Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Keeping track of Omega Code tracks

CHATTING on the new forum Sound Off today I was reminded of Omega Code, the metal band-cum-international art project I blogged about here in February.
And I was pleased remember that I promised then they were set to give away their first release - because true to their word you can now log on to their site and download their EP 0.1 free of charge.
Click here to visit their website, or click here, here, here, here and here to get the five tracks.

Tasty treat for fans of Food


AFTER almost a decade in hiatus, DJ Food - who is both a solo artist, Strictly Kev, and a collective of Ninja Tune artists, depending on what period of Food you are sampling - is laying on the first course of a veritable feast in the form of six new tracks.
And judging by this starter, One Man's Weird Is Another Man's World, we're in for a gourmet selection of turntablist hip hop over the coming year.
This release sees extras added to expected sublime use of ingenious samples - where does he find them? - and the trademark atmospheric jazzy breaks.
Brilliant opener The Illectrik Hoax features Broken Keys member Nathaniel Pearn under the guise of Natural Self dishing out Lyrics Born-style vocals over a frenetic beat, while elsewhere Ken Nordine and Dr Rubberfunk join in on Covered In Darkness' parts one and two respectively. It's tasty stuff - in fact, I recommend forking out for this, as well as the next two EPs being dished out soon, ahead of the new album Stolen Moments next year.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Carroll's rock doesn't rock the boat


NOW that's what I call rock!
I say that because Dust Of Rumour, Irish troubadour Marc Carroll's third studio album, ticks all the boxes for being the sort of AOR you'd find three quarters of the way down a Now! double album propping up the track listing.
There's hints of Paul Weller and his Britpop cohorts, nods towards Bob Dylan, shades of The Levellers, a twist of The Edge's epic guitar work etc. etc.
You get the idea, Dust Of Rumour is nothing new - but that's not a massive complaint, because after all, if it ain't broke...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Enjoy the glide


ALI Campbell, the voice of UB40, claims to be Flying High with his new solo album - but it sounds like his pop-reggae is merely coasting.
At first the signs are promising, getting off to a flying start with Nothing Ever Changes and surefire single choice Out From Under.
But then a gaggle of guests flock in, and effectively clip Campbell's wings - the Craig David collaboration is limp, and you can't have Shaggy as a guest artist and expect your album to be taken seriously, surely?
And they keep coming, from all over the place - rapper Sway here, the Soweto Gospel Choir there, disturbing the overall flow of the album, which isn't all that bad overall.
But while the title is Flying High, there's a fair amount of flap here as well.

Saw without teeth


TRENDY young folk singer David Saw's new CD Broken Down Figure is unlikely to cut it in many end-of-year best-ofs.
Because nice as it is, there's nothing here that's likely to make a lasting impression.
The album is mostly sub-Damien Rice, particularly opening salvo Don't Call, Simple Song and title track Broken Down Figure, and when it does pick up on single Buy My Record, it merely heads down an even more regularly trodden path.
So although there's not a lot you can directly say is wrong with this album, David Saw's lack of a cutting edge really lets it down.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sound Off on more subjects

DON'T forget you can now make noise on all manner of musical topics at the official forum of this blog, Sound Off.
New threads on the site include music videos, one hit wonders and TV theme tunes - log in to join in the discussions.

Killswitch Engaging


MASTERS of melodic metalcore Killswitch Engage's latest eponymous album sees the band as engaging as ever.
In fact, Killswitch Engage might end up being a breakwater for the Massachusetts group - who reach the five album mark with this release.
Because the LP - actually the band's second self-titled effort - is the first with an outside producer in the form of Brendan O'Brien, and as a result the melodic side of the band, too often frustratingly fleeting on previous efforts, has been coaxed out to great effect.
With their ever-acerbic metal laced with just enough of a hook for the length of Killswitch Engage, rather than merely showcased in the singles, Killswitch Engage are continuing to grow with every release.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Eyeing up a download

ISAAC Ashe's Sound Advice has teamed up with Autokratz who have teamed up with Primal Scream to offer you a spanking new download.
The track, offered as part of the promotion for Autokratz's new album Animal, is a scorching remix of Primal Scream's classic track Swastika Eyes.
Click here to grab your copy.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bad news I'm afraid

IT SEEMS that King Of Pop Michael Jackson has died.
The singer was given cardiopulmonary resuscitation and was not breathing when paramedics arrived at his home earlier today, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Sad news indeed, despite the controversy.
He will be missed.

