Dance Your Life Away (Andrew Weatherall remix) (7:51)
Review: The pairing of Evangeline Ling and David Wrench might seem an unlikely pairing. Yet a chance encounter at a mutual friend's party just one week after Wrench moved to London had led to an experimental studio session that's been going on ever since. Speaking about the track, Audiobooks claim to have wrote and recorded this "Dance Your Life Away" in a couple of days, with Ling so excited that she travelled across the city in her pyjamas so as not to waste any time. The pair's groovy disco-pop is complimented wonderfully by the inimitable Andrew Weatherall's groovy remix on the flip - working his magic as always.
Review: Slingin' slangin guitars, skittering drums and synths from BRIT School graduates Black Midi deliver a sound that's semi-ironic with all matter of punk leanings. With references abound to New York's heyday of experimental new wave and art rock, this two-track 12" for Rough Trade sees the four-piece edge that bit closer to their anticipated debut album called Schlagenheim. Due for a release this June, most of Schlagenheim was said to have been laid down in five days with producer Dan Carey (Bat for Lashes, Bloc Party) and these two tracks go to some length in introducing the band's raw talent, their meteoric rise and vision of a gone but not forgotten CBGBs.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a must-have seven-inch containing two curiously off-kilter cuts from obscure "beat generation" bands of the early 1960s. Der Evergreens "Es Lilin" (that's "Ice Lolly" in English, apparently) is a sun-kissed rhythm and blues cover of a Sudanese love song recorded in Rotterdam in 1965. It's fairly short but very, very sweet. Arguably even better is Les Jaguars De Casablanca's 1962 cover of surf classic "Gonzales". The band was truly international - Spanish and French guitarists and a Moroccoan rhythm section - and on the resultant recording you can tell. Think of it as an "outernational" take on the Shadows, and you're close.
Review: Since launching last year, Lil Static has offered up new, lightly altered editions of classic tracks from Jeru the Damaja, Kraftwerk, Run-DMC, Nas and the Notorious B.I.G. Here they continue to serve up vital beats for break-digging DJs via classic cuts from Eric B. & Rakim and Mountain. The A side sports an edited version of 1986 cut "Eric B. Is President", a synth-bass propelled NYC hip-hop gem rich in unmistakable rap vocals and tight scratching. Over on side B there's a chance to savour Mountain's late '60s rock cut that provided the Eric B. & Rakim track (and so many others since) with its distinctive drum break, "Long Red". This edited version gives more prominence to the breaks, making it an ideal mixing tool for hip-hop DJs.
Review: For their latest trip into musical paradise, Zurich's Phantom Island crew has turned to debutants The Gagosians, a trio made up of former Soulphiction guest vocalist Suzana Rozkosny, A.C. Kupper (Guitar) and Kay-Zee (Synths). In its original form "Run For My Honey" is a slightly creepy but hugely enjoyable 4-minute chunk of no-wave wonkiness, with Rozkosny's strutting, post punk style vocals rising above lo-fi drum machine beats, surf-rock style guitar loops and elongated organ chords. On the B-side, Label co-founders Lexx and Kejeblos provide a stellar remix that drags the track further towards skewed, Balearic-minded electrofunk territory. While many of the original instrumentation remains, their body-popping beats and thickset synth bassline give the cut a whole new dancefloor dimension.
Review: The latest outing from Swiss reissue specialists WRWTFWW takes us back to 1981 and the debut single from Bern-based post-punk combo Grauzone. The 12" release of "Eisbaer" has long been a must-have amongst fans of off-kilter, dancefloor-ready new wave, and this replica reissue includes all three tracks featured on that version. Opener "Eisbar" sets the tone, with the bands weary, half spoken/half sung vocals rising above a backing track that's powered forwards by relentless bass guitar, screeching riffs and broken computer style electronics. "Film 2" is a heavy, synthesizer powered workout peppered with delay-laden drum hits and odd noises, while closing cut "Ich Liebe Sie" is a clicking and quietly melodious affair that's almost entirely electronic.
Review: There's definitely something in the water round Bristol way right now - the city currently seems to ooze punk spirit and has a habit of producing ferociously good acts, from the raw, gnarling guitars of Idles to the unfettered electronic juggernauts of Giant Swan. Those already familiar with Heavy Lungs will know this is another outfit to add to that list, with "Measure" their most complete and daring body of work to date. Opening on "Half Full", which builds atmosphere gradually, before the first ferocious chords drop the listener is already hooked, the moment of release is at once necessary and rather unexpected, setting the tone for a collection of songs that are as intelligently conceived as they are vital. From here we get "Self Worth", "T.O.T.B", and "(A Bit Of A) Birthday", spanning walls of white noise through to skudgy, loose, garage-y tones.
