Monday, 31 December 2012

Live - in pictures & videos: ATP Festival Nightmare Before Christmas curated by The National, Camber Sands 7-9/12/12

I won't put much commentary up to go with these, just to say it was a brilliant weekend, great atmosphere with a really good mix of bands and a great bunch of friends. All of the photos and videos on here are mine apart from The National ones at the end, which were taken by Ken from his prime spot on the barrier at the front.

Buke and Gase
The Kronos Quartet

Kurt Vile and The Violators closing day one

Kurt Vile rocking out

A stroll on Camber Sands on Saturday morning

Lower Dens

Michael Rother (backed by young Berlin band Camera)

The Antlers

Wild Beasts played 'Smother' in its entirety to finish day 2

Youth Lagoon

Local Natives

The National, closing the festival brilliantly

Matt Berninger, The National

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Albums of the Year 2012

As 2012 puts on its pipe and slippers and starts to relax in front of the fire, it's time to reminisce about the last 12 months. 2012 was pretty excellent all round (remember that little Olympic party that London threw in the summer?) - musically there were lots and lots of good albums, although I'm not sure there were that many truly great ones. Time will prove whether the albums below were real classics or just a flash in the pan, but for what it's worth here are my favourite records of the year.

1. alt-J - An Awesome Wave
An intriguing and beguiling album - great production (especially the percussive sounds), unusual melodies and arrangements, intelligent and dark lyrics all combine to make a fresh, undefinable sound and a band with a great future. Sometimes the Mercury Prize judges get it right!

2. Oddisee - People Hear What They See
Hands down the best hip hop album of 2012, on his debut album as a fully fledged rapper Amit 'Oddisee' Mohamed crafts an assured, intelligent and classy record. Whether he's examining his own life (on You Know Who You Are) or ripping into US capitalism (on American Greed) he never fails to entertain.

3. Pinkunoizu - Free Time!
A Danish band with a Japanese name, this is high concept lo-fi psychedelia that manages to sound like it's been made in the four corners of the globe and in the middle of outer space, all at the same time.

4. Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It
Although at times achingly fragile, there is a deep, underlying strength to this album. The gentle melodies and haunting arrangements hide the lyrics of someone who is prepared to fight for what they believe in and for who they love. As Mike Hadreas (aka Perfume Genius) said this year "If Rick in Pittsburgh or whatever isn't going to listen to my music because I'm gay, fuck it".

5. Tame Impala - Lonerism
A glorious blend of The Beatles, glam rock, The Flaming Lips, Electric Light Orchestra, Pink Floyd, Super Furry Animals and lost more. Best played incredibly loud and very often.

6. Benjamin Damage & Doc Daneeka - They!Live
Recorded in Berlin, but influenced equally by the UK and Detroit as Germany, this is a deep, warm dance record, full of light and shade, with guest vocals from Abigail Wyles on a number of tracks. Since I bought it back in January it's slowly but surely crept into my head and become a firm favourite.

7. Gang Colours - The Keychain Collection
Smouldering, moody, mostly calm but occasionally petulant, this is a simple, melodic and elegant album. Influences range from James Blake to Gold Panda with a fair bit of originality too. Like the shy boy at school, you should let this album ask you out on a date - it'll be worth it.

8. Ryan Davis - Particles Of Bliss
Melodic German tech-house, similar in feel to last year's Dominik Eulberg album. At times melancholic, bit always melodic, and a cut above most electronic dance music.

9. Chrome Canyon - Elemental Themes
Like the soundtrack to the best 80s film John Carpenter or Ridley Scott never made, this is a record that pays dividends if you listen to it all in one go and sink into the universe it creates.

10. The Gaslamp Killer - Breakthrough
Released on Brainfeeder earlier this year, this is an immense mix of music and styles. Unfairly criticised in some parts as being nothing more than a collection of sketches, while it occassionally misses the targer this is a record that's not afraid to aim high.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Free mixtape - 12 x 12 #6 - the cover versions

The week of mixtape giveaways comes to an end with this - my selection of the best cover versions to have come out this year. While some of these might not be surprising - Patti Smith covering Neil Young say, or Lana Del Rey doing Blue Velvet - there are some really unusual covers here. Who'd have thought that 2012 would see The Afghan Whigs covering Frank Ocean, or Oberhofer channelling Kanye West? The mix ends with a frankly astonishing version of The Low Anthem's Charlie Darwin by Tom Jones which proves that there's still life in the old dog yet. Just click on the mixtape above to listen to it, or right click to download it. Here's the tracklisting:

  1. Chromatics - Into The Black (Neil Young cover)
  2. Oberhofer - Runaway (Kanye West cover)
  3. The Afghan Whigs - Lovecrimes (Frank Ocean cover)
  4. The Rosebuds - No Ordinary Love (Sade cover)
  5. Chet Faker - No Diggity (Blackstreet cover)
  6. Gang Colours - Fill Me In (Craig David cover)
  7. Sufjan Stevens - Alphabet Street (Prince cover)
  8. Prince Fatty - Got Your Money (Ol' Dirty Bastard cover)
  9. Hackney Colliery Band - Jericho / Out Of Space / No Good (Prodigy covers)
  10. Lana Del Rey - Blue Velvet (Bobby Vinton cover)
  11. Patti Smith - After The Goldrush (Neil Young cover)
  12. Tom Jones - Charlie Darwin (The Low Anthem cover)

Friday, 21 December 2012

Free mixtape - 12 x 12 #5

The finishing line is in sight as we reach the fifth of my free mixtapes this week, with more of my favourite tracks from 2012. Just click on the cassettes above to listen, or right click to download it. Here's the tracklisting:

  1. Quakers - Fitta Happier (feat. Guilty Simpson & MED)
  2. Ryan Davis - Beluga
  3. Richard Hawley & the Death Ramps - You And I
  4. Mystery Jets - Greatest Hits
  5. Egyptian Hip Hop - One Eyed King
  6. alt-J - Breezeblocks
  7. Hodgy Beats - Bullshittin'
  8. Gonjasufi - Nickels and Dimes
  9. John Talabot - Destiny (feat. Pional)
  10. The Bomber Jackets - Larching
  11. John Wesley Coleman III - Trans Am Summer Blues
  12. Blur - Under The Westway
Make sure you come back tomorrow for a very special set of cover versions...

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Free mixtape - 12 x 12 #4

And still there's's mixtape number four with another selection of my favourite tracks of the year. Just click on the tape above to listen to it, or tight-click and 'Save as' to download it. The tracklisting goes like this:

  1. The Maccabees - Pelican
  2. Kidkanevil & Daisuke Tanabe - Tiny Concrete Block
  3. Oddisee - Let It Go
  4. Bat For Lashes - Laura
  5. Venetian Snares - Fool The Detector
  6. Plan B - Ill Manors
  7. Ultraista - Smalltalk (Four Tet Remix)
  8. Gang Colours - Tissues & Fivers
  9. Hodgy Beats - In A Dream
  10. Daphni - Yes, I Know
  11. Jagwar Ma - Come Save Me
  12. Withered Hand - (it's a) Wonderful Lie
All the previous mixtapes from this week are still available so if you've missed any go grab them now!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Free mixtape - 12 x 12 #3

Here's the third of this week's mixtapes, again featuring some of my favourite tracks of the year. Just click on the tape above to listen, or right-click to download. Here's the tracklisting:

  1. Jack White - Sixteen Saltines
  2. First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar
  3. Oddisee - Paralyzed
  4. alt-J - Bloodflood
  5. Burial - Kindred
  6. Thee Satisfaction - Deeper
  7. Gravenhurst - Fitzrovia
  8. Perfume Genius - Hood
  9. DIIV - Doused
  10. Pinkunoizu - The Abyss
  11. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Swim and Sleep (Like A Shark)
  12. Seams - Hung Markets
The first and second mixtapes are still available to download as well, so go grab them from elsewhere  on my blog if you haven't got them already.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Free mixtape - 12 x 12 #2

Here's the second of this weeks mixtapes, showcasing some of the best music from 2012. Click on the mixtape above to listen, or right-click to download it. This is the tracklisting:

  1. Flying Lotus - Between Friends (feat. Earl Sweatshirt & Captain Murphy)
  2. Dam Mantle - Brothers Fowl
  3. Halls - White Chalk
  4. Telefonica Tel Aviv - The Birds
  5. Thee Satisfaction - God
  6. Night Works - I Tried So Hard (Extended Mix)
  7. Eaux - No More Power
  8. Tame Impala - Elephant
  9. Laetitia Sadier - Auscultation To The Nation
  10. Fidlar - No Waves
  11. Crybaby - A Misery Of Love
  12. Kendrick Lamar - Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst
PS if you missed yesterday's mixtape just click here to find it.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Free mixtape - 12 x 12 #1

Today marks the start of a week of giveaways on my blog. These mixtapes are designed to showcase some of the best music from 2012, whether that's stand alone single releases or tracks from some of my favourite albums of the year. There'll also be a few nods in the direction of artists who I think will go on to bigger and better things in 2013. Each one will be 12 tracks long and span many musical genres, so there should be something for everyone.

