Saturday, 30 March 2013

Recommended music: 'Bones In Motion' by The Cyclist

Sometimes records go a long way to reach you. This one was mostly recorded in Derry, Northern Ireland, with a few extra bits in Geurande, France. I know not how, but it was picked up by the LA-based Leaving Records, who specialised in cassette-only releases. They in turn have now done a distribution deal with Stones Throw, who put this out on their subscription service, which is how I came to hear it.

There's a blurry, fuzzy, analogue warmth to the record - it sounds a bit like a mixtape that was made 20 or so years ago and that has played so much that the tape's started to wear away. Parts of it are woozy and wobbling, other bits are repetitive and rhythmic, and it somehow manages to sound like late '80s house and the soundtrack to the future as imagined by the BBC show Tomorrow's World. It's definitely a bit hypnotic, drawing you in to a trance-like state as you sink into The Cyclist's unique take on the world of electronic music.

Andrew Morrison (who is The Cyclist) has described his music as "an attempt to get to a time in electronic music where everything sounds warmer" - you can listen to a couple of tracks from the album and see if you think he's succeeded. For my money he's certainly managed to knock some of the sharp edges off the music, and in doing so he's created an album that's well worth listening to.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

New music: 'Your Life, Your Call' by Junip

Taken from the forthcoming self-titled Junip album, this track from the Swedish band formed by Jose Gonzales is full of positive vibes, both in the music and the lyrics.

There's more than a hint of Hot Chip in this extremely melodic and catchy track. The production is warm and  inviting, and the whole thing fits together as satisfyingly as a pair of warm gloves on a cold day.

You can listen to the track and download it for free below. The album will be out in the Spring (whenever that arrives!) on City Slang in Europe and Mute in North America.

Live - in pictures & videos: Wave Machines, Yunioshi and Iyes at Club Attitude, Village Underground, London 26/3/13

An extremely cold Tuesday night in London was the setting for this year's Club Attitude night at Village Underground. This is an offshoot of the charity Attitude Is Everything, who work to make live music more accessible for deaf and disabled people (click here to find out more about my involvement with them). As such it was a fully accessible show, with a marked off viewing area in front of the stage and BSL interpreters throughout the evening to convey the lyrics.

Iyes - Village Underground, London 26/3/13
First on the bill were Iyes from Brighton. Playing their first big London show, having only been together for 5 months, they showed some quality songs that fans of The xx will definitely like. About halfway through their set they played a cover of Bon Iver's 'Flume', which you can watch below.

Next up were Yunioshi. Full of energy, they placed a fast paced, upbeat set, which for me got better and better as they went on.

Yunioshi - Village Underground, London 26/3/13

For them the gig was an opportunity to launch their new single 'Tanlines' which came out last week and which went down really well when they played it. They finished with a song that reminded me a lot of Beck - you can catch a glimpse of it here:

Headliners Wave Machines took to the stage around 10pm with a sense of purpose, and immediately sounded more powerful and imposing than the do on record.

Wave Machines - Village Underground, London 26/3/13
They played some older tracks as well as most of their new album 'Pollen' - for me the best track of the evening was 'Counting Birds', but everything they played was really good.

Tim Bruzon, Wave Machines
'Ill Fit' was a big crowd pleaser - check out the uninhibited dancing in the audience in the clip below!

Overall it was a fantastic night out - 3 great bands in a great venue put on by a great chrity - what more could you want?!

Lanterns in the ceiling at Village Underground for the Club Attitude gig

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

New music: 'Anika EP' by Anika

The follow-up to Anika's debut album (which was also called 'Anika'), this gloriously lo-fi set of mostly cover versions is again produced by Geoff Barrow (of Portishead and Beak> fame). The EP starts with an obsessed-sounding 'I Go To Sleep' (originally by The Kinks but probably familiar to more people via the version by The Pretenders), which gives a totally different perspective to the song, like a slightly deranged stalker. You then get covers of songs by The Crystals  Chromatics and Shocking Blue, as well as a couple of remixes from the 2010 album.

