Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Optimo



Mule Musiq has set up a new label by the name of "endless flight".
This label will feature releases that will crossover the borders of
music.
The first release will be handled by "Optimo", known for their first
Mix CD "How to Kill The DJ Vol.2" released from the label "Kill The DJ"
and their second mix cd "Psyche Out" released from "Eskimo".
They have also set up a regular event, "OPTIMO", at the "Sub Club", a
club in their hometown Glasgow. In the past 9 years the party has
featured artists such as
Rapture, Liquid Liquid, ESG, Franz Ferdinand and over 120 other bands.
It has also featured DJs such as Harvey and Ivan Smagghe. The party
itself has become
known as one of the best parties around the world and collects a large
gathering every week.
The group has been called all over globe, from big festivals to small
parties. Their new release from "Endless Flight" will be a mix cd
consisting of Industrial,
New Wave, Techno and Minimal House. A smooth blend of music which can
best be described as a session between Mouguai and Ricardo Villalobos.
This release will not only feature some of the best club hits, playing
at the clubs right now, but it will also feature the original world of
"Optimo".

Walkabout

tracklisting:
1.Throbbing Gristle/Walkabout (MUTE/ Industrial)
2.Grungerman/Grungerman (Profan)
3.Pansonic/Hapatus (MUTE)
4.Databrain/Electrofrogs (Pin-Up Records)
5.Like A Tim/Aibe Stracie (DJax)
6.Lenny Dee & Nicolai Vorkapich/The Virus (Nugroove/ Empire Music Werks)
7.Philus/Kuvio 3 (Sahko)
8.Shane Berry/Fillertet 2 (Trapez)
9.Boris/My Machine(Diwphalanx)
10.Godsy/The Grass Runs Red(Whatever We Want Records)
11.Suicide/Radiation (Ze Records)
12.Eventell and Metaboman/Control a zoid(Musik Krause)
13.Thomas Brinkmann/Momomexico(Max Ernst)
14.6k/Tighten(Pi Recordings)
15.Marc Houle/Bay of Figs(Minus)
16.Herbert/Moving Like A Train (Smith & Hack Remix) (Studio K7)
17.Black Dice/Manoman (DFA)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Studio



Studio is Dan Lissvik & Rasmus Hägg.

Yearbook #1

ENJOY!!

Milenasong


The daughter of Norwegian and Slovenian parents, she spent her childhood in south Germany and as a youth lived in Oslo, which is also where she first pressed the record button on her four track. After that came art school in England and Berlin, part-time jobs, the life-style of an uncertain existence, but also friends for life and much collaboration with people from the local as well as international folk music scene. And during all these years the cassette tape was constantly flowing over the audio head of her multi-track, and a sound archive started to take shape of which previously only excerpts had been heard in public. A series of lovingly hand-finished, extremely limited edition CDs touched the hearts and ears of selected music freaks - this provided that little bit of publicity every new artist needs to begin with so as not to just give up, press the stop button and leave their work unfinished.

But that wasn't meant to be and the Berlin label Monika Enterprise made an offer, the first result of which is "Can't Tape Forever", a 10" the title of which says so much. This record will be followed early 2007 with the debut album release. It was recorded in London's Golden Hum studios and will bear the name "Seven Sisters", with guest appearances by Dark Captain / Light Captain and Sculpture among others. The record took on its final form in Bernd Jestram's (Tarwater) studio where he mixed the songs together with Milenasong and legendary folk pioneer Jeff Tarlton.

Having completed mixing the album in late summer 2006 Milenasong took the time to play some concerts (among other with Matt Elliott) and complete a very successful mini-tour. Her unbelievable presence during performances for which she uses diverse instruments, of course her unmistakable voice and a loop-station which allows her to create ever new variations of the songs mesmerizes audiences and has already won over quite a flock of fans for Milenasong.

The songs on “Seven Sisters” unravel, as if written by a delicate hand on rice paper, stories which border between dreams and realty. Stories that are as old as the sun but different every time like each new phase of the moon. The vocal melodies flicker like eyelids in REM sleep and her unusual voice is a whole choir in itself. Milenasong's music weaves together Norwegian folklore, English folk rock, forgotten memories and poetry. In her work she unites the unutterable with clarity. Music-historically her sound is related to such people as His Name Is Alive, Sandy Denny, This Mortal Coil, Roy Harper and Vashti Bunyan. While contemporary artists from whom she takes
inspiration include Les Mouches, Animal Collective, Matt Elliott, Diane Cluck and The Liars. Her vision is complete and she knows how to use it.

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy


The second installment of Will Oldham songs recorded under his nom de plume of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Ease Down the Road finds Oldham playing his quintessential role as the crack-voiced acoustic troubadour. He is backed by a drunken choir and a rickety orchestra featuring, among others, brother Ned Oldham, avant-garde director Harmony Korine, Papa M's David Pajo, and a gaggle of longtime musical comrades from Oldham's first group, Palace. In comparison to the first Bonnie "Prince" album--the spectral I See a Darkness--the mood is warm, playful, and concerned mainly with love, infidelity, and the joys of the flesh; "She's a fine looking lady, and she likes to go down on me," croaks Oldham on "A King at Night," "And I like to go down on her too..." Lewdness aside, though, there's much to recommend Oldham's latest incarnation as a serious artist, rather than some lo-fi freak, suitable only for a niche audience; the lazy, sleep-encrusted love balladry of "Break of Day" drags on the castoffs of a raggedly clothed Bob Dylan, while "After I Made Love to You" gently embraces the gospel tradition, albeit a gospel to the joys of infidelity, with Oldham whispering of "doing something filthy / in a rented room tonight".

Flaming Lips



Starting with either a sample or a cool replication of a legendary one-off line in the Beatles' "Revolution No. 9" -- "Take this, brother, may it serve you well!" -- the Lips dive head-on into rock dreams on Oh My Gawd!!! Coyne's sudden resemblance vocally to Paul Westerberg is its own curiosity, but the Replacements never quite got so fried -- drunk, yes, but not fried. The cover, one weird-ass collage of skullmonsters, random photographs of landscapes, dogs and things, and, on the back, somebody literally burning up serves to set the mood just as much as the rampaging fun of "Everything's Exploding." The same combination of this and that which made Hear It Is a fun listen takes precedence here -- Coyne and company can strum along softly or crank everything up to ten and back as they please, and they do. Coyne's knack for utterly brilliant song titles also takes full life here -- how else to explain such hilarities as "Maximum Dream for Evil Knievel" or the flatly phrased "Prescription: Love," a groovy mindbender and arty rave-up all at once. While the Lips here are still a rock band par excellence, evidence of the band's increasing ambition kicks in with the simultaneously mocking and celebratory Pink Floyd vibes of "One Million Billionth of a Millisecond on a Sunday Morning." All ten minutes of it should really be on Ummagumma -- Richard English's drums are pure Nick Mason from the get-go -- but darn if it doesn't sound equally great here, as Coyne idly wonders what to do with himself in the time allotted. Other songs throw in everything from Led Zeppelin drum stomps to Mountain/Deep Purple raspy rock bellowing and more besides -- theoretically everything mid-'80s American indie rock wasn't, making the Lips that much more of a fun, unique trip.

Roberta Flack



Although originally released in 1969, FIRST TAKE languished in obscurity until noted jazz fan Clint Eastwood chose Roberta Flack's haunting, minimalist reinterpretation of Scottish folkie Ewan MacColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" to score a love scene in his 1972 film PLAY MISTY FOR ME. Latter-day fans of that single and Flack's later smooth soul hits might be surprised at the overall sound of FIRST TAKE. Recorded with a small combo of jazz giants--guitarist John Pizzarelli, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Ray Lucas, with Flack on piano--and produced by Atlantic's house eccentric Joel Dorn, FIRST TAKE is a jazz album with soul and pop influences. The recording has more in common with Nina Simone, or even Dorn's work with eclectic reedsman Rahsaan Roland Kirk, than mainstream soul divas of the 1970s. Flack's utterly controlled, elegant vocal style and her churchy piano chords root this album, which has a stately power and deliberate grace even at its most soulful--particularly on a call-and-response version of the spiritual "I Told Jesus" and the heartbreaking "Angelitos Negros."