To listen to today's mixtape just click on the mixtape above, or right-click to download. Share it with your friends, and don't forget to come back for another one tomorrow! Here's the tracklisting:

  1. The Gaslamp Killer - Nissim
  2. Joey Bada$$ - Hardknock (feat. CJ Fly)
  3. Bobby Womack - Dayglo Refelection (feat. Lana Del Rey)
  4. Frank Ocean - Pyramids
  5. Holy Strays - Christabell (B)
  6. Lower Dens - Brains
  7. Rudimentary - Feel The Love
  8. Slugabed - Mountains Come Out Of The Sky
  9. Bitches - Kill Birds, Eat Shit
  10. Benjamin Damage & Doc Daneeka - Battleships (feat. Abigail Wyles)
  11. Ty Segall - Handglams
  12. Quakers - Earth Quaking (feat. Akil)

Thursday, 6 December 2012

New mixtape - DJ Cull presents 'ATP curated by me'

I'm off to the ATP Festival Nightmare Before Christmas (curated by The National) tomorrow. Over the weekend there's a mixtape swap session, where the themes is 'ATP curated by me' i.e. the artists you'd pick if you were running the festival. So here's my mixtape, and rather than just picking a bunch of people who've made my favourite records I've tried to focus on bands who I know are really good live, either because I've seen them myself or I've heard good reports. You can listen to the tape above, or click here to download the whole thing for free. And if you're the person who ends up getting hold of this at Camber Sands then please get in touch! Here's the tracklisting:

  1. The Gaslamp Killer - Nissim
  2. Gonjasufi - Nickels and Dimes
  3. Friends - I'm His Girl
  4. Egyptian Hip Hop - Iltoise
  5. FM Belfast - Underwear
  6. Matthew Dear - Get The Rhyme Right
  7. Little Roy - Dive
  8. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)
  9. Peaking Lights - Amazing and Wonderful
  10. Pinkunoizu - Time Is Like A Melody
  11. alt-J - Bloodflood
  12. John Wesley Coleman III - Million Faces
  13. The Acorn -Slippery When Wet
  14. Bitches - Kill Birds, Eat Shit
  15. Peter and Kerry - Knees
  16. Ty Segall - Handglams
  17. British Sea Power - Who's In Control
  18. These New Puritans - Three-Thousand
  19. Big Deal - Talk
  20. Withered Hand - Religious Songs

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Track of the Day: 'Gold Dayzz (Maribou State remix)' by Ultraísta

A fresh remix from the brilliant eponomously-titled album from Nigel Godrich's Ultraísta. On this mix UK duo Maribou State take the original and make it a little darker, a little deeper, a little warmer and a little fuzzier, resulting in some hazier dayzz than you heard it first. I've listened to it a lot today and I much prefer it to the original (which was pretty good to start with).

You can listen to the track, and download it for free, below.And if you haven't checked out the album yet then you really should.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Recommended music: 'Trans Am Summer Blues' by John Wesley Coleman III & 'Twins' by Ty Segall

Occasionally a guitar-based 'rock' album comes along that for a minute makes me want to throw out all my electronic records, pick my electric guitar back up and just rock out. In the past few weeks not one but two albums have had that effect on me.

The first is 'Trans Am Summer Blues' by John Wesley Coleman III, a name that's new to me but who'll I'll definitely be looking to see on tour if he comes to the UK. It's a proper balls out rock'n'roll record that wears its heart on its sleeve and its soul in a glass of bourbon. Recorded during a time of personal loss (and I'd imagine a few 'lost weekends' as well), this is the antithesis of pretentiousness.

