Review: There are two things Starcrawler can definitely be described as - lost children of the 1970s, and incredibly Los Angeles in style. They make music that seems impossible to remove from one of the headiest rock 'n' roll decades in history, despite age preventing them from actually having been there at the time. It also falls on the polished side of heavy metal, channeling both pop punk and bare-chested, sweat-soaked guitar solos in one fell swoop. The result is a record that plays out like a bar fight in Tinsel Town. Muscular, powerful, driving and unarguably sexy, from the gaggle of kids preceding the onslaught of opener "Lizzy" to the final, liquor-soaked midnight sing-a-long of "Call Me A Baby", "Devour You" does what it says on the tin, with all the subtlety of Hollywood's finest, and perhaps even more entertainment value.
Review: It's not hard to understand why people so often ignore album release blurb. Sales-y, hyperbolic, and on more than the odd occasion rather poorly written, it's hardly required reading in order to get the most out of the record. That is unless it's Big Thief's 'Two Hands', a collection of music that genuinely makes more sense when you know the back story. For one thing this long form offering is arriving just months after its predecessor, which is always either the sign of a band that don't need big ideas to facilitate rapid-fire output, or a band that have so many big ideas they literally can't stop the momentum. This is a case of the latter. Timescale aside, "Two Hands" genuinely feels as though it was born in the Badlands, epic songs that invoke endless vistas across barren settings in a way that makes you feel as small as you actually are in a global context. Like cosying up in a log cabin away from the chilly endless dark of a desert night.
Review: Japanese artist Sunao Gonno's idiosyncratic sound has appeared on labels such as Endless Flight, International Feel and Beats In Space over the years, where he's dabbled in shoegaze, kosmische and psychedelia as heard on 2015's breathtaking "Remember The Life Is Beautiful" or on last year's contemporary jazz outing "In Circles" with Kazuhiko Masumura. An accomplished DJ also, he's no stranger to Berlin's Panorama Bar, where Nick Hoppner (Touch From A Distance) has long held a residency. The two artists collaborate for the first time on "Lost", featuring three sublime sonic journeys: go deep into the exotic on "Bangalore" with its world music influence, or chill to the vivid downbeat tones of "Love Lost" until "Start Trying" returns to the program with its neon-lit aesthetic plus breakbeats reminiscent of the rave era.
Review: Fresh from remixing Goldie classic "Crystal Clear" for the veteran producer's reissue of 1997 album "Saturnz Return", Djrum (real name Felix Manuel) offers up his first single in nearly two years. "Hard To Say" seemingly surges from the speakers, with ambient style deep space chords, blissful female vocal snippets and tactile aural textures rising above a blisteringly fast techno beat. This high-octane pace continues on "Tournesol", a cheerily positive affair that wraps chiming, new age style melodies and humid tropical flourishes around another sweaty, non-stop beat. Like the A-side, it's impressively ear pleasing but also percussively intense, especially when the Aphex Twin style mind-altering acid lines make an appearance midway through.
Jamie Jones & Darius Syrossian - "Rushing" (extended mix) (5:43)
Jamie Jones & Darius Syrossian - "Rushing" (Afterparty Basement mix) (5:36)
Darius Syrossian - "Come On Come On" (extended mix) (6:33)
Darius Syrossian - "Kouka" (Warehouse Basement mix) (6:17)
Review: Jamie Jones and Darius Syrossian are both house heavyweights, but with very different vibes. It's fascinating that they have come together on this EP then, with their collaborative "Rushing" opening the EP in steamy fashion. It features a well worn vocal repackaged on bulky, bass driven house drums that are designed to get the crowd pumping their fists. The "Afterparty Basement Mix" is even harder hitting with some chords layered in for extra fun, then Darius goes solo on the flip for "Come On Come On", which fits in with his rolling, well sampled house style and is a sure fire crowd pleaser. The more stripped back and hypotonic "Kouka" is perfect for big spaces and bringing crowds together to march to a beat.
Review: Music Mania and Indica Dubs are presenting a trio of colour 7" vinyl that celebrate the work of pioneering UK dub outfit The Disciples. They came together in 1986 and went on to make a big impact on the scene, most often producing exclusively for Jah Shaka. Some of their unrelated material has been unearth for this series, though, and "Deep Space" is a playful cut that tempts you to follow it with hypnotic chord vamps and a meandering bassline. The slippery drums are irresistible in the echo drenched "Deep Dub" on the flip which is arguably even more inviting.
Review: Atjazz & Jullian Gomes released their "Big Bad Crazy" album nearly a year ago to wide acclaim, and here is one of the LP's standout tracks which receives a rework from Freerange/Delusions Of Grandeur chief Jimpster. He replaces the sensual late night deepness of the original version of "It's My Time" with a slinky, hypnotic and absolutely mesmerising vibe, awash in shimmering melodies, delay drenched snippets of the original vocals and an absolutely addictive bassline. There's a handy instrumental on the flip too. Braintree's finest delivers the goods once again on this hit that's sure to have wide crossover appeal.
Review: Dub heads have been waiting for this one for a while: it finds Vibronics link up with the silky sweet vocals of Saralene for a lush new track. "Let Love Be Your Guide" is lit up with digital dub effects, withering sci-fi motifs and heavy, rumbling drums. The sub bass drills deep while Saralene's soulful croonings soar high above. The B side dub is not only more stripped back, but extra drive and weight is added to the drums that will get you stepping that bit harder.
