Friday, September 30, 2011

Andy Stott – We Stay Together EP

1. Submission
2. Posers
3. Bad Wires
4. We Stay Together (Part One)
5. Cherry Eye
6. Cracked

'We Stay Together' is a brand new doublepack from Andy Stott, a companion piece of sorts to the radical inversions of the 'Passed Me By' EP released earlier this year. Its predecessor left many heads dazed upon impact - in the best possible sense - and these six tracks, produced in its wake, amp the pressure to throttling degrees. Entering the digital compression chamber of 'Submission' you become a willing participant, before the lights are cut and you're forced to adjust to the humid atmosphere and bruising, muscle-contracting darkroom throb of 'Posers'. Suitably initiated, the EP's fearless centrepiece 'Bad Wires' plunges into full on mud-party mode, dropping the tempo while intensifying the kinaesthetic funk with slow, clusterf*cked syncopation until you're drowning in synthesized oil and crushed-glass textures. Fully submerged by 'We Stay Together (Part One)' time becomes elasticated like worn VHS tape, calling to mind Jamal Moss and James Ferraro soundtracking a rave in a sodden, flooded sauna, before inescapably tumbling into the sheer black hole of 'Cherry Eye' and left to the slompy jack of 'Cracked'. Blatantly, we rate this record massively, and although it's not for everyone, those looking for a more visceral, intense form of dancefloor pressure would do very well to check

Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire

1. Dirty Rain
2. Ashes & Fire
3. Come Home
4. Rocks
5. Do I Wait
6. Chains of Love
7. Invisible Riverside
8. Save Me
9. Kindness
10. Lucky Now
11. I Love You But I Don't Know What To Say

After going certifiably loopy on last year's III/IV, a "double-album concept rock opera," the alt-country bard goes for the diametric opposite on this gentle crop of pared-down roots-rock ballads full of fitfully earnest emotions. Lead single "Lucky Now" literally revels in Adams' newfound reformation -- "Love can mend your heart, but only if you're lucky now," he sings with wizened nonchalance atop flickers of piano.And he puts that mature foot forward consistently on this record, from gorgeously spare harmonies with Norah Jones on "Kindness" to the barely audible twangs of guitar on "Come Home." He's purely elegant

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Korallreven - As Young As Yesterday

1. As Young As Yesterday
2. As Young As Yesterday (Panda Bear Remix)
3. As Young As Yesterday (Girl Unit Remix)
4. The Final Fantasy

Take a moment to honor Swedish Balearic beat-minders Korallreven’s Class A assemblage of talent on their new “As Young As Yesterday” 12″: The track itself features vocals from oft-collaborator Victora Bergsman, and and the extended single boasts remixes from Panda Bear and pinnacle Night Slug producer Girl Unit, he of the world-beating club track “Wut.” You’ve heard Panda’s ambient take; Girl Unit’s is, conversely, more appropriate for bodily

Miguel Campbell - Baby I Got It

1. Baby I Got It
2. Something Special
3. Baby I Got It (Richy Ahmed Remix)

House hero Miguel Campbell releases his debut single on the ever-consistent Hot Creations imprint. ‘Baby I Got it’ - a mouth-watering mix of sexy disco-tinged house cuts with a dose of murky business from Richie Ahmed in the remix.

Kicking off the EP, title track ‘Baby I Got It’ is a teasing disco-house workout full of funky bass, and shimmering, cosmic streaks. Miguel’s retro bounce, richly weaved instrumentals and down-low B-line make ‘Baby I Got It’ a compelling introduction to Miguel’s future facing disco strut. Next up, ‘Something Special’ flaunts a sultry R&B vocal infused with a garagey house vibe. Set against a glitterball backdrop, the velvet ripple of “Something special sexy wonderful” coursing through the tide of funk-laden disco grooves just oozes soul and sex appeal. On remix duty, Richy Ahmed brings a dark and dirty edge to ‘Baby I Got It’. Driven by a chugging, druggy groove and warped distorted melody, this is moody tech-house built for after

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Edit Murphy - The Motown Edits Vol. I EP

01. Mercy
02. It's Gonna Be
03. Morning Light

‘Edit Murphy‘ is a seriously cool name and with a name like that, you’ll need to back it up with some good tunage. Luckily, this guy does with his edits of classic Motown tunes.

Edits are not always going to be everybodies cup of tea. However, he has done a great job on these classic tracks. Check his work on Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy, Mercy Me” it makes for some pretty fun and quite hypnotic disco

Butcher The Bar - For Each A Future Tethered

01. Sign Your Name
02. Bobby
03. Cradle Song
04. Giant
05. Alpha Street West
06. Blood For The Breeze
07. Silk Tilts
08. Sin So Sweet
09. X
10. Cornered To The Cusp
11. Lullaby

Joel Nicholson's first album under the Butcher the Bar moniker since 'Sleep At Your Own Speed' came out three years ago now, and was a triumph of calm, bedroom-produced pop music. Elliott Smith is usually the name that comes to mind when talking about Nicholson's songs, but this time around he sounds invigorated and fresh, and 'For Each a Future Tethered' is a collection of his best songs to date. There is an air of distinct Englishness about his music, and at times when Nicholson loses himself I'm reminded of Nick Drake, which isn't a comparison I'm prepared to bandy about loosely. The songs here feel far more assured than those on his debut, and while there are plenty of fans who will no doubt lament the loss of that bedroom sound, the songs will surely win them over in the end. There is almost an orchestral quality to Nicholson's writing, and while he never goes into Arcade Fire territory, the lilting compositional edge bears favorable comparison to Sufjan Stevens or labelmates Seabear. 'For Each a Future Tethered' is a gorgeous record, and for those of you who revel in unpretentious, summer pop music I can't think of many albums better suited to sitting out on the grass, Clarityn in tow with a pork pie and a glass of Pimm's. Jingle

Sóley - We Sink

01. I'll Drown
02. Smashed Birds
03. Pretty Face
04. Bad Dream
05. Dance
06. And Leave
07. Blue Leaves - Album Version
08. Kill The Clown - Album Version
09. Fight Them Soft
10. About Your Funeral
11. The Sun Is Going Down I
12. The Sun Is Going Down II
13. Theater Island

"Sóley returns with her first full-length, an album full of rhythmic makeshift creatures, of handclaps hidden in the undergrowth, tempting us to join in. The 13 tracks are sometimes incredibly catchy; amazingly quirky at other times: think cardigan-folk from the northern hemisphere, an ocean of stained glasses bopping up and down in the shared apartment's dishwater, leeward in limbo. The result is refreshing in its lack of edginess; think Joanna Newsom minus her harp, or the Casady sisters circa 2004, but then clearly better trained, less crooked. In other words: her voice, those loops moving around like wooden toys, and finally the piano – that's the backbone, the essence of her compositions; at least until some unexpected element appears elsewhere, a rhythmic creaking or the lack thereof, like a hidden Rube Goldberg machine, setting off yet another component, thus paving the way across the threshold and on into the next realm of sound. And thus we keep on sinking, deeper and deeper, until we stand on terra firma once again, realizing that somehow, next to us, above us, around us, a beat is laid out, hesitantly moving along at first, then careering…"

Ben Westbeech - There's More To Life Than This

01. The Book feat. Georg Levin
02. Something For The Weekend feat. by Danny J Lewis
03. Falling feat. Lovebirds
04. Same Thing feat. Chocolate Puma
05. Justice feat. Motor City Drum Ensemble
06. Stronger feat. Midland
07. Inflections feat. Henrik Schwarz
08. Sugar feat. Redlight
09. Let Your Feelings Show feat. Georg Levin
10. Butterflies feat. Rasmus Faber
11. Summer's Loss feat. Rasmus Faber

Reinvention can be tricky. Get it right, and you can become a master of musical metamorphosis like Bjork. Get it wrong, and you end up with David Bowie's's drum & bass period. Most artists trying to scrape their way out of a pigeonhole go for one of two tried-and-tested routes. The first, which we'll "the Mark Pritchard method," is to adopt a different alias for each musical pie you stick your finger in. The second—"the Madonna method"—is to keep your name, but clutch at the coattails of credibility by enlisting the trendiest producers of the moment.

