Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Video of the Day: 'I'm Aquarius' by Metronomy

The first single from the next Metronomy album has been around for a while, but now it's got a great video from The Creators Project to go with it. Basivally, it's a bit like 2001: A Space Odyssey, but with massive alien cats and beautiful women in it as well. What's not to like?

Monday, 30 December 2013

Track / Download of the Day: Darkside live in Paris

Recorded live on Halloween 2013, this is nearly an hour of Darkside that really shows off the best parts of their recent album 'Psychic'. Demonstrating how their music evolves when they play it live, it's the perfect way to sample their sound, especially as you can grab the whole thing for free. Check it out below.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Track of the Day: 'III' - Smooth Operator (Star Slinger edit) by Sade

Perfectly timed for your Christmas or New Year's Eve party, Star Slinger's refix of the classic Sade track presses all the right buttons. He's working trough a series of these and giving them away for free in the run up to the birth of 2014 - he's also done Erykah Badu (which I didn't think was as good) and Anita Baker's 'Sweet Love' (which is great). Have a listen to all three of them below.

New band of the day: Vancouver Sleep Clinic

Despite what their name might suggest, this is a young band from Brisbane, Australia. Mostly the work of the 17-year old Tim Bettinson, so far they've released just two hauntingly beautiful tracks, but that's enough to make me think that they've got a bright future ahead of them. The first track, 'Vapour', came out at the end of July, and shows that it's possible to make gorgeous music even if you've only got a crappy laptop, a couple of battered microphones and a free trial version of Pro-Tools to work with.

The second, 'Collapse', emerged at the start of the year, and develops their sound to become even more intense and touching. I know what you're thinking and yes, he does sound quite a lot like Justin Vernon, but that doesn't stop these being brilliant tracks.

I'll be watching these guys carefully in 2014 as I think, and hope, that they'll be releasing some more stunning music.

PS Thanks to Ben Watt for introducing me to this band via his last 6mix broadcast on BBC 6music.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Video of the Day: 'Once In Royal David's City' by Marijuana Deathsquads

There's not much I can say about this really, other than it's probably the most disconcerting thing you'll see over Christmas. Not for those of a nervous disposition. Enjoy!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

New mixtape: 2013 - The Memory Mix

Lovingly compiled over the past few weeks, this is a summation of my musical year. I've collected a host of tracks that represent my favourite singles and albums, bands I saw live, stuff I bought on Record Store Day and things that have made an impression on me in 2013. In terms of structure, there's no order other than the order in which I thought they sounded best! Of course, it's not just thrown together, so it's no coincidence that Arcade Fire (with David Bowie on backing vocals & produced by James Murphy) follows Murphy's remix of Bowie's track. Or that the Serafina Steer track (produced by Jarvis Cocker) comes after Pulp's 'After You'. You can listen via Mixcloud below or (if you promise not to tell anyone) scroll down to the bottom of the page to download the whole mix for free.

I hope you enjoy listening to this and that it brings back some good memories of 2013. Play it while you're wrapping your presents, or cooking the turkey, and you'll soon be bouncing round the room. Right, let's bring on 2014!

  1. These New Puritans - This Guys In Love With You
  2. The Society - 14 Hours
  3. Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know?
  4. The Child of Lov - Give Me
  5. Lorde - Royals
  6. Steve Mason - Fight Them Back
  7. Kanye West - Black Skinhead
  8. Paul White - Watch The Ants
  9. David Bowie - Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy)
  10. Arcade Fire - Reflektor
  11. Daniel Avery - Drone Logic
  12. Koreless - Sun
  13. Gold Panda - If U Knew (Reprise Long Live Take)
  14. William Onyeabor - Good Name (Joakim Remix)
  15. Pulp - After You (Soulwax Remix)
  16. Serafina Steer - Disco Compilation
  17. Pet Shop Boys - Vocal
  18. Jon Hopkins - Open Eye Signal
  19. Holden - Gone Feral
  20. Major Lazer - Jah No Partial
  21. Public Service Broadcasting - Signal 30
  22. Drenge - Bloodsports
  23. Queens of the Stone Age - My God is the Sun
  24. Beak> - Mono
  25. Seams - Rilo
  26. Sinkane - Jeeper Creeper (Benjamin Damage Remix)
  27. Moon Duo - Trails (White Rainbow Remix)
  28. Bon Iver - Hinnom, TX (Unders Remix)
  29. Villagers - The Waves
  30. Ghostpoet - Meltdown (Squarepusher Remix)
  31. Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - You Will See Me
  32. Mount Kimbie - You Took Your Time (Oneman Remix feat. Jeremiah Jae)
  33. British Sea Power - Machineries of Joy
  34. Teleman - Cristina
  35. Vondelpark - California Analog Dream
  36. The National - I Need My Girl
  37. Thundercat - Heartbreaks + Setbacks
  38. Oddisee - Own Appeal
  39. Primal Scream - River of Pain
  40. London Grammar - Strong
  41. Daughter - Get Lucky
  42. Indians - Somewhere Else
  43. Haiku Salut - Los Elefantes 
  44. Lapalux - Without You (feat. Kerry Leatham)
  45. Adam Stafford - Please
  46. Blaenavon - Denim Patches
  47. Dean Blunt - Papi
  48. Son Lux - Easy
  49. James Blake - Retrograde
  50. Apparat - K&F Thema
To download the whole mix right click HERE.

New music: 'Know EP' by Love Cult

This new EP from the Russian duo sees them developing and refining their sound, moving away from spacious drones towards a more beat focussed sound. Whilst opener 'Mise En Abyme' comes on like a synth-gothic horror story, second track 'My Boy' is a much sparser garage affair, topped off with swirling, ethereal vocals. Have a listen to that one here:

'Lust Undone' is a rattling, machine-gunning repetitive groove which sounds like the machines have taken over and have started a revolution. It gives way to closer 'It's True', which is probably the most commercial track on the release. Deep, throbbing bass is counterpointed by spoken, distressed vocals and random bursts of firepower.

The Know EP will be released on vinyl on 13th January 2014 by Night School Records, limited to 300 copies.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Albums of the Year 2013

I reckon it's been a pretty vintage year for music, which has made the task of compiling this list even harder than usual. But there comes a time when you have to stop prevaricating and just crack on with it, so below you'll find my top 10 albums of the year, plus a bonus selection of records that all nearly made the cut.

1. Apparat - Krieg und Frieden (Music for Theatre)
Originally written for a German theatre production of 'War and Peace', the music evolved so much that Sascha Ring (Apparat) decided that it deserved a life of its own. Amazingly intense and powerful, but shot through with moments of fragility, it conjures up fantastically bleak images in your mind. Click here for the full review.

2. Daniel Avery - Drone Logic
A brilliant set of electronic dance music from Daniel Avery. It's clear that his time as a DJ has influenced the way he put the album together, but unlike certain 'superstar DJs' Avery is a real musician who understands the need for melody and variation in amongst the bass-driven floor fillers, The heir apparent to Andrew Weatherall, who described Avery's music as 'gimmick-free machine-funk of the highest order'.

3. Kanye West - Yeezus
The polar opposite of its brilliantly grandiose predecessor 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy', Yeezus is short, concise, and brutally to the point (an approach that even extended to the artwork). With tracks like 'Black Skinhead' and 'New Slaves' the honest, insistent and controversial lyrics more than match the power of the music, and once again he proves he's ahead of the game by bringing in the likes of Evian Christ & Hudson Mohawke to produce tracks, as well as enrolling Daft Punk just at the point of their interstellar comeback.

4. These New Puritans - Field of Reeds
About as far removed from pop music as you can get, this is an album that deserves complete concentration and uninterrupted listening from start to finish. It's rare to hear a record that's so perfectly realised, where everything is exactly how it should be. Overall there's a sense of space to this record - it's hard to describe but you can just feel the space in the music, you can sense the absence of things where other artists would've layered sounds up.