Echoboy



Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Richard Warren is the driving force behind Echoboy, a psychedelic electronic project influenced by Bob Dylan, Television, Kraftwerk and the Chemical Brothers. The Nottingham, England native was also the singer/songwriter/guitarist for the Hybirds, who disbanded soon after their critically-acclaimed self-titled debut album was released in 1998. During the group's dissolution, Warren began working on Echoboy material and even handed out copies of the first single, Flashlegs, at the Hybirds' final gigs. Later that year Warren released the debut album Echoboy on his own Point Blank imprint

Songs of Green Pheasant


Songs Of Green Pheasant is the work of Duncan Sumpner, a 30-year-old artist / teacher from Oughtibridge in Sheffield. His self-titled debut album was released on FatCat in August 2005, and drew widespread praise, gaining admiration from Devendra Banhart, Múm, and Vetiver, and making many people’s lists as an outsider ‘album of the year’. What emerged on that record was something fragile, yet coherent and utterly charming. With a warm cloudy depth, sweet melodies and some gorgeous vocal harmonising, it was a set of simply beautiful, beautifully sung and played songs.

Again created rural isolation on the rim of the Peak District, some of the tracks include the playing of friends, but other than the odd bit of instrumentation it was entirely written and recorded by Duncan again. With obvious differences in production as well as feel, tracks exist independently of one another in a chronological and musical sense, with each having been made purposefully as a response to something that happened in Duncan’s life at that particular time. The most obvious example being The Beatles cover, ‘Dear Prudence’ which was made when he was asked to contribute to a Radio One evening show commemorating John Lennon’s death with cover versions of the ‘White Album’. The rest stemmed from the desire to turn a thought or feeling into a tangible hard copy... ‘Remembering and Forgetting’ began from Duncan reading a newspaper article about teenage killers; ‘Brody Jacket’ is a lament about finally throwing out a much-loved coat he had worn for the previous 7 years; ‘Wintered’ is about the misplaced personal faiths and mythologies we make up as young people.

Whilst there is no real intended thematic connection, there is an overall theme to the record, with Duncan describing tracks as “musical jottings of certain times (however irrelavent) and for me are kind of little candles that light up and stretch out across those 3 or 4 years illuminating those pockets of time....I can remember clearly where I was, what I was doing what the weather was like etc something i would have no chance of doing if i hadn't considered it important enough to make a song ..”

“Hence the title which i think suggests the drifting irrellevance of these things versus the romantic human desire to make something out of them.”

Where ’Songs Of Green Pheasant’ was tagged as yet another outsider / neo- folk release, its sphere of reference lay closer to an uneven lineage of artists like Butterfly Child, Talk Talk / Mark Hollis, Pan American, Simon and Garfunkel, Flying Saucer Attack, Jewelled Antler Collective, Richard Youngs, and Galaxie 500. Whilst certain of these tracks retain the feel of that album, others hint at the future, and musically SOGP has clearly moved on. The newer tracks (recorded now in 8-track) show a richer, more sparkling production, and overall it isnt anywhere near as folky as before.

Aerial Days

Monday, January 29, 2007

Manual




Blissful second album from Mr Jonas Munk known better as Manual. Having caressed our preconceptions with the fraglility of acoustic instrumentation on his debut Hobby Industries 12", and then honing his melodic sensibilites with his very well received debut full length ‘Until Tomorrow’ for Morr Music, we now have the eagerly anticipate follow up - ‘ascend’. The artwork by Jan Kruse plays with similar imagery to Fennesz's ‘Endless Summer’ and in some ways these albums share much in common, both offering life affirming electronic music for the masses to enjoy. It would be no lie to refer to Manual's music as euphoric, melodies that tug at the heart strings blending in with unobtrusive rhythms and subdued vocal drops. In fact many moments hit the emotional heights that the finest work of Sigur Ros has hinted at, with the acoustic/electronic lines becoming so blurred that it's hard at times to separate the two. This is reflective music, an album one of the very few current electronic music artists who have paved their own unique path, it will enrich your record collection and is another hit for Morr Music. Sink into it with confidence.

Deerhunter


Cryptograms is the second full-length offering from Deerhunter, and their first for Kranky. The album took almost two years to finish and was the product of emotional, physical, and financial strain on the group. The result is an album that finds the band shifting from discordant catharsis, and forming a sonic identity that completely expresses the place from which they have arrived. The album functions in part as a study in duality and the concept of the same experiences seen from two angles, present and past. The most obvious manifestation of this is in the chronological sequencing. The first half of the album was recorded first unsuccessfully in 2005. These recordings were a blur at best, wordless and bordering on psychological atrophy. The sessions failed to provide anything tangible, and were racked with technical and personal problems, including out-of-tune pianos, panic attacks, and a tape machine that seemed to fail to capture the full spectrum of ambience the band was exploring. The band returned home, having failed, and considered giving up. The idea arose to give it one last shot and exactly one year from the date of the recording of their first self-titled LP at a small studio in rural GA, they returned to that same studio and plugged in. The session resulted in the first half of the record which was recorded in one day and completely filled the reel of tape they brought with them. Cryptograms' first side begins with an introduction leading to the title track, and ends with the tape literally spinning off the end of the reel in the middle of a drone layered with bells and accordion ("Red Ink"). The second half of the record, also recorded in one day, in the November of 2005, represents the band in an entirely different state. "Spring Hall Convert" opens with the line, "...so I woke up..." and introduces a set of focused psyche-pop songs fixating on adolescence, illness, and failing connections.

The Cat's Miaow


Australian indie-pop band the Cat's Miaow formed in May, 1992; a quartet comprised of members of the incestuous Melbourne music scene, the lineup featured vocalist Kerrie (formerly of the Beat Poets and Tra La La), guitarist Bart (from Blairmailer and Girl of the World), bassist Andrew (also of Blairmailer, as well as the Ampersands) and drummer Cameron (ex-Girl of the World). Recording on a primitive four-track, over the next two years the Cat's Miaow issued a series of cassettes on the small Aussie label Toytown, including Little Baby Sour Puss, Pet Sounds, the excellent From My Window and How Did Everything Get So Fucked Up?; finally, in 1996 the U.S. label Bus Stop issued A Kiss and a Cuddle, a compilation of the cassettes' best tracks. Songs for Girls to Sing -- another collection of EPs, live tracks and unissued material including "Shoot the Moon," taken from a split single with Stereolab -- followed in 1997. After a handful of ambient-influenced recordings issued under the name Hydroplane, in 1999 the Cat's Miaow returned with The Long Goodbye, their entry in Darla Records' continuing "Bliss Out" series.

Songs for girls to sing

Hollow inside (version 2)
Make a wish
Light the beacon
Not like I was doing anything (version 2)
You left a note on the table (version 2)
Baby I love you
You know it's true
Seventeen
What time is it there?
I can't sleep thinking you hate me (version 3)
I fall to pieces
Let me brush the hair from your face (version 2)
Portland, Oregon
One of us is in the wrong place
Stay
Smitten
Right back where we started from
Do you think it will snow tonight?
The others way
Shoot the moon
Firefly
Barney and me
Millions of tiny lights
LA International airport
If things had been different
Crying
Don't worry this isn't about you
Nothing can stop us
Peut-etre que rien jamais
Laisses-moi froler les cheveux de ton visage
Revant de toi
Troisieme etage
Nothing can stop us (live)
Crying (live)
Third floor fire escape view (live)
Let it flow (live)
*All songs were previously available on singles or compilations except Light the beacon, Not like I was doing anything (version 2), You left a note on the table (version 2) and Baby I love you, from the unreleased Bus Stop single "Songs for girls to sing" (Bus052) and the live tracks taken from the unreleased "Fireside songs" tape (Fanclub) Fan003.

