Review: While he lived a musical life that spanned from boogie to gospel before he passed away in 2016, Nairobi's David Waciuma didn't get to record much. He was known much more for his live performances with bands such as The Monks Experience then, later, Rapture Voices who he recorded these two records in the mid-70s. "Devil Go" is a thumping rhythm and blues call and response piece while "Jesu Kristo" hits with more of a frazzled bluesy funk. Both make you wish he recorded much more.
Review: After years of what has seemingly been live record after live record - (not to mention their debut Broken Boy Soldiers album haunting our Juno offices for nearly a decade) Jack White's inspired troupe are back with a bang - exploding with Help Us Stranger. Think the amplified epicness of The Who. The album twists and turns through telephone amplified blues ("Help Me Stranger"), the dandy piano ballads in "Shine The Light On Me" to the rolling, western, country drums of "Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)". Regardless of the tracks, this album teems with an energy that rock music has not felt for some time and there's no denying the future classic that this will become. Rock on The Raconteurs!
Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief (4:38)
True Love Waits (5:08)
Review: A quarter century old now, yet these art-rock giants and eternal malcontents seem as restless in their muse and motion as ever - still chronicling an increasingly complicated and strenuous age yet doing it with finesse, grace and innovation. The urgent, invigorating strains of single 'Burn the Witch' were no anomaly, and 'A Moon Shaped Pool' shows them shaking off the more insular tendencies of their last opus 'King Of Limbs' to engage and electrify in a way that they haven't truly managed for years - radiant, celestial ambience shares space here with impressive ire and emotional engagement, with these peerless experimentalists delivering a record that transcends both their own work and the vast majority of the musical landscape they survey.
Review: British duo Raime are back with the first album since 2012's brilliant Quarter Turns A Living Line and their signature style of dark ambience and haunting imaginary soundtracks which incorporate jungle, dub and post-punk influences into the mix also. The album is said to be largely influenced by their side project Moin which incorporates rock and metal influences too. According to Blackest Ever Black "the DNA of dub-techno, garage/grime and post-hardcore rock music spliced into sleek and predatory new forms." Highlights include the moody subtractive rock of "Dialling In, Falling Out", the dub and post punk crossover of "Dead Heat" and the brooding mood-lighting of "Cold Cain".
Review: If it's both garage-rock ramalama and infectious songwriting you want, not to mention a record that sounds like it's been beamed in staight from 1966, look no further than the current project of Greg Cartwright, legendary progenitor of The Oblivians and The Compulsive Gamblers amongst others, whose incredible tunesmithery as well as his sheer joie-de-vivre have been responsible for some of the most memorable moments of the last twenty years in garageland. "Reigning Sound" takes a more laidback, organ-assisted and string-abetted tack, blending its rock'n'soul blasts with country-tinged melancholy and Brill building finesse, yet always with Cartwright's impossible-to-resist presence at front and centre. You're unlikely to hear an old-fashioned rock 'n' roll record this year that you're likely to want to spin over and over like this one.
Review: Forty years ago a yet unknown cult band was to release a LP that never came. Interesting enough, Rema-Rema - made up of former members of The Models and Siouxsie & The Banshees - delivered 4AD one of its first releases: Wheel In Roses (1980). All tracks from that EP, in their new wave, post-punk glory, feature on this Fond Reflections LP, a compendium of sorts detailing across 17 tracks the band's raw and unplugged sound. Collected, re-mixed and engineered by band member Gary Asquith and mixing technician Takatsuna Mukai, the result is an archival, patchwork collage of a lost but not forgotten trip down the lanes of UK folklore. Get to grips with "Fond Affections", "Feedback Song" and "Why Ask Why".
Review: One of the many remarkable things about Rock Town Express's 1974 debut album - originally eponymously titled but now renamed after the album's most celebrated track - is that it was the work of just two musicians, who each manned multiple instruments during the recording process. Given that it sounds fiendishly loose and live, as if it was laid down in one take, that's seriously impressive. As an album, it offers a decidedly fuzzy fusion of early Afrobeat, Sly Stone style funk-rock and the mind of heady psychedelic rock that's more associated with bands from San Francisco. In other words, it's the kind of obscure but brilliant Afro-rock fusion that you need in your life.
Review: Romania's Rodion GA is by no means a new name. The founding and only remaining member, Rodion Rosca, has been making music since the Communism-oppressed times of the 70's and 80's, where psychedelic sounds were by no means appreciated! It's only recently that Rosca's forward thinking music has truly seen the light of day, and following a retrospective on Strut, the equally on-point BBE present this 20 track selection of long-lost material! This stuff is seriously out-there, and each track brings something different to the table. From the drum-machine, Eastern vibes of "Acvila Fragment", to the gnarly, guitar-thrashing electronic of "Cosmic Game, and even the post-punk oddities of tracks like "Paradox", there's something in hear for all diggers and wax junkies. Recommended, of course.
Review: Communion artist Lucy Rose has no more words left. That being said, her album, of song and siren, manages an ode at least for the lost and crestfallen. With light jazz and choral motifs providing the LP with its eloquent interludes and moments of passage, mood swings in the album's climax hits notes that sets things off like the clapping thunder between clouds. A songwriter's call, no less, Lucy Rose delivers an album full of resilience and praise that's just that bit west of the bible belt.
Review: It's been just over a decade since Rozi Plain debuted with her laid back, summery and melancholic, singer-songwriting sound. "What A Boost" finds a release through North London label Memphis Industries and this fifth studio LP sees the artist go bass heavy on tracks like album opener "Inner Circle", with the slightest of electronic music production ethics making themselves known throughout the LP. Across the record, programmed kick drums are subtle and vocal loops creative, while syncopated jazz beats, sub-sonic grooves and skittering, brushy snares make for a unique take on solo vocalist, folk-inspired, new age sounds. Far from a record that feels as though it was recorded in a bedroom, Rozi Plain's lo-fi sonic only adds to the calming, melancholic malaise of her soulful style.
I Forget & I Can't Tell (Ballad Of The Lights part 1)
Habit Of You
Your Motion Says
Don't Forget About Me
Love Is Overtaking Me
Planted A Thought
Love Comes Back
Review: A musical polymath like no other, the late Arthur Russell turned his hand to a bewildering variety of different musical styles, from avant-garde torch songs to pounding disco, yet all imbued with his otherworldly songwriting skill and richly emotional voice. This posthumous compilation, however, collects together the more oddly accessible material that he created, in largely acoustic and country styles. The cowboy hat on the sleeve may be strangely appropriate here, but more than this, the blend of plaintive melancholy and freewheeling charm can only leave the listener wondering how Arthur Russell managed to avoid mainstream success in his all-too-brief career. A strange and beguiling transmission from a unique talent.