Jamit, and his strange and wonderful forward thinking dance music creations is a regular visitor to DAA’s sonic literary shores. Often seeming like a solo voice in the music wilderness, creating singular sounds alone somewhere on the other side of the world and fighting back against the waves of predictability and pre-conception by building mercurial musical landscapes. Here though he has found a like-minded soul and if Jamit on his own is an interesting prospect, a collaboration is exceptionally intriguing. Just the concept of a Singaporean-South African musical cross-pollination has to be fascinating concept.
You have to love a song that sends you right back down the sonic rabbit hole, back into the body of that wide-eyed teenager that you used to be staring up at some long forgotten punk band in a now bulldozed venue in a town that you can’t remember going to. The first wave of any new genre is always the most exciting and subsequent musical devotees may capture the music, the style, the sound, the vibe but rarely do they capture the raw emotion that you felt when you first encountered the music that was going to change your life. A G E N T ’s Stop Talking, however, does exactly that.
As soon as the name Glen Hansard comes up most people think of that iconic sonic moment in the film Once or perhaps a general allegiance to the classic lines and timeless songwriting styles of artists such as Dylan, Van Morrison and Leonard Cohen. But Hansard has always found ways of upsetting expectations and this new track from the looming fourth solo album, This Wild Willing, is as strange and mercurial as anything found in the darker and less immediate corners of his regular musical vehicle, The Frames, back-catalogue.
On first listen – especially if you weren’t paying attention – you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is an album full of fluffy clouds, rainbows, optimism and sunshine all played out by a bright female voice and set against the back drop of Hippy-inspired dreams of unrealistic goals where people greet each other kindly and skip happily through the long grass of the world.
You’d be partially right.
The history of contemporary music is littered with high drama and over the top behaviour. The path to rock ’n’roll infamy is paved with imploding bands, bad behaviour, reckless acts and personal feuds. That side of history might make good copy and is thus assured the column inches in the press but the reality for most bands is very different indeed. It is generally one of hard work and dedication punctuated with moments of genius, a slow fade out and a long wait before attaining the title of cult band. The story of The Go-Betweens follows just such a pathway and because of its lack of intensity and intrigue is probably more valuable a document for those wishing to understand the reality of the music business.
Roots music, like most generic labels, is too broad a term to really convey anything useful to the listener. It covers all sorts of world, folk and traditional sounds, sounds that seem to lie at the beating heart of one culture or another and also seems to imply a nostalgic backward glance to a sound that is fairly well established, that is instantly identifiable, easy to pin down and even point to on a map. But if ManaLion is to be found anywhere in this broad musical scatter gun of ideas, it is found in a rare and interesting corner that is marked progressive, forward-thinking perhaps even futuristic.
Doug Collins has been described as a “man out of time” and, after listening to his ten-track album ‘Good Sad News’ it’s pretty clear what that means. Collins’ songs evoke the musical era of the jukebox, prom nights and broken-hearted teenage girls alone at home crying over their first love while sad songs play on their record players.
The instrumental pieces on The Humors, the second full-length album from NYC-based freelance guitarist Ryan Dugré, are meant to create mood and space. Drawing influence from film music, sparse scores such as Neil Young’s music for Dead Man, as well as the more melancholic pieces found on Marc Ribot’s Silent Movies, Ryan’s music is graceful and meditative.
There is something utterly and infectiously joyous about this latest release from Lord Conrad. But that is the art of making dance music in a nut shell. Too many people working in the broad progressive dance field, ignore any thoughts of moving the genre forward and instead stick to the same few musical tricks, overloading the song with sonic gimmicks and weigh it down with layer upon layer of studio tricks.
There are many reasons to cover other peoples songs and in my opinion most of them are not really very honest. I know that you can make an argument for tradition and wanting to honour your favourite songs but for my money, unless you can bring something new to it then all you are doing is riding on someone else coat tails and basking in their reflected fame and glory. After all in which other creative field could you do something similar without it being regarded as at best plagiarism, at worst forgery? I couldn’t paint the Mona Lisa or write Pride and Prejudice without a few questions being asked.
