Friday, 30 September 2011
Respectfully spartan and metronomic Joy Division tribute by the Tortoise 'lads'.
A lo-fi guitar opens with a puttering, drum machine marking out a steady pace before evolving into a more recognisably Tortoise-ish burble and glitch. It's the Tortoise of 'Djed' and Luke Vibert remixes rather than the melifluous, deep brown stuff. The vibe is kept instrumental and mysterious.
Post-Punk meets Post-Rock.
Download Tortoise 'As You Said' (mp3) (Mediafire)
Thursday, 29 September 2011
Noir-ish, moody, theme from an imaginary Bond film. Epic stuff.
Early Portishead b-side that lays out the blueprint for their John-Barry-meets-Wu-Tang-Clan-uptown early sound. Kindred spirit of Roy Budd's Get Carter soundtrack and Harry South's Sweeney end-theme.
It opens with great sweeps of backwards piano, undulating bass wobble, evolving slowly with twanging guitar, atmospherics, more backwards loops and some gorgeously sombre piano.
By the time it eventually builds to cloudburst with epic, Axelrod drums and a funereal string section, you're hooked.
Download Portishead 'Theme From To Kill A Dead Man' (Trip Hop, downtempo, soundtrack, mp3) (Mediafire)
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Breathless, euphoric instrumental post rock business from Explosions In The Sky.
A piercing, repetitive single-note reveille introduces Explosions In The Sky's signature tune. It builds from there, matching melodic loveliness with blasting sonic power, conjuring up images of the fireworks of their name.
Download Explosions In The Sky 'First Breath After Coma (Live, 2004)' (instrumental, post rock, live, mp3) (Mediafire)
Download the whole Explosions In The Sky live set from Nottingham Rescue Rooms, 02/09/2004 over on Archive:Live+Rare
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Devics seem to have passed into history now with pianist Dustin O'Halloran now releasing solo albums. They released a sequence of albums on the Bella Union label back before it had its breakout hits with Fleet Foxes et al.
'Red Morning' is a taster of their 'The Stars Of Saint Andrea album which is currently available from the Bella Union online store for very reasonable £5.99.
'Red Morning' starts with warm acoustic guitar and stately drum machine, adding in a yearning female croon and understated bass guitar. A curling synth tone weaves in and out of the mix creating a sense of unease, anticipation.
It's a delicious, oozing slab of moodiness that brings Beach House to mind or maybe the later records of the Cocteau Twins. Very lovely.
Download Devics 'Red Morning' (shoegaze, indie, alternative, mp3 download) (Mediafire)
Monday, 26 September 2011
I'm a bit behind on my homework - this little gem was snuck out in 2009 before SBTRKT hit the post-dubstep news.
This is a lovely, rolling re-edit that respects its forebears while bringing the beats up-to-date, playing off dark drum and bass against SBTRKT's brighter flavours. It then drops out the vocal and moves into a passage of SBTRKT niceness with some twisty synth action. The vocals and shifting synth strings of the original are brought back and it develops into a fusion of the spirits of the old and new.
Very nice indeed.
Download Goldie vs SBTRKT 'Inner City Life' (post-dubstep, drum'n'bass, remix, mp3) (Mediafire)
Sunday, 25 September 2011
|Richard Hawley 'Hotel Room' (2006)|
Obviously, it couldn't be as good as the original - 'Some Candy Talking' is a staggering hybrid of diamonds and dirt - but Richard Hawley pays tribute to the songwriting majesty of the Reid brothers.
Hawley smooths out some of the characterful creases in the Jesus & Mary Chain's sound but adds a sympathetic tone, some nice strings, an understated guitar solo and it's clear he loves the song.
It's a fitting reminder of how good they were - just as their six albums are remastered, repackaged and loaded with extras. I'll probably satisfy myself with 'Psychocandy' and 'Darklands' but am interested to hear 'Munki' too.
Download Richard Hawley 'Some Candy Talking (Jesus & Mary Chain cover)' (indie, alternative mp3) (Box)
Saturday, 24 September 2011
Deeply funky re-rub of Le Tigre's alternative dancefloor original.
