Monday, 25 May 2015

Remix of the Day: 'I Wanna Know (Seven Davis Jr Midnight Remix)' by Beat Spacek

First released in February, 'Modern Streets' by Beat Spacek has just received the 'deluxe' treatment and is now available with three extra remixes. This choice version of 'I Wanna Know' comes courtesy of Seven Davis Jr, who looks set to become one of 2015's stars himself. He sprinkles his dub-funky magic over the track to make it even more of a winner.



You can get the deluxe version in all the usual places, but the best is here at Ninja Tune.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Track of the Day: 'God Emoji' by Silicon

If you've not heard of them before (I hadn't until last night), Silicon is the band of Kody Nielson, whose brother Ruban fronts Unknown Mortal Orchestra. This slice of smooth electro-funk is their first offering for Weird World Records, and hopefully there's an album on the way later in the year.



By the way, if you get the chance to see them live then grab the opportunity, they were brilliant last night.


Live review and pictures: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Silicon and Moon King, Islington Assembly Hall, London 21st May 2015


A brilliant evening at the Islington Assembly Hall kicked off with Toronto band Moon King. Lead singer and driving force Daniel has a great voice and is a powerful frontman. At times they rocked out pretty hard and at others they mellowed out a bit, but overall they had a lot of energy, and anyone who claims that their 2 favourite songs are 'Halcyon and On and On' by Orbital and 'Harvest Moon' by Neil Young is alright by me.

Moon King live at Islington Assembly Hall, London
Next up was Silicon. Fronted by Ruban UMO's brother Kody, this was a performance and a half that enthralled and mystified the audience in equal measure. After spending the first song onstage Kody very quickly jumped into the audience and spent most of his set there. Dancing, prowling, posing, walking along the edge of the balcony and even stroking some hipster beards, he packed his set full of spiky energy. He even performed a cover of UMO's 'Can't Keep Checking My Phone' while Ruban watched and sang along from the side.Personally I loved it and I'll be watching out for them next time they're on town.

Silicon on stage at Islington Assembly Hall
And so to headliners Unknown Mortal Orchestra. From Ruban Neilson's solo project UMO have evolved into one of the tightest and together live bands I've seen for a while. Ruban is a brilliant guitarist and a thoroughly engaging frontman and together with the rest of the band he plays a brand of soulful and funky indie music that doesn't really exist anywhere else.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra live at Islington Assembly Hall, London 21/5/15
New and old songs mixed together well and were given the chance to breathe, expanding through some great flourishes and solos. No need to pick out highlights as the whole set was one big smile on my face from beginning to end. I can only imagine how great this stuff is going to sound on sunsetting stages through the festival season.

Ruban Nielson, Unknown Mortal Orchestra live 21/5/15
Unknown Mortal Orchestra are back in the UK in October for another tour and you really should go and see them, because they're ace.

Recommended music: 'Multi-Love' by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Multi-Love

The third album from Ruban Nielson may well just be the summer soundtrack you've been looking for. From the opening bars of the now somewhat notorious title track you can tell that you're in for a full on blast of shimmering grooves and good vibes. There's been a lot of salacious talk about the subject matter - Ruban & his wife both fell in love with the same girl, she moved in but then the whole thing sort of fell apart - but to focus on that is is to do the rest of the album a disservice. As Ruban has said "there are more references to holograms than polyamory" on the record, so my advice is just to accept the song for what it is, don't judge the story or the storyteller, and move on.

If you do you'll get to the brief blast of power pop that is 'Like Acid Rain' and then the funkier, almost Prince-like rhythms of 'UR Life One Night'. Most recent single 'Can't Keep Checking My Phone', a disco-driven beast of a tune with a brilliantly catchy chorus. It's followed by 'Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty' which feels like the most downbeat song on the album, although it has an unexpected and soulful saxophone solo in the middle that really brings the song alive. A minute before the end it steps up a gear with a dramatic instrumental passage, which then gives way to 'The World Is Crowded - a super smooth groove that's made for relaxing by the pool on your holidays.

As we move towards the end of the record 'Stage or Screen' probably sounds most like older UMO tracks, full of phase and a bit more lo-fi, while 'Necessary Evil' is a darker, moodier slice of funk with some great guitar pieces.

Album closer 'Puzzles' is an epic track that somehow manages to meld The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and George Clinton into seven minutes of epicness.

I can't really think of anyone else treading the same path as UMO right now; their brand of soulful, funky indie really is in a class of its own. I'm pretty sure this'll end up in the end of year 'best of' lists from many people, especially me.

'Multi-Love' is out on May 25th on Jagjaguwar Records.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Track of the Day: 'Where I'm From' by A La Sole feat. Domo Genesis

A new track from the Pro Era stable, this is the perfect mix of West and East coast. Let's hope A La Sole's album 'Elixir' drop sooner rather than later. And then maybe the time is right for a full-on Odd Future / Pro Era hook-up - imagine what a tour that would be...




Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Track of the Day: 'Out The Trunk (Remix) feat. Busta Rhymes' by Fashawn

Freshly remixed from his great album 'The Ecology', this track from Fashawn now comes with an added dose of Busta Rhymes. "Turn the volume up and bang it out the trunk" are the instructions, and that's really all you need to do - it's a monster of a track so just turn it up and let it loose in your neighbourhood. You can get a free download by following the link below.




Recommended music: 'Gunnera' by Pfarmers

Image of PFARMERS - GUNNERA (LP)

A supergroup of sorts, Pfarmers features Bryan Devendorf (The National), Danny Seim (Menomena, Lackthereof) and Dave Nelson (David Byrne, Sufjan Stevens). The seeds of the band were sown when Danny and Bryan toured together over 10 years ago. Since then they'd become friends, and Danny had made some drumbeats with Dave that he played to Bryan one day. Everything clicked and Pfarmers began to bloom. The record is apparently about a dream Seim had which involved drowning and being reincarnated as a giant Gunnera plant.

The first couple of times I tried to listen to this I didn't really get past the first track; a droning, ambient track which (I assume) represents the journey into a dreamlike state. This was my bad though, as once you're in the dream there's a whole lot more going on in the record. It's upbeat, almost poppy in places, and definitely takes you on a trip. Throughout the record there are hints of The National's melodies and rhythms, particularly on 'You Shall Know The Spirit'. Something about 'Work For Me' reminds me of Super Furry Animals (maybe the voice) - whatever it is it's definitely one of my favourite tracks on the record.

'El Dorado' finds Seim painting himself gold and sinking to the bottom of the river serenely and without panicking. The pace picks up for 'The Ol' River Gang' which features skittery beats and is underpinned by a John Carpenter-esque keyboard riff. Another of the album's highlights it has power and poise, and I could imagine it working really well live. 'How To Build A Tube' is intriguing, it sounds like there are layers and layers in it to uncover (I'd love to get my hands on the stems to remix it) and then the record closes with a track to slowly draw you back out of the dream state, as 'Promised Land' sails you back down the river to consciousness.

Overall this is an enticing and unusual record - it may be just a seedling compared to their other projects but it's one that's worth nourishing.

'Gunnera' is out now on Jurassic Pop Records, and you can stream the whole thing below.