5. Pet Shop Boys - Electric
A joyous return to form, their best album since 'Introspective', and the album that soundtracked my summer holiday. Managing to reference the classic PSB sound and yet still sounding contemporary (but not in a try-hard sort of way), their National Treasure status is only enhanced by tracks like 'Thursday' and 'Love is a Bourgeois Construct'. If they never make another album then 'Vocal', the last track on here, will be the perfect way to bow out.

6. The National - Trouble Will Find Me
I confess, on first listen I thought this was all a bit 'samey', but repeated listens have revealed it to be possibly the most complete album The National have yet released. The fire has returned to Matt Berninger's lyrics, while the Dessner brothers' work with other artists has brought fresh nuances to the music.Tracks like 'Graceless' have already become live classics, and this records shows that the band seems to have found the perfect balance of writing intimate songs that can satisfy packed festivals and stadia around the world.

7. Drenge - Drenge
My favourite new band of the year (long before Tom Watson MP jumped on the bandwagon), the two loveless brothers make music full of the energy and vibrancy of youth. Like The White Stripes if they really were siblings and Meg was a decent drummer, they show that, despite everything Seasick Steve's done to prove otherwise, there's a future for blues-influenced rock. And in case you're wondering, 'Drenge' (pronounced with a hard 'g' sound) is Danish for 'boys'. Click here for the full review.

8. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
There was a lot of hype around this album, but that does't stop it being great. The things that stands out for me most of all is the quality of musicianship - you can hear that, once they had decided they wanted real instruments to be a part of this, they weren't going to settle for anything but the best. Single-handedly resurrecting the careers of both Giorgio Moroder & Nile Rodgers, this is the album that actually made me like (at least some) 70s disco. Click here for my 'Doin' It Right / Sexual Healing' mash-up.

9. Cloud - Comfort Songs
Walking a tightrope between optimism and despair, this is a record that simultaneously made me feel old and full of 14-year old teen angst, a record that you just want to put your arms around and hug and tell it everything's going to be alright. Click here for my full review, and read my interview with Tyler (Cloud) here.

10. Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
Proving that you don't have to be as young as Drenge to make a great rock record, '...Like Clockwork' is a classy, mature record showing that Joshua Homme has definitely got his mojo back. Full of highlights, from Dave Grohl's drumming to Elton John's brilliantly unexpected appearance on 'Fairweather Friend', the whole thing was topped of with artwork by young UK artist Boneface, who was flown out to make the art in the studio at the same time as the music.

Compilation Album of the Year - Cosmic Machine: A Voyage Across French Cosmic & Electronic Avantgarde (1970-1980)
Expertly researched and compiled, with sleeve notes from Jean Michel Jarre and Gaspard Auge from Justice and artwork by Philippe Druillet, this is everything you could want from a compilation album and more.

Also-rans and nearly-theres; on a different day any of these other albums might have made the cut:

  • Steve Mason - Monkey Minds in the Devil's Time
  • Jon Hopkins - Immunity
  • Dean Blunt - The Redeemer
  • Jagwar Ma - Howlin
  • Rudimental - Home
  • Public Service Broadcasting - Inform - Educate - Entertain
  • Seams - Quarters
  • Mogwai - Les Revenants
  • Villagers - {Awayland}
  • Nils Frahm - Spaces
  • Volcano Choir - Repave
  • Tim Hecker - Virgins
  • The Haxan Cloak - Excavation
  • Arctic Monkeys - AM
See - I told you it'd been a good year. Here's to an equally musical 2014!

Friday, 13 December 2013

New podcast - Austerity Audio vol. 13

It's Friday 13th, and it's my 13th (and last) Austerity Audio podcast for 2013 - it just had to have 13 tracks on it.

You know the score by now - all of these tracks have been legally downloaded for free from the internet in the past few weeks, and bundled together for you to download in one go above (just right-click and 'save as' on the picture above). There's a wide range of genres and artists included (the tracklist is below) so there should be something for everyone's tastes. All I ask is that if you find something you really like then you spend a few pence to buy one or two of their tracks.

Austerity Audio will be back in 2014, but in the meantime I hope you have a happy festive period - see you all next year!
  1. Barbados - In Your Eyes
  2. Serengeti - Sprung (w/Doseone)
  3. Pontiak - Innocence
  4. Milagres - The Letterbomb
  5. Chrome Sparks - Lookin' At Me
  6. William Onyeabor - Something You'll Never Forget (Policy remix)
  7. Orchestra of Spheres - 2000000 Years
  8. Friends - The Way (Blood Orange mix)
  9. Dudley Perkins - Hearing Test (feat. Percee P)
  10. Grizzly Bear - Will Calls (Diplo remix)
  11. Nils Frahm - You (Teen Daze remix)
  12. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - The Mercy Seat (live from KCRW)
  13. Savaging Spires - We Could Be Dead Together

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Losing My Edge with DJ Cull & friends - the radio show

A few weeks ago I did my first proper radio broadcast on Show Full of Bombs radio. I was ably assisted by Lee Maher (from the band Weird Gear), and between us we bounced a load of tracks of each other, hopefully for the entertainment and education of anyone listening. Although we had a few technical problems it was great fun to do, so here's the podcast for you to listen to, with the tracklisting below.

  1. LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge
  2. Charlotte Gainsbourg - Trick Pony (Boyz Noize mix)
  3. William Onyeabor - Good Name (Joakim remix)
  4. Daniel Avery - Drone Logic
  5. Grizzly Bear - Will Calls (Diplo remix)
  6. Moodoid - Je Suis La Montagne
  7. Rotifer - Black Bag
  8. Fidlar - Wake Bake Skate
  9. Cloud - Boy Sees Mirror
  10. The Superman Revenge Squad Band - A Funny Thing You Said
  11. Klaus Johan Grobe - Koordinaten
  12. Trentemøller - Gravity (feat. Jana Hunter)
  13. Swim Deep - Honey
  14. Gold Panda - If U Knew (Reprise Long Live Take)
  15. Death Grips - Get Got
  16. Marijuana Deathsquads - Top Down
  17. Dizzee Rascal - I Don't Need A Reason
  18. Oddisee - Own Appeal
  19. Yelle - Ce Jeau
  20. John Grant & Villagers - My Love My Life
  21. David Bowie - Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich mix by James Murphy)

Sunday, 8 December 2013

New music: 'Tears of a Savage' by Dirty Freud

There's a great woozy quality to this track, not just in the gently slipping keyboard refrain but also in the sampled vocals. Beneath this the bass and drums are crisp and tight and the whole thing combines to create an atmospheric, early hours of the morning track.

Dirty Freud is a DJ and producer from the UK who's toured with DJ Yoda and remixed Everything Everything amongst others. Have a listen to the track below.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Independent Label Market - London, 30/12/13

The Independent Label Market started a couple of years ago in response to Record Store Day, as a chance for labels to gather together and sell their own wares direct to their customers - a bit like a hipsters' farmers market but without the mud and faint whiff of cow shit. It's now settled in at Spitalfields Old Market in London where twice a year you can find enthusiastic label bosses old and young emerging from dank offices and dark venues to engage with enthusiastic punters.

On balance I think I probably preferred this to Record Store Day this year - you don't have to get up ridiculously early, it's less busy, there's not as many pointless re-issues to buy, and it's great to get a chance to talk to the label owners and even some of the acts themselves. This year it had the added bonus of a brewers market as well, so you could sample the brews of various London breweries as you wandered round - I had a nice Christmassy ale from the Windsor & Eton Brewery to quench my thirst.