The main mover in Le Tigre is/was Kathleen Hanna formerly of Riot Grrrl pioneers Bikini Kill and the inspiration for the title of Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. The original version of 'Deceptacon' is a Joy Division-esque, driving alt-rock tune with a yelping, urgent vocal.
The DFA take the urgency and redirect it into a funkier direction, slow the vocal down a little and let the song breathe. You could still pogo to it if you really wanted to though.
Download Le Tigre 'Deceptacon (DFA Remix)' (post-punk-funk, DFA, remix, mp3) (Mediafire)
Friday, 23 September 2011
Another highly under-rated band, Disco Inferno struggled on for five years or so in the early nineties on a series of labels. They eventually settled at Rough Trade to unleash a string of mind-busting EPs and a couple of albums.
The band fused regular instruments with triggered samples and a mix of rhythm and melody. 'It's A Kid's World' is a gloriously melodic cacophony that fuses hi-life-ish guitars with the drum break from Iggy Pop's 'Lust For Life' before throwing in samples of a tuba, cartoon soundtrack, a stop-start chorus, what sounds like a recorder, another glorious melody on the outro.
You're literally bombarded with ideas and energy but it's a highly addictive mix. I'd reference some other bands but I really think there's no-one else doing what they did.
Hopefully the release of a newly remastered collection of their five EPs on Cheree and Rough Trade might give them a little overdue recognition. Here's hoping.
Download Disco Inferno 'It's A Kid's World' (alternative, indie, mp3) (Mediafire)
Thursday, 22 September 2011
'La Lechuza' is the first Esmerine release since 2005 and the first to be released on Constellation. It's a beautifully poised record comprising strings, piano, harp and a host of elegant arrangements.
A Dog River
Walking Through Mist
Snow Day For Lhasa
Little Streams Make Big Rivers
Au Crepuscule, Sans Laisse
Fish On Land
La Lechuza - ESMERINE by Constellation Records
Mad-eyed, dubbed-out overhaul of Primal Scream by My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields.
I thought I'd post something touched by the genius of Kevin Shields just to celebrate the latest email from Amazon telling me that the remastered version of My Bloody Valentine's 'Loveless' has had its release date moved back again - having been originally slated for 2008.
This total overhaul of Primal Scream's 'If They Move, Kill 'Em' was the last release on Creation Records. And it's a doozy.
Shields freaks out the dubby rhythmic undercarriage, adding tablas and a dirty great breakbeat. But that's nothing. On top of that he adds swathes of drifting melodic flute, loops of what sounds like feedback, low-down filtered wah-wah guitar and tops it off with a drunken Sun Ra brass section.
It's a headfuck of a track that slowly increases in intensity to the point where it's a simmering cauldron of noise and competing sounds. A glorious headfuck, though.
Download Primal Scream 'If They Move, Kill 'Em (My Bloody Valentine Arkestra)' (indie, alternative, Creation Records, mp3) (Mediafire)
Wednesday, 21 September 2011
Barnstorming, noisy version of the 'In Ribbons' track.
The title track of the 'Half Life EP' was strangely baggy, Pale Saints seemingly trying out someone else's clothes. 'Babymaker', however, is a strident mix of underwater Shoegaze guitar (don't try gazing at your shoes when under-water, kids) and extravagant noise-pop.
The 'In Ribbons' version is less spiky but the EP version has more undeniable momentum, a headlong rush. It's almost falling over itself, careering across a park made of feathers, stopping for a giddy pillow-fight, creating a downy blizzard that harks back to 'She Rides The Waves' from the first EP.
Download Pale Saints 'Babymaker (EP Version)' (Shoegaze, Dreampop mp3) (Mediafire)
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Horn-led funky monster 45 action.
No idea whether this is an authentic piece of funky Northern Soul action or a pastiche. The compilation that brought it to me is billed as '21 Rare Funk 45s' so I can only assume it's a genuine nugget of crate-digger's delight.
