Review: Soul Tribe celebrate the epic legacy of Chess subsidiary Argo with two of the label's many outstanding soul burners. Etta's big swing sauce-pot number takes pride of place with all 55 years of sultry devotion still deeply embedded into the recording. Banks' slightly lesser known pastoral ballad sets up camp on the B. Lilting and lolloping with horseback storytelling, it's the perfect foil both musically and narratively.
Review: Australian singer hailing from the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Julia Jacklin, resurfaces with a third album following Don't Let The Kids Win (2016) and Eastwick / Cold Caller (2017). Opening with arguably the album's most afflicting number, "Body", Jacklin's voice almost inhibits an Edith Piaf-like quality, somewhat shaky but resolute. It's far from a forlorn listen though, and while "Pressure To Party" may lament such things as fun, it adds an upbeat rhythm to the album's more down beat numbers, be they "Don't Know How To Keep Loving You", to the lowly piano and voice solo of "When The Family Flies In". Touching on the hallmarks of a true romantic, Jacklin's music is melancholic as ever, but with her vocals only adding to the warm embrace of the instrumentation, "Crushing" should melt a few hearts yet.
Review: With a slew of releases for Dirty Hit, it was only a matter of time before Amber Bain's project, The Japanese House, would find its debut album release. Good at Falling presents Bain's vocal talent at its fullest, with vocoder work to rival the best of pop to come out of Istanbul's studios or Kolkata's streets - see "Went To Meet Her". Ethereal and poppy, there's comparisons to be made with the music of Ladyhawke in an album that subtly dabbles in genres likes post-dubstep (see "Wild") to cosmic disco and emotional electronica (see "Everybody Hates Me") across an album that's proud and steadfast in its folky, singer-songwriting form.
Review: Baby Buddha is the experimental new wave duo of Charles Hornaday (vocals, guitar, electronics, drums) and David Javelosa (vocals, electronics, clarinet). Born from late night improvisations of San Francisco synth-punks Los Microwaves with a rotating cast of musicians. Live shows would include music, projections, dance and performance art in both clubs and gallery spaces. In 1980, Howie Klein's 415 Records released their first single of Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man". In 1981, 'Music For Teenage Sex' was their first full length album released via Poshboy Records. It featured Los Microwaves' Meg Brazill, Poshboy boss Robbie Fields, and Kathy Peck as "Tammy Why-not", who later went on to found H.E.A.R (Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers). In January 1983 Kathy, Charles and David went into the studio with a couple of Kathy's original "country" songs and began working on a sophomore album. They also incorporated songs from a live multi-track recording of a concert at the Graffiti Club on June 6th 1984. The album titled 'Everyone Is My Age' sat unreleased until 1987 due to relocation to Los Angeles and eventually found a home on David's Hyperspace Communications, the original label for the first Los Microwaves singles. For this first time reissue we've added a previously unreleased bonus song "What's Going On," a Kathy Peck original. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The vinyl comes housed in the original jacket featuring a collage by David Javelosa and includes an insert with lyrics, photos and liner notes.
Review: Jay-U Experience was the musical alter ego of Justus Nnakwe, a Nigerian musician who featured in several psychedelic rock and funk combos during the late '70s and early '80s. Collectors of Nigerian music have long sought out copies of his 1977 debut album, Enough is Enough, a fact that has inspired Soundway to prepare this licensed reissue. It's a thoroughly vibrant and entertaining set that sees Nnawke slip between leisurely reggae-pop ("Reggae Deluxe"), acid-fried Afro-funk ("Get Yourself Together"), sax-fuelled dancefloor psychedelia ("Some More") and fuzzy, organ-laden funk-rock heaviness (freaky closer "Baby Rock"). Given that finding original copies is near impossible these days, even for those who spend their lives digging in Lagos, this should be an essential purchase for fans of Nigerian music.