Review: Alex Pervukhin has enjoyed a productive 2019. This rock solid four-tracker on Colours Of Crocus marks the Ukrainian producer's fourth single of the year, following similarly impressive outings on Recordeep, Hubble Recordings and his own Laconica imprint. It's an attractive and warming affair, with Pervukhin effortlessly fusing elements of late '90s UK tech-house and the dreamy, spacey end of the deep house spectrum. Opener "Late Run", whose melodic flourishes, tactile synth bass and intergalactic electronics are wonderfully immersive, is the benchmark, with Kirik's flipside remix offering a tougher and more hypnotic take on the same seductive elements. Elsewhere, "909's Dreams" is more driving but no less atmospheric and melodious, while "Next Week" is a fine chunk of drowsy late night hypnotism.
Review: Jamie Jones has been busy in the studio after another busy summer lighting up Ibiza, because this is one of two new offerings this month. It finds the agenda-setting Welshman on his own Hot Creations and in collaboration with The Martinez Brothers. Between them this celebrated collective lay down "Bappi", all drilling bass and razor sharp hi hats that are deep but driving. Flip over for a "Warehouse Mix" which recalls old school Windy City basslines and pixelated chords lighting up the bare bones grooves.
Review: Given the label's soulful roots, it's perhaps a little surprising to find Eglo championing a wild, wonky, machine-made EP full of angular electro, IDM, house and techno fusions from debutant Destiny71z. It's apparently the first of three EPs from the little-known producer, who used modular kit and dusty analogue gear to create his unpredictable but undoubtedly brilliant electronic workouts. We're particularly enjoying the zany Autechre-does-two-step-garage flex of "Softbeta" and the weighty, bass-powered crankiness of the artist's self-titled track ("Destiny71z"), but the jazzy, sun-bright breeziness of "Foodprogramvoltage" is also superb, and arguably more in keeping with Eglo's eclectic-but-soulful ethos. Either way, an eye-opening EP that's well worth checking.
Review: The unstoppable Cromby lets rip on Unknown To The Unknown. His first release on DJ Haus's U2TU motherlabel, he's gone in all rave guns blazing. "Cruising" is a thumping Detroit-edge acid meteor shower. Wave after wave of 303s and rising big-blast pads, there's some serious momentum in this track; just mix it in and watch it demolish. "Gigolo" shakes its money maker with a little more uplift as chords climb and chime throughout the mix, constantly reaching higher and higher. A little like Cromby's profile right now.
Review: Mancunian legends Graham Massey and Andy Barker reunite for the first 808 State album in 17 years. They recorded the new opus "Transmission Suite" in the Granada studios (where they once performed live on television 30 years ago) and looked to their hometown's club scene as their main source of influence - along with the timeless aesthetic of Detroit which has always influenced their style. Across this collection of "sonic landscapes" (as described by Massey) you'll hear the booming acid electro of first single "Tokyo Tokyo" and "The Ludwig Question", through to off-kilter jams like "Westland", futurist house grooves of "Ujala" and a modern reboot of classic "Angol Argol".
Bongneck - "The Robber's Daughter" (Ghiz Retouch) (6:06)
Makebo - "Unknown Beauty" (9:09)
Review: Moscow's Shanti Radio imprint has been on fine form of late, offering up must-check 12s from DSF, Lost Desert, Volen Sentir and many more. Here they offer up their first multi-artist EP of 2019, an undeniably attractive and ear-pleasing affair that effortlessly joins the dots between deep house, tech-house and more percussive tribal flavours. Highlights are plentiful throughout, with our picks including the string-drenched, bittersweet brilliance of Makebo's "Unknown Beauty", the sub-heavy throb of Ghiz's tasty rework of Bongbeck's "The Robber's Daughter" - all rolling hand percussion, insanely weighty bass and picturesque melodic flourishes - and the sunset-ready dancefloor bliss of Cornucopia's impeccable "Nature Boy".
Review: Earlier in the year, the Marseille crew behind the Wewillalwaysbealovesong label DJ'd alongside Art Of Tones and wowed at some of the self-made reworks and re-edits he was dropping in his set. A short time later they'd reached an agreement to release this EP of revisions from the French producer's vaults. Our pick of the bunch is the driving, housed-up gospel disco revision "Back Again", though the similarly raw and guttural gospel funk re-edit on the B-side, "Good To Me", is equally as potent. A-side "At The Club In Lagos", a brilliant blend of R&B style male soul vocals, fuzzy Afrobeat horns and jaunty disco grooves, is also wonderful.
Review: Long time electro mainstay Anthony Rother is the third artist to release on Rekids offshoot Stranger in the Night. The Frankfurt talent proves, across a trio of tracks, that he is still a visionary after all these years in the game. "We Are The Future" is an 11 minute epic cut, with reduced minimal drums overlaid with soft focus daubs of synths that slowly but surely seduce you. "Super Future Metropolis" awakens you from your reverie with dehumanised vocals and steel plated drums then "The Message" is dark future music with more robot vocals, twitchy stabs and a shadowy sense of paranoia.