deathelss) is the most important thing I’ve ever done for myself”. After a year of personal difficulties and crisis you can feel Ridley cleansing himself by the end of the song. Woozy synths, angular guitars, languid vocals and a backbeat that sounds likes it’s from the Life Aquatic, Everything (Deathless) crackles and pulsates forward until an exquisite fade out.
As this is just part one, and knowing what we know about Speedy Wunder B-Sides, Steve Mason, Scotti Brains and Fews were talking to you here, we can expect the flip to be a quasi-instrumental affair that has a blatant disregard for conventional song structure, time signatures and lyrics. With this release you are really spoiling us!
Everything (Deathless) is released on 10th February through Speedy Wunderground
Ghent’s El Negocito Records have found a band that match their drive for forward thinking music and eclectic tastes
Jazz is delicious hot but disgusting cold is something that the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band once said. And like a lot of things the Bonzo’s said, its right. Its hard to know if they would have liked El Negocito Records new release by GLiiTS but one thing we should all agree on this is anything but cold!
GLiTS are Peter Vandenberghe on piano and Bart Maris on trumpet. Together they make the kind of music that will either drive you mad or to rhapsody. Luckily for everyone at thisyearinmusic it’s the latter. This is the kind of music that you can put on countless times, lose yourself and somehow manage to find something new to latch onto each time. But I guess this is what you’d expect after twenty five years working together, in various forms. What makes their dynamic to, um, dynamic is their interplay, and at times, their lack of.
There is an old line in jazz that it’s the note you don’t play that are more important than the ones you do. And this these notes that really draw you into their latest album, Getting Lost in Tiny Spaces. Vandenberghe will pull you one way, and you expect Maris to follow him, but instead he stays where he is, creating this blackhole-esque that pulls you toward it, then once you’ve been suitably drawn in Maris will quick make up the distance and you are seemingly trapped with the music all around you, only to have one of them veer of at breakneck speeds and thus creating it all again. It’s the music version of finding yourself trapped in your own half by a quick, attack minded football team.
This is a fantastic album that not only plays with space, but colour, tonality, rhythm, texture, colour and everything else in between. But if jazz isn’t you thing and you’re starting to get scared, fret not, this isn’t mind melting stuff, there is a simplicity to it, but you have to break it code first and don’t mind getting lost in tiny spaces…
Getting Lost in Tiny Spaces is out now on El Negocito Records
Half Waif puts her cards on the table, and they’re looking very hard to beat…
Nandi Rose Plunkett is a talent. That much is obviously apparent to anyone who heard last years Little Elephant Live Session 12”. While it only consisted for three tracks, each of those pulsated with ideas, verve and a pop sensibility that showed a maturity and restraint that her peers are missing. Now she’s gearing up for the release of a new EP, Form/a, next month on Cascine.
The overall theme of the EP is home. What is home? What makes a home, and more importantly, how can I get home? Recently Plunkett said “There’s an inherent restlessness in the way that I write and think about sound,” she explains. “I’m the daughter of a refugee, and somewhere in me is this innate story of searching for a home. As a result, I have many – a collection of places that I latch onto, that inspire me, that fuse themselves to me. I’m sentimental, nostalgic – yet constantly seeking what’s next, excavating the sound of my past and colouring it to make the sound of my future. I’m a child of divorce, fiercely loved but forced into independence at a young age; I rocket into relationships with the desire to find roots, commonality, to create stillness in the midst of public noise. In this way, my songs are like the notes of a large scavenger hunt, clues pinned to trees I have known, or tucked under rocks on my path, urging the listener to keep looking a little deeper, because maybe they will find something special in the end.”
So far all we have to go on is Served Logic. This is a song that exemplifies everything that last year’s single, and her comments on Form/a, stand for. There is a slight neo-country Lissie vibe to the proceedings, but this slight genre twist just adds to Served Logic’s charm. It reminds us of all the beautifully heart wrenching story tellers from the past, but the music is contemporary and pops and clicks with a delicate pop charm that makes it hard to ignore and harder to turn off. Half Waif? Oh no, there are no half measure about this!
