Review: Eric Copeland's first album for DFA, 2013's Joke In The Hole, was something of a breakthrough for the eccentric artist. Since then, he's released two albums for L.I.E.S, both of which were notably obtuse in comparison. Black Bubblegum, his second full-length DFA outing, is an altogether cheerier proposition, with Copeland combining his usual abstract, experimental beat-making approach with skewed guitars, quirky instrumentation, wild pop sensibilities and more than a touch of wayward '60s psychedelia. As you'd expect, this kind of zany, lo-fi fusion makes for enjoyable and hugely entertaining listening, with the New York producer seemingly throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the project.
Review: Turning heads a couple of years hence with their self-titled debut, Fumaca Preta (which means 'black smoke' in case you weren't sure) are dark magicians of a wild and volatile analgam of whatever musical ingredients they see fit to throw into their collective cauldron at any given moment - be it crazed tropicalia, incendiary garage-punk, hypnotic psych-rock, Sabbath-style riffage, Butthole Surfers weirdness. wayward cumbia or maudlin balladry. Yet more mysterious than ever, they've somehow crafted a manner in which to be both more adventurous and more focused on this second effort, arriving at something akin to a tastefully disorientating dream sequence on a glorious psychic wavelength somewhere between high-energy Brazilian carnival and the nameless void.
Review: In 2015, Texas & London-based trio Khruangbin's debut album 'The Universe Smiles Upon You' garnered wide critical acclaim and captured attention for its seamless genre-blending and internationally shaped sound - one that evidently has deep roots in Thai-funk cassette culture. Similarly to their debut, sophomore record 'Con Todo El Mundo' is a cocktail of largely instrumental surf-rock, afro-funk, middle-eastern and far-eastern influences, mixed with warmth and soul. As if their pallette wasn't diverse enough, the additions of the pared back boogie on 'Evan Finds The Third Room', the widescreen dream-pop of 'A Hymn' and deeply intricate writing of closer 'Friday Morning', are illustrative of a band who have worked hard to broaden their horizons while keeping their roots in mind and, despite transatlantic bases, clearly remain a stunningly cohesive and well-matched outfit.
Review: Inspired by the slightly unlikely collision of the Thai music of the '70s and The Shadows, Khruangbin - the name means 'aeroplane' in Thailand - are purveyors of a deliriously mellow and beguiling form of jammed-out power-trio guitar music - far removed from standard notions of psych and dreampop, partly owing to its pan-global influences, its nonetheless both psychedelic and dreamy, not to mention possessed of an unhurried, reflective and spacious lilt that renders this Texan-London outfit a rare treat in an information-saturated age, taking on delicate soul and funk with exotic atmospheres and making the journey feel both blissful and effortless.
Review: Best band name since Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, Australian group King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have been dominating Melbourne's vibrant garage, psych and surf rock scene for nearly a decade now. Fishing For Fishies presents another jovial journey through light and breezy themes of folk, blues, rock and psychedelic angles, with Violent Femmes vocoder techniques and a bevy of other surreptitious Generation X, '90s era music to boot. Quality, raw recordings full of an unique musicianship that sees the band continue to defy the terms and conditions of classically garnered genres. Get it into ya.
Review: There are two things Starcrawler can definitely be described as - lost children of the 1970s, and incredibly Los Angeles in style. They make music that seems impossible to remove from one of the headiest rock 'n' roll decades in history, despite age preventing them from actually having been there at the time. It also falls on the polished side of heavy metal, channeling both pop punk and bare-chested, sweat-soaked guitar solos in one fell swoop. The result is a record that plays out like a bar fight in Tinsel Town. Muscular, powerful, driving and unarguably sexy, from the gaggle of kids preceding the onslaught of opener "Lizzy" to the final, liquor-soaked midnight sing-a-long of "Call Me A Baby", "Devour You" does what it says on the tin, with all the subtlety of Hollywood's finest, and perhaps even more entertainment value.
Review: Introducing the new psychedelic solo project of Paul Alexander, the bass player of Bella Union's mainstay signing Midlake. In a recent interview, Alexander said: "I'd always wanted Midlake to experiment more with the arrangements, or to get more into psychedelic textures," and this is obviously where he's gone to achieve such a sound. The album takes in breezes of shoegaze with psych-rock and the overall feel that comes out the other side is something closer to futuristic country & western space folk. Album highlights include "An Eye For An I" and album opener "SF" that should appeal to fans of Whitest Boy Alive, Father John Misty to Pink Floyd and '80s synth.
Review: Smokey, heavy, whiskey-soaked and dramatic, Manchester's The Underground Youth provide us with a new album following the two they dropped in 2017. There's something incredibly UK about the band and their sound, which comes with a touch of Madchester about them too for good measure. Album opener "Sins" is about as drastic as anything Nick Cave could come up with, while there's echoes of Joy Division in Craig Dyer's voice throughout, while simultaneously there's something undeniably post-punk about the band's radical production. Edgy, raw and stone-faced yet full of flavour and deep seated in the malaise of melancholic shoegaze, this album title sets it all up really: Montage Images Of Lust & Fear.