Review: Ah, a real gem of the NYC No Wave era is the focus of Dark Entries attentions here as the stunning Holland Tunnel Dive by ImpLOG is given a more than timely reissue. For the uninitiated out there, ImpLOG were formed by The Contortions band members Don Christensen and Jody Harris under the name ImpLOG, after the former left the iconic No Wave act in 1979, and released just the two records together. The story goes that Christensen's recorded experiments with found sounds, and an array of instruments such as a Univox drum machine and Casio keyboards impressed Lust/Unlust Records founder Charles Ball sufficiently enough to issue two tracks from the submitted demo tape as the Holland Tunnel Dive 12? in 1980. It's remained a highly prized record ever since and this lovingly recreated edition from Dark Entries is a must!
Review: It's always a pleasure to find another release from those well-dressed men: Interpol. That great New York band that defined an era and a sound of their own with a stretch of LPs across the 2000s; from Turn On The Bright Lights all the way to 2010's self-titled triumph. With the release of "A Fine Mess" there's seems to be a new influx of energy dedicated to their 2019 world tour, laced with the group's unique tonic of melancholia, of course. This is undeniably heard on opener "Fine Mess", and at five tracks long it's something of a mini album. Recorded during their time spent in upstate New York with acclaimed producer Dave Fridmann (think Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips and Mogwai), the resulting collection of tracks delivers something of a fiery compliment to the deep and visceral energy heard on their sixth studio album "Marauder". Long live Interpol.
Review: Destination mid 70s Nairobi where Madagascan guitarist Jimmy Mawi was laying down some serious vibes... Signed to EMI's Pathe imprint, he released three singles during his career which have all since faded to obscurity. Until now. Dusty, garagey and steaming with raw blues fusion, it's hard to deny any parallels to Hendrix as Mawi expresses himself with a rough heartfelt frenzy. Highlights include the Zep-level smoked out soul of "Blue Star Blues" and the insistent drive and reverbed out faraway vocals on "Black Dialogue". Another exemplary Afro-funk find from Soundway.
Review: For Sufjan Stevens, "With My Whole Heart", is said to be a self-described attempt to "write an upbeat and sincere love song without conflict, anxiety, or self-deprecation." This single arrives as a most prominent work since his album for 4AD in 2017, and the title track sees rolling toms and keys glitter alongside call-and-response choruses, and a commanding guitar solo. The 1996 demo, done entirely on acoustic guitar, carries even more melancholy and like a lot of his work from this early period, it feels fragmented, even vulnerable, but never without touch of hope and sentimentality. A voice for a new generation.
Review: We love Talking Drums. At the core, they are simply our type of band. An album, a few EPs, and then disappear before the scene kicks off and becomes commercialized. Boxes all well and truly ticked. The early 80s were a period of change what with punk music evolving into post-punk, and while the nu-romantic fashion that came to prominence in the mid 80s was a national movement, it was bands like Talking Drums which initiated it. Thanks to the ever-reliable Dark Entries, we now get to enjoy their best single, Courage, in all its glory - and it sounds like it's been pressed up properly, too! All you need to know at this point, if you haven't come across this already, is that it's one of the best disco-not-disco singles you'll ever cop...and we don't have a favourite tune...they're all equally raw, drum-heavy, house-envisioning, and utterly addictive. Hotly tipped!
Review: Following previous outings for Los Angeles-based imprint ESP Institute such as 2016's Jaguar Mirror and 2017's Night School Of Universal Wisdom, Swedish multi-instrumentalist Oscar "Thunder" Tillman and his 'personal shaman' Pontus make the kind of music you only hear in your most vivid dreams. Incorporating kraut, prog-rock, ambient and disco at the heart of their boundless sound creations, they complete an illustrious trilogy here on their most expansive work to date. "Condor Sunflower" is a truly mesmerising psychedelic folk journey in convincing '70s fashion. On the B side, things take a more upbeat direction on the tripped-out disco funk of "Creation Discotheque".
Review: Claremont 56 continue to disregard the genre boundaries - preferring instead to give good music the attention it deserves - as their latest looker of a twelve inch presents us the sounds of Torn Sail. Fronted by Smith & Mudd vocalist Huw Costin, Torn Sail go all 60s West Coast rock on us with the gloriously rich sounds of "Birds". From its acoustic beginnings the track gradually unfurls into a delightful groove embellished by soothing vocal harmonies. It's almost a thankless task enlisting anyone to try and remix what sounds like a perfect song, but Claremont 56 obviously chose right in requesting the services of Tiago. In the Portuguese producer's hands "Birds" is transformed into a heavily psychedelic freakout which gently develops into a kraut rock behemoth filled with swathes of heavy organ vibes. Containing several shifts in momentum - including a glorious half speed finish - this is a truly stunning remix which left our jaws occupying the floor!
