A1. So Groovy
This time they give you a double header of '90s flips, turning two low-slung R&B and neo soul classics, usually set to add a little sauce to a warmup, into hot house, peaktime groovers with extra spice.
A1 – Caught
B1 - Don´t Ever
The concept label focuses primarily on vinyl releases, with previews of the tracks available online, but information about the artists only to be found within the record sleeve itself. Several weeks after the vinyl is out, there is a digital release that reveals who was behind the tracks. The roster ranges from new and emerging producers to more established artists looking to explore new sounds.
The label's second release, presents four glitched out expansive cuts taking in everything from warped jungle and twisted percussive workouts to cerebral techno and immersive IDM. With online personas often eclipsing the focus on music itself, here lies a return to form.
A1 - A1
A2 - A2
B1 - B1
B2 - B2
One side sees the mysterious mastermind take on some tropical boogie heat via ‘Hello You Yeah’ with the flip a cosmic disco warper in the form of ‘Just Be Yourself’. The sunkissed lilt, trilling synths and 'Hallelujah' chorus of the A-side is a summery sing-a-long which should make a lot of sense next to Neil Diablo's "High Emotion" while the rocking guitar, campish vocals and precision sleaze of the flip (originally a Nightlife Unlimited cut fact fans) has DJ Harvey written all over it. Two irresistible cuts that will be whipping crowds into a frenzy the world over.
A1 - Hello You Yeah
B1 - Just Be Yourself
On the A-side, Gil's heartbreaking and ultra funky "The Bottle" makes friends with a wonderfully syncopated house rhythm, imbued with extra bassweight and some well thought out loops for peak time club deployment. On the B-side we're in mash up territories as Aretha's empowerment anthem "RESPECT" acquaints itself with Chi Lites "My First Mistake" (I think, it's early and I haven't had my coffee yet) with spectacular results.
A1. The Bottle
B1. Love Is The Respect
On the A-side Brandi & Monica's harp-led hit "The Boy Is Mine" gets a bass heavy house tickle not too far away from that Kornel Kovacs flip from a few years back. On the flip, Mase's Bad Boy jam-a-thon, "Do You Wanna Get $?" gets housed the fuck up, arming the working DJ with a hip house update for the new decade.
B1. Wanna Get
One side is a saxy bumpty badman with some Cypress HIll acapellas, while the other straight dubbin, pure clubbing. Perfect combination, check it.
A1. Untitled (Vocal)
B1. Untitled (Dub)
1. Pathways To Unknown Worlds
2. View From A Mountain Top
3. Extension Out
A1. Take It Off
B2. Come And Get Her
Have you ever been trippin’ on Brandy? Well here’s your chance to get down… deep down. Served by two kings in the industry who wish to remain unnamed. Dropping the octaves and upping the opiates, the duo slow dance an R’n'B vocal through dewy pads and echoing perx, concocting a late night anthem for the club and the bedroom.
STAFF COMMENTSPatrick says: I'm sworn to secrecy about the headz behind this bop but rest assured they're a pair of European DJ royalty. Nabbing a choice Brandy vocal and pitching it down into serious narco territories, the duo concocts a sensuous midnight rumble somewhere between moody hip hop, slo mo house and cutting edge electronica. BIG TIP!
A1. I Wanna Be 5 Semitones Down
B1. I Wanna Be Instrumental
Primitive represented a stripped down and sonically heavyweight series of essential DJ tools, winning wide support from Techno an House DJ's alike & enduring - perhaps due to their raw, basic construction - way beyond their original inception.
On PRIM03, the mysterious producer leads us into psychedelic territories with a winding narcotic opener, garbled alien A2, pinging, zinging and subaquatic B1 and steppy insectile B2. All killer no filler folks.
Ditching the house for summat more grassy and organic, our trusted dancefloor chef touch up two invigorating slices of disco-boogie into a heady, full-throttle double A-side that's up their with Theo's Ugly Edits and Eric Duncan's COMBI edits.
