Monday, 29 June 2015

News - Lucy Mason Reveals New Video




Having commanded the attention of the blogosphere since her 2014 debut EP, ‘White as Snow’, London-based Australian singer-songwriter Lucy Mason returns with her follow-up EP, ‘All You Want’.
 
While her debut effort reached number 47 in the Australian iTunes Pop Album Chart, ‘All You Want’ has also enjoyed an overwhelming reception so far, scoring Lucy her first ever UK radio play on BBC Introducing as well as praise from the likes of The 405 and Hilly Dilly.
 
Now, following the recent unveiling of ‘Lost and Found’, whose dark, electronic-tinged pop flavour has drawn comparisons to Imogen Heap and Feist, Lucy reveals its beautiful accompanying visuals. Shot at Notting Hill’s luxurious Beach Blanket Babylon, its evocative staging and stuttering camera work provides a stark contrast to the song, whilst demonstrating Lucy’s talents as a visual artist too.
 
Director Matt Sharp says of the video: "In ‘Lost and Found’, I wanted to communicate repetition and turmoil, fronted with poise and dignity. The piece visualises the abstraction that occurs when one remains in their own head. The location provided a haunting backdrop for the performance, and I think it really echoes the layers that are heard in the music."
 
Matt’s next visual instalment will see his atmospheric style complement ‘Seas Of Grey’, a track rooted heavily in an electronic sound world, with cavernous percussion recalling the best of 80s pop along with thick synth pads and glitchy vocal harmonies.
 
Pure persistence has been the driving influence for Lucy since her teenage years, when she began to cultivate music that was, at all costs, genuine in its emotion and deeply resonant. With a universal appreciation for music beyond the confines of conformity, Lucy has carved her own progressive niche of honest sounds and harmonies, and the depth of textures demonstrated in her new material only serves to enhance her brilliant consistency of tone.
 


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News - On-U Sound Re-Release Full Back Catalogue




The influential and bountiful On U Sound catalogue contains over 70 albums that explore the infinite possibilities of dub, as refracted through the prism of other scenes the label touched such as new wave, electro and industrial. After a long period of being out-of-print, all the releases are now available on iTunes, Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, Juno, Boomkat, Bleep and other digital retailers, not to mention the label’s own shop.

The back catalogue takes all the classic albums by key On-U artists, as well as genre-defying compilations, mind-boggling one-offs and rarities. This is the most complete form that the label’s releases have ever been available in, and chart a unique history of underground music.

This is the latest stage in an extensive 2015 release schedule that has already taken in new albums from On-U head Adrian Sherwood in collaboration with Bristol dubstep don Pinch (the epic Late Night Endless), a crucial compilation of early Sherwood productions (Sherwood At The Controls Volume 1: 1979 - 1984), and reissue of obscure Mancunian post-punks The Mothmen.

The next release on the label comes out on 21 August, a lovingly assembled vinyl re-press of the seminal debut longplayer by early On-U collective Singers & Players, War Of Words, which first came out in 1981 via a licence deal On-U did with seminal NYC label 99 Records (also home to the likes of ESG, Liquid Liquid and Glenn Branca). A unique collision between top Jamaican vocal talents (Bim Sherman, Prince Far-I & Jah Woosh) and musicians (members of crack session band the Roots Radics), and the London post-punk scene (Keith Levene from The Clash and Public Image Limited plays guitar, and Ari-Up from The Slits provides backing vocals). The new edition has been re-cut at the world-renowned dubplates & mastering in Berlin, and comes with a download card and pull-out poster insert. 