So who did I visit and what did I buy? Here's are the highlights:

  • First stop was Stolen Records where I bought the new East India Youth 10" from the man himself
  • Then round to Modular for Erol Alkan's Rework of Tame Impala's 'Be Above It'
  • To Bella Union for the 'Peace Sword' EP by The Flaming Lips
  • A chat with Darren Hayman before handing him a fiver for his 'Blue House' EP
  • A brilliant sales job by the guy on the Because / Phantasy stall, who talked me into buying 'Cosmic Machine - A voyage across French cosmic & electronic avantgarde (1970-1980)', which meant that I got a free copy of the handprinted new Metronomy 12"
  • 3 cds for £20 from Late Night Tales, including the new Bonobo mix and Late Night Tales At The Movies, which is the first cd for a long time that Mrs Cull has asked me to turn up rather than down. These came with a free mix cd of most of the cover versions that have appeared on the Late Night Tales cds.
So overall it was a great trip - put it in your diaries for next year!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Track of the Day: 'The Way (Blood Orange mix)' by Friends

I know this appeared on the internet a few days ago but I thought it was the perfect way for you all to ease your way into the weekend (and recover from all your Black Friday expenditure). I know it's billed as a remix but to me this sounds much more like a duet between Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) and Samantha Urbani (lead singer of Friends). You'll know from this blog that I've always been a fan of Friends, although for me their debut album didn't live up to their early promise and their live show. However, this track hints at a promising new direction for them, so maybe they could get Dev in to produce the album for them, assuming it doesn't compromise their relationship (if you didn't know, Hynes and Urbani are an item).

This sultry, steaming slice of aural sex reminds me sooo much of Prince & Sheena Easton it's untrue, but to me that just adds to its charm, as does the fact that it's available as a free download. Grab it below and then go get it on with someone.

Remix of the Day: 'Join The Dots (Leo Zero remix)' by Toy

'Join The Dots', the new album by Toy, will be out in just over a week's time, and while that will make it to late to feature on any of those 'albums of 2013' lists I'm sure it would've been a contender for anyone who likes their music laced with a high quantity of Krautrock and psychedelia. Ahead of that album you can listen to this 13 minute remix of the title track in all its glory. It keeps that driving motorik sound while heading for a more contemporary vibe, and for some reason has just made me wonder what a Micheal Rother album produced by James Murphy would sound like (if you know either of those two can you please put them in touch with each other?).

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Live review: In words, pictures & video - Har Mar Superstar & Lizzo at The Scala, London 26/11/12

On Tuesday a tour that has seen Har Mar Superstar and Lizzo traversing the US and Europe reached its climax in London. And from the moment that Lizzo took to the stage it was clear that she's destined for massive things.

It's not often I get to use the word sassy, but this girl's got more sass than you can twerk your ass at. Striking up an instant rapport with the audience (not always easy with a start-of-the-week London crowd) she pretty soon had us eating out of her hands. From dedicating a song to 'the next person to buy me a whisky shot' (which dutifully arrived halfway through the track) to discussing whether her 'Fuck Nice' t-shirt would go down well in London (a voice from the crowd suggested it should say 'fuck nicely' instead) she kept the energy and entertainment level at 10. London welcomed her to its ample bosom, and I'm sure that when she returns it'll be for a headlining tour of her own. Until then here's some footage of her current single 'Batches & Cookies'.

15 minutes after finishing her own set, Lizzo was back on the stage singing with Har Mar Superstar. This unlikely sex symbol and soul singing superstar sure knows how to put on a show. Imbued with the spirit of both James Brown and Ron Jeremy he proceeded to sing and dance his way though a career spanning set, and the addition of Lizzo to his live set up seems to have injected even more energy to his performances.

Clothes were changed (but mostly removed), women were snogged, asses were smacked and I, along with others right down the front, was showered with his sweat on more than one occasion. His cover of Gilbert O'Sullivan's 'Alone Again (Naturally)' saw Har Mar walk out through the audience to the back of the Scala and perform sitting astride the barrier (a picture of this was later tweeted by The Libertines' Carl Barat who was in the audience, as was Al Doyle from Hot Chip). After a full set and an encore (which ended with a storming version of 'Late Night Morning Light') he returned for amongst the packing-up roadies for a note-perfect acapella performance which showed just what an astounding voice he's got.

It's fair to say that, with his songwriting and singing skills, a less beauty-obsessed world could and would have made a real superstar by now, but I'm kinda glad he isn't. Instead he's our indie-soul legend, who makes the worled a more fun place to be. Next time he comes back to these shores I expect you all to be down the front with me.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Remix of the Day: 'Will Calls' (Diplo Remix)' by Grizzly Bear

If you're of the sort of indie persuasion that a lot of Grizzly Bear fans are then Diplo might not be the first person on your list to go to for a remix. But put your preconceptions to one side, take off your check shirt and put on your dancing shoes, because the dance supremo has crafted a masterful mix for the newly expanded edition of 'Shields'. It's full of space and texture, giving the vocals a lot of room while still featuring some of Diplo's trademark sounds. You can listen and download the track for free below, and get the new edition of the album here.

New music: 100 copies of 'The White Album' by The Beatles, all playing at once

A while ago artist Rutherford Chang started a project to purchase as many original vinyl copies of The White Album as he could. The project (called We Buy White Albums) is a labour of love which in particular explores how the minimalist artwork by Richard Hamilton for the record's sleeve has been affected by the vagaries of time. Each sleeve has been treated differently, carefully looked after or wilfully manhandled, and the vinyl inside has also suffered the same fate.

Chang has now recorded 100 of the albums playing and put them together to see what they sound like. The result is a woozy, trippy affair that starts in synch but gradually goes out of kilter as the various pressing and record players reveal their own idiosyncrasies. Have a listen below and see what you think - make sure you stay until the end as it gets weirder as it goes along.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Remix of the Day: 'Be Above It (Erol Alkan Rework)' by Tame Impala

This is all kinds of awesome. Repetitve, persistent, whispered vocals collide with acid keyboards to produce a track that is a guaranteed dancefloor filler. The track will be released as a limited one-sided 12" and a digital download next month and is definitely one of the best remixes I've heard all year (although James Murphy's David Bowie remix still tops the list for me!).

Track of the Day: 'Salt Carousel' by Evian Christ

It's always a treat to hear something new from Evian Christ, especially when it's as good as this. Taken from his next EP 'Waterfall', which is out early next year on Tri Angle Records, this is a crunchingly powerful set of beats and bass guaranteed to rock the 'phones off your head.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Video of the Day: 'Phantom Rider' by Daughn Gibson

The new single from Daughn Gibson's album 'Me Moan' is probably the stand-out track from the record. and it's got a stand-out video to match. There's no-one in the video but Daughn himself, and as he stands singing the song a skull is projected onto his face and occasionally a skeleton onto his body.

It's a simple idea, done brilliantly, that lives you feeling just a little bit uneasy. Apart from releasing it at Halloween they couldn't have done anything better.

New podcast - Austerity Audio vol. 12

Yes, it's back again, the latest in my series of free, downloadable podcasts featuring the best new music from the dark corners of the internet.

This week's podcast is bookended by a couple of hip-hop tracks, and having just listened back to it, it feels like quite a downbeat affair. There's the usual mix of genres, plus this week you get a couple of cover versions of songs written by two musical giants (one of which is sadly no longer with us). You know the rules by now - I find great free tracks (that you can legally download), package them up in a handy podcast for you, and in return all of you have to do is spend a few pence buying a track from any of the artists that you really like. They get paid, you get good music, and the world feels like a better place. Just right-click on the image above to download the podcast, or left-click to listen. Drop me a line with any questions about any of the acts, or to point me in the direction of any good new music that you've found. Here's the tracklisting:

  1. L'Orange & Stik Figa - Before Midnight (feat. Rapsody & Castle (Billie Holiday Remix))
  2. Pinkunoizu - Perish In Hilton
  3. Cloud - Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye (Leonard Cohen cover)
  4. Whitey - Waves Of Fear (Lou Reed cover)
  5. Mogwai - Remurdered
  6. Cut Copy - Free Your Mind (Spiritualized Remix)
  7. Acquaintance - Aerial
  8. The Riddles - Birds Don't Fly Above Me (feat. Amy Spencer)
  9. Mount Kimbie - You Took Your Time (Oneman Remix feat. Jeremiah Jae)
  10. P.O.S - Get Down feat. Mike Mictlan & Greg Grease (Marijuana Deathsquads Remix)

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Recommended music: 'The Cavalry Never Showed Up' by Rotifer

This album came to my notice via the Rough Trade Tracks of the Week service (details here), who included the brilliantly titled 'I Couldn't Eat As Much (As I'd Like To Throw Up)' a couple of weeks ago.That track opens the album, and also contains the line that the record is named after. It turns out the track is equally as good as its title (liberated from the German Jewish expressionist painter Max Liebermann), and it's also got a damn fine video which you can see below.

