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: Marking the start of an exciting new collaborative project, Wolf + Lamb proudly share the debut release of The Waves & Us. Formed out of
a creative meeting of minds between Maayan Nidam, Markus Nikolaus and Louis McGuire, theirs is a sound that strengthens the storied
approach of a live band with the experimental thrust of analogue electronics. Pop and rock fundamentals lend an earthly hook to the
tracks, but these are anything but straight-forward songs.
Maayan has already forged a formidable career in electronic music, both under her own name and as part of Mara Trax, scoring releases
on such celebrated labels as Perlon. Markus performs his own solo project Cunt Cunt Chanel, while Louis is part of Ballet School, a band
releasing on noted indie label Bella Union. The whirlwind of creativity that has whipped up around the trio has yielded an album which will
follow this single, made up of one-take recordings that capture the energy and adventure that powers The Waves & Us.
Maayan's electronics provide the atmospheric backdrop to the songs, running modular synthesisers and drum machines through detailed
chains of processing and effects with an emphasis on a warm, charmingly rough finish. Markus' guitar undergoes a similar fuzzy treatment
while his voice calls out introspective, abstract lyrics to set the mind racing. Louis' bass underpins the music with a dubby sensibility,
bringing a necessary balance to the frequency range.
Making the most of their in-the-room recording approach, the singles will feature alternative takes of the songs that will appear on the
album, providing a little insight into the flutters and fluctuations that shape the development of this project. With their eyes fixed on live
performances and an arresting sound already formed, this is a vital time for all three artists and the people that listen to them.
Review: This collaboration between the sepulchral Sinatra and the kings of ceremonial metallic drone-worship, whilst it is transparently not a work for the faint of heart, is nonetheless worth all the excitement its announcement created in avant-garde circles, and more besides, It's more audibly a work from Walker's than Sunn O)))'s, yet with their assistance the rich melodrama and unflinching abstraction has rarely sounded more startling, or alarmingly approachable. What's more, the counterpoint provided by Sunn O))) to his stentorian baritone elevates proceedings to new heights of otherworldly intensity, resulting in no less than a game-changing triumph, and a clear album of the year contender from this odd couple.
Review: This Californian foursome have always been possessed of a rare creative alchemy, their free-flowing style often jam-based yet buoyed by their languid chemistry. 'Heads Up' is a notable step up from their self-titled debut of two years ago, arriving at a plateau of poignant emotion and invigorating songcraft that is as rich in groove and hooks as moods or atmospheres, with ditties like 'New Song' being an example of the former even whilst 'The Stall' summons the Cure-esque spectres of their inception. Always a charismatic outfit, Warpaint have never sounded more confident or powerful, dealing out psychic shockwaves and sepulchral charm with ease.
Review: Nick Waterhouse has been a leading light in the Orange Country and Southern California scene since he was still in school, and appears to have used most of the intervening period in attempting to construct a time machine back to the 1960's, if his third solo work 'Never Twice' is anything to go by. Oft recognised as a producer whose ear for the magic of yore has worked wonders for the Allah-Las, as well as an affiliate of Ty Segall, he clearly has a plethora of strings to his own bow, and the R&B, soul and garage stylings of 'Never Twice' never stray into overly reverential or studied territory. This charismatic revue is a thing of sharp chic and formidable charisma.
Review: Tender, heartfelt, longing and packing sonic elements that can make even the most lovelorn and hopeless start swooning with the thought of what might be still to come for them. Canadian troubadour Patrick Watson's latest is nothing if not dripping in emotion, and that's not just a reference to his soft, thoughtful and thought-provoking voice. In many ways it seems impossible that such a gentile record can bowl the listener over with such force. But once you hit midway-point stunner "Melody Noir", with its subtle brass and "La La" chorus, it becomes clear that it's not only possible, but apparently rather easy for the songwriter in question. None of which is to say this is some wet Wednesday, mind. On his sixth long-form outing, Watson is nothing if not the experienced man who has seen it all.
Sous Le Meme Soleil, Vie Disparu Dans Le Ciel (Loops Variation) (1:02)
Majic Milk (Loops Variation) (4:06)
Ivana Vessel (2:19)
Battle Ropes (2:27)
Review: The seriously cool Jane Weaver returns with a remarkable 10th album! Following her Modern Kosmology LP in 2017 - Loops In The Secret Society - presents a re-imagined journey through that album and 2014's The Silver Globe. The result delivers a smattering of atmospheric fragments and remakes of previous tracks that never made it to her album past and it sees Weaver venture further down the rabbit hole of abstract and ambient electronics; with tracks like "H>A>K (Loops Variation)" (named after Hilma af Klint, a pioneering Swedish abstract painter) and "Battle Ropes" instantly affecting on first listen. There's no denying the original approach that the British singer-songwriter has gone for here - single-handedly embracing techno and folk - in a look and sound that's arrives like a cosmic curveball of electronic pop from tomorrow.
Review: A late bloomer in extremis, Jane Weaver caused a sensation with the ethereal krautrock-tinged pop of 2015's 'The Silver Globe', but on the evidence of 'Modern Kosmology', it was just the first step into an otherworldly realm where taut, indelibly melodious ditties sit amidst exotic, chic arrangements. It's in thrall to the psych lineage that extends from the late-'60s to the present day - even including a guest spot from Can's Malcolm Mooney - but reinvents its paradigms in a manner that brings Broadcast and Stereolab to mind. With her radiant and dulcet tones to the forefront, Modern Kosmology' is a far-out yet tuned-in step into beguiling new dimensions.
Review: Jack White has firmly established himself as many things-rock renaissance man and paragon of analogue recording amongst them, but strangest of all in the evolution of this mercurial figure is the way he's consistently challenged himself, and essentially only made wayward and compromising records as his twisted path has continued. Case in point is Lazaretto; perhaps his most eclectic and eccentric work to date, yet also his most focused, personal and euphoric in tone. A glorious trawl through a plethora of styles and moods and replacing the riff-worship of The White Stripes with enough freakish ideas to fill five albums this is proof positive that Jack White's muse is at its most potent when at its wildest.
Review: Having made their name as modern-day aesthetes with a series of records that meld the cerebral and the physical with style, 'Boy King' appears to be the point in which the Will Beasts allow their id to run rampant in a way befitting their name. Recorded in Dallas with producer John Congleton (St. Vincent) it shows them heading towards a