Review: While he lived a musical life that spanned from boogie to gospel before he passed away in 2016, Nairobi's David Waciuma didn't get to record much. He was known much more for his live performances with bands such as The Monks Experience then, later, Rapture Voices who he recorded these two records in the mid-70s. "Devil Go" is a thumping rhythm and blues call and response piece while "Jesu Kristo" hits with more of a frazzled bluesy funk. Both make you wish he recorded much more.
Like Describing Colors To A Blind Man On Acid (3:01)
Lunar Surf Graveyard (3:34)
The Sun Ship (3:57)
Review: No longer simply the nearly-man egomaniac chronicled in the movie Dig, Anton Newcombe is now viewed with the kind of reverence he probably always felt he deserved, a modern master of classic psychedelia with a glint in his eye, having carved out a trademark sound that transcends retro trappings by its constantly questing and adventurous nature. The Spacemen 3-referencing sleeve of this new effort - his third work in the last two years and 15th BJM album in total - somewhat belies a sound that could come from no other maverick, its widescreen sweep locking horns with synapse-shredding experimentation.
Review: Originally released in 1979, Francesco Cabiati's Mirage is a classic slice of holy grail electronic prog that has been searched for and fawned over for years by avid collectors. Now Galaxy have scored the record as their opening gambit, which should satisfy more than a few second hand vigilantes out there. It's a bombastic offering rich in Moog lines and dramatic themes, much like all the great instrumental synth offerings of the era. From the faithful treatment of the cover and labels to the quality of the remastering, it's everything a classic reissue of a hidden gem should be.
Review: Something of a departure for this soulful Ninja Tune troubadour, this stripped down and spare record essentially does exactly what it says on the tin,in all forms except being quite as cheerful as the club setting suggests - this is a collection of blues ditties written with almost puritanically obsessive zeal in that idiom and put down at home by Fink at home in Berlin with only a guitar, an amp and a few microphones. In stripping down his songwriting to the bare essentials, the gritty vitality of his approach reaps rich rewards, arriving at what is unquestionably his finest work yet - a soulful, heartfelt and understated record that plays to his strengths without any of the trappings of studio trickery, and expands from its minimal modus operandi with power and impact.
Review: Few people adhere so gloriously to the old-fashioned idea of a pop star than Brandon Flowers, who more often than not comes across - in classic Ziggy Stardust fashion - much like an alien emissary who's landed on the planet designed solely for this purpose. By no means a master of understatement, he nonetheless maintains a positively effortless expertise in making the kind of stadium-ready barnstormers that many others struggle to create. Moreover, he's excelled himself on 'The Desired Effect', producing an uplifting, refreshingly unselfconscious selection fashioned entirely from bombastic pure pop glory; the influences of Pet Shop Boys and Springsteen may be manifest, but this confection is Flowers' and his alone.
Review: The back catalogue of this mystical and mercurial German collective, numbering Messrs Moebius and Roedelius from Cluster as well as Neu's Michael Rother in their ranks. has always been frustrating only in its brevity, and with that in mind this live material from their heyday is as manna to krautrock enthusiasts - these at once meditative and exploratory voyages through inner space bear all the hallmarks that made their two studio efforts such evergreen portals to a fertile age of experimentation and inspiration, and an inspration to Eno and Bowie amongst a legion of others - Sehr kosmisch, indeed.
Review: Feisty female foursome Hinds impressed with their 2015 debut album Leave Me Alone, so hopes are naturally high for this follow-up. It's certainly a confident and cheery affair - musically at least - with the Spanish band flitting between fuzzy, rockier workouts, cuts that touch on classic indie-rock tropes, and eccentric guitar pop, all held together by the band's punk-influenced vocal delivery (half-sung, half-shouted, almost always involving multiple members at once) and a deliciously "do-it-yourself" production style that largely eschews modern studio trickery. The result is a fresh, thrill-a-minute set that should see their stock rise even further.
Review: Trentemoller's Into The Great Wide Yonder sees the Danish producer dipping his toe into new territory to deliver an LP that sounds wholly natural and unforced, showcasing yet another side to his musical prowess. Not that we should be surprised - 2006's critically acclaimed debut The Last Resort was a crisp dance record, while his first mix compilation, Harbour Boat Trips, came loaded with varying sentiments of indie, rock and pop. Into The Great Wide Yonder completes Trentemøller's transition from his roots as a dancefloor producer into the more instrument-led domain of pop and rock tinged electronica. Still using a driving kick drum as the core to the album, the In My Room head honcho is still very much part of the dance scene, just not in the club focused way that we're used to.
Review: Tropics - AKA singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chris Ward - deals in a smooth and spare electronic sound, in which the love of '80s Peter Gabriel and Arthur Russell that he grew up is parlayed into yearning songs that are both stylishly understated and emotionally engaging. Never less than inventive and melancholically melodious, 'Rapture', his second album, makes for an exquisite litany of heartache and regret, as Ward delivers the kind of late night tales that will be manna to anyone whose tastes veer in the direction of Sade, James Blake and The XX alike.