Form/a is released on 24th February on Cascine
Dallas Distortion Music unveils another slice of forward thinking music with Cinema’s debut long player
What is one of the most important things for a band to have, other than great songs? A search able name. And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead had the right idea. Texas’ Cinema thought they’d go from something more obtuse. When you search for Cinema Dallas you get, well, a load of cinemas. Which is a shame as their debut album, Absence, is thirteen tracks that, after a first list, have the complexity of mist, but just like mist there is a lot going on to keep everything from disappearing into the ether.
Each track is recorded using a modular synthesizer, recorded live to high-bias audiotape. Tape degradation can be found strewn across these recordings, giving them a slightly timeless feel, like they were found at a garage sale and uploaded to a Bandcamp page without any editing and manipulation.
Through delicate phrases and layering Cinema manages to create a feeling a flux and movement. At times it feels like the musical version of ripples on water after you’ve dropped a stone in. The further the ripples go out the gentler and smooth they appear, but due to the original drop the initial force comes back again and again.
Absence is out now through Dallas Distortion Music
MXLX has returned. Our savant savour has returned
MXLX has emerged from his studio after months of fevered work. This work takes the name of Kicking Away at the Decrepit Walls til the Beautiful Sunligh Blisters Thru the Cracks. So far details about it are sketchy, apart from it consists of eight tracks and features new single Perdita de Sangue.
Loosely translated as loss of blood, Perdita de Sangue is four minutes of gentle maelstroms, fuggy vocals and almost hidden basslines is one of the most complex and addictive songs in his canon. As it skews along its sanguine path, one thing is apparent, MXLX means business and he’s angry. This is a stark contrast from the last time MXLX reared his head and delivered a thirty minute blast of sheer metal maladies, but the intensity, has remained.
Given the lack of activity from MXLX last year, compared to other years, let’s hope that 2017 sees him firing on all cylinders and releasing his best work to date. As we need him, this electronic savant, to guide us through these dark and worrying times.
Through their creative scope and arrangement prowess Baishe Kings shaped 2017 to their collective will
2016 was a mixed bag. It felt like for every good thing that happened, something bad did. Daniel Clowes released his exquisite book Patience, but Leonard Cohen died. Cannibal Hymns released a slew of records that put them on the musical map, but Lunar Quiet lost their front man. England got knocked out of the European Championship but Iceland proved that a small nation, that had 10% of its country watching in the stadium, could defeat Europe’s footballing elite.
One stand out moment was witnessing London’s Hip-Hop group Baishe Kings for fill a ridiculous claim they made, to release an album a month for the whole year. Let’s just let that sink in for a moment. An. Album. A. Month. And what’s more not only did they do it, but each subsequent album eclipsed the one before it.
These albums ran the gambit from Boom-Bap, Drum and Bass, Conscious Hip-Hop, a Party Album and pretty much everything in between. Highlights included an album devoted to cheese and the first ever 3/4 Hip-Hop album. But what made these albums special wasn’t that the music felt it was knitted together from forgotten samples and new loops, but the lyrics. Baishe Kings lyrics are filled with these subtle lines that mix England’s past with its present.
If this is your first time listening to the Baishe Kings, don’t try and force it and follow everything from start to finish, as you’ll miss some amazing name drops and beats. Instead just let it wash over you, but keep an ear open for some reference that seems tailor made just for you. While the lyrics are the heavy weight title main event, to use a Baishe wrestling reference, the music is definitely worthy of a ladder or intercontinental title match. The beats are laid back with inventive samples that pop and fizz in the background, rather than banging and slamming in your face. If you think Tricky and Prince Paul you’re on the right track. In fact the SuperKush album sounds like the Baishe Kings only had the Tricky vs. the Gravediggaz EP as kids and decided to make music that sounds like it.
