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SPIRIT

Summer is here and whilst no-one will be flying to the Copacabana Beach anytime soon, we can travel there with our ears. Jim Dunloop transports us to the storied city of Rio with latin guitar licks, warm bass lines and vocals as sweet as Brigadeiro. A summertime sure shot. Side B sees Mr Dunloop link up with Berlin stalwart GRZLY Adams to provide a lovely slice of Boom Bap that’ll make you stone crazy. The Beat is sweet as a nut(s). The wah-wah guitar and breezy vocal have definitely got that funk. 

Kahil El'Zabar And David Murray

Kahil El'Zabar's Spirit Groove Ft. David Murray

    Kahil El’Zabar’s ‘Spirit Groove’ on Spiritmuse Records is the latest musical inspiration from a spiritual jazz master Kahil El’Zabar, featuring the legendary tenor sax colossus, David Murray.

    El’Zabar’s and Murray’s collaborative efforts span over 4 decades of exceptional explorations in the varied realms of spiritual jazz. Joining them on this project are 2 extraordinary young talents, Emma Dayhuff on acoustic bass and Justin Dillard on keyboards/organ. ‘Spirit Groove’ is an innovative journey into the core soul of jazz and groove, where all are one in Spirit.

    Sweet Spirit

    Trinidad

      Sabrina Ellis, Andrew Cashen & Danny Blanchard (of Sweet Spirit) also perform together in the Austin Texas outfit A Giant Dog. Trinidad was recorded and produced by Stuart Sikes (Cat Power, Black Joe Lewis, White Stripes)

      "When people dance, they are fulfilling a human desire where instinct and culture meet. Dance and music are built into the mechanics of being human. We are born instinctively with these impulses. To dance is to speak unspoken agreements," says Sweet Spirit frontperson Sabrina Ellis.

      The six members of Sweet Spirit like pranks, glitter eyeshadow, and good stories. They also enjoy making music, as evidenced by the 12 bands they collectively play in. But above all, they love dancing, that place between exorcise and exercise. Sweet Spirit's famously raucous and sweaty live shows satisfy both their own and their audience's need for connection and release.

      Trinidad marks the Merge debut of this mighty sextet from Austin, TX. The songs are stripped down yet more intricate than ever before. It's a pop record made by punk rockers sonically happy but lyrically bitter. Lustful, sassy, and passionate.

      Touting inspirations as varied as Prince, T. Rex, William Onyeabor, ABBA, Roy Orbison, Shintaro Sakamoto, Francoise Hardy, and Robyn, Sweet Spirit have created an album that pulsates with more LinnDrum and synth than guitar. From the opening riff of 'Behold,' Sabrina, Andrew, Danny, Josh, Jon, and Jake establish their slightly cynical world of fantasy, hard truths, and all manner of longing.

      “No Dancing” bemoans the lack of magic in the club, while live favorite “Fingerprints” sets out to “get you away from your lover.” Author/composer Mark Mallman of Minneapolis says, “Those who believe in demons see demons. In music, the demon is silence. In nature, snakes that appear to dance are actually fighting. Palm trees that kiss the beach during hurricane winds appear to dance when set to music in a video. There is no genre to dancing, only to its cause. In this instance, the cause is called Sweet Spirit.”

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      Michael David

      There In Spirit - Inc. Jex Opolis Remix

      Michael David first stuck his digital pin in the musical map back in the blog days as one half of indie-dance duo Classixx (who did that killer version of Phoenix' "Lisztomania" if I remember correctly), before branching off for a standalone 2015 single as Cinema Paradiso. A serene and sublime single arrived under his given name last Autumn, proving once again that It IS Balearic! Now the LA musician continues to demonstrate his musical evolution with his best work to date on US label Cascine.  
      On "There in Spirit / Rain II", there is a bending of organic instruments. Guitars chop and glimmer. Beats cascade and push forward, but always with a sense of gentle resignation. This is the sound of a mind searching through time, exhuming memories and emotions ‘ good and bad ‘to try and know, recapture, reclaim, and most importantly, feel. The music on both singles was recorded primarily on an Eloquencer sequencer and mixed in part by Joakim. The b side features two new takes on Rain II ‘ an alternate, slow version and a remixed version by fellow seeker, Jex Opolis. 

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: Uber Balearic business here from Michael David, who fuses Fairlight sequences with nuanced percussion and delicate guitar across two gorgeous A-side cuts. The B-side serves up a slow version of 'Rain II' for the sundowners out there, before Jex Opolis gets the acid breaks on.

