Tag Archives: 2014

Four tracks in seventeen minutes, don’t mind if I do



Some tracks start with a whimper, other fade in slowly, and some start with an explosion of feedback. King TV’s Don’t Wanna Go Home, is with the latter. After a rousing drum intro the most Britpop riff kicks in. This is the most Britpop thing that’s ever happened, well this side of 1997. If Echobelly and the Longpigs formed a super group it might sound a bit like this. The narrative is simple, you go to a gig, stuff happens, you don’t want to go home.



Despite the sound, don’t be fooled, this isn’t Britpop by numbers, nor is it a pastiche. What King TV has done effortlessly is take a tired formula and slightly changed a few things, and breathed new life into it. Each track on the Play on Forever EP is filled with this playfulness. Unlike the original slew of Britpop bands, there is no sarcasm or cynicism in the lyrics. This is just big fun music.



On the December 22nd, King TV at playing at the Brixton Windmill. This looks set to be one of the best gigs during the Christmas period. If you are in the area, go on down for a proper Christmas knees up!







More Alt-12-Days-of-Christmas fun. On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Six rappers guesting












Four Cool Birds





Three boozy Friends



Two songs by Love





And a Christmas card from the Partridge Family








Lo-Fi Acoustic Ambient introverted folk is the order of the day



As the monolith that is Christmas spreads it’s shadow over our lives more and more, the thought of food comas gets closer and last minute panic buying starts to seem like a good idea, we need to step back from the brink, stop and reassess. During these moments of contemplation, a soothing soundtrack is needed. This is where MXLX comes in.



In two years Matt Loveridge has released over 20 albums/EP’s. These are spilt over different aliases Klad Hest, Fairhorns, Gnar Hest, Knife Liibrary, Speed the Plough, Matt Williams and MXLX, as well as being a member of BEAK>. Not bad going. His latest album, Go Away, released through the excellent French label Valeur d’usage Records, is a lo-fi ambient acoustic affair (Loveridge calls the music Autistic Blues).



This is a fair description as the music is abstract and sketch like in places. Some tracks are nothing more than beautiful chord progressions, with misty drone like synth/keyboard in the background. In Loveridge’s own words “Combination of misery and poverty and having nothing else to do brought this record on”, this is an apt description, but there is beauty to it too.



I Am Not a Functional Human Being opens with a simple riff, layered with rhythmic strumming. As the track progresses the strumming gets faster, lyrics kick in and finger picking is introduced. All this add to the tension and the feeling of alienation grows. This being said, the music isn’t depressing, it’s upbeat in places. The Hate (Continues) seems simple enough. It’s just guitar and some humming. The complexity of the playing and the rich sound envelopes you, and draws you into its world.



MXLX is a similar artist to Jackamo Brown and Lupen Crook. They are not content in sugar coat everything like their pap-chart peers. They show you a mirror to the world where everything isn’t rosy, but it’s not all doom and gloom either. They populate their tracks with the ‘other side’ of society. The loners, drifters, people who are depressed/have mental illness, and show that there is beauty in them too. At this time of year, this is an album you can’t afford to miss out on.












On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me FIVE COLD BEERS!



Four Cool Birds





Three boozy Friends



Two songs by Love







And a Christmas card from the Partridge Family








Unlikely collaboration delivers an early Christmas present



This year has been the year of bass. Despite what the pap chart tells you, Kevin Martin is ALL about the bass. He doesn’t just use it in a conventional way, oh no, Martin uses it to add texture and tone. On this year’s Angels & Devils album he displayed this deftly.



Martin isn’t one to rest on his laurels, four months after its release, and two after his last EP, he’s back to end the year on an even greater high, with possibly the collaboration of the year. On Boa/Cold Martin has teamed up with Dylan Carlson, AKA Earth. Over the last two decades Carlson has produced Drone, Ambient Metal, Noise and Doom Metal of the highest quality. The two had originally hooked up so Carlson could appear on Angels & Devils, but due to the quality of their work, they decided to expand the idea to a standalone releases, and we’re all the better for it!



