Thursday, 30 May 2013

New music: 'Years' by Hodgy Beats

Previewing his new EP 'Untitled 2', Hodgy Beats has released this cut 'Years'. More serious in tone than the tracks on his first EP, with atmospheric synths and some sung vocals that sound liek he's been taking tips from his mate Frank Ocean, this is more proof that he is definitely one of the most talented members of the Odd Future collective.

The new EP is scheduled to drop on June 1st, when it'll be available from

Track of the Day: 'Mr. Martyr' by Young Fathers

The hotly-tipped Scottish (via Libya and Nigeria) trio are about to follow up their first release 'Tape One' with the less-than-imaginatively titled 'Tape Two'. From it comes this great slice of angst-ridden indie-rap, with a sung chorus that's more than a bit reminiscent of Kele Okereke from Bloc Party.

The album comes out in a couple of weeks on Anticon - you can pre-order it here on CD, vinyl or cassette. Read more about the band here.

Live - in pictures: John Grant at Shepherds Bush Empire, London 15/5/13

John Grant, London 15/5/13
Just thought I'd put up a few of the pictures from the excellent John Grant gig a couple of weeks ago.
John casts a sly look at the audience
John was on fine form, the new songs sound much more powerful live, and the new band (mostly from Iceland) really do justice to the songs.

John Grant & band, 15/5/13
Highlights for me were 'Glacier' and 'Queen of Denmark', but there wasn't a duff moment all night.

Glacier - a stunning performance
A quick mention for the main support act too - 20 year old Ásgeir Trausti, also from Iceland, was excellent and I'm looking forward to the English-language version of his album (with lyrics translated with John Grant's help!) later in the year.

Ásgeir Trausti on stage with his band

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

New music: The Toe Rag Acoustic Sessions by Ásgeir Trausti

If you saw John Grant on his recent tour of the UK then you may well have caught Ásgeir Trausti supporting him. If he's new to you, then it's time for you to get acquainted.

Aged only 20, Trausti has already had the best-selling début album ever by a domestic artist in his native Iceland. He's now working on an English-language version of the album (with lyrics translated by Grant) which will be out later in the year on One Little Indian records. Until it appears you can make do with this gorgeous 3-track acoustic EP recorded at the legendary Toe Rag Studios in London. Listen and grab it for free below.

New music: 'For Seoul' by Gidge

The latest release from Atomnation comes from the strangely-named Gidge, a duo born in Sweden and currently located in Paris. Perhaps unsurprisingly given their birthplace, they say that their main influence is snowy woodlands, and while you might struggle to reference this on first listen there's a certain cool crispness that permeates the tracks. In typically obtuse style Part 2 of 'For Seoul' precedes Part 1 on the release, the two tracks effectively being separated by a beautifully serene piece of piano playing that comes at the end of Part 2. The third track on here is a remix by Applescal which steps up the beat quota and adds some great rhythms to the track.

Listen / download to the EP below.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Track of the Day: 'We Work Nights' by Gold Panda

Hot on the heels of 'Brazil' comes the second track from Derwin's second album 'Half Of Where You Live'. It's closer in style to 'Lucky Shiner' than 'Brazil' was, and manages to keep up Mr. Panda's unerring knack of being able to evoke a whole gap-year's worth of travel in one track.

The album is out on June 10th on Notown Records. Listen to the track below, and I'll see you down the front at Brixton Electric on June 12th!

Friday, 24 May 2013

New podcast - Austerity Audio vol. 1

In these cash strapped times we all need a helping hand to make our pounds / dollars / yen / whatever stretch a little further. So what could be better than a free downloadable podcast featuring 10 new music tracks? Not much eh? So here you go, the first in what I hope will be a fairly regular series of podcasts that you can download to the music device of your choice and listen at your convenience.

There are only 2 rules I'll use in compiling these: 1) The music must be free and 2) it must be good. There are no restrictions on genre or style, so expect a good mix of ideas. Each of these tracks has been culled from the internet for free over the past week or so from purely legal sources - in the majority of cases that means they've been given away by the artist or their label. If you want to get hold of any of the tracks individually I've put some pointers below, or a quick search of t'internet should turn them up for you. I'll just ask one favour from you - if you really like anything here then next time you have a few pounds to spare why not buy something from that artist? We're all in the same boat, so let's share some music, share some love, and make the world a better place. To grab the download just right-click on the picture above and save the file (drop me an email if you have any problems using the contact box in the sidebar). If you'd rather just listen to it then left-click and you'll be able to play it.

