Review: A Merle Travis blues standard, as laid down by the one and only BB King in 56. A homage to the coal miner with strong clear lyrics and vibrant horns, the original was one of many breakthrough's BB made in the 50s. It was also futureproofed for Belgium's popcorn sound with a bold brass version that's loaded with so much swing you almost forget its deep deep blues. Records like this are what 45s are made for.
Better Man (Craig Bratley instrumental remix) (4:44)
Review: Here's a question for you: What happens when you take a track by a British power trio heavily influenced by blues and psychedelia, and get a master of wayward, left-of-centre Balearica to remix it? You get the latest 12" missive from Claremont 56, which sees Bella Figura's "Better Man" reworked twice in impressive fashion by Magic Feet boss Craig Bratley. If you are familiar with Bratley's output for s It Balearic, Bird Scarer and Tsuba, you know the man breathes cosmic goodness and his work on Bella Figura's track offers a subtle new version that loses none of Justin Gartry's bluesy poignancy whilst adding a sparsely treated beat and plenty of low lying studio trickery.
Review: The Dark Entries label continue their impressive run of form with another killer reissue LP, this time by The Prefects member Joe Crow. Compulsion was Crow's first solo work from the early '80s and has been a digger's favourite for a long time, its itchy drum machine beats and disjointed guitar riffs being utterly singular at the time of the album's initial release. "Compulsion" itself is a mid-tempo beat jam containing Crow's own dreary vocals and beautiful synthesized keys. "Absent Friends" is slower, full of languish and life at the same time, while on the B-side, "Each To His Own" is the winner thanks to its punky aesthetic surrounded by that early 80's electronic oddity. A masterclass piece of music and an essential collector's item.
Review: Deep into his chamber-lurking follow-up Wu odyssey, Leon Michels stumbled upon shy New York twosome The Shacks and convinced them to record this hazy summer-primed 45". Singer Shannon steals the show with softness and honesty as the band weave a psychedelic bed of sliding guitars and faraway harmonies. Both laced with a woozy 60s edge and beautifully playful lyrics, the whole EP sparkles with soul and talent from both The Shacks and Leon's ever-reliable troupe.
Review: Ah, a real gem of the NYC No Wave era is the focus of Dark Entries attentions here as the stunning Holland Tunnel Dive by ImpLOG is given a more than timely reissue. For the uninitiated out there, ImpLOG were formed by The Contortions band members Don Christensen and Jody Harris under the name ImpLOG, after the former left the iconic No Wave act in 1979, and released just the two records together. The story goes that Christensen's recorded experiments with found sounds, and an array of instruments such as a Univox drum machine and Casio keyboards impressed Lust/Unlust Records founder Charles Ball sufficiently enough to issue two tracks from the submitted demo tape as the Holland Tunnel Dive 12? in 1980. It's remained a highly prized record ever since and this lovingly recreated edition from Dark Entries is a must!
Review: Soul Tribe celebrate the epic legacy of Chess subsidiary Argo with two of the label's many outstanding soul burners. Etta's big swing sauce-pot number takes pride of place with all 55 years of sultry devotion still deeply embedded into the recording. Banks' slightly lesser known pastoral ballad sets up camp on the B. Lilting and lolloping with horseback storytelling, it's the perfect foil both musically and narratively.
Review: Along with the extended retrospective detailing their earlier music escapades that's surfaced this week, U.S. based reissue gods Superior Viaduct have masterfully relicensed Liquid Liquid's final iconic Optimo single, originally out on 99 Records in 1983 and still a heavily coveted four tracker from all corners of the digging spectrum. "Optimo" - an utterly break-ridden, funked-out monster - "Scraper" and "Out" are all full bodied and sublime on the low frequencies, but it's "Cavern" that gets all the attention on here, bass-heavy roller filled with wavy vocals, a heavy percussion swing and a penchant for being mastered by the kings of hip hop and house. Totally essential 12" in our books.