Boa/Cold is 12 minutes of guttural bass and distorted beats, combined with beautiful guitar work and exquisite feedback. Boa opens with claustrophobic misty noise, while a guitar pierces through it. Carlson’s playing is repetitive and precise. This is Drone at its best! Then Martin joins in and throws down a slab of beat, that not only compliments the guitar work, but gives it something to interact with. Cold starts very ambient, and continues in the vein for most of the song. Its effectiveness comes from its simplicity. Carlson, us his MO states, only plays a few notes/riffs, while Martin builds the tension and drama around it.



Boa/Cold rounds off a very successful year for both Martin and Carlson. Both released albums this year to critical acclaim. Let’s hope this isn’t the last we hear from these two together, as musicians of this quality and vision should release a long player!






Day four of an alternative 12 Days of Christmas



On the Fourth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, Four Cool Birds





Three boozy Friends



Two songs by Love





And a Christmas card from the Partridge Family






Had enough of Christmas music? The antidote is here!



Christmas is well and truly upon us. For the Ralphie Parker’s is never last long enough. However the Frank Cross’ among us it can’t be over quick enough, and although it’s the twelfth you still have another twelve days to do before it’s all over. If you are like Frank, you might need an alternative to Slade, Wizard, Shakin’ Stevens and the Wombles being rammed down your throat and ears.



Money for Rope is that alternative. Sounding like a mix of Misfits, Music Machine and the Walkmen, they make a Punk Surf Pop that is hard not to enjoy. On latest single Easy Way Out, the Erik Scerba’s pulsating drums are the main event. Julian McKenzie’s vocals soar and growl and the middle 8/solo really makes this a formidable track.



What makes this really refreshing is that it’s fun. Recently bands have been making very serious, dour sounding singles and albums. Yes we are going through some tough times (economies crumble, Human Rights are being violated and the far right is on the rise), but sometimes you just something big, loud and proud and this is exactly what Money for Rope do. Rumour has it there is an album in the pipeline. If this year’s out-put, and this single are anything to go on, it will be an album you can’t afford to miss!



This evening sees them playing their last UK show before heading home. They are part of their label’s (Killing Moon Records) night at KOKO in Cambden. Also on the bill are label mates Sons & Lovers and the KM DJ’s. Get tickets HERE, or queue in the cold to get one. This looks set to be a Christmas Party you won’t want to miss!



Now for the Ralphie Parker’s out there, here is an alternative 12 Days of Christmas



On the First day of Christmas my true love gave to me a Christmas card from the Partridge Family











Norwegian jazz band celebrate 20 years by releasing a boxset that celebrates the past and future of the band



What do you get if you mix Charles Mingus, Squarepusher, EPMD, Django Reinhardt, Thelonious Monk and Boards of Canada? Apart from the best mixtape ever, you get some idea of what Jaga Jazzist sounds like. Formed by two brothers, Martin and Lars Horntveth, in Norway in 1994, Jaga Jazzist has grown from being a side project while the brothers were in a pop group, to touring the world, releasing critically acclaimed album on Ninja Tune and performing with the 25 piece Britten Sinfonia.



Their second album, A Living Room Hush, released in 2001 brought them to the attention of the world, as the BBC said it was the best jazz album released that year. Even now thirteen years later, A Living Room Hush still sounds like an insight into jazz’s future, yet hinting at it’s past. Opening track Animal Chin sounds like a fairground carousel, being run by psychotic and demented clowns and organ grinders. While the intensity is slowly heightened with each rotation of the carousel, there is no threat of malice or danger. It’s good clean fun. Airborne is a glitch-tastic jaunt through laidback, and at times romantic riffs, until the maelstrom at the end leads to a beautiful outro. Low Battery is one of the most traditional tracks on the album. It’s a slow building horn track, but there is plenty bubbling under the surface to keep you on your toes. Mingus and Monk would approve!



