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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spectres return with their second album to save us from ourselves

 

 

Has it really been two years since four guys from Bristol emerged from the fug and released an album that is still as life affirming as it is confounding. Sadly it has, but the good news is that they’re about to return with their second album Condition. As a title Condition is pretty emotive. Are they talking about social conditioning, or is there a specific condition to writing music? Well luckily frontman Joe Hatt explained it thus “I’ve always been interested in the human condition in terms of how we are programmed emotionally and either try to adhere or break away from that. How we condition ourselves to try and blend in or get through the day, whether that be blocking things out, or drinking it all in, or in many cases both. The title came to me when we were mixing the first record and, from then on, it just stuck. It was about another year before I started writing lyrics for Condition, but it was good having that starting point forming and sprawling in my head for that amount of time as there was already a mood set.”
 

After hearing their latest single Neck it’s safe to say its business as usual, but instead of releasing Dying 2.0 Spectres have gone back to basics and looked deep in themselves to record a song that gives up more of its secrets with each listen. The recording process sounds as quixotic as we’d hope “We were going to bury our phones, burn our laptops and just write music for a week, come back and record it,” Hatt said “But we didn’t get a chance to do this as all of our holidays from work were used up by us gigging more than we were used to. The romantic idea of the writing holiday soon just disintegrated into panic when we suddenly realised we were recording the album in a month and we only had about four songs.”
 

Condition was producted by Frank Arkwright, he’s worked with Mogwai and 65daysofstatic, so we know it’ll sound fantastic and have that rich quality that all his best productions have, but it’s the themes that are the real kicker. “The same things drive us now as they did before because they’re so deep-rooted,” concludes Hatt “Making noise that can’t help but make people forget and remember everything at the same time, and total disdain towards a world where we kind of need to exist.” And this is what we need. We need a band shows us how bad things have got, but also hint at how it can get better. This is Spectre’s power and this is why they’re here to save us, even if we don’t know it!

 

 

Condition is released 10th March through Sonic Cathedral

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oliver Wilde is back and with Howling Owl Records look set to blow away our winter malaise

 

 

This is where the tragic happens is the tagline for Oliver Wilde’s new singles Your So Kool-Aid. As expect it’s another slice of wonky wooze-pop but unlike his previous offerings it leans heavily on the spectrum towards electronic side of things. Wilde recently explained this change “‘You’re So Kool-Aid’ documents having full-blown wobbles attempting to reinvent my so called ‘sound’. Takes a few listens to work out why it exists in the first place, demanding you spend more time with it than you want to. It’s just another ugly and obnoxious troubled pop tune from the decompression chamber of general malaise, with lit synth hooks.”

 

 

Your So Kool-Aid, and previous single Good Kind of Froze, are taken from his as yet unreleased third album, Post-Frenz Container Buzz, which is due for release in February through Howling Owl Records. This looks set to blow the last of 2016’s cobwebs off us and give everyone a proper dose of psych-wooze-pop.

 

 

Without hearing the full album you get the impression that Wilde isn’t out to take an prisoners with this new collection of songs. The musical scope is bigger than anything he’s so far released and the subject matter is by far the most personal of his career to date. Wilde has shown himself to be the real deal and worthy of all the hype he has received. The only down side is February won’t come quick enough…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OSCOB’s brand of retro-futurism is more than just a clever gimmick

 

 

There is a time when I think “What would happen if xxx hadn’t existed?” This is a fruitless activity and generally ends up with more questions than answers, and I end up in a Fatherland/Man in the High Castle/DC Elsewhere thing in my mind. Today this question goes something like “What would happen if Angelo Badalamenti and video games hadn’t existed?” While this might sound like a weird combo, when considered next to OSCOB’s debut album Eating Yourself Alive, it makes perfect sense.

 

 

OSCOB’s debut is full of the quirky nuances of Badalamenti, but it also has the retro-futurism of 90’s video game music. This music is made to be listened to on a TV than on a stereo. The Lo-Fi Hi-Fi-ness of it makes for more than a nostalgic trip to a time before the internet and MP3’s. If you want a short hand imagine Brian Eno’s Deep Blue Day being covered by S U R V I V E and you’re on the right tracks.

 

 

This might be banded in with the Vaporwave/Synthwave/Coldwave/Wavewave movements, but there is far more going on than that. The only difference is you need know where to look and how to listen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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