Saturday, July 31, 2010
THE sun-soaked climate of Los Angeles normally reflects in the sunny output of its bands - but not in Autolux's case.
The group's second album, Transit Transit, is a downbeat collection of slow, shoegazing rock more in line with Radiohead than The Beach Boys.
Not that this is a bad thing, and while it takes the listener a while to tune down to its rhythms, Transit Transit reveals itself to be a moving piece of work when you do so.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
TRANSATLANTIC RPM, the new album from Incognito, packs in more energy than a jet engine.
Having invited along a guest list including Jamiroquai bassist Stuart Zender, icon Chaka Khan, spoken word goddess Ursula Rucker, Motown legend Leon Ware and more, the tracks here are all slick as they come.
Sure, a lot of it is very cheesy, but you can't help get caught up in the sheer exuberance of it all.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
LOUGHBOROUGH knob-twiddler Kelpe is releasing a new EP in September.
The Margins EP will be put out by Bristol label Black Acre on vinyl and as a download.
Kelpe said: “I’ve grown pretty fond of a lot of Black Acre’s material recently, having released artists such as Loops Haunt, Blue Daisy, Tokimonsta, Fantastic Mr Fox, Brokenchord and a load more.”
As an appetite whetter, Kelpe has also uploaded a taster of some of the EP tracks, which you can hear below -
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
CERULEAN, the debut album from Baths, is worth dipping into.
Showering the listener with subtle beats and awash with delicate, acoustic-based samples, if you want to gauge Baths' temperature imagine an ever-so-slightly more tubthumping version of Daedalus.
Glitchy productions akin to impossibly 'now' acts like Toro Y Moi and Junk Culture over echoey hints of indie rock a la Broken Social Scene, Baths deserves to tap into some of these more established acts fanbases.
Monday, July 26, 2010
FASTEN your seatbelts and prepare for a ride back in time... on board Analog Africa's Afro-beat Airways.
A musical black-box of previously lost recordings from 1970s Ghana and Togo, the names may not be jetset - the likes of Orchestre Abass, Ebo Taylor And The Sweet Beans, De Frank Professionals and Apagya Show Band all feature - but these were all high-flyers in their time.
The result is a mixture of afro-funk, synth disco, afro-beat, boogie, and anything else energetic and afro-centre you can think of.
So if you're looking for a departure from your usual listening, check in with Analog Africa's latest as soon as you can.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
THE 12 album shortlist for the Mercury Prize 2009 has been revealed.
Contesting the competition this year are -
● Biffy Clyro – ‘Only Revolutions’
● Corinne Bailey Rae – ‘The Sea’
● Dizzee Rascal – ‘Tongue N’ Cheek’
● Kit Downes Trio – ‘Golden’
● Foals – ‘Total Life Forever’
● I Am Kloot – ‘Sky At Night’
● Laura Marling – ‘I Speak Because I Can’
● Mumford And Sons – ‘Sigh No More’
● Paul Weller – ‘Wake Up The Nation’
● Villagers – ‘Becoming A Jackal’
● Wild Beasts – ‘Two Dancers’
● The XX – ‘XX’
From the list, I'd like to see Sound Advice Album of the Year Only Revolutions walk away with the gong.
What are your thoughts? Comment below or head over to Sound Off and let me know.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
NORMALLY if the thought of a grizzled old Welshman excites you, you’d probably be a grizzled old Welshwoman.
But everyone should make an exception for Tom Jones - who for the hundredth-odd time has come back with the cool once again with new album Praise And Blame.
A tour through a collection of spiritual American standards from Johnny Cash-esque confessionals like What Good Am I? to the pumped up numbers like Don’t Knock, Jones strips back his art to its most exposed, raw sound yet - Sex Bomb this ain’t.
Instead it's something fresh, something challenging and something progressive, and I applaud Jones for doing it.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Oh, and you’d probably like to know there’s some new material coming out from Adam “Owl City” Young, under a new pseudonym, Sky Sailing.