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News - Gold Jacks Release New Single


Whilst there are many who believe Manchester’s Gold Jacks were conceived through a shared appreciation of crunchy, lo-fi blues, and borne out of mutual respect for their City’s less salubrious watering holes, the fact remains that this was merely a cover story; a well-timed fa├žade that has allowed both the true identities, and the true intentions of the band to remain hidden until the time came for their real purpose to be revealed. That purpose? To resuscitate the still-twitching corpse of the UK’s alternative scene before it’s picked clean by the commercial carrion crows that populate the Top 40.
Need proof? It isn’t coincidence that Zayn Malik left One Direction mere days after Gold Jacks dropped their debut single ‘One Kinda Woman’.
To the band though, that only proved what they themselves already knew – that guitars can breathe new life in to established formats, and that good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t have to be old fashioned at all.
Following on from ‘One Kinda Women’, their latest offering ‘Take It Back’ sees Gold Jacks slowing the pace and allowing the sultry sleaze of pure guitar-driven rock to slip through the track’s intentional pauses, in turn brought about by a deft understanding of musical spacial awareness. The apparent simplicity offset by Stewart Burns’ impassioned vocal.


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Review - Xaos - Xaos




Xaos – Xaos (Independent Records Ltd)

CD / DL

22 June 2015

8 / 10


Greek descended production duo release a new album.  

After ten years in the making, this ‘post-Troika Hellenic Trance Music’ collection sees the light of day.  Made up of Ahetas Jimi, a Greek composer and painter, and Nick ‘Dubulah’ Page a producer and writer of Greek descendancy, Xaos have put together a quite fascinating album bridging the gap between traditional music and modern day ambient.

Using traditional instruments like the Pontic Lyra and daouli the duo have skilfully merged the sounds with modern keyboards and computers to give an eleven track snapshot of two worlds, 5,000 years apart coming together as one.

It’s slow, often repetitive stuff with chords and looped melodies creating gentle calming ambience.  Re-constructed ancient vocal scales and tone clusters sound at ease with each other over one of the most relaxing albums of the year.

 For the ambient purist it marks a delightful sway into a new direction, and for the newcomer it opens up a world of new possibilities and endless dreams.  From the opening track Pontos Blues the direction of the album if firmly established and it is one which will take you on a quite remarkable journey complete with gaida bagpipes and Pontic Lyra fiddle.

Processional sounds exactly like that.  A repetitive chant and drum sounds for nigh on six minutes are interspersed with sounds of unusual instrumentation and threads.  Pindos Full Moon and Byzantine 1 are short but incredible sweet as no less affection is poured into the short pieces.

In a time when Greece is in turmoil, it is perhaps nice to see Xaos (translated as Chaos) put together something so inventive and engaging.  To say that the album is ‘epic’ would be an understatement as layer upon layer of gorgeous sound engulfs the listener with ease.

Maybe only on Free Fall does the percussionist threaten to break free and disturb the calm that has been created before, but Xaos skilfully avoid the surely massive temptation to continue the voyage into serenity, and album closer Sunfire disappears into the beautiful horizon from which the album originally came.




Links
Independent Records Ltd
Xaos on Soundcloud
Xaos on Twitter
Xaos on Facebook


Published on Louder Than War 22/06/15 - here 




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News - Mikey Guitar Releases Debut Solo Single



Renowned Manchester guitar icon Michael Reed (aka Mikey Guitar) steps from side stage into the centre to present a mostly instrumental record that is brimming with beautiful homespun guitar virtuoso music that is impossible to pigeonhole.  It takes you on a spiritual journey through a mix of musical styles and moods, and is set to send listeners reeling.  Sound wise, Vini Reilly and Durutti Column have been whispered - Mike Oldfield has even been mentioned - but any musical reminder is more by coincidence and not by design. 

"Fables" was home-recorded and self-produced throughout late 2014 and early 2015 in a haze of frenzied creativity and self-discovery, which gives this collection of tracks a deeply personal feel.  "I developed a whole new style of playing in and around the summer of 2014, not through studying other guitar players or artists, but somehow felt as if the music that was passing through me didn't lend itself to what a typical band would do - it's less obviously structured and free of the commercial constraints that I've had to work under in the past". Such is the love of Mikey's guitar style and laconic social media presence that the album got fan funded in under a week via the indiegogo platform, taking in pre-orders from people all over the world.  "Emilie" - the first single release and only track to contain a guest vocal on the album (Greg Matthews of Bauer Indie Synth Pop Fame) - is a sprawling ode to unrequited love dressed in 60's pop psychedelia recalling hints of White Album era Beatles, and is destined to be taken into the hearts of thousands.


