Review: Although Nightmares On Wax's debut album "A Word of Science" (1991) had its moments, the blend of bass-heavy Bleep techno and hip-hop influenced workouts was arguably a little skewed. It was 1995's "Smokers Delight" that introduced us to what would now be considered the trademark George 'E.A.S.E' Evelyn sound - a weed-stained blend of dub, soul, hip-hop and sun-kissed positivity that endures to this day. As this limited edition 25th Anniversary pressing proves, it remains a great album that's lasted the test of time remarkably well. This time round there's more luxurious packaging, coloured records (one red, one green) and a download card that allows access to four previously unreleased cuts. Grab a copy, light up and enjoy!
Review: Whether you opt to use the abbreviation - Pigsx7 - or say the band name in full, one thing is certainly abundantly clear about the swine-inspired sludge-rockers from Newcastle, UK. They make very loud and very powerful 'proper' rock music, make no apologies about it, and have been pretty damn consistent since they first squealed onto the scene with riffs blazing. 'Viscerals' does not break from that remit. Having managed to simultaneously win over die hard heavy metal types and BBC 6 Music listeners alike, they deliver this as their latest offering to the music hungry populace, and it's pretty much business as usual. Exceptional guitar innovation, propulsive rhythms and commanding atmospheres, with the only real change being the track lengths - with these arguably their most succinct to date, but as overwhelming as anything that has come before.
Review: In 2018, Nils Frahm initiated the "Encores" series: a trilogy of EPs exploring different aspects of his musical world. Here, those sets get gathered together on vinyl for the very first time. Listened to in sequence, it sees the Berlin-based pianist and composer offer up solo acoustic pieces for piano and harmonium (tracks 1 to 5), before layering up piano, processed field recordings and complimentary instrumentation on a suite of sublime ambient tracks (6 to 9). The final section of the album - originally "Encores 3" - sees him flip the script entirely, working almost exclusively with a combination of modular and analogue synthesizers and electronically processed voices. That the collection hangs together as a coherent album despite these stylistic shifts is testament to Frahm's abilities both as a performer and producer.
Top 20 Facts You Didn't Know About Ancient Civilizations! (3:54)
Chicxulub Space Rock (5:39)
Butt Shakin' Freaks (4:57)
Top 10 Bizarre Discoveries Science Still Can't Explain (4:08)
First Contact (5:33)
Juggernaut Cosmonaut (5:05)
Man In The Moon (5:42)
Algorithm Society (4:04)
Review: The latest missive on Bjarki's bonkers-but-brilliant BBBBBB label comes courtesy of label regular Volruptus. "First Contact" is the alien electro explorer's second album, following the release of an eponymous debut full length on Sweaty Records in 2016. It's a hugely inventive and entertaining affair, with Volruptus giddily flitting between skittish alien funk ("Tapetum Lucidum"), bass-heavy ghetto-tech insanity ("We Are The Cyborgs", "Butt Shakin' Freaks"), acid-fired workouts ("Chicxulub Space Rock"), melodious deep electro ("First Contact"), rave-addled brain-dance ("Hyperbola") and much more besides. It's the kind of album that keeps you guessing from start to finish, and there sadly aren't too many of those around.
Review: For Those That Knoe kick off a new series of DJ-oriented heaters dug out of forgotten corners of the dance music sprawl, and the first installment finds label head Ben Boe doing the digging. He's picked out two absolute gems you may well have not heard before - Paul Rayner's Slaves Incorporated track "Baby" and Tom Gillieron's "The Fire". The former is a rare slice of mid '90s UK garage which teeters between New Jersey bounce and London tuffness, while the latter is a wonderfully clattering slice of jazz-funk laced broken beat for soul cats and breaks-minded ravers alike to flex to.
Review: Emotional Response bring you some truly healing sounds from Polish producer Bartosz Kruczynski, who first teamed up with the label as The Phantom for the first round of the Schleissen series back in 2015. He's since delivered a debut album to Growing Bin and released as Earth Trax on Rhythm Section and others. The mood across this collection of pieces produced for Polish studio TVP Culture opens up a rich seam of inspiration around the ambient end of Kruczynski's work through short pieces rich in sonorous delights. From fluttering fourth world-isms to hazy dub soundscapes, this is pure listening pleasure from start to finish.
Review: When he originally released "The North Bend" in 2010, Rafael Anton Irisarri was not the celebrated ambient artist, sound designer and mastering engineer he is today. In hindsight, it was probably his breakthrough album: a release that rightly received rave reviews and introduced him to a wider audience. Listening to this anniversary reissue, which reprises the original track list, it's easy to see why it landed so well. Musically, it blends melancholic and poignant, neo-classical style musical movements with dense layers of white noise and drone style sound design, resulting in a sequence of slowly unfurling tracks that sound brilliant first time around, but also reveal more intricate details once you've listened a few times.