The idea behind the name change is that An Airplane Carried Me To Bed is more acoustic and traditional than Owl City’s more emopop computerised leanings - but fear not.
Young’s vocal without the swathe of effects is still very much as annoying as before, and the music is a mushy and wet as ever.
In fact, you do well to spot daylight between the two projects output - news which will surely either delight or dismay you.
Friday, July 16, 2010
MUSICAL experimentalists Art Of Noise’s retrospective Influence should probably have been pluralised to Influences.
Because since forming in the 1980s the studio-dwelling group have fraternised with synthpop, hip hop, dance, jazz, rock, and seemingly anything else to hand they could sample and put to their home-made beats.
And this 39-track collection of hits, collaborations, fan favourites, movie and TV themes, remixes, B-sides and unreleased material is more than enough to sate the appetite of even the most avid fan.
Standouts for me are Rakim-collaboration Metaforce, Dragnet and The Holy Egoism Of Genius.
But with this many sonic landscapes to explore, I’ll be finding plenty more to enjoy each listen I’m sure - Art Of Noise really did make the creation of uncategorisable, eclectic noise into an art.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
CONTEMPORARY classical composer Max Richter's new album Infra is so good it makes me want to do a little dance.
Adapted from his score for a ballet, the album once again sees Richter's sublime slow-burning string and piano work fused to his delicate electronic studio tampering.
With almost a minimal amount of sounds, Richter draws emotion from the listener to create a compelling ebb and flow throughout the album..
Infra is simply mesmerising, an eerie, atmospheric sound as timeless as it is futuristic.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
WYMESWOLD'S The Wave Pictures have carried out a Q&A ahead of their appearance at this year's Summer Sundae festival in Leicester -
Q) Summer Sundae Weekender kicks off in August. What’s your favourite thing about summer festivals?
A) Getting to see loads of your favourite bands for freeeee!
Q) What can we expect from your show?
A) Lots of sweat, a little bit of dancing and at least one check shirt.
Q) Summer Sundae is renowned for showcasing emerging talent. Which new band are you most looking forward to catching?
A) Looking forward to seeing Fool's Gold. I've heard a lot of good things about them...
Q) The festival has also been graced by legends like Patti Smith, Billy Bragg and Chrissie Hynde. What’s your fondest festival memory?
A) We had such a splendid time at the first ever End of the Road festival in Dorset. Watching Josh Ritter cast the field into total silence was incredible.
Q) The festival turns 10 this year, how did you celebrate your 10th birthday?
A) I probably had some friends round to eat cake and watch a crap video.
LIKE compatriots Turzi (see yesterday) French act Emilie Simon knows her way around a computer - and sometimes even inside of one.
Live Emilie has an experimental side - playing with a gadget known as "the arm" which locks onto her limb allowing her to tinker with her sounds.
However the established singer-songwriter’s fourth album The Big Machine - inspired by her time living in New York - sees her aiming at the mainstream, embracing the poppier elements of her electronic sound and singing in English.
And the results of her latest studio jaunt sees the talents which have seen obvious comparisons made with the vocal gymnastics of Kate Bush and the musical ambition of Tori Amos tempered by the limitations of Little Boots-style cheery electropop backing.
As a result long-time listeners may be a little turned off, but nevertheless there’s enough to like on The Big Machine in tracks such as The Way I See You and Rainbow to see her gather enough new fans to replace them.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
FRENCH band, Scottish vocalist, American subject matter, English influences - if Turzi can recreate this form across an album he'll have the world at his feet.
Gallic knob-twiddler Roman Turzi and friend's Baltimore EP - inspired by rioting in the city in 1968 following the assassination of Martin Luther King - features the vocals of Bobby Gillespie and a sound which fuses acid house beats and a Manchesteresque swagger.
The track, which has a definite touch of the Swastika Eyes about it, then gets a generous helping of hit-and-miss remix for the rest of the EP, the highlight being the dark Lynch Mob Assault On Baltimore reworking.