Here's the tracklisting:

  1. Ryan Hemsworth - All Our Thoughts Are Physical (from his new EP 'Stay Alive' click here for details)
  2. Yadi - Unbreakable (Mo Laudi Remix) (available on Soundcloud)
  3. Slugabed - BomBok (from his new EP 'This Is A Warning' click here for details)
  4. French Kiwi Juice - Lying Together (available on Soundcloud)
  5. Weval - The Most (David Douglas Remix)
  6. Indians - I Am Haunted (Jason Lytle Remix)
  7. Pure X - Somewhere Else (available on Soundcloud)
  8. Mathew Sawyer - Feeeeling (click here for details)
  9. Four Tet - Unspoken (promo version) (available on Soundcloud)
  10. Denai More - Gone (available on Soundcloud)

Recommended music: 'This Is A Warning' EP by Slugabed

It seems to be the week for releasing free, and more importantly good, EPs. Yesterday Ryan Hemsworth gave us his 'Still Awake' EP (which you can find here) and now Slugabed has done the same thing. The first new music from Greg Feldwick since last year's 'Time Team' album this is four tracks (and a remix) of upbeat, bass-driven and essentially happy music - something which is often hard to come by in this doom-laden austerity world. There's some reggae samples, a bit of dubstep, a slice of Major Lazer rhythms, and overall such a sense of enjoyment that it can't help but bring a smile to your face. Listen & download below.

Video of the Day: 'Reach for the Dead' by Boards of Canada

The first track to hit the airwaves from the forthcoming album 'Tomorrow's Harvest' (unless you count those 20-second bursts from the Record Store Day 12"s).  It's a good track, but maybe not a great one. As usual it's difficult to understand a single song without hearing it in the context of the album - the new Primal Scream album is a good example of where the songs sound much better in the flow of the record than they might do individually. But hey, it's a new Boards of Canada track at the end of the day, which is something we weren't expecting at the start of the year, and it certainly whets the appetite to hear the rest of the record, which is out on June 10th.

New music: 'Noel Gets Phunked Up' a.k.a 'AKA...What A Life (UNKLE Remix)' by Noel Gallagher

We may never get to heat the full album of Noel Gallagher remixes by Amorphous Androgynous, which is a shame as the ones I've heard so far have been really good. But while we wait here's a completely different take on 'What A Life' by James Lavelle, in which he splices Noel G's song with a healthy dose of 'Motorbass Get Phunked Up' by La Funk Mob. It's pretty good once it gets going, so have a listen and see what you think. The track was originally featured on a 2 and a half hour mix that James Lavelle put out a couple of months ago called 'Living In My Headphones' - you can find the download for that on my achive page (click here).

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Recommended music: 'Still Awake' EP by Ryan Hemsworth

Canadian DJ and producer Ryan Hemsworth is definitely one of this year's 'buzz' artists, and that buzz is about to get a whole lot bigger. His new EP has just landed, and not only is it brilliant but it's also available for free, which means that you can all hear his brilliance without coughing up any money - ironic really, because once you've heard it you'll realise that you would've happily paid a few quid for the privilege.

It's quite a fluid, dreamy set of tunes that are easy to lose yourself in despite the beats. And if you do download if you'll find this little not from the man himself tucked in with the music files:

thank you for downloading this and putting it on your computer laptop iphone palm pilot, whatever, and listening to it while you're doing stuff in the world.

it's free, so share it with anyone you think would like it. or keep it to yourself. cause it's for you :)

It's a nice touch that makes him stand out from the crowd and helps him exist in the real world rather than just to be an internet phenomena.

You can listen to the tracks below, or click on the picture of him above to download the EP.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Recommended music: 'Inform - Educate - Entertain' by Public Service Broadcasting

There's something quintessentially British about this record. It's not just that most of the samples are from old British documentaries and Public Information films (there are some American clips on here as well, especially on 'Signal 30' with its warnings of the perils of driving). It's not even the subject matter, although tracks about Spitfires, climbing Everest, and an inspection of the Royal Navy fleet (by what sounds like a tipsy Admiral) add to the sense of Empire and days gone by. It's just that the whole concept of making a record full of clips that might, as the title suggests, inform, educate and entertain you doesn't seem like the sort of thing that would emanate from, say, the United States.

