Thursday, 31 July 2014

Music - Part 264 - DIA | Idyll | Gospel | Eoin Glackin | The Sons



With a weeks holiday in Euro Disney on the horizon and a stack of cds to review, it seemed as though I was going to get quite bogged down.  So, I’ve taken the opportunity to whizz through five singles in fifty or sixty words each to honour the very kind record companies and PR peeps that have sent music my way.

So here they are……….


Dia – Icy Icy (Tech Records)

Out a while and bit miffed I haven’t reviewed properly.  A catchy little ditty with hints of M.I.A., loved by my five year old daughter and a real earworm.  Half Dutch half Japanese, DIA has an unusual dance track going on here with hints of her Eastern lineage.  Maybe a video that won’t get aired very much because of its blade wielding and shots of nakedness (shock, horror).

8/10





Idyll – Paradisal (Anticodon Records)

We like this at hiapop Blog.  A duo hailing from America and Sweden, Idyll have made a lovely, calming track no doubt made more so  by the slow-mo video.  Mixing ethereal pop and electronica with a swirling production.  Four alternative mixes on the cd make it a nice little thing.

8.5/10





Gospel – Serbian Girl

A brilliant, if slightly controversial sleeve accompanies this single, but the song itself isn’t anything amazing.  A 80s/90s Shoegaze Indie feel with a loose chorus, dark feel and not much else.  Won’t set the World on fire but may please leather jacket wearing jangly guitar lovers along the way.

7/10





Eoin Glackin – Pretty Girl EP (Tuleen Music)

A four track EP from the young Dubliner.  The lead track is probably the poorest and has all been done before.  It’s all acoustic and lovey dovey about a young girl singer.  Standout track is Rain Finally Came if nothing else for sounding like a Deacon Blue outtake.

7/10





The Sons – I’m Not Happy (Cannon Fodder Recordings)

From the quite brilliant Heading Into Land comes the albums third single.  I’m reliably informed by my wife that some of the lyrics are stolen from Red Dwarf and they may well be, but to be honest who cares when it’s as enjoyable as it is.  An ironic lively, funny, Summery feel, the video is rubbish but the track is available to download free from their website and has a nightmare ending for radio stations.

8.5/10








Wednesday, 30 July 2014

News - Fela Kuti on Vinyl!




In 2013 Knitting Factory Records reissued the complete works of Nigerian icon and Afrobeat originator Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Almost 50 original albums were released over 26 individual CDs, all re-packaged, with in-depth track commentaries written by Afrobeat historian Chris May, as well as the compilations 'The Best Of The Black President' (part 1 + 2) and the deluxe CD box set 'The Complete Works'.
 
Now, in response to popular demand, six of Fela's most important albums will be reissued on vinyl. This will be the first time they are released as individual vinyl albums since their original vinyl release in Nigeria in the 70s and 80s - something which will not only delight audiophile Fela fans, but also the admirers of Lemi Ghariokwu's iconic artwork, now again at 12 x 12 inches as it was intended.


Fela With Ginger Baker Live! - Original year of release: 1971
(KFR2003-1)
Originally recorded in 1971 and 1978 by Fela Kuti's band, Africa 70, with the addition of former Cream drummer Ginger Baker, this album contains four songs plus a bonus track 16-minute drum duet between Baker and Africa 70's drummer Tony Allen recorded at the 1978 Berlin Jazz Festival.
Side A:
Track 1 - Let's Start
Track 2 - Black Man's Cry
Side B:
Track 3 - Ye Ye De Smell
Track 4 - Egbe Mi O (Carry Me I Want To Die)


Confusion - Original year of release: 1974
(KFR2010-1)
This epic Afrobeat album contains just one eponymous track clocking in at just over 25 minutes in length, and beginning with a mysterious and psychedelic musical interplay between Fela on organ and Tony Allen on drums. As the song takes on a righteously funky groove, Fela evokes the chaos of Lagos – the multitude of regional dialects, the gnarly traffic jams, the absence of a policeman to take charge – as a metaphor for the larger problems of post-colonial Nigeria.
Side A:
Track 1 - Confusion (Part 1)
Side B:
Track 2 - Confusion (Part 2)