Max De Wardener


Max de Wardener is a true original, a talented multi-instrumentalist and composer. His debut EP for Accidental Records, "Stops" (2002) wove a solemn tapestry of gentle oratorio, tonal grandeur and shimmering, cut-up electronics. With his debut album, 'Where I am today' (2004) he presented the widescreen version of his musical vision.

'Where I Am Today' manages that rare thing, an electronic album that relies more on actual musicianship than recording techniques. The sound sources are part arch-experimentalist and part Sunday-school music room, so we find recorders and organs rubbing shoulders with cloudchamber bowls, transistors and the sound of wires. It is an album with a clear-cut experimental agenda that has managed to remain beautiful and emotive.

The Besnard Lakes


The Besnard Lakes CD / LP (JAG106, released: 02/20/07)
Rich with Beach Boys style harmonies, Roy Orbison reverbs and orchestra, Pink Floyd's pacing and Freddy Mercury's falsetto, The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse is a luxurious foray into sound and music. This is the second record by The Besnard Lakes, Montrealers by way of Western Canada. Their independently released previous record, Volume I, came out in 2004, and it was noticed by critics but was largely overlooked by the public at large. On both records, The Besnard Lakes have shown that they are masters of finely-honed experimental pop songs that invoke the eerie Lynchian setting as aided and abetted by the music of Julee Cruise. But, on The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse, the band throws into the mix a mad dash of Fleetwood Mac proportioned swagger and ambition. Not so incidentally, the Besnard Lakes have created a masterpiece that will resonate within all quarters, amongst critics, casual and not-so-casual rock listeners, garden variety pop fans and headphone junkies.

The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse was recorded by Jace Lasek at the Breakglass Studios (whose production credits include Wolf Parade, Islands, Sunset Rubdown and Stars, amongst others) with his wife and band member, Olga Goreas. The other members of The Besnard Lakes, Steve Raegele, Nicole Lizée, and Kevin Laing, contributed as well. Nicole wrote dark string and horn parts, Steve wrote dark guitar solos, Kevin, dark drumming. Also joining in on the making of this record would be George Donoso III from The Dears, Chris Seligman from Stars, Sophie Trudeau from Godspeed/Silver Mt. Zion and Jonathan Cummins from Bionic/Doughboys.

As an interesting aside, the completion of the album seems to have conjured a bizarre series of unexplained events. When the six-person live band, that includes Lasek, Goreas, Raegele, Lizée, Laing and third guitarist Richard White, began performing this new material (usually accompanied by a five person choir, French horn, flute, and violins), strange things began to happen. During the quietest section in the song 'Disaster,' a bartender dropped a load of dishes onto the floor. On another occasion, while opening for Wolf Parade, during the same quiet section in 'Disaster,' the front-of-house console actually turned off (!) then on again creating a thunderous crack throughout the theatre. And Kevin Laing, (drummer) suffered second degree burns on his face the day after completing drum tracks for ...The Dark Horse. Coincidence? Maybe. This is The Dark Horse; this is The Besnard Lakes...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Boredoms


Boredoms' ringleader Yamatsuka Eye has never been one to sit still for long, and given his immersion into DJ culture in the late '90s, it's not surprising that he should want to issue another version of his band's Vision Creation Newsun. Although some remix albums are pegged as inessential curios, Rebore, Vol. 0 is so different from its source album that it nearly achieves status as a legitimate follow-up release, rather than just a companion piece. Eye chooses to emphasize a futuristic, electronically enhanced aesthetic instead of Vision Creation Newsun's cathartic, psychedelic brawn. Sometimes the sound is reminiscent of Eye's DJ Pica Pica Pica project, wherein he compiles a hyper-speed DJ mix of world music, electro, obscure techno, and even classical music. Despite Eye's interest in techno, Rebore, Vol. 0 actually tends to shy away from outright "beats." Most of the songs (all titled incorporating the number "7") start with a guitar or synthesizer line, and build upon that. "77" takes guitarist Seiichi Yamamoto's minimal arpeggio from the "circle" track on Vision Creation Newsun and adds space-age synth pings, what sounds like a deft xylophone line, and later brings in Hira's bassline, mostly buried in the original version. The mood is similar, but the execution is completely different, lending an intricate, graceful ambience to the piece. Likewise, "77777" takes Yamamoto's gentle, fingerpicked guitar figure and adds the sound of drummer Yoshimi's newborn child, later even soft vocals from Yoshimi herself. Some songs barely sound as if the same band could have produced them. "777777" takes a laid-back acoustic guitar figure and adds a tropical, bossa nova drum machine beat and in turn transforms the piece into a punchy Stereolab backing track. Rebore, Vol. 0 is different enough from Vision Creation Newsun that fans will have reason to listen, but more than that, it sits comfortably alongside Boredoms' best albums as a unique artistic experience.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Darondo


A mystery to most, Darondo records are high on the wants-lists of many collectors. He is spoken about in hushed-tones by other Bay Area musicians. Back in the day he was seen cruising around town in a white Rolls Royce (with a "Darondo" license plate). He opened-up for James Brown and lived a colorful lifestyle hanging with folks like the notorious Fillmore Slim. Take a listen to these tracks, released for the first time together on an album, and you may agree that he could have been the next Al Green or Sly Stone. But about 25 years ago Darondo disappeared.

Releasing three singles in the early 1970s (as Darondo, Darondo Pulliam, or the miss-spelled Dorando) he mixed low-rider soul with blues and r'n'b. He delivered in a variety of styles from the socially-charged "Let My People Go" to the sexually-driven funk of "Legs". All three singles were recorded in the San Francisco Bay Area, and both sides of each of the singles are fantastic productions.

"You can hear a little bit of everything," says Darondo about his music style. "There's a little jazz and a little soul. They say if you Black you supposed to have soul. I got Latin flavor in me so there's some Latin in it. Definitely got the Blues in it. I sound kinda' country but I grew up in the Bay Area," he adds.

But after the release of his three 45s Darondo stopped recording. “It was mostly me, just having a good time with a real good hobby,” he says. “It wasn’t about money but about having fun. Something I just liked to do. Maybe your dream is to be a James Brown or Frank Sinatra but those were just mostly dreams to me.”

Outside of the music business Darondo was living life to the full, and it eventually caught up with him. “Folks would say ‘Daron got that dough…Daron Do…that’s how I got the name. I used to get my suits tailor made, one of a kind, like my rings. A player can’t have the same ring as someone else. Got my rings specially made with diamonds and stones. But in order to get yourself together you had to get away from all the fastness. I was driving around in a Rolls Royce, I was a fast young man," adds Darondo.

Darondo now lives in Northern California with his wife and family and is delighted to hear his music is getting a second wind courtesy of DJs and collectors like the UK-based Gilles Peterson who recently picked "Didn't I" for his "Digs America" compilation.
The six tracks from the three original singles are featured here, along with three previously unreleased songs that were recently discovered on a demo reel. The demo reel was sitting in a box of VHS copies of his cable TV shows which we had requested to use for images in the CD booklet. Recorded in the early 1970s, tracks from the demo reel were taken into a San Francisco studio in the summer of 2005 for enhancement. Darondo over-dubbed missing background vocals and guitar parts alongside up and coming San Francisco soul man Bing Ji Ling. Darondo warmed up quickly, he hasn’t lost his touch. After the session Darondo confessed that he was inspired to start playing again…so there is hope for a full-blown Darondo revival!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Monaural



On Monitor Interference, Monaural seem to have spent a good deal of time trying to escape the tag of "just another space-rock band from Detroit" -- the album mixes bits of dub, electronica, and jazz in a way that's been done quite a bit before, but could never really be called uninventive. "Dot" begins with an airy, nearly ambient mix into which a dubby pulse gradually emerges; other tracks approach Air's mellow grooves, and it's during these dubby moments that the album is at its best. Unfortunately, Monaural doesn't seem to accomplish a whole lot beyond the general movement and spacy texture of the album; almost like an ambient record, there's enough there for a pleasant listen, but it's easy to be left wanting more.