Public Service Broadcasting live in Rough Trade East on Record Store Day 2013
Public Service Broadcasting (or PSB as they're often abbreviated to, although this risks confusing them with Pet Shop Boys) is really the work of one man, the gentlemanly-titled J Willgoose Esq. Live he's joined on stage by the singularly-named drummer Wrigglesworth, and together they play an eclectic mix of sounds and dialogue which is matched with black and white video footage. The music sounds a bit 80s retro (apart from the banjo (!) wherever that comes from, and is a good match for the even older voice clips. If occasionally there are some rather obvious samples (WH Auden's rail poem on 'Night Mail' for example) the rest still manage to sound fresh even after numerous listens. Overall it's the kind of record that brings a wry smile to your face when you listen to it - a bit like a well-behaved house guest it's interesting, polite, and doesn't outstay its welcome. You can hear some tracks from the album below.

Friday, 17 May 2013

New music: 'Backwaters' by Drenge

I make no apologies for featuring another track by Drenge on here - for me the Loveless brothers are the most exciting thing happening in British guitar music at the moment. You can keep The Strypes - Drenge have an original and distinctive voice that you need to hear. You can buy the new single 'Backwaters' to day from iTunes.

Recommended music: 'The Redeemer' by Dean Blunt

I'm going to set my stall out early on this one - I think that this record is a work of artistic brilliance. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's musically brilliant all the way through (although it is for most of the time), but I just get the sense with this the Blunt knew exactly what he wanted to achieve and didn't let anyone detract from his end goal. As a result this astonishing record is pretty much impossible to categorise, so I recommend that you don't even try. What you should do instead is listen to it over and over again to appreciate every nuance, every aspect of the work that he's constructed. Treat it like a painting; the longer you spend looking at it (or listening to it in this case) the more it will reveal to you.

Dean Blunt (possibly)
It's hard to pin down any concrete facts about Dean Blunt, other than he was one half of Hype Williams (now defunct) and his name isn't really Dean Blunt. In the very occasional interviews he's granted in the past he's provided deliberately obscure and misleading answers, all adding to the sense that this is someone who's  in the music business for the art rather than the fame.

The record seems to tell the story of a man in a troubled relationship - the 19 tracks (some only a few seconds long/ include bitter voicemails, electronic interrogations - "what you did was wrong" - glass smashing and car alarms being set off. The titles meanwhile - Demon, Need 2 Let U Go, Dread, Predator, build a picture of betrayal, obsession and fear. All of this is set against some wildly varying, occasionally discordant, styles of music and topped off with Blunt's deep, languorous vocal. For me the highlight of the piece  is when the harps and choirs of 'Y3' give way to the amazing Pink Floyd sample that heralds the start of 'Papi (listen to the track below), over which Blunt croons "You bring out the best in me" to his estranged partner. The next track consists entirely of Big Ben chiming. Seriously.

I'm running out of superlatives to describe this record, so I'll do you a favour and shut up - but only if you promise to go and listen to it.

Album of the year (so far).

New music: 'Feeeeling' by Mathew Sawyer

Mathew Sawyer is a new name to me, although this is apparently a track from his forthcoming third album, which will be out this year on Fire Records. On the strength of this track it should definitely be worth checking out some more of his work to see if it shares the same elements, as this manages to be refreshingly naive and somehow quite sophisticated at the same time. The lyrics refer to a "drawn out feeling", hence the elongated spelling of the title. It's endearingly lo-fi without being low quality, and features possibly the first use of a recorder in popular music since The Divine Comedy's 'Perfect Lovesong'

Listen and download the song here:

Monday, 13 May 2013

New music: 'Renata' by James Holden - original version and Daphni Remix

A few days ago a new track appeared from the forthcoming James Holden album 'The Inheritors'. It is, as you might expect from Mr. Holden, awesome. The throbbing synths are matched with some primal drums to create a beast of a tune that's pretty unstoppable.

The original version was followed up today by this remix from Daphni (Dan Snaith from Caribou's alter-ego) which will appear on the 10" vinyl version of the track. He turns the throbbing beast into a faster, slinkier, housed-up animal which swaps some of the power of the original for a pair of dancing shoes.

