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The songs on Some Waking Woman come up like ragged wildflowers in the unnameable heel of wasteland between the end house of the terrace and the already-dated concrete and plastic of the new business park. The songs come up from the hot gap between the weird dissociative dreamscape and the phone-alarm of a slate Tuesday morningtime. They look out from the record with a gaze that's lost between doe-eyed affection and a murky voyeurism. They're made of a music caught between the battered nylon-string and a layered orchestration turning between lush and gritty.

It's between the pottery and the calcified dogshit, between the filthy rebels and the eerie loyalists, between the probable cause of an action not quite either the Frenchman's crime of passion or the English barfight. It's a record of between-ness - like, this is just between us, right It's the same gap between the ballad and the mumbled apology, the love song and the exasperated sigh. My trousers have been pulled down in the playground again. Tsk. I love you and all of love turns out to be a colossal shitshow. Tsk.

Some Waking Woman isn't an anthem nor an elegy, although it has moments of both. It isn't quite in the gutter, but it's sure as hell not looking at the stars - the album has its gaze locked on the school playground, or the overgrown tarmac country-road corner, or another identical dawn colouring in the PVC windowframes. In the hands of O. D. Davey, the ordinary surfaces of a life like the one everyone actually has are made to glimmer weirdly with the inevitable love, misery and resignation underneath them.

These are touching, intricate ballads with melodies of nursery-rhyme sweetness, as reimagined by a failed gameshow host humming his old theme-tunes as he staggers back home pissed after closing time. But they're songs of love, for all that, his daughters haven't called in months. The sense is that these narrators have more love than they know what to do with, move love than they can trust themselves to handle, more love than they can believe in. Davey handles the flaws and imperfections and fractures of day-to-day living, finds the gap and digs in. This is an attention paid to the agonising and lovely awkward corners of life that don't get talked about. This is a record as in an LP, but a record too in the sense of a setting down of something true.

TRACK LISTING

1: Some Waking Woman
2: Every Rebel Campaign
3: Two Fingers Flicked
4: The Way Home
5: Holy Land
6: Crash
7: The Blue Note
8: The Mustard Cloud
9: This Time
10: A Right Honorable Friend

Perhaps fitting for a band Conceived in a monastery in Upper Vienna, Hearts Hearts create beautiful, elegiac songs which live at the intersection of classical and contemporary electronic and pop music.

Coming a generation after their spiritual forebearers like The Notwist and Radiohead, Hearts Hearts do not so much repeat or pay homage to these artists, but instead build upon them and ask how much has changed in the decade since there and then.

Anchored by Österle’s voice and as likely to evoke Sigur Ros as Flying Lotus, their debut album Young is an album about experimentation and observation - literate, sophisticated, but vulnerable and warm.
The songs on Young resemble miniature symphonies in their composition and dynamic scope, where surprising choices create a sense of tension and provocation. Tension that is so evident in the icy, melancholy “AAA” which pairs skittery, propulsive odd-time signature beats with long, legato cello lines to form a sweeping, moving aural landscape, or the racing machine heart of the title track “Young” with its mechanical beats straining against Österle’s yearning vocals. And the R&B-influenced “I Am In” which shows the band in a moment of reflection, sensual and human.

And this sense of tension and release, is reflected in the lyrics and, indeed, the concept for the album as a whole. «Young deals with the familiar patterns we find ourselves in life, the constrictions that come with that, and most of all, the attempt of breaking through, to temporarily stop going through the motions.» says David Österle, lead singer and writer. «Our lives are so over-defined and over-structured (that) we are measuring and weighing and then cutting off what’s undefined. And in reaction to all this, we are seeking spaces of temporary escape.»


TRACK LISTING

1. The World Was My Oyster
2. Bent Pyramid
3. I Am In
4. AAA
5. Potemkinsche Dörfer
6. Blood Level
7. Young
8. Inner Market Hunter Limits 10.If

Skeletons were born in Ohio, in the belly of a music school located in the state's poorest county. After self-releasing three long-players on the Shinkoyo label, they refined their particular brand of pop music with the release of "Git" as Skeletons & the Girl Faced Boys. Dispersing across the big country after each tour, the band was drawn one-by-one to New York City and eventually needed a new headquarters. They found an old empty sweatshop, built rooms, dangerously dabbled in electrical work, put in a washing machine and the now infamous "Silent Barn" was born. They hosted shows and recorded the acclaimed "Lucas" there, credited to Skeletons & the Kings of All Cities, and named after the town in Kansas where the Garden of Eden is. After years of physical and psychological testing, touring as a trio, quintet, octet or more, which sometimes changed its name between songs on stage, the Skeletons band is now four: Jonathan Leland, Tony Lowe, Jason McMahon and Matt Mehlan.

Various Artists / David Shrigley

Worried Noodles

    'I didn't make a record. I couldn't be bothered to make a record. It would have been too difficult. It was easier not to make a record.' So says cult artist David Shrigley of the original "Worried Noodles", a lyric book from 2006. Formatted in glorious 12" format, the one missing element was music. Now, a selection of stellar musicians including David Byrne, Franz Ferdinand, Hot Chip, Deerhoof, Liars, TV On The Radio and Final Fantasy have endeavoured to finish the job, turning Shrigley's lyrics into fully-fledged songs, exclusively available on this album. The result - titled "Worried Noodles" after the original songbook - is a unique and unprecedented marriage of art and music, and one of the year's finest compilations.


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