It's a delicious, energetic, horn-driven monster that bursts straight out of the traps and is hand-tooled for the discerning funk-friendly dancefloor. The drums are frantic but syncopated, the horns deliciously arranged, perkily riding over the breakbeat fantasticness of the rhythm. It calls to mind Kenny 'Dope' Gonzalez's 'Can You Handle It' from a few years ago.
Looks out-of-print to me, but the chaps track it down, the tracklisting is awesome.
Download Jerry & The Medicine Men 'Medicine Man Part II' (northern soul funk mp3) (Mediafire)
Monday, 19 September 2011
Twisty post-rock instrumental business from Warp's premier progressive Australian jazz masters, now known as PVT.
'Sweet Memory' by Australian machine-jazz-post-rock-hybrid guys, Pivot aka Pvt, always makes me think it's the theme tune to a Scandinavian crime series.
A crime series where the protaganist is somewhere on the Autistic spectrum, tapping out rhythms in 17/9 time on his Moleskine journal as he ponders the precision and bent-minded, but admirable, obsession of a serial killer who leaves his victims splayed into semaphore positions, eventually spelling out the words Tygers of Pan Tang. In Swedish obviously.
It's a fabulously kinetic tune that marries sleek, gliding sections with fabulously funky detours and glitchy breakdowns. Less aggressive and bombastic than the likes of Three Trapped Tigers - who also merge electronics and conventional instruments - but very magic nonetheless.
Download Pivot 'Sweet Memory' (post rock, electronica mp3) (Mediafire)
Sunday, 18 September 2011
Seminal piece of dancefloor-indie hybridisation.
Check out footage of The Rapture on Youtube and you'll see a gangly, fairly conventional band line-up knocking out some machine beats and melancholy. It's a hybrid that Foals and Friendly Fires were paying attention to. It's inspiring stuff.
'Olio' is another track from the excellent 'Channel 2' complilation on Output (see previous posts on Blackstrobe and Playgroup). It's a rough-edged piece of tech-edged dancefloor misery that deserves to be segued nicely into LCD Soundsystem's 'Losing My Edge'.
Download The Rapture 'Olio (Full Length Version)' (punk funk, alternative, electronica, mp3 download) (Mediafire)
Saturday, 17 September 2011
Perfectly understated piece of low-slung Garage action.
Such a perfect tune, drifting along an ascending bassline and puttering percussion, the soulful vocal lilting over rafts of gentle Rhodes.
'Gabrielle' is a very gentle, uplifting, presumbly spiritual song. Roy Davis Jr had a habit of naming tracks after archangels - 'Michael' was another doozy. It sounds perfect for some late summer sun, spun into the mix with Isolee's 'Beau Mot Plage'.
My copy of this sits on an excellent, but largely totally bangin' collection of UK Garage tunes that don't have the subtly of this tune. Funnily, we're kind of getting a revival as the likes of SBTRKT display a mix of future beats and soul that recalls the first wave of post-drum'n'bass, UK Garage - MJ Cole's 'Sincere', 'Dreams' by Smokin' Beats, 'Anytime' by Nu Birth.
Takes yer back dunnit.
Download Roy Davis Jr featuring Peven Everett 'Gabriel (Live Garage Version)' (Deep House, Garage mp3 download) (Mediafire)
Friday, 16 September 2011
Darkwave synth work and political commentary - not what I expected from El Perro Del Mar.
Something of a diversion from the pure, almost twee, pop of yore.
Featuring dialogue samples of comments on the London/UK riots last month, 'What Do You Expect' is minimal, dark and edgy, nudging up next to Fever Ray/The Knife and reminding me of the great dubby, mutterings of (C)'s 'Witch' album. (Memo to self: must post from that soon.)
New album El Perro Del Mar expected in 2012.
What Do You Expect by El Perro Del Mar
Thursday, 15 September 2011
Neil Young's junky's lament given chunky dancefloor chassis.
It is, of course, something of a moot point as to whether Neil Young would appreciate 'Hey Hey My My (Into The Black)' being mashed-up for the dancefloor. However, with a four-to-the-floor beat and double-bass added this remix works a treat creating intensity and urgency whilst oddly retaining the harmonica solo.