Goodnight good


GOODNIGHT, the second album by experimental folk singer William Fitzsimmons, is a five year labour of love - although it's probably best not to mention love around him.
Not only was the album written about his parent's divorce while he was growing up, during the writing of the LP Fitzsimmons split with his own wife.
So don't expect a barrel of laughs.
However other things you might predict, such as anger and bitterness, are absent from the album.
Instead there's almost a lullaby feel to his low-key Iron And Wine-style guitar, drum machine and voice compositions, which sound like Fitzsimmons laying his demons to rest.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cheezy Lenka


A FASCINATING Lenka fact, Isaac Ashe's Sound Advisees - Lenka broke into showbiz by presenting Australian kid's TV show Cheez TV.
Perhaps this could go some way to explaining some of the singer's cutesy disposition.
Lenka, full name Lenka Kripac, isn't entirely bubblegum, but she definitely goes pop, and she's a bit too sugary for my taste on her eponymous solo debut Lenka.
A compact collection of pop folk gorgeousness that's fairly consistent throughout, Lenka should continue to make a decent impact in the charts following the success of The Show with a few more of her sweet, Summertime songs - although she's not going to be the toast of my stereo any time soon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Unique talent

SEVENTEEN-year-old hot girl Dominique Young Unique is set to take over dancefloors across the globe with her undeniably youthful, undeniably unique talent.
Sadly she's not from Dominique, she's from Tampa, Florida.
Under the wing of female trio Yo Majesty!, the teen rapper is set to release her debut EP, Music Time, next month.
And to celebrate its release, Isaac Ashe's Sound Advice has stepped in to offer a free download of hot track Hot Girl, which will appear on her debut release.
Click here to get it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Revolution sets Cuban music free


AS WELL as cigars, rum, boxers and communism, music is one of the things that really puts Cuba on the map.
However outside Buena Vista Social Club's membership, most people would be hard-pushed to name any of the country's acts.
Feel free to correct me in this post's comments on this one...
But judging by Revolution - a fusion of young Cuban talent and established UK and US talent dubbed The Revolution - acts such as Orishas, Anónimo Consejo, Ariday Vega Martín and Sexto Sentido might be worth keeping an eye on.
Because working alongside pros such as Norman 'Fatboy Slim' Cook, UNKLE's Rich File, Björk knob-twiddlers Guy Sigsworth and Marius de Vries and Portishead producers Cameron McVey and Jan Stan, and sharing a bill will the likes of Moloko's Roisin Murphy, Lateef The Truth Speaker and Black Eyed Pea-in-a-pod Poet Name Life, the Cuban collective has crafted a vibrant LP that demands a listen.
Obviously with any musical amalgamations, there are hits - such as Cook's brace - and misses - such as the staid house of Dark House Love - but Revolution clearly shows there's enough talent in Cuba to rise up against the worldwide US and UK chart dominance.

Scars in September

ALTHOUGH previously pencilled in for a Summer release, Basement Jaxx's new album Scars has been scheduled for a September 14 release.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Guilty pleasures

A FEW tweaks later, and the Sound Off forum is up-and-running for Isaac Ashe's Sound Advice readers to join.
While things are pretty quiet there at the moment, a few new threads have been started discussing facial hair in rock and guilty musical pleasures, among other things.
Want to know what guilty pleasures I've confessed to?
Log on here and find out...

Gossip get tongues wagging


AHEAD of this review, I must inform you that I've never been a massive fan of The Gossip - but I have to say this album is worth talking about.
My initial impression of the group, when they broke back in 2006 with their third album Standing In The Way Of Control, was they were a poor man's Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
I thought they even looked a bit like Karen O and co, albeit standing in a hall of mirrors.
But Music For Men, with the production assistance of the legend that is Rick Rubin, sees the group winning over even me.
A tight showing from the trio, their disco garage rock sound has been fine tuned here - with a controlled performance from Beth Ditto and no slack from the backing band.
The form shown on Music For Men should ensue that The Gossip remain the talk of the town.

