Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Brooklyn-based 'synth drone' wizard Oneohtrix Point Never - aka Daniel Lopatin - has uploaded a host of rare radio stuff, live material, remixes and collaborations to his Soundcloud - fill your boots. Included: his spacey remix of Laurel Halo's 'Metal Confection', a stunning take on Wild Beasts' 'Two Dancers' and his 'Returnal' collaboration with Antony (of the Johnsons).
WILD BEASTS - TWO DANCERS (remix) by Oneohtrix Point Never
LAUREL HALO - METAL CONFECTION (remix) by Oneohtrix Point Never
Incidentally, here's one he didn't upload, a refixing of probably one of my favourite pieces of music ever:
The excellent Lefse Records have released music by artists such as How To Dress Well, Neon Indian and Ireland-based Low Sea in recent times. Add Sacramento three-piece Ganglians to that list: in August they'll be coming back with a double-album, the follow-up to the two seriously impressive records they released in 2009 (Ganglians and Monster Head Room).
The first taster from it, 'Jungle', is in a similar vein to previous off-kilter psych/folk/garage excursions like 'My House' and 'Hair'. The forthcoming album, Still Living, will be keenly anticipated by anyone who digs their thrilling sound, which can veer from unhinged-though-tuneful garage thrash to sun-kissed alt-folk strum-a-longs to gorgeous pastoral vibes ('To June' being a particular highlight).
Ganglians - Jungle by souterraintransmissions
Monster Head Room is still streamable in its entirety:
Ganglians - Monster Head Room by souterraintransmissions
Monday, May 9, 2011
Bristol-based Peverelist - aka Tom Ford - remains one of the most exciting producers around, his always-innovative sound combining techno and dubstep influences on stone-cold classics like 'Better Ways Of Living' and 'Roll With The Punches'. Following up last year's excellent collaboration with Hyetal ('The Hum/rrrr'), his new 12" combines the deep, heavy, junglist rhythms of 'Dance Til The Police Come' with the sinister, spacious atmospherics of flipside 'Fundamentals'. Another essential release from a producer who's more in tune with dubstep's origins than most who tend to be grouped under the increasingly-meaningless phrase. 'Dance Til The Police Come/Fundamentals' is out now on Hessle Audio.
Peverelist 'Dance til the Police Come' by Peverelist
Peverelist 'Fundamentals' by Peverelist
Peverelist & Hyetal 'The Hum' by Peverelist
Peverelist & Hyetal 'rrrr' by Peverelist
Peverelist 'Better Ways of Living' by Peverelist
Wrote about Hired Hands' single 'The Quay Wall' for last week's State office playlist (we don't really have an office, it's a metaphorical concept)
Sublime off-kilter folk-pop with boy-girl harmonies that keep wrongfooting you, this is both deceptively complex and supremely catchy. A seven-piece that includes former members of the sadly short-lived Feed The Bears, Hired Hands have a deft handle on subtle melancholy, and their varied instrumentation is perfectly judged. There’s slight shades of the Afro-tinged prog-pop of Dirty Projectors, but ultimately this has an identity all of its own, and is a welcome addition to the vibrant pop(icalia) scene.
The Quay Wall by Hired Hands
The album it's taken from, My Heart Hung, is streaming over at Ragged Words, and it's pretty impressive; other standout tracks include 'Marie Antoinette' and the title track.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Gang Gang Dance’s 2008 album Saint Dymphna was one of the outstanding releases of that year, showcasing an increasingly accessible sound without sacrificing any of the inventiveness that characterised the NYC-based outfit. The irresistible hooks of ‘House Jam’ (which Florence & The Machine would blatantly nod to on ‘Rabbit Heart’) as well as guest input from UK rapper Tinchy Stryder were in marked contrast to their more abstract earlier output, but if Saint Dymphna sounded streamlined to some, Eye Contact is even more so. While that may sound like a slight in pretentious-hipster language, it’s not: this is Gang Gang Dance we’re talking about, and ‘more accessible’ in their world is still deeply, deeply weird and wonderful by the standards of most other bands.