Download Neil Young 'Hey Hey My My (Into The Black)(Cousin Cole's Into The Blue Remix)' (mash up, folk rock, mp3) (Mediafire)
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Harmony-drenched, excessive, far-out, genius from the aborted 'Smile' sessions.
I remember first laying my hands on a bootleg of The Beach Boys' lost classic 'Smile' about 15 years ago. I also remember how long it took me to make the leap from the simple but amazing pleasures of 'Pet Sounds' to get my head round 'Smile'. It's a journey away from straightforward songwriting into another world.
'Smile' is to 'Pet Sounds' what 'Bitches Brew' is to 'Kind Of Blue' - both great records, just a little bit more so.
I find myself posting about this album as I've just found out that 'Smile' is coming out as a staggering £125 box set - 5 CDs, 2 7"s, 2 LPs. I thought that the 3-disc version of 'Pet Sounds' was excessive - utterly brilliant - but surely as far as you can go in forensic analysis of 'classic' records. That was until I found myself forking out for the complete 'Funhouse Sessions' set by The Stooges...
Anyway, while I wrestle with the decision of whether to shell for this, check out 'Child Is Father To The Man'. It's song which veers from eerie contemplation to expansive harmonies and Charlie Brown trumpet, drilling further into the central motif in a very jazz kind of way.
Let's get lost, as someone said.
Download The Beach Boys 'Child Is Father To The Man' (classic, genius, sixties, pop, Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, mp3) (Mediafire)
mp3 courtesy of the excellent Beach Boys blog, Warnakey's Beach Boys Blag.
Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Mesmerising cover of quirky Nancy Sinatra tune.
Shimmering, velvety Shoegaze delights from Pale Saints, covering an obscure Nancy Sinatra single from 1975. Soaring guitars and washes of guitar are applied to the already bendy guitar sounds of the Nancy Sinatra original.
Perhaps inevitably - given that I heard this version first, long before I heard the original - I think this is a better version. More prominence is given to Ian Masters' delicious, springy bass and the guitars have carte blanche to soar and swoon. Meriel Barham's vocal is less soaked in suggestion, but it's perfect nonetheless.
Download Pale Saints 'Kinky Love' (Shoegaze, Alternative, Indie, Cover Version mp3) (Mediafire)
Monday, 12 September 2011
Suggestive seventies obscurity from Nancy Sinatra. Inspiration to Erol Alkan and Pale Saints.
A spartan arrangement of acoustic guitar strum and highly processed bendy, wah/chorus/echoplex guitar introduces Ms. Sinatra's breathless, tongue-in-cheek vocal.
Strings and subtle drums enter the mix and give the song an air of seventies easy-listening sophistication, the theme to The Generation Game Wife-Swappers edition.
It's a sleek and romantic little tune. Very nice.
Apparently this was pretty much banned at the time but served to inspire an amazing cover by Pale Saints and it was included on Erol Alkan's Trash Companion compilation. Presumably, it formed the wind-down, 'erection section' at the end of a night's hard electroclashing.
Download Nancy Sinatra 'Kinky Love' (mp3) (Mediafire)
Sunday, 11 September 2011
Edgy hybrid of punk funk, deep house and New Order.
A simmering, late night ride on a propulsive rhythm, farting bassline and sleek synths with icy, detached female vocals and an almost-rapped, almost-Europop male vocal.
A breakdown brings some Peter Hook/New Order bass guitar and it grooves, elegantly to a close.
Download Blackstrobe 'Me and Madonna' (mp3) (Mediafire)
Saturday, 10 September 2011
Orchestral diversion from formerly noise-hungry post-rockers.
New EP released on Monday 12th September. Whilst 'Get To France' is a typical Mogwai song title, the sound is rolling Soviet Rachels piano and arch cello. Edgy and a little sinister.
'Hound Of Winter' is moody acoustic balladry with icy strings and 'Drunk and Crazy' is distorted sequencers in a OneOhTrix Point Never kind of way. 'Does This Always Happen?' is more piano and strings restraint, building up layers of cinematic mood.
A welcome departure.