To commemorate this monumental event Ninja Tune, Jaga’s home since 2001, have decided to release a boxset. Like all Ninja Tune boxset’s, it sublime. It consists of a re-issue of A Living Room Hush on limited edition coloured vinyl, and two bonus coloured 12” records of re-working of classic Jaga tracks.



Jaga Jazzist

Jaga Jazzist



One of the standout tracks is Clark’s remix of Banafluer Overalt. What Clark does effortlessly is to take a mellow track, and cherry pick a few elements from it, mix it perfectly with a funky beat and bassline to create something that never deviates from the original’s vibe, but has a dance floor sensibility. As Christmas is coming up, why not buy this for that jazz electronic music fan your life.





Good things come to those who wait, and wow, this is worth the wait!



Regular readers will know about my love for Speedy Wunderground. Everything about the setup is quality. The idea is about as punk/DIY as you can get. 6 releases a year. 24 hours to write and record a song. 1 week to master, and to create a B-Side (if one is needed) and then off to the pressing plant. A few weeks later 250 7” singles return. The studio is badass and the man in charge of the whole thing is possible the best producer working in music at the moment. The one, the only Mr. Dan Carey.



This week sees the release of the ninth instalment in the SW saga. It contains the two brightest lights in the UK Hip-Hop scene. I won’t bore you with the back story of Kate Tempest and Loyle Carner. All you need to know is that they are young, hungry and insanely talented. The track that they created Guts, with Mr. Dan at the controls, could possibly be the Hip-Hop track of the year, but I’ve already waxed lyrical about this (, let’s concentrate on the B-Side.



Mr. Dan’s Balloon Dub, concentrates on a simple back and forth between Kate and Loyle but with a dub version built around it. What makes this B-Side shine is that Dan’s production is so against what is going on at the moment that you can’t help take notice of it. At times it sounds like the RZA at his peak, but without being lost in a sea of Kung-Fu samples and bass.



By the time you read this, SW009 will be sold out. Sorry about that, but you were warned early about this. Best start saving those quids for eBay and Discogs, which will be the only place you’ll probably find this now. Other than wait 6 months for the Speedy Wunderground – Year 2 compilation next year…








Psych Acid-Blues-Folkers return with thirteen tracks of nigh on perfection



The only thing that is better than hearing a great album, is it being from one of your favourite bands who are back to their best and firing on all cylinders. This is exactly what happened with of Arrowe Hill’s new album A Conspiracy of Clocks. After a couple of lo-fi semi-acoustic albums, they are back with a full band and a fuller sound. A Conspiracy of Clocks is chocked full of the psychedelic acid blues that has made them one of the most exciting bands for the last 14 years.



These Owls of Mine starts the albums. Sounding like a skiffle guitar battle, it winds and intertwines for 66 seconds then lead singles …& That’s What Really Happened Blues and Around the Corner help to continue the album in fine form. Both showcase singer songwriter Adam Easterbrook skill of storytelling and love of word play. The first is about a rather fun night out and, as the song says, what REALLY happened. The second is a faux-calypso jaunt, that despite the jauntiness of the music, has a melancholy feel to the lyrics. Classic Easterbrook. Just when you think you have the song worked out, BAM, he throws in a line and you suddenly start questioning if what he’s saying he actually means. Eat your heart out Kafka! Also there is a wonderful flute solo that really ties the song together.



Against the run of play there is an instrumental track. This give the band a chance to stretch their musical muscles. To call it a highlight is an understatement. Whatever that Means sounds like something you seen on the re-runs of Beat Club. It’s rammed full of jangly riffs and tight harmonies. Despite the morbid theme of the final track, it ends on a light note with the best worst joke ever.



What this album does best is show that all you need are ideas and everything else is possible. While the album is pretty lo-fi, the subtle layers and textures give the tracks something that would have been missing if the recording had been plusher. On A Conspiracy of Clocks Adam Easterbrook has successfully written an album full of catchy rhythms and macabre lyrics, that is perfect for winter listening. When playing the album at home, you want to pull the curtains, dim the lights and keep warm. Personally I like listening to it while having a brisk walk, and pulling my scarf and coat tighter round my neck while having my hands well and truly rammed in my pockets. So all the same this time next year then Adam?















