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.