Ben Westbeech has taken both paths recently. Last year's UK funky anthem "Fatherless" by Breach—which took research to reveal was indeed the work of the Westbeech—was a far cry from the acid jazz-tinged 2007 album Welcome to the Best Years of Your Life. And now we have There's More to Life Than This, the second album to bear Westbeech's own name but one that bears just as little resemblance to his debut. Welcome's blue-eyed soul has been shown the door. The new Ben Westbeech has been given a house makeover by producers like Motor City Drum Ensemble, Henrik Schwarz and Rasmus Faber.

But does this new change of direction work? Yes, by and large...even if the "The Book" and "Something for the Weekend" initially make you think Westbeech has been reincarnated as Jamiroquai. The polished jazz-funk and daytime playlist disco aren't entirely unsuccessful, by the way. It's just that There's More to Life gets better from then on. "Justice" has the trademark wintry deep house atmospherics of Motor City Drum Ensemble, "Stronger" is a slowly building groove fashioned by Midland and "Inflections" adds speedily strummed Spanish guitar and rollicking percussion courtesy of Henrik Schwarz. Westbeech has chosen his new friends carefully: This sounds like a coherent album rather than a string of collaborations, with his creamy tones—and occasionally clichéd lyrics—providing a common identity throughout.

That identity doesn't seem as convincing or confident as his instrumental alter ego Breach, however. Indeed, you sometimes feel that Westbeech is hiding behind his producers. (Especially given that "Fatherless' proved he has the studio skills to produce something pretty spectacular—and more unique—on his own.) For the next album it'd be intriguing to see him drop the pseudonyms and the hired hands and combine both sides of himself to showcase the "real" Ben Westbeech, whoever that might

Zed Bias - Biasonic Hotsauce: Birth Of The Nanocloud

01. Birth Of The Nanocloud Scene 1
02. Yagga feat. Serocee
03. Do It feat. Dynamite MC
04. Phoneline feat. Rosco Trim
05. Fairplay feat. Jenna G
06. Koolade feat. Toddla T & MdCL
07. Birth Of The Nanocloud Scene 2
08. Trouble In The Streets feat. Mark Pritchard
09. Neighbourhood feat. MC Rumpus & Micky Prince
10. Birth Of The Nanocloud Scene 3
11. Koolnahman feat. Specialist Moss
12. Lucid Dreams feat. Falty DL
13. Night Lovers feat. Sam Frank
14. Salsa Funk
15. Badness feat. Skream
16. All Out feat. Mighty Moe
17. Birth Of The Nanocloud Scene 4
18. Sinner

A guest-heavy new album from the UK Bass music pioneer. The names on show read like a mega-rave line-up from all corners of the modern Bass spectrum, and the sound is equally diverse, yet dripping with crucial Biasonic flavour. Highlights have to be the massive 'Trouble In The Streets' with the man-of-too-many-names-to-mention, Mark Pritchard (ok, well Africa HiTech for a start); the tidy update of his 'Neighbourhood' classic now with vox from MC Rumpus and Micky Prince; a sterling moment with Falty DL on the dainty but rude skip of 'Lucid Dreams'; the Hi-tech Latin mechanics of 'Salsa Funk'; and the rudee ragga-House of 'Phoneline'. It's all tied up with some mad-scientist concept narrative which is a bit daft, but kinda works well for an end-to-end

Farben - Xango

1. LesssseN
2. Xango
3. Parada
4. Eroten reiten auf eineN Delphin

New material from Jan Jelinek is always cause for celebration, and ‘Xango’ marks the second outing in as many years for his seminal micro-house project Farben, reactivated in 2010 after a six year absence. On first listen, the four tracks assembled here are on the kind of lo-fi, experimental house tip you'd more readily associate with STL or Jamal Moss, but on closer inspection their surface toughness conceals a depth and an attention to detail that's just staggering, and pure Jelinek: with its primitive palette of playful, vaguely aquatic, ping-ponging sounds, 'LesssseN' could've been made by his radiophonic alter ego Ursula Bogner, while 'Xango' is simply a raw, reduced, mid-paced groove riding acid bass as squidgy as jelly and twice as rude. 'Parada' is the kind of shuffling, sample-heavy but weirdly acousmatic techno miniature this guy's so good at, and closer 'Eroten reiten auf einen Dolphin' sounds like an industrial rave filtered through the minds and gear of David Cockerell's

Dro Carey - Candy Red

1. Candy Red
2. Hungry Horse

Deeply tripped and deadly Avant-Dance music from compelling anomaly, Dro Carey. Since dropping one of last years most un-categorisable and weirdly thrilling 12"s, the 'Venus Knock' EP for Trilogy Tapes, he's been relatively quiet, and it's kinda understandable because most labels are just way too conservative to deal with this amount of madness. So, huge kudos to Ikonika's Hum & Buzz label, for whose forward aesthetic really suits the rhizomatic futurism of this record. His A-side 'Candy Red' is a proper outsider take on Footwork, 808 Bass music, '90s R&B and fractal electronics, hyper-streamed through a Youtube'd and Tumblr'd mind to sound like a total trip. Flipside 'Hungry Horse' is also produced from a uniquely forward perspective, visually evocative of ultra-modernist, sharply contoured architecture, and built from brittle fragments of pointillist Juke percussion, glass-curtain synth pads and rapid-fire R&B vocal patterns, all arranged in blocks like some impossibly unstable lego superstructure. We've waffled too long, just cop it and freak the heck out! Strongly recommended for the futurists!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rustie - Glass Swords

01. Glass Swords
02. Flash Back
03. Surph
04. Hover Traps
05. City Star
06. Globes
07. Ultra Thizz
08. Death Mountain
09. Cry Flames
10. After Light
11. Ice Tunnels
12. All Nite
13. Crystal Echo

Over the course of only four years, Rustie has already churned through a whole range of different musical forms. Impressively, none so far have felt like missteps. Even as the aquatic hip hop of early EP Jagz the Smack dissolved into the out-there, razor-edged psychedelia of Zig-Zag and Bad Science, the Glasgow-based producer never overstepped the mark into self-indulgent excess. That's largely down to his knack for assimilating new influences into his music without diminishing what's already present, a technique he's distilled down to its essence on debut album Glass Swords.

Glass Swords, however, is undeniably self-indulgent. Effectively the sound of Web 2.0 information overload set to music, it finds Russell Whyte categorically refusing to reduce the breadth of his tastes into a manageable, coherent vision. Instead he simply piles everything on top of each other, often jamming five or six recognisable influences into a single four-minute track. The chemical reactions this process generates are chaotic, exhausting and a thrill to behold, as tiny signifiers of different genres lurch to the surface for a few seconds at a time before being swept away in the rush. The glossy synths and massive drum rolls of Timbaland RnB are present, as is the booming percussion of dirty south hip hop, and buried elsewhere in the melee it’s easy to detect fragments of dubstep, UK garage, classic Detroit techno and trance.