Expensive Shit - Original year of release: 1975
(KFR2015-1)
Nigerian police, seeking to put down this independent-minded rascal, tried to plant a joint on Kuti during a gathering at his home. Wise to their plan, he quickly swallowed the joint, but the police then threw him in jail to produce the evidence from his faeces. He escaped charges with some wily plotting, and then produced this song mocking the police for wasting resources on hassling him instead of furthering justice in Nigeria. Opening brass rounds give way to interplay between Fela's narration about the episode and responses from his group of female singers.
Side A:
Track 1 - Expensive Shit
Side B:
Track 2 - Water No Get Enemy



He Miss Road - Original year of release: 1975
(KFR2016-1)
'He Miss Road' combines the sound of James Brown-style 70s funk with a stripped down Afrobeat performance. Ginger Baker produced this ethereal, nearly psychedelic album with Tony Allen on drums, backed by Fela's Africa 70 band. The title track refers to the ways in which people have lost their way – and the ensuing chaos it causes.
Side A:
Track 1 - He Miss Road
Track 2 - Monday Morning In Lagos
Side B:
Track 3 - It's No Possible




Sorrow Tears & Blood - Original year of release: 1977
(KFR2030-1)
Fela wrote the title track of this album in response to the 1976 Soweto Uprising in which thousands of South African students protested the forced teaching of Afrikaans, the colonial language of Apartheid. During the uprising and the ensuing riots, hundreds of students were killed. The song calls out killings that have gone on in the name of authority and totalitarian rule as well as the instruments of repression of colonial Africa – the police and the army. The music parallels the somber tone of the lyrics; focused and direct, and track avoids the usual bombastic funk of Fela compositions.
Side A:
Track 1 - Sorrow Tears & Blood
Side B:
Track 2 - Colonial Mentality




Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense - Original year of release: 1986
(KFR2042-1)
The title track sees Fela explaining the role of the teacher in any society with the concept that everything we consider as problems, and everything we accept as good in life, begin with what we are taught. With production help coming from the extremely talented and prolific Wally Badarou, these songs have Fela's most full-bodied sound to date and a horn section that's much hotter and brassier than ever before. "Look and Laugh" is among Fela's most compelling songs and details the attack from Nigerian soldiers on his home, the Kalakuta Compound, in a detached, almost journalistic way. 
Side A:
Track 1 - Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense (Part  2)
Side B:
Track 2 - Look And Laugh (Part 2)



Links







News - Gary Numan Releases Video for I Am Dust


From the superb Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind) album comes the I Am Dust video directed by Chris Corner.

Turn it up to 11 and feel the noise!





Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Music - Part 263 - Jahtarian Dubbers Volume 4


Hard to believe, but it is ten short years since Jahtari began as a netlabel in 2004.

To celebrate, our favourite electronic reggae label has just released the latest in the Jahtarian Dubbers series.
With tracks from all five continents and everything in between from Australia (Monkey Marc) to London (Jah Screechy), from Canada (early-Rm) to Shanghai (Chacha), from South Africa (7ft Soundsystem) to Scotland (Mungo’s HiFi).

All tunes have been baked together at Jahtari HQ for maximum goodness and include “echoes from the future”!

Listen to the whole album by clicking here, or order online here.


Links





News - Feral Five Announce New Single



Widely accepted as hiapop Blog's 'new favourite band', Kat and Drew aka Feral Five have exclusively revealed to us details of their new single due to drop on 22 September via Primitive Light Recordings.

Available as a Limited edition 12” Vinyl with a 3D printed design the new single is the duo's post-punk electro take on 3D printing people:

"3D Printing is here to stay. But what of the future? Feral Five predict a world where not just body parts, but whole beings are made to order. But is this a benevolent act or has humanity created a monster?

Feral Five’s dystopian vision features 3D printer samples as percussion, as well as a hook-laden mix of growling synths, bass and guitars. The release also includes dance remix “3D Ether Mix”, and stark percussive heartbreak track “Invisible”.