The two standout tracks are the 2 longest (by far) on here. 'Million Faces' sees Coleman singing his heart out and sound not dissimilar to Axl Rose, and ends with the best guitar solo I've heard on a record this year. The title track 'Trans Am Summer Blues' sees him with his tongue in his cheek as he name-checks the likes of Dennis Hopper, Sailor Jerry & R. Stevie Moore, along with a (possibly genuine) request to open for the Fiery Furnaces. It's a brilliant contemporary blues track that even manages to pay homage to / take the piss out of  'The End' by The Doors (I'm not sure which).

With the exception of closer 'Box O' Donuts' (a surprisingly heartfelt acoustic ballad) the remaining tracks are all sub 3 minute rock'n'roll songs which will undoubtedly engender much dancing / po-going when he plays them live.

The second album is 'Twins' by Ty Segall. This is not the first album I've bought by Segall (hell, it's not even the first I've bought this year, this is the third album he's put out in 2012) but it's by far the best thing he's done in ages. Segall's album is a slightly darker, more menacing affair then Coleman's, but there's a good balance of light and shade on display here. The inclusion of Brigid Dawson on vocals on 'The Hill' adds a 60s vibe to the proceedings while 'You're The Doctor' channels The Ramones. Elsewhere there are hints of Iggy Pop and glam rock (and even Lenny Kravitz on 'Who Are You), while my favourite track 'Handglams' is a downbeat bluesy rocker straight out of the early seventies with a scorching guitar ending.

Both of these albums are guaranteed to blow away the cobwebs, so grab one or (preferably) both and play them LOUD!

'Trans Am Summer Blues' is out now on Tic Tac Totally records and 'Twins' is on Drag City.

Track of the Day: 'Tougher Than a Soldier's Boots' by Songs For Walter

Altogether more lovely than you might expect from a song inspired by Louis Theroux's programme on religious extremists the Westbro Baptist Church. Songs for Walter are the alter ego of Laurie Hulme (and are named after his grandfather), and here Hulme has created 170 seconds of shimmery indie pop that deserves regular plays both at home and on the radio. You can download the track for free below.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Recommended music: 'Desert Strike' by Fatima Al Qadiri

You might remember Fatima Al Qadiri from the excellent 'Warn-U' EP that she put out last year as Ayshay. Now she's back under her own name, with an EP named after, and inspired by the Sega Megadrive Desert Storm game that Fatima used to play with her sister while they were growing up in Kuwait.

As you might expect from its influences, there are undertones of war and religion on these tracks, and an eerie feeling of the calm in the eye of the storm. 'Ghost Raid' starts the EP off with the most beat-driven track here, a skittery percussion-led piece that feels a bit short - you feel it could go on building and building but it stops too soon.

'Oil Well' features the sound of a rifle being loaded and fired as part of its percussion, while a spectral voice oohs and aahs the melody. 'War Games' ratchets up the beats as well as the oppressive feel, with deeper voices underpinning a track that gets more involving as it progresses, adding more synths and even a snatch of organ before the end.

The title track is the most powerful on the record, perfectly marrying the sound of drums with keyboard riffs and manipulated vocals to produce something that provides a nagging sense of dread, like the feeling someone is following you home on a dark night but you can never see them. On the flip side the final track 'Hydra' is much more upbeat. If you added a nifty beat it could easily be something that Jamie xx had put out.

'Desert Strike' is out now on Fade to Mind records. You can listen to the whole EP below.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Live - in pictures & videos: alt-J / Michael Kiwanuka / The Maccabees at LSO St. Lukes, London 24/10/12

LSO St Lukes, bathed in Mercury Prize spotlights
Wednesday night in London saw us heading to LSO St Lukes for an intimate gig by three of this year's Mercury Prize nominees, hosted by Nick Grimshaw.

alt-J at LSO St Lukes, 24/10/12
First on the bill were alt-J. It's no secret that 'An Awesome Wave' is my favourite album of the year, and it was great to be able to see them perform it live in such an intimate venue.

They played pretty much everything off the album, and the songs came across really well live. It will be great to see them develop as they get bigger and release their next album.
Next up was Michael Kiwanuka who, as well as being nominated for the Mercury, also won the BBC's Sound of 2012.

Michael Kiwanuka, LSO St Lukes 24/10/12
There's no denying that both Michael and his band are talented musicians, and a couple of the tracks in particular were brilliant, but for me there's nothing new or cutting edge about it. I'm sure it would've sounded awesome in the late sixties or early 70s though...