Review: The follow up to 2017's critically-acclaimed long form outing, 'This Is Eggland', has certainly had fans chomping at the bit since its release was announced. The Eggs continue to beguile, mystify, entertain and impress in equal measure, and have been unveiling some truly captivating singles - complete with equally captivating sleeve design - in the run up to this grand unveiling, whetting appetites no end. So here it is, then, the promise and the proof. 'I Am Moron' cements the British band's position as fiercely independent in attitude and irreverent in style, calling on experimental, psyche, indie and punk to deliver a devastating commentary on the country the outfit calls home - from the plight of working classes to the beastly hypocrisy of those higher up the salary and food chain. Not to be missed, not that you needed us to tell you that.
Decades (feat Laura Groves & Samuel T Herring) (5:37)
Ugly Feelings (Again) (4:59)
Worse Off West (0:30)
Last Sniff (feat MF DOOM) (3:13)
Last Sniff (instrumental) (3:13)
Review: After building a career as ambient, electronica, dubstep and glitch-hop fusionist Slime, Will Archer reset his career in 2017 and re-emerged as Wilma Archer with a new jazz-flecked sound. On debut album "A Western Circular", he goes one step further, delivering a set four years in the making that's undoubtedly his most ambitious and impressive work yet. Mixing and matching elements of jazz, neo-classical, softly-spun pop, folk, hip-hop (MF Doom makes a surprise appearance), Jon Hassell style 'fourth world' fusion, slow burn soul and opaque electronica, Archer offers up a collection of songs and instrumentals united by a shared sense of late night atmosphere and intricate musical detail. It's a staggeringly good set that should be at the top of your shopping list.
Review: Earlier in the year, Yves Tumor announced the release of this album by releasing 'Gospel For a New Country', a low-slung chunk of post-punk pop brilliance that mixed weighty grooves and emotive vocals with flash-fried guitar riffs amd sampled big band horns. Fittingly, it's this fine track that kicks off 'Heaven To A Tortured Mind', a notably fuzzy, live-sounding set that continues his evolution from quirky electronica maker to alt-rock artist. While there are some electronic sounds dotted across the set, for the most part it's funk-rock riffs, ESG style basslines, organic drums and his own heartfelt vocals that dominate. It could win him many new fans; certainly, it's a very good album.
Review: Belfast boys Bicep have been surprisingly quiet of late, with this single-sided salvo marking their first new music since 2018. Apparently inspired by their globe-trotting DJ experiences of the past couple of years, the track is as vibrant, colourful and emotive as you'd expect, with the Northern Irish duo layering glistening, ear-catching synthesizer lead lines, drifting vocal samples, sunrise-ready pads and tweaked electronics atop a loose-limbed, breakbeat-influenced rhythm and rumbling bass. It's perhaps not as in-your-face as some of their releases, but it certainly boasts great dancefloor weight, as well as a blend of musical elements that tends towards the loved-up and glassy-eyed.
Black Qualls (feat Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington & Childish Gambino) (3:09)
Miguel's Happy Dance (2:14)
How Sway (1:14)
Funny Thing (1:59)
Overseas (feat Zack Fox) (1:28)
Dragonball Durag (3:03)
How I Feel (1:05)
King Of The Hill (2:48)
Unrequited Love (3:15)
Fair Chance (feat Ty Dolla Sign & Lil B) (3:58)
Existential Dread (3:13)
It Is What It Is (feat Pedro Martins) (2:22)
Review: Thundercat's last album, 2017's "Drunk", is undeniably one of the greatest full-lengths of the past few years - a dizzyingly varied and mind-altering affair that mixed and matched styles to create thrilling new fusions of past and present sounds. He's at it again on this delayed follow-up "It Is What It Is", which was co-produced by Flying Lotus and includes an impressive cast-list of guests and collaborators (think Kamasi Washington, Ty Dolla Sign, Steve Arrington, BADBADNOTGOOD, Lil B and Louis Cole for starters). Musically it's impossible to pigeonhole - think rubbery 80s funk meets spiritual jazz meets reggae meets hip-hop meets experimental beats meets... you get the idea - and that makes for inspiring listening. Whether it's quite as good as "Drunk" is debatable, but it's certainly superb.