"3D” (Print me) will be out on limited edition 12” vinyl, with original artwork by tribal pop artist Camille Walala, and a 3D design brought to life by the Ferals’ own 3D printer. It is an edition of 300.

Designer Walala has worked with Nintendo, XOYO, and Land of Kings. The tracks were mastered and cut by Nick Watson of Fluid Mastering, and the vinyl was pressed at Diamond Black in the UK.
Feral Five will launch the vinyl with a 3D printing party in London on 20th September.

Raised by wolves on a diet of punk rock, disco and roots, Kat and Drew Five meld punk attitude and biting lyrics with a dark lived-in pulsing heart. Feral Five’s debut EP Skin was dubbed an alternative classic by hiapop Blog and Louder Than War, and Nirvana biographer Everett True described it as "Brooding and deviant. I like this a whole bunch.”

The Ferals are obsessed with science, and write songs about the dark human side of tech, as well as love, lust and madness."


The vinyl is available to pre-order at Rough Trade here , and will be in other record stores and shops including the East London Design Store. The Digital tracks are available on iTunes, Amazon & other download stores.

Listen here!:









Music - Part 262 - Nathassia Devine


Nathassia Devine – Cosmic (Inter Dimensional)
CD/DL
Out Now


EDM artist Nathassia Devine releases here debut album.  

You probably weren’t aware that we needed another Kylie, or that we ever asked for one, but we seem to have a contender in the form of Nathassia Devine.

The half Dutch, half Indian singer songwriter has put together a pretty good album of thirteen pop songs which are catchy and have already been well received in the UK Club Charts where she has had two Top 20 hits.

Based around electronic dance and with some eastern influences, Nathassia is nothing ground-breaking nor is this classic pop, but in the same way that Ms Minogue pumps out hit after hit of harmless pop, she too could well do the same.

The opening prelude Creation shows some promise, a cacophony of beats and voices and echoes lasting little over a minute is intriguing and goes straight onto Signs which isn’t one of the strongest tracks on the album but is pleasant enough.

Where the album is maybe set apart from the majority of other pop albums these days is in its bold approach to the musical backing.  It can be loud and incredibly inventive at times, not to mention unpredictable and that is maybe where the strength of the album lies.  The undoubted highlight Telepathically starts off slowly enough and is actually bordering on nothingness before a huge percussive section enters lifting the track to something quite special.


The two singles In My Head and Alien Eyes are slightly more lightweight and predictable but it’s easy to see where the attraction lies and no matter how hard you try, you will be mistaken for thinking she was the aforementioned antipodean songstress (particularly as Bruce Elliott-Smith has now co-produced them both).

There are a few too many yelps and whoops which should really have been edited out, but aside from that there are few criticisms.  Penultimate track, the album mash-up Destruction could maybe have been swapped with closer Re-Create but that’s as far as negativity can go.  It’s a pop album, nothing more and nothing less but it is certainly one of the better ones and Nathassia Devine will be a name you could hear much more of the in not-too-distant future.

8/10

Links

Published on Louder Than War 23/7/14 - here







Music - Part 261 - Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca


Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca - La Rumba SoYo (Cumbancha)
CD/DL
Out Now


African/Cuban styled Ricardo Lemvo releases his new album. 

Three years in the making, Los Angeles based Ricardo Lemvo has launched his new album on the World stage.  With a blend of African and Cuban styles he has taken three years to complete La Rumba SoYo for a braying audience Angolan audience where is name is recognised in every household.

The songs are pleasant and very easy listening, but it’s difficult to see if and where else it may hold appeal.  Unfortunately, a young UK audience won’t have time for him, and maybe his age range is too busy wrapping themselves in Mickey Bubble and his strain of faux Sinatra Vegas.

Perhaps the puzzling thing is the backing band, Makina Loco.  Either they are very digitised or they need to loosen up somewhat. The music blends itself to laziness and relaxing and presumably dance, but its tight outlay actually serves to create a little tension.


Earlier in his career Ricardo was influenced by Rumba and Salsa, and it’s those leanings that are heavily represented here.  His tracks are popular in the Salsa circuits and his following grows almost daily.  Going to America from Northern Angola almost thirty years ago to study for a law degree Ricardo found himself following his true love of music. 