Album highlight Ultra Thizz is among the messiest of these fusions: it distends a trance-like synth riff until it takes on grotesque characteristics, before ramping up the tempo to an almost unbearable level. Through headphones it’s intense enough; its effect on a crowd is little short of electrifying, sending a flurry of limbs skyward as if someone’s passed several thousand volts across the dancefloor.

Like friend and fellow member of Glasgow’s Numbers collective Hudson Mohawke, Rustie’s music can be a little difficult to handle. Like Mohawke’s album Butter, the all-pervasive influence on Glass Swords is prog rock – both in the screaming guitar-style solos that cut though several of its tracks and in its commitment to pure, unfettered excess. Rustie’s vision, though, is far more successful in integrating its consistent elements into a coherent and involving listen. Just as with the rest of his music, Glass Swords shows just the right amount of restraint to prevent total disarray. Even if the album weren’t half as much fun as it is, that feat would be worthy of celebration in

14 Tracks: Not Not Not Not Fun

1 Maria Minerva – Unchain My Heart
2 High Wolf – Dream Is Good
3 Peaking Lights – All The Sun That Shines
4 Psychic Reality – Elle / Elle Beat
5 Cuticle – Flair
6 Pocahaunted – Riddim Queen
7 Ensemble Economique – Red For The Sun
8 Xander Harris – Tanned Skin Dress
9 Pedro Magina – Shout In Your Face
10 Swanox – Cross The Water
11 Gypsy Treasures – Tadpole Walks Home
12 Holy Strays – Waves
13 Sex Worker – Without You (Couldn’T Be Alone)
14 Deeep, The – Mudd (Grand Am Version)

LA's Not Not Fun is an incredibly prolific label dealing in all manner of outré psych, synth and noise music. Both NNF and their 100% Silk sublabel are lovingly curated by Amanda Brown (LA Vampires/Pocahaunted) and Britt Brown (Robedoor) whose tastes run the gamut of esoteric underground sounds from a rhizome of artists across the globe. With over 250 releases (and counting) on vinyl, cassette, and digital, they've shaped a parallel hypnagogic reality where masticated memes from Dub, '70s psychedelic rock, Kosmische, '80s MOR pop and '90s dance music converge under the protection of gauzy tape noise and distortion. The label's resolutely Lo-fi stance is commendable, but never feels forced. It's more that they represent this scene as it should be, with dilated ears, a sincere sense of psychedelia and implacable intent. In our selection we've largely drawn from their recent diversions into Pseudo-Pop and soundtrack-y themes, featuring many taken from their super-limited cassette releases. OK, yeah, we're a bit jealous of their eternal optimism and über-cool LA disposition, but when the music's this good, we'll get over

We Barbarians - Headspace EP

01. Headspace
02. The Wait Is Over
03. Stroke By Stroke
04. Strange Overtones
05. Chambray

We Barbarians aren’t particularly original, drawing on plenty of famous sounds from the last 10 years, as well as other, older influences. There’s an opening guitar that reminds you of Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up”, and a final track that sounds like a New Order or U2 composite. These two tracks are the EP’s strongest. “Headspace” jiggles and jangles from that Arcade Fire opening gambit, floating into an affirming, dancing-about-in-your-room chorus that you can hum along to on any day. “Chambray”, again exhibiting a strong chorus, is the first of many instances of the band leaning toward U2. That proves to be a positive asset, as long as the band slows down the tempo, letting David Quon belt out slow, powerful vocal lines.

Even if there is a lack of originality, We Barbarians have produced a very good EP. The sense that they’re part of a “sound” doesn’t matter in the slightest. In fact, it may even be a strength.While it’s easy to pick out some of the possible inspirations for their music, there’s a sense that they’re very conscious of their influences, and, as such, use them respectfully. “Strange Overtones”, for example, takes on something of the Echo and the Bunnymen sound without stealing it. “Stroke by Stroke”, slowed down, might be Vampire Weekend-ish, but again, it’s very much its own song. Given everything that comes with “respectful use,” Headspace takes on a sense of depth that’s quite rare for an EP.

What’s more, everything is incredibly well-produced: clean, crisp, with just the right level of reverb. Everything that happens on these tracks occurs with serious clarity and purpose, both in the studio and in their mining of ancestral

Depth Affect - Draft Battle

01. A Million Buzzing Locust
02. Unsult
03. Matter Of Tempo
04. Sugar Honey Iced Tea
05. Oil Rig Heli Pad
06. Draft Battle
07. I Guess
08. Dämmerung
09. Ten Devils
10. Club And Maces
11. Rivage Barbare

The french beatmaker have release a new album this summer. In case you don’t know them you better check their previous albums/ep. Especially Hero Crisis which is a great album (featuring Subtitle and Awol One).
Depth Affect

On that new and third album the vocals are almost inexistant. They stick to what they knew the best : electronic loops, heavy bass and a bit of eighties sound (on Matter of tempo). That album is also release on the great label Autre

Martyn - Ghost People

01. Love And Machines feat. Spaceape
02. Viper
03. Masks
04. Distortions
05. Popgun
06. I Saw You At Tule Lake
07. Ghost People
08. Twice As
09. Bauplan
10. Horror Vacui
11. We Are You In The Future

According to Martyn himself, it's a less intimate affair than his first LP, Great Lengths, which he describes as "very personal."

"A lot of the music and the themes behind [Great Lengths] were taken out of my daily life: my sorrows and my melancholy," he says. "For this album, I chose things that are further away from me: the Ghost People theme. There are references to DJing in general. Not the jet-set DJ life, but the old Paradise Garage DJ life, where people want to share and play the music they really love, regardless of if it's trendy. Nothing fancy or flashy. Just back to the roots."

Stylistically, the album continues on the same tack as Martyn's past releases, weaving between dubstep, funky, house and techno. It shows him teaming up once again with Erosie, the go-to visual artist for Martyn's label, 3024 (not to mention RA's recent X party in Sao Paulo). In addition to the cover art, Erosie has devised visuals to accompany Martyn's upcoming live sets, dates for which have yet to be

Ayshay - Warn-U

1. Warn-U
2. Shaytan
3. Jemsheed

Without a doubt, Ayshay's 'WARN-U' is one of the most original and spellbinding singles of 2011, and an artistic step-up for the already formidable Tri Angle imprint. Ayshay, meaning "whatever" in Arabic, is a handle for Fatima Al Qadiri, a New York City-based sonic sorceress born in Senegal and raised in Kuwait, who also writes a fantastic column on contemporary world music for the bizarro DIS magazine, sometimes accompanied by her kaleidoscopic, 'net-foraging mixtapes. These breathtaking tracks comprise her first release, and although we've become deeply familiar with their youtube videos for over a year now, it's a blessing to finally have them in the physical realm for tactile gratification. Each song is built entirely from her own pitched and layered vocals in a manner distinctly reminiscent of Grouper's ethereal harmonising, but more intriguingly inspired by the Islamic religious songs she's absorbed since childhood. Their impact distinctly recalls the emotion-enhancing autotune effect favoured by so many North African and Middle Eastern pop artists for its emphatic effect, but is still seen as distasteful in certain swathes of supposedly "forward thinking" western ears. Yet in our opinion it refracts a transcendent emotive clarity which frightens us to be quite honest, and keeps us returning to this trio of songs more times than a sane person possibly should. Furthermore, the accompanying Nguzunguzu megamix gives the tracks a crafty junglist context in a lineage of Arabic pop/hardcore dating back to the likes of Lennie De Ice sampling Factory Records' obscure Algerian Rai release 'N'Sel Fik' by Cheba Fadela. Ultimately, for seekers of mystical sublime frequencies from the near future, this record is just beyond

Young Man - Ideas of Distance

01. Enough
02. Nothing
03. Low
04. Only You
05. Fall
06. Then and Now
07. Tired Eyes
08. Felt

Young Man is a true American success story of the modern age. The solo project of Colin Caulfield (no relation to Holden), the upstart singer-songwriter began posting home videos of himself on YouTube, covering some of his favorite songs. These ranged from contemporaries like Bon Iver and Animal Collective to classics such as the Beatles and David Bowie. People started noticing. A record deal was signed. An EP was released. Tours were embarked upon.