Your weekly round up of the music that we didn’t have time to cover in any great depth but which we felt needed a bit of a mention so that you can go and check things out for yourself.
9 Heartbit – Stefano Tucci
Raised in Naples but now resident in Paris, Tucci has been blending musical genres for nearly a decade. His latest album 9 Heartbit is a blissed out blend of clever guitar lines and groovesome dance beats, chilled electronica and pop urgency. More than anything it proves that dance music and dexterous guitar work are not as opposite as the rock and dance fraternities would have us believe and that there is a sweet spot between the two. Listen to Tucci’s music and it seems so obvious.
Find this album and lots more besides HERE
It is with a sense of sadness that I sit down to write about this latest Barnstormer album, having learned of the passing a few days ago of Dan Woods, original and long serving guitarist with the band but so much more too. Musician, artist, Fish Brother, Sensible sidekick, and as someone who was lucky enough to meet him on a number of occasion, not only a perfect gentleman but a perfectly gentle man. I raise a glass!
Anyway, to horse…
There are moments when the wonderfully named Amigo The Devil sounds like the dark, balancing counterpart of Damien Rice, times when he sounds like the alt-folk version of Danzig but mostly he sounds like Amigo The Devil. For all the space and drifting atmospheres of the former and the intense, diabolical edges of the latter, he manages to plough a furrow through murder ballad territory in his own inimitable style. This is Southern apocalyptic country music, gothic folk, blasted and blighted rock music…it’s the music that is playing as you wait for the world to end.
Monkfish make music as a soundtrack for a time and place that never really existed. It is one part The Old South, one part David Lynch soundtrack and one part dystopian future. A blend of what was, what is and what might be. And if the physical time and place that they cloak themselves in is a dark and mercurial one it is only because it mirrors the sonic landscapes that they build, more than the sum of its parts perhaps but some of those parts clearly falling into alt-country, rock and folk genres. But as always it is how you blend those familiar sounds together and more importantly what mortar you use as to hold it all together that makes you stand apart from the pack.
Bristol’s Our Nameless Boy are pleased to announce their return with their forthcoming new EP ‘Tomorrow I’ll Be Scared Again’ set for release through Beth Shalom Records on 1st March 2019.
To celebrate the news the band have revealed the video for new single ‘All It Is’ – an intense visual documentation of guitarist/vocalist Ian Gorrie’s recovery from an 11-month long battle with testicular cancer.
It’s clear from the outset that this album is going to be something special, the cover artwork alone tells you that there has been a lot of thought and work gone into the making of this album. It’s always a good idea to make your cover stand out because fans of this style of music will be dipping into this cd regularly and, lets face it, no one likes a boring album cover.
If pop music seems to have become a sonic painting by numbers production line more concerned with appealing to comfort zones and pre-conceptions of late, then we have to thank the gods of music for artists like Shreya Preeti. But it isn’t that she is making pop music that sits at a generic extreme or that she is splicing new sounds together in some genre-hopping experiment, far from it.
Given Nelson King’s usual rate of output, I was thinking of sending out a search party, having not had anything by him land in the in-box for quite a while, but thankfully Life Ain’t No Movie Show turned up as if to assure me that he is still very much in the game. Though its all relative I guess as even with this recent breathing space he would still finish in medal position compared with today’s average artist.
Not content with inventing his own musical genres by taking the common building blocks of familiar sounds and fashioning them into new sonic architecture, Garden City is Slang building a whole new world for those sounds to inhabit. It’s a place where “a red river flows through the veins of an enchanted forest” and “through the mist, in the heartland, lays Garden City.” That may seem a bit proggy, but rest assured this isn’t the music of wizards and epic quests, unless the wizards are the musicians making this glorious sound and their quest is a search for the groove.
There are few purer or more universally relatable things to write music about than attempting to capture the emotive sugar rush and natural high of your first crush and put into words those unexplainable and new experiences of first time love. And that is exactly what Just Wanna Dance is all about, attempting to describe with words and music all of those innocent, new and exciting chemical reactions that do strange things to you and your mind when love, lust and longing take hold of you.