From there we're into a set of dongs full of charm and wit, with lyrics that aren't afraid to throw in some social commentary and caustic asides on the state of our nation. If you're looking for comparisons then there's more than a passing resemblance to Luke Haines & The Auteurs, both musically and lyrically, and at times there are hints of Edwyn Collins (whose label released Rotifer's last album).

This is the sort of intelligent, informed album that can trace its lineage from the aforementioned Auteurs, through bands like Hefner to modern-day proponents of this type of music (alt-indie?) like Benjamin Shaw, Ben Parker and Withered Hand (there's a musical connection there as well, with Darren Hayman from Hefner having played with both Rotifer and Withered Hand in the past). It's great to see that in an X-Factor age there are still people wanting to make records like this, records that reward repeated listening with a deeper understanding of both their subject matter and their writer.

My personal favourite track on the album is 'Black Bag', a song that starts with a melancholic piano and follows with lyrics about clearing out the wealth of personal effects you've accumulated during your life after you've died. As the guitars kick in the words talk of judging a person by what they've left behind, with an extremely catchy chorus of 'Put it in the black bag'. It's not all dour doom and gloom on the record though, as the jaunty 'Ms Pedantovic Resigns' tell the story of a woman at The Daily Express whose job it is to count the words in articles, and even that ends in computers with wordcount features forcing her to lose her job she does at least get a bottle of wine when she leaves.

The closing song 'So Silly Now' is another cracker, an acoustic lament about the obsession for the past that haunts pop culture, and which features the great line 'I guess that Neil Young could be your Spencer Tracy / I suppose Joni Mitchell could be my Doris Day in these darkest of days'.

Overall this album is a victory for quality, a beacon of songwriting light for a dark and confused world. Have a listen and buy it below.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

New music: 'Healin' It Right (DJ Cull Remix)' by Marvin Gaye vs Daft Punk

This one's for the lovers...

'Doin' It Right' has been a regular earworm in my head since the Daft Punk album came out. Then recently I heard Marvin Gaye on the radio and the pace and rhythm of the track made realise that the two tracks were pretty similar, so hear you.

Like my facebook page & drop me a message if you want the download.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

New music: 'Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye' (Leonard Cohen cover) by Cloud

A nice little freebie for your Saturday morning, courtesy of Tyler Taormina (Cloud), the creator of one of my favourite albums of the year (see my review of 'Comfort Songs' here). It's a great version of one of Cohen's best-known tracks, with Tyler managing to inject some brittle emotion into the track - he really does sound like he's been badly wronged by someone.

You can listen to the track or download it below.

Friday, 1 November 2013

New music: 'Remurdered' by Mogwai

If you watched 'Les Revenants' ('The Returned'), the French TV show that Mogwai soundtracked, then you might think that the title of this track could be a clue as to what happens to the dead who return to the sleepy French village by the lake. Is it possible to kill someone more than once? Would they be doubly pissed off with you? These are the sort of questions that Mogwai probably completely ignored when naming their new track, the first to be released from forthcoming abum 'Rave Tapes'. Whatever it's called, it's an understated but powerful track, driven along by a great electronic riff which continues the subtle evolution of their sound. I love the artwork and their new band logo too. You can listen to the track below, or grab it for free by inserting your particulars in the requisite slot.

Friday, 25 October 2013

New podcast - Austerity Audio vol. 11

It's a bit overdue, but here's the latest instalment of my Austerity Audio podcast series.

To make up for the delay I've thrown in a couple of extra tracks, so this week you get 12 slices of gres new music, each one legally extracted for free from the internet over the past few weeks. Ti listen just click on the image above, or right click to download to your home gramophone. In return for this lovely free music all I ask is that if you like any of the artists you spend some of your next spare cash on a track or two of theirs. Here's the tracklisting:

  1. Daedelus - Tiptoes (Perksun Remix)
  2. Gold Panda - Brazil (Slow Magic Remix)
  3. Rani Dar - Dry Chords
  4. Blaenavon - Wunderkind (Antlers Remix)
  5. Nils Frahm - For (Max Cooper Remix)
  6. The Crystal Ark - Rain (XXXTended version)
  7. Gang Colours - Why Didn't You Call (Dave Aju Remix)
  8. The Runner - Inside Stanley's Brain
  9. Rival Consoles - Voyager
  10. Samantha Crain - Paint
  11. Kane Strang - Winded
  12. Bitches - Not Old

Saturday, 19 October 2013

New music: 'Doctorin' The Skinhead (DJ Cull Remix)' by Kanye West vs The KLF

I know, some people are gonna hate this. I kind of hate myself for doing it. I'm a huge fan of Yeezy but the first time I heard 'Black Skinhead' I couldn't help thinking of 'Doctorin' The Tardis by The KLF (disguised as The Timelords). Once it was in my brain I couldn't get get it out. I thought that this might help shift it but I think it's just made it worse. But now at least it's stuck in your brains too, so I'm not on my own in this.

If enough people ask for it (and Kanye doesn't set the lawyers on my) I'll switch the download on.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Video of the Day: 'Paper Trails (RA session)' by Darkside

Recorded live at Resident Advisor's London HQ, this version of the track from the new Darkside album 'Psychic' is twice as long, and all the better for it. It's great to see Nicolas ad Dave in action, constructing and de-constructing the track, making the most of the Chris Isaak-esque vocals before stepping up the beat and matching it with some great guitar playing. It's definitely an after-dark track, one that works on loads of different levels.

Monday, 14 October 2013

New music: 'Meltdown (DJ Cull Remix)' by Ghostpoet vs King Midas Sound

I noticed on the internet the other day that XLR8R were running a Ghostpoet remix competition, where they provided the vocals for a few of his tracks and you could do what you wanted with them. Here's what I came up with:

Being a simple soul, I was intrigued by the opportunity to put the Ghostpoet track together with another of the same name by King Midas Sound. I dug out the 'Kode9 and The Spaceape Rework' of the King Midas Sound track and proceeded to cut it and loop it to make a suitable backing track for Ghostpoet's vocals. I think the result works really well, with the spoken words on the King Midas Sound one echoing the sentiments on the other - what do you reckon?

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Track of the Day: 'For (Max Cooper Remix)' by Nils Frahm

In this great remix by Max Cooper, Frahm's gentle, flowing instrumental is gently turned into a mellow club tune that keeps the essence of Frahm's beautiful music while also showing some of Cooper's character. You can download the track for free below.

Frahm's new album 'Spaces' is out next month on Erased Tapes.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Surprising cover version of the day - Iceage do Sinead O'Connor

For their new 7", Danish punk miserablists Iceage have recorded a couple of cover versions, of which this is the choice cut. Full of swaggering menace, it owes more to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds than Ms. O'Connor, endowing 'Jackie' with a sense of venom and creating a powerful, brooding track. You can pre-order the single here.