Young men grow up fast these days. A mere two years after Caulfield began posting his homemade videos, his first full-length album, Ideas of Distance, is scheduled to drop on Sept. 27th via Frenchkiss Records. It’s actually the launch of trilogy that Young Man plans to roll out over the next 18 months. First, however, he has tours slated with Cold War Kids and Gardens & Villa, following his current excursion in support of Grouplove.

Caulfield wrote, recorded and mixed the record himself, but unlike the lo-fi approach of last year’s EP, Boy, this one comes with upgraded production value, which highlights the singer's layered vocals and ethereal guitar

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nautiluss & Lord Skywave - Ultraviolet / Blue Monday

01. Ultraviolet
02. Bleu Monday

New collaboration between Canadian producer Nautiluss and Lord Skywave aka the singer from Simian. The label seems to be heading for Chris Martin's BASS Music shelf again with 'Ultraviolet', a sickly combination of harmonised pop vox and finger-popping shuffle beat, while the flipside fares slightly better with the droning Reese bass and lilting Balearic percussion of 'Bleu Monday'

Don Froth - Balboa / Von

1. Balboa
2. Von

Pure, 'floor-scorching JukeXGarage rinse-out from a rogue San Fran operator. To date Don's done Techy House fusions for Phonica's white label series and self-released a small clutch of Bass grooves besides engineering duties for DJ Harvey, but for our $, this is his best yet. A-side is a pumping number called 'Balboa' fusing springy bass hits with surging rave signals and canny sense of syncopation somewhere between Dance Mania's maddest moments and latinzied Joe-style groove. Flipside 'Von' is equally energetic, full of percolating club rhythms and mesmerizing Techno-Disco synthlines for the dancers. Sick!

Walls - Coracle

1. Into Our Midst
2. Heat Haze
3. Sunporch
4. Il Tedesco
5. Vacant
6. Raw Umber Twilight
7. Ecstatic Truth
8. Drunken Galleon

Walls waste no time in following up their widely acclaimed debut album (MOJO's #1 Electronic LP of 2010) with a glorious set of eight swooning slow trance tinglers for Kompakt. 'Coracle' is as cute as the name suggests, yet perhaps with a keener dancefloor edge than we've previously perceived from their music. The sleek Techno engine which drove this album's predecessor is fine tuned to a Balearic tempo, but with a trustingly Teutonic dancefloor efficiency. From the top of 'In The Midst' the groove steadily purrs at a chugging 110bpm while sublime shoegaze guitar repetitions unfurl across the long, straight road ahead. On cruise control, they pass into the lushly mirage-like 'Heat Haze' before the beat reappears to propel the heart-fluttering arpeggios of 'Sunporch' to almost giddy heights, and we plane across the gazing Techno scapes of 'Il Tedesco'. Down the line 'Vacant' is more blissed, coolly riding the brakes into the elated second wind of 'Raw Umber/Twilight' and the majestic kosmiche disco dissonance of 'Ecstatic Truth'


1. Ice
2. Crown 8vo
3. Words collided
4. a.m./soft focus
5. Blush mosaic
6. & our wild paths intersect
7. Fire dream
8. Peachy swan
9. Out the coast
10.Ndi bem
12.Rubylith film

London-based Patten has been operating on the fringes of electronic music for a couple of years now, with some reputable CD-Rs and other low-key releases under his belt, but this debut album proper for No Pain In Pop is a revelation, presenting a prismatic vision of narcotic, wonked-out, grid-dissolving house aimed at the cerebellum rather than the dancefloor. It's reminiscent of all sorts of things - the slanted techno of Diamond Catalog and Container, the hyper-kosmische of Bee Mask, the most disturbed Omar-S productions, and particularly the rich, isolationist machine-funk of Actress. It's chopped and glitched up to high heaven, but its grooves are true - we refer you to 'Blush Mosaic', which sounds like Boards Of Canada trying to make Chicago jack tracks through a hydroponic haze, or 'Fire Dream', with its hovering Detroit synth pads subjected to intensive Hud Mo or Rustie-style processing. The aesthetic is perfectly honed and executed: dense 4/4 psychedelia that is just madly engrossing. 'Out The Coast' is incredible, arpeggios and miasmic vocal layers – the perfect soundtrack for sunbathing on JG Ballard’s Terminal Beach. Elsewhere there's a diffracted, broken hip-hop quality that suggests superior mid-90s IDM re-wired for the hypnagogic generation. Disorientingly complex but breathtakingly immediate too, this will surely rank among the albums of the year for fans of the f*cked up

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Veronica Falls - Veronica Falls

01. Found Love In A Graveyard
02. Right Side Of My Brain
03. The Fountain
04. Misery
05. Bad Feeling
06. Stephen
07. Beachy Head
08. All Eyes On You
09. The Box
10. Wedding Day
11. Veronica Falls
12. Come On Over

At the end of the video for Veronica Falls' "Bad Feeling", Roxanne Clifford, the group's bob-haired singer/guitarist, clad in a dashingly fey polka-dot blouse, picks up an antique book-- the ultimate twee signifier-- and lights it on fire. Given indie rock's recent jangle-pop overload, and the comments that Veronica Falls have made in the press ("people like to romanticize about C86 [but] there were lots of rubbish bands associated with it..."), it's tempting to wonder aloud: is "Bad Feeling" the C86 version of that video where George Michael goes iconoclastic on us and sets his own leather jacket ablaze?

Well, maybe not, but at the very least it's a decent visual metaphor for the band's sound: expertly stagy revivalism with the slightest hint of mutiny. You could have said the same thing of Slumberland labelmates and fellow fresh-faced indie poppers the Pains of Being Pure at Heart when they first burst out the gates with Pastels badges on their sleeves-- the quartet's self-titled debut hits with the same sort of immediacy that that first Pains LP did. Both records do familiar things so well that, occasionally, momentarily, they actually trick you into thinking you've never heard anything like them before.

But, of course, you have. In fact, if you've been paying any attention to Glasgow/London hybrid Veronica Falls, you've actually heard some of these very songs before: The single "Found Love in a Graveyard" made the rounds almost two years ago, and then came "Beachy Head", "Bad Feeling", and "Come on Over" earlier this year. But after a run of strong 7"'s, their self-titled debut finally confirms that Veronica Falls are more than a singles band. Though they operate with a pretty limited sonic palette (boy/girl harmonies; dueling, reverb-drenched guitars; lots of tambourine), there's a sustained momentum over these 12 tracks that even manages to bring in some unexpected influences-- "Beachy Head" sounds like a zombified Mamas and the Papas thrashing at surf-punk guitars with shards of glass.

Given the group's penchant for ghosts and reverb, it's tempting to grab for a familiar collection of low-hanging adjectives: dreamy, ethereal, haunting-- except that, actually, Veronica Falls is none of these things. There's a striking physicality to these songs, and Guy Fixsen and Ash Workman's production makes every tambourine beat hit with the clarity of a shattering window. The guitar sound is immaculate: Clifford and James Hoare's strings don't jangle so much as bristle-- taut chords that dart restlessly in and out of each other's way. There's a clarity of texture-- a specificity even-- to every element of the band's sound. Which makes it something of an anomaly: shoegaze that looks you square in the eye.