Review: Following the release of Iggy Pop's last full length, Post Pop Depression, the much loved punk professional has teamed up with pioneering electronic dance musos Underworld (think "Born Slippy") via the request of Rick Smith. Album opener, "Bells & Circles", sees Iggy relive the days when you could smoke on an aeroplane, and in his case pick up an air hostess, while a rich and throaty yet somewhat forlorn 'hey' in "I'll See Big" offers a classic, almost narrated number of nostalgia, with a hint of reverb adding a sweetness to a not so bitter regalement of times gone by. Meanwhile, "Get Your Shirt" pitches the bliss of 80s new wave with mid-90s rave to create a glittering, electro pop jam fit for the stadium or Soho club. The glory years may be a memory for this formidable tripod however their sounds, combined, still hit the sweet spot.
Review: The New Zealand-born, Portland-based Ruban Nielson initially made a name for himself by marrying psych rock and lo-fi styles in a messy, Beefheartian manner, with jam-band wig-outs vying for attention with expressive songcraft. On 'Multi Love', however, he's both reined in the excesses of yore and sharpened up his songwriting, and the result is a veritable tour de force. Pop-tinged melody and emotional candour make for impressive bedfellows on these nine expansive and inventive ditties, which take as much inspiration from Prince or Janelle Monae as they do The Grateful Dead or Zappa. 'Multi Love' marks the place where Nielson genuinely makes his presence felt as a modern-day psychedelic visionary.
Ifang Bondi & The Afro Mandingue Sounds - "Atis-A-Tis" (4:38)
Sory Bamba - "Kanaga 78" (4:55)
African Black - "Nzango" (7:02)
Bunzu Soundz - "Zinabu" (3:21)
Messi Jacques & Les Dissoumbas De Libreville - "Onga Ben Ma Na Mene Mebua" (6:18)
Ofo & The Black Company - "Allah Wakbarr" (3:26)
Damas Swing Orchestra - "Odylife" (2:20)
AKA - "Shake Me" (5:32)
Manu Dibango - "Ceddo" (5:06)
Review: The Africa Seven label might not have been around for very long, but the London-Paris dynasty has certainly established itself as a no.1 outlet for rare, unhinged world music. This is Africa Airways Volume 3: The Afro-Psych Excursion, a gorgeous compilation spanning the years 1972 to 1984, and it clearly offers some of the most magnetic tunes that they label has put out thus far. There isn't a mediocre song in here and, as the saying goes, it's all-killer-no-filler; take African Black's "Nzango", for example, a twisted, FX-heavy tribal experiment, or the more soulful highs and lows of tunes like "Zinabu" by Bunzu Soundz. Rough, dusty, completely psyched-out, and inimitable the whole way through; if you're looking for something that'll get the heads turning, and the diggers jealous, then this is your LP. Highly recommended.
Review: The Vogs, unlike how they appear at first sight, are not a band from the 1960s, and are actually living and breathing today. Given the deluge of reissues that flood our charts these days, a new album from a new band feels like a winning combo. A Change Is Coming is also an apt name, then, and it takes us back to a feeling of truly relevant soul music hitting hard and deep. The band, as a complete offering, are unbeatable and outstanding in many ways, but it's the vocals of their lead singer that get us going - not to mention the bass player coming through with some utterly killer lines for us to vibe to. If you're looking for some mo-town charm through the medium of modern music, then you should be looking no further. The Vogs are here.
Review: A late bloomer in extremis, Jane Weaver caused a sensation with the ethereal krautrock-tinged pop of 2015's 'The Silver Globe', but on the evidence of 'Modern Kosmology', it was just the first step into an otherworldly realm where taut, indelibly melodious ditties sit amidst exotic, chic arrangements. It's in thrall to the psych lineage that extends from the late-'60s to the present day - even including a guest spot from Can's Malcolm Mooney - but reinvents its paradigms in a manner that brings Broadcast and Stereolab to mind. With her radiant and dulcet tones to the forefront, Modern Kosmology' is a far-out yet tuned-in step into beguiling new dimensions.
Review: Wire are approaching their fortieth anniversary working as a band, and frankly no band has any right to still sound as kinetic, skilful and fresh with ideas in the wake of four decades of cultural shifts as they do on this snappy 15th album, collected from the same sessions that wrought last year's self-titled effort yet more experimental and expansive in nature As ever, their sound is spiky yet seductive, malevolent yet melodic, with its pop flourishes burnished by glacial abstraction. Colin Gilbert's vocals remain as mysterious yet playful as ever, whether backed up by textured ambience or motorik groove, resulting in a rare gem from a national treasure in rare form.