Recommended music: 'There Is Nothing More Frightening Than The Passing Of Time' by The Superman Revenge Squad Band

Sometimes you can tell that you're going to like a record just by reading the song titles. This album is a prime example of that - here's the tracklisting:

  1. Lately I've Found Myself Regressing
  2. Kendo Nagasaki
  3. I'm Gonna Go To Bed and When I Wake Up I'm Gonna Be Someone Else
  4. Flavor Flav
  5. Paulie In Rocky Three
  6. A Funny Thing You Said
  7. We're Here For The Duration
  8. The Angriest Dog In The World

Who could fail to like an album with titles like that? I'm pleased to say that the songs themselves more than live up to their billing.  The albums themes - growing old, being a failure, modern life is rubbish but then it probably always was - fit perfectly with Ben Parker's world-weary delivery and the understated musical accompaniment. The lyrics are packed full of wit and a whole range of cultural references, from music "And 'Persistence of Time' by Anthrax means more to me than something like 'Blood On The Tracks'", through film "the scene from Rocky 3 where Paulie smashes up the pinball machine", TV "I clearly remember...Saturday mornings with Jimmy Greaves", and radio "I'm probably never gonna be on Desert Island Discs, but that doesn't necessarily mean that all of this was a waste of time", to the internet "I had to Google myself just to prove that I exist" and pubs "Wetherspoons meals are cheaper when there's two".

Snatches of lyrics and vocals on here remind me of Art Brut, particularly parts of 'I'm Gonna Go To Bed...'. It's the kind of thing that you could imagine John Peel playing if he was still with us, and in fact BBC Radio 6 Music, John's spiritual home, have already played some tracks. It's hard to imagine there being anything that you could do to this record that would make it more perfect than it already is. Anyone who can equate a break-up with Public Enemy performing without Flavor Flav, or R.E.M being stuck with having to play 'Automatic For The People' for the rest of their career, as Parker does in the immaculate 2 minutes and 35 seconds of 'Flavor Flav', should probably be installed on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square and instantly declared a National Treasure. To paraphrase one of Parker's lyrics from that song, I don't think I'd want to fight the power without him by my side.

You can download a free track from the album below.

Friday, 27 September 2013

New podcast - Austerity Audio vol. 10

So we've got to the tenth one of these podcasts - that's over 100 great tracks that I've shared with you since I started this back in May.

To download the podcast for free, just right-click on the picture above and save the file. If you'd rather just listen to it then left-click and you should hear the 10 great tracks listed below. As usual, if you hear something that you like then all I ask is that you spend a few pence buying a track or two from that artists next time you have a some spare change. Here are the details of this week's tracks:

  1. Chrome Sparks - Your Planet
  2. Phoenix - Chloroform (Sleigh Bells Remix)
  3. Oddisee - Own Appeal
  4. Koett - Lost Time (Sau Poler Remix)
  5. Sampha - Without (Bodhi Remix)
  6. Roman Remains - This Stone Is Starting To Bleed
  7. Eaux - New Peaks (Tuff Sherm Remix)
  8. Le Thug - Tenerife
  9. Policy - In A Huff With Tantrums
  10. Fuzz - Loose Sutures

Monday, 23 September 2013

Recomended music: 'Seven Hours' EP by Douglas Dare

Out on Erased Tapes on September 30th, Dare's debut release is a brilliant set of four piano-led tracks. The title track is a bit like James Blake (without the stomach-wobbling bass), while second track 'Scars' would sound at home soundtracking a particularly poignant moment in a film or tv drama. It's purely piano and vocal, with a few looped up backing vocals towards the end, and it's deeply moving. 'Lungful' has some percussion and handclaps to accompany the piano, while closer 'Flames' is another Blake-esque track which builds to a crescendo before dropping away to a solo piano, hauntingly quite - you can hear the piano being played (that sounds a but odd but you know what I mean).

You can listen to the whole EP below, and click here to order it from Erased Tapes.

Track of the Day: 'I'm The Man, That Will Find You' by Connan Mockasin

The lead track from his new album 'Caramel' finds Mockasin in a sexy, seductive mood. Sounding slinkier than Prince singing in satin sheets, this is an astonishingly good track that puts the jazz-funk back into, well,whatever you want really. I love the breakdown after 3 minutes - it's like he's finished the foreplay, has a quick breather and then goes into the full-on loving. Click here to listen to the track in full.

The album is out on November 4th on Phantasy and by all accounts it's a corker.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Surprising cover version of the day - Drenge do Arcade Fire

Either this is a weird case of synchronicity, or there's an international conspiracy afoot to flood the world with Arcade Fire covers. Exactly a month to the day after Tears For Fears posted their cover of 'Ready To Start' (see article here) Drenge have done the same thing, even covering the same song! The duo's version was recorded for Radio 1, and you can here it below. They certainly bring a bit more menace and aggression to the track than the wimpy Canadians do (in case you hadn't guessed, I'm not normally a fan of Arcade Fire, although I might have to revise that opinion now that James Murphy is producing them). See what you make of the track below.

Video of the Day: 'Prisoner' featuring Juliette Lewis by Har Mar Superstar

Apparently (according to the internet anyway) today is Har Mar Superstar day in Minneapolis. To celebrate you can watch the video for his new single 'Prisoner'. A per pro of nothing in particular, it features your man Har Mar in a BMX duel with the delectable Ms. Lewis. I won't tell you who wins, but all I'll say is that I certainly wouldn't be riding off into the sunset and leaving her behind.

Har Mar Superstar's brilliant album 'Bye Bye 17' is out now and is available, as they say, from all good record stores.

New music: 'Oh My Sexy Lord' by Marijuana Deathsquads

OK, so the album isn't actually here yet (it's out on October 15th), but if this face-meltingly psychedelic advert for it is anything to go by then we're in for a treat. Play in full screen mode, just stare at it for a while and see what happens...

Marijuana Deathsquads "Oh My Sexy Lord" from Isaac Gale on Vimeo.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Track of the Day: 'If U Knew (Reprise Long Live Take)' by Gold Panda

One of the best tracks from Gold Panda's excellent 'Half Of Where You Live' album just got even better. Taken from the forthcoming 6 track EP (out on November 11th) this is a longer, re-recorded version of 'Reprise'which now sounds more like it does if you catch Derwin playing it live. The EP will feature 3 versions of 'Reprise' and 3 versions of 'Community' - you can hear one of the versions of 'Community' below as well.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Recommended music: 'Quarters' by Seams

Following on from last year's EP, the debut album from James Welch has arrived and it's pretty fantastic. recorded in four different locations around Berlin, the city where he now lives (hence the title), this is a brilliant album of electronica, surprisingly full of warmth, and with an emotional depth that gives lie to the 'soulless' tag that the ill-informed often give to this genre of music.

'ClapOne' kicks the album off in style, with hypnotic beats and claps, whirling bleeping synths, and some snatches of Thom Yorke-esque sampled vocals, giving you that feeling of excitement at the start of a long-planned journey. It's hard to say which is the best track on the album as they're all so good, but 'Constants' is up next and it's definitely one of my favourites.It's a richly-layered track that develops kinda like the way a track by Caribou might. There's some great sounds going on in the background, particularly one that sounds a bit like the sea, like electronic pixels washing up on an artifical shore, which according to Mr Welch is tape hiss due to the melody being recorded on a dictaphone (it's amazing what you can find out via twitter!).

'Pocket' is a short section of twinkling brightness, undercut with a deep squelch, which gives way to 'Sitcom Apartment' which may (or may not) be the sound of James' Berlin flat. If so than the flat (and the track) seems like an inviting sort of place - maybe a bit rough around the edges, but the sort of place that'd be great for a party. As the track build up it brings to mind one of those animated videos full of dancing 70s toy robots (or is that just my mind?) - it's an upbeat track with loads going on.

