Review: Australian singer hailing from the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Julia Jacklin, resurfaces with a third album following Don't Let The Kids Win (2016) and Eastwick / Cold Caller (2017). Opening with arguably the album's most afflicting number, "Body", Jacklin's voice almost inhibits an Edith Piaf-like quality, somewhat shaky but resolute. It's far from a forlorn listen though, and while "Pressure To Party" may lament such things as fun, it adds an upbeat rhythm to the album's more down beat numbers, be they "Don't Know How To Keep Loving You", to the lowly piano and voice solo of "When The Family Flies In". Touching on the hallmarks of a true romantic, Jacklin's music is melancholic as ever, but with her vocals only adding to the warm embrace of the instrumentation, "Crushing" should melt a few hearts yet.
Review: Turkish synth pop pride Jakuzi land a major record deal with the always trustworthy City Slang. Debuting in 2017 with the indie pop Fantezi Muzik LP, the trio, straight out of Istanbul's yet to be mined alternative pop scene, sees the group this time around deliver something that's slightly darker than before. Darker in the sense, that is, that their music now sounds more like Depeche Mode and The Sisters of Mercy, or even These New Puritans, than the sun-catching sounds of their previous release. Gothic tendencies to their instrumentalisation remain throughout the LP, and dark disco plays a part too alongside strands of post-punk guitars that all coalesse into a LP that will no doubt appeal to the shadier realms of pop and synth music lovers.
Review: Everybody give it up for some quality South Korean post-rock. Fun fact: Jambinai's debut album Differance won Best Crossover Album at the 2013 Korean Music Awards. Now that our introduction is out the way, Bella Union proudly present the third album from the experimental five-piece, with this Onda LP following up their Hermitage LP from 2016. Sometimes compared to the likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mogwai, Jambinai's sound nevertheless will always remain recognised for its unique asiatic instrumentation, with the band colliding the sounds of haegeum, piri, geomungo instruments with epic inspirations of rock and metal. The best album Bella Union will release this year!
Review: With a slew of releases for Dirty Hit, it was only a matter of time before Amber Bain's project, The Japanese House, would find its debut album release. Good at Falling presents Bain's vocal talent at its fullest, with vocoder work to rival the best of pop to come out of Istanbul's studios or Kolkata's streets - see "Went To Meet Her". Ethereal and poppy, there's comparisons to be made with the music of Ladyhawke in an album that subtly dabbles in genres likes post-dubstep (see "Wild") to cosmic disco and emotional electronica (see "Everybody Hates Me") across an album that's proud and steadfast in its folky, singer-songwriting form.
Malaria! - "Your Turn To Run (I Will Be Your Only One)"
Ausserhalb - "Zeitzelle"
Die Haut - "Der Karibische Western"
Aus Lauter Liebe - "Pingelig"
Mania D - "Track 4"
ExKurs - "Fakten"
Christiane F - "Wunderbar" (JD Twitch edit)
Sprung Aus Den Wolken - "Dub & Die"
P1/E - "Up And Above/Up & Above Dub"
Franz Erlmeier & Fritz Kostler - "Offnen Sie Mal Ihre Tasche"
Populare Mechanik - "Scharfer Schnitt (No 1)"
Andreas Dorau - "Fred Vom Jupiter"
Weltklang - "Veb Heimat"
Stefan Bloser - "Voyager One"
Matthias Schuster - "An Rah Robeel"
Review: When it comes to compilation making there's probably no two safer names in the art than Strut Records and Optimo's JD Twitch (and maybe the one Trevor Jackson too). This time around though, surprise surprise, Twitch collides a choice selection of oddball rarities and mythical classics from Germany's original post-punk and DIY scene, and in the process gives the behemoth Vinyl-on-demand label a dashing run for its money. There's a staggering amount of music to be discovered here that will send your mind running down one of Berlin's dank strasses or a Dresden ditch, but after hearing tracks like "Your Turn To Run" by Malaria! or Twitch's own edit of Christiane F "Wunderbar" you may be left wondering why you've been listening to Talking Heads and "Eisbear" this whole time.
Review: Following the runaway success of their Mercury Music Prize nominated 2014 debut album, Jungle moved to Los Angeles to record the follow-up. It didn't work out for a variety of musical and personal reasons, so they headed back to London and recorded "For Ever" instead. While some of the lyrics reflect on their musical and personal issues during that time, the resultant songs are as soulful, polished and jaunty as you'd expect. Check, for example, the sun-kissed disco-pop of "Heavy California", the sumptuous lo-fi soul shuffle of "Cherry", the head-nodding grooves and lyrical melancholy of "Happy Man" and the grandiose, bittersweet brilliance of "House In LA".
Review: Half journeyman, half David Lynch bar scene, all twisted crooner-dom, and at least a little tongue in cheek, Mike Patton & Jean Claude Vannier are aiming straight for the alternatives with this 12-strong collection of bizarre ballads and obscure odes that will appeal to rarer tastebuds. There's the spoken word and strummed guitars guiding us through the various parts of "A Schoolgirl's Day". The Sinatra-does-sarcasm of closer "Pink & Bleue", and the way "Hungry Ghost" aurally recalls "Everybody Knows" by Leonard Cohen. Truly unique stuff, despite its debt of gratitude to troubadour totems, counterculture rock and The Rat Pack, it's as rooted in the 21st Century as anything you'll hear today. The production process involved two creators in two different parts of the world, Patton and band in L.A., Vannier with a full orchestra in Vienna. Not that you can tell considering how complete the record feels.
Review: Adrian Younge has done some mighty collaborations in recent years, from work with Venice Dawn and Delfonics to Ghostface Killah and Souls Of Mischief. The skill and scope of this songwriter and producer is broad, and it's no different on this latest project with Venice Dawn's Jack Waterson. You can hear the ghost of Syd Barrett in tracks like "Larceny", while "The Legend Of Shorty George" channels a little early Bowie magic. Elsewhere the influences are more contemporary. With a generous dose of sunshine and psychedelia, this is a rich, rewarding record from artists steeped in the great tradition of heady, adventurous albums to intrigue and satisfy in equal measure.