      In the 1950s a new kind of music jolted the American mainstream; rock 'n' roll, a loud, fast, liberating sound that primarily appealed to teenagers. Rock 'n' roll was an offshoot of the rural blues and urban rhythm and blues music that for years had entertained and stirred the spirits of Black America. Incorporating the hillbilly sounds of the rural South, upping the tempo and replacing the melancholy of the blues with a youthful optimism, rock n roll blasted through diners, car radios and high school proms, changing music forever.
      Here we have a flawless tracklist of the genres finest moments, brought together in celebratraion of dancing and laughing, feeling carefree and having good old-fashioned fun. 

      The album features the cover songs (by artists such as Tegan and Sara, Robyn, Katy Perry, Ellie Goulding, Annie Lennox and more) featured in the film performed by lead actress Elle Fanning. It also features the new song 'Wildflower' written by Carly Rae Jepsen & Jack Antonoff. Also included are tracks by No Doubt, Grimes and Major Lazer feat. MØ & DJ Snake.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Pink vinyl.

      Ceremony

      In The Spirit World Now

        Ceremony make their Relapse Records debut with their highly ambitious new album, 'In the Spirit World Now'! The album sees Ceremony at the height of their creative output, as the always-evolving Rohnert Park quintet take various influences from post punk and rock to create one of the summer's most compelling and infectious records. "In the Spirit World Now" is full of layered sonic fury and anxiety, each song building up to a point and then descending down through a militant, catchy hook. “Turn Away the Bad Thing” sets the tone, guitars climbing around the driving bass line, as Ross Farrar sings, “It’s getting harder for me to be alright/Eyes adjusting to the dark/The momentum of all these last resorts built inside of me.” Songs like “Presaging the End” and “Calming Water” feel romantic and distressed, while “Further I Was” and “Years of Love” are driven by Farrar’s rebellious energy as he repeats the hook with a deadpan realness. “Years of love can be forgotten/In the hatred of a day.” But the true stand-out is the title track, “In the Spirit World Now”, a haunting pop gem with a sticky chorus and lead synth riff that plants itself in your head as Farrar chants the track’s name over and over like a mantra. “In the Spirit World Now" is a sort of nebulous and ectoplasmic place where things may not be quite what they seem,” he says. “It means sh*t is about to get weird.” The album marks a milestone for this Northern California punk outfit who have stayed true to themselves as songwriters throughout massive sonic growth throughout their storied career.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: From the fractured art-punk aesthetic of Wire or even bits of Sonic Youth, through wide-spanning cinematic shoegaze majesty and grungy snarling anthems, Ceremony have crafted a brilliantly varied and thoroughly enthralling collection of snappy punk anthems mixed with a huge variety of influences.

        OK SPIRIT is a new label founded by N.I.B., Kilian Paterson and DJ Neewt. The Frankfurt trio get on message from the off, opening their account with a wild range of contemporary dancefloor adventures prompted by sonic shaman Bear Bones, Lay Low. On the A-side, title track 'Voces De Humo' is an epochal 17 minute journey from the Belgium based producer, twisting searing waveforms and vivid distortion around tribal rhythms in a typically lysergic fashion. The B-side belongs to the remixers, and DJ Plead kicks it off with a growling EBM / Industrial version complete with scattering, almost DnB rhythms, sacred frogs and scorched frequencies. The B2 sees the track taken on a different tack as TNC6 heads for the undergrowth with the humid and transcendental "Needles In The Heart Mix", a ceremonial stunner with a late break into wild rave breaks.

        Spirit

        Spirit

          Spirit’s eponymous debut album shows their versatility, proving to be a blueprint for subsequent releases such as The Family That Plays Together and Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus. With fuzz guitar leads, sitars, clavinets, intricate string arrangements, blaring horn sections and excellent songwriting, Spirit has it all. The album includes the track “Taurus”, of which Led Zeppelin (who once opened up for Spirit) allegedly ‘borrowed’ the riff of “Stairway To Heaven”, which was released three years later. The signature sound of the band is the combination of heavy tones, versatile drumming and unusual themes.

          Under guidance of Randy California (a moniker which was given to him by the one and only Jimi Hendrix himself with whom Randy - born Randy Craig Wolfe - used to jam with in his pre-experience group The Blue Flames), Spirit was a freeform musical oddity that enjoyed huge success in the hippie Sixties and beyond. Combining Jazz, Rock, Prog, Folk and Indian influences, Spirit were unarguably the most interesting band under the Californian sun.

          Spirit is available as a limited edition of 1.000 copies on transparent vinyl.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Coloured LP Info: Transparent vinyl.