Thematically speaking, shit's dark. There's a song called "Misery", there are not one but two songs in which the narrator's lover might be a ghost ("Graveyard", "Bad Feeling"), and though "Beachy Head" might sound like a carefree postcard from indie rock's current backdrop of choice, it's actually about jumping off a cliff and drowning yourself. Thankfully, the record ends on a high in every sense: "Come on Over" is perhaps the most hopeful-- and best-- track the band's got to their name. "Crimson and clover, I'll touch your shoulder," Clifford sings over the mounting tension of a furiously strummed guitar. It's the Veronica Falls aesthetic in miniature: the ghosts of pop past conjured convincingly and intimately enough to feel like flesh and

Paul White - Rapping With Paul White

01. Intro: We Make A Lot Of Noise
02. Right On
03. Trust ft. Guilty Simpson
04. Run Shit (ft. Marv Won)
05. One Of Life’s Pleasures (ft. Danny Brown)
06. The Doldrums
07. Life Is Flashing Interlude
08. Stampeding Elephants (ft. Moe Pope)
09. Rotten Apples (ft. Tranqill)
10. Thirty Days
11. A Weird Day (ft. Homeboy Sandman)
12. African New Wave
13. Indigo Glow (ft. Jehst)
14. Dirty Slang (ft. Guilty Simpson)
15. A New Way
16. Evasive Action
17. Wily Walruses (ft. Nancy Elizabeth)
18. Outro: We’ll Never End

Bonus Instrumentals:
19. Trust
20. Run Shit
21. One Of Life's Pleasures
22. Stampeding Elephants
23. Rotten Apples
24. A Weird Day
25. Indigo Glow
26. Dirty Slang

In case the album title's got you thinking otherwise: Paul White is not a rapper. He's a producer from London, a designation that, these days, might bring to mind dubstep and UK bass-- but despite some enthusiastic co-signs from publications that orbit around that scene, White ain't part of it. He works in sticky, abstracted hip-hop rhythms coated in THC resin; 2009's The Strange Dreams of Paul White, one of his earlier full-lengths (all of which can be heard on his Bandcamp page) found Captain Beefheart bumping up against weirded-out boom-bap.

Those previous releases felt homemade and somewhat amateurish, a distinction which makes Rapping With Paul White a bit of a coming-out party: there's equal parts mutant funk and dusty beats here, but it sounds like White's first true statement of purpose, his own preferred introduction to new listeners. Perhaps not coincidentally, it's also his first LP that largely features guest vocals (this is where the Rapping comes in); White's gathered names both recognizable (Danny Brown, Homeboy Sandman, frequent past collaborator Guilty Simpson) and not-so-recognizable (Marv Won, Moe Pope, Tranqill).

So this is a record that depends as much on what the spitters bring to the table as what White cooks up in the lab-- and, unfortunately, the rappers don't exactly come correct. Considering how he and White have a past history of collaborating, you'd think that Guilty Simpson and White would be firing on all cylinders by now; instead, the Detroit hardhead unfurls cliché after cliché and drops vague, autobiographical teases that don't reveal much in particular. (Though he gets points for the "murdering mic's like Conrad Murray" line in "Dirty Slang".) His performances are uninspiring enough to think that of last year's full-length collab with Madlib, the cleverly titled OJ Simpson, relied solely on 'Lib's beatcraft.

Fellow Motor City spitter Marv Won rides the chant-knock of "Run Shit" ably, but spoils the broth by getting corny about Heath Ledger; Queens native Homeboy Sandman, on the other hand, basically recounts a trip to England on "A Weird Day", which is about as thrilling as it sounds. Even Danny Brown, another Detroit rapper that is having a very good year with his excellent, audacious XXX mixtape, is smothered by the spiraling carnival melodies and game-show filth of "One of Life's Pleasures", his trademark excitability barely registering. The only rapper that comes out of this unscathed is White's labelmate Tranqill, whose cadences on "Rotten Apples" match well with White's searing, void-creating beat.

There are instrumental versions of Rapping With Paul White out there and I strongly suggest seeking out those versions, if only to feel the blunt impact of White's strongest moves (the spooky claps of "Trust" and "Indigo Glow", in particular). You could take a rap-less version of this LP and convince your friends that it's a beat tape from Madlib or Oh No, a quality that speaks as much to White's influences as it does his lack of a specific identity. Thing is, copping to Stones Throw influences almost seems quaint these days, as anyone with an ear to the ground has noticed that much of the underground hip-hop that's in vogue relies on quiet introspection, stronger drugs, and ambient, eerie beats made by people who inexplicably refer to themselves as Friendzone. The fact that Rapping With Paul White sounds so old-head suggests that the "Stones Throw sound," made most popular by the late J. Dilla's inimitable Donuts, is on the verge of transitioning from old school to just plain

Wavves - Life Sux EP

01 Bug
02 I Wanna Be Dave Grohl
03 Nodding Off (feat. Best Coast)
04 Poor Lenore
05 Destroh (feat. Members of Fucked Up)
06 In the Sand (Live) [Bonus Track]

King of the Beach was a quantum leap for Wavves, but not so much for Nathan Williams. In the context of the monochrome, fuck-all noise of Wavvves, it was easier to stomach an attitude that hovered somewhere between high, hungover, and hateful. What pissed off a lot of people was the way he could broaden his sonic palette and galvanize his songwriting without even the slightest attitude adjustment: The world would have to start taking him seriously, and it was abundantly clear he had no plans to return the favor. So do you think the tsk-tsking of some critics or Marnie Stern is gonna stop him? In case you missed the point of King of the Beach's opening salvo, here's Williams on "I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl": "You're still never gonna stop me." As such, his follow-up EP is titled Life Sux, it features some of his more famous friends cheering him on, and Williams treats the inaugural release on his Ghost Ramp label like a 24-year old's first apartment: Maybe you'd only want to spend 15 minutes tops in this ramshackle mess, but hey, he's enjoying his freedom.

At the very least, you know where you stand with Wavves: If you're not referenced by name or actually appear on Life Sux, there's a good shot you're a target of Williams' limitless disdain. So then, "Bug": He's cool with Dinosaur Jr., whether he's paying homage with some of his mostly instantly catchy fuzz guitar leads, or just pissing in the wind about the futility of relying on other people. Meanwhile, "I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl" follows in the grand tradition of Local H's "Eddie Vedder" (if not "I Had Mark Arm") in terms of grunge fan fiction fueled by overblown ego and non-existent self-esteem. He switches "meet" with "be" during the brainwash of a chorus, which brings out this strange humanizing quality even though the premise doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense: Whose life ambition is it to meet or even be Dave Grohl when he's quite possibly the squarest dude that qualifies as an actual rock star? Is it because "Krist Novoselic" has too many syllables and doesn't rhyme with anything?

Unfortunately, when his tributes to the Buzz Bin become less overt but no less pervasive, Side B of Life Sux, well, kinda sux: The title of "Poor Lenore" is the first time Williams has implied he's ever picked up a book in his life, but the turgid, 3rd-gen grunge suggests he found that Poe anthology right next to a used copy of Frogstomp. And though "Destroy" is a well-intentioned collaboration in the name of break-shit punk, once Pink Eyes' vocals give Williams the bum's rush, it ceases to have the ability to be heard as anything other than a lo-fi Fucked Up track. If you ever wondered if those dozens of guitar overdubs were really necessary on David Comes to Life, "Destroy" emphatically answers in the affirmative.