Kong is on

PUNK band Kong sound like a woolly mammoth tearing through Middlesbrough with predictably madcap results.
And the Manchester group, ahead of their debut album Snake Magnet's release on July 13, will also be ripping through your speakers shortly, courtesy of a free download.
Click here to download the track Sport.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Future sounds


PROPER readers of this blog, I mean the hardest hard core of Isaac Ashe's Sound Advisees, will know of my love for Welsh punk supergroup Future Of The Left.
They will know that I had gushingly blogged about their debut album Curses less than 24 hours after this blog's very creation - where I described their sound as "meatier than a pig eating steaks".
Therefore I'm happy to report to my legions of fans - and my casual readers as well, of course - that the group's sophomore album Travels With Myself And Another is here, and it doesn't disappoint.
Actually, despite my undying love for Curses, the new LP marks a real progression for the band.
The trademarks of their first album are here - the thumping basslines and full-throttle guitars, but with an added sheen.
But the major difference is where before the group, made up of former Mclusky and Jarcrew members, sang solely of wierdness - pretty pussies called Colin and elves dining on sausages for example - there's salient points behind a lot of this work.
For example, on single The Hope That House Built they sing "there's a reason for incredible wealth - incredible luck" and "God is just a mental illness", before emploring the listener to join their hopeless cause.
I don't know about you, but I'm in.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sound Off here

I CAN'T be the only one with an opinion.
So if you want to make your voice heard, head across to the brand new Sound Off site, the official forum of this blog.
You can talk about any genre or artist you want, plug your own band or website, say what you'd like to see on the blog, suggest Classic Collection additions and much more.
Click here to join the community.

Late Of The Pier Like Summery Songs

CASTLE Donington's finest Late Of The Pier have put out a free Summertime soundtrack.
As part of their appearance DJing at Dance On Glass in London, the band have compiled Like Summery Songs, a free 70-minute mp3 mixtape.
Click here to download a copy, and bask in its rich warmth.

Promised Jetpacks - here you go then

RECENT Decent album These Four Walls by the sensational We Were Promised Jetpacks was released this week to rapturous praise from critics including me.
But if you haven't bought a copy yet, then let me twist you arm further with a thrilling track lifted from the album, completely free.
So click here to download Ships With Holes Will Sink, and if you like what you hear, buy the LP, damnit, I can't lay it all on a plate for you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Young Knives to play label's fifth birthday party

YOUNG Knives are set to play a special birthday bash in September for their label Transgressive Records.
The record company, which turns five this year, will line-up the Leicestershire band with Esser and Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man for a gig at gay club Heaven in London on September 24.
Other acts playing gigs to celebrate the landmark later this year include Graham Coxon, Jeremy Warmsley and Foals.

Who dares to Dream Theater?


NEXT week sees the curtain raise on Dream Theater's 10th studio effort, Black Clouds And Silver Linings, and over the course of their previous nine LPs the group have gathered a bit of reputation for prog-rocking out slightly more than your average act.
After all, any metal band can write a 20-minute track - though not many as technically brilliant as a Dream Theater opus - but not just any metal band can take this to that next level.
To demonstrate this, look to follies such as them starting one album, Train Of Thought, with the ending chord of the previous one, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, or them carrying musical themes across decades' worth of material - for example The Shattered Fortress here is the final track of a five track Twelve Step Suite, which carries across as many albums, telling the story of drummer Mike Portnay's alcoholism.
And these are a mere drop in the ocean of examples I could have chosen.
Couple this with their Joe Satriani-esque penchant for virtuosity over content, and despite enjoying a lot of their previous work I approached this album with a little trepidation.
Luckily Black Clouds And Silver Linings is some of the group's most accessible work to date.
The metal riffs really chug along, the frequent time signature changes rarely jar, the solos while blistering as ever are still enjoyable to listen to, and in A Rite Of Passage and Wither the band have what almost pass for a brace of singles.
While Dream Theater have perpetually been under the mainstream radar, they are no Dumpy's Rusty Nuts, and in a climate where Metallica and Mastodon can trouble the charts, surely it's time for the general public to wake up.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Spanish acquisition

WYMESWOLD'S Wave Pictures are set to release two new tracks through Spanish record label Acuarela's new Singles Club venture.
The band will put out a limited edition 7" Watching Charlie's Angels on July 1.
The release
will feature previously unreleased track Swimming as a b-side and be limited to 1,000 copies.
Other acts taking part in Singles Club include Agent Ribbons, Darren Hayman, Nick Castro, Mount Eerie and The Wowz.