The stunning opening track, ‘Glass Jar’, has been a feature in their live sets for at least a couple of years now. It makes sense that they’ve waited until now to record or release it, because it well and truly sets the tone for what follows on Eye Contact: a dizzying, expertly layered track that slowly builds in intensity, the hypnotic main synthline kicks in at roughly the six-minute mark, with Lizzi Bougatsos’ sublime vocals taking the song to an even higher plane. Living up to the opening snatch of dialogue (“I can see everything/ It’s everything time”), this is the blueprint for their fifth long-player: taking the uninhibited, almost transcendental vibe of previous songs like ‘First Communion’ and running with it.
‘MindKilla’ is a bonkers, deliriously catchy rave-up that could utterly slay a dancefloor, while ‘Chinese High’ takes the Middle Eastern influences that the band absorb so well and combines them with kitsch, almost garish chimes that are straight out of the ’80s-pop-production guidebook.
If all this sounds a bit full-on, it is; but the New Yorkers make it work. Not least because of Bougatsos, whose vocals are pushed to the forefront more than ever: she responds with dazzling performances throughout, channelling some kind of spiritual, kinetic energy. Her vocals are all over the scale and frequently forego traditional expression, which means that she probably won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but there’s no question that she’s a crucial driving force. What’s more, she’s never sounded as serene as she does on the blissful ‘Sacer’, crooning the line “I’m so lost/ Can’t seem to find my way home” as if that’s exactly the way she wants it.
Not that she’s the only vocalist: Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor lends his soulful tones to the amazing ‘Romance Layers’, which somehow manages to sound like Prince jamming over a funked-up, eastern-tinged version of The Cure’s ‘Lullaby’.
The enhanced clarity and directness that’s in evidence on Eye Contact does mean that it lacks the darker, more sinister moments that were such a compelling feature of Saint Dymphna (the voodoo-tinged ‘Afoot’, for example), but this is Gang Gang Dance version 2011: Eye Contact is a veritable tour de force that cements their reputation as one of the most exciting bands around.
Elsewhere, a pretty brilliant article about the new album on The Quietus, and an interview over on XLR8R.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I've always had a bit of a weird relationship with this band - ambitious, unique, flamboyant and pretty off-the-wall, they called to mind reference points like The Smiths and Suede, revelling in sexual ambiguity and innuendo while having a very interesting ye-olde-English vibe. The debut album Limbo, Panto featured two of the absolute best songs - no exaggeration - of the last few years: 'Devil's Crayon' and 'His Grinning Skull' still get played to death on my iPod and still sound absolutely amazing. The latter has a really haunting quality to it - I heard a rumour that it relates to a sexual abusive schoolmaster or something like that, but whatever the subject, it all sounds pretty sinister and oozes with melancholy. The rest of that album got pretty ridiculous in places though, with the more affected tracks not really coming off.
For the second LP Two Dancers they toned things down a fair bit, musically if not lyrically, but despite the undenable brilliance of 'All The King's Men' there was a feeling with many of the tracks that they were building up to something brilliant but never quite took off.
The new album, Smother, is now streaming over at The Guardian, and on first impressions they have really got the balance right this time: really impressed with it so far, particular highlights being 'Invisible' and 'Burning'. There's some really nice textures in there that were lacking from their last album, which was just a bit too straightforward at times.
Wild Beasts - Albatross by DominoRecordCo
Dubculture Galway have regularly been bringing talent from the dubstep/bass spectrum to town - unfortunately I haven't been along to any of these nights: you can just about get away with standing around like an awkward loner at gigs but club nights are a different story. Anyway, Blawan is quite a coup for the organisers; he's made a name for himself in a very short space of time with his percussion-heavy, acid-tinged sound. The consistently excellent Hessle Audio released his first 12", the striking 'Fram/Iddy' last year, and that's been followed by this year's 303-laced Bohla EP on R & S..
Kaz [RS1102] by Blawan
and then there's this amazing tune:
The London producer plays Carbon nightclub (newly opened, formerly the GPO) this Friday night; following Illum Sphere's set at Kelly's last week, it's clear that dance music aficionados are being well served