Orlando Weeks from The Maccabees
Last up were The Maccabees. I think their latest album 'Given To The Wild' is a real step forward in terms of songwriting and maturity. The band are used to playing in bigger venues than this these days, so this was a rare chance to get up close to them. There was an intensity to their live show that I wasn't expecting, and overall I was really impressed by them.
Channel 4 will be showing highlights from the gig next Wednesday night (31st October), and the winner of the Mercury Prize 2012 is announced on November 1st.

The Maccabbes, LSO St Lukes 24/10/12

Friday, 19 October 2012

New Music Mix - 19/10/12

A bit of a dark and moody mix for the dark and moody autumnal evenings. Click on the play button above to listen, the track listing is below.
  1. Halls - Ark
  2. Kelpe - City
  3. Night Works - I Tried So Hard (Extended Mix)
  4. Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man
  5. Chrome Canyon - Cave of Light
  6. Ultraista - Smalltalk (Four Tet Remix)
  7. Dam Mantle - Brothers Fowl
  8. Kidsuke - Tiny Concrete Block
  9. Flying Lotus - Tiny Tortures
  10. Jack Hayter - O Dreamland!
  11. Halls - Holy Communium
  12. Total Control - Scene From A Marriage

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Recommended music: 'Ark' by Halls

From its biblically-themed name, through most of the song titles, and on to the church organ on some of the tracks, this is an album that seems steeped in religious imagery. The overall effect is a bit like stumbling into a dark, old church after being outside in the hot sunshine - that sensation of a cool stillness together with the weight of history that descends on you. The tracks are so atmospheric that you could imagine the whole album having been recorded in somewhere like the Union Chapel in London (it would be great to see it performed live there). It's a record where the gaps in the music are as important as the music itself - there are whole seconds of nothingness where you can almost hear yourself breathing.

The reworking of a melody by Handel on 'White Chalk' tuns what could be a fairly average song into a tour de force of hope and loss. The choir from that track gives way to the haunting 'I'm Not There' - with lyrics like "Father I've gone away, left my shoes behind in the sand" it could as easily be a confession to a priest as a suicide letter to his family. The James Blake comparisons are likely to be wheeled out for this one and a few other tracks on the album, although there is a more natural, earthy and organic feel to the songs on Ark than there were on Blake's debut.

'Roses For The Dead' has an upbeat musical track for a song with such a downbeat title. Like a lot of the tracks on display here it's a complex one, with a break in the middle that seems designed to disconcert you, and various electronic and atmospheric noises coming into and out of focus as it progresses. The title track is a mix of plaintive solo piano and the sounds of someone playing it (breathing, creaking) which fades into 'Funeral'. Another surprisingly upbeat track for one that continues the theme of loss, you could easily find yourself nodding your head along to this one.

'Shadow of the Colossus' is the first track to feature 'real' (analogue) drums, which emerge as the track progresses and give it some real weight. It gives way to the choral piece 'Arc', just a series of 'oohs' really but which forms a break before 'Reverie'. Starting with an acoustic guitar, this is the most conventional song on the album, and as a result probably the least successful. Drums and bass guitar give it a 'band' feel but there's still a few tricks in the background  with highly echoed background vocals and a quiet instrumental break in the middle. 'Holy Communion' effectively wraps things up with a combination of all the sounds that have preceded it. There's melancholy piano, a choir in the background, some ticking percussion and some pretty low-down bass, before some frantic drumming closes the song out. This just leaves 'Winter Prayer' to shut things down with quiet, chiming keys and what may well be the sound of someone leaving the room at the end.

This is an astonishingly accomplished and mature début for one so young as 21 year old Sam Howard, and certainly marks him out as an artist to watch out for in the future. You can listen to the whole album and buy it from label No Pain In Pop below.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Recommended music: 'Lonerism' by Tame Impala

It's going to be difficult to review this album without mentioning The Beatles, so let's get it out of the way now - 'Lonerism' sounds a lot like the post 1966 psychedelic era Fab Four i.e. when they were at their most interesting. But that's not its only influence - from The Flaming Lips to glam rock there's a bag full of references here that never overwhelm the songs that Kevin Parker has created here. Instead they combine to create something that feels warmly familiar that you can luxuriate in, as the trippy guitars, harmonies and melodies dive out of your speakers and into your cerebral cortex. Don't get me wrong - this is not a record that sounds nostalgic - it's forward thinking and of its time. 'Lonerism' doesn't sound like a record that was made in the late '60s or early '70s - it's more like Parker has brought all of his favourite musicians from that era forward in time to see what they kind of songs they would make in 2012.