          F.J. McMahon

          Spirit Of The Golden Juice

            The world that inspired Spirit of The Golden Juice nearly 50 years ago has moved on. F.J. McMahon moved on with it. Originally pressed in a small quantity and scattered along the California coastline in 1969, F.J. McMahon's first and only album, Spirit Of The Golden Juice, is a spell-binding blend of singer-songwriter emotion and spiraling guitar accompaniment with a raw, adventurous character all its own. Well-chronicled and loved since its rediscovery, Spirit Of The Golden Juice is an album concerned with memory and mystery and the preservation of the two. It’s also about the weight of personal experience and how we tow it around with us. F.J.'s simple, personal approach to songwriting allows us the space to fill in our own colors and our own faces. Its themes are there in plain sight, but the questions it asks are sometimes left for us to answer for ourselves. The simple notes on the back side of the album still say it best: F.J. McMahon is an artist with something to say and he says it in a simple earthy style.

            Includes 8.5" x 8.5" Risograph booklet with liner notes and newly seen photographs and ephemera.

            Raz Ullah (known to locals as synth maestro for the one and only Jane Weaver) brings us a soaring and mesmerising duo of pieces for the newly established With Bells Records. The A-Side and titular piece begins with plate-reverbed drum hits and synthy swells and chirps, akin to one of my favourite knob-twiddlers of all time, Norm Chambers (AKA Panabrite). Bolstered with swooning Krauty bass rolls and aquatic arps, it flows along at a steady but thoroughly unintimidating pace, bringing to mind futuristic walks through utopian monuments and shining towers constructed through the advancement of time but a firm foot in the foibles of history. 

            Whilst the A-Side very much trades in optimistic forward-thinking progression, the B-Side shows the darker side of this futuristic society, brimming with ambient swells, heavy on high-end harmonics and windy swells. Gutsy bass and dystopian churns coalesce into a torrid and inharmonic trifecta of brittle melodic trills, aquatic subsonics and howling sweeps. A beautiful and graceful swarm of insectile force and brutalist architectural construction. 


            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: Nowhere near anything you could imagine, this is a single of two halves, brilliant euphoric soaring retro-futurism and gutsy nuanced drones brought together by a consistently deft production capability and a stunningly capable melodic sensibility. Brilliant.

            ‘Spirit Reflection’ is the third album LP from Los Angeles singer-songwriter Gaby Hernandez. Blissful layers of instrumentation, electronics, vocal harmonies and folkloric percussion intertwine with west coast feel to create a unique, beautiful and multi-layered album.

            The album features a stellar line-up of LA talent; jazz star Kamasi Washington, Stuart Howard (AKA Lapalux), Kelis and Gaslamp killer collaborator Dexter Story, plus Ninja Tune, Plug Research and Soul Jazz artist Carlos Nin 771;o, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker all accompany Gaby, with stunning results.

            Even before Spirit Reflection had been finished, the demo mixes caught the ear and gained support from Gilles Peterson, Lefto, Toshio Matsuura (U.F.O.) and J- Rocc (Beat Junkies). Born, raised and based in Los Angeles and of Chilean descent, Gaby Hernandez has been writing and recording since 2001. She was a founding member of the ‘creative music ensemble’ Build An Ark alongside others including Carlos Nin 771;o, Dexter Story and Dwight Trible.

            Gaby was the only vocalist on Teebs' debut Brainfeeder release Ardour. She made major contributions to AmmonContact's Ninja Tune releases New Birth and With Voices, plus The Life Force Trio's Plug Research album Living Room. She was also the vocalist on Dimlite's Outernational Duet - released as part of his highly acclaimed Sonar Kollektiv longplayer This Is Embracing.

            David and Graham from Mr Bongo met Gaby and Carlos Nino at the end of their hugely successful Arthur Verocai album launch and rare record sale at the RAPPCATS venue in LA. “Gaby and Carlos passed us a copy of ‘Spirit Reflection’. and we put it on the deck. It immediately grabbed us and we couldn’t stop listening to it. When we got back to the UK we got in contact straight away and signed the album. We’re very proud to be releasing it”... “...this is a future classic, an 'album' in the truest sense of the word. Brilliant.” says Graham.

            “The music itself envelopes its listener in a warmth reminiscent of decades past, presenting both a nostalgic soulful sound and a sensual experience” Culture Collide

            “A romantic summer cocktail that should be imbibed half-nude on a beach or while scattering rose petals on a bed. The songs flow between seductive, relaxing and spiritually nurturing, with earthy rhythms and warm production that make the listener feel comforted” Buzz Bands LA

            “Jaw-droppingly tasty” LA Weekly

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Millie says: Shades of Mia Doi Todd abound on this delicate and drifting journey through hook heavy, hazy soul. This is the soundtrack to the summer everyone.