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News - Temple Invisible Unveil New Video And Stream EP


Temple Invisible is the musical project of Irina Bucescu, Costas Ivanov and Daniel Olteanu – three multi instrumentalists from Bucharest, Romania.
A band exhibiting a considerable array of styles, Temple Invisible have fast developed their own tonal environment for electronic pop, dark experimental and futuristic industrial. Their music propagates a unique blend of electronic influences and musical genres combined with a classical sense of composition. 

Temple Invisible songs are mathematically placed between Massive Attack and Nine Inch Nails, with a smidgen of Portishead and the sort of big choruses and bells-and-whistles-and-choirboys production once trademarked by Depeche Mode. 

Always willing to push new frontiers with a mixture that blends electro beats, psychedelic guitars, symphonic elements, 80s synth goth and trip hop with a nod to classic post industrial notes, it’s hard to pinpoint just where the hallowing chords of this three piece sit, landing them on a distinct and intriguing plateau of sound. 

Speaking about their debut release Temple Invisible describe the EP as a vibrational state in which they dwell among their absolute love for music and their contradictory need for self identification as a way to reconcile both. 

Enter is an introduction to their blended style of multi-layered electronica. 



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Friday, 26 June 2015

News - Love Nor Money Unveil New Video




'Shake Me' BY Love Nor Money is out on July 6th on Lost In The Manor records and lots of hype is building within the industry after a sold out show at Sebright Arms, confirmation of T in the Park and a Saturday slot at Glastonbury.

It goes a little something like this:




Links
Love Nor Money on Instagram
Love Nor Money on Twitter
Love Nor Money on Facebook




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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

News - Boys Noize Stream New Mixes




For the last few months the mammoth BNR10YR tour have been on a non-stop world world tour featuring special guests are playing shows in over 10 countries including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States with the full label crew and friends from around the world including Skrillex, Justice, 2ManyDJs, Tiga, Modeselektor, Busy P, A-Trak, Spank Rock and Peaches hitching a ride on the BNR Express. ‘Strictly Raw Vol 1’ marks the end of the tour and is an irresistible collection of tracks and collaborations from his labels filthiest industrial stalwarts - see you on the floor!




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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Review - Reggae Round-Up - The Expanders | Morgan Heritage | The Ship-Tones

The sun is hot, we’re wearing our Bermuda shorts and it’s that season again when a bucket load of Reggae releases seem to appear.  hiapop Blog listens to the best riddims and ting.




The Expanders – Hustling Culture (Easy Star)

LP / CD / DL

Out Now

8 / 10

Newly signed to the legendary Easy Star record label, things are looking particularly good for The Expanders.  Add to that their part in being backing band for such reggae luminaries as Alton Ellis, The Maytones and The Wailing Souls and you can begin to understand why people are keeping an eye on the quartet.

Their charm seems to be very simple – good, roots-based reggae with uncomplicated backing and harmonies combine to make some often great reggae tunes.  On Hustling Culture, their first release since the cover version album Old Time Something Come Back Again from Xmas 2012, they have assembled twelve original tracks each one as worthy as the last.

What is particularly pleasing is their clear adoration of reggae greats of the likes of The Ethiopians, The Mighty Diamonds and The Gladiators, whom they cite as major influences, and how they manage to tuck in a few lovely acknowledgements and reggae tricks along the way.

The title track in particular has some adorable harmonies and Uptown Set has some of the most exquisite dub moments contained in the ‘normality’ of the backing – reverbs, voice echoes and bass solos are all squeezed in.

Throughout the album the quality of each tracks shines brightly and the taken for granted dubs, particularly on the Extended 12” Version of Iron Throne must surely make way for a dub version of the album.


