Saturday, 22 July 2017
The Bordellos - Love, Life & Billy Fury (Recordiau Prin)
DL / CD (Sold Out)
8 / 10
Alternative, three piece from St Helens are on a mission to upset as much of the music industry as possible.
Starcrossed Radio is one clever way to start an album. The gorgeous drumbeat from Be May Baby runs throughout and it soon become apparent that the lyrics are many song titles strung together to unravel a seemingly subtle story. It is only on subsequent listens that the song titles in question also carry the same Hal Blaine percussion – Leader Of The Pack, Just Like Honey, Everything Must Go – it is, in short, genius.
It’s a tough call where to go after such a stunning opening but, as The Bordellos often testify, the only way is onwards as Secret Love strums into being with an delicate guitar and gentle patter as Brian Bordello muses over young love behind a backdrop of Leonard Cohen records and, the scene is now set. The Bordellos aren’t your average band, in many ways they are anti-music with a distinct punk attitude, but a punk attitude that is knitted together with an interest in classic pop and music.
Below the eccentric sound of the Bordellos, the off-key vocals and occasional out of tune guitar are incredibly well-written songs. The charm for instance of Brief Taste is wonderful – a catchy song that refuses to shake free from your conscience and the real meaning of lo-fi D.I.Y. music is plain to see. The appeal of the band is in their down-to-earth honesty and alluring grit, anyone can make an album but not everyone can write a decent song.
Their interest in music of all genres keeps an open-minded approach to their songs and if someone said that The Bordellos were going to record an album of Frank Sinatra covers then it probably wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow. Their output shows no boundaries and it is this that makes them so endearing.
Tracks like Fuckable are textbook punk and are as relevant now as they ever were, and evidence that good music never ages particularly in the case of Loneliness Of The Late Night Shopper which is subtle, gentle and simply perfect.
The Bordellos aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but scratch the surface of their sometimes harsh sound and you will find some of the most straightforwardly fascinating and often repulsive songs you will hear this year. They are a reprieve from the mundane manufactured pop of the moment and may also be the antidote. Not everyone knows it yet but, everyone loves The Bordellos.
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
Sunday, 16 July 2017
Who says that you shouldn’t meet your heroes? Ummagma did and the result is a stunning remix that also acts as the lead single for their forthcoming ‘LCD’ EP.
After Robin Guthrie heard their track ‘Lama’, which originally appeared on the band’s debut album ‘Antigravity’, mutual friends put the band and the Cocteau Twins multi-instrumentalist in touch. The result is this wonderful new version of the song, which sees him not only re-arrange and re-mix the song but also add his own guitar parts into the mix.
Ummagma are a band whose unlikely back story matches and perfectly explains their mercurial music. Shauna McLarnon, a vocalist from the Yukon wilderness and Alexander Kretov, a multi-instrumentalist from small town Ukraine, met in the suburban sprawl of Moscow after pursuing many solo adventures and exploring unusual pathways. Bonding over their shared musical interests and fascinated by each other's divergent musical backgrounds, Ummagma began as an affair with love and sound, their relationship soon developing into both a musical and factual marriage. In 2013, Ummagma won the Alternative Eurovision on Amazing Radio, representing Ukraine among 23 countries.
‘Lama’ exists in an alternate dimension of ambient drifts and sonic textures that wash over you in gentle waves and then recede back into a sonorous, twilight world of fading vapour trails of sound and vocals, seemingly found between reality and possibility. This is a sound that Guthrie and his fellow Cocteau Twins helped to pioneer and evolve throughout the 80’s – a sound that still informs much of his work, though here, his trademark feedback drenched guitar sound is used more to shimmer rather than shatter, to chime rather than slash.
Ummagma ‘LCD’ involves not only one, but two legendary musicians, the other being maverick electronic musician Dean Garcia of Curve and SPC ECO fame. Earlier this year, Ummagma co-released the 'Winter Tale' maxi-single with yet another 4AD dreampop pioneer – A.R.Kane.