The songs are sung mainly in Portuguese and native Angolan languages with the odd English word which adds to the mystique, but it has to be said that there is an element of repetitiveness throughout.  It may be my ignorance, but it really does sound quite samey, although Tudia Tunua does bring some life to the party midway through.

Whilst much if La Rumba SoYo is self-penned, Lemvo does collaborate with the director of the National Radio of Angola on Dikulusu and with acclaimed fellow countryman Ndulo Kituxi.

An album by a popular artist on the other side of the World, but not really breaking any new ground.  Maybe it’s a safe release to his huge following of Salsa and Soukous, but for the remainder it’s inoffensive and agreeable.

7.5/10

Links
Cumbancha website
Makina Loca website
Ricardo Lemvo on Twitter


Published on Louder Than War 23/07/14 - here

~


Monday, 28 July 2014

Music - Part 260 - BirdEatsBaby


BirdEatsBaby – The Bullet Within (Dead Round Eyes)
CD/DL
Out Now


Brighton’s orchestral punk-rockers BirdEatsBaby release their third album. .

This is a fine album, make no mistake. BirdEatsBaby have nailed it with their attempt of a punk-rock meets classical meets cabaret effort in the form of The Bullet Within.  Formed in 2008 and with a fan base going under the name of the ‘flock’, the group have funded the album which is nothing short of superbly arranged and produced.

Tracks are complex, sometimes over so, but they have managed to cram idea upon idea into tracks and make them sound like the most incredible soundscapes.  With regular leading parts for violin and piano to accompany the regular instrumentation, The Bullet Within is an album the trio of girls and lone boy can be very very proud of.

Kicking off with recent single The Bullet, the group make their intentions very clear.  Powerful vocal performance from lead-singer and songwriter Mishkin Fitzgerald over a swamped arrangement is impressive to say the least.

Their very unique blend of post-punk-goth underpinned by Debussy tributes and cabaret show-time is inspiring as are their lyrics – check out Drinking In The Day, an alcoholic lament of almost stomach-churning proportion and sadness, or Ghosts and its atmospheric sequestration.



Enemies Like Me begins with a sound-alike drumbeat from Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People perhaps fitting as his violinist, Melora Craeger guests on Into The Black.  Guest spots also come in the form of Gabby Young (whose One Foot album received a well-deserved 8.5/10 on these very pages last month), who’s strong neo-operatic vocals appear on Spiders.

Perhaps fans of Marc & The Mambas will love this album, it has the same excessive qualities that made Torment & Toreros and Untitled such brilliant masterpieces way before their time.  Is The Bullet Within a masterpiece?  Well, it’s very close.  The band exude confidence which pours from every note and sound.  Whether they obtain mainstream success is a different question, but one that their flock probably won’t care about.

Special mention should maybe also go to Forbes Coleman who recorded mixed and produced the album and surely became an uncredited fifth member.  The dramatic The Hands Of Orlac based on the 1920s horror film is particularly worthy of mention as is the superb Tenterhooks which is probably the album highlight.

Coupled with the lavish cd packaging, BirdEatsBaby have released one of the finest albums of the year.

9/10

Links
Dead Round Eyes website




Music - Part 259 - Marc Almond


Marc Almond – Ten Plagues (SFE Records)
CD/DVD/DL
Out Now


British Institution, Marc Almond releases a new song-cycle project. .

With Ten Plagues anyone expecting Marc Almond the solo pop artist or one half of Soft Cell will be sorely disappointed.  Any fan of Marc Almond and his brand of  ‘baroque Goth’ as the Mamba or Willing Sinner will no doubt wallow in the albums sheer brilliance and uniqueness.

Perhaps summed up by the strapline “in London came the plague in 1665, one hundred thousand dead but I alive”, Ten Plagues is a piano and voice song cycle stretching over seventeen tracks and an hours’ worth of listening pleasure. 

After watching a production of Mother Clap’s Molly House at the National Theatre nearly ten years ago, Marc approached the man responsible, playwright Mark Ravenhill to express his enjoyment of the production.  Now, with the help of composer Conor Mitchell, Ravenhill has composed Ten Plagues especially for Almond.