Originals are completely unfamiliar to me too - only adding to its credentials. This series is on a proper roll - miss at your peril!
STAFF COMMENTSMatt says: Two crafty edits that really tease the dancefloor into a frothing pit of fun. Croatia may be cancelled this Summer but slap this one the backyard soundsystem and prepare to party!
A1. Steady On Now
B1. Not You Again?
On the A-side, "Baggage" boasts a skipping 4/4, warm bassline and magnificent sample manipulation as Mary J's unmistakable voice gets pitched up, looped and stretched into house heaven! On the flipside the mystery producers house the living fuck out of Raphael Saadiq and Q-Tip's "Get Involved", notching up another no nonsense slice of groove heavy house.
These recordings were then manipulated and constructed into rhythmic lines that were used as the basis for songs. The music, mixing noise with disciplined beat, embodies the paradoxical nature of the city: the grimy littered dead end alley just steps away from the sleek luxury skyscraper; the half eaten chicken bone being devoured by a rat on the subway tracks just beneath the glittering facade of the Chrysler building; the endless milling about of the 8 million people who call this slab of land home on their way to and from everywhere and nowhere. Informed by industrial innovators Einstürzende Neubauten and SPK, the avant garde post-punk of Tuxedomoon and the dub-electro of Cabaret Voltaire, the album vibrates with the energy of a sensually feral, raw beast.
3/a:CoNSTRUCT, B:CoNSTRUCT C:CoNSTRUCT (features Synth And Samples By Jim Coleman And Ambient Guitar By Jim Jarmusch)
8/Morning Memory 9/Illusion
Joy Division changed the face of music. Godfathers of the enduring alternative scene, they reinvented rock in the post-punk era, creating a sound - dark, hypnotic, intense - that would influence U2, Morrissey, R.E.M., Radiohead and many others. This is the rollercoaster story of Joy Division - the friendships, fights, fall-outs; the rehearsals and recording sessions; the larger than life characters - told by the band's legendary bassist, Peter Hook.
'Hook has restored a flesh-and-blood rawness to what was becoming a standard tale. Few pop music books manage that' - Guardian
Soul Jazz Records Presents: Kaleidoscope - New Spirits Known And Unknown
Featured artists include Matthew Halsall, Yazmin Lacey, Ill Considered, Tenderlonious, Theon Cross, Emma-Jean Thackray and many, many more in this ground-breaking release.
As well as sharing a pioneering spirit in these new artists’ approach to frontier-crossing musical boundaries, a further theme of this album is that many also share a determination to independent practices – and most of these artists’ recordings featured here are either self-published or released on independent labels. While the attention of this new wave of jazz artists up until now has been London-based, this album shows how this movement is spread across the whole of Britain (and indeed beyond).
‘Kaleidoscope – New Spirits Known and Unknown’ shows that while there is commonality in these artists’ approach to music, there is a wide variety of styles – from deep spiritual jazz, electronic experimentalisation, punk-edged funk, uplifting modal righteousness, deep soulful vocals and much more.
STAFF COMMENTSEmily says: It’s been a breathless few years for British jazz, with essential new artists appearing by the day on a plethora of labels up and down the country. Thankfully Soul Jazz are here to help us keep track, taking stock of the scene on this bumper triple vinyl collection.
1. Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra - When The World Was One (7.38)
2. Yazmin Lacey - 90 Degrees (4.16)
3. Hector Plimmer - Communication Control (3.04)
1. Ill Considered - Long Way Home (Live At The Crypt) (8.03)
2. The Expansions - Mosaic (6.58)
3. Chip Wickham - Red Planet (5.44)
1. Levitation Orchestra - Odyssey (9.26)
2. Emma-Jean Thackray’s WALRUS - Walrus (2.47)
3. Tenderlonious And The 22a Arkestra - The Shakedown (6.18)
1. Joe Armon-Jones & Maxwell Owin Featuring Nubya Garcia - Tanner's Tango (4.48)
2. Collocutor - Gozo (6.02)
3. Makaya McCraven - Untitled (3.14)
1. Nat Birchall - Ancient World (9.50)
2. Ruby Rushton - Moonlight Woman (9.05)
1. Ebi Soda - Dimmsdale (3.11)
2. The Cromagnon Band - Thunder Perfect (5.12)
3. SEED Ensemble - Mirrors (7.38)
BONUS 7" SINGLE (With Indies Exclusive Vinyl Only)
A. Vels Trio - Yellow Ochre (Part 1) (3.04)
AA. Ishmael Ensemble - Kito's Theme (4.15)
Partnering with cult South London based producers Kwake Bass and Wu-lu, Zara has created a futuristic sound palate, electronically recreating the pulsing, hypnotic rhythms Kumina and Nyabinghi – and the music played at African rooted rituals like the emancipation celebration Bruckins Party, and the lively death rites of Dinki Minki and Gerreh. These richly patterned electronic rhythms are balanced throughout by McFarlane’s distinctive, clear vocal tones, and vivid song writing.
Zara’s critically acclaimed third studio album ‘Arise’ met with universal critical praise, and was supported by an impressive live tour performing at festivals such as Love Supreme, Field Day and SXSW. Zara is the winner of multiple awards including a Mobo, 2 Jazz FM Vocalist of the Year Award (2018 & 2015), an Urban Music Award, and Session of the Year at Worldwide Awards. Drawing respect from a wide range of artists, Zara has collaborated with Gregory Porter, Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd and Louie Vega.
These new sonic explorations signal an exciting direction of travel for this innovative founding member of the UK’s vibrant homegrown jazz scene.
STAFF COMMENTSMillie says: Zara McFarlane’s striking album ‘Songs of an Unknown Tongue’ is a reflective, hypnotic release filled with rich tones of roots-reggae, futuristic soul and rapid jazz tempos. The standout track for me is “Future Echoes” beaming with vibrancy and paired alongside a deep bassline, its soaring highs accentuate her stunning vocals and lyrical song-writing prowess. This genre-fusing album is a work of art, accentuating her personal growth and reflective aura through captivating storytelling.
McFarlane’s rich and vivid vocals project a soothing, cathartic atmosphere, as though being awoken from a deep slumber – it feels warm and personal. Her vocal range is what takes your breath away, from steep impactful high-notes then fluctuating to deep, profoundly rich soft presence. It’s clear to see why Zara McFarlane has been highly regarded on the Brownswood label as one to watch, well here she is.
1. Everything Is Connected
2. Black Treasure
3. My Story
4. Broken Water
6. Run Of Your Life
7. State Of Mind
8. Native Nomad
9. Roots Of Freedom
10. Future Echoes
This first-ever vinyl reissue is all the evidence needed for how Clientelle followed their own path. Destination Unknown opens with the punky yet poppy ”Play To Win”. It’s followed by the more complex ”My Lady”, where a series of crescendos and softer passages are punctuated by stomping, glam-inclined sections. ”Can’t Forget” comes off like if the Small Faces had been a NWOBHM-act instead of kings of the 60’s modscene. The title track verges on prog rock, but retains a rockiness. ”Missing Persons” is straight-ahead rock, again with this poppiness. Instead of reacting to trends, Clientelle did their own thing – which is why Destination Unknown stands apart, and remains as fresh as when it was released.
Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Judas Priest and Saxon all got signed by majors and sold records galore, meanwhile bands in every village across England formed. Inspired by the energy and DIY attitude of the punk scene these acts recorded and released their records all on thieir own. Many acts self released singles and a few, like Clientelle, managed to cut a full-length album. OTD Records -who brought you the Jobcentre Rejects-series- are now proud to give you the full Clientelle story.