Anti-Pop Consortium, apparently

THE Anti-Pop Consortium are back, apparently.
The innovative experimental hip hop group are set to release a 17-track "robot-funk" album Flourescent Black later this year.
And as a taster, you can click here to grab a free mp3 of their new track, Apparently.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cool for 'Kratz


IF AUTOKRATZ were an animal, they would be a dog.
Reliable, solid, if not the most exciting, the London-based duo's full debut album Animal won't let you down, unlike, say, a penguin, lobster or koala.
The album, the follow-up to last year's hype-inducing mini album Down And Out In Paris And London, is a sturdy collection of breaks tinged with a distinct Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys and Erasure influence - in fact I swear the intro to What You Want, What You Got? is ripped wholesale from Love To Hate You.
So when I say they'd be a dog, we're not talking pedigree, more a mongrel hybrid of modern beat makers and electronica's pop pioneers.
While this journeyman dance is not going to steal many shows, don't let me dictate to you - for fans of breaks, Autokratz's album could be a man's best friend.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mars Volta alter


DON'T be fooled when Mars Volta say that Octahedron is an "acoustic" album.
After the migraine-inducing blowout that was 2007's Bedlam In Goliath, it's only fair that the band might want to tone it down a little this time around.
But Octahedron, although quieter by their own standards, is still very much a prog metal affair - with barbed wire guitars, experimental electronic flecks and distinctive Mars Volta vocal shrieking.
For every reflective moment like Copernicus, there's a rocker such as Cotopaxi to match - although the experimental, self-indulgent 15-minute tracks are absent here.
So while there's no strong theme running through the LP - which for me made previous efforts such as De-Loused In The Comatorium must-haves - Octahedron does give the group the opportunity to show a variety of sides.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Slips up

TOMORROW sees the release of electro duo The Slips' new single, the pulsating 3.0.3.
A storming track, 3.0.3 demonstrates why the pair - who started as a couple of sound engineers wanting to have a pop at making the music themselves - already count the likes of CSS, Mirwais and Rob da Bank amongst their fans.
To celebrate the release Isaac Ashe's Sound Advice has teamed up with the rather marvellous Anti Chris to offer his Anti Chris Remix of the track.
Click here to grab a copy - and if you have a minute more, click through to Anti Chris's Myspace page and have a listen to his fantastic track, Mr Drumbastic.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dad rock

CONGRATULATIONS to Young Knives' frontman Henry Dartnall and his partner, who have spawned an even younger knife, Arthur Dartnall.
You can see a cute picture of the little smasher, born yesterday, that the Belton-born singer tweeted here.

An Addis addition


AFTER last year's surprise success A Town Called Addis, Dub Colossus are back for afters.
In comparison Return To Addis is, er, more of a village, a brief EP made up of two remixes and two new tracks - but it takes a while to settle.
The opener, a Sidestepper remix of Black Rose, quickly passes and then the Cesar Diaz reworking of Sima Edy takes a long time to kick in.
The standard leaps up for the second half of the EP which is made up of two dubs from Dub Colossus, a project begun by Transglobal Underground founding member Nick Page working with Ethiopian musicians.
Here the mixture of dub, reggae, jazz and traditional Ethiopian music that made A Town Called Addis such a smash are in evidence.
As a result, Return To Addis works as a companion to the 2008 release, but I would only recommend it to fans of that album - although judging by its success, that's probably quite a lot of people.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Download for those going nowhere

ARE you ready to rock?
I can't hear you! I said are you ready, to RAWK?
Good, because to coincide with Download Festival kicking off Monsters Of Rock-style just down the road in Castle Donington today, I'm offering a free download from LA-based guitar slingers ZanKoma.
So now, even if you're not going to Donington Park, you can don your blackest T-shirt, grab a copy of the aptly-titled Road To Nowhere, and mosh away from the comfort of your own living room.
Click here to download the track.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Enjoy Incubus


THERE'S no doubt that Incubus are a brilliant band.
However after nearly 15 years knocking out slick alternative metal, only the biggest of fans or canniest of shoplifters will own the group's entire back catalogue - S.C.I.E.N.C.E. and Make Yourself were staples of my listening habits back in the day, but I have to admit that the more recent stuff has passed me by.
But fear not, as the group's greatest hits package, Monuments And Melodies, is here to fill in those gaps.
And as all good retrospectives do, it only goes to show just how great Incubus were in their prime - plus it's bookended by two new tracks and with a second CD of rarities to boot.
My only grumble is despite the inclusion of a version of A Certain Shade Of Green, the earliest incarnation of Incubus is missing - would it have hurt to shove in New Skin or Azwethinkweiz?
Despite this there's almost too much to like here - and with work on a seventh studio album in the pipeline, perhaps they can rectify that on their next greatest hits release...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Get Get Back Guinozzi

AN ARRESTING freebie for you - click here to lay your hands on one half of French duo Get Back Guinozzi's debut double-A side single Police And Thieves for free.
The jangly track will be released alongside Low Files Tropical this September.