Review: Destination mid 70s Nairobi where Madagascan guitarist Jimmy Mawi was laying down some serious vibes... Signed to EMI's Pathe imprint, he released three singles during his career which have all since faded to obscurity. Until now. Dusty, garagey and steaming with raw blues fusion, it's hard to deny any parallels to Hendrix as Mawi expresses himself with a rough heartfelt frenzy. Highlights include the Zep-level smoked out soul of "Blue Star Blues" and the insistent drive and reverbed out faraway vocals on "Black Dialogue". Another exemplary Afro-funk find from Soundway.
Review: The latest dusted down archival dig from Emotional Rescue is by Politrio, a short-lived new wave / post punk band from Italy who released one album in the mid 80s. The focus of this release is their cover of Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer," which originally appeared on the Amnesty International P.E.A.C.E Benefit Compilation in 1987. It's a wild take full of rampant guitar wailing and limber slap bass that teeters towards the 80s funk rock of Faith No More et al, and that's no bad thing at all. On the B side of this 7" Double Wave gets busy in the edit, offering up a stripped back version for the spinners.
Review: We love Talking Drums. At the core, they are simply our type of band. An album, a few EPs, and then disappear before the scene kicks off and becomes commercialized. Boxes all well and truly ticked. The early 80s were a period of change what with punk music evolving into post-punk, and while the nu-romantic fashion that came to prominence in the mid 80s was a national movement, it was bands like Talking Drums which initiated it. Thanks to the ever-reliable Dark Entries, we now get to enjoy their best single, Courage, in all its glory - and it sounds like it's been pressed up properly, too! All you need to know at this point, if you haven't come across this already, is that it's one of the best disco-not-disco singles you'll ever cop...and we don't have a favourite tune...they're all equally raw, drum-heavy, house-envisioning, and utterly addictive. Hotly tipped!
Review: Claremont 56 continue to disregard the genre boundaries - preferring instead to give good music the attention it deserves - as their latest looker of a twelve inch presents us the sounds of Torn Sail. Fronted by Smith & Mudd vocalist Huw Costin, Torn Sail go all 60s West Coast rock on us with the gloriously rich sounds of "Birds". From its acoustic beginnings the track gradually unfurls into a delightful groove embellished by soothing vocal harmonies. It's almost a thankless task enlisting anyone to try and remix what sounds like a perfect song, but Claremont 56 obviously chose right in requesting the services of Tiago. In the Portuguese producer's hands "Birds" is transformed into a heavily psychedelic freakout which gently develops into a kraut rock behemoth filled with swathes of heavy organ vibes. Containing several shifts in momentum - including a glorious half speed finish - this is a truly stunning remix which left our jaws occupying the floor!
Hjalmar Larusson & Jonbjorn Gislason - "Jomsvikingarimur - Yta Eigi Feldi Ror." (1:15)
Julianna Barwick - "Forever" (5:30)
Koreless - "Last Remnants" (4:22)
Odesza - "How Did I Get Here" (instrumental) (2:00)
Anois - "A Noise" (4:10)
Samaris - "Gooa Tungl" (4:08)
Olafur Arnalds - "RGB" (4:36)
Rival Consoles - "Pre" (5:14)
Jai Paul - "Jasmine" (demo) (4:11)
Four Tet - "Lion" (Jamie Xx remix) (6:52)
James Blake - "Our Love Comes Back" (3:39)
Spooky Black - "Pull" (4:13)
Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld - "And Still They Move" (2:55)
Olafur Arnalds - "Say My Name" (feat Arnor Dan) (5:38)
Kiasmos - "Orgoned" (5:57)
Olafur Arnalds - "Kinesthesia" (1:44)
Hjaltalin - "Ethereal" (6:32)
David Tennant - "Undone" (3:51)
Review: Icelandic classical, experimental and soundtrack composer Olafur Arnalds steps away from the loops and Broadchurch OSTs to conjure yet another sublime LNT saga. Carefully balancing between contemporary odysseys ("Jomsvikingarimur"), dense futuristic electronic weaves ("Last Remnants"), fuzzy 22nd century pop ("A Noise") sludgy cosmic funk ("Jasmine") and introspective soul ("Our Love Comes Back"), Olafur blows wave after woozy wave of soft sonic conjurations in a way that's broad, detailed and cleverly considered. Good night.
