Rude Redux EP –  Rude Audio (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

oM2xzBCQThere is a wonderful cross pollination of sounds and ideas running through the heart of Rude Audio’s latest release. It is music made using the latest studio technology yet it beats with an ancient heart, it’s from a London based band but their brand of Balearic chill is infused with North African and India sonic thumbprints. They make spacious and ambient music yet it still has a wonderfully confident beat, depending on your state of mind you can groove away to its exotic charms or just let it gently wash over you.

Unlike the often brash, linear and direct music that comes out of such a scene, Rude Redux seems to ooze from the speakers, a dub platform is used as a base for all sorts of world sounds and cross-cultural blending and this solid foundation allows them to be spacious when they want to be or use it to really ramp up the woozy, hazy intensity.

As a band they seem to have all the right underground and off the radar credentials, operating away from the limelight and in doing so building up a reputation for being the alternative choice for the underground party scene. And you can hear why. For every strand of familiarity there are two strands of “what just happened,” where did that sound come from” and “I wouldn’t have thought of doing that.” If you remember the early releases from the Future Sound of London and the original Balearic dance scene then Rude Redux is going to really make your day. Cinematic, cross-cultural and totally accessible. Cool!

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Scene and Heard – CCCXCI : Candle in the Sea – Eomeight (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

7YDYyDYn_400x400When you read that a song has been inspired by the beauty of meditation it is quite natural to have formed some preconceptions as to what sort of music is likely to follow. Something dreamlike, transient, gentle and built along simple lines perhaps? And whilst Candle in the Sea is indeed all of those things, it is as far removed from the wispy, twee, new age expectations that have already formed unbidden in your mind.

Imagine if Johnny Cash, in one of his rarer lighter moods had written something to help you to sleep and you would be nearer the mark. An engaging acoustic riff and a soulful voice are almost the whole story, just some extra guitar textures and a simple beat later on, but definitely a song drawn from the book of “less is more” and it is the space and atmosphere that makes it such an effective song. And what is more, every instrument you hear on the song is played by the man himself. how cool is that? Soothing and sultry, gentle and gorgeous. It’s healthy to have your expectations quashed from time to time, especially when what does so also greatly exceeds them.

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Spiritual – 4 Wheel City (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

4-Wheel-City-CoverWhilst many rappers and hip-hop artists seem content to sing about personal gain, the glitz, the glamour, the game, of getting the trappings that seem to go hand in hand with the genre, 4 Wheel City find their inspiration in higher concerns. The album title immediately tells us that the writing comes from a deeper and more meaningful place but this is more than an album of devotional music thought. It discusses a wide range of subjects, social issues, political events, persistent day to day problems and universal world concerns.

Proving that terms such as rap, hip-hop and urban music are too broad to really be of much use, Namel “Tapwaterz” Norris and Ricardo “Rickfire” Velasquez have created an album that neither revels in the past glories of the genre nor simply settles for a commercial route to chart success and a quick buck. Instead they deal with big issues head on, whilst setting eloquent and often elegant words, to music that redefines what those genres can be in the modern age.

Songs such as Burning of the Tiki Torches are particularly powerful, discussing the broad and broken political landscape and calling for unity and Disabled Lives Matter looks at hot topics such as the Puerto Rican floods from the point of view of how it affects those less able to deal with the physical aspects of such a disaster. A song made all the more poignant with a similar storm currently battering the US east coast even as I write this. Leaders of The New World looks at a possible future inspired by people turning away from greed and exploitation and leading by example and Music sees them celebrating the part that creativity plays in their life.

It’s a fascinating album, one that flys in the face of mumbling bedroom rappers searching for a celebrity life-style that seems to have become the norm. It looks the grim reality’s of the modern world straight in the eye and forces the listener to engage in the discussion. It pushes generic boundaries beyond the streets where it grew up and into a sort of provocative urban world music. It is also a timely reminder that music can indeed be a powerful force, can be used as a platform to cause debate, can make the listener both feel and think, two things that seem in short supply in these dark modern days.

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Gregory Alan Isakov premieres ‘Dark, Dark, Dark’ at Billboard

mail-1.jpegGregory Alan Isakov’s new song, ‘Dark, Dark, Dark,’ has just premiered publicly. Of the album, Billboard proclaims, “The 12-song set wound up sounding more characteristically ruminative…blending a gentle spaciousness with dusky atmospheres and carefully nuanced textures.

‘Dark, Dark, Dark’ is the third track unveiled from Isakov’s anticipated new album, ‘Evening Machines’. The release, his first in partnership with Dualtone Records, is due October 5th and is now available for pre-order.