The EP will be released on April 16th on Stones Throw (although you can already buy it direct from their site here:

In the meantime you can listen to 'In The City' (originally by Chromatics) below. And make sure you watch out for the forthcoming video for 'I Go To Sleep' which will be directed by Berlin director Uli M. Schueppel, perhaps best known for directing the Nick Cave biopic 'The Road To God Knows Where'.

New music: 'Cave Mountain Stream' by Zomes

Zomes are a new name to me, but after hearing this I'll definitely be checking out their album 'Time Was', which should be out on April 16th via Thrill Jockey Records. This is a haunting track with a sung melody that doesn't feature any actual words except the titular 'Cave Mountain Stream'. The rest is ooohs and aaahs over a very simple backing track, but somehow this track becomes much more than the sum of its parts. Listen and download below.

PS The track scores bonus points for being the second one I've featured today with a proper ending!

Track of the Day: 'Gone Feral' by James Holden

Set loose on the internet today by Mr Holden himself, this is the first taste of his new album 'The Inheritors' which will be out on June 17th via Border Community. It's a pretty uncompromising slab of modular synths that fills your head with strobe lights and visions of what it would be like to live inside another dimension. Possibly my favourite thing about this track is that it ends properly - you can just imagine him closing a live set with this, fending the track and then walking off to rapturous applause.

Listen and download for free below.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Track of the Day: 'Made To Stray' by Mount Kimbie

Fresh out of the starting blocks to day comes this brand new cut from Mount Kimbie. The track will be featured on their new album 'Cold Spring Fault Less Youth' which is out on 27th May on Warp Records. My anticipation and excitement for this record was already pretty high, but this has sent it stratospheric. Starting with a brilliant beat it builds and builds - warbly noises are overtaken by warm synths that layer the melody and the atmosphere. After more than three minutes, when you're certain the track is set to be an instrumental  the vocals kick in and add the finishing touch. It's just fantastic, there's nothing more to be said, apart from the fact that you can download it for free below.


Friday, 22 March 2013

New music: 'Tried So Good' - Ice Cube vs Night Works

Another day, another mash-up. This time I've taken one of my favourite tracks from last years, 'I Tried So Hard' by Night Works', and put it together with an all-time classic. If the sun ever comes out again it'll sound great!

Recommended music: 'Japandorf' by Klaus Dinger & Japandorf

And so my Krautrock odyssey continues with this, the final posthumous release from Klaus Dinger. If you're not familiar with the name, he was an early member of Kraftwerk, and then went on to found Neu! with Michael Rother, in the process inventing the driving 'motorik' rhythm that was to characterise a lot of Krautrock records. Later he presided over various incarnations of the group La Düsseldorf  before spending the years from 2000 until his untimely death in 2008, working with a group of Japanese musicians and artists who lived in Dusseldorf. The record was finished off by Miki Yui, who, as well as being in the band, was also Dinger's partner, and will be released on March 25th by Gronland Records.

In some ways this album follows the classic template for a Krautrock record. There are the obligatory long, repetitive songs ('ChaCha 2008' and 'Sketch No4', the latter being the best of the two), interspersed with short, atmospheric tracks and sound effects, including some watery noises much like on the Neu! albums. There are a couple of surprisingly gentle, straightforward songs ('Spacemelo' and 'Osenbe'), and the full-on rocker 'Karnival' which wouldn't have been out of place on Neu! '75.

There's no denying that some of the tracks on here still feel a bit unfinished - a couple of them have 'Sketch' in their title, and some of the instrumentals such as 'Kittleback Symphony' feel as if they need another couple of layers of melody and vocals. But in a way that almost feel right, the sense that something is missing is almost tangible and accurately reflects the fact that Dinger is no longer with us. And while it's sad that he's gone, it's great to think that he was still making creative music such as this until he passed.

For more information check out the Gronland site here

Thursday, 21 March 2013

New music: 'Ill Casbahs' - Plan B vs The Clash

I've been playing around with this for a while, but finally finished it off and loaded it up to Soundcloud. I know the vocals sound like they're a bit out of control at the start, but that's just the way he speaks and the timing he uses at the start - stick with it and it soon comes into focus.

Recommended music: 'Half Age EP' by Weval

Fresh out on Dutch label Atomnation is this new EP from mates turned music producers Harm Coolen and Merijn Scholte. Having met in the film industry in 2010, they bonded over a love of electronic music and a desire to create imaginative and atmospheric sounds, resulting in this début EP.