The Legends


Facts and figures« is the sound of complete opposites coming together perfectly. The Legends combine their love for heartfelt indie pop and soft 60's style melodies with the German precision of
Kraftwerk and DAF. Perfectionism is mixed with the naive curiosity and experimental lust of a beginner. A hate of dance floors combined with dance music...

Cinerama



David Lewis Gedge was recently described by the NME as one of the most consistently brilliant songwriters in Britain, a plaudit he has earned over a decade of leading his band the Wedding Present as it became one of the most influential groups around. Now he has teamed up with long time Wedding Present associate Sally Murrell to form Cinerama, a brand new pop group to record and perform his bittersweet, breathtakingly real love songs.

For their debut album Va Va Voom the pair, both big fans of pop culture, have trawled through their record collections and, as a result, this wide screen recording is subtly flavoured with the various hues of classic pop. John Barry, Barry White and Barry Gray ... Ennio Morricone and Isaac Hayes ... Burt Bacharach and Serge Gainsbourg ... from Abba to the Zombies, Cinerama have combined these glamorous and colourful influences to assemble a distinctive and individual sound of their own.

From the opening end-of-relationship ansaphone message, 'Va Va Voom' is really a great pop album with beautiful melodies and bittersweet lyrics; the harmonies are lilting and gentle and several of the songs have a sort-of 60s TV Theme feel.

The first track 'Maniac' is a pretty song with classical stringed instruments and chilled keyboard sounds and begins its story about revenge with: And when I made that stupid oath/about how I was going to/pay for someone to kill you both/it was just my way of showing you that I wasn't playing. Oh yeah, you're right, I sounded like a maniac.

After that highlight follows after highlight: from 'Comedienne' with its jangly guitars, the cute 'Hate' with its Caribbean(!) sounds and the first single 'Kerry Kerry' to the poppy 'Barefoot In The Park' with gentle backing vocals from Sally and 'You Turn Me On' which features brilliant lyrics and a Wedding Present guitar.

The catchy 'Ears' sees David duet with Glaswegian chanteuse Emma Pollock (from the Delgados) who appears as a special guest on the album. 'Va Va Voom' also features members of Australian psychedeli group The Church and Animals That Swim.

From the poppy 'Me Next' we come to the rock anthem 'Hard, Fast & Beautiful' with gliding strings and a grand chorus and the second single 'Dance, Girl, Dance' with an uplifting melody and very sweet lyrics and 'Honey Rider' with its delightful flute sounds at the end. What a wonderful record!

New Winter Mix


New Winter Mix

Tracklist:

1. LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends
2. Au Revoir Simone - Sad Song
3. Sally Shapiro - Anorak Christmas
4. New Young Pony Club - Hiding on the Staircase
5. Chromatics - In The City
6. Calla - Stand Paralyzed
7. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! - Five Easy Pieces
8. Loney,Dear - Carrying a Stone
9. The Besnard Lakes - For Agent 13
10. The Ponys - Double Vision
11. Born Ruffians - This sentence will ruin/save your life
12. Deerhunter - Hazel St.
13. Apostle of Hustle - cheap Like Sebastian
14. The Earlies - No Love in Your Heart
15. Beirut - Scenic World
16. Herman Dune - When the Water Gets Cold and Freezes on the Lake

Kate Bush


Considered by many reviewers as her masterpiece, 1985's Hounds of Love is no less experimental from a production standpoint. Not only did she produce it herself, but for this album, stung by the huge costs she had run up hiring studio space for The Dreaming, she built a private 48 track studio near her home where she could work at her own pace.

In August of 1985, England's most popular music magazine, NME, featured Bush in a "Where Are They Now" article. Two days later, on The Wogan Show, the single "Running Up That Hill" was played for the first time. The single, and indeed the album, were showcases of a newfound mastery of production. Hounds of Love ultimately topped the charts in the UK, knocking Madonna's Like A Virgin from the number one position.

The album is split into two sides, with the first side, Hounds of Love, containing five "accessible" pop songs, including the four singles: "Running Up That Hill," "Cloudbusting," "Hounds of Love," and "The Big Sky." "Running Up That Hill" re-introduced Kate to American airwaves, and received considerable airplay at the time of its release. "The Big Sky" can be viewed as a creative manifesto issued by Kate in response to criticisms of "The Dreaming" (for which she had been criticized for being too obtuse). The second side is entitled "The Ninth Wave", whose title is taken from a poem by Tennyson. As part of a song cycle, each track helps to convey the story of a woman who is lost at sea, facing death by drowning, and the tortured night she spends in the water. Bush's technical wizardry is shown to full effect, using samples and vocals played in reverse to synthesized sounds and folk instrumentation.

electric sound of joy


This is the instrumental Electric Sound of Joy debut full length on Foundry Recordings. The Midlands-based quartet further explore their seamless synthesis of electronica and pop on this self-titled 8-tracker. Just as likely to admit a love for New Wave as to acknowledge a nod to Neu!, ESOJ are a band who embrace the notion of melody and revel in the emotional directness of a very live rhythm section and wayward guitars. "

the montgolfier brothers


he Montgolifer Brothers is a partnership between singer-songwriter Roger Quigley and post-rock instrumentalist Mark Tranmer. Their debut album ‘Seventeen Stars; demonstrated how they both rely on each other. Quigley’s deadpan northern vocals evoke Morrissey at his peak. Whilst Tranmer builds the tension through his odd choices of instruments, from brazilian psychedelic jazz and durutti-colum builds. Between Two Points is a catalogue of Ken Loach-despair. As Quigley speaks: ‘You’re guardian angel gives up the ghost’, you can’t help but think the Montgolfier Brothers are Belle and Sebastian in a northern bedsit. Cathartic and full of gentle beautiful.

Seventeen Stars

Echo Park


Echo Park was a collaborative project between Tony Wilson (aka Spykid) and Lo Recordings boss Jon Tye. For their only album, 1998's 'The Revolution Of Everyday Life' they recruited other guests on guitars including Thurston Moore and Sonic Youth, members of Seefeel and Robert Hampson of Loop and Main. Tye continues to run Lo Recordings whilst Wilson now records in Knives ov Resistance.

Mus


The enigmatic Spanish duo of Fran Gayo and Mónica Vacas paints dreamily abstract pictures of muted joy, pleasant weariness, and melancholy resignation using soft-focus watercolor strokes. Their sound drifts and wavers with once-bright colors now on the edge of darkness, like the end of a sunset. It's ever-so-slightly techno influenced, with minimal sampled beats, but keening sampled strings and wordless drifting female vocals are the predominant musical elements, giving their pieces the poignancy of lullabies, albeit slightly disorienting, vaguely millennial lullabies. When there are words, they're sung in Asturian, an exotic language spoken in the northwestern part of Spain, making them sound like the incomprehensible fairytales of a lost culture.

Mus

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ausgang


Here's one more exciting entry in the neo-krautrock/post-rock category, championed by the likes of Tortoise and Stereolab (a certain "Laetitia" is thanked for 'support' in the liner notes interestingly enough), but including lots of others we've reviewed here in the past. Of course, the entire movement (as it were) was built atop the pioneering mix of hypnotizing percussive rhythms and freakish electronics and tape-manipulations that blossomed in the industrial heart of Germany in the early 1970s... I would be remiss if I didn't mention Neu! and/or Can at this point. Or are you tired of hearing that? Nevertheless, 'post-rock' has gathered a name of its own in recent years, and it's truly been honed into something new and deserved of its unique name, no matter how stupid it sounds. London's Ausgang is one of the finest of the lot, and 'Electric Arc' is an hour's worth of stunning works. (I should note before we continue that the track instrumentation listed in the booklet doesn't seem to match the tracks as indexed on the CD, though since both contain exactly 11 tracks I will assume that the song titles are correct as given. But that assumption is perhaps wrong.)