            Kreol Lovecall

            Jangle And Chime

              Kreol Lovecall is south London-born multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Richards. A fixture in some of Britain’s more left-leaning musical scenes for almost two decades, the album Jangle and Chime is his astonishing solo debut. Until recently an integral member of UK heavy psych rockers Hey Colossus, Richards played a major part in the band’s transition from harsh noise-rock blowouts to a more focused and melodic proposition. His influence shouts loudest on their two 2015 albums, In Black And Gold and Radio Static High (both on Rocket Recordings). Kreol Lovecall is a bold and surprising stylistic change; a project featuring clean, shimmering guitar and soulful vocals, tightly packed arrangements of popping drum machine, funky bass and Casio keyboard. ‘One In F1ve’ is the first single from the album, released on 5 December via Fighting Spirit Records. 21st century blues with pulsing synths and a mantra-like chorus, it reflects the doom and dread brought on by a Trumped-up, post-Brexit present and future back in on itself. 

              RIYL: Liars, TV on the Radio, Caribou, Suuns. PVT, known as Pivot to anyone in the know, are an act that's embraced technology at every turn - gritty, new, confronting - and their uncompromised songwriting and musical understanding have seen their first four albums released to global acclaim. After years of touring, the band wound up cast far and wide, residing each in a different continent. 2017 sees members Dave Miller along with brothers Richard & Laurence Pike return home to Australia with their fifth album, New Spirit.

              This album contains that beautiful type of music written out of compulsion, a calling and an impulse to explore the new place that Australia has become -- a hotbed for political and cultural intolerance. The country has succumbed to divisive politics and irrational fear. Obvious fraud and immorality driven by a gutless media and an indifferent public. PVT's uncompromising approach to musical self-determination has never been this sharp, and especially never this political. The sound of the record itself is that of a stark digital future, but under the surface there's nostalgia for a different time, another way of thinking, another life. PVT are exploring. Expanding on expectations. They carry with them the bravery and courage of the old explorer with the tolerance and understanding of the new. And they want you to join them.

              The London 4-piece return with an album brimming with new sounds amid a vibrant energy, flecked with sublimely delicate, intimate spaces and recorded by Simon Raymonde (Bella Union / Cocteau Twins).

              At the core is a deep respect for the frailty of life and the nobility that can be observed in death. Sonar, a highly emotional Liela Moss vocal, delivers a poignant goodbye to a loved one, framed by a magnificent circular guitar hook around which organs, bass and drums carry prayer and eulogy. There are some maverick guest appearances throughout the record, Mark Lanegan, Raymonde himself, longterm TDS collaborator Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey/Gallon Drunk) and old friend Sam Windett from Archie Bronson Outfit is here also to duet with Liela on the wiry post-punk vibes of Side By Side.

              One of the many standouts on the album is Pacific, a hyper vigilant and introspective tale of travel and self-discovery, of the realisation that often silence is a better way to communicate than with words. Adding to the tension, a force that pulls you in deep throughout the album, is a beautiful melody at the start of the song played on the saw by Mara Carlyle who also lends her effortlessly fluid voice to this and Sonar.

              Despite these cameos, this is about The Duke Spirit, who in ten glorious songs, have resurfaced effortlessly and quietly, with one of the most exhilarating albums of this year.

              • Debut release from members of Wavves, Sweet Valley, Jeans Wilder 
              • Ten tracks of soaring harmonies over sludgy guitars.

              Brothers Joel Williams (Sweet Valley) and Nathan Williams (Wavves), alongside childhood best friend Andrew Caddick (Jeans Wilder), make music about loss that frays at the seams. Soaring harmonies over sludgy guitars and lush production create a sound all their own. “... a wooly slice of surf pop boasting enough fuzz on its fringes to leave listeners just a wee bit dazed.” -ConsequenceOfSound.



              1968. France, Incorporated. The entire building was being consumed by flames and was slowly collapsing. Nothing would survive. Out of the rubble of the old world jumped the children of Marx and Coca-Cola, ripping the white and blue stripes off the French flag. Yet, the socialist revolution was more mythic than real and music did nothing to mitigate people’s behavior. It was time for innovation. While singles from the Stones, Who, Kinks and MC5 provided an incendiary soundtrack for the revolution, it was black Americans who truly blew the world from its foundations in the 60s. Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Eric Dolphy, Albert Ayler and Archie Shepp left behind the jazz of their fathers’ generation, liberating the notes, trashing the structures, diving headfirst into furious improvisations, inventing a new land without boundaries - neither spiritual nor political. Free jazz endowed the saxophone with the power to destroy the established order.