Blushing show that shoegazing and dreampop are far from dead in 2017
In 2015 Michelle Soto played her friend Christina Carmona her songs. Carmona’s classical vocals and bass playing worked well with Soto’s guitar. Their husbands heard the tracks and joined the band and Blushing was formed.
Since then they have honed those songs into their debut EP Tether. Over four songs Blushing have crafted something that is melodic and atmospheric just is doused with a pop sheer that makes them hard to ignore. While you can hear the collective influences of Cocteau Twins, The Sundays, Belly and Beach House they have a collection of songs that sound like no one else. Yes they aren’t reinventing the wheel, but sometimes you don’t want a new wheel, you’re happy to see it just painted green.
Tether is full of what feels like auto biographical lyrical moments and charming motifs that rise and fall like an ebbing tide. It’s equally at home being played full volume, as it is being played quietly on headphones as a loved one is sleeping. The only real question is will Blushing be able to untether this level of musical and lyrical excellence for their follow up?
consuumer are on the brink, but what is on the other side, only they know
What do you get if you mix the grunge, proto-punk and doom rock? You get Brighton based noise rock duo consuumer. This duo managed to combine the energy of The Stooges, the intensity of Sunn O))), the technical beauty of Black Sabbath and noise of the Melvins to create something that shakes you to your core with every note played.
After releasing their debut single, Radio, and playing pretty much anywhere and everywhere they are about to unleash their debut EP Shattered Fruit. The band recently said “I think that as a whole the EP works within themes of being young, confused and uncomfortable, both of us work jobs we hate to fund doing the thing we love and I think that the frustration of not being where we want to be and not necessarily being comfortable in our own skin made the record quite cathartic for us.” This definitely comes across. At times it feels like these noise-niks are so angry with the world all they can do is scream and attack their instruments, yet at other times of melodic introspection it feels like they are world weary and just want everyone to get along.
This is exemplified on title track Shattered Fruit sounds like Lightning Bolt covering Black Sabbath’s Sweet Leaf at their most laidback. This is in fact a massive compliment as it shows that, unlike some of their peers, consuumer known when to make an unholy racket but never at the expense of the song.
Shattered Fruit is released on 13th January
Nick Hallbery, AKA Edison’s Medicine, is starting the year as he means to go on. By this I mean he’s just released a debut EP, Hell Is Never Far Away. This isn’t really anything to get that excited about, as thousands of musicians have released debut EP’s this year, but what marks Hallbery out is that he’s released one that at times sounds like it’s come from three days in the future, but at the same time sounds like it’s also from three days ago.
Hell Is Never Far Away opens with Jean Baptiste, which sounds like Django Django being remixed by Dan Avery. Its catchy, rhythmic, but with a hint of big room flavour to it. Increments is harder hitting than the opener, the breakbeats are slightly tighter, the bassline deeper and the loops more menacing and invasive. As Increments progresses, everything gets tighter and cyclonic. Small eddies appear from nowhere only to disappear a few bars later. Melodies get lodged in your head only to vanish a few moments later, as another one has taken its place.
The EP closes with Godless Woman featuring Matilda Eyre. Eyre’s crisp vocals add an extra texture that was missing on earlier parts of the EP. Godless Woman is haunting and eerie, but in a delta blues way, rather than late night Channel 5 horror film. The combination of organic and synthetic sounds works well and makes you wonder if any of the previous tracks would have benefited from this treatment. After a few moments pondering you realise that no, they probably wouldn’t as you’d miss out on the subtle arranging and production.
This is an EP full of contradictions and xxx. On the surface you think it’s going to be an ambient house affair, due to its genre tags, but when you get into it you soon realise that its far more interesting and vibrant, running the gambit of experimental, tech-house, lo-fi techno and elements of soul pop, due to Eyre’s inclusion. But what is more impressive is how Hallbery has managed to arrange it in such a way that none of its elements are over, or, under powering. It all flows effortlessly along like its normal for all these elements to be occupying the same space together.