There are hints of the more gentle side of Krautrock as the opening track 'Out Of The Game' begins, before it turns into a more contemporary track, a bit like Darkstar meets Depeche Mode. Track 2 'Detian' is instrumental and has strong hints of the sort of quality electronic music that Dominik Eulberg and Ryan Davis have put out in the last year or 2. Next up is 'The Most', which was undoubtedly separated at birth from Radiohead's 'Everything In Its Right Place', and while it doesn't quite meet Radiohead's heights it's still a really good track that by the end seems to have morphed into something by Caribou.

The brief 'Somewhere' leads into 'Something', a track with treated and chopped vocals which again is reminiscent of Darkstar and also James Blake. 'Rooftop Paradise' is more upbeat; rhythmic and pulsing. Last up is the title track 'Half Age' which feels a but different to the rest of the tracks - there's an analogue warmth to this instrumental as the track rises from hisses and crackles before collapsing back into them at the end.

Overall this is a really promising début release. The pair are currently working on their first full album which is scheduled in for September - I for one can't wait to hear it. In the meantime you can listen to the whole of the current record above.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

New music: 'Miasma Sky' by Baths

The lead track from Will Weisenfeld's new Baths album is a fantastic piece of electronica. It starts and ends in a very atmospheric way, and sandwiched in between are some gentle vocals over a great riff and and a club beat.

The forthcoming album is called 'Obsidian' and will be out in May on the always-reliable Anticon label.

Monday, 18 March 2013

New band of the day: Young Fathers

OK, so here's proof that you can discover great new music at SXSW without even going there. As usual Matthew from Song, by Toad has posted his annual SXSW podcast (you can listen to it by clicking here) and Young Fathers were the act that stood out for me from the ones I hadn't heard of.

I'm not sure why quality hip-hop from Scotland should be such a hard concept to grasp, but once you've heard Young Fathers you'll realise that anything can be achieved anywhere - even if they were the only good hip-hop act north of the border (which I'm sure they're not). Theirs is a pretty eclectic sort of hip-hop, taking in diverse styles and musical genres for backing tracks and samples - between the three of them they have Libyan and Nigerian as well as Scottish heritage so you can see why they paint with such a broad palette.

They've signed to the hip Anticon label and put out their first release, Tape One, earlier this year - you can listen to the whole thing on their Soundcloud page by clicking here. Listen out for the bit 39 seconds into the second track 'Sister' where 'not now' creeps out in a broad Scottish accent.

This week the band have also put out a new track called the guide - you can watch the video for the below and click here to download it for free.

Young Fathers - "The Guide" from anticon. on Vimeo.

There's no news on dates in the UK at the moment but by all accounts they were awesome in Austin so if you see that they're playing near you make sure you go and see them.

New music: 'Rolly Devore' by Kelpe

A brand new, non-album track from electronic mastermind Kel McKeown a.k.a. Kelpe. This is a mild-mannered and slightly enigmatic instrumental, with some bits that sound a bit like they're derived from a Blade Runner-type soundtrack and some gentle squelches and blips. Best of all, it's free to download on the Soundcloud  link above, so fill your boots.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Choice Cuts #8 2013

As promised, here's the second podcast for this week, and it's a very different set of tracks to the one from a few days ago. This one is dark, moody, atmospheric and powerful, mostly instrumental and quite intense. It's probably not the thing to listen to if you want help getting out of bed in the morning, but if you fancy a bit of isolated headphone time then you should definitely give it a listen. Just click on the play button above to listen, here are the track details:

  1. Peals - Blue Elvis - free download here
  2. Pinkunoizu - Tin Can Valley - free download here
  3. Jokes - How I Won My Stripes - from the new EP on Fence Records
  4. Jack Hayter - Scotty Road Holes In Walls - from the Sisters of St. Anthony series
  5. Torus - 2mrrw - free download here
  6. Fiocz - Monoid - from the forthcoming album 'Social Cognition' on Glass Reservoir Records
  7. Stygian Stride - Drift - free download here
  8. Benjamin Shaw - Mandible Candle - from 'Summer In The Boxroom' - details here
  9. Mogwai - Hungry Face - from the 'Les Revenants' soundtrack
  10. Ensemble Economique - The Vastness Is Bearable Only Through Love - from the new EP of the same name

Thursday, 14 March 2013

New music: 'Yard Sale' EP by Torus

To celebrate their first birthday Sonic Router Records are giving away this five track EP from Torus, featuring 3 new tracks and 2 remixes (it's actually one of those name your own price deals, so you can oay for it if you want to).