'Electric Arc' kicks off with 90 seconds of f/X and ambient swells, and then charges right into the pseudo-industrial krautrock of "The Highs and Lows (A through Z)," a full eight minutes of strange and wonderful sounds and ideas. "E.I.G." explores even more territory, rarely sitting still for more than a minute... it features a 'funky groove' section, a Police-like reggae phase, an ambient break, and more grooving to end up. Martyn Barker's drumming here (and everywhere) is excellent...displaying finesse, dynamics, and the right amount of 'busy-ness' throughout. The two biggest highlights are the 10-minute "Speak to Me" (?) and the finale "Tunnel Vision." Drumming by Jaki, bassline by...say, Mike Howlett. These two are on a par with some of the best stuff Circle has been doing lately. Sonic swirl and gliss bliss...that's what it's all about baby. "Speak to Me" takes a good four minutes to build up into something substantial, but the payoff is well worth the wait. "Tunnel Vision" is of the fully-fledged kraut romp variety, again peaking out about four minutes into the piece during a stellar jam with Mark Bandola pulling double duty on the old Juno 60 synth and a Lesley Guitar. Given the level of f/X used on this album, I hesitate to suggest I could tell one from the other.

The Primadonnas


Was this the last of the great, late-'80s keyboard records or first of the great, late-'90s, retro-'80s keyboard records? You decide. The Prima Donnas' followers are many, and this long-lost testament to the glorious word of unholy synth-punk as translated by three young lads from Sussex, UK, had been rumoured for some great many years, but no one believed it to be true. Finally available to an eager public, this album holds a collection of Prima Donnas hits recorded in Monte Carlo, Bristol, Sussex, London and on a hot-air baloon circling the globe from 1983 to 1998, before all the drugs, fame and depravity dragged them into a dissipated cycle of self-destruction, but just following a bunch of other drugs, fame and depravity that resulted in their exile from England.

After leaving the confines of their Sussex orphanage and stowing away on a submarine to America in the early '90s, Otto Matik, Niki Holiday and Julius Seizure found themselves in Texas. They were miserable. They got jobs as payroll guards on the Southern Pacific Railroad but soon quit after being held up at gunpoint by the Mexican Mafia. Other "straight" jobs followed, but it quickly became clear to the boys, and to their creditors, that they were good for one thing only: stem cell research. However, this field was still too new and undeveloped so they began composing tales of woe, a la the blues, to whittle away at their long hours of unemployment.

Texas blues pioneer Emery "Little Boy Roy" Lincoln heard this raw, uncompromising music and immediately signed them to his Rhythm Turkey label. Lincoln overhauled their look and sound to fit in more with the resurgent gay techno market that was popular in southeast Texas at the time and christened the band The Prima Donnas. The acoustic guitars were out and keyboards were in. The transition was difficult, but in no time at all audiences were flocking to the group's live shows in droves. Their meteoric rise can only be described as meteoric. But, like a meteor, they crashed headfirst into the giant planet known as drugs.

On the eve of their biggest show ever, opening for George Strait in the Houston Astrodome, Julius Seizure went into a narcotics-induced coma onstage and the band was forced off on a tide of boos. They were never to perform live, or at least concious, again. In the next days, papers were filled with stories of Julius' drugging around as well as his incestuous homosexual relationship with his twin brother Nigel, who was murdered mysteriously the previous year, having been pushed onto the electrified rail of a New York City subway track. The press had a field day, and Nikki Holiday was deported after selling homemade pornography of himself to undercover police agents at a local mall. Otto found himself once again riding the Southern Pacific Railroad, only this time it was with a red polka dotted sack on the end of a stick.

Drugs, Sex & Discotheques

The Wedding Present



The Wedding Present's Watusi record is a great one.

Clear Horizon




Clear Horizon is a duo made up of Jessica Bailiff and David Pearce.

Jessica Bailiff has recorded and released three solo recordings on kranky. �David Pearce lives the U.K. and spent most of the 90s in a band whose name he'd just as soon not mention. �If the words "rural psychedelia" mean anything to you; you can probably figure out what band. �Or, as Jon Dale wrote in Signal to Noise about the debut Clear Horizon release; "If the album in toto brings a few memory shards forward in your mind, so be it."

Clear Horizon was recorded over the course of two years, as Bailiff and Pearce exchanged tapes across the Atlantic. �Each member contributed vocals and guitars and layers of effects, piano and percussion gradually accumulated during the recording process. �The debut, self-titled CD/LP was released in November, 2003. �Since then Bailiff and Pearce have met in England to record face-to-face. �The process, so far, has involved songwriting and improvisation.

Dymaxion


The New-York quartet Dymaxion once released a self made tape Presentation vs. soundman, so called after their constant struggles with sound engineers at their live performances. After listening to dymaxion x 4 + 3 = 38:33 you might end up sympathising with the oblivious soundmen as Dymaxion make the strangest but most wonderful music around. This compilation (originally released as an import on Japan's Trattoria label) comprises of the band's first four 7" EPs alongside other rare tracks and a cover of the Fall, "U.S. 80s, 90s." Most songs on the LP are no more than two minutes long with refreshingly odd titles like "Aha, Sissy Arsonist" and "???," whilst the outstanding track is "Mme Commander" with Dymaxion's trademark military drumming and a catchy four chords guitar riff. Those short pieces of music somehow gel together like the soundtrack to a wacky spy movie and there is a strong cinematic feel to the record.with its ‘60s Ennio Morricone guitar sounds and soulful brass arrangements. "Why? Why Do I Bum Around?"is similar to a lazy, drugged out Polvo and in familiar Dymaxion territory the song steadily gets busier, then breaks down into a minimalist bass riff in a manner akin to fellow art-rockers Ui. "Ant'lrd Ally" is an attempt to cover the Bullit soundtrack gone wrong, scattered with erratic drums loops, random samples and electronic sound bursts while "I-Man Transport is reminiscent of Faust with a robotic voice counting alongside atonal backing vocals. With its disjointed song arrangements and discordant sampled vocals, Dymaxion x 4 + 3 = 38:33 still sustains a melancholic pop sensibility that even the jerky noise collages can't disguise. Although this excellent LP doesn't quite capture Dymaxion's raw live groovy energy, it is still an influential record, not least in the way the band's funky drumming and weird samples have inspired the Liars and others New-York post-punk groups.

Pixeltan


PIXELTAN are from the ever-growing scene in Brooklyn, NY and were formed in the Spring of 1999. Their sound is similar to bands such as LIQUID LIQUID, ESG, PIL, MEDIUM MEDIUM, or any other percussion-based bands to come out of the NYC scene of the late '70s, but with a harder, more electronic edge. The band contains Hisham of BLACK DICE on the drums. His style is erratic and machinelike and leaves many in awe. The guitarist plays unlike anyone we have seen, using pedals and effects to create one of the most original sounds we have ever heard. The vocals are used like an instrument as well. She yelps, screeches and wails away in an almost Patty Waters like style. All of this with a dance beat in the background! PIXELTAN is definitely a force to be reckoned with, and is one of the most original bands to come out of NYC in a while.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sally Shapiro




The Swedish disco princess Sally Shapiro released her debut album "Disco Romance". She became well-known in disco communities earlier this year with "I'll By By Your Side", which was rated 4.5 out of 5 by Pitchfork Media and was called an "utterly perfect slice of italo synth-pop" in Vice Magazine. It was also voted number 2 of New York's "Village Voice" BEST NEW SINGLES of the last 3 months. But Sally Shapiro is as far from a pop star as you can get.

Sally (whose real name is a secret) is so shy that she refuses to record a music video, perform her songs live, let herself be photographed by someone she doesn't know, or even let her producer be in the same room when she's recorded.
- I still haven't heard her sing one single song from the album live. I was outdoors mowing the lawn when we recorded the vocals, Sally's producer and song-writer Johan Agebjörn says.