At a loss tonight? Why not come along to this. It’s better than watching X-Factor…



After the success of last month’s Club Ealing gig at the Drapers Arms, they’re back again with an even stronger line up. Tonight’s bill includes Luge, Ella and the Blisters, the Chairs and Northsyde.



First up is Luge. Not much is known about Luge, as they’re kind of a local secret, so if you want to find out more, you’ll have to come to the Drapers Arms.



Next up is Ella and the Blisters. This seven piece band draw that incorporates blues, gypsy swing, jazz, folk and country to create something totally original, yet immediately familiar. Latest single Alcoholic Flaw showcases this sound perfectly. After one song they will have you jigging like someone possessed!





Local heroes The Chairs take the stage next. This quartet mix blues and heavy rock perfectly. Sounding like a mix of Led Zep, Chuck Berry and the Mars Volta they have been destroying every band they play with and winning over fans all across a the capital. If they continue at this pace, it won’t be long before they’re playing bigger venues.





Last, but not least is Northsyde. Since 2006 this four piece has seemless mixed blues, funk and rock. This winning formula has seen them play all over Europe. Seeing them in such an intermit environment will only add to the set.





Luge are on at 7.30 and it’s free. Why not make a night of it and get down early. I know I will!









Scottish Post-Rock quintet polishes off a successful year with a blistering EP


Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1. is the latest EP by Mogwai. The EP picks up where the critically acclaimed and insanely brilliant Rave Tapes left off. As with most Mogwai EP’s the themes and ideas are executed more concisely. Whereas on an album they can take their time exploring the track, on their EP’s they get to the point.



Teenage Exorcists opens the proceedings. While this isn’t classic Mogwai (due to the vocals and the slightly poppy sound), it still has plenty of their LOUD/QUIET formula to keep old fans happy. At times though it sounds like Interpol and Sonic Youth have collaborated. History Day is classic Mogwai. Melodic guitars, haunting piano, glitchy clicks and that overall air that things could turn nasty and heavy at any minute. HMP Shaun William Ryder, is another slow building instrumental. There is a lot going on here, and the track could easily exceed its five minutes. The interplay with the xylophone really adds texture, and allows the bass to surge underneath it all. However the real star is the songs exquisite peak, and the outro is to die for. The remaining three tracks are remixes from Rave Tapes. These remixes never reach the highs of the original tracks; they do come close in places.



As all the tracks culled from the Rave Tape sessions, it’s easy to see why they didn’t quite fit in with that project. However this EP makes a perfect accompaniment piece, as Les Revenants EP was to the original soundtrack. This EP rounds off another successful year, for a band that should be commended for never taking the easy route and sticking to their guns. Let’s hope 2015 is just as good, as Les Revenants returns, hopefully with another flawless score.








Number four with a bullet Ed



This week’s number four in the chart is Ed Sherran with his latest offering. Sticking to form, it’s another bore-fest. I don’t mean to jump on the Ed-Bashing Band wagon, but this is pretty dull. I totally understand that Ed’s vibe is heartfelt, emotional ballards, but c’mon Ed! Where is the inventiveness? Where is the cleverness? This sound’s like it could have been a bad Britpop b-side in the 1990’s.



Sadly this isn’t the most worrying about the track. The fact that it’s number four (last week’s number two and previously number one). This is a worrying sign as it shows that the British public, have, well let’s face it, bad taste in music. If this was once our most popular song, it shows that instead of embracing the musical diversity that has been going on for the last few years, we’d rather play it safe and go for something that we’ve heard before, and was done better then.



There is another more comforting reason for this slow burners rise to the summit of the charts. Perhaps, perhaps it was a slow music week in the run up to Christmas? Something has to be number one right? So why not let Ed have his moment in the Sun after another ‘successful’ year? Sadly I don’t buy this 100%. I had a sinking feeling Ed would have been number one anyway. Come on England, pull your finger out. Next year let’s try and have a better selection with our high charting singles!