1. Get To France
2. Hound Of Winter
3. Drunk and Crazy
4. Does This Always Happen?
Earth Division EP by Rock Action Records
Edgy, sultry post-punk-infused dancefloor mayhem.
Despite making a solid gold classic album of edgy Hoxton punky funk, there was sadly to be only one proper album from Playgroup aka Output Records head-honch Trevor Jackson.
'Make It Happen' was the first taster from it, a sweaty but elegant, passionate but detached, sleek but dirty insistent groover. It's up there with the best records Jackson put out on Output - early LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture and Blackstrobe's 'Me and Madonna'.
Download Playgroup 'Make It Happen (Radio Edit)' (punk funk mp3) (Mediafire)
Friday, 9 September 2011
Elegant Rihanna cover by the Manics.
This version of 'Umbrella' works really well, marrying James Dean Bradfield's earnest vocals and strident guitar to one of the biggest pop records of the last ten years.
The whole NME cover-mount CD is available for download from Archive:Rare+Live. Amongst the usual indie flotsam are some gems from Lightspeed Champion and Bloc Party.
Kate Nash turns The Cribs' 'Men's Needs' into something that sounds like an offcut from the sessions for 'Come On Eileen' and Kaiser Chiefs somehow manage to fuck-up 'Golden Skans' (Klaxons).
Download Manic Street Preachers 'Umbrella (Rihanna Cover)' (nme awards, indie alternative, manic street preachers mp3) (Mediafire)
Thursday, 8 September 2011
Cute sixties pop tune that formed the basis of Saint Etienne's 'Nothing Can Stop Us'.
The opening of this Dusty Springfield album track is pretty much the blueprint for the musical backing of Saint Etienne's 'Nothing Can Stop Us'. In their early, sample-a-delic guise Messrs Stanley and Wiggs knew when they found a tune fit for stealing.
'I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby's Face' is a pattering, gently Northern Soul-y pop tune. Dusty's clear, soulful vocal rings out, delivering a defiant lyric. The title is deliciously deceptive.
Download Dusty Springfield 'I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby's Face' (sixties, saint etienne mp3) (Mediafire)
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
Jazzier textures and more diverse musical backing on prodigious modern folk-singer's third album.
Ms Marling continues to develop at a frenzied pace, building on her poised, fully-developed folk songs, this time adding more varied instrumentation and - whisper it - more full-blown drumming and some raucous electric guitar work.
I Was Just a Card
Don’t Ask Me Why
Night After Night
Rest in the Bed
All My Rage
Released on Monday 12th September.
Very deep shit from kings of dubbed-out, jazzy hip-hop flavoured instrumentals.
Very, very languid stuff. Brown slabs of moody keys slide over a brushed drum shuffle. Hasn't dated a day to my ears.
File alongside Red Snapper, DJ Shadow, Isolee 'Beau Mot Plage', Ultramarine 'Saratoga' and then forget about the filing and listen to 'Girma's Lament' by Karl Hector & The Malhouns.
Download Kruder & Dorfmeister 'High Noon' (trip-hop, downtempo mp3) (Mediafire)
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Helter-skelter power popping genius. From Wales. In the nineties.
Crikey, they knew how to bang out a single, didn't they. 1996's 'God! Show Me Magic' is an irresistable gem that features some of that nee-nee-neeeeeee guitar abuse that all Creation records had to have in the early 1990s. Makes you think that Alan McGee had patented it or something.
The song bursts into life, thrashes around gleefully for 110 seconds and then sods off.
And it's got a picture of Bill Hicks on the label.
The b-sides are a quirky bunch. 'Death By Melody' is a psychedelic, clunk-about with lyrics that seem like they're taking the piss out of Oasis' spoon-moon-June-doubloon-Martin Clune(s) rhyming style. 'Dim Bendith' is an epic, space odyssey style freak-out with heavy, multitracked vocals. Like Pink Floyd driving an ice cream van. In space. Coming through the medium wave. In Welsh.
1. God! Show Me Magic
2. Death By Melody
3. Dim Bendith
Download Super Furry Animals 'God! Show Me Magic' EP (indie alternative mp3s, zip) (Mediafire)
Monday, 5 September 2011
Drum'n'bass excursion from Bark Psychosis main man.