The first couple of tracks are menacing slow-burners, while the 3rd one 'Shallow Depth' picks up the pace and the beat to become something of a dancefloor botherer. '2mrrw' is my pick of the bunch, but they're all good, so have a listen and grab it if you like it.

New music: 'Gammy Leg' by Scott and Charlene's Wedding

 Another track from their 'Two Weeks' EP (you can listen to the title track and read more about the band here) this is a brilliantly-titled piece of indie-slacker-guitar-pop from the unbelievably-named Scott and Charlene's Wedding. In my (not very humble) opinion this is even better than the other side, and would be perfect to listen to if you were any where in the sunshine right now.

The single is out on a blood red 10" (appropriate if you listen to the lyrics) on Critical Heights Records.

Monday, 11 March 2013

New music: 'Suit and Tie (Four Tet Remix) by Justin Timberlake

Probably the most surprising thing you'll hear all day, as every hipster's favourite remixer gest his hands all over JT's track. It's still recognisably the work of Mr Tet - I just hope they paid him enough money to assuage the guilt he'll probably feel for years to come when he realises exactly how much he's sold his soul by doing this.

Track of the Day: 'Digital Lion' by James Blake

Taken from the hotly-anticipated new album from James Blake, this track has been made with the assistance of a certain Mr. Brian Eno, and is absolutely as good as you'd hope for from a collaboration between these two. The rolling drums and throbbing bassline provide a perfect foil to Blake's vocals.

The album 'Overgrown' is out on April 8th and looks set to be one of the most essential releases of the year.

Choice Cuts #7 2013

Here's the latest crop of new-ish music that I'm listening to at the moment - I had a big pile of tracks to choose from, but these are the one that went best together, so you may well get another one before the week is out. Just click on the play button above to listen, here are the track details:

  1. Lapalux - Without You (feat. Kerry Leatham) - new single, also on the forthcoming album 'Nostalchic'
  2. The xx - Angels (Four Tet remix)
  3. Peaking Lights - Dream Beat (Cole MGN Dreamix) - from the 'Lucifer Re-Lit' EP
  4. Laura Mvula - Green Garden (Farm Remix) - free download here
  5. Tricky - Nothing's Changed (feat. Francesca Belmonte) - free download here
  6. Woman's Hour - To The End (Boxed In Remix) - free download here
  7. John Grant - Why Don't You Love Me (Bon Homme RMX) - from the new album 'Pale Green Ghosts'
  8. Crow 44 - If You're Feeling Down (Part 2) - new out on Stones Throw Records
  9. Cloud Boat - Wanderlust - new single out now
  10. The Lions - More Higher Ways (feat. Black Shakespeare & Malik Moore) - from the new album 'This Generation'
  11. Frank Ocean - Super Rich Kids (Bird Peterson's Way Too Sexy Remix) - free download here

Saturday, 9 March 2013

New music: 'Drift' by Stygian Stride

From what sounds like being a really interesting album, this track by Jimy SeiTang a.k.a Stygian Stride is a moody, throbbing piece of instrumental music. Recording purely on vintage analogue equipment, with no laptops or midi, it's a bit reminiscent of a John Carpenter soundtrack, all dark corners and menacing turns.

The eponymously-named album from which it's taken will be out later in the year on Thrill Jockey Records, but for now you can download this track.

New music: 'To The End (Boxed In Remix) by Woman's Hour

The new single by Woman's Hour is out next month on Parlour Records, and to get you in the mood here's a rather dreamy remix of the lead track which you can download for free. There's a launch gig for the single on 6th April, 2 days before the release.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

New music: 'Blue Elvis' by Peals

Imbued with the spirits of Dirty Beaches and David Lynch, this is a gorgeous instrumental that evokes sunsets and beaches and that end of summer feel. The track will be included on the new Peals album called 'Walking Field', which will be out in May on Thrill Jockey Records - you can pre-order it by clicking here.