Review: Don't believe everything you read - the fifth Bat For Lashes album confirms this girl (or woman) found herself musically and thematically some time ago, freeing up creative energy to explore new approaches to deliver her often mournful, always heartfelt songs inspired by personal crises and private longings. On this outing there's more than a hint of 1980s pop evident in the mix. Shades of Prince ("Feel For You"), Madonna ("So Good"), Bowie's Berlin days and electro-era Gary Numan (the stunning, infectious instrumental "Vampires") cast the record in a nostalgia that suits the sense of yearning that always seems to pervade Natasha Khan's work. Simply name-checking reference points is lazy and unfair, though. This is an incredible collection of tracks moulded in the artist's own image - bold, beautiful and instantly captivating. Then again, it would be surprising if anyone had expected anything less.
Review: Icelandic music producer Bjork, who requires absolutely no introduction given her massive contribution to electronic pop music over the last twenty years, finally returns with her new album Vulnicura on One Little Indian Records. Although the LP represents her breakup with Matthew Barney, there are vivid rays of light nested among the more dreary-eyed vocals and melodies. As per usual with her work, there is a distinctive personal touch to her songs. This is most vividly characterised by the droning style of her singing, a sort of juxtaposition when combined to the music below it. Expect an intricate blend of sci-fi electronics, break-ridden power beats and of course, plenty of hard ambience. Bjork's ninth studio album is another winner. This deluxe edition comes with a download code!
Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra, Op 34 (17:12)
Review: This recording of the Philadelphia Orchestra performing Sergei Prokofiev's 1936 story and orchestral score Peter and the Wolf was recorded in 1977 and was originally released in 1978. The role of the narrator on the recording was initially offered to both Peter Ustinov and Alec Guinness who both turned it down, before David Bowie agreed to take on the role, supposedly as a Christmas present to his son. On the B-side is another equally as charming piece of recent classical history, Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra as narrated by Hugh Downs.
Review: 1981's An Eye For An Eye is, to this day, the only LP produced by Byrne & Barnes together, and it's as playful and fresh as the first day it came out. While it's a little more on the synth side of things, it reminds us of other blue-eyed soul artists such as Ned Doheny, and throughout its eleven tunes, there's plenty of romance, mystique and soul-ridden funk. Think of it as the prototypical bridge between a 70's jazz-funk LP and the beginning of pop music as we know it today. Blue-eyed soul at its finest!
Review: Originally released in 1979, Francesco Cabiati's Mirage is a classic slice of holy grail electronic prog that has been searched for and fawned over for years by avid collectors. Now Galaxy have scored the record as their opening gambit, which should satisfy more than a few second hand vigilantes out there. It's a bombastic offering rich in Moog lines and dramatic themes, much like all the great instrumental synth offerings of the era. From the faithful treatment of the cover and labels to the quality of the remastering, it's everything a classic reissue of a hidden gem should be.
Review: Some four years after Swims brought the work of Dan Snaith to the attention of a whole new audience, the London-based Canadian artist returns with a sixth Caribou album entitled Our Love. Staunch followers of Caribou will know that Snaith tends to adopt different sonic approaches with every long player (compare the psychedelia of Up In Flames with the more spaced out Andorra) but this latest album feels like a natural development of the club influenced sounds of Swims. City Slang call it Snaith's most soulful set yet, and that's certainly helped by the presence of compatriot Jessy Lanza, and like all Caribou albums there is something new that appeals with every listen.
Blood & Rockets: Movement I, Saga Of Jack Parsons/Movement II, Too The Moon (6:28)
South Of Reality (3:28)
Easily Charmed By Fools (5:09)
Amethyst Realm (7:49)
Toady Man's Houe (3:13)
Cricket Chronicles Revisited: Part I, Ask Your Doctor/Part II, Psyde Effects (6:25)
Like Fleas (3:25)
Review: Les Claypool and Sean Lennon as you may suspect are The Claypool Lennon Delirium; the former being slap bass aficionado of the band Primus, and the latter of course the son of Beatle, John Lennon (& Yoko Ono). It presents the pair's second LP after a handful of EPs for ATO Records (Think Alabama Shakes, Ben Kweller, and Kaiser Chiefs) and it's a '70s futuristic embrace of psychedelic rock and funk cosmosis. Across nine virtually instrumental tracks - if there are vocals they're sung in a freakish "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" tone which sounds best on "South Of Reality". It's very much an album of hallucinogen, experimental, preamped and acoustic skill, with Pink Floyd and BBC Radiophonic Workshop semantics abound! A good one for that next trip, space bugs, grand canyons, interzone, and all.