After being a key part of Bark Psychosis and before becoming a go-to-producer for the likes of British Sea Power, Jarvis Cocker and These New Puritans, Graham Sutton reinvented himself as a dubplate-toting drum'n'bass moodscaper. Not much evidence of his post-rock, indie past in here.
'Still' is a dark and powerful tune, mixing precise beats and omninous, rumbling layers of atmospheric noise. Darkstep, I believe it was called. For a couple of hours one Monday afternoon in 1996.
Anyway, labels aside, it's a great tune and worth hunting down the sole Boymerang album - 'The Balance Of The Force' - to hear.
Download Boymerang 'Still' (drum'n'bass mp3) (Mediafire)
Sunday, 4 September 2011
The Necks deal in expressive, subtly shifting and evolving improv, making magic from a trio set-up of double bass, piano and drums.
Ostensibly jazz, their pieces are usually an hour or so of music that builds from nothing to a simple riff on one instrument into a piece that takes on a life of its own, going way beyond what might simply be termed jazz.
The Australian trio are very much a one-off but there are echoes of Miles Davis's 'In A Silent Way' in there as well as postrock like The Drift or late-period Talk Talk. The length and repetition/evolution forces you to submerge yourself in the music in the same way as great ambient dub like Seefeel.
The intensity they create is staggering and they're well worth catching live when they come back to the UK later this year.
This piece was recorded for radio at the MONA FOMA arts festival in Hobart, Tasmania.
Download The Necks 'Sunken (Live at MONA FOMA, Hobart, Tasmania, 2011)' (jazz improvisation, 320kb, mp3) (Mediafire)
Saturday, 3 September 2011
Propulsive electro-pop with a translucent feel.
I'm expecting big things of the so-far wonderful Trophy Wife.
'Canopy Shade' sees them moving into early Depeche Mode territory whilst still maintaining their urgency. It was co-produced with Warp legends Plaid but there hasn't been significant fucking-up of the sleek lines of the Trophy Wife sound.
This is the lead track from a 10" EP - Bruxism - released on the Oxford label Blessing Force. 250 hand-numbered copies apparently so I'd move fast. The five tracks feature five different producers including Foals' Yannis Philippakis.
Friday, 2 September 2011
Usual hatred of constant punning overcome by strangely appropriate Pet Shop Boys cover.
I was usually immune to Carter USM's brand of pun-crazy beatbox and bawling indie rocking. However, I stumbled upon this in a box of old tapes and remembered how their urgent, desperate take on the Pet Shop Boys' 'Rent' was their best moment.
The other thing I grudgingly admired was how they seemed obsessed with squeezing London placenames into their songs. 'The Only Living Boy In New Cross' and '24 Minutes From Tulse Hill' were worthy bits of wordplay. The rest of the obsessive punning just annoyed.
'Rent' itself is host to their absolute pinnacle of London placename wordplay, replacing "You took me to a restaurant, off-Broadway" with "You took me to a restaurant, Fulham Broadway". It always makes me smile and somehow seems a more appropriate venue for the lower-status partner in the relationship...
Download Carter USM 'Rent (Live at Wembley)' (indie cover pet shop boys mp3) (Box.net)
Thursday, 1 September 2011
Intriguing battle between languid postrocking and rubbery drum and bass. Music is the winner.
Tortoise's poised, evolving postrock of 'The Taut And The Tame' is teased into a laid back piece of jazz and bass by former Mo'Wax face Luke Vibert.
It opens with frantic, pattering drums that set a pace that the bass completely undermines. It's slow, thoughtful and very spare, allowing trademark vibes to enter and resonate before Vibert brings the beat back. This time it's a trademark, mid-paced, piece of big-box-little-box-bubblecar-fish drum'n'bass rhythmic delight. And we're steppin' like it's 1999.
Originally released on 12", it was collected onto the 'Remixed' album but both are now out of print.
Download Tortoise 'Taut & Tame (Luke Vibert Remix)' (postrock, drum and bass mp3 download) (Mediafire)