              In 1969, the Art Ensemble of Chicago arrived at the Théâtre du Vieux Colombier in Paris and a new fuse was lit. Their multi-instrumentalism made use of a varied multiplicity of “little instruments” (including bicycle bells, wind chimes, steel drums, vibraphone and djembe: they left no stone unturned), which they employed according to their inspirations. The group’s stage appearance shocked as well. They wore boubous (traditional African robes) and war paint to venerate the power of their free, hypnotic music, directly linked to their African roots. They were predestined to meet up with the Saravah record label (founded in 1965 by Pierre Barouh), already at the vanguard of as-yet unnamed world music.

              Brigitte Fontaine’s album 'Comme à La Radio', recorded in 1970 after a series of concerts at the Théâtre du Vieux Colombier, substantiated the union of this heiress to the poetic and politically committed chanson française (Magny, Ferré, Barbara) with the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s voodoo jazz and the Arab tradition perpetuated by her companion Areski Belkacem. A UFO had landed on the turntables of French teens, who were discovering underground culture via publications like Actuel, Libération, Charlie Hebdo, rock and folk and a vigorous free press. It was a generation ready for any and all combats: alongside farmers on the Larzac plateau and the Lip factory workers; fighting the Creys-Malville nuclear plant, the Vietnam War, the death penalty, discrimination against women, gays and immigrants. For 20 year olds in the early 1970s, making music was a political act; they grabbed a microphone to advance a cause, not to become rock stars. While the price of oil skyrocketed and Pompidou went overboard building horrible concrete apartment buildings for public housing and “adapting the city for the automobile,” some took refuge in the countryside. Alternative communities formed all across France, giving rise to groups (or rather, collectives) with open-minded structures, cheerfully mixing music, theatrical happenings and agitprop, along with a good dose of acid. Projects bordering on the ridiculous were often tolerated (progressive rock was one of the primary banalities the era produced), while those who followed the route paved by spiritual jazz often ended up elsewhere. The vehemence (if not grandiloquence) of their declarations was carried and transcended by the finesse and brilliance of their musicianship. For the “straight” France of Claude François, it was something from another world.

              Simultaneously spatial, pastoral and tribal, the tracks in this collection represent an ideal intersection between a sort of psychedelic legacy, the space jazz of Sun Ra and afro-beat (then being created by Fela in Lagos): they are as much incantations (often driven by the spoken word), war cries or poems as they are polemics. 1978. Giscard was at the helm. Punk and disco were busily decapitating the last remaining hippies. Peoples’ blood was still boiling, but it was already too late. The war was over, lost without anyone noticing.

              Classic-era Rolling Stones. An amplified, rocking version of 60s protest folk. The raw spirit of indie rock. The soulful passion of the Violent Femmes and The Waterboys. All of these comparisons have been made in attempts to describe Southern California 5-piece Delta Spirit. Each description contains elements of the truth, but the real answer to the question 'Who is Delta Spirit?' lies within "Ode To Sunshine", the band's captivating debut. The group's DIY ethic shines throughout the album, with songs honed razor-sharp over a year of non-stop touring across America.

              Twelve slices of cool, sassy garage rock'n'roll veering between throbbing slo-mo tracks like the opener "Cuts Across The Land" and "You Were Born Inside My Heart" to spikier more uptempo tracks: "Fades The Sun" and the excellent "Lion Rip". All topped off with Liela Moss' great vocals at times reminiscent of PJ Harvey's best bluesy croon, at others more abrasive and occasionally, sweet and soulful.

              Red One

              Pitch Switch / Screwball

              Already receiving heavy rotation from the likes of Andy C (natch), Ed Rush & Optical, Fresh (BC) etc "Pitch Switch" is a tough stepper with a buzzing fly-trapped-in-the-mixing-desk style sound. "Screwball" on the flip is a bit funkier, but in a Ram style.

              Terri Lyne Carrington

              Jazz Is A Spirit

              One of the most satisfying and expressive modern jazz releases for some time. Herbie Hancock is on top form as is Gary Thomas on sax and undepinning it all is the wonderful drumming of Teri Lyne.

              Good Riddance

              Symptoms Of A Leveling Spirit

              Good Riddance are back with their fifth studio album and from the sound of it, it's another stormer. These boys can't slow down. A new drummer kicks them along and the quality of the songs is top notch. It's destined to become a punk rock classic, the Santa Cruz posse simply cannot be stopped!


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