Review: Previously spotted changing hands for over L300, the mysterious Argentinian band's one and only album from 1973 gets a long-awaited reissue and the moment you put the needle on it, you can hear why it's been in such demand. A frenetic, fiery instrumental saga that brings Latin, Afrobeat and funk together in one thick, spicy brew that ranges from poignant introversion ("Evenescente") to pure duelling guitar theatre ("Colision") Not dissimilar to acts such Azymuth, this really is a remarkable piece of work. Significant props to Pharaway Sounds for the excavation.
Review: Back in 2011, Nicolas Jaar joined forces with fellow Clown & Sunset contributor Dave Harrington for the Darkside EP, an impressive trio of untitled tracks that pitted the formers scratchy, near-paranoid production style against the latter's penchant for lo-fi indie-rock inspired fuzziness. Here, the duo dusts down the Darkside alias once more for a first collaborative album. Predictably, it's an impressive set, offering a collection of downtempo tracks that shuffle between crackly, out-there atmospherics ("Sitra", reminiscent of much of Jaar's Space is Only Noise album), echo-laden alt-rock experimentalism ("Heart") and heart-aching fragility (the James Blake-ish "Greek Light").
Review: Jean Pierre Decerf's records have been sampled by top talent in the game (Wu-Tang Clan's RZA) and have also been massively inspirational to the likes of indie talent such as Air. However, the Parisian has always been something of a recluse and it's only now that his best moments have been collected into a definitive compilation by Born Bad Records. As both the cover and title suggest, this stuff is pure psychedelia from start to finish and tracks like "Like Flight" are simply stunning, where freaky guitar riffs meet with twisted synth patterns, funky percussion swings and seductive vocals. Not to exaggerate or anything but this LP might well be the best thing that's landed here at Juno HQ this week and you'd be silly not to pick it up. Essential electronic and discofied innovations.
Review: The preaching sirens of Deerhunter return, long has everyone been waiting, since the band's Fading Frontier LP of 2015. The group have moved on from the pinky-pop nostalgia they've described as their last album, and moved into and towards a darker and more intensifying feel. The Atlanta group's eighth full-length in total finds itself tripping out on klaviers and chant-like numbers as heard in "Element" and the rickety jingle of album opener "Death In Midsummer". While there's some crooked-eye positivity to be found in the James Dean referencing "Plains", the masterwork of the band's ambient and cinematic scope remains as strong as ever, and alongside Bradford Cox's undeniable haunt, vocal contributions and extra (subtle) hints of subversive nihilism come from Cate Le Bon and White Fence's Tim Presley.
Review: 32 years on from the release of their debut album Speak and Spell, Basildon's finest drop their 14th full length. While there are echoes of their eyeliner-wearing, synth-bothering futurist past (see the glitchy "My Little Universe" and early New Order-ish "Broken", where Dave Gahan sings about 'dreaming of the future'), for the most part Delta Machine finds them in grinchy synth-rock mode, presumably shaking their fists at passing youngsters like a gang of grumpy old men. Thankfully, they're still capable of great things - "Soothe My Soul" has echoes of "Personal Jesus" - and there's enough to suggest there's some life in the old dogs yet.
Review: Although the UK's Be With Records are indeed masters of reissues, we didn't really expect them to be releasing Ned Doheny material. Don't get us wrong, he is the master of blue-eyed soul in our world, and it is a surprising yet much appreciated release! This self-titled LP is the master's debut, a 1973 cross-over that has always had the diggers' panties in a twist thanks to its funky sensibility and rock-infused backbone. There's hit after hit on here, starting with the Southern-style riffs of "Fineline", and swiftly moving onto more soulful territories with the likes of "On & On" or "Lashambeaux". While his Numero reissues have been clearly disco-tinged, this album is more contemplative, more rooted in country rock and it makes one hell of a roadside companion. Recommended.
