Thursday, 21 August 2014

Recommended music: 'My Love Is A Bulldozer' by Venetian Snares

A record that's almost impossible to categorize, and as hard to review, Aaron Funk's first album as Venetian Snares sounds like everything ever made and nothing ever made, often all at once. It's clearly a concept album, and a high concept at that, but what to call it? A breakcore musical? Post-post-modern jazz-tronica? 22nd century classical? Whatever you decide on, it's clear that he's not short of ideas, and if he lacks a bit of self-control about which ones to use, then it still results in probably the most startling album you'll hear all year.

If it's ostentatious, or pretentious, or over the top, then it's deliberately so. This is not a record that you could ever accuse of taking itself too seriously, although that doesn't detract from the quality or the scale of ambition that's on display here. From the initial, jazz-club drums on opener '10th Circle of Winnipeg',  and the Shirley Bassey-esque vocals, through the string-laden 'Deleted Poems', and onto the tracks the Funk sings himself like '1000 Years' and 'Amazon' the album is kind of coherently all over the place.

If you were going to analyse just one track then 'My Love Is A Bulldozer' is probably the one to look at. Imagine you heard the following lyrics on a rap record - you'd think nothing of it, and probably wouldn't even notice.

My dick feels so hard it could break apart
My love is a bulldozer on the shores of paradise
My love is a bulldozer in heaven
Only you can make my dick feel like this, oh baby

But here, sung in Funk's leisurely baritone, over a backing that's alternately swooping strings and batshit-crazy percussion, you can't help but notice them. Is there a point he's trying to make here, or is it just crudeness for the sake of it? Is he trying to highlight the vacuity of some hip-hop lyrics, or is this his attempt at a love song? We'll probably never know, but it's a good indicator of how thought provoking this record is.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Track of the Day: 'Our Love' by Caribou

The title track from the new Caribou album is more evidence that this will be a contender for album of the year. Initially it sounds a lot like previous Caribou tracks, but gradually it resolves into another type of animal. First of all there are some subtle, almost 70s disco strings that give the track some depth. Then about half way through it goes all Inner City 'Good Life' on us and turns into a proper dancefloor smash

Caribou have just announce a new live date at London's Brixton Academy on March 14th 2015 - tickets go on sale this week.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Track of the Day: 'Barcelona (at Eye Level)' by Paul Smith & Peter Brewis

A bit of an out of the blue pairing, it turns out the Messrs Maximo Park and Field Music have created a whole album together, which will be released by Memphis Industries called 'Frozen By Sight'. Originating from a festival commission, the song titles point to a travel-themed album (Santa Monica, Budapest, Perth to Bunbury for example) and this is the first track, which continues that theme. I reckon it's got a bit of a 70s soundtrack vibe, with its use of a string quartet and a rather jazzy double bass - see what you think.

You can pre-order the album here and get instant downloads of three of the tracks.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

EP of the Day: 'Leaving' by Spooky Black

Seemingly loved and hated by the internet in equal measure without necessarily anything concrete to base opinions on, Spooky Black has finally delivered a decent-sized chunk of material for people to get their teeth into. And just a few listens to the 'Leaving' EP should go a long way to bringing the haters over to the right side of the fence. The EP manages to mix emotional lyrics with a sense of coolness and detachment, at times sounding like James Blake (with more swearing) or Chet Faker (with less shagging). The baby-faced Lil' Spook has crafted a haunting, delicate record belying his occasionally 'gangsta' image.

You can stream the EP below and follow the link to download the whole thing for free.

Cover version of the Day: 'Your Woman' by Token

The fact that this track, originally performed by White Town, is often called a 'lost classic' doesn't seem to stop it regularly being covered or sampled, hinting at the fact that a lot more people know about it than the hipsters would have you believe. This latest cover comes from Anne Douris a.k.a. Token, and is a follow up to her debut track 'Meteor' which came out a couple of months ago. I particularly like the bit 2 minutes and 45 seconds in where she picks up the riff from the original track before casually tossing it aside.

You can hear the track below and get it from Bandcamp on a 'pay what you like' deal.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Track of the Day: 'Clarke's Dream' by Gold Panda

Appearing unexpectedly last night, this funky little beast from Gold Panda is perfect for your sunny Saturday afternoon. Made about 7 miles up the road from where I'm typing this, in Derwin's home of Chelmsford, I'm not sure if it heralds a slightly new direction for him, or if it's a one-off slice of funkiness, but either way it's a treat for your ears. Listen & download for free below.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Remix of the Day: 'Wrong (East India Youth Remix) by Erland & The Carnival

The B-side (if such physical things still exist) to the new E&TC single 'Birth of a Nation', this dark and brooding mix from East India Youth takes their music in an unexpected direction. There's almost a soundtrack feel to it, as the strings and vocal refrain are gradually replaced by EIY's familiar flowing keyboards (his music always makes me think of journeys).

The single is out next week, followed by the new album on 25th August. Coincidentally I saw Erland & the Carnival last night at the tiny Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston - the stuff off the new album sounded really good, and there were a fair few oldies thrown in as well.

Erland & The Carnival, Servant Jazz Quarters London 7/8/14