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.









thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

Breakmaster Cylinder mashes up Gimlet Media and it’s something that will never get boring!



Breakmaster Cylinder is mysterious. If you try and find out who s/he is online you’ll end up reading Reddit and social media posts that theorise, and philosophise BMC’s true identity. While this is a noble pastime, it doesn’t get you to the answer of who BMC is. I have friends who think it’s an AKA of a big named producer, others have romanticised that it’s a Moondog type figure, and a few think it’s just someone who has a 9-5 and makes beats on the side. Whatever the answer ends up being doesn’t detract from one fundamental truth. Breakmaster Cylinder makes amazing music.



On his most recent album LIVE: From Gimlet’s Executive Washroom his combines two of my favourite things. Music and podcasts. The whole album is a massive in joke loosely based around one of my favourite, if not my favourite, podcast producers Gimlet Media. For you not in the know Gimlet Media makes the kind of podcasts that make you laugh and cry at the same time. Their show Mystery Show is something that everyone should listen to as it’s full of life affirming moments, Heavy Weight is one neurotic man’s journey through life, Homecoming is an audio play about veterans returning from war and undergoing psychological treatments and Reply All features investigative journalism about internet stories and urban myths, and this is where the good Breakmaster comes in, as he scores the whole show.



So what does all this have to do with today’s post? Well LIVE: From Gimlet’s Executive Washroom is peppered with Gimlet podcast jokes, presenters and soundbites, while BMC makes some of the best musical mash up’s this side of My Name is Frank Butcher, A Stroke of Genie-us and the Grey Album. It isn’t that BMC just sloppily puts an acapella and an instrumental together, oh no, BMC seamlessly combines multiple songs in a way that feels more like a mini-mix and sprinkles Gimlet samples over everything to give it a cohesion. The stand out track is Super Death Support. This combines two amazing things, Death Grips and a segment about solving people’s internet problems. This is more than saying “Have you restarted your computer?”.



The track opens with Reply All host PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman explain the premise of the segment, then BMC’s theme kicks all, but its far more 8-bit and glitch than it has any right to be. If this was all the same was it would be quality, but then MC Ride’s vocals kick in. Instead of the music getting heavier, as Ride’s aggressive flows, the music keeps on the same playful nature, in fact in places it gets more fun. Alex and PJ appear again a few times, but it’s the backing track that is the main event.




So what have we learnt? Mash up’s are still cool. Don’t mess with MC Ride. Gimlet Media is the place we all want to work, call me Alex Blumberg. And we still don’t know who Breakmaster Cylinder is. But I’m ok about this, as it’s nice to have some mysteries in the world that can’t be solved by a few lazy keystrokes and web searches.









thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

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….











thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

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!











thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

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!











thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

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












thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs

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











thisyearinmusic on Kindle Blogs