Review: It's not without good reason that people have been likening Peel Dream Magazine to My Bloody Valentine, Stereolab and Yo La Tengo. Helmed by Joe Stevens, one of New York's finest contemporary players, the outfit makes music that's tender but savage, powerful but delicate and packed with beautiful discordance hiding its sumptuous melodies. 'Agitprop Alterna' is their second full-length release and it certainly adds fuel to the argument that people need to take this lot very seriously. In addition to the aforementioned, here it nods to Velvet Underground (notice the tripped out, opiate-hazed interludes throughout the album) and krautrock-leaning art pop. The record drones, drives, grooves and perplexes on its course, but most of all it unarguably impresses. Or at least that's what we've got to say on the matter.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a first three-way collaboration between Young Echo collective members Rider Shafique, Ishan Sound and Kahn on consistently good Portland label ZamZam Sounds. "When Shall We Rise" is little less than a modern dancefloor dub masterpiece: a fine chunk of fusion in which Middle Eastern instrumentation and pro-working class/anti-elite vocals rise above a pitched down, steppers style riddim, echoing keyboard riffs and a booming digital bassline. Flipside "When Shall We Dub" is, if anything, even better, with exotic instrumentation echoing into the distance while a beefed-up version of the killer riddim rumbles away below.
Review: Josh da Costa and Jamen Whitelock are CMON, a Los Angeline pop duo who are destined to do great things, providing there is a god. Or at least such a thing as just rewards. Or fate. 'Confusing Mix Of Nations' is just too good a debut album to not make an impact and set wheels in motion towards real household recognition for the pair. Don't take these words for it, though. Take a listen. The two masterminds responsible clearly understand that 'pop' itself is a term that often generates derision, but only among those who don't grasp what the misleading genre should really mean. Less about sales and popularity, and more about a deep and visceral feeling invoked through music with a genuine universal relevance, expect to be coming back to this time and time again.
Review: XL Recordings founder Richard Russell has been rather busy of late. First came the publication of his memoir, "Liberation Through Hearing", and now this: the follow-up to his 2017 debut album as Everything Is Recorded. Like its predecessor, "Friday Forever" was produced and mixed by Russell but also contains contributions from a wide range of artists including Ghostface KIllah, Penny Rimbaud, A.K. Paul, James Massiah, Infinite Coles, Irish singer-songwriters Maria Somerville and Kean Kavanagh, and a host of new-breed British MCs. There's a concept behind it - the sound-tracking of a night out and the weekend that follows - with the music brilliantly joining the dots between hip-hop, neo-classical, soul, proto house, reggae, jazz and much, much more. That it not only holds together but also makes perfect sense is testament to Russell's growing skill as a producer.
Review: Many happy returns to Bradley Zero's Rhythm Section International label, which this month notches up five years in the game. To celebrate, he's releasing a celebratory compilation and two sampler EPs. This first 12" begins with some inspired broken beat/Nu Groove style deep house fusion from the ever-impressive Yu Su, before moving through ghostly techno (the fizzing beats and yearning chords of Katerina's "Bird People") and manic, metallic and industrial-tinged dancefloor madness courtesy of Lock Eyes ("Inner Conspiracy"). Valesuchi offers up the dense industrial/tribal fusion of "30" - all heavy Test Department beats and woozy electronic noises, while "Dawit" invites us to the glassy eyed, futurist deep house paradise that is "Level 7".
Review: Say the words 'soft rock' to most people and they won't necessarily conjure images of cool bands making edgy statements with sophisticated sounds. And that's why most people are wrong, or have at least failed to strike up a relationship with Montreal outfit Tops. Since 2012 the troupe have been making music exactly like that, and with 'I Feel Alive' the recipe proves particularly potent. You could identify shades of Fleetwood Mac on more than one occasion here - the disco hues of 'Direct Sunlight' is one example, while 'Colder & Closer' makes light work of throwing some synth pop into the mix further down the line. Ultimately, though, it's as much about sharp lyricism as anything else, with tales of adultery, the relentless drag of casual sex and more making for quite the poignant take on modern life.
Review: Although he first appeared on Tresor back in 2011, "Trust" still marks Roger Semsroth AKA Sleeparchive's first full-length excursion for the legendary German imprint. More surprisingly, it's also his first album to appear on wax. It's a forthright, all-action affair with Semsroth peppering high-tempo, lo-fi techno beats with a variety of unsettling, creepy and mind-altering musical loops. This is fiendishly heavy club techno that takes no prisoners, though there's enough variety and melodic flashes to keep most listeners happy. Check for example the alien bleeps of deeper rub "Leave", the panicked and breathless industrial techno chase of "Fence" and the noisy, ear-pulverising insanity of "Concrete", a track that's as weighty and dense as its title suggests.