Despite its reduced scope, Life Sux is actually pretty versatile depending on where you stand with Wavves-- take it as further confirmation of his permanent immaturity, or a sign that rattling off rudimentary but undeniably hooky punk-pop comes fairly easy to him. Still, with an LP supposedly on its way by the end of the year, you don't have to wonder quite yet if using the brat factor as something of a crutch means that he already reached his ceiling and King of the Beach is the record he was put on this earth to make: one that Weezer couldn't make after they'd discovered branding, Blink-182 couldn't after they thought owning Cure albums meant they had to be taken seriously as artistes, and Green Day couldn't after Billie Joe picked up a copy of No Logo.

Unsurprisingly, the track that gets him out of the artistic cul-de-sac is by far the best thing here: Crazy for You and King of the Beach coyly flirted with addressing the real-life relationship of its creators, and Williams' collaboration with Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino on "Nodding Off" doesn't get much into detail either. Still, it threatens to make even the most jaded Hipster Runoff devotee actually root for them: think Best Coast with more power, Wavves with more pop, or just a more reckless, less cerebral New Pornographers. Of course, even if the heart of Life Sux is a gooey escape fantasy featuring his girlfriend, if he still wants to describe the EP as something you'll probably like "if you hate yourself and other people"... well, you're never gonna stop

Friday, September 23, 2011

King Midas Sound - Kuedo And Mala Versions

1. Goodbye Girl (Kuedo Remix)
2. Earth a Kill Ya (Mala Remix)

With a year passed since the release of King Midas Sound's Waiting For You LP, it might seem a bit late for remixes of its tracks, but to be honest these brutal versions from Mala and Kuedo instantly justify themselves. Mala goes for a rootical halfstep sound on his rub of 'Earth A Kill Ya', keeping Roger Robinson's dread pronouncements centre-stage but arming them with Terminator synths and scuttling woodblock polyrhythms that invoke classic DMZ. Kuedo (Jamie Vex'd) excels himself with his mix of 'Goodbye Girl', delivering an epic, gritty R&B smackdown, all bone-crunching subs, squealing synths and ghosted vocal snippets - like the evil older brother of Joker's purple funk. Unmissable 12" for the serious bass

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hoya:Hoya Vol.3

1. Ikonika - Fleas
2. Om Unit - Fibonnaci 10
3. Monky - Hipster

Another haul of distinguished cuts from MCR's Hoya Hoya posse, including a straight acer from Ikonika. The UK's first lady of forward, ultra-synthetic grooves plays a blinder with 'Fleas', keeping the warehouse rhythm reserved but itchily infectious under arabesque synth vistas like the theme to some sci-fi anime set in Dubai circa 2067, when oil tycoons run the globe and Omar Souleyman broadcasts mega-concerts from the top of Burj Khalifa. Turn it and Om Unit hands his finest track to date with the ultra sharp calculations of 'Fibonacci 10', all staggered rhythmic swagger and battery-tang synth bubbles next to the gremlin-cute synth-step of Monky's 'Hipster'. Damn on it, got to say. TIP!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mosca - Done Me Wrong / Bax

1. Done Me Wrong
2. Bax

Impeccably effective Mosca moves on Numbers, his debut for the label, and - it's hard to believe - only his 2nd solo single to date! It's now nearly two years since the London-based producer kick-started the Night Slugs label with his 'Square One' ace, and in the meantime he's continued to establish a reputation as one of the capital's finest selectors, running everything from Bashment to Techno in his beloved DJ sets while notching up celebrated remixes of Four Tet and T. Williams, among others. For this outing he's in lean and mean 4/4 mode, finding his crux betwixt Bassline Garage and loved-up '90s House vibes for 'Done Me Wrong', and again with the deft skip 'n parry of 'Bax' and its rudeboy East London warehouse flavours. A big look for the DJs and the dancers. Tip!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Jezabels - Prisoner

01. Prisoner
02. Endless Summer
03. Long Highway
04. Try Colour
05. Rosebud
06. City Girl
07. Nobody Nowhere
08. Horsehead
09. Austerlitz
10. Deep Wide Ocean
11. Peace Of Mind
12. Reprise
13. Catch Me

Bonus CD:

01. Be A Star (Early Demo)
02. Disco Biscuit Love (Early Demo)
03. Noah’s Ark (Early Demo)
04. Magic (Early Demo)

PERCHED just outside the mainstream radar for the past two years, self-navigated Sydney band The Jezabels have been selling out more and more larger and larger venues - creating a DIY buzz for this debut. It doesn't disappoint.

As anyone seduced by their three EPs will attest, their sound is frustratingly but refreshingly hard to pin down. It's indie rock injected with hits of mystery and mayhem, but also plenty of piano and pop thrills.

The amazing title track is the perfect opener, luring you into their intense world with swirling vocals, bubbling keyboards and a gothic maelstrom that culminates with drummer Nik Kaloper audibly losing his kaka.

Indeed, the immense drums on this album will cause major drum envy across the land.

In case you miss the "this is an old-school album, not just a bunch of songs" vibe, singer Hayley Mary has all of her lyrics written out in full here as a lengthy letter to a prisoner.

Via recurring themes of emancipation and emotion, you're dragged through the beautiful but bruised Endless Summer and primal pop thrills of Long Highway - think PJ Harvey fronting Fleetwood Mac in

Tropics - Parodia Flare

01. Navajo
02. Mouves
03. Parodia Flare
04. Going Back
05. Wear Out
06. Celebrate
07. Figures
08 Telassar
09. Playgrounds
10. After Visiting
11. Sapphire
12. On the Move

Tropics is the sultry electronic shoegaze project of young British producer and multi-instrumentalist Chris Ward. Unlike so many similarly oriented artists, Ward doesn't hide behind distortion - his arrangements are complex and crystal-clear, reminding us less of any nu-gaze outfit and far more of the gushing electronic fantasias peddled by Nathan Fake, early Four Tet and Tropics' Mu labelmates Solar Bears. We can't help but compare a good number of the album's tracks to the US chillwave of Washed Out and Toro Y Moi, but the most satisfying tracks are those that go for the levitating electronic rock sublime, like the title number and the epic 'Mouves', being the kind of extravagantly psychedelic fare that The Horrors wish they could make. It’s certainly a diverse album - 'Celebrate' summons the Valium-smashed beatscapes of Balam Acab, 'Telassar' is boogie gone Balearic - and Ward deploys an incredible range of rhythmic and instrumental ideas to flesh out his disarmingly pretty songs, but he manages to keep everything coherent. A highly impressive debut all in

Thursday, September 15, 2011

VHS Head - Midnight Section

1. Sundown
2. Jager
3. Decapitron
4. Nightmare Park
5. Death Dimension
6. Siege Express
7. Midnight Section

VHS Head’s Video Club and Trademark Ribbons Of Gold rank as some of the finest outer-tronic records of recent times, representing as they do a completely unique, IDM-inflected and VCR-mangling take on the whole hypnagogic/hauntological fetish for re-processing the half-forgotten TV memories of yesteryear. This new EP finds the ‘Head going for a slightly heavier, harder sound, and in doing so he really strikes gold, from the cathode-fried cosmic undulations of ‘Decapitron’ to the itchy glitch-boogie of ‘Death Dimension’ and ‘Siege Express’ - clearly he’s been raiding the mid-80s exploitation section of his vid collection for this one. There are some curveballs too, like the chopped-up cocaine funk of ‘Jager’ and the beautifully washed out synthorama of ‘Nightmare Park’. We end on the deceptively mellowtitle track, its shimmering xylophone tones edited to all f*ck, like Autechre or BoC remixing The Advisory Circle. Seven exemplary video nasties for all the aspiring Max Renns among you. Rewind!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hud Mo - Pleasure