Review: The third and final archival release issued to celebrate Dark Entries reaching the 5 year anniversary mark finds the San Francisco-based label focus on the superbly named Executive Slacks. Spawned in early '80s Philadelphia, Executive Slacks were made up of Matt Marello, John Young and Albert Ganss, a trio of art students inspired to commit their angst ridden electronics to tape after infiltrating the local scene's circuit of clubs and galleries. In 1983 a self-titled EP was issued by local independent Red Records featuring four tracks of jagged body music that took inspiration from the Cabs and Tuxedo Moon as well as Dadaism and Disco. Fully remastered and presented in original artwork, this new Dark Entries issue is a superb introduction to a band whose music is a clear influence on the likes of Front 242 and Ministry.
Review: The Canadian post-rock instrumentalists return with a demand for revolution, soundtracked by just shy of 45 minutes of orchestral aggression. As with all of their work, GY!BE convey their ideas articulately through evocative wordless music. The opener, 'Undoing a Luciferian Towers' sets a tone for the album with a monolithic and militaristic march. Passages of feedback open out into anthemic expanse on the three parts of 'Bosses Hang'. 'Fam/Famine' balances between harmonic assonance and dissonance, ramping up the tension before the final triptych 'Anthem Of The State' takes a more optimistic tone, with the movement away from noise providing some glimmers of light in the abyss. 'Luciferian Towers' is an impeccable and polished record, and possibly Godspeed You! Black Emperor's finest to date.
Review: Ruins is the 10th LP from Portland artist Grouper, an incredible set that's found it's home on the inimitable and always on- point Kranky label...and yes, it's another fine outing from the voco-noise head. Tracks like "Clearing", however, show another side to Grouper's usual rough edge. There's an element of smoothness to those sombre keys and far-out vocals. It's basically an ambient album with an extra layer of soul in its core - check "Made Of Air" for a seriously trippy set of soundscapes.
Review: Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou is an Ethiopian nun known for her unique solo piano playing. For three decades she lived a reclusive life with only rare performances, including one at the Jewish Community Center in Washington, D.C. in 2008. Featured here are recordings sourced from the '60s of her truly captivating performances and are deservedly reissued by the Portland, Oregon based Mississippi/Little Axe Records. Featured here are all original compositions available for the first time on vinyl beyond the original early editions, said to be near impossible to find.
Review: Harriette "Hatchie" Pilbeam has been in the incubator of London label Heavenly for roughly two years now, with the label slowly establishing the artist before this debut with a slick run of 7" singles and promo material. Colliding breathy synth pop with reverb-drench folk, a touch of trip hop and good old-fashioned indie, Keepsake presents the debut opus from an emerging talent that's helping define what Shoegaze can be for 2019. Highlights include the Enya-like "Secret" and the melancholic two step beats of "Stay With Me". With touches of Boards Of Canada to be found in Hatchie's music too, there's a deep musical brain behind these beats and it should not be slept on. Check. It. Out.
Review: Julia Holter herself describes this new album as "the cacophony of the mind in a melting world," and it provides the American singer, songwriter with her first studio album since 2015's Have You In My Wilderness. Aviary is an intrigue to say the least and it's hard not to feel as if a horror-thematic runs throughout its 11 tracks, with moments of temporary insanity and distress intertwining with hair-raising spots a ghostly allure, and it's as if any lightness in the album has had to pass its way through a thicket of darkness first. There's much dissonance to be heard here too but in a pleasantly unsettling way akin to listening to an orchestra tune itself, and with all the deep and meaningful aspects behind Holter's inspirations, it's a hell of a ride.
