Review: Two of Funk Night Records' most distinctive and innovative acts join forces for two outstanding pieces of psychedelic fiery funk fusion. Estonian duo Misha Panfilov Sound Combo set the bedrock on "Soul Strut". All fuzzy, unkempt and energetic, it sets the scene for Detroit's Coco Buttafli to lay her scorched heart on the line in an almost metal-like style. "Electrifying Woman" takes us even deeper into the psychedelic mindset as the groove is given a swampy, dizzying feeling while Coco spits spoken word with such a savage honesty you can't helped but get sucked into the story. Two of a kind.
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: 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: Even though it appeared on his fine 1971 album "Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse" - a suitably dystopian set in which our hero rails against the ills of godless society - "Jagger The Dagger" is not one of Eugene McDaniels better known tracks. Yet as this Japanese seven-inch reissue proves, it remains a superb chunk of bizarre-but-brilliant jazz/rock/soul fusion full of delay-laden country style guitar solos, weirdo backing vocals, sumptuously laidback grooves and vocals that take aim at Mick Jagger and his "devil's dance". Flipside "Cherrystones" is a Vietnam War-era civil rights cry built around good old-fashioned fuzz-toned grooves, Chuck Berry style rock 'n' roll guitar solos and a pretty crazy lead vocal.
Review: On their third studio album in half a year, hyper-prolific Aussies King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have chosen to team up with Mild High Club, the slacker psychedelia project of Alexander Brettin. The collaboration strikes a happy medium between King Gizzard's overbearing frenetic sound and Mild High Club's laidback stoner attitude. Sketches Of Brunswick East has all the King Gizzard hallmarks: time signature and rhythm changes, explorations of microtonal harmonics and eastern scales, but the introduction of smoky noir jazz nostalgia as well as North African and Ethiopian flavours make for intriguing additions. It's refreshing to hear that, despite being seemingly unable to stop releasing records, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard haven't run out of good ideas just yet.
Review: If The Clash is the first thing you think when seeking out this cover then you're in the right place for this kinda music. An affiliate of Domino sub-label Double-Six since forever, About The Light presents Steve Mason's fourth studio album for the label and first in around three years. Mason channels positivity, stability since relocating to Brighton and the desire to reconnect through a dub-time album of acoustic, Brit-pop, and let's say even folky electronic ska. Classic drum machines act as micro-opening-monologues in some tracks, like "Rocket" and "No Clue", furthermore giving Mason some unneeded street credibility, on an album best suited for that 24-hour party person. Steve Mason calling.
Review: Atina 'Mattiel' Brown is a 60s psyche-pop inspiration from Atlanta, Georgia, giving the ears of a modern age a new way to appreciate a lo-fi, garage rock style of storytelling. Satis Factory presents the band with its second album since debuting in 2017 with a self-titled LP, and Brown's voice for Mattiel still reigns supreme in its bluesy, telephone filtered manner. Co-produced by Randy Michael and Jonah Swilley and recorded in their native Atlanta, the vintage touches applied to the band's music sees an authentic blend of deadpan vocals, jangly guitars meet with a touch of spaghetti western, subtle touches of folk and rockabilly, with that perfect smattering of dusty sundown blues.
Review: Joseph Mount has set himself up as quite the pop auteur in the decade since Metronomy first arrived on the scene in the mid-to-late noughties, honing his wistful yet uplifting metier to craft a uniquely homegrown and bittersweet sound that resonates ffrom the Totnes of his origin around the globe. 'Summer 08' is the first record he's made entirely by himself since 'Nights Out' eight years ago, and the freewheeling charm, inventive panache and ear for an addictive hook have not deserted him - this fifth album is an offbeat masterclass in twenty-first century pop from a quiet yet formidable maverick.
Review: God bless Metronomy. Pioneers of a dance-indie crossover that was less garish and day-glow hued than the Nu Rave movement dominant back then. Their sixth full-length comes in the 10th anniversary year of their first, and proves the band have grown and fine-tuned, rather than got lost and forgotten why they came out to begin with. Despite clear development, though, the spirit of that inaugural effort is still here, and arguably in more generous helpings than any outing between then and now. Equal parts playful and earnest, there's plenty here to fall in love with. Single-worthy outings like the bouncy, floor-filler "Salted Caramel Ice Cream" and the appropriately titled pairing "Wedding" and "Wedding Bells" are confident and big room sounding. "The Light" veers into dubbier, more introverted directions, whereas "Upset My Girlfriend" shows them at their most heart-achingly beautiful and human. Exquisite, as usual.