So what if 'Why Won't They Talk To Me' sounds like it was produced by Jeff Lynne (of E.L.O. fame)? Or if 'Elephant' matches the Super Furry Animals 'Golden Retriever' spliced with the instrumental section of Pink Floyd's 'Money' with some stuff off 'Animals' thrown in for good measure? Wonder instead at how one man in a studio in Perth, Australia, has made such a brilliant record, which matches fantastic music with lyrics about failed love, failed lives, and the general hopelessness of living. If 'Lonerism' is a lifestyle choice then expect many more people to be sucked into its cult of solo living if it results in this much creativity.

Possibly the best album ever to come out of Australia (can you suggest anything better?) and certain to feature on the end of year 'Top 10' lists of most discerning music critics - make sure it's on yours too.

You can listen to a couple of tracks from the album below.

Recommended music: 'Brothers Fowl' by Dam Mantle

Dam Mantle's musical development continues on this, his first full length album (released on Gold Panda's Notown record label). If all you've heard of Tom Marshallsay is the 'We' EP then you might be in for a surprise, as this release certainly showcases a more reflective and, dare I say it, more jazz-influenced side.

The opening 2 parts of Canterbury are bright, chiming and mellow, and put me in mind of some of the more electronic stuff that James Lavelle used to put out on Mo Wax back in the day. The rising and falling melodies are mildly hypnotic, and the second part works well as it reinforces the melodies of part 1 but also wanders off in new directions with a very jazzy bassline.

Next up the appropriately titled 'Lifting' lifts a saxophone line and loops it round, paired with some airy female vocals that sound a bit like Little Dragon.This brings us to my 2 favourite tracks on the record. First up is 'RGB', which features Raven Bush (nephew of Kate Bush) on strings and djembe. The mellow vibes of this track hide some pretty frantic rhythms as Tom builds up some spiky drum tracks from the djembe underneath the swooping strings. The title track 'Brothers Fowl' is even better, the perfect marriage of Marshallsay's earlier vocal-looping releases with the jazz feel of this one. A downbeat piano riff is matched with a hummed melody and some skittery drums to create a warm track that sounds almost improvised.

'Blueberry' samples 80s French underground musician Luc Marianni in a solid, rhythmic track, and then 'Ish' samples some slightly dischordant jazz horns and feeds them through Tom's electronic brain to create a constantly evolving track that gets better as it goes along.

Closer 'Spirit' takes a simple piano loop and creates the jazziest thing on display here - a great mix of electronic blips, hi-hats and snares, with a disembodied voice thrown in for good measure.

The vinyl comes with a full download of the album plus a couple of bonus tracks which are both worth hearing. 'Dublin' is probably the best of the two, a bass driven upbeat track with snatched vocals that mellows as it progresses. 'Full Moon & Moth' picks up the BPMs but still manages to fit in a double bass  and possibly even a clarinet as it bring the curtain down on the set.

With both this album and the new one from Flying Lotus displaying distinct jazz tendencies, maybe jazztronica will be the next big genre. You heard it here first!

Listen to the whole album below:

Friday, 12 October 2012

Track of the Day: 'Tiny Concrete Block' by Kidsuke

Just one of those tracks that buries into your head and you want to play over and over and over again. The tiny chiming sounds, the clicky percussion and the mega sub-bass combine to create a fairly massive tune.

Kidsuke are in fact 2 artists - Kidkanevil and Daisuke Tanabe. The track is taken from the album 'Brownswood electr*c 3' which is out now on Gilles Peterson's Brownswood label - click here for more information on it. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Recommended music: 'Elemental Themes' by Chrome Canyon

Not what you might be expecting from the Stones Throw label, and I must admit that having heard a couple of snatches of this before I got the album I thought I was going to hate it. But after the first play of the whole album end to end I loved it so much that I wanted to put it straight back on again.It's one of those rarities these days where listening to the album in one go really pays dividends - the more you sink into the mood and atmosphere of the record the better it gets.

