Review: Deep into his chamber-lurking follow-up Wu odyssey, Leon Michels stumbled upon shy New York twosome The Shacks and convinced them to record this hazy summer-primed 45". Singer Shannon steals the show with softness and honesty as the band weave a psychedelic bed of sliding guitars and faraway harmonies. Both laced with a woozy 60s edge and beautifully playful lyrics, the whole EP sparkles with soul and talent from both The Shacks and Leon's ever-reliable troupe.
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.
Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra, Op 34 (17:12)
Review: This recording of the Philadelphia Orchestra performing Sergei Prokofiev's 1936 story and orchestral score Peter and the Wolf was recorded in 1977 and was originally released in 1978. The role of the narrator on the recording was initially offered to both Peter Ustinov and Alec Guinness who both turned it down, before David Bowie agreed to take on the role, supposedly as a Christmas present to his son. On the B-side is another equally as charming piece of recent classical history, Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra as narrated by Hugh Downs.
Review: Post irony has no place in the music of Ex Hex, a three-piece duo bringing together leather jacket riffs of rockin' roll barn fightin' blues from down the highway. Guitars are huge and the glam modest but real. "It's Real", their second album, sees them on Merge Records once again after debuting with the label in 2014. That first album saw more of the Sex Pistols come out in the band than The New York dolls, but lashings of punk and re-amplified strings brought it where it needed to be, while this time the sophomore album pitches a roaring post punk sound with the subtle art of stadium rock.
Review: The third and final archival release issued to celebrate Dark Entries reaching the 5 year anniversary mark finds the San Francisco-based label focus on the superbly named Executive Slacks. Spawned in early '80s Philadelphia, Executive Slacks were made up of Matt Marello, John Young and Albert Ganss, a trio of art students inspired to commit their angst ridden electronics to tape after infiltrating the local scene's circuit of clubs and galleries. In 1983 a self-titled EP was issued by local independent Red Records featuring four tracks of jagged body music that took inspiration from the Cabs and Tuxedo Moon as well as Dadaism and Disco. Fully remastered and presented in original artwork, this new Dark Entries issue is a superb introduction to a band whose music is a clear influence on the likes of Front 242 and Ministry.