I advise you buy, beg, borrow or loot yourself a copy from Monday.
Monday, July 12, 2010
THEIR first release A Lesson In Crime, although undeniably brilliant, could be seen as naive, approaching the EP with so much gusto that tracks were saturated with ideas, over before they begun, and the whole effort finished in a quarter of an hour.
Tokyo Police Club’s second, the LP Elephant Shell, took on these flaws with the Canadians taking a little more time - but you could hear they were still growing.
And now the triumphant Champ is their most measured, mature effort to date.
Insidiously catchy, full of high-pitched guitar licks and chunky drumbeats, it’ll be a crime if Tokyo Police Club tracks like Not Sick and Bambi don’t get the recognition they deserve.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
VETERAN band The Innocence Mission release their latest LP My Room In The Trees tomorrow.
And Eight albums in, the American act have grown from a dream pop sapling into a blossoming band, perfecting their gorgeous, rich sound.
However with folky guitars swathed in sweeping strings, My Room In The Trees is so perfect, for better or worse it passes so seamlessly it barely registers with the listener, like a breeze though leaves.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
The Scottish musician crafts forceful rock pop songs laced with subtle hooks and brimming with character.
But rather like Mr Fogg's alt-pop Moving Parts earlier this year and Album of the Year Stateless from 2008, these are then pumped full of atmospheric production, electro beats and other studio jiggery-pokery.
A few listens to Oxytocin, and Kid Adrift will be part of your musical furniture.
Friday, July 09, 2010
BOMBAY Bicycle Club's new album Flaws is an acoustic effort which was recorded in tandem with their debut I Had The Blues But Shook Them Loose.
But despite the self-depreciating name, Flaws can have very few criticisms made of it.
Even more impressive than their indie rock introduction, the band show a real emotive side to their subtle sound when stripped-back, which should be appealing to fans of Mumford And Sons and Laura Marling.
In a way, it'll be a shame if they plug back in - it's like comparing the joys of a countryside cycle with motorbike commute.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
NOONDAY Underground's cut-and-paste sound is a cut above - although it'll likely go over the heads of most.
The pseudonym of Paul Weller-collaborating Simon Dine, Noonday Underground takes an Avalanches-style approach to making music.
Instead of crafting "proper songs", The K-O Chorale is a collage of samples from odd musical backwaters - Disney soundtracks, church choirs, surf rock bands, operas etc. - that doesn't really do what most albums do.
Instead the result is a slightly bonkers woozy mish-mash that floats around leaving smiles in its wake.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
I'M A massive fan of Reef - the band are even a proud owner of a Classic Collection LP in the form of Replenish - so it's hard for me not to compare Yard to their body of work.
StringerBessant, a duo of distinctive Reef vocalist Gary Stringer and Reef bassist Jack Bessant, is undoubtedly a different beast - but also undoubtedly a lesser beast at present.
Because the almost entirely acoustic act come across as a bit wet and wussy for nearly all of the album.
Things only pick up around track 10 onwards, songs like Lord Please Come, Make It and Song Worth Singing, tracks tellingly are the ones which finally hark back to their more exuberant predecessor.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
BRIGHTON beatmaker Amongst The Pigeon's Repeat To Fade EP is worth playing over again.
A more sturdy, flowing collection than his eclectic LP Music To Brush Your Teeth To, the six-track release starts slow with ambient Mocha To Go and then progresses nicely throughout.
A little of the comical quirkiness of previous Amongst The Pigeons has been lost, and any song about a waltz such as Michael Jackson's Last Waltz should surely be three beats-per-minute, harrumph.
But nevertheless with tracks like the moody The Darker Side Of... and skankin' The Kids Of Today this excellent collection should be racing into your collection.
Monday, July 05, 2010
ELECTRONIC gods Royksopp have a grown up new album Senior out this, the follow-up to the rather juvenile Junior.