Set in the year 1665, the song cycle articulates London in the vice-like grasp of the Great Plague as people drop like dead flies around a stayer.  Articulating often distressing words, Marc perfectly sets the scene and situation for a heart-breaking tale of lost love, friends and lucidity as he is forced away from others who are not empathic to the situation in which he finds himself.

With strong reference points to the 80s hysteria surrounding AIDS, equivalents can be made to the mass panic and fear that the ignorant displayed.   Almond’s voice acts as a second instrument adding tragedy and opera to a dazzling piece of piano work as his life and livelihood fall apart around him.  The listener is sucked into the album and can almost imagine being at the scene nearly three hundred and fifty years ago.

Admittedly, it’s won’t be to everyone’s taste, but Ten Plagues is something rather special by an artist who continues to refuse to be labelled.  Marc’s acceptance of the part and his eagerness to make it work has to be hugely applauded, and when listened to as a whole it is completely enthralling.

Available with a dvd of the performance filmed at Wilton’s Music Hall in London (watch The Dream by clicking here), Ten Plagues only improves its appeal and wonderment of a quite astonishing piece of work.

9/10

Links
SFE Records
Marc Almond website
Marc Almond on Twitter
The Dancing Marquis album review


Published on Louder Than War 20/07/14 - here









Music - Part 258 - Talisman



Talisman – I-Surrection (Oldwah Deconstruction) (Sugar Shack Records)
CD/DL
Out Now



Roots reggae pioneers, Talisman return with a dub version of their 2013 album.  

Last years I-Surrection album showed the World that good old reggae is exactly that, it needs no changing or updating because it’s absolutely timeless.  As with any good reggae album, a following dub version seems almost inevitable and this is no exception.

Original versions of the tracks on I-Surrection were given to Dave ‘Oldwah’ Sandford, a producer and musician with a lifetime love of reggae and an ear for the great reggae sound of the 70s.  Talisman have that sound and Oldwah was determined to be a part of it.  The new dub version contains twelve tracks including unreleased tracks from the original sessions and new mixes of the highest order.

There’s nothing that can accurately describe the feeling of listening to superb dub records, just sit back, close your eyes and listen.  It’s an unparalleled joy to behold.  Not only does Oldwah take individual instruments and dub them out but also blends instruments together to create something very unique.  From the start of You Can Cry If You Wanna to the end of Old Wine this is pure heaven.


As the Sugar Shack explain, there are “no gimmicks or crazy effects” they’re just great tracks pulled apart and re-arranged with rewards on every new listen.  It’s a man with a love and a passion for dub and reggae cooking up and album of genius.

Whether it be the lethargic drum sound of Season For Freeman Alt Dub or the throbbing bass of the incredible Hey Yout 2, the quality of simple but effective dub on this almost is stunning.  Hey Yout 2 wallows in its unadulterated simpleness.  When I played this album in my car the bass throbbed beneath my accelerator.

Dub is a journey and whilst there are people like Oldwah around churning out superior quality mixes like this, it will be an endless trip.

9/10


Links


Published on Louder Than War XXXXX - here





Music - Part 257 - An Interview With Jack Kansas



hiapop Blog gave the latest Damn Vandals album a well-derserved 9/10 earlier this year.  Now, with a new single Too Lazy To Die Too Stoned To Live ready to drop from the Rocket Out Of London album, we catch up with vocalist Jack Kansas and throw a few questions his way.

How’s the world of Damn Vandals?
Tip top, thanks. We’re primed and ready to commit serious noise abuse at any given moment. Can’t wait to get screaming.

hiapop Blog enjoyed Rocket Out Of London, how has general reaction been?
Can’t grumble. People who are fluent in the language of rock get it pretty fast.  People who like pretty girls in corn fields singing songs about how much they miss their boyfriends don’t get it at all. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Your sound has been compared to Thin Lizzy and Crazyhead – honoured?
Bassist Adam is a big Lizzy fan, so hell yeah … there’s been a fair few comparisons flying about, as there has to be if you’re going to talk about music – luckily they’ve all been within a flying header of our influences and likes.