I think it’s fair to say, without the risk of sounding sexist, that the album currently playing on my stereo is one written by a female and largely intended for a female audience. It’s true that within most arenas of creativity, be it books, films, television shows or music that if you can capture the female audience, you’ve got a hit. We all remember the fuss surrounding the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ books, and ‘The Greatest Showman’, a film released quite recently, panned by critics but audiences loved it.
The extreme end of rock and its younger, more muscle-bound, brother have undergone many changes since its 70’s golden age. But everything evolves, it’s only natural, it’s only healthy. I must admit I fell out of love with a lot of what was going on in this corner of music when melody and lyricism seemed to get subsumed by testosterone fuelled musical excess, a blatant more is more attitude and the rise of screamo vocals that sounded as if someone was holding a political rally in the seventh circle of hell.
If only parents the world over knew the impact their record collection will have on their children then perhaps they would think twice about what music to listen to. You hear stories of expectant mothers playing Mozart and Beethoven in close proximity of their swollen tummies in the hope that the complex arrangements will somehow boost brain activity so when the baby finally pops out he – or she – are geniuses.
Taken for the suitably named Travels, Flynn‘s debut solo album, Automatic People, is a pop-rock meander through the modern city rush hour, one which crackles with the hustle and hassle of those caught in traffic, rushing to get to work on time and the rat race of the nine to five which is the reality for most of us. Mixing jangling interludes with heavy guitar rhythms, keyboard washes with pulsing bass runs, it is as musically pacy and diverse as the picture it paints.
Angus McOg is a strange creature, after listening to the album, and struggling to find a classification for the music, I decided to dip my toe into the waters of the internet to see what he (and others) say about him. Obviously, there is the social media stuff, giving a brief – but interesting – biography but the most detailed information I found was from an Americana music review site, but this confused me further because on first listen what you hear isn’t strictly Americana so the review describes the album differently from what I was hearing.
Well, that’s just plain silly. Or perhaps it is a stroke of genius. After all the two are often the same thing and shift from one to the other only depending on how you look at them. It’s probably something to do with Heisenberg’s Uncertainly Principle…well, it all feels a bit quantum to me anyhow. So you have a band who have fashioned a range of homemade instruments largely from cleaning appliances and household detritus including an electric coffee bean can bouzouki, customised laundry rack, wash tub bass, 3-string closet hanger rod bass, melodic kling klang…no, me neither… and a drum kit made from at least 3 washing machines!
Books and covers, well, more properly Cd’s and covers; I never learn do I but I’m sure that I’m not the only person to look at this side project release from Jezebel Jones and automatically conjure words such as gothic, pagan, theatre, pathos, cliche, etc. But this is actually far removed from the Buffy watching, pseudo-pagan audience that I might have judged it to be aimed at. In fact its so far removed that it can’t even see Sunnydale in the rear view mirror.
What a glorious racket, and I mean that in the most constructive and positive sense. This is the sort of song that the more tribalistic elements of the scene will all argue over and try to claim it as their own. Punks will point to the inherent energy and edge that comes flying out of the speakers, the alt-rock fraternity will defend its four-four roots and foot on the monitor swagger, emos will make you aware of its angsty and pent up subject matter and indie kids will defend its effortless cool and accessibility.
“Good things come to he who waits” is the perfect adage for this the second album from Katie Doherty and the Navigators. More than ten years down the line from Bridges she is no longer the emerging artist breaking through into the folk scene but a stalwart of stages shared with the likes of Karine Polwart, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, and the legendary Ray Davies. But as is often the way though, life moved quickly on after that debut release, circumstances changed, and for Katie Doherty that meant working as a composer, collaborating with the Royal Shakespeare Company, starting a family and relocating to enjoy life on a farm. While nourished by her life and work, her own music had to take a backseat.
Fans of Dublin duo Morrissey & Marshall will not only be familiar with the type of music the boys play but will also be familiar with the songs on this album because they’ve rerecorded their 2014 debut album ‘And so it Began’ but in a stripped back acoustic fashion.