We Meat again


LIKE a bat out of Hell, rotund rocker Meat Loaf returns with a remastered version of his condensed greatest hits package - and although two out of three ain't bad, there's no way it's going to be anything but five out five.
Slightly rejigged from its original 1984 release, all of Loaf's big hitters are here - Dead Ringer For Love, Bat Out Of Hell, You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night), Paradise By The Dashboard Light - and I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That) and I'd Lie For You (And That's The Truth) have been added for good measure.
Fist-pumping, girl-winning, lighter-waving, handkerchief-saturating, cape-wearing overblown pomposity prevails - and it's as fun as it ever was.
If you already own some Meat Loaf then there's not a lot of point in adding this to your collection, but for the casual consumer Hits Out Of Hell is more than enough to get your fill.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

They are Legend


BACK in October last year, a copy of The Vodoun Effect unexpectedly landed on my desk - and after one spin, the mixture of vodoun voodoo ritual soundtrack and afro-funk of Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou had cast a spell over me.
And on the impending Legends Of Benin, part of the commendable Analog Africa series, the cult 1970s group are again resurrected, this time alongside their musical peers from the west African nation.
Filled to the brim with funky drumbeats, jangling guitars and throbbing basslines, the LP proves that virtually unknown names like El Rego Et Ses Commandos and Antoine Dougbe could - and should - sit alongside the likes of Eddie Bo and James Brown
So if you're a DJ looking for some fresh meat to butcher, or a fan of funk who's looking to graze new pastures, then don't miss out, myth out with Legends Of Benin.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Basement Jaxx are back

DANCE duo Basement Jaxx release Raindrops, the first track from forthcoming album Scars, on June 22.
And to accompany the track - which features one half of the duo, former Loughborough schoolboy Felix Buxton, on vocal duties - the group have put out this rather racy new video -

Kelpe yourself

LOUGHBOROUGH electronic act Kelpe, full name Kel Mckeown, has put out two new tracks on two new compilation albums.
His work can be found on Japanese label Powershovel Audio's compilation In The First Place, Does Digital Harinezumi Dream, as well as on the Bleep sampler Showcase Volume One.

One last act

THE final name has been added to the bill of this year's Download Festival.
Appearing at the Castle Donington festival will be unsigned Leeds punk rockers Acid Drop, who have been named as the winners of a battle of the bands competition run at the Sheffield Leadmill.

Jetpacks sure to fly high


THE more perceptive of visitors to my humble blog will have noticed that These Four Walls, the debut offering from We Were Promised Jetpacks, has been one of The Recent Decent for several months now.
That's because I simply couldn't contain my eagerness to tell you all how stunning this album, which is finally out a week today, really is.
Over the course of the album, the brilliantly-titled We Were Promised Jetpacks - who were signed up on the basis of being Myspace friends with labelmates Frightened Rabbit - show a talent for emotion as well as being able to rock it.
With a Scottish drawl akin to The View they combine the pop know-how of Snow Patrol, the talent for the slow-burning epic of Sigur Ros, and the driving guitar work of Biffy Clyro.
And with all these factors fuelling These Four Walls, the result is a thrilling ride that should well skyrocket We Were Promised Jetpacks high into the charts.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Kasabian in the groove


NOW established as one of Leicestershire's top exports alongside pork pies and stilton, Kasabian are back on Monday with the snappily-titled and equally mouth-watering West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum.
Now although I'm obviously likely to champion any group that hails a stone's throw away from Loughborough, this, their third studio album, is probably their best work yet.
After the overblown psychedelic pomp of their previous album Empire, this Dan The Automator-produced effort strips back their sound to what made their eponymous first album so appealing.
The group's rock swagger, which has led to endless 'Madchester' comparisons, is here in full effect, and although the psychedelia and electronica of earlier efforts is retained, none of it ever overpowers the tracks.
But central to the new, leaner Kasabian is the return of the groove - nearly every track is riddled with funky rhythms, from opener Underdog through the frenetic Fast Fuse to anthemic Fire, and the result is intoxicating.
Makes you proud to be an East Midlander, eh?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Hands on