In the meantime you can listen to this track and grab it for free below.

Recommended music: 'Golden Grrrls' by Golden Grrrls'

From the always-excellent Nightschool Records comes this instant classic, full of guitar-pop loveliness. Imagine a mix of 80s Australian indie-pop and Glasgow's Postcard-era bands and you'll be some way to imaging how this sounds. Add in the fact that all three band members sing, often at the same time (some times harmonies, sometimes completely different words and tunes) and a perfect match of boy/girl winsomeness and you'll know that you're gonna love it.

Other salient facts? Of the 11 tracks here, only one of them is over 3 minutes long (and that's only by 8 seconds) and every single track has got a proper ending. There are no fade-outs here - every note knows its place perfectly and never outstays its welcome. Also, there's a song called 'Paul Simon' (for no apparent reason) and another called 'Wrld Peace' in which the missing 'o' from the title says more than a thousand words could. If you yearn for the days of perfect indie pop songs then this is definitely the album for you.

To top things off, if you buy the vinyl (which I did, and you should) you get a proper old-fashioned and well thought out package - clear vinyl, great sleeve, download card and free mix cd put together by the band. Michael Kasparis clearly puts a lot of love into his label and he deserves your custom, so click here to buy the record.

You can listen to some tracks from the album below.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Video of the Day: 'Swim and Sleep (Like A Shark)' by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

I've loved this track since it first came out towards the end of the year. Now it's got a great video to go with it that's got nothing to do with swimming or sharks, and everything to do with puppets, voyeurism, masturbation, sadness, cooking, therapy, art, graffiti and, ultimately, a happy ending. Enjoy!

New music: 'In Your Car' by Big Deal

The first single from Big Deal's forthcoming album 'June Gloom was composed, as you might have guessed, in a car. In this instance the car in question was being driven in the sunshine along the California coastline by Kacey and Alice, which explains perfectly why it's an exemplary slice of West Coast power pop that sounds a bit like Weezer and a lot like a good time. Consequently it's perfect for the balmy Spring weather that's arrive today.

New music: 'Green Garden (Farm Remix)' by Laura Mvula

Another week, another mix of 'Green Garden' to go with the release of Laura's album this week. I makw no apologies for posting another mix of the same song as this is pretty different from the one I put up last week, and goes to show what different features can be brought out of a track depending on who is mixing it. Listen and download above.

Track of the Day: 'Tin Can Valley' by Pinkunoizu

A brand new track from the schizophrenically sonic Scandinavians. You're never quite sure what you're going to get from them in terms of musical influences, and this song is no exception. Starting with a squall of guitars it quickly turns into a surf-guitar track but then just as quickly develops a Middle-Eastern refrain. The vocals are buried deep within the instruments so it's difficult to make out exactly what they're singing about. The last four minutes are purely instrumental, with 2 or 3 great guitar parts going on all at once and some great 60s sounding pounding drums. Frankly it's all kinds of ace, and what's more, it's free so grab it immediately! It's the perfect accompaniment to the springlike weather which has arrive today.

'Tin Can Valley' is taken from the new Pinkunoizu EP 'Second Amendment' which is out at the start of the day on Full Time Hobby.

Friday, 1 March 2013

New music: 'Super Rich Kids (feat. Earl Sweatshirt) - Bird Peterson's Way Too Sexy mix' by Frank Ocean

Bird Peterson peps the track up in advance of its likely release as the next single from Ocean's 'Channel Orange' album. Hot on the heels of his success both at the Grammys and the Brits it's sure to be another winner for the ferociously foxy Frank.

Track of the Day: 'The Long Shadow' by Barn Owl

This intense piece of music sounds like the soundtrack to an entire film crammed into five and a half minutes. Taken from the forthcoming album 'V', which will be out in April on Thrill Jockey Records, it's a masterclass in how to build a sonic atmosphere. You can download the track above - I'll definitely be marking my calendar for April to buy the album.