1. Play To Win
2. My Lady 3.
4. Destination Unknown
5. Nice Girl
2. Missing Persons
4. Missing Presumed Dead
The Delreys Incorporated / Oscar Wright
Destination Unknown / Fell In Love
Backed with Oscar Wright’s 1966 Hemisphere flipside, a notoriously rare and, when found, in poor condition 45. Taken from the original sound source, it goes for anywhere between £150 and £300. A funky northern gem with a Hendrix break - one of the great brass-led soul tearjerkers.
The Delreys Incorporated - ‘Destination Unknown’
Oscar Wright - ‘Fell In Love’
STAFF COMMENTSMatt says: Nice, slow, sludge cosmic-dirg here from two rapscallions of the scene. It doesn't get much muckier than this folks. Like smearing yourself in the various bodily fluids left in Berghain's infamous Dark Room.
1. Untitled 1
2. Untitled 2
1. The Creator Has A Master Plan (Peace)
4. Song For My Father
1. Damn Nam (Ain't Goin' To Vietnam)
2. Malcolm's Gone
3. Let The Rain Fall On Me
“Mobile Sorcery” could be his most rhythmically diverse 12” yet, recorded in just a couple of weekends it breaks free from 4 to the floor, experimenting confidently with syncopation, voices dipping in and out of focus. The opener "Broke Melt" presents a driving bassline filled with attitude; flickers of glistening synth arpeggios to soften the clanging drum patterns, working in harmony with delicate top lines. The hypnotic haze of textures carries through the record, "Sorcery" lifting in energy; shooting stabs, ricocheted sub bass filling the space between commanding snares. The beat tool of "Sorcery" strips the track back to the essentials, resulting in a perfect tool for DJ’s building tension. Surprisingly keeping the essence of the tune whilst offering hints of a more dubbed, percussive sound.
The B Side explores more of these unconventional rhythmic themes whilst highlighting the power of melody. "Heavenly Depression" accurately depicting it’s title, pulling on the struggle of your emotions through an ever-progressing lead woven tightly over sweeping pads. The closing track "Wilders Lake" ties the record together cohesively, lifted stabs to calm the tripped out percussion swooping in and out, growling bass alluding to darkness. The EP blends genres to create new feelings from familiar foundations, channeling Detroit inspired grit and emotion; well rounded to suit hazed and hedonistic dancefloors.
A1. Broke Melt
A3. Sorcery (Bonus Beats)
B1. Heavenly Depression
B2. Wilder's Lake
"Night Selector" is pure '93-era badness, with a stretched Amen powering through atmospheres and bells - big vibe in the place when this one drops massive.
"Light In The Ghetto" switches tact straight into break-hardcore territory, endorphine-rushing, sped-up female vox, deep pads and a Prodigy-styled rave line. One for the original Bowlers / Dreamscape cru....
Finally, "Lobster P" is a frenzied, Jeep-friendly jungle roller with rumbling subs, assault rifle beats and wild leads. When the drums fully launch their attack there's nowhere to hide!
STAFF COMMENTSMatt says: Trunk rumblin' jeep business straight outta mid 90s UK here as the excellent Bring Back label revisit another classic bit of heritage and replicate in authentic style. All the massive!
A1. Night Selector
B1. Light In Ghetto
B2. Lobster P
Since the late 1980s he has concentrated on solo projects and collaborations, including Massacre with Bill Laswell and Fred Frith. Begin Anywhere is his brand new solo album and shows a different side to the Charles Hayward we know. The drum set is left in the corner, and instead we get fragile yet powerful songs on piano and voice. A very personal Hayward album, let yourself be surprised.
