Review: The Dark Entries label continue their impressive run of form with another killer reissue LP, this time by The Prefects member Joe Crow. Compulsion was Crow's first solo work from the early '80s and has been a digger's favourite for a long time, its itchy drum machine beats and disjointed guitar riffs being utterly singular at the time of the album's initial release. "Compulsion" itself is a mid-tempo beat jam containing Crow's own dreary vocals and beautiful synthesized keys. "Absent Friends" is slower, full of languish and life at the same time, while on the B-side, "Each To His Own" is the winner thanks to its punky aesthetic surrounded by that early 80's electronic oddity. A masterclass piece of music and an essential collector's item.
Review: Ah, a real gem of the NYC No Wave era is the focus of Dark Entries attentions here as the stunning Holland Tunnel Dive by ImpLOG is given a more than timely reissue. For the uninitiated out there, ImpLOG were formed by The Contortions band members Don Christensen and Jody Harris under the name ImpLOG, after the former left the iconic No Wave act in 1979, and released just the two records together. The story goes that Christensen's recorded experiments with found sounds, and an array of instruments such as a Univox drum machine and Casio keyboards impressed Lust/Unlust Records founder Charles Ball sufficiently enough to issue two tracks from the submitted demo tape as the Holland Tunnel Dive 12? in 1980. It's remained a highly prized record ever since and this lovingly recreated edition from Dark Entries is a must!
Review: We love Talking Drums. At the core, they are simply our type of band. An album, a few EPs, and then disappear before the scene kicks off and becomes commercialized. Boxes all well and truly ticked. The early 80s were a period of change what with punk music evolving into post-punk, and while the nu-romantic fashion that came to prominence in the mid 80s was a national movement, it was bands like Talking Drums which initiated it. Thanks to the ever-reliable Dark Entries, we now get to enjoy their best single, Courage, in all its glory - and it sounds like it's been pressed up properly, too! All you need to know at this point, if you haven't come across this already, is that it's one of the best disco-not-disco singles you'll ever cop...and we don't have a favourite tune...they're all equally raw, drum-heavy, house-envisioning, and utterly addictive. Hotly tipped!
Review: Marking the start of an exciting new collaborative project, Wolf + Lamb proudly share the debut release of The Waves & Us. Formed out of
a creative meeting of minds between Maayan Nidam, Markus Nikolaus and Louis McGuire, theirs is a sound that strengthens the storied
approach of a live band with the experimental thrust of analogue electronics. Pop and rock fundamentals lend an earthly hook to the
tracks, but these are anything but straight-forward songs.
Maayan has already forged a formidable career in electronic music, both under her own name and as part of Mara Trax, scoring releases
on such celebrated labels as Perlon. Markus performs his own solo project Cunt Cunt Chanel, while Louis is part of Ballet School, a band
releasing on noted indie label Bella Union. The whirlwind of creativity that has whipped up around the trio has yielded an album which will
follow this single, made up of one-take recordings that capture the energy and adventure that powers The Waves & Us.
Maayan's electronics provide the atmospheric backdrop to the songs, running modular synthesisers and drum machines through detailed
chains of processing and effects with an emphasis on a warm, charmingly rough finish. Markus' guitar undergoes a similar fuzzy treatment
while his voice calls out introspective, abstract lyrics to set the mind racing. Louis' bass underpins the music with a dubby sensibility,
bringing a necessary balance to the frequency range.
Making the most of their in-the-room recording approach, the singles will feature alternative takes of the songs that will appear on the
album, providing a little insight into the flutters and fluctuations that shape the development of this project. With their eyes fixed on live
performances and an arresting sound already formed, this is a vital time for all three artists and the people that listen to them.
Cameron Allen & Graham Bidstrup - "Bikini Atoll" (3:40)
Foot & Mouth - "I Want My Mummy" (4:15)
Review: An intriguing confection put together by two Antipodean crate-diggers with an ear for the eccentricities and heroic creative travails of a generation of yore, 'Midnight Spares' chronicles a predominantly '80s era in which bedroom musicians took a post-punk DIY sensibility to create work that still rings out with originality and ingenuity decades on. Collected from manifold unusual sources, this compendium takes in early synth-pop, menacing lo-fi soundtrack work, a stray emigre member of The Flying Pickets, and even an early foray into recording from the members of legendary Ozpunk scamps God. Lurking somewhere between the spirit of John Peel and the world of outsider art, the resulting assemblage is a must-have for chroniclers of the weird and wonderful.