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: Undoubtedly one of the most unique and profounds records heard in recent memory, this third full-length album from the Montreal-Beirut, audio-visual duo, Jerusalem In My Heart, is an awe-inspired display of voice, electronics, buzuq instrumentation and Maqam shifts. The album collides Arabian musicology with contemporary extremes of experimental electronic production, and the sounds and socio, geo-political discourse it navigates, fathoms depths so deep it's impossible not to feel affected by its sentiment. With the 19 minute-long "Wa Ta'atalat Loughat Al Kalam" defining the release like a street call to pray, the fretted bumps and dancey grunge of "Bein Ithnein" to the guttural oral chants of "Thahab, Mish Roujou', Thahab", places Daqa'iq Tudaiq in a world of its own. Must Listen.
Review: There has been plenty said about debutants L'Epee since their single "Dreams" turned heads back in spring. Combining the talents of Anton Newcombe (The Brian Jonestown Massacre), French artist Emmanuelle Seigner, and polished-to-a-sheen pop outfit The Liminanas, it's one of the most refreshing (and French) things you're likely to hear all year. That's more of a reference to the cinematic feeling that defines the album, owing much to the femme fatale vocal delivery, rather than the language each line is sung in. At once evoking the smoky cool of Serge Gainsbourg and the opiate moods of The Velvet Underground, "Diabolique" feels born in a time when psychedelic experimentation and chart topping music weren't mutually exclusive. At once sophisticated and hedonistic, it's a sexy, sensual and overwhelmingly seductive effort everyone should turn themselves on to.
Review: Lamb's first new material in almost four years and highly limited numbered gatefold on 180 transparent vinyl... This has got it all. Most importantly, it sounds beautiful, too. Picking up where they left us, Lou Rhodes' vocal is still as delicate and soul searching and Andrew Barlow's instrumentation and production is still as broad and contemporary. From the timeless piano/string ballad "As Satellites Go By" to the heavy bass jacker "Seven Sails" via the rim-shot wriggling space jazz of "Nobody Else", Lamb remain as alluring, exciting and relevant than ever. Unwinding material just went next level.
Review: Six years ago, an iconic and emotional concert at Madison Square Gardens marked the end of LCD Soundsystem. The accompanying documentary 'Shut Up and Play The Hits' delved into frontman James Murphy's reasons for the decision, with self-examination, a need for change and a fear of old age playing a part. Fast forward to 2017, and the surprise release of three singles accompanying the announcement of a comeback album triggers anticipation and a sigh of relief from fans everywhere. 'American Dream' meets expectations and at times surpasses them, with the familiar driving disco rhythms, strutting funk basslines and heartfelt morning-after-the-night-before ballads feeling like a well-needed catch up with an old friend. The current musical, social and political climates provide Murphy with platforms for his self-effacing and acerbic witticisms. This strong return to form was needed now perhaps more than ever, but simultaneously feels like they never left in the first place.
Review: Shoegaze and krautrock project from Guadalajara, Mexico, Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, delivers the collaboration's first album since 2016. De Facto presents a fourth studio LP overall which sees them land again on the UK-based Sonic Cathedral Recordings. As you can imagine the album tempts its listener through a lo-fi world of haze and distortion but also sweetness with a touch of grunge. Highlights include end of the world epics like "Accion - Vaciar" to the icy waves of noise in "El Derrumbe", matched furthermore, yet brighter, in the 10-minute closer, "La Maga".
Review: Josh Cheon's retrovert powerhouse Dark Entries reissues Lunapark's 1982 debut album Gefangene Vogel ('Prisoner Birds') originally on Stuttgart imprint Intakt Records. Lunapark were German trio of Burkhard Ballein, Klaus "Schlips" Gebauer and Reinhard "Zoppen" Benisch. Underrated heroes of the Neue Deutsche Welle scene, they allegedly recorded the tracks "using a simple set up of guitar, bass, drums, drum-computer, and Korg MS-10 & MS-20 synthesizers". The monotone German vocals epitomize the Zeitgeist of the Cold War. We particularly enjoyed the cosmic punk funk on the title track, the ode to popular Bayern menswear "Lederhosen" (featuring vocals that sound like Nena and some Giorgio Moroder style arpeggios) and any track dedicated to a legend such as "John Lennon" can't all be bad even in its stylish deadpan delivery.