'The Sea' continues the desert stagger until a white light beams down opening up a portal to your subconscious and your bad deeds spring forth. 'Beginners' makes feeling of claustrophobia tingle with a forlorn wail following your every move. The light finally begins to raise again with 'Human Beings' although briefly until darkness descends with 'Teddy Bear'. Desperately trapped but once you let yourself go movement flows freely. This is it. At just over 8 minutes long 'Dracila' is the one that stretches time and builds on everything gone before. 'Nike' ebbs and flows with a worldly understanding and rounding the LP off in an enlightened state.
The cover says it all. There was an ecstasy tablet going around London a couple of years ago, unbeknownst to the band, bearing their name and logo. Reports say the experience was like witnessing HENGE live - claustrophobic but downright beautiful. Bandcamp listed them in the Top Ten UK Noise Rock Bands alongside Terminal Cheesecake, GNOD, US Nails, Casual Nun etc so they must be doing something right.
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: Definitely not typical UMO this, but absolutely brimming with feeling and focused on an entirely different aspect of their sound. Though they are by no means avant-garde, the more meandering ruminations of their melodic forays are exacerbated on this release, breaking into the realms of jazzy ambience, eastern flow and hypnotic woodwind. A completely surprising but thoroughly enjoyable change. Lovely stuff.
1. Hanoi 1
2. Hanoi 2
3. Hanoi 3
4. Hanoi 4
5. Hanoi 5
6. Hanoi 6
7. Hanoi 7
Ruban’s vision of creating “junkshop record collector pop” culminated in the creation of sprawling Beatles-esque guitar melodies over hammered out break-beats, spliced with an individual touch of gentle weirdness. The results deliver a surprisingly unified fusion of several influential elements - classic psychedelic rock, Krautrock rhythms and proto-hip hop beats – all interacting to create a cohesive album.
Though the songs were never intended to be performed live, the last six months has seen the project gather pace behind a wave of critical acclaim. A sold-out limited edition EP lead Ruban to construct a live band consisting of skilled producer Jake Portrait on bass and a brilliant teenage drummer named Julien Ehrlich.
3. Thought Ballune
4. Jello And Juggernauts
5. How Can You Luv Me
6. Nerve Damage!
7. Little Blu House
8. Strangers Are Strange
9. Boy Witch
A God Called Hubris
Major League Chemicals
Ministry Of Alienation
Chronos Feasts On His Children
The Internet Of Love (That Way)
Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays
How Many Zeros
Not In Love We’re Just High
If You’re Going To Break Yourself
But fans of Heartless Bastards need not worry. The band has not broken up. "We'd been going for so long and everyone in the band was just ready for a little break. But I had songs in me that needed to come out. I didn't think it was fair to push them to keep going and I didn't want to do it without them under the band name," explains Wennerstrom, who enlisted the help of HB's Jesse Ebaugh to play bass on 8 of the 9 tracks on Sweet Unknown.
While Wennerstrom has always been honest the Heartless Bastards songs she's written, the 9 tracks that make up Sweet Unknown are even more personal and reflective, and for her, quite transformative as well.
The album kicks off with the feel-good roadtrip vibes of "Twisted Highway," which Wennerstrom says sums up her musical journey on Sweet Unknown. On the somber psych-rocker "Staring Out the Window," the artist digs even deeper into the inner workings of her mind. The upbeat and optimistic "Letting Go" epitomizes that experience. "Good To Be Alone" is just one sonic outcome of a formative trip to Big Bend taken soon after the band decided to go on hiatus.
With Sweet Unknown, Erika Wennerstrom bravely invites the listener in to experience her trials and tribulations of life amist a cozy soundscape of deeply emotive vocals and melodies to what is ultimately the soundtrack to her soul.