'The Inheritors' will be released on June 17th.

Track of the Day: 'Papi' by Dean Blunt

There's one over-riding reason why this is track of the day, and that's the killer Pink Floyd sample it employs throughout the song. Add in some fantastic vocals from Mr Blunt, who was previously one half of Hype Williams, and you have a hypnotic, soulful groove that deserves playing over and over and over again.

The album that this is taken from, 'The Redeemer', came out last week, and by all accounts is a bit of a monster. I'll review it later in the week when I've had the chance to give it a good listen.

Recommended music: 'Jangala' by Corduroi

An album that's not afraid to aim high with its ambitions, this release from Austin-based electronic man Cody Wilson tells the story of a shipwrecked adventure on an exotic island. And while you might think that it would be hard to achieve this with a completely instrumental album he pretty much succeeds in conjuring up a visual story from the sounds contained within. In much the same way as Gold Panda's 'Lucky Shiner' (to which this record has a number of similarities) Wilson is able to conjure up different moods and settings with a deft flick of the keys. From the shipwreck itself on opener 'Mainomai', all noise and confusion, through the beautiful exploration of the island on 'Dream Lemur / Low Tides', and on to the hedonistic beach-party finale of 'Syzygy' you're taken on an audio journey. It would work great as a soundtrack to Alex Garland's novel 'The Beach' - if you haven't read it get yourself a copy and put this on in the background while you read it, it'll be a much more enjoyable experience than watching the film version! 'Jangala' apparently means 'uncharted territories' in Sanskrit, and while they may be unfamiliar to you now these territories are definitely worth a visit.

The attention to detail in the music is shared in the packaging. As shown in the picture above there is a limited 'physical' release on a USB card with the album artwork, but you'll have to be quick if you want one as there were only 40 made (mine's on its way in the post from the States). If you manage to get one the USB version also comes with 2 extra tracks, or if not you can just download the standard version for $5 from Corduroi's Bandcamp page. You can listen to the whole thing and find the links to buy it below.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Record Store Day 2013 - the podcast

OK, so I finally got round to making a podcast / cloudcast / mixtape / whatever of some of my favourite purchases from this year's Record Store Day (you can read my write-up of the day here). Just click on the rather large 'Play' button below to listen, the tracklist follows after the jump.

  1. Public Service Broadcasting - New Dimensions In Sound
  2. The Wedding Present - 425 Fidelio (German version)
  3. Moon Duo - Sleepwalker (Zombie Zombie Remix)
  4. Elliott Smith - Angeles (alternate version)
  5. Paul Weller - Flame-Out!
  6. Moon Duo - I Been Gone (Life Coach Remix)
  7. Public Service Broadcasting - Signal 30
  8. Beak> - Welcome To The Machine
  9. Sinkane - Jeeper Creeper (Benjamin Damage Remix)
  10. Moon Duo - Trails (White Rainbow Remix)
  11. Mercury Rev - Pick Up, If You're There (DJ Nickel 1998 Remix)
  12. Moby & Mark Lanegan - The Lonely Night (Photek Remix)
  13. Ghostpoet - Meltdown
  14. Grizzly Bear - Sleeping Ute (Nicolas Jaar Remix)

Track of the Day: 'Open Eye Signal (Nosaj Thing Remix)' by Jon Hopkins

One of four remixes of Hopkins' current single, which will be out in their own right on 12" vinyl and will also come with the Deluxe Edition of the new album 'Immunity' (out on June 3rd).

This is a cracking remix of an already great track that brings out the best of both artist and remixer. Although it's only short (less than half the length of the original) it really packs a punch, with some crisp squelchy bass and some great ticking percussion. Listen and download for free below.

New music: 'Pale Green Ghosts (Xinobi Remix) by John Grant

A fresh new remix of the title track from Grant's latest album, and this one is probably the best of the mixes to have come out so far. I love how this mix starts off reasonably gently, with some nice handclaps and loops of John's voice, and then the chiming synths come in, giving a warm, sunny vibe to the track. At this stage it's even a bit Four Tet-esque, and it leaves you a bit unprepared for when the brilliantly funky bassline kicks in and really puts a smile on your face. The moog solo might not be to everybody's taste, but it adds yet another dimension to the mix. Just try not to nod your head along to this as it's rolling along - it looks like 2013 really us the year for the return of Disco!