'Iceblerg' fittingly has a bit if a watery feel when it starts, almost like the sound of ice being crushed. The hard, crisp beats  (something of a trademark on this record) are overlaid with some great keyboard themes and a throbbing bassline, and complimented with more of the handclap sounds from 'ClapOne'. 'Hurry Guests' is next up. Starting with a simple six note refrain it bobs and weaves through various phases while never losing sight of its overall direction. It's a bit like a journey through Berlin on the tram at night - various people get on and off, some stay, some don't, and by the time you reach you're stop you're the only one onboard.

You might have heard 'Rilo' already as it was the first track to be released from the album. It's another highlight for me - pulsing rhythm, great beats and some really uplifting melodies. The arpeggio riff and the ticking, blipping keyboard combine like a speeding train passing you while you're waiting on the platform. Then album closer 'TXL' is ful of deep beats but also has a light, gentle refrain - together they combine to make something that's part Jon Hopkins and part Four Tet, but all good.

Overall this is a really accomplished and detailed record, one that knocks the sharp edges off the electronic sound and replaces them with the nicely rounded sound of humanity. Definitely goes straight into the pile of contenders for electronic album of the year.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Track of the Day: 'Dontcha' by The Internet

First single from the forthcoming album 'Feel Good'. The more of these Odd Future-related releases come out the more they show Tyler up to be the least talented member of the bunch. This track is slick, smooth and stylish and makes the new album another one to go straight on the 'must-purchase' pile.

New podcast - Austerity Audio vol. 9

Another instalment in my semi-regular series of free music podcasts. As usual there's a massive range of genres covered in the 10 tracks, proving that there really are only two sorts of music - good music and bad music. Hopefully you'll agree we've got the good stuff here.

Each of these 10 tracks has been legally downloaded for free over the past couple of weeks. The idea of these podcasts it to highlight new music to you, so that if you like it you'll go out and buy a track or two from some of the artists - you get good music, they get some money, and the world's a better place to be. To download the podcast just right-click on the picture above. Here's this week's tracklist:

  1. Lomaji - The Show
  2. Sidi Toure - Ay Hora : My Dance
  3. This Frontier Needs Heroes - No More War
  4. Samantha Crain - For The Miner
  5. Cuushe - Butterfly (Kidsuke Remix)
  6. Date Palms - Sky Trails
  7. Cloud Boat - Amber Road (The Haxan Cloak Remix)
  8. Dustin Wong - Liberal Christian Youth Ministry
  9. The Superman Revenge Squad Band - A Funny Thing You Said
  10. Sisters - Clearhead

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Remix of the Day: 'Talking To A Stranger (Avalanches Rework) by Hunters & Collectors

Are we edging ever closer to the release of the second album by The Avalanches, a mere 13 years after their debut? The appearance of this track might indicate that a new release is indeed on the horizon. Not so much a remix as a total rework, the track sounds like it could've been lifted straight out the middle of the next Avalanches record - starting with what appears to be a sample from 'Relight My Fire' the original track is cut, spliced and generally fucked about with as different samples are chucked over the top of it. I'd never heard the original (unless you were in Australia in the 80s I guess you won't have either); I went back and listened to it but there wasn't really any point - this version pisses all over the original. To go with the remix original video director Richard Lowenstein has re-cut the video to go with the remix. You can watch it below, although it's interesting to note that here it's billed as 'Stalking To A Stranger (Planets Collide Remix' by The Avalanches, which again makes it seem that it's an Avalanches release...

With Daft Punk's return now complete, surely The Avalanches are the next band due to reappear and be deified?

Friday, 6 September 2013

Track of the Day: 'Amber Road (The Haxan Cloak Remix) by Cloud Boat

In which The Haxan Cloak takes something already dark and spooky and in his own inimitable style makes it about ten times more unsettling. The original version of the track comes from the album 'Book Of Hours' which was released earlier this year. A remix EP will be out on 30th September featuring this cut and mixes by Deptford Goth & Ghosting Season. If you're quick you can grab a free download of this track below - if you're too late then you'll just hvae to wait for the EP release.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Track of the Day: 'Don't Trust Me' by Mister Goodnite

You might have come across LA's Tyler Parkford before as vocalist of the band Mini Mansions (I saw them supporting Queens of the Stone at SXSW back in 2011). In his new guise as Mister Goodnite he's about to put out an album (on cassette only) called 'Songs About Love Or Lack Thereof) on Morning Ritual Records, from which this ultra-smooth track is taken. The tape is described as 'a series of 12 lo-fi pop dreamscapes', and apparently mixes dialogue and sound collage between the tracks to create a fluid soundwave. You can pre-order the tape here (but hurry as there were only 50 and they're going fast) and listen to the track below. In some ways it reminds me a bit of the Dean Blunt 'Redeemer' album from earlier in the year, although it's a bit more chilled and less intense than that.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

New music: 'MMMMMHMMMMM' by Four Fists

Fresh out of Minneapolis comes this collaboration from Astronautalis and P.O.S, who've joined forces under the Four Fists moniker and are releasing this single via Doomtree Records in October. Together they produced a huge, multi-layered sound that's part Nine Inch Nails, part gang mentality, part sung, part rapped but all powerful and all consuming.

The duo are now working on an album which, if this is anything to go by, will be a dark feast for your ears. Listen to the track below.

Track of the Day: 'Bitter Rivals' by Sleigh Bells

A welcome return for the Brooklyn duo, with the title track of their next album, which will be out on October 7th. The track's deceptively simple, insanely catchy, and will have you nodding your head within the first 20 seconds. The longer ot went on the louder I turned it up and the better it sounded. It's a hard thing to make a simple record sound this good, but they've definitely hit the mark with this one.

Monday, 2 September 2013

New music: 'Creatures (DJ Cull's Minimal Mix) by Applescal & Ryan Davis

This track is fresh from the Atomnation label, and I couldn't resist the chance to make my own mix of it. The collaboration was started in Amsterdam, finished in Berlin and now remixed in London, so it's a truly pan-European track. There's no free download as yet so you'll have to make do with listening to it, but if I get the nod from the label I'll enable the download as soon as I can. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

New Music: 'A Funny Thing You Said' by The Superman Revenge Squad Band

Lead track from the newly-expanded Superman Revenge Squad album, which is due out in October and will be the landmark tenth release for label Audio Antihero. Over a shuffling rhythm Ben Parker spins lyrics and vocals that remind me a bit of The Wedding Present. It somehow feels nostalgic and sepia-tinged while also remaining current (if by current you mean talented, slightly ironic songwriting rather than X-Factor shite).

You can grab the track for free below and then head over to Audio Antihero here to pre-order the album.

Friday, 23 August 2013

New podcast - Austerity Audio vol. 8

Just in time for the Bank Holiday weekend, it's time for another great selection of great new music, which has been legally culled from the internet over the past couple of weeks.

If you're new to these podcasts the idea is that I gather up these free tracks from all sorts of musical genres and make then available as a free download (right click on the picture above to grab this one). In return all I ask is that if you really like a particular track then you spend a few pence buying one of the artist's other songs. Here's this week's tracklisting:

  1. Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip - Stunner
  2. Vex Ruffin - No Escape
  3. Obits - Spun Out
  4. Letherette - After Dawn (Barker & Baumecker Remix)
  5. Jacques Greene - Body Party (Rmx)
  6. Deech - Yesterday Was Fun
  7. Lanterns On The Lake - The Buffalo Days
  8. Plankton Wat - Empire Mines
  9. Cillianjohn - The Crossing
  10. 14KT - No Sleep (The Sound Of Stress)

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Track of the Day: 'Portland' by Brolin

It seems to be commonplace to describe artists as 'mysterious' these days, and Brolin is one of those to whom the epithet is frequently supplied. But on the basis of this track he might have to become a whole lot more outgoing - it's hard to make a record this summery and infectious and then hide away from the world. The addition of Peaking Lights on production duties has given this a light reggae touch, while the simple vocals encourage a beach-party sing-a-long.