I was the first music critic to write about Sub Pop Records, and to this day do not understand why Tad and Dickless didn’t get to be the biggest bands on the planet. Entertainment Weekly reckoned I was “the man who discovered grunge” (1992) but that would imply that I lifted up a rock and there it was underneath, scuttling
busy. Kurt Cobain called me the “biggest rock star critic in the world”, but he was being sarcastic doubtless. Jonathan Donahue of Mercury Rev called me “our generation’s Lester Bangs,” but frankly I’m better than that. I founded two self-published magazines in the 2000s—Careless Talks Costs
Lives and Plan B Magazine. One sold enough to keep several of us off the dole for several years, the other didn’t. Both were fantastic, mostly down to other contributors aside from me. =
I have written several books, a couple of which are still in print (the ones on the Ramones and Nirvana). The Electrical Storm (illustrations by reclusive French genius Vincent Vanoli) is a collection of stories from my life. A collection of short stories, with the names often omitted because I am intrigued as to whether they stand up without a famous name attached. If you think about them enough, mostly it is obvious who they are about.
I have long been a proponent of DIY culture and so, rather than going for the big bucks, I crowdfunded the book via Indiegogo.
Otherwise known as Grunge: My Part in its Downfall, being an attempt to recollect a life probably best forgotten, the life of Everett True. Sad racy stories. Downbeat enthusiasm. Funny, cruel, clever, brutally honest ... once you’ve read this, you will never be able to take music criticism seriously again. Like you ever did.
Having built a fanbase with her debut album ‘Spark. Burn. Fade’, Correatown’s listeners continued to grow through her work in TV and film music and her collaboration with Tom Brosseau as Les Shelleys. ‘Pleiades’ saw Correatown expanding both her global audience and her sonic horizons.
Correatown’s new album reflects and revels in change and evolution. Songs wonder about purpose, wonder about the future and wonder if this is all that there is. Without answers to these questions, the music implores us to ‘Embrace The Fuzzy Unknown’.
The album was produced by Angela Correa and Dan Long (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Son Volt, TV On The Radio).
Correatown’s music has appeared on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘Ugly Betty’, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘Private Practice’ and films ‘The Lucky One’ and ‘Admission’.
Beautifully crafted ethereal pop music that will appeal to fans of Feist, Regina Spektor and Best Coast.
Eyes To The Sky
Babybird (Wonder And Dream)
They have now achieved this with their debut album... The New Sound.
The Pirates use the latest computer technology and some incredibly talented musicians to make a symphony of psychedelic sounds. Each song explores a different a genre ensuring the listener is taken on a trip through new musical possibilities.
Their live show is an eccentric mix of Pirate cabaret and tantalising circus performance, including fire performance and ariel arts.
So far their quest has taken them around UK, Europe, Asia and Africa performing at various festivals and events.
Will you join their crew?
Performers // Josh Lisiuk - Vocals / Luke Slater - Ableton, Synthesizer, Kaoss Pads, Bazooki, Samples, Effects & VST's / Martyn Jarmin - Guitar, Bass Guitar / Happie - Percussion / Elliot Slater - Saxaphone / Anna Lowenstein - Violin / Tom Moon - Trumpet, Melodica, Accordion / John Lisiuk - Mandolin / Ben Of The Green - Didgeridoo
STAFF COMMENTSRyan says: Finally a new arrrtist with a new sound. Plenty of hooks without going overboard. On sail now.
2. Day Of The Lords
5. New Dawn Fades
6. She's Lost Control
10. I Remember Nothing
Multi-Love adds dimensions to the band’s already kaleidoscopic approach, with Nielson exploring a newfound appreciation for synthesizers. The new songs channel with the spirit of psych innovators without ignoring the last 40 years of music, forming a flowing, cohesive whole that reflects restless creativity. Cosmic escapes and disco rhythms speak to developing new vocabulary, while Nielson’s vocals reach powerful new heights.
“It felt good to be rebelling against the typical view of what an artists is today, a curator,” he says. “It’s more about being someone who makes things happen in concrete ways. Building old synthesizers and bringing them back to life, creating sounds that aren’t quite like anyone else’s. I think that’s much more subversive.”
STAFF COMMENTSAndy says: Better bottom-end for the funky psych-groovers. Their last album was well loved here, looks like this is gonna top it!