So what does it sound like? Imagine the soundtrack to the best film Ridley Scott or John Carpenter never made. Imagine a record that sounds like electronic musical equipment had stopped being developed after about 1985. Imagine influences from Giorgio Moroder, Vangelis and Pink Floyd. Yes, that's a lot of imagining to do, but that's what this record encourages. As the tracks unfold you'll be picturing the scenes from a non-existent film, seeing the action played out in front of you as the music plays on. It's like Morgan Z (for he is Chrome Canyon) really did go back to the future to create a vision of the future that's welded to the past.

The title track even throws in some dialogue, as does 'Carfire on the Highway'. And as that staple of early 80s soundtracks, the saxophone, slowly drawls its way through an appearance on the fifth track, before making way for an evolution into something from A Clockwork Orange, you really will feel like you're in a cinematic time warp.

This is much more than a pastiche, or a homage to the past. There are some great melodies in here, some brilliant atmospherics, and hopefully the fact that Morgan's chosen specialist subject on Mastermind would appear to be 'classic electronic soundtracks' won't stop this record getting the exposure it deserves.

Right, I'm off to write a film called 'Elemental' so I can use this as the soundtrack, but in the meantime I'll leave you with this quote from 'Carfire On A Highway' which stands as a pretty good epitaph for the album:- "...a scorched reminder of what we saw ourselves as, and how far from it we still were...".

You can grab a free track from the album below.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Live - in pictures and video: Radiohead at The O2, London 8/10/2012

In a night potentially full of surprises, the first was that the ticketless system designed to foil the touts wasn't actually as laborious as it might have been, and 40 minutes after leaving the tube we were inside the arena.
Caribou on stage at The O2
Caribou were first, arriving bang on 7.30 and launching straight into what sounded like a new track. They followed this with a selection of highlights from 'Swim' which gradually pulled in more of the audience, finishing with a storming version of 'Sun'.

As they cleared the stage the questions began to be asked - what would Radiohead start with? Would they play anything brand new? What about Paranoid Android? For the answers to those see the set list below, but they came out of the blocks powerfully and managed to keep the energy level high all night.

Radiohead live at The O2
Another question formed - how and why had they cloned Phil Selway? The doppelgänger didn't seem to add much to the sound when he was onstage and it seemed to add a slight awkwardness to the stage set up. Meanwhile Radiohead continued to work their way through a set that seemed designed to keem them interested as much as us.

Radiohead live 8/10/12
Highlights? The fantastic stage set, with moving screens creating a constantly moving scene. New song 'Identikit', which was full of melody and hooks. The brilliant version of 'Give Up The Ghost' performed just by Thom and Jonny, as Thom's vocals were looped and built up into a choir of his own voice. The way 'Staircase', 'Feral' and 'Bloom' worked live, along with great versions of 'Myxomatosis' and 'Weird Fishes'. And Thom singing R.E.M's 'The One I Love' before starting 'Everything...'

Lowlights? 'Climbing Up The Walls', which for its first half seemed ill at ease and a bit out of tune. The way 'These Are My Wicked Words' really didn't work live. The lack of any songs at all from 'The Bends'. And a nagging feeling that something was missing, that there was no emotional engagement with the audience.

Don't get me wrong, it was really good, as Radiohead shows always will be. But maybe, now that Thom's got a certain swagger rather than his old timidness, and now that the band are driven by a desire to constantly explore and make music that keeps evolving, maybe it'll never be quite like it was.

Radiohead played:

  • Lotus Flower
  • 15 Step
  • Bloom
  • Kid A
  • The Daily Mail
  • Myxomatosis
  • Climbing Up The Walls
  • The Gloaming
  • Separator
  • These Are My Twisted Words
  • Like Spinning Plates
  • Nude
  • Identikit 
  • Karma Police
  • Feral
  • Idioteque
  • Pyramid Song
  • Staircase
  • Morning Mr Magpie
  • Weird Fishes / Arpeggi
  • Reckoner
  • Give Up The Ghost
  • There There
  • Everything In Its Right Place

Friday, 28 September 2012

New Music Mix - 28/9/12

Here's my latest selection of new-ish tracks for your aural pleasure. Special mention this week should go to Morning Ritual Recordings who haven't released a bad track yet this year - there's 2 of theirs in this mix. Just click on the play button, then sit back and listen. Here's the track listing:

  1. The xx - Sunset
  2. Connan Mockasin - Forever Dolphin Love (Erol Alkan mix)
  3. Jacques Greene - Prism
  4. Eaux - Luther (Holy Strays Reshape)
  5. Grasscut - Blink in the Night (Shadow Version)
  6. Holy Other - Held
  7. The Pictish Trail - Imperfect Time
  8. Holy Strays - Christabell (B)
  9. Atoms For Peace - Default
  10. Chet Faker - Terms and Conditions (Nicolas Jaar remix)

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Live - in pictures: Gravenhurst / Eyes & No Eyes at Cecil Sharp House, London 26/9/12

A rather unusual and quaint venue (the home of English Folk, apparently) but they do a decent line in real ale and were warm and welcoming to us. My learned friend (who'd been there before) said that there are normally chairs put out in the venue, but the promoter had asked for these to be taken out - maybe they were expecting a moshpit to develop?

Eyes & No Eyes (there were actually more than 6 people watching them..)
Eyes & No Eyes were the support - an interesting four piece who do the quiet/loud/quiet well, with lots of experimentation and, unusually, a cellist.

Gravenhurst at Cecil Sharp House
Nick Talbot (Gravenhurst) took to the stage flanked by 2 ladies and entertained us for over an hour with his beautiful melodies, bursts of loud guitar, and a witty line in banter that bordered on stand-up comedy. Having had a tough time in Nottingham the night before - "At least 40 people paid to see me and then stood and talked all evening. I told them that it wasn't like watching the TV, and I could actually hear what they were saying, but they didn't take any notice" - he was pleased to have an appreciative audience.

Gravenhurst live (heckling mum not pictured...)
The only heckling came when he came back on for an encore. A lady shouted out "Are we allowed to call out for songs we like?" and Nick's reply - "Yes Mum, you can, that's what an encore's for" - had the audience in stitches and gained cheers for his Mum & Dad, who were standing at the front.

All in all a great night out.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Track of the Day: Brats (Cadence Weapon Remix) by Liars

The squelchy, hi-hatted original is turned into a stomping anarchic whirl by Cadence Weapon as he proceeds to dissect and disseminate the original. Frontloading it with the original vocals, he reserves the second half to spit his own verses over and give us his own opinion on what makes a brat.

Listen and download it for free above.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Video of the Day: 'Putty Boy Strut' by Flying Lotus

When I first heard this track I wasn't too keen - it's all a bit Bobby McFerrin for my liking, particularly until Thundercat turns up half way through to lay down some bass grooves. But this video suddenly makes sense of the whole thing in a mad kind of way - it's the best marriage of visuals and music I've seen in a long time.

Anyway, the signs are looking good for the new album 'Until The Quiet Comes' which is out on 1st October - you can pre-order it from Bleep here.

Track of the Day: 'Angels (Four Tet remix) by The xx

After their live performance with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra last night The xx topped the night off by whipping out this new mix of Angels for the first time. Due to be released 'in a few weeks' it's a gentle, looping remix with a an entertainingly distorted middle. Check it out below.

Download The xx Angels (Four Tet remix)

Recommended music: 'Cruise Forever' by Austin Cesear

There's an analogue warmth that permeates this album; hisses and crackles are brought to the fore (like on the opening track 'Cloud Hall') and a slightly fuzzy quality throughout that makes a refreshing change from the anodyne technological crispness that prevails these days.

The footsteps and jet noises that lead from 'Cloud Hall' into 'If You Knew What You Would Do' speak of a desire to move on, not to remain static. 'The Groove' is a slow burning, slightly menacing loop of deep bass over which a treated voice speaks about "coloured lights flashing...and spirits taking over my mind".

A percussive loop makes up most of 'Peralta Palace', and when a mournful wind instrument appears it gives the track a Middle Eastern feel with hints of the call to prayer. The pace then picks up with 'The Beast', which is trancey and insistent.

'Shut In' is the album's behemoth - 9 minutes that start with some wafting keyboards and progressively build but without ever reaching a climax. The bass drum is joined by more layers of percussion, and some repetitive keyboards vibe their way in. snatches of vocals add some colour but the tracks never really takes off and leaves you a bit underwhelmed.

'In the Depths of the Ocean is our Capitol' floats by, and then the album closes in a slightly non-descript fashion with 'Travellers in Faith dub'.

Overall the track titles and sound effects combime to make you think of distant lands, cloud palaces in the sky, fantasy kingdoms and general other-worldliness. Maybe it outstays its welcome a bit towards the end, but it's still well worth checking out.