The single is out now.

Surprising cover version of the day - Tears For Fears do Arcade Fire

So I'm guessing quite a lot of younger readers might not even know who Tears For Fears are, but they were pretty massive back in the late 80s and early 90s. Apparently they're working on a new album but have decided to put this out in response to a number of cover versions and samples of their songs that have appeared recently.

If the choice of cover is surprising, then the way they perform it is even more so - electronic dance, with more than a touch of Hot Chip, and it's only when Roland Orzabal sings "now I'm ready to start" that you can hear echoes of the past. All in all a pretty good version, and one that hints at a very interesting return for the band.

New music: 'Chain My Name' by POLIÇA

After 'Tiff' a few months ago, this is the second track to have appeared from Polica's second album 'Shulamith' which is out in October. It's more upbeat than a lot of the tracks on their début album, and thankfully Channy's vocals haven't been as heavily treated as before so you can hear her beautiful voice properly.

Based on this and 'Tiff' I reckon that the new album could well see them break out into the big time, which will be great for them. My only hope is that their continued success doesn't delay the next GAYNGS album too much more.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Recommended music: 'Drenge' by Drenge

The debut album from the Loveless brothers has finally arrived, and it's every bit as good as I was hoping for. Given that they're a two-piece drums and guitar outfit comparisons with The White Stripes are inevitable (although these two really are siblings), and the start of opener 'People In Love Make Me Feel Yuck' has more than a passing nod to Jack and Meg's sound. But overall there's more variation on here than you might be expecting - from blues to rock'n'roll, with occasional detours to metal and almost into shoegaze (Let's Pretend), not to mention the Status Quo intro of 'Gun Crazy' there's enough here to suggest Eoin and Rory could have a long career ahead of them as long as they don't go the way of rock's most famous brothers, the Gallaghers. And their cheeky appropriation of the blues classic 'I Just Want To Make Love To You' for break-up song 'I Don't Want To Make Love To You' shows them to be both witty and knowledgeable 

Producer Ross Orton has done a great job, particularly with the drum sound, and the whole thing feels vibrant, fresh and full of youth. The vocals are great too, melodic and rich with the right mixture of energy and insouciance.

I've written about Drenge a couple of times already this year, so check out 'Necromance Is Dead' here and 'Backwaters' here, and listen to 'Face Like A Skull' below. But most of all, buy the album. Buy it now. Yes, right now. Your music collection deserves it.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Recommended music: 'No Escape' EP by Vex Ruffin

According to his label (Stones Throw) Vex Ruffin makes 'minimal electro-punk'. I'm not really sure what I'd call it but the Filipino-American makes some pretty intriguing stuff - the vocals range from Ian Curtis to Robert Smith, while the musis mixes hip-hop betas, post-punk riffs and electro bleeps to good effect. Have a listen for yourself and see what you make of it, and you can even download it for free.

New music: 'Empire Mines' by Plankton Wat

A haunting instrumental from the forthcoming Plankton Wat album 'Drifter's Temple' (out September 17th on Thrill Jockey records). It's got a bit of a western-soundtrack feel, with added hints of Pink Floyd and even 'Hotel California'. Just over a minute before the end it goes all epic with some great electric guitars thrown in over the top of the acoustic picking.

Listen & download for free below.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Track of the Day: 'Come Save Me (Andrew Weatherall Remix)' by Jagwar Ma

OK, so the original version of the track has been around for some time, both as a single in its own right and as a track on 'Howlin', one of the best albums of the year, but this remix by the legendary Mr. Weatherall is fresh out of the box. It's more upbeat and electronic, and less dubby, than some of his remixes have been of late, switching some of the original's psychedelia with a harder edge. I don't know if or when it's going to be released, but you can listen to it below.

New music: 'Invisible In Your City' by Gang Colours

So it appears that while I was on holiday a couple of weeks ago, Gang Colours sneaked out the new title track from his next album 'Invisible In Your City'. In case you missed it as well you can listen to the track below- it's a delicate, gentle track that reminds me a bit of Hot Chip in one of their more mellow moments.

New music: 'Stunner' by Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip

Lead track from the forthcoming album 'Repent Replenish Repeat', which is out in October. This is a full-frontal, no holds barred assault from Dan and Pip. I particularly like the lifting of the Simon & Garfunkel line ("Hello darkness my old friend") and the bit about torturing a dove just to prove Prince wrong.

Watch the video below and then click here to pick up a free download of the track.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Video of the Day: 'Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?' by Arctic Monkeys

After going off the boil a bit on their last couple of albums (IMHO) the tracks that have come out so far from 'AM', their fifth release, seem to show that they've finally managed to find the right balance of swagger and wit. The video for the latest track starts with Alex Turner exercising his inner actor as he gets drunk while previous single 'Do I Wanna Know?' plays in the pub. The evening progresses and as the new song plays you get to see him stumble through a serious of drunken encounters and equally drunken texts.

Interesting fact: the last three Arctic Monkey singles to be released have been questions - 'R U Mine?', 'Do I Wanna Know?' and 'Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?'. This must be some sort of record, surely?

Track of the Day: 'Yesterday Was Fun' by Deech

A nicely chilled slice of electronica for you Sunday afternoon. There something about the music in this that reminds me of R'n'B records from the 80s - I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but whatever it is, it works. You can download this track for free below courtesy of of Mr Deech himself, who posted this up from his home in Minsk a few hours ago.

Friday, 9 August 2013

New Podcast - Austerity Audio vol. 7

The Austerity Audio podcast is back from its summer holiday feeling fully refreshed and ready to give you what you want, if what you want is the best in new, free music from a multitude of genres.

This week's podcast is a bumper edition featuring 14 tracks and a full 80 minutes of music. To listen just click on the picture above, or right click to download the full set. Some of these have been lying around on my hard drive for a few weeks so apologies if you can't track them all down, but at the time I got them they were all legally downloadable for free. If you're new to this series of podcasts then you should know that the only thing I ask in exchange for making these available for free is that if you particularly like something on here then you spend a few pence on buying a track or two from that artist. Here's this week's tracklisting:

  1. Jeremiah Jae - Oatmeal Face
  2. Corduroi - Like U Dooooo
  3. Tunng - So Far From Here (Enjoyed Remix)
  4. Austra - Home (Space Echo Trip Extended)
  5. Seams - Rilo (Howes Remix)
  6. Raffertie - Touching
  7. His Majesty Andre - Brixxxton
  8. Favored Nations - Blame Game (Sau Poler Remix)
  9. Letherette - After Dawn (Bibio Remix Part 1)
  10. Machinedrum - Eyesdontlie (DJ Shadow Remix)
  11. Grid 861 - The Destructor
  12. Dustin Wong - The Big She
  13. Pixies - Bagboy
  14. Moon Duo - High Over Blue

Thursday, 8 August 2013

New music: 'Fade' by 100wxxds

The lead track from the 'Heartache' EP, which is due out in a couple of weeks, this is a dark, moody and mysterious slice of electronica that leaves you feeling slightly unsettled. I can't tell you much about the guy except that he's from Gothenburg, Sweden, and apparently is unsigned at the moment.

Until the EP arrives you can grab this track for free below.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Recommended music: 'Any Port In A Storm' by Scott & Charlene's Wedding

Craig Dermody's second long-player under this magical moniker sees him relocated in New York City, although you sense that wherever he lives he'll always be something of an outsider. A magnificent muddle of jangly guitars, story-telling lyrics shot through with equal amounts of humour and pathos, and a retro-musicality firmly routed in the early 90s - on the tellingly-titled '1993' he even sings "And I ain't done much changing in what I love since 1993". The album is kinda summed up by the track 'Fakin' NYC' wherein he states "I'm fakin' in New York City, I'll let you in in a secret of mine, I don't know what I'm doing any of the time".