The album is full of short, sharp, powerful tracks.  Was this the objective before you started?
Nail hit on head. That was pretty much our only objective.


Which artists excite you nowadays?  Anyone we should look out for?
Yes. There’s a young band called the West Midlands who are playing their second gig in London sometime soon. I’m pretty sure they’re going to blow up rock’n’roll.

Twitter or Facebook?
Neither. I live in a cave and Frank the guitarist takes care of all that.

Will Rock ‘n’ Roll ever die?
Wow! That’s a powerful question. The pessimist in me believes that the spirit of rock’n’roll hardwired in the DNA of the masses is no longer being harnessed by the music industry to create proper music. Its presence in the mainstream is becoming so diluted that one day there will only be one true rock fan left. He’ll stand every day in Oxford Street hurling abuse at the shoppers through a megaphone until they get a court injunction out on him. A rank of pedestrians all listening to the new Coldplay album in their headphones will gaze on blankly as he’s wrestled to the ground by the Police kicking and screaming.  The optimist in me agrees totally with Neil Young.

I’m coming for a meal, what are you cooking?
Road-kill and chips. It’s the only guilt free way to eat meat nowadays. Oops, forgot to ask if you’re veggie, how rude of me.

Why the bicycles?
I had 4 BMXs so I sprayed them gold and told the rhythm section they could have one if we could get some press shots for the band. It was all I could think of that week. Bass players and drummers are hard to get in front of a camera.



You received huge praise for your debut album, Done For Desire.  How big was the pressure to come up with the goods again?
We’re pretty much past caring about anything anymore. Just want to rock.

Do Damn Vandals ‘do’ ballads?!
Hell no.

Why did you change the title of the album from This Music Blows My Tiny Mind to Rocket out Of London?
TMBMTM didn’t fit on the cover, so we came up with ROOL which did.

How much of an influence was producer Julian Simmons on recording?
He kept the whole thing together with that cool head of his. Damn it, he’s the coolest guy on the planet.

Vinyl, cd or download?
cd

Fancy a twerk?
Just had one on the street thanks.

What are your plans for the remainder of the year?
Gigs, festivals and a single off the album real soon. After that it’ll be the letter to Santa and a few drinks on New Year’s Eve. Then BANG! 2015.



Links


Published on Louder Than War 21/07/14 - here






Friday, 25 July 2014

Music - Part 256 - Kassoma



Kassoma – Natural Selection EP
DL
Out Now


Manchester guitar based four-piece Kassoma are reviewed by hiapop.

The Natural Selection EP has been about a while, as have Kassoma.  The Manchester band are whipping up a bit of a storm in the North West at the moment and it’s easy to see why.  Their brand of jangly Indie guitar pop is easy to like. Very easy.

They have a big sound, one that questions the size of the band.  The Jam were similar, how do just four blokes make such a bloody racket?  The answer isn’t found here, just questioned further.

Lead track Arrows in instantly infectious and almost certainly a crowd pleaser for their ever popular live performances (they’re touring again soon – keep an eye open for dates).  The chorus is rousing, and the verses and instrumentation are memorable and toe-tapping.  It’s a song that will fly around you consciousness for quite a while after it’s finished.

Holding Knives, a single from last year, is slightly sparser and sounding good for it.  Vocals are slightly nasal – think Roland Orzabal or Mark Hollis (Google them if you’re younger than 40!) – not an insult, just an observation.  It could almost be an outtake from Tears For Fears’ Songs From The Big Chair album.  Almost.


The highlight of the EP Again And Again is anthemic and surely a live favourite.  Its confidence and sweeping and a style that Kassoma will feel confident with and should pursue. The melody lingers and it’s a good piece of Indie Rock.

Closing with The Unknown, a slightly formulaic slow burner, Natural Selection seems a good introduction to a band who just could have something to offer and are well worth keeping an eye on.


8/10

Links
Kassoma website
Kassoma on Twitter
Kassoma on Soundcloud


Published on Louder Than War 18/07/14 - here