Hjalmar Larusson & Jonbjorn Gislason - "Jomsvikingarimur - Yta Eigi Feldi Ror." (1:15)
Julianna Barwick - "Forever" (5:30)
Koreless - "Last Remnants" (4:22)
Odesza - "How Did I Get Here" (instrumental) (2:00)
Anois - "A Noise" (4:10)
Samaris - "Gooa Tungl" (4:08)
Olafur Arnalds - "RGB" (4:36)
Rival Consoles - "Pre" (5:14)
Jai Paul - "Jasmine" (demo) (4:11)
Four Tet - "Lion" (Jamie Xx remix) (6:52)
James Blake - "Our Love Comes Back" (3:39)
Spooky Black - "Pull" (4:13)
Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld - "And Still They Move" (2:55)
Olafur Arnalds - "Say My Name" (feat Arnor Dan) (5:38)
Kiasmos - "Orgoned" (5:57)
Olafur Arnalds - "Kinesthesia" (1:44)
Hjaltalin - "Ethereal" (6:32)
David Tennant - "Undone" (3:51)
Review: Icelandic classical, experimental and soundtrack composer Olafur Arnalds steps away from the loops and Broadchurch OSTs to conjure yet another sublime LNT saga. Carefully balancing between contemporary odysseys ("Jomsvikingarimur"), dense futuristic electronic weaves ("Last Remnants"), fuzzy 22nd century pop ("A Noise") sludgy cosmic funk ("Jasmine") and introspective soul ("Our Love Comes Back"), Olafur blows wave after woozy wave of soft sonic conjurations in a way that's broad, detailed and cleverly considered. Good night.
Review: Arte Moderno was a short-lived outfit from the Canary Islands who scored an underground dancefloor hit in 1982 with the spaced-out punk-funk/new wave/dub disco grooves of "Ninette En New York" before all but disappearing. Here, we finally get a chance to hear what else they were up to, as Musica Cabeza - the debut album they recorded but then shelved in 1982, finally gets a release. It's a quietly impressive set, all told, offering up tracks that doff a cap to the likes of Talking Heads, Woo, Konk and Bauhaus, while also offering a fresh take on electric/electronic post-punk fusion. Had it been released when it was recorded there's no doubt it would have become an underground classic; now that it's finally seen the light of day, we can confirm it's every bit as good as we'd hoped for.
Review: Lewis' gentle and bewitching L'Amour, which came complete with a bizarre backstory involving the disappearance of the blonde-haired would-be-matinee-idol on its sleeve, was one of the surprise delights of the year. Yet the release of the hitherto unsuspected follow-up Romantic Times, which was originally recorded in 1985, only adds to the mystique surrounding this off-kilter auteur. The abstract croon and expressionistic mood may remain, yet the pastel shades and beachside calm of his earlier effort are gone, replaced by brooding atmosphere and vocals that betray a troubled soul beneath the luxurious veneer. Residing somewhere between lounge lizard thrills and outsider art chills, Romantic Times is a portrait of a true one-off.
Review: Icelandic music producer Bjork, who requires absolutely no introduction given her massive contribution to electronic pop music over the last twenty years, finally returns with her new album Vulnicura on One Little Indian Records. Although the LP represents her breakup with Matthew Barney, there are vivid rays of light nested among the more dreary-eyed vocals and melodies. As per usual with her work, there is a distinctive personal touch to her songs. This is most vividly characterised by the droning style of her singing, a sort of juxtaposition when combined to the music below it. Expect an intricate blend of sci-fi electronics, break-ridden power beats and of course, plenty of hard ambience. Bjork's ninth studio album is another winner. This deluxe edition comes with a download code!
Review: Avant-garde composer and guitarist Glenn Branca appears on the archival-focused Superior Viaduct, a label based out of San Francisco that trawls deep to release rare recordings from the likes of Devo, Talking Heads and Ramones affiliate Craig Leon, and San Franciscan punk band The Avengers. This release from Branca, whose label Neutral Records released the first few tracks by Sonic Youth, provided Superior Viaduct with three jangly guitar tracks of his own, spread across two discs. "Lesson No 1 For Electric Guitar" has the slightest of Celtic touches (and Cagean titles) in a progressive and emotionally strummed guitar-lead composition, while "Dissonance" almost sounds like a cheeky reinterpretation of the Batman theme. It's "Bad Smells", though, that will strike a familiar chord with fans of Silent Servant to the aforementioned Sonic Youth. Rock on.