Malaria! - "Your Turn To Run (I Will Be Your Only One)" (4:05)
Ausserhalb - "Zeitzelle" (3:32)
Die Haut - "Der Karibische Western" (5:32)
Aus Lauter Liebe - "Pingelig" (3:02)
Mania D - "Track 4" (3:27)
Exkurs - "Fakten" (3:53)
Christiane F - "Wunderbar" (JD Twitch edit) (6:14)
Sprung Aus Den Wolken - "Dub & Die" (4:15)
P1/E - "Up & Above/Up & Above Dub" (6:44)
Franz Erlmeier & Fritz Kostler - "Offnen Sie Mal Ihre Tasche" (2:31)
Populare Mechanik - "Scharfer Schnitt (No 1)" (2:34)
Andreas Dorau & Die Marinas - "Fred Vom Jupiter" (2:42)
Weltklang - "Veb Heimat" (2:28)
Stefan Bloser - "Voyager One" (5:42)
Matthias Schuster - "An Rah Robeel" (5:35)
Review: When it comes to compilation making there's probably no two safer names in the art than Strut Records and Optimo's JD Twitch (and maybe the one Trevor Jackson too). This time around though, surprise surprise, Twitch collides a choice selection of oddball rarities and mythical classics from Germany's original post-punk and DIY scene, and in the process gives the behemoth Vinyl-on-demand label a dashing run for its money. There's a staggering amount of music to be discovered here that will send your mind running down one of Berlin's dank strasses or a Dresden ditch, but after hearing tracks like "Your Turn To Run" by Malaria! or Twitch's own edit of Christiane F "Wunderbar" you may be left wondering why you've been listening to Talking Heads and "Eisbear" this whole time.
Review: Undoubtedly one of the most unique and profounds records heard in recent memory, this third full-length album from the Montreal-Beirut, audio-visual duo, Jerusalem In My Heart, is an awe-inspired display of voice, electronics, buzuq instrumentation and Maqam shifts. The album collides Arabian musicology with contemporary extremes of experimental electronic production, and the sounds and socio, geo-political discourse it navigates, fathoms depths so deep it's impossible not to feel affected by its sentiment. With the 19 minute-long "Wa Ta'atalat Loughat Al Kalam" defining the release like a street call to pray, the fretted bumps and dancey grunge of "Bein Ithnein" to the guttural oral chants of "Thahab, Mish Roujou', Thahab", places Daqa'iq Tudaiq in a world of its own. Must Listen.
Review: Planet Mu has long been celebrated as a genuine source of musical surprises, but even by their standards John Wizards, the debut album from the South African/Rwandan duo of the same name, is a bolt from the blue. Gloriously, it is near impossible to pigeonhole (or even accurately describe), offering a kaleidoscopic, near tropical fusion of gorgeous African pop, skewed electronica, traditional African songwriting, bright juju guitars, wonky British indie-pop, tactile R&B and loads more besides. That it not only makes sense but sounds great, too, confirms that these guys are a major talent. Recommended.
Review: Time marches relentlessly on as does the immortal sound of iconic Manchester band Joy Division. At the heart of Unknown Pleasures was the alarming vocal talent of Ian Curtis. His alien wails, echoed expressionistic vistas of urban alienation over No Wave tribal beats and Gothic guitar impressions. And despite the breathtaking intensity of the angular acid comedown "She's Lost Control", the soaringly depraved detachment of "New Dawn Fades" and the proto-slowcore "Candidate", opening track "Disorder" remained the piece years ahead of its time and most immediately enduring. This anniversary record arrives almost forty years to the day after it was originally released, splashed out on 180g ruby red vinyl with an alternative white sleeve to resemble the original and legendary cover design. Unquestionably authentic, Unknown Pleasures was a vision so uncompromising and haunting that each track was worth its length. This commemorative reissue, then, continues the celebration of one of the most important albums of our time as well as highlighting the record as a landmark in music-design crossover history.
Review: Half journeyman, half David Lynch bar scene, all twisted crooner-dom, and at least a little tongue in cheek, Mike Patton & Jean Claude Vannier are aiming straight for the alternatives with this 12-strong collection of bizarre ballads and obscure odes that will appeal to rarer tastebuds. There's the spoken word and strummed guitars guiding us through the various parts of "A Schoolgirl's Day". The Sinatra-does-sarcasm of closer "Pink & Bleue", and the way "Hungry Ghost" aurally recalls "Everybody Knows" by Leonard Cohen. Truly unique stuff, despite its debt of gratitude to troubadour totems, counterculture rock and The Rat Pack, it's as rooted in the 21st Century as anything you'll hear today. The production process involved two creators in two different parts of the world, Patton and band in L.A., Vannier with a full orchestra in Vienna. Not that you can tell considering how complete the record feels.