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It’s been another good month for music. Max Cooper released his new EP on Gearbox and Kid Wave released an amazing no frills indie EP (these could feature in our end of year review). Speedy Wunderground released their latest 7” with the insanely catchy Dangerous When Wet by Natalie Bang Bang. Cheaters came back with a new a slightly sound. Neil Young released Storytone, sadly it wasn’t as good as his previous work, but it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve heard this year.

 

 

On the other hand Tyrannosaurus Dead released one of the best albums of the year, scratch that, of any year. It redefines the lo-fi genre. Kelly Lee Owens teamed up with Ghost Culture to release a strong debut EP. It showcased her unique vocal talents, with some clever production.

 

 

Special mention needs to be given to Aretha Franklin. She released possibly the worst cover albums I have ever heard. Everything about the album from start to finish was wrong. The way they went about the covers was wrong from the start, and her mash up’s were hilarious at best.

 

 

As we are now approaching the end of the year, if past years are anything to go by, the quality of music coming out will decrease, but there are a few releases I’m looking forward to, but more of that next month…

 

 

 

 

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So another month is over. There was a lot of great music released this month. Kelis released possibly the best album of her career, Band of Skulls released a mediocre third album, Mac DeMarco released possibly one of the best songs of the year. Teebs pushed the boundaries of electornic music even further with his second album. Sadly the Ultimate Warrior died, but at least we have the memories. I hope that May will be as good as April!

 

April 2014

 

 

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Another great playlist here! This month has been great for new (and old music). My personal highlights were Du Bellows, meeting the guys at Gearbox Records, the usual Ninja Tune high quality release, Mark Morriss, Childish Gambino’s new single and the return of Fingathing!

 

 

When I write these blogs I never really think about how the playlist will come out, but this month I think that it’s not bad and it flows quite well in places. Maybe if I thought more about the overall content I might be a bit more cohesive. Having said that I like how off piste some of my choices in the past have been.

 

 

Anyway I’m waffling on for no reason, I hope you enjoy this month’s playlist. If you don’t get in touch and tell me some stuff you think I should be writing about.

 

March 2014

 

 

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Machinedrum – Vapor City is finally here. After what seems like waiting an eternity (only a few months) the finished result is in my ears. It’s what I was expecting, but (and I’m afraid to say) not much more.

Some of the tracks sound like Burial (not a bad thing). Claustrophobic, atmospheric and cinematic (all the ic’s). For me these are the strongest tracks on the album. The rest are neither here nor there. Maybe I wasn’t concentrating enough on them when I played them, or maybe it just wasn’t to my taste, but overall I was left wanting more.

 

When the album hits a high (and there are many of these) it’s brilliant, exciting and interesting, but there are quite a few lulls too. I’m hoping that the album is a grower, as I’ve always liked the music that Machinedrum has released (30/07/2013 – Machinedrum-Door of the Cosmos (2013)).

 

I feel dejected when this kind of thing happens (especially when I’ve been looking forward to an album). I’m sure that by the time this has been uploaded and the world has derided my opinions I would have found something else to get excited about. But for now I’m left thinking “Is it me… ?”

 

Machinedrum – Gunshotta

A few days ago I wrote a blog about Warp Records. I don’t think I was as kind as I could have been. As I said in the original blog I really like Warp Records (always have and probably always will). I’ve just been a bit let down some of their recent releases\new artists they’ve signed. I hope this blog goes some way to make amends.

 

Last year Clark released Iradelphic. I feel that I might have slept on it a bit too long, as its bloody marvellous! It is his 6th album for Warp and makes another progression in has (already fine) career. There is more live instrumentation here than on his previous releases. Don’t worry faithful reader, it doesn’t change the sound a great deal, it’s still angular and pulsing, just in a different way.

 

One of the touches that he hasn’t lost, are the Vangelis-esque flourishes. At times the album skirts the line between Aphrodite’s Child’s 666 and Vangelis’s Beaubourg (may favourite Vangelis album). The dreamy keyboard solos\pieces are there, but so are some discordant beats.

 

This is the kind of album that Warp has become synonymous for. And Clark is the kind of artist that Warp has nurtured again and again. They have given him time to breath and grow over the last 12 years and he has repaid them by releasing 6 albums (and as many EP’s and singles) over that period. Each one being slightly different, but keeping enough of the sound the same that you know it’s Clark that you are listening to.

 

This is the kind of artist development that major labels wish they could provide. Warp (and other indies such as Ninja Tune) need to pay the bills, but they understand that artist development comes first. Major labels want their artists to develop from album to album, but they also need them sound the same otherwise the mainstream will get scared\lose interest in this sudden change in sound (The Hoosiers we’re looking at you here…). Once the majors have the artists formula worked out, they will continue to release the same album(s) over the years until the sales start to drop and then they’ll try and change it slightly whilst keeping the music the same (aim the spotlight on Lemar please). Sometimes this works in the artists favour. Bruce Springsteen  didn’t really change his sound much from Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ to Nebraska. But I don’t really hear many modern artists writing about similar things that Bruce was writing about in the 9 year period.

 

I’m getting a bit off the point here, but these are the albums (and artists) that we should be getting behind in these times when X-Factor and manufactured bands are ruling the roost. We should be supporting (and applauding) labels that generally nurture and challenge their roster to take risks and try and development not just as musicians, but as people too.

Clark-Com Touch

Today’s post was going to be about another jazz song\musician, but last night JJ Cale died of a heart attack, so I decided to dedicate this post to him. He was 74 year old.

JJ Cale was a singer songwriter\guitarist who in his career released over a dozen albums. He was alledged to have invented the “Tulsa Sound”. The Tulsa Sound is a mixture of jazz, blues, rockabilly and country. The origin of this is because Tulsa is a melting pot of different genres or music so musicians just mixed it all together.

JJ Cale released his debut album in 1971. It’s one of my favourite albums and has an amazing cover.

JJ Cale

Some of his most well-known songs are on this album. The most notable being Call Me The Breeze. This song has been covered over the years by many bands, but it was the Spiritualized version that made me track down the original (Spiritualized – Run).

My favourite JJ Cale story is how in 1972 he was invited to perform on Dick Clark’s American Band Stand. JJ Cale decided not to go on the show (which would have made his current single J.J. Cale – Crazy Mama shoot up the charts), because he couldn’t bring is actual band and he would have to lip-synch. Gotta love a man who stands by his principles!

I will spend the rest of the day listening to my JJ Cale records and mourn the loss of another great (but underrated and underappreciated musicians).

J.J. Cale – Call Me The Breeze

Johnny Borrell releases his debut solo album today. The rule of averages say that it’ll be self-indulgent and slightly boring (like the Razorlight albums). When I happened to see him performing by chance a few months ago I wasn’t that impressed with what I heard (and saw).

The only review I have read of Borrell 1 is in The Fly, I normally don’t do this, but I think it could be the best review I’ve ever read!

http://mamacolive.com/thefly/reviews/album/1020036/johnny-borrell-borrell-1/

I chose Cyrano Masochiste for today’s song as I think it sums up the album. It has a ridiculous title, the lyrics are farcical (at best) and the music is part Spaghetti Western saloon piano player and part college musical production. I hate to say it, but in a way I quite like it as it’s totally different to everything that is being released at the moment, but overall I just think it’s funny (and I don’t think that was Johnny’s original plan for the song).

Johnny Borrell – Cyrano Masochiste