1. Pleasure
2. Freek
3. Turn Me Off
4. Somebody
5. Party Animal

Stylus melting edit heat from Hud*** Mo*****, pressed on loud vinyl and housed in screen-printed sleeve! It's now been over 3 years since he dropped that dynamite buncha R&B and Hip Hop edits on the 'Ooops!' 12", which has since gone on to be (one of, if not his most) sought-after vinyl release. So this time out he's drawn for cherry picked vocal bombs from Janet Jackson, Jodeci, Aaliyah, Gucci Mane, Keri Hilsom and Lil Wayne, all pinched and tweaked to Glaswegian funk specifications. For us, the chromium-chords of his Janet Jackson 'Pleasure Principle' and that snapping, snakey and raved-out rebuild of Aailyah's 'Somebody' are the instant highlights, but everyone's going to have their own percival, it's just one of those records. If Royal Mail charged for added club weight on this, you'd all be f**ked. A BIG

Alva Noto - Univrs

01. uni c
02. uni fac
03. uni asymmetric tone
04. uni rec
05. uni dia
06. uni iso
07. uni mode
08. uni acronym feat. Anne-James Chaton
09. uni asymmetric noises
10. uni deform
11. uni asymmetric III-IIII
12. uni syc
13. uni asymmetric sweep
14. uni pro

Univrs is classic Alva Noto: glitchy, meticulously produced, and driven by very cerebral ideas. As you might guess from the titles and cover art, it follows the same concept as his 2008 album unitxt. The label explains it thusly: "Whereas the focus of unitxt was on the processing of rhythmic patterns ('unit' = unit of measurement, element) and information ('txt' = data, language), with univrs the focus is on the conceptual differentiation of a universal language ('universum/universal' = unity, entirety)." Just like unitxt, the album features a vocal appearance from Anne-James Chaton, who reads through a "random narrative" of three-letter acronyms on the track "uni acronym."

The album has a visual element as well, based on the "real-time manipulation of software-generated test images by audio signals," which Nicolai achieved by means of a custom built "unitxt box." This routine features in Alva Noto's live performances of the album, and can be seen on a DVD that comes with a special edition version of univrs, which will be available through Raster-Noton's

Monday, September 12, 2011

Distal - Boss of the South EP

1. Boss of the South
2. Coke Bottle
3. Boss of the South (Sinden Remix)
4. Boss of the South (Capracara's South of Heaven Remix)
5. Coke Bottle (Wheez-ie Remix 1)
6. Coke Bottle (Wheez-ie Remix 2)

Distal's arrived in a big way in 2011, and his debut for Sinden's Grizzly is possibly his strongest release yet. 'Boss Of the South' is fractally busy yet solidly rolling, flicking in fragments of mentasms, 8-bit chirrups and Jukin' sample stabs, while the muscular, rolling subs lock it down for the dance, and 'Coke Bottle' works percolating Toms like Chicago's finest, but with a laidback Southern tilt that's more compatible with UK 'floors. Remixing, Sinden evens the keel with a rollin' 4/4 rework of 'Boss…' and Capracara drops some sexy New Jersey swing vibes with a kinky infusion of rave dirt, while Wheez-ie freaks out two uptempo Footwork versions of 'Coke Bottle'

Sully - Carrier

01. Its Your Love
02. Hearts
03. In Some Pattern
04. Encona
05. Let You
06. Scram
07. I Know
08. Trust
09. Bonafide
10. Exit

One of the more elusive producers out there, Sully isn't the most prolific, but everything he does release is of the highest quality: his 'Phonebox', to take just the most shining example, never leaves the box. Though he arrived on the crest of dubstep's second wave, it's not easy to pin down his sound: gritty, burnished UK garage is the key influence, but on this album there are significant nods too to footwork and 8-bar grime. 'It's Your Love' and '2 Hearts' openly pledge Sully's allegiance to the original El-B and Groove Chronicles sound, while 'I Know' and Trust' are juke made cinematic, their 808 snaps and plasmic vocal loops buffetting against moody strings and keys; there's also a welcome appearance for past 12" cut 'In Some Pattern', with its rugged 2-step flex, gushingly anthemic synth chords, and ardkore-minded funky-drummer breakdown - a stone cold classic. 'Encona' is bruk-tinged garage-techno in the Horsepower / Maddslinky tradition, while 'Let You' is the kind of vamping grime riddim that Slimzee used to cane in the heyday of Pay As U Go, brought up to date with some nifty vocodered vocal samples and 808 hits, and 'Scram' continues that grime theme with a more chilly, minimal, eski-style vibe. For all the familiar references, probably the only track on this LP that sounds a tad derivative is 'Exit', with its clear channeling the South London noir of Burial - but it still sounds wicked. Carrier is so much more focussed - not to mention more heavy, more hard-earned - than pretty much all the other post-dubstep guff out there.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Container - LP

01 Application
02 Protrusion
03 Dissolve
04 Overflow
05 Rattler

*Absolutely killer, squashed & f*cked technoid mutations - the best Spectrum Spools yet* A few months back we clocked Emeralds synth wizard and Spectrum Spools curator John Elliott claiming on Twitter: "container lp on spectrum spools is like surgeon on DMT covering cybotron jams with a bubble machine". Needless to say, we've been awaiting the arrival of said album with bated breath ever since. It's now here, and we're pleased to be able to confirm that it lives up to Elliott's hype - sidestepping the cosmic drift of most other Spoolers, Container has created a twisted, time-warping and insolently f*cked lo-fi techno record that has to rank among the very best full-length statements of 2011. 'Application' is like the nutty Profan house of Wolfgang Voigt shorn of its Teutonic gloss and subjected to some extra-wild DIY signal processing, while 'Protrusion' and 'Rattler' summon the gnarly acid stylings of Legowelt and the MurderCapital crew. 'Dissolve' is closest to that teasing Surgeon+DMT+Cybotron formulation, a grot-infused meld of jackers' beats, sci-fi synthetics and scouring industrial noise. If you've been digging recent, raw avant-techno excursions from the noise underground - we're talking No Fun Acid, Ectoplasm Girls, Diamond Catalog, Dungeon Acid, etc - then you need this seriously mad, bad record in your life. Unmissable,

Braille - Braille EP

1. A Meaning
2. Riverbed
3. Breakup
4. Chain Gang

Praveen Sharma's back with a fine four-tracker of emotive Garage-Tech rollers in his Braille guise. Working to the same formula of studied, melodic arrangements, deeper Garage rhythms and lush electronics found on his 'Year 3000' ace, he opens with 'A Meaning', a sweetly frisky electronic soul groove, next to the chest swelling Funky uplift of 'Riverbed' on the A-side. Flip it over and 'Breakup' tucks up a smart Broken Beat sound with deft Hip Hop samples and deeply layered arrangement, while 'Chaingang' keeps up the dope pressure with proper, shifty

Move D - Workshop 13

A Untitled 1
B1 Untitled 2
B2 Untitled 3

Another excellent outing from Move D on Workshop, quite possibly his best and most diverse yet. The A-side is one of those insinctively jazzy numbers he specialises in, working in a distinct Afro-rhythmic lilt with bobbling marimba-like patterns around sensually tingling strings and light-headed guitar licks. Lush! B-side finds a more muscular House groove powered by chunky Toms and seductive chords corralled with an unmistakable expertise, and tips out to a down-slow Boogie soul joint in his deeply charming style. Very sweet. Tipped!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Das Racist - Amazing

01 Relax
02 Michael Jackson
03 Brand New Dance
04 Middle of The Cake
05 Girl
06 Shut Up, Man [ft. El-P]
07 Happy Rappy
08 Bootyin the Air
09 Power [ft. Danny Brown & Despot]
10 Punjabi Song [ft. Bikram Singh]
11 Selena
12 Rainbow in the Dark
13 The Trick
14 Celebration

On September 13th, Himanshu K. Suri aka Heems’s Greedhead Music label will release Relax, the debut full-length from Brooklyn-based rapscallions Das Racist. This builds on two celebrated mixtapes Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man with an album cover that again features a couch, but this time its ON FIRE. It also builds on those collections with some new collaborative efforts (production from Yeasayers and Wilder, Blood Diamonds, Vampire Weekends Rostam Batmanglij, Chairlifts Patrick Wimberly, and vocals from Punjabi-American bhangra artist Bikram Singh and Danny Brown) and DRfamily regulars/heavy MC talent Despot and El-P.