2. Like Acid Rain
3. Ur Life One Night
4. Can’t Keep Checking My Phone
5. Extreme Wealth And Casual Cruelty
6. The World Is Crowded
7. Stage Or Screen
8. Necessary Evil
The 5 track E.P. consolidates the duo’s brooding aesthetic “Effortlessly uniting a fairytale of dark underground disco, minimal techno and ethereal pop” The 405.
Sixteen years gives you time to hone your craft. Master it, maybe not, but there is a clarity of purpose and a confidence that can only be bought with time. Liz Hysen - along with her rotating crew of collaborators - has been making music under the name Picastro for 16 years and You is a brilliant distillation of the project’s aesthetic. With a voice that shifts shape from track to track, moment to moment, Hysen is alternately enchanting and harrowing. Fables, rituals and even the living dead provide fodder for her incantations and yet there is a dark warmth to it all. Playing lullabies and whispering in your ear like some spirits found deep in the wilderness, they want to guide you home.
Sudden Death of Stars are from the medieval city of Rennes, France, which may explain why they sound like monks playing modern day Velvet Underground, Os Mutantes and Pentangle. Formed in 2010, they were complete as a band when they happened upon the only sitarist west of Paris.
James Endeacott A&R guru who signed The Strokes & The Libertines says: “garage, Nuggets, mushroom tea and a head full of dreams - heaven.”
STAFF COMMENTSAndy says: Rich voice and dextrous guitar make this local talent one to look out for.
This mini album really does tick all of the right boxes… Well written music, timeless in the sense that it feels like you could have known these songs your entire life. Adam is every ounce the modern day troubadour being compared to the likes of Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams & Johnny Cash but with an extremely modern day take on acoustic music and how far you can push the boundaries within a genre, if you're into your singer song writers, then you'll like this.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra came to life in basements and bedrooms after Nielson moved from his native New Zealand to Portland, Oregon with his family. Following the recruitment of bassist Jacob Portrait, new drummer Greg Rogove and a deal with Jagjaguwar, UMO toured the US with Grizzly Bear and Liars.
‘II’ builds on the breakbeat, junk shop charm the 32-year-old multi-instrumentalist and songwriter came to be renowned for following his self-titled 2011 debut, and signals the solidification of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s position as an endlessly intriguing, brave psychedelic band. Unknown Mortal Orchestra is unafraid to dig deeper than the rest, to lock into their intoxicating, opiate groove and bring rock ‘n’ roll’s exaggerated myths to life.
Written during a punishing, debauched touring schedule during which Nielson feared for his sanity and health, ‘II’ illustrates the emotional turmoil of life on the road, painting surrealist, cartoonish portraits of loneliness, love and despair.
These conflicting themes are evident immediately; on the album’s sleeve is an unnerving image of Janet Farrar, the famous British witch Wiccan, author and teacher of witchcraft. The chilling refrain of opener ‘Into The Sun’ sees Nielson deliver the line “Isolation can put a gun in your hand,” softly, his words starkly intelligible above a warm, slow-burning melody that quickly brands itself onto your brain. His playful imagery (“I’m so lonely I’ve gotta eat my popcorn all alone”) mirrors the melody, before a solo that borders on psychotropic ends ‘II’s introduction.
As it unfolds, ‘II’ does find Nielson reenergized. ‘One At A Time’ and ‘Faded In The Morning’ boast dizzying choruses and instrumentals - these crusty hunks could have been excavated from a lost 1960s treasure trove. ‘Monki’ unravels over seven minutes like the yarn from a stoner’s cardigan with an eye-frying pattern. ‘Dawn’ is a minute of disconcerting noise that stands out between the nooks and crannies of the choruses, guitar solos, groove-heavy bass and drums that were recorded live by newly-recruited drummer Greg Rogove and Kody Nielson in a move away from the electronic percussion employed on album one. ‘II’ closes with ‘Secret Xtians’, a tender observational puzzle that fizzes to a satisfied end.