The album’s previous single, ‘Caves,’ was recently featured at Paste, who called it, “Enchanting…Essential to the song’s boundary-less feeling is the enchanting vocal layering—the layers reach out in every direction to create the sense that they extend forever, but you are still somehow at the center of it all.” The first single, ‘Chemicals,’ which surpassed 3.8 million streams this week, has garnered critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, who praise, “[the song] unfolds at a gentle pace…[it] is the sound of befuddlement turned into beauty.” PopMatters furthers, “‘Chemicals’ is a penetrating narrative that explores the complexity of the human condition. It’s almost overwhelming to ponder what the rest of the album will reveal.” Earlier this month, Isakov was the subject of an Inc. story on balancing both his career as a musician and working his own farm, see the full interview here.

Recorded at a converted barn studio located on Isakov’s three-acre farm in Boulder County, CO, the twelve-track album was self-produced and mixed by Tucker Martine (Neko Case, The Decemberists) and Andrew Berlin (Descendents, Rise Against).

Of the record—his fourth full-length studio album and first in five years—Isakov comments, “I’d work really hard into the night. A lot of times I would find myself in the light of all these VU meters and the tape machine glow, so that’s where the title came from. I recorded mostly at night, when I wasn’t working in the gardens. It doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter, morning or afternoon, this music always feels like evening to me.

All with Joe Purdy

November 20th—Brussels, Belgium—Orangerie Botanique
November 21st—Hamburg, Germany—Uebel & Gefaehrlich
November 23rd—Oslo, Norway—John Dee
November 24th—Stockholm, Sweden—Nalen
November 25th—Copenhagen, Denmark—VEGA
November 27th—Amsterdam, Netherlands—Paradiso
November 28th—Groningen, Netherlands—De Oosterport
November 29th—Berlin, Germany—Passionkirche Kreuzberg
November 30th—Cologne, Germany—Gloria
December 1st—Zurich, Switzerland—Mascotte
December 2nd—Paris, France—La Maroquinerie
December 4th—London, UK—O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
December 5th—Bristol, UK—SWX
December 7th—Dublin, Ireland—Academy
December 8th—Glasgow, Scotland—Saint Luke’s
December 9th—Manchester, UK—Academy 3

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Delta Sleep share new sessions

mail-2Today, Brighton math-rock band Delta Sleep have shared two new live sessions. Ahead of their US tour the band recorded a session with Audiotree  and to coincide with the announcement of a new Paris live date the band have also shared a session filmed in the city with Mowno.

The band are currently halfway through there UK tour dates in support of their critically acclaimed new album, ‘Ghost City’ (out now via Big Scary Monsters). The dates follow on from the band’s first-ever US tour, which saw the band play to packed out venues at all 11 dates, with 7 of those shows selling out.

The band have also announced a new run of European tour dates, which will follow on from the UK tour. The full list of forthcoming dates is as follows:

21.09 – London, Bush Hall // UK *
22.09 – Leeds, Temple of Boom // UK *
23.09 – Southampton, Joiners // UK *
20.10 – Paris, FR, Supersonic
23.10 – Magdeburg, DE, Studioklub
24.10 – Cologne, DE, Subway Club
25.10 – Berlin, DE, Tief
26.10 – Wroclaw, PL, D.K. Luksus
27.10 – Prague, CZ, Klub Famu
28.10 – Leipzig, DE, TBC
+ More dates TBC

* w/Tangled Hair

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Wasteland  –  King Brothers (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

KingBros_Cover-thHere’s a question for you. If a truck carrying a back catalogue of 50’s rock’n’roll and blues records heading west at 60 miles per hour collided with a truck carrying 60’s garage rock and later punk records heading east travelling at 45 miles per hour, what noise would be forthcoming at the point of impact? Okay, rhetorical question. Silly question. Here’s another one. How can a band repackaging the most familiar rock ’n’roll vibes sound like the freshest sonic dish of the day? Only the gods of music know, well, them and King Brothers.

Wasteland doesn’t pretend to offer any answers, it’s just music not philosophy, but it does make for something great to put on in the back ground whilst you think about it. Eleven tracks that wander the back streets of all of those aforementioned genres mixing and matching, plundering and polishing, reinventing and repackaging, its all familiar stuff but at the same time feels very much of the here and now rather than a mere nostalgic wander through past glories.

And proof of how great the music is comes from the fact that they sing in Japanese, and why not, but it is a language I’m not familiar with and I get about three songs in before I even realise that I’m not listening  to the words. I’m listening to the sound of the words, the attitude, the way the delivery fits the music but like I say, this is rock’n’roll it just has to sound the part, it has to groove, rock out, swagger, sulk, threaten, look cool and get the job done. Wasteland does all this and more.

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The Lazlo Device bow out with You Stumble, I Fall

mail-1.jpegAfter a few months of anticipation, London post-rockers The Lazlo Device have finally released their second album, You Stumble, I Fall. 12 tracks of sonic soundscaping and solid song-building that that digs deep into the realm of experimental rock, dipping into other styles like desert rock, indie-rock inflected dance and even reggae, whilst remaining at all times distinctly their own beast entirely.

“We think it’s the best thing we’ve done,” said lead singer and bass guitarist Dan Murdoch. “Where Duelism was a smorgasbord of years of ideas; this album feels coherent, something closer to where we ended up.It’s a fair approximation of late-Lazlo,” he added.