Links








Morgan Heritage – Strictly Roots (CTBC Music Group)

LP / CD / DL

Out Now

7.5 / 10

There really isn’t a need for Morgan Heritage to call their album Strictly Roots, it’s like AC/DC calling an album Heavy Metal or Michael Buble releasing Frank Sinatra Wannabe, particularly when there actually isn’t much that can actually be called strictly roots here.  Added to this, telling the listener that the title track is that particular genre and exclaiming “this is reggae, this is reggae” on Light It Up really isn’t necessary.

That said, the collection of thirteen tracks is actually of very good quality and provides some solid reggae pop and Dancehall throughout.  The inclusion of several Dancehall tracks is perhaps epitomised in the appearance of Shaggy on final track Keep On Jammin’.  It’s an entertaining piece of speedy reggae/pop-rock with a classic sounding reggae beat and more than likely destined for single release.

Morgan Heritage themselves really need little introduction.  Often regarded as reggae royalty, the quintet are the children of the legendary Black Eagles founder, Denroy Morgan and as such have the ability to attract the likes of current favourites Chronixx, Bobby Lee of SOJA and J Boog who adds a touch of modern day R&B to the proceedings.

Already a number 1 album in the US iTunes Reggae Chart, there’s nothing particularly brilliant about the assemblage, but equally they rarely put a foot wrong in terms of song construction and memorable hooks. 

Strictly Roots is a grower, and one which will need a couple of listens to start to appreciate its better moments.  It does, however miss some good, solid ‘traditional’ reggae tunes and maybe a little dub here and there.  Close, but no cigar.





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The Ship-Tones – Indie Reggae Revolution (Philophobia Music)

CD / DL

13 July 2015

9 / 10

As the album title alludes, Indie Reggae Revolution isn’t your ordinary album.  Leeds duo Chris Shipton and Chris Campbell have created an album of incredible foresight which is bordering on genius.

The premise is simple – take ten Indie tracks, use the original vocals and re-interpret the song as a reggae piece.  Sounds bizarre, it is, but it works superbly.  Both Chris’ have worked extensively in the world of reggae for over a decade and their absorption of the genre has now paid off.

With their heart in the live scene, The Ship-Tones have combined some of the best Indie tracks of the last few years with entirely unique reggae instrumentation.  Album opener, and the first single released back in December is Dilemma featuring Edwyn Collins.  One of many superb songs from his 2013 long player Understated, like all the songs on the album sounds and feels like it has always been a reggae track.  With ska traces, and a slow lazy approach it includes several lovely subtle dub touches and a wonderful brass section.  There’s also a Mr Benn Mix of Dilemma which has to be heard to be believed.

We’re treated to some absolute corkers along the way – Ickle Shocks with Ricky Wilson (Little Shots – Kaiser Chiefs) is a contender for a future single, and Good For Me featuring Stephen Holt and Clint Boon (You’re So Good For Me – Inspiral Carpets) which was the b-side of Dilemma sounds like a classic reggae track from the grand opening to the simply gorgeous keyboards.

The Cribs are represented on two tracks by the Jarman twins with Ryan on ‘Ari Kari (Hari Kari) and Gary on Jah Anna (Anna), and The Vaccines main man Justin Haywood Young contributes If You Wanna Reggae (If You Wanna) which is a dub-fest if ever there was one.  He also provides Teenage Icon which again could maybe rival the original.

With Stephen Malkmus taking a break from The Jicks on the rock infused De Senator (Senator) and Jeffrey Lewis aiding the pop/folk reggae of Try It Again yet more tracks are turned on their heads and re-invented as classy reggae versions.

Perhaps one of the most fascinating tracks is Moved Your Chair by Thabo.   A cover of The Artic Monkeys track from their Suck It And See assemblage, the leader of The Real Deal brings a quite stunning soul touch to an often harder sounding track.  His voice is one of those quite amazing things that sends shivers down your spine.