Review: The brainchild of Alexander Brettin, Mild High Club explore a sepia-tinted world in which gently psychedelic pastoral sensibilities are married to '70s soft-rock bliss, resulting in a decidedly lackadaisical and charming confection as chemically affected as it is melodically engaging. Whilst Syd Barrett-esque songwriting and chamber-pop aesthetics vie for attention here, 'Timeline' is nonetheless an aural Polaroid whose soft-focus production resembles a soundworld easy for the casual observer to lose themselves in. Fans of Ariel Pink )who guests here) and the more deep-end-diving moments of The Flaming Lips will find much to enjoy here.
Review: Shoegaze dream pop duo Molly - out of Innsbruck, Austria - deliver a deluxe alpine coloured vinyl to compliment the elemental themes of their debut album. It follows two previous singles in 2016-17, respectively, suggesting that last year was spent entirely in the studio. As it turns out their studio sits atop their native alps and laced throughout this LP are field recordings of their chosen summit which only offers more space to an already expansive, glacial and epic sound. With the 15-minute album opener "Coming Of Age" a mountain of production in itself, Molly right now are hitting their peak.
Review: When you call your band Moon Duo nobody is expecting clean lines or indeed rough edges. Meeting every one of our expectations, "Stars Are The Light" is a cosmic trip into some psychedelic hinterland where the melodies are as warm as the guitars are crooning. It's a place that's audibly inviting and, while anything but homely in the suburban 2.4 kids kind of way, more welcoming than the warm embrace of a lover. Which makes sense, when you consider it's the product of Wooden Shjips Ripley Johnson and his wife, Sanae Yamada. The title track pretty much sounds like falling in love, "Eternal Shore" dances to the otherworldly rhythms of 1960s opiate seduction, and 'The World And The Sun" grows and grooves to the very centre of your soul. Put simply, it's a pretty compelling argument for the fact that psychedelic rock still has plenty to bring to the table.
Review: Norway legends of the scene Motorpsycho add yet another title to their cavernous discography - that dates back to 1990 - with The Crucible, an album riffing on the Salem Witch trials, which follows up from 2017's The Tower, adding yet more cultural dialect to their artistry following Let Them Eat Cake (2000) and Still Life With Eggplant (2013). Recorded last year at Monnow Valley Studios, Wales, with production hands Deathprod, aka Helge Sten, and Grammy Award Winner Andrew Scheps (think Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Audioslave and The Mars Volta), its epic title track, clocking in at 20-minutes, does the album justice alone. Taking up the entire B-side after two hellraising scrambles of avant-garde, psychedelic rock, Motorpsycho delivers a slow burning, storytelling journey through a thicket of pure sublimation.
Review: Mike Patton's mischievous first band had grown from the stuff of teenage tomfoolery to a band taken seriously as cross-genre pioneers and modern day progressive titans by the time they released this third album proper in 1999. Moreover, this proved to be yet another curveball, being by far the most melodic and pop-influenced thing the band had committed to wax. This being Mr. Bungle however, 'California' also took in movie-scores, doo-wop, Hawaiian music, circus themes and a good dozen other genres besides, confounding the listener even as it offered tunes your milkman could whistle, making for a fitting epitaph for a unique band.
Review: When is a bonus disc not a bonus disc? How about when it's Mudhoney's not-quite-latest, a collection of forgotten moments from 2018's "Digital Garbage", new versions of rare singles and one cover version. Don't assume for a second this is a cynical filler to keep the band's name on the tip of your tongue, or a cash-driven release hastily put together after 12 months void of new ideas, though. After all, few artists or acts make any real money from recording stuff these days, and even if you're not thinking in such jaded terms what's here is an essential anthology of excellence that could serve as a solid introduction to an outfit at the top of their game, or a must-have for devotees. A masterful selection of drawly blues (opener "Vortex of Lies"), dirty guitar refrains ("Snake Oil Charmer"), and twisted, contemporary heavy metal hypnosis ("Let's Kill Yourself Live Again"). Quality, quality, quality.
Review: Rising up through the indie boom of the mid-2000s, New York's The Mystery Lights have landed once again to deliver a sound so fresh it may well just be the swinging 60s. Groovy. The raw, strummed guitars of the very indie "I'm So Tired (Of Living In The City)" harks back to a sound that bands like Manfred Mann popularised back in the day, especially when you hear the screaming howls of "Wish That She'd Come Back". It's a soundtrack for a surfer's safari trekking through the desert with a tambourine in hand, searching for that perfect wave, and with the analogue sound of space echos and reverb splashing throughout the album it's a much desired trip for the modern day.