Three singles from the album have already made their mark; there’s the soaring yet earthy desert noir cocktail of the title track – “written after a sitar lesson in Udaipur,” explained guitarist Ross Saunders; the math-rock-flavoured, dancefloor-ready cohesion of ‘Known to You’; and the bouncy ‘Beetle’ with its infectious swing and aftershow glow. It showcases the playful versatility of Lazlo Device – their ability to create songs that flip between genres but that still encapsulate their signature sound: warm, heavy, and live.

However, the band’s second album will also be their last. You Stumble, I Fall is at once the height of Lazlo, but simultaneously their swansong.

“This has been a lovely ride,” wrote Dan Murdoch in a Facebook status, “but it feels like we’ve run out of road. No one really wanted to say it. No one wanted to put a seal on it. At least not until the album was out. And now it is.”

You Stumble, I Fall was released 31st August and is available to download via Bandcamp and iTunes and can be streamed via Spotify and Soundcloud

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Songs With Venissa – djpe and Venissa Santi (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

songs-with-venissa-275-275-1534537610I love music that refuses to sit in neat generic demarcations. I love music that is happy to exist in a multi-cultural sonic world. I love music that looks to the future rather than back at past glories. To find that all in one place is a rare and wonderfully satisfying thing but that is exactly what I found when giving Songs With Venissa a spin. I might not know exactly what Afro-Futurism, the description that producer Paul Edwards uses to indicate the nature of the music that he makes is, but when you come out the other side of this 6 track e.p. you realise that it is the perfect name for what him and Cuban-American jazz vocalist Venissa Santi create here.

And for all the dark, sultry beats and spacious electronica that the name implies, there is so much more going on here. My Schwinn blends the sound of that continent with more exotic India traditions and Lucky mixes heavy dub grooves and infectious pop with warped western classical outbursts. Heartbeat takes a turn into lazy late night jazz-hop and If I Could Write A Letter is so ahead of its time, so unlike anything you have heard so far that it might truly be the sound of the future.

The world is an ever shrinking place, certainly culturally speaking. Tools and traditions, sounds and styles which may never have crossed paths in the past are now creative bed fellows. As people mix so do their sounds and stories, their attitudes and ideas and the more that happens the more interesting and original those new blends of music become. Genres are dead, long live music.

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Scene and Heard – CCCXCI : Dark All Day –  Gunship feat. Tim Cappello and Indiana (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

37227545_1989099424444791_8286371689407709184_n.jpgThere has been a real revival of the glossier end of the post-punk sound of late, I guess a lot of it has to do just with the passing of time. Eighties revivalism has seen slick keyboard sounds and big production move from the old hat category into the vintage section and is thus now cool and referential rather than merely nostalgic and dated. I’m sure films such as Ready Player One has helped things along in no small part.  But to be fair to Gunship, they were doing this long before it became a bandwagon, they were frequent fliers to that decade before the movers and shakers deemed it okay to do so.

And that is why as they pile the references on, both visually and musically, you can say that at least they have earned the right, even revivalists can be trailblazers, everything is cyclical and you just have to chose your moment. Musically they opt for a sultry, late night vibe, one that clashes the neon glitz of the down town back streets with the up town glamour as borne out by the sultry saxophone.

Hints of Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack seem deliberate rather than stolen and the visual accompaniment is not only a clear nod to the beach band in the opening scenes of The Lost Boys (plus the video is set in Santa Carla) but goes one step further, the man behind the gratuitous sax is Tim Capello himself. But as always Gunship do it better than most, maybe the art is to just be honest, to put your hands up and say “hell, we love that era so why not revel in it?”  And why not indeed?

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Lusts share single True Romance

lvfxkSIwLusts, the recording pseudonym of brothers Andrew and James Stone, are returning with their brand new LP ‘call of the void’, out November 16th. Alongside they’ve shared their expansive new single ‘true romance’, a motoric and electric track with a danceable pace and gloriously infectious hook.


Of the track, they tell us “‘true romance’ takes influence from classic romantic literature, drawing a line between love affairs throughout the ages, and channeling them through our own gothic perspective. It’s a mixture of the intertwining stories of Cleopatra and Caesar, Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, Clarence and Alabama, and “The Sun Also Rises” by Hemingway. We were also inspired by this quote from “Wide Sargasso Sea” – “Blot out the moon, Pull down the stars. Love in the dark, for we’re for the dark. So soon, so soon.” ‘true romance’ is about unrequited love, and all the unusual and intricate ways we express ourselves. We’re all different, we’re all strange, and that’s a beautiful thing.”

Their self-recorded and self-released LP has a diverse palette of sonics and themes, having been influenced by the endless motion of the city, otherworldly nights, and brutalist architecture. It’s a utopian and romantic record; Lusts are more interested in being part of a developed and progressive future than being caught in a dystopian mire. The album is hopeful rather than despairing, but there are also explorations of darker themes.

Continue reading

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