Review: By now, you should all know the story of Atoms for Peace, the new all-star leftfield rock outfit founded by Thom Yorke and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. Amok is the five-piece's full-length debut, following a couple of well-received singles on XL and 50 Weapons. While there are obvious similarities with the path Radiohead have taken over recent years - curious beats influenced by dubstep and IDM, haunting soundscapes and intoxicating compositions - there's far greater warmth and vibrancy to the songs than some of Yorke's other projects. Ultimately, it sounds like what it is: a bunch of experimental-minded mates getting together to make music. It comes highly recommended.
Review: XL Recordings return to Amok, the debut album from Thom Yorke and company's Atoms For Peace, culling yet another cut for 12" release in the shape of "Before Your Eyes". The opening track from the five piece's much anticipated LP retains its dramatic impact removed from what follows, with the insistent rhythmics and off kilter basslines likely to appeal to the more adventurous selectors out there. Indeed it worked very well within the context of James Holden's recent Resident Advisor podcast. Thom, Nigel and the gang appease their rabid fanbase with the inclusion of exclusive B Side "Magic Beanz".
Review: After two sterling bouts from Powell, the burgeoning Diagonal label turn their attention to London outfit Blood Music, led by Simon Pomery. With a distinct nod to the focused noise of Sonic Youth, and the breathless vocals of Thurston Moore to boot, Pomery is on fire on EP opener "Rare Earth Material", all throttling drums and huge chords thwacks with a cavernous quality to them. "Speak Like Violence" is a slightly less direct affair, taking a meandering course through shifting phases of squall and distortion but no less energetic en route.
Review: Helena Hauff's label continues to subvert all expectations by celebrating the truly underground and ignoring all expectations to provide obvious club material in line with her DJ sets. Instead we get treated to Blood Sport, a daring post punk band with a whiff of The Pop Group in their frenzied, messy style and plenty of sonic trickery occurring in between the intricate playing. "Harsh Realm" has the textural finish of earliest Cabaret Voltaire, but with a little more deft playing from the intensely talented players. "Boiled In Dust" meanwhile has a distinctly afrobeat-meets-industrial spirit that makes for striking, original material that should appeal to lovers of the truly alternative side of British music culture.
Review: A mighty fine collaboration is facilitated by Kill The DJ here as Tel Aviv duo Red Axes team up with Chloe 'C.A.R.' Raunet for the suitably titled Car Axes 12" - we hope this is the start of a beautiful and long-lasting musical relationship! The three original tracks here were seemingly laid down in various locations in Tel Aviv and London, but what unifies them is the ease with which Red Axes and Raunet evidently feel working together. Modern cold wave is hard to pull off but this trio achieve it with a degree of nonchalance that would impress the genre's early 80s pioneers! Il Est Vilaine and Horrors man Tom Furse contribute fine revisions of "Incognito" with the latter's Cosmic Dub particularly rewarding in it's widescreen panorama.
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: New York's Felte label is famed around our parts for knowing how to put together a collaborative EP, but this latest joining of forces from the Flaamingos and The KVB is simply right on the money! The former are a household band who have appeared repeatedly on the label, an outfit who share a post-punk sensibility, while the latter are a Berlin-based duo who indulge in dark and brooding club music that's strangely free of any genre tags. The A-side features three tracks from the band, where the wonderful "Naomi" steals the limelight thanks to its melancholic mood and driving percussive beats, while the flip contains three slabs of moodier, vocal-filtered electronica; our pick has to be "Still Warm" for its early eighties Mancunian edge. Deep and mesmerising!
Review: The latest outing from Swiss reissue specialists WRWTFWW takes us back to 1981 and the debut single from Bern-based post-punk combo Grauzone. The 12" release of "Eisbaer" has long been a must-have amongst fans of off-kilter, dancefloor-ready new wave, and this replica reissue includes all three tracks featured on that version. Opener "Eisbar" sets the tone, with the bands weary, half spoken/half sung vocals rising above a backing track that's powered forwards by relentless bass guitar, screeching riffs and broken computer style electronics. "Film 2" is a heavy, synthesizer powered workout peppered with delay-laden drum hits and odd noises, while closing cut "Ich Liebe Sie" is a clicking and quietly melodious affair that's almost entirely electronic.