Despite Sally's shyness, she has already received splendid reviews worldwide. On blogs she is compared to Annie and Robyn as examples of Scandinavian quality pop. But the sound is above all inspired by Italian 80s disco, and it's in these circles she has received her fans. "I'll Be By Your Side" has during the summer been on the playlists of the European (italo) DJs.



It all began sometime around Christmas 2004, when I and Sally where singing Christmas songs together, just for the fun of it. I noticed that Sally had a very nice italo disco-style voice - sweet and light. But none of us came up with the idea for a musical collaboration...

...until half a year later, when I was listening to a bunch of old italo disco tracks, such as Miko Mission "The world is you", Katy Gray "Hold me tight" and Valerie Dore "Get closer". Normally, I experiment very much when I make music, trying do make stuff that hasn't been made before (or at least not a lot of times before), but now, I felt that this genre of music is just so good, that it's a shame that so few tracks like this are produced nowadays, and that I wanted to see if I could make a song like this.

Being in a very inspirational mood, I wrote "I'll be by your side" in two hours, jotted down the chords and the lyrics to a piece of paper, and decided that Sally would be the perfect person to sing it. A few weeks later I played the song to her on the piano and asked her if she wanted to record it - and she said that she liked the song and wanted to give it a try!
The track was put onto a list of future projects until around Christmas 2005, when I put together the background music for it, using mainly software synths and samples from classical analogue synths such as the Juno 60. Later, the track was mastered on a NAD tape-recorder in order to get a more analogue 80s-type of sound. During the beginning of 2006, we recorded the vocals in my living room with a good microphone I borrowed from my brother. Sally turned out to be very shy - I had to leave the room when she recorded them. Still until this day, nobody has heard her sing the song live!
When we uploaded the track onto a few italo disco forums on January 11th, I felt it was something better than my average stuff, but the response we received was overwhelming. Within 24 hours after upload, hundreds of people had downloaded the track, lots of people had given fantastic compliments (see a selection of them here), Polish and German italo disco forums I didn't even knew existed discussed Sally Shapiro, and two record labels had offered to release it on vinyl 12"! The mp3 was quickly removed and replaced by a one-minute sample, in the wait for a proper release.

Even though the original mp3 had only been available for little more than a day, the rumour continued to spread, the full-length mp3 became sought-after and the song was mentioned on several blogs on the web, such as this one:

"i present to you the best synthpop song of the decade (so far) (...) this song hasn't even been released on vinyl yet, which is a shame. i predict that this song will be a classic. this song isn't attempting to be italo disco. it is fucking italo disco. it's not for everyone, but it should be. simple melodic heaven."
(from http://battle-mode.livejournal.com)

We signed a contract with the enthusiastic Austrian label Diskokaine and, during the following months, a release was prepared: photos of Sally were shot, artwork was being made, remixers were contacted. In the meantime, the track was played on national Swedish radio in a program for "unsigned music and music from small labels" (along with an interview with me), and the local italo disco club Disco Maniac played the song. However, because Sally is so shy, we turned down an offer to perform the song live on the mentioned club, as well as an offer to shoot a music video for the track.

For the B-side, in addition to the remixes being made, we recorded the track "Time to let go", which is also quite true to the italo disco tradition. It doesn't have the same hit factor as "I'll be by your side" but we like it and think it's a worthy B-side. As a second B-side track, I sound-polished a track called "Overload" which I originally made in 2004. It's a cover version of an old Amiga tune with the same name, made by the legendary duo Tip & Mantronix in 1991. My version is an italo disco interpretation of it maybe best classified as "synthesizer dance" or "space synth", and the original mp3 received some good feedback when it circulated on the net.

Techno legend Patrick Pulsinger assisted in mastering the tracks, and the release date was set to May 12th, although it wasn't released properly until in the beginning of July.
On May 12th, there was a release party in Gothenburg, Sweden, on the above-mentioned club Disco Maniac. I played some of the tracks from the 12" in an italo disco DJ set, and some copies of the 12" were sold (including some exclusively signed by Sally herself...).
We thought that the italo disco fans would now buy their records and go home, and it would be over. But it was only the beginning.
Johan Agebjörn

Flying Canyon


At the heart of Flying Canyon is Bay Area songwriter/filmmaker Cayce Lindner, a veteran of The Golden Hotel and The Goodwill Tapes. Lindner's exploratory songs delve deep into the recesses of the psyche, yet reveal a dark, cosmic optimism unheard elsewhere. Glenn Donaldson, long a supporter of Lindner's music and vision, was instrumental in assiting Lindner in the realization of Flying Canyon. In addition to Donaldson, Flying Canyon features multi-instrumentalist Shayde Sartin. The domm folk trio's self-titled debut, released in autumn 2006 on Soft Abuse, has garnered comparisons to sun-baked Californians like Jerry Garcia, David Crosby and Skip Spence.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Auburn Lull



Their classic debut. Originally released March, 1999 on Burnt Hair Records (Reissued by Darla 2/11/02) this is their classic ambient/ethereal masterpiece produced by Andrew Prinz of Mahogany. Auburn Lull are from Lansing, MI. Like fellow Michiganders Windy & Carl and Asha Vida, Auburn Lull create lush space-rock and ethereal, Brian Eno-inspired soundscapes. Despite the fact that the once-thriving Michigan space-rock scene has all but faded out, Auburn Lull continue to evolve their brand of technicolor sound, steadily attracting critical acclaim and an ever-growing fan base. Auburn Lull formed in Lansing, MI in 1994 by Jason Kolb (guitars), Eli Wekenmen (guitars), Sean Heenan (guitars, vocals), and Jason Weisinger (drums). The band instantly became associated with other like-minded bands from south-east MI, particularly Mahogany, with whom they released The Dual Group EP in 1997. Jason Kolb began playing guitar at live shows for Mahogany, and in 1999, Mahogany's Andrew Prinz produced Auburn Lull's debut full-length, Alone I Admire.It's a clich�, one supposes, to cite a band's power of evocation as its primary calling card; music's supposed to inspire. But of course, blueprint-following riffraff comprise the mainstream. Not so Auburn Lull, whose lovingly stroked guitar chords echo and shimmer, keyboard tapestries unfurl, sweetly humming cellos layer deep textures, and choir-like vocals joyfully swell as if to meet the challenge of an impending celebration. A post-Shoegaze outfit on Burnt Hair (the well-known Michigan spacerock label), Auburn Lull summons the spirits of the mind at a precise moment in modern times when evocative artists are in desperately short supply. For that matter, the group stitches together daydreams within which those spirits can traipse.

Migala


ARDE (Diciembre 2000, Acuarela)

1. Primera Parada
2. El Caballo del malo
3. Fortune�s show of our last
4. Times of Disaster
5. Primer tren de la ma�ana
6. La noche
7. La Espera
8. Suburbian empty movie theatre
9. Principios de agosto
10. The Guilt
11. Cuatro Estaciones
12. High of Defenses
13. Last Fool Around
14. Arde





FORTUNE�S SHOW OF OUR LAST
There are two men, hardened and drunk. They walk by the wet roads of tonight. They try to march like ladies for a woman that follows them glad.
Was that night so violently cold, we thought the wind was howling for us.You looked at me, smiling and a desert reflects on your sight.
Please, please, love, be with me along 'til I become a lady like that! She never knew but that was the fortune�s show of our last.

OUR TIMES OF DISASTER
All the girls on these times of disaster want a party I�m not able to give, so I learn every night some new clapping and dancing and the compass measure is the show.
When it would be so easy to give me a cure at night: some heat, some strength, near the dance floor. Just the softest 3 by 4 and you moving the head. No fear. No blankets. No pills. A hymn, yes.
All the girls on these times of disaster want a party I�m not able to give, so I learn every night some new clapping and dancing and the compass measure is the show.
Then it always comes the morning and it�s sometimes really quiet but always full of echoes of you. The newspaper speaking noisy and the countdown of parent�s wake. The shout of a life that it's silly and foul.