Despite the slacker vibes there's some definite effort been put into this album - there are hooks and melodies aplenty, and I reckon it takes a lot of practice to perfect that barely-singing approach to vocals. It's hard to make a record that instantly feels like it's your friend, that you'd want to sit in a bar with and talk shit with all evening, but this album has that familiarity and warmness. It's a record whose sound and stories work equally as well in East London as they do in East Village, and perhaps, amidst the great hooks and charming songs, that's its greatest success. If he really is looking for any port in a storm then you should let Dermody take shelter in your harbour - your life will be all the better for it.

By the way, my cd copy of the album also came with the added bonus of a copy of the 'Two Weeks' EP from earlier this year (I assume they all do, at least initially?) which makes it even better value.

I'll leave you with this thought from 'Jackie Boy', which I imagine in one of Dermody's mantras;- "I dragged myself into the void until I had nothing left, when you've got nothing left you've still got rock'n'roll".

You can listen to some of the album's tracks ad even grab a free download or two below.

Track of the Day: 'Blame Game (Sau Poler Remix)' by Favored Nations

Favored Nations are a trans-Pacific trio making sun-drenched dance music for discerning disco lovers. This remix of their current single 'Blame Game' from Barcelona resident Sao Poler steps up the samba rhythms and creates a confection of Balearic beats. It's hard to imagine any sort of summertime activity to which this wouldn't be a great soundtrack. Highly recommended for your pool party or beach BBQ, you can listen to the track or download it for free below.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Track of the Day: 'Rilo (Howes Remix)' by Seams

Weird things about the music industry #1,274 - the fact that remixes of tracks now appear before the original has even been released. It makes it difficult to tell how much of the track is original and how much is remix fuckery. But either way, this is a good track, with a bit of a Caribou / Daphni vibe and a lot of electronic goodness. Listen and download for free below.

Recommended music: 'Comfort Songs' by Cloud

There's a line in 'Cars & It's Autumn', the opening track on this album, that pretty much seems to sum up the whole feeling and purpose of the record. "Funny how I'm happy now, singing about my sadness" sings 21-year old Tyler Taormina, and you get the sense that in some ways the record is his own personal therapy - a way of emerging from the 'difficult' teenage years and accepting that sometimes life is going to be shit, but as an adult you have to have the strength to deal with that. In doing so he provides some measure of comfort for the rest of us, hence the album's title. Walking a tightrope between optimism and despair he dips into both and ultimately emerges as a stronger human being - "My ego still needs me to be number one, but I think that I figured it out / That I only wish to be a positive force, and I don't wanna be the main character of my own life anymore" is the phrase that closes 'Authorless Novel'.

Musically this a broad church, with piano led numbers, acoustic moments, some beautiful trumpet solos, and even one or two musical moments that Mogwai would be proud of. Some bits of it remind me of Mercury Rev as well, although I can't really put my finger on why. Halfway through there's a section of songs (the end of 'Stomach Pit' & the start of 'Frere Jacques and Me') that remind me so much of hymns I used to sing at school that I wonder if there is a religious element to Taormina's upbringing, and if this in some way contributed to his teenage torment. 'Desperation Club', the longest song on the album, even comes with its own manifesto, and states 'If this were a movement, its members would follow not by choice or will'; a Fight Club for the weak and disenfranchised then.

Other great things on this record? The line "Celebrate celibate strangers", which could have come from the pen of Morrissey. The choir of friends on 'A Light Wish Weighs A Lot'.  The way that at times it feels like the whole thing is about to get out of control before it's gently reeled in. The way that the 'Ave Maria' violin introduction of'Stomach Pit' gives way to the song's melody, which has more than a passing resemblance to 'Amazing Grace'.

If you're looking for comparisons then this is every bit as haunting and touching as last year's 'Put Your Back N 2 It' by Perfume Genius. But you shouldn't really be comparing this to anything as it's in a class of its own.

The album is out on Audio Antihero on August 5th and is available as a download or a limited-edition cd - click here to order. And whilst I don't wish any ill on Jamie or his record label, it's safe to say that if he shut it down tomorrow he could feel safe in the knowledge that he's helped to give birth to a truly great record.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Track of the Day: 'Prague' by Blaenavon

The first track to appear from this talented young trio's new release (and only the third track they've put out in total) does nothing to dispel my feelings that are definitely one of the best new acts to appear this year (in case you care my other two favourite new acts in 2013 are Drenge and Cloud). Alternating between moodily quite and powerfully loud, it's a showcase both for the lead singer's vocals and the band's musical prowess.

The Koso EP, from which this is taken, will be out as a 12" on Transgressive records (click here to buy it), but in the meantime you can stream the track below.

If you want to read what I said about Blaenavon when I first tipped them back in January click here.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Recommended music: 'Scratchcards & Wine' by DB Cohen

'Scratchcards & Wine' eh? The world's shortest shopping list, or a couple of things that help to get you through the day? If it's the latter then DB Cohen's album should be added to that list, as it's pretty much guaranteed to put you in a good frame of mind.

Born in South London and raised on a diet of Bob Dylan, The Kinks and Cream, Dan Cohen could well be the South's answer to Alex Turner. Lines like "Snowboy is talking 'bout fun with Steve Hawking, Chomsky is running the bar but he won't serve American boys" (from 'Dinner Party', about the ultimate fantasy party) or "She's betting I'm a gambling man" (from 'The Dealer') show that he's as on top of the lyrics as he is with the music. There's an English feel to the songs that brings to mind Madness or The Kinks, but there's also more than a hint of The Libertines in some of the tracks and the vocal delivery. On the slower tracks you can feel the Dylan influence, as well as 'Exile On Main Street'-era Stones.

After a few listens some of these songs feel like classics that have been with you for years. Dan plays a mean harmonica too which he makes good use of and which adds to the timeless feel of some of the tracks.

The album was produced by Essex legend Snowboy (as namechecked in 'Dinner Party') and features a host of quality musicians including Mark Saunders (bass player with Florence + The Machine), Southend bluesman Steve Hooker, Mike Webster (Baddies) and the horn section from The Specials. Live at Village Green last week he even managed to rope in Adele's backing singers!

DB Cohen on the Main Stage at Village Green festival, Southend 13/7/13
Overall this is a greatly entertaining and enjoyable record which you really should buy (see below for the full album stream and purchase links on Bandcamp). If you fancy catching DB Cohen live there's a show at London landmark The 100 Club on 10th August that will be well worth going to (click here for ticket details).

New podcast - Austerity Audio vol. 6: The Village Green edition

My latest podcast is a special themed edition - I had such a great time at the Village Green festival in Southend last weekend (pictures here) that I though I'd make one that featured acts who performed in some form or another on Saturday. The challenge was to find free tracks from the artists I saw (and a few that I didn't) and I succeeded pretty weel. So as well as the likes of Sweet Billy Pilgrim and DB Cohen you get the Rumour Cubes (who played with Sam Duckworth) and a new tracks that Sam recorded this week with Micall Parknsun.

Left click on the picture to listen to the podcast, or right click to download it. As well as the usual rules that come with this podcast (if you like one of these free tracks then spend a few pence buying something else by that artist) there's an extra call for support this week. Village Green is put on for free each year by the Metal organisation with Southend council, and they want to make sure that it continues to be free in the future. So if you're feeling generous then you can donate £3 to the festival by texting VGFR33 £3 to 70070. Here's the tracklisting:

  1. Rumour Cubes - Rain On Titan
  2. Sweet Billy Pilgrim - Joyful Reunion
  3. James Yorkston - Moving Up Country, Roaring The Gospel
  4. Parky & Recreations - Why
  5. DB Cohen - Do You Love Me Now Daddy?
  6. Youth Club - Nothing
  7. Phillious Williams - Oh My Old Love
  8. The Lucky Strikes - Gold Ring
  9. Wednesday's Child - No Doubt
  10. Stuart O'Connor - Designed To Stop