And to celebrate this fact a free track, Hus No 9, is being handed out.
The band said: "Between two pages, in a dusty old book we found this little number.
"It’s called Hus Nr. 9, and is currently haunting the halls of the RYXP mansion."
Click here to enjoy.
WILL Holland's Quantic's Flowering Inferno's Dog On A Rope LP is so summery you'd be advised to slap on some factor 50 before pressing play.
The thrust of the album has a Caribbean and South American flavour, led by an orchestra of horns, accordians and more.
However this is kept contemporary by globe-trotting genius Holland's dub and hip hop production, which, although more trad than previous outing Death Of The Revolution, prevents proceedings from ever becoming twee.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
YOU'LL be shocked at the quality of I Got Electrocuted, the first release from relative-unknown DJ Teej.
An EP of five charged tracks, the newcomer - who has yet to play live - shows plenty enough promise to mark up as 'one to watch'.
Rocky opener I Got Electrocuted, written after Teej was hospitalised after being electrocuted by his equipment, is a raw, powerful affair, then Plural takes things further by touching on post-rock.
Heart Timing is a more modest, droning affair, while Speed Sound Ashes and Flying Deep move onto dancier territory.
Overall, I Got Electrocuted is worth charging you account for.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
THE excellently-named Canadian synth-punk Randy Twigg is Redone from Monday with a series of remixes of her Undone LP.
The knob-twiddling here does have a pretty full-on, low-rent feel - but after listening to the loud and lairy originals you wouldn't be expecting anything subtle.
Luckily the likes of Mt Sims, Syntronics, Kid 606 et al offer plenty of variety - with the likes of house, jungle, dubstep, techno and more piled onto the shouty Twigg sound.
In fact, Redone does it more than the original LP for me.
Friday, July 02, 2010
WINDMILL'S EP sees the problems with the woozy sound of the one-man band's album Epcot Starfield both improved on and compounded.
Matthew Dillon's infuriating vocals, which sound like a drunken Arcade Fire doing an impression of Owl City, remain on the title track, one of the livelier cuts from the aforementioned LP.
Then it's onto the remixes - with the Pocket Remix and Gentleman's Losers Remix of Big Boom improving on Windmill's at-times plodding sound, while the Saroos Remix of Imax Raceway provides an even more nebulous take on the sound, making it almost impossible to get a grip on.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
TODAY is halfway through 2010 - my hasn't time flown - so I thought the time was right for a recap.
Because theoretically around half of my Albums Of The Year 2010 should have been released by now.
But however much as I'd like to be some sort of omniscient music resource, I'll wager a lot of damn good albums have already passed me by this year.
So here's my plea - if I seem to have missed any releases you really think I should have covered by now, drop me a comment below or visit the Sound Off forum and let me know your favourites so far.
For your reference, here is a list of my five-out-of-five-rated releases, minus EPs and compilations, from January through to the end of June -
● Autechre - Oversteps
● Bass Clef - May The Bridges I Burn Light The Way
● Bonobo - Black Sands
● Blockhead - The Music Scene
● Castrovalva - We Are A Unit
● Chemical Brothers - Further
● Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - The Logic Of Chance
● Dead Weather - Sea Of Cowards
● Deftones - Diamond Eyes
● Foals - Total Life Forever
● Four Tet - There Is Love In You
● Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma
● Gonjasufi - A Sufi And A Killer
● Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
● Hesta Prynn - Can We Go Wrong
● Jaga Jazzist - One-Armed Bandit
● Jonsi - Go
● Kvelertak - Kvelertak
● Massive Attack - Heligoland
● Owen Pallett - Heartland
● Polar Bear - Peepers
● Six Gallery - Breakthroughs In Modern Art
● Sleepy Sun - Fever
● These Monsters - Call Me Dragon
● Tobacco - Maniac Meat
● Trentemoller - The Great Wide Yonder
● Valgeir Sigurdsson - Draumalandid
● Whitefield Brothers - Earthology