Listen and download the track for free below.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Video of the Day: 'Bluebell Fields' by Money

New signings to Bella Union, four-piece Money have delivered this gorgeous slice of warm, melodic psychedelia. If the whole of their album can live up to this then it looks like Simon Raymonde has got a bona-fide set of musical wizards on his books.

Track of the Day: 'Fragment Two' by These New Puritans

These New Puritans are another band who've recently joined the list of exciting 'return' albums due out in 2013, along with the likes of Boards of Canada and Daft Punk. It's been three years since the Essex band put out the excellent 'Hidden' and now they'll be releasing 'Field of Reeds' next month.

As a taster for this you can listen to 'Fragment Two', which you can also get as an instant download if you pre-order the album from iTunes. It's a really well produced track - at times there's quite a lot going on while at others the instruments are really allowed space to breathe. If the rest of the record is as good as this then it could well be their masterpiece.

Friday, 3 May 2013

New music: 'Jerk Ribs' by Kelis

The influence of producer Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio) looms large over this comeback single from Kelis, from the Afro-centric rhythms to the classy horn section. Meanwhile Kelis sings some personal lyrics about the influence of her father on her life and music. By far the classiest record she's made for a long time, this is a crowd-pleasing, summer-teasing track with an infectious groove that will definitely put a smile on your face while you're cooking jerk ribs on your barbeque this weekend (see what I did there?).

Listen below, and insert your email address after the jump to grab your FREE DOWNLOAD of the track.

Track of the Day: 'Necromance Is Dead' by Drenge

Two brothers, two guitars, one drum kit. 102 seconds of vintage rock'n'roll / punkabilly with old school ("My baby") and new skool ("she's taking the piss") lyrics. Two different time signatures. A blistering closing 15 seconds and a lingering sense of pleasure.

Drenge are one of the most exciting bands I've heard for many a year, and if you don't agree you're either deaf or dead (or just a cunt fool). Listen & download above, tour dates below, go see 'em.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Track of the Day: 'Nina' by Neneh Cherry + Afrika Baby Bam

Four words in the English language pretty much guarantee quality, and they are "produced by Four Tet". So on this track Neneh Cherry continues her creative renaissance, roping in Afrika Baby Bam and putting Mr Hebden at the controls. The result is a mostly spoken-word piece over a conga-driven backing, with Mr Bam sounding not unlike Michael Franti. There's a sung chorus of "my life is like an island"and some summery vibes resulting in a track that should definitely be on your BBQ playlist this coming Bank Holiday weekend. Listen & download below.

Recommended music: 'Second Amendment EP' by Pinkunoizu

Danish band Pinkunoizu are one of the most creative and original bands to have emerged in the past couple of years. Following their own path of lo-fi psychedelia while tipping their collective hats towards Eastern influences, their 'Peep EP' and 'Free Time!' albums have frequently graced my turntable. Now their back with an EP which frankly shames many a band's album efforts. 32 minutes, 5 songs, and each one a mini-epic.

The EP starts magnificently with 'The Abyss Part II', the sister track to a song from their debut album, which shares that song's great guitar ending. 'Moped', up next, is a bit like Japanees Krautrock (Japrock?) with some suitably scary shouting.

'I Chi' calms the mood down and is probably the most conventional track on the EP - it's a short and sweet centrepiece that anchors the other songs in reality. The 'Gospel of John' steps up the psych factor again - it's a long, throbbing brooding piece over which layers of sung and sampled vocals are loving piled. The wonders end with 'Tin Can Valley', which is a 60s surf-guitar track sent via the Middle East to rock your world. You can download this last one for free here.

'Second Amendment' is out on May 6th on Full Time Hobby - buy it then, but listen to it now here:

New music: 'Brazil (Corduroi Remix) by Gold Panda

As we inch our way slowly towards the release of one of the potential albums of the year ('Half Of Where You Live' is out on June 10th) here's a great remix of Gold Panda's current single from Corduroi. The Texan has done a really good job of keeping the essence of the song while at the same time putting his own stamp on the track - I especially like the samba drums he's dropped into it.

Listen and download the track for free below.