“I grew up listening to Cocteau Twins, Curve, and so many bands from the 4AD and Creation labels, and then later introduced them to my husband. He learned of them late, having been born in the USSR. We feel incredibly honoured that Robin Guthrie and Dean Garcia have shaped several of our tracks as they personally envision them,” says Shauna McLarnon.
As a calling card for the four-track EP to follow, ‘Lama’ is a perfect sonic snapshot, capturing the bands core sound, their ambient heart, and the often smoke-like musical sculptures they create. Dream pop, it would seem, is deliciously back on the menu.
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Saturday, 15 July 2017
Friday, 14 July 2017
Jupiter & Okwess – Kin Sonic (Glitterbeat Records)
LP / Cassette / CD / DL
7 July 2017
7.5 / 10
Congo alternative rocker release their new album.
The difficult second album from Jupiter & Okwess sees them move up a gear or three from 2013s Hotel Univers and attracts the attention of Damon Albarn and Warren Ellis (The Bad Seeds) who contribute in an album that is lively and incredibly entertaining.
Jupiter, born Jean-Pierre Bokondji now approaching his fifty-forth birthday was a latecomer to the recording music scene. As a child and teenager he spent his life growing up in East Berlin where his father worked for the Congolese Embassy but at the age of 17 he returned to Kinshasa, his original hometown, in 1979.
Heavily influenced by James Brown, The Jackson 5, The Temptations and Kool And The Gang, Jupiter combines the funk and soul sound with the attributes from Congolese rumba and more Western influences. The resulting sound is one quite unique and worthy of calling his own. In the early 80s, Jupiter joined Famous Black who soon became Bongo Folk and latterly Okwess.
From the opening percussion and deep guitar fuzz of Hello come laughter and a chorus of voices in a moonstomp style track. Its attention grabbing to say the least, it’s a full sound and producer Marc-Antoine Moreau deserves a name check for his efforts. The guitar gnarl is a wonderful sound, it grips the listener and adds a grit and rawness to the sound. There’s an almost Gorillaz hint attempting to break free and whether the appearance of Albarn is responsible for that, or whether Jupiter chose him because he thought he would accompany the sound is open to question. Albarn contributes keys to Musonsu which is one of the more commercially accessible tracks on the album whilst retaining organic roots.
Ofakombolo could be Fela Kute with a James Brown funky riff as it speeds along at tremendous pace with some amazing musicianship and Emikele Ngamo has a near ska feel. There are tracks that have a more authentic feel like Nkoy, an almost ambient piece and, Nzele Momi which once more touches the afro-funk style.
Kin Sonic is a worthy listen blending Congolese heritage with modern day styles (and a bit of 70s funk thrown in for good measure) and will grace any music fans collection within the opening listens.
Loud and quiet, birth and death, start and stop. Then start again.
Black Furr aim to tug the air around you to reach the seconds in which you live, yesterday and tomorrow are both irrelevant in this now.
Consisting of Daniela Trojmar (guitar & vocals) and Elias Elgerud (drums), Black Furr coalesced in 2013, initially under the name of Creature Kingdom. Focused on blending distorted viciousness with organic melodies while avoiding the obvious song routes, they spent 2014 roaming the London circuit. They ended the year by releasing their debut EP entitled ‘Teeth, Lips and Tongue’, which was featured on music blogs Dukla Prague Away Kit, Space Rock Mountain, and the opening track ‘Price’ being featured as track of the day on the influential Little Indie Blogs.
In 2015, the band went on an unavoidable hiatus due to family matters, but went to Poland in the summer, after an invitation to perform at the alternative music festival at Stacja Wolimierz.
In 2016 they returned by shedding their old name for Black Furr, came back to performing, and started writing, recording and producing their follow up EP ‘Waves’. Made to both establish and expand the sound, Black Furr goes into the loud and raw as well as the quiet and hidden to reach for the fleeting present.