Pulling Pink Floyd, The Family Stone, The Beatles and the Soft Machine through his warped rock ‘n’ roll filter, Nielson has created a collection of expressive psychedelia. Unknown Mortal Orchestra was once Nielson’s closeted concern. With an album that uses his singular musical imagination and extraordinary talent to parade his emotions with unyielding honesty, it is now a fully realized band operating at the peak of its powers.
‘II’ is the follow up and refinement to 2011’s self-titled, critically adored debut (released by Fat Possum and True Panther Sounds).
STAFF COMMENTSAndy says: UMO's 2011 debut LP was a one-man, bedroom curio layering sun-kissed psych-pop over chunky break beats. Expanded to a three piece, the live drummer brings an untutored looseness to the band’s sound which perfectly suits the laid-back, mellow vibe of these tunes. Ruban Neilson has made a beautiful night time record; hazy, blurred and luminous. And it still has that home-studio charm: lo-fi, fuzzy and whimsical, but the psych is now the Beatles, the blues a freaked-out Marc Bolan and there's a soulfulness that recalls early ‘70s Curtis Mayfield; a gorgeous blend. Curtis comparisons extend to Ruban's guitar playing too; seemingly meandering, carefree explorations reveal themselves to be intricately worked out, melodic lines that spill into each other, sometimes with a whiff of prog, sometimes even jazz. Mixed with the white-soul and garage, plus (inter)stellar melodies, you have one funky little nugget, a dazed and dreamy gem of an album.
1. From The Sun
2. Swim And Sleep (Like A Shark)
3. So Good At Being In Trouble
4. One At A Time
5. The Opposite Of Afternoon
6. No Need For A Leader
9. Faded In The Morning
10. Secret Xians
Hailing from the deep south (in the UK!), Blackbombers combine a whole lineage of rock ‘n’ roll history in true contemporary style; foot to the floor rockers meet dirty blues and distorted melody……
Pirahnahead - Belle Isle 2 8Mile
1. Klearvision Ft. Nina Simone – Black Is The Color
2. MJB & Chaka Khan – Disrespectful (Jovonn Mix)
3. MJB – PMS (Quentin Harris Mix)
4. Pirahnahead – Self:Con-Science
5. Tito Puente – Ran Kan Kan (Bonus Beats)
6. Dennis Ferrer – P 2 Da J
7. Dajae – Brighter Days (MAW Mix)
8. Lood – Shout N Out (MAW Mix)
9. Diplomats Of Soul – Someday We'll All Be Free
10. RSL – The Mast
11. Roger Troutman / Zapp – I Heard It Through The Grapevine
12. Funkadelic – Knee Deep
13. Change – A Lover's Holiday
14. Chic – Good Times
As one reviewer reflected, ‘Herring bridges that difficult divide between “popular music”, melody and “legitimate” rock with effortless aplomb... John can easily be compared to the likes of Kurt Wagner and Nick Drake as a master craftsman both lyrically and musically.”
'Thru the gates of forever and into the frozen vapours of Mannattan's minimal electronic monolith in the night, Further Reductions, Shawn O'Sullivan (of Led Er Est knowings) and collaborator Katie Rose are weaving a web of reverberatory wonderment. One of not just a few of the minimal synth couple outfit armies to emerge from New York's ever living and breathing clan of the same epithet, this masculine/feminine dream drone dichotomy's synthesized incantations drift like gleaming analogue jewels of dark incandescent dance dew. Voices with the echoes of youth sung wistfully into in the well and steeped in the myst of minor discord float inside Familiar Flights'. - La Maladie Tropicale.
138 NEW ITEMS
Darius Syrossian / George Smeddles / Morpei & Manu Gonzalez / Lucas AlexanderMoxy Muzik Editions Vol 1
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