WHO'S the latest sensation hot on the heels of Lady Gaga?
Step forward electropop sensation Little Boots.
Judging by the gooey-eyed appetite of both the record-buying public and the tabloid for the aforementioned Gaga, Little Boots - real name Victoria Hesketh - is surely a shoe-in for success with her debut LP Hands.
Treading the same synth-paved path as the likes of Goldfrapp and La Roux, the former Dead Disco star has crafted some unashamed pop with an glam dance twist to it.
There are some lyrical frailties here, and the music lacks a little kick for my tastes, but there's no doubt in my mind that Little Boots will easily eke out a pretty strong foothold in the hearts and the newspapers of the country with this effort.

Friday, June 05, 2009



I'VE not got a bad word to say about Raissa Khan-Panni, the driving force behind The Mummers.
Her voice, the outstanding factor in Tale To Tell, the group's debut album, is distinctive in its gorgeous, other-worldly quality, sounding like a playful young Bjork.
And I can find no fault in the shimmering dreamscape of showtune-cum-orchestral movement-cum-pop laced with horns and flutes that's been crafted to hold it.
I want to like this complex, swirling concoction, I really do.
I just don't all that much.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Mad to miss Crazy Arm


BORN To Ruin is quite an apt title for country punk group Crazy Arm's first album.
A debut offering was originally recorded by the Plymouth-based group in 2006, then completely scrapped, recorded again with new material in 2007, scrapped again, and then finally rewritten and put down on record earlier this year.
Fingers crossed the band let it get released on Monday and don't decide to step in again...
The results of the "hard-twang roots-punk" band's endeavours is a hard-hitting sound that's a bit Against Me!, a bit Fall Out Boy, a bit Offspring, with a rockabilly tint in places.
So if any of the aforementioned floats your boat, you wouldn't be mad going out on a limb and picking up a copy of Born To Ruin.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Look Norse


WERE I to be appointed as a talent scout, I can't imagine the first place I'd be packing my bags for would be Astrid Williamson's homelands, The Shetland Islands.
But I would be a ruddy fool to ignore the remote Scottish islands, judging by her fourth album, Here Come The Vikings.
Because belied by the rubbish album title are a handful of cracking songs such as Store, Crashing Minis and Shut Your Mouth which pillages the work of acts such as PJ Harvey, Ida Maria and Tori Amos to great effect.
Sure, a lot of the rest is forgettable, folk-tinged pop rock unlikely to see Here Come The Vikings settling in the charts - but there's enough here for Williamson to carry out a few raids into the mainstream, probably for the first time since her work with Goya Dress and Electronic back in the '90s.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Von tease


PRE-post rock superstardom, back in 1997 Icelandic outfit Sigur Ros crafted Von, their debut album.
At the time the LP didn't make many waves - and Monday's reissue of the rarity is unlikely to see this album thrust up there with masterpieces like Ágætis byrjun, Takk and Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust.
Because Von is more ambience than normal album, and listening to it merely gives you an appreciation of the epic, string-soaked Sigur Ros that was born when keyboard player Kjartan Sveinsson joined shortly after the release of this album.
In fact the first two tracks are no more than a combined 15 minutes of noise - and only just noise at that.
The effect is like listening to Sigur Ros playing but you're sat in their dressing room, or hearing them on the wind a mile down the road as the play a festival slot - it's not quite where you Von to be.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Chesnutt conquers


THE Headphone Masterpiece, The Roots collaborator Cody Chesnutt's only album, was recorded solo entirely on a four-track recorder in The Sonic Promiseland.
By the way, The Sonic Promiseland is in fact just the name the Jamaican-American singer songwriter gives his bedroom.
I wonder what he calls his toilet?
Anyway, the resulting double album of output, orginally released in 2002 and given a rerelease next Monday, is the lo-fi, sprawling, incoherent collection you would expect in such circumstances.
And within it's raw hybrid of rock, soul and hip hop there are some moments of pure genius.
There's some you may have heard such as The Seed, which was revamped for The Roots' sensational Phrenology, and I Look Good In Leather, recently used in a Lynx advert.
Then there's tracks such as Bitch I'm Broke, Juicin' The Dark, Serve This Royalty - so may deserve an honourable mention.
Scuzzy and soulful in equal measures, for all its flaws The Headphone Masterpiece may be just about right.

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