Celebration - Hello Paradise

01. What's This Magical?
02. Junky
03. Honeysuckle
04. I Will Not Fall
05. Great Pyramid
06. Open Your Heart
07. Shelter
08. Battles
09. Kilamanjaro

Since early 2009, the Baltimore-based cabaret-punk trio Celebration have been posting tracks from their new record, Hello Paradise, as free mp3s on their website. Donations are encouraged, but not required. There is no record label advance funding the project. A friendly-looking smiley-faced ying-yang symbol sits to the side of the screen, surrounded by the words, "Be cool. You make it worth our while." It's one thing to throw fortune to the digital winds if you're a well-established arena-rocking band like, say, Radiohead. For Celebration-- who have a much more modest following-- financial and business incentives are less obvious. But listening to the completed Hello Paradise, the creative payoff is clear.

They tried it the traditional way first. Celebration released two albums-- 2005's Celebration and 2007's The Modern Tribe-- on major-indie 4AD. But four years of grinding tours, press cycles, and sales expectations withered Celebration's zeal. "They offered a contract re-negotiation and we declined," frontwoman Katrina Ford told the website Rockin' the Stove last December, explaining the band's decision to leave label's roster. "For us, in the end, the benefits did not outweigh the cost. The whole business bummed me out." Stepping off of the music biz treadmill-- and giving up the exposure it promises-- gave Celebration the space to become a better band, distribute their music on their own, and to take their time doing it.

Unsurprisingly, Hello Paradise is Celebration's most laid-back work to date. Songs unfurl at a measured pace, riding head-bobbing rhythms and bluesy riffs through a low psychedelic haze. Their last record, The Modern Tribe, was soaked in trippy textures. Producer Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio)-- brought forth headshop vibes by the bucketful. In every empty nook and cranny, a set of wind chimes tinkled. As a result Celebration-- a herky-jerky and energetic live band-- came off flat and one-dimensional.

Largely recorded and produced by the band itself, Hello Paradise dials in the sonic soup at the right time, rather than all the time. "Battles" uses a sparse intro to springboard into explosive, Zeppelin-worthy, Eastern-tinged riffage. "Shelter" builds from a stripped-down ballad into a wave of cheapo-synth-string romance. The anxious pummeling of the group's self-titled debut is long gone. Organist/guitarist Sean Antanaitis and drummer David Bergander play looser but more methodically, throwing themselves fully into the record's reverb-drenched crescendos.

But Ford makes the greatest breakthrough on Hello Paradise. Ten years ago, fronting Love Life-- her former band with Antanaitis-- she was a brutish stage presence, dressed in giant black boots, grunting like a linebacker with a zeal for Nick Cave. On Hello Paradise Ford is, undeniably, a singer-- pushing the music forward, using melodic embellishments to amp up the drama. On "Junky" she howls and warps words into strange shapes. But she's also gained confidence at conveying tender, guarded emotions. Ford can be forceful and delicate, frequently within the space of the same song.

And it doesn't hurt that she sounds more defiant. "I won't lay down and I won't play this harp anymore/ Odds are stacked/ Some love can bring you back/ If you choose," sings Ford on "I Will Not Fall". With little hope of prolonging their career through traditional means, Celebration had nobody but themselves to please with Hello Paradise. And, somehow, that seems to have set the bar

Tinariwen - Tassili

1. Imidiwan Ma Tenam
2. Assuf D Alwa
3. Tenere Taqhim Tossam
4. Ya Messinagh
5. Walla Illa
6. Tameyawt
7. Imidiwan Win Sahara
8. Tamiditin Tan Ufrawan
9. Tilliaden Osamnat
10. Djeredjere
11. Iswegh Attay
12. Takkest Tamidaret

Tinariwen released their first full-length album, Radio Tisdas Sessions, in 2001, but it was their second, 2004’s Amassakoul, that caught the world’s ear, brought them widespread acclaim, and kick-started the whole “desert blues” movement. The first decade of the 2000s was a heady time that saw the band playing in London for the Live 8 concerts, jamming with Carlos Santana, and joining Robert Plant onstage for a tear-it-up version of “Whole Lotta Love.” (YouTube it—it’s worth a look, notwithstanding the grainy video and lousy sound.)

Sooner or later, though, every band faces the inevitable question: “Now what?” Having achieved more in a few years than most bands manage in their whole careers, Tinariwen is faced with the classic conundrum: how to continue building their legacy without repeating themselves, and how to retain a freshness of approach without forgetting what made them so compelling in the first place.

Their way of addressing these questions on their fifth full-length album, Tassili, is to dial back the electric guitar a fair bit, relying more on acoustic sounds while injecting contributions from other musicians. Wilco guitarist Nels Cline contributes some ambient guitar crunch on opener “Imidiwan Ma Tennam”, probably the best track on the album. Other songs incorporate vocals by Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio and horn backup courtesy of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

This sounds like a recipe for disaster, but against all odds, some of these masalas actually work. In large part, this is because Tinariwen’s music is such a rich stew of sounds that Cline’s guitar or the Brass Band’s throaty growls simply become new spices in the mix. Where the collaboration falls flat is on “Tenere Taqqim Tossam”, which brings Adebimpe’s honey-smooth vocals to the fore where they tussle with the Tuaregs’ throaty rasping. It sounds as jarring as you’d expect, and oddly enough, it is the album’s first single.

The collaborations jump out at the listener, but they account for only half of the album’s 12 songs; in some cases, the guests are barely noticeable. Much of the rest is recognizably Tinariwen, and there are plenty of solid tunes here. Any listener new to the band is likely to be impressed. For longtime fans, though, a sense of diminishing returns may be setting in. Tinariwen have released five albums in ten years, including four in the past seven years; they’ve also released a concert DVD, contributed to compilation albums, toured relentlessly, and lost two founding members to another group, Terakaft. All this is a fair amount of activity for any band not named the Beatles; along the way, Tinariwen has spawned what is arguably the most exciting movement in world music today. But a sense of repetition is creeping into some of their music, which is a shame.

Tassili is a strangely ambivalent album. It neither wholly embraces the East-West fusion experiments suggested by its handful of collaborations, nor does it herald a back-to-basics acoustic approach, despite the prevalence of such acoustic guitar tunes as “Walle Illa”, “Tameyawt”, and album closer “Takkest Tamidaret”. The record seems unable to make up its mind about where, exactly, it wants to go.

So then, is this record the document of a band at a crossroads? Maybe so. But given Tinariwen’s consistent excellence over the years, that may not be an entirely bad thing. There’s no telling where the band will go next, but one thing is sure: it will be worth listening to where they end