The Ship-Tones have created something very special here, the least we can all do is take the time to listen.



Links


Published on Louder Than War 17/06/15 - here



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News - Annie Nightingale Celebrates 50th Year In Broadcasting


Very few can lay claim to the kind of legacy created by Annie Nightingale. Best known as the first female DJ on the BBC, she is also Radio 1’slongest serving broadcaster, and holds the world record for the longest ever running radio show. Annie is the first female DJ to curate the latest instalment of the critically acclaimed Ministry of Sound 'Masterpiece' series out on July 17th.
 
Throughout her 50-year career, Annie has always specialised in championing underground music, staunchly supporting artists from classic rock and pop, through new wave, acid house, breakbeat, grime, trap and much more. Ever refusing to compromise her taste, she describes the personal value of her selections, saying: ‘if I couldn’t choose the music I played, I wouldn’t want to do it at all’.
 
Annie’s own compilation is an effort to document her international impact on popular music across the span of her career, featuring artists as diverse as Missy Elliott, Joy Division, Blondie, The Prodigy, Tinie Tempah, and The Chemical Brothers, right through to new names of bass and trap such as Flux Pavilion, Keys N Krates and Troyboi. In Annie's words: 'It’s the story of (mostly) British music over the past five decades from the touchstones who started it all off. From Paul McCartney of The Beatles, to The Rolling Stones and The Who, right through to the artists of today whom I think so much of. Many of these titans have never agreed to being on a compilation before – and certainly not together.' 
Her work will also be celebrated with two documentaries on Radio 2, airing on 15th and 22nd July. These documentaries will feature exclusive interviews from artists who have agreed to be part of Annie’s ‘Masterpiece’, including Underworld, Basement Jaxx, The Streets, and Primal Scream.





Links
Annie on the BBC
Annie on Twitter
Ministry Of Sound website
Ministry Of Sound on Twitter
Ministry Of Sound on Facebook


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Monday, 22 June 2015

News - Amber Leaves Announce Debut Single




When vocalist, guitarist and keyboard player Chesney Jefferson was seeking musicians to help perform his trove of keenly crafted pop songs, his thoughts naturally turned to his days as a music student at Leeds Metropolitan University. It didn’t take much to persuade fellow alumni and former performing partners Jake Milburn (guitar) and Seb Drayton (drums) to get involved, despite the project’s rather unpromising moniker, Chesney Jefferson Repainted. Following a fortuitous, possibly drunken, meeting in a smoky wine bar, bassist Jay Marrod was also commandeered and the now London-based quartet were happily renamed Amber Leaves. The group honed their slick meld of funky rock, Motown and Britpop at key capital venues, but felt their already buzz-generating output could be further improved. The acquisition of guitarist Josh Pontin soon fixed that, fusing the material with greater depth and instrumental interplay. Amber Leaves now had the set-up and the set-list to sell out the 200-capacity Barfly, supplemented by invigorating shows at the likes of The Finsbury and The Sebright Arms. The studio beckoned, and the first of three deliciously fluent, beautifully composed yet disparate singles, each mastered by Grammy award-winner Mandy Parnell (Aphex Twin, Bjork), will be released this summer, ready to oxygenate the airwaves with Amber Leaves’ heady, passionate tones.

A song of two parts, bonded by an incisive disco pulse leading directly to the dancefloor, ‘Heaven’ portrays the tension and resolution of a dysfunctional relationship. Initiated by a taut collusion of bass and drums, fleshed by cameos from breathy keys and flickering guitar riffs, the song brings home the malicious battleground of love gone bad. “Maybe In Heaven, You Could Tie Me In Knots, So I Would Never Leave” protests Chesney Jefferson’s rich soul vocal, before the track finds resolution in act two, driven forcefully by an exceptional burst of grinding guitar that sandwiches a euphoric breakdown, marking a release from the relationship and a trigger for both band and listener to truly cut loose.




Links
Amber Leaves on Twitter
Amber Leaves on Facebook


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