LA NOCHE
Puedes ver la noche desde un tren. Puedes ver casas apenas iluminadas, luces lejanas, piscinas vac�as y brillos, puedes ver. Y luego, ya no sentirte bien, un escalofr�o. Luces lejanas, piscinas vac�as y brillos.

LA ESPERA
She has now one or two friends but when she was a kid she had a cockatoo that ate granpa's cigarrettes and cursed when the priest came home. Sunny days, riding the waves, now it's all grey but I swear that when she had coffee with us, a dog on her knees, we got blue. And now she had decided, not to any of us, she's having a baby.

LAST FOOL AROUND
Today is a day of disaster -I’m on the same bar. Old known people pass by, it’s only my cousin that I call, as he goes to buy cigarettes and bread.
And through the glass, women look upon their shoulders I should be doing something else, in these times.
But, I’m sorry, it is the best I can do -I wonder if I can pay this bill- couples speak about their past. And it’s hard to speak without anger, of these times, yes, it’s very hard to speak without anger.
But I am glad that some are together and have children for their happiness.
I know I would be better doing something else, more than reading poetry. Like the girl I was here years ago with did. I’m glad some like them got married.
Now through the glass, women look upon their shoulders should I be doing something else, in these times?

PRINCIPIOS DE AGOSTO
Al d�a siguiente se levant� tarde. Despu�s de comer estuvo pensando en todo aquello, en las chicas de los veranos y en algunas apariciones m�s recientes como N., o J., X., S. y se sinti� verdaderamente solo. Pas� el resto de la tarde con un amigo hasta que se hizo de noche. Al llegar a casa se mir� en un espejo y sonri�. Su vida le pareci� transitada por decenas de cosas que caminaban de puntillas para no ser vistas.

THE GUILT
If I could for a minute, succumb to the disaster of everyday, to let me go, let of cling to... I guess it would be possible to crash with one of the strangers that I cross by the street and have a premonition of happiness. But now, it�s sure that I can�t, and probably that�s why one ghost comes every night to rock my stupid guilt, and why its way�s a ring of fire. And when I finally sleep it�s always the same dream, sand falling fast in a glass bell. The sand very clean, the glass so weak.

HIGH OF DEFENSES
You might watch him, right now! At the office, when nobody�s around. You might possibly see a rosary of pearls. Little tongues crossing his beard. And it�s strange but confirms that old theory about time: Each day you exist you have more crowns to clean.
So there he is, in the ill empty hall. Vainly trying to wipe his grieved soul. Feeling like a midnight queen of the house but knowing tomorrow it will be more than a crown. And it�s strange but, at least for a while, I like that man, that fat boy that sweats and could be me.


Lotus Crown




Named for an ancient Chinese fable, the orchestral hip-hop band Lotus Crown was the vehicle of singer/guitarist Jimi Shields, a onetime member of the Irish noise-pop outfit Rollerskate Skinny. After exiting the group's ranks following their 1994 EP Threshold, Shields relocated from Dublin to Chicago, stopping briefly to play drums for his brother Kevin's band My Bloody Valentine. After settling in the U.S., he recruited guitarist Paul Dillon, bassist Lennie Dietsch and drummer Zack Kantor, and Lotus Crown soon hit the road in support of the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev before recording their debut EP Alvar Aalto (titled in tribute to the Finnish architect) in late 1995. After entering the studio with producer Dave Fridmann, the quartet emerged with the full-length Chokin' on the Jokes in the spring of 1997.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Witchcraft


The Swedish retro-doom-psych-folk band known as Witchcraft was started in 2000 by vocalist/guitarist Magnus Pelander, whose original intent was to record a single in tribute to Pentagram's Bobby Liebling and Roky Erickson -- how often does that happen? Calling on his friend John Hoyles (guitar) and brothers Ola (bass) and Jens Henriksson (drums) to lend a hand, Pelander did indeed record that single (entitled "No Angel or Demon") and released it through small independent Primitive Arts Records in 2002. Then, encouraged by the results, he continued to compose material for Witchcraft while his bandmates pursued other interests.

A year would pass before they reconvened as Witchcraft, and with new drummer Jonas Arnesen in tow, the quartet began preparing their eponymous debut album for release through Rise Above the following year. Recorded in a basement studio outfitted exclusively with vintage equipment, the album captured a hauntingly authentic 1970s sound -- steeped not only in the heavy-handed work of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, but also in the psych and folk-rock elements of obscure acts like Leaf Hound, Captain Beyond, and Comus. And yet, ironically, none of the members of Witchcraft were even born before 1977, making their loving reconstruction of that decade's music -- underground music at that -- all the more remarkable.

Wolfgang Dauner


An intriguing composer and ambitious pianist, German musician Wolfgang Dauner has combined jazz, rock, electronic music and elements of opera and theater in creating broad-based, ranging works. While sometimes these compositions seem too far-reaching, Dauner's best work shows the links between idioms and genres and offers provocative musical and cultural concepts. He studied trumpet, piano and composition at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart, then joined Joki Freund's sextet in the early '60s. Dauner appeared at several German festivals, then made his recording debut heading a trio in 1964. It was one of the first European free jazz recording sessions. Dauner led Radio Jazz Group Stuttgart and wrote compositions for them in 1969. He formed the jazz-rock band Et Cetera in 1970, then co-led with Hans Koller the Free Sound & Super Brass Big Band. He helped organize The United Jazz And Rock Ensemble in 1975, and began featuring theater, opera, and dance segments along with his performances in '70s and '80s concerts. Dauner's composed music for films, radio and televison broadcasts, and a children's opera. He's recorded for Mood, Columbia, MPS, and ECM among others. Dauner has a couple of sessions available on CD.

Output


Robert Rich


While better known for his electronic textures, Robert Rich often includes piano solos during his live concerts. Open Window documents his improvisational approach to acoustic piano, with influences ranging from Alan Hovhannes, G.I. Gurdjieff and Erik Satie to Terry Riley and Keith Jarrett.

Rich chose to record Open Window on his own 1925 vintage A.B. Chase baby grand, an instrument with a more intimate sound than a full-size concert piano. Over a period of two months, he kept a daily schedule of piano improvisation, with microphones set up to record at all times. The pieces selected here reflect special moments during this concentrated period. These were the moments when effort vanished, and the music seemed to write itself.

Planete Sauvage


Originally released in 1973, this highly sought after soundtrack accompanied Rene Laloux's animated feature film. Based on the 'Oms En Serie', a book by the critically garlanded sci-fi author Stefan Wul. An extraordinary soundtrack from cult French composer Alain Goraguer.

Planete Sauvage

Boris


Boris are the only living band (with the possible exception of Electric Wizard) who have mastered the art of out-Sabbathing Black Sabbath. Obviously, a ton of groups play in that crushing, occult style, and many do it quite competently, but only Boris have been able to consistently break on through that wall of rock into the experimental wasteland that lies beyond. And, once there, they thrive.

Of course, like the inescapable Melvins allusion of their band name, Boris are never more than a power chord away from heavy ’70s sludge fuzz, and that’s important to remember because their elemental intensity has a lot more to do with presentation and execution than writing the perfect riff, a point driven home with electric clarity on their latest slab of magma music, Boris At Last - Feedbacker.

A single 43-minute composition (broken into five tracks for easier access), Feedbacker begins at the core, with ambient waves of Earth-like drones rippling across an otherwise silent nine minute expanse before Atsuo spills into his cymbals, commencing a funereal march. Bassist/vocalist Takeshi drawls up and down his double-necked bass while Wata (the femme fatale guitarist) curls out little tongues of blue flame, the band awash in anticipatory shimmer.

Vocals are always a “less is more” matter with Boris, so when Takeshi finally howls out a few stanzas in long, mournful wails 23 minutes into the recording, it’s a sign the fuse is lit. Wata arcs her echoing feedback up and holds it in a piercing squeal, the drums go half time, the bass grinds like a bulldozer (loosening the tectonic plates), and then, at last, they all explode into a thrashing frenzy of power and white fire. The song churns and burns like lava until, abruptly, the drums stutter, crash, and everything dissolves into a lonely, fluttering screech, like loud amps left on and abandoned. This is the sound of Boris basking in the wreckage of their rock.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Jackson C Frank


With a life as tragic as any bluesman, Jackson C. Frank wrote songs laced with melancholy and pathos, and the best of these ("Blues Run the Game," "My Name Is Carnival," "Halloween Is Black as Night") are striking in their resignation and their acceptance of the dark turns of fate. Badly burned as a teenager in a school fire, Frank learned to play guitar during his lengthy stay in the hospital, and when a considerable insurance settlement from the accident rolled in, he departed for England, landing there in 1965 in the midst of the British folk revival, where he influenced (and was influenced by) an impressive list of musicians, including Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Sandy Denny, and another expatriate, Paul Simon. Simon produced Frank's first and only album, Blues Run the Game, named after Frank's most enduring song. Recordings for a second album faltered, and Frank returned to the States, where the inability to escape his childhood scars led to mental illness and a downward spiral that ended in homelessness and a life on the streets of New York. Jim Abbott, an admirer of Frank's small body of work, rediscovered the singer in the early '90s, and steered him through a series of demo recordings of newer material, which makes up most of the second disc here. While it would be tempting to say that these new songs were a glorious return to form, they aren't, except for the brilliant despondency of "Halloween Is Black as Night," which sounds like a lost Leonard Cohen song, only much darker and more desperate than Cohen has ever been. This two-disc retrospective includes the entire Blues Run the Game album and seven songs recorded for the aborted second album, eight previously unreleased recordings from the mid-'70s, and six songs from a failed studio project in 1994, and it closes with a series of kitchen recordings done in 1997, just prior to Frank's death in 1999. All of this makes for some pretty bleak listening, and the sustained melancholy is difficult to take in one sitting, but the best of Frank's songs are such haunted black-hole laments that they are impossible to ignore.

Herman Dune




Herman Dune has been a notorious underground band for a few years already, with fans
in Europe and in the USA.
They recorded a new album, “GIANT”, for the new record-label Source Etc, and for
the first time they had time and support to let arrangements and sound-production
fantasies express themselves. With a brand-new Percussion Line-Up, the vintage sound
of an actual Bourbon ‘horns and brass’ section and the vocal support of the girl-
group “The Woo-Woos” (Lisa Li-Lund and The New York Babyskins), Herman Dune make
their renowned love for good songwriting shine a little brighter.
Poetry, melodies and groove are their favorite writing and playing devices, and if
they can have fun recording their songs, they are even happier about them. Giant was
recorded with the band playing live in a studio near Mount Snodown in North Wales,
UK, where Giants roam at night.
The craft of the songs remains their first concern, rhymes and choruses move them
tremendously, but they had more time to embellish their sound, this time.
The Herman Dune Family has roots in Sweden, France, and New York, USA. The brothers
David-Ivar aka Ya Ya (guitar, bass and vocals) and Andre (guitar, saxophone and
vocals) have been playing together since early childhood with Neman (Drums), and
soon their young sister Lisa (Backing Vocals) was to follow her brothers and joined
the band. They now live in different parts of the world (Berlin, New York and Paris)
and gather for touring and recording as often as they can. With a few albums out
on American, English and French underground labels, and the latest widely acclaimed
album Not On Top (Track And Field UK), they have toured allover the world, for
expanding crowds. The English press has always supported them, even through chaotic
distribution, and BBC1 DJs play their songs a lot. John Peel invited them for 12
Peel Sessions on BBC, like only a few other bands, and they still record from time
to time for BBC now that he is gone. Well aquainted with the american live scene and
with many friends in the New York Artist Comunity, they have performed in a lot of
places, and made strong connections in many states and countries.
Giant was crafted with songs first, and then real instruments, real people and analog
equipment.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Verve

I Love The Verve! "A Storm in Heaven" was a life changing album for me. Funny to say that now but it was at the time. To see them live in 1993 was a spiritual experience. Ok maybe i just smoked way too much weed BUT fuck it they did it right!









Good Shoes


I took this interview from this website. : http://www.thisisfakediy.co.uk

South Londoners Good Shoes aren't content with the level of hype that's been lumped on their name in the past few months, so they're upping the stakes with new single 'All In My Head', complete with new B-sides 'Questions And Answers', and 'Rights And Wrongs'. They're also due to start working on a debut album this month, along with touring, and appearing at this year's Truck Festival, and we spoke to the band's Rhys Jones.

How did the band form?
We've all been friends since high school, then we went to college together and Tom and I are brothers! Steve and I just started playing together and wrote 'In The City' and 'Small Town Girl' and decided we should carry on, then Tom joined and Joel joined and we started playing gigs in Febuary 2005.

You recently played The Great Escape, did you enjoy it? Did you eat candy floss on the pier?
The festival was great, the gig was really good. I used to live in Brighton and hated the pier, it's the worst thing about Brighton so I didn't eat candy floss on it!

How's your tour been so far?
It's been going really well, Nottingham, Brighton and a few others were amazing! All have been really good though! We have a few left then time off until the festivals. I think the rest is going to be really good.

Have there been any tour shenanigans?
Not that I can remember, we're pretty boring on tour, we have just been going out drinking and the usual. I'm the most boring really, I've been mainly going to sleep early!

Your last single 'We Are not The Same' got some great reviews, are you pleased with the response it got?
Haha you didn't read the Drowned in Sound review, it was terrible, we're happy with the response, it sold out in a couple of weeks! People are singing along to it at gigs so yeah were happy with the response!

Do you have an album in the pipeline?
Yeah I think it is gonna come out in February next year, we dont know who we're doing it with. we tried out a few people but were trying out some others in July ad then will record it in August, it will probably be mostly made up of the demos that are floating round the internet and a few new ones.

What's next on your release schedule?
'All In My Head' on July 17th. Then either 'Never Meant To Hurt You' or 'Small Town Girl' in October then February.

Will you be playing any festivals this year?
Yeah Truck, Reading Leeds, Bestival and we've been playing a few city festivals, Dot to Dot was the best. It was pretty insane.

Poni Hoax



Poni Hoax is a five man army of «jeunes gens modernes», bookworm musicians and extremely talented composers.

Their lead vocalist, Nicolas Ker tackles an ambitious and unique style that walks the thin line between a decadent Morrissey or an elegiac Jim Morrisson. This quizzical dandy with an exotic touch (born from French-Cambodian parents in Egypt).

The symbiosis he shares with the band’s lead composer, Laurent Bardainne, can be equated with that formerly uniting Carl Barat and Pete Doehrty with maturity on top.

Next to this ubiquitous duo, Arnaud Roulin (keyboard/bass), Nicolas Villebrin (guitar) and Vincent Taeger (drums), partners in crime and über-accomplished musicians who have co-oped with the gotha of French « variétés » (Feist, Romain Humeau, Dave! etc.).

Together they fuel the fire of an irridescent musical flame laced with infectious, nearly fatal melodies.

Under the patronage of deus ex-machina come producer Joakim Bouaziz, one of Europe’s most talented remixers (for the likes of Air, Lionel Hampton, Tiga, Annie etc.) and the author of the acclaimed « Fantômes » album (Versatile 2002) they take the lead in a most unanticipated way. Frontperson Ker sometimes recalls the greater accomplishments of past geniuses such as Husymans and of course Morrison (again). In Paris, Poni have played a series of exclusive gigs in as prestigious venues as Agnes B’s Galérie du Point du Jour or the more dance inclined scenes of RESPECT and Nouveau Casino.

One could qualify their style as rock n roll music but for its uncanny taste for wild hybridation from Itali Disco (Giorgio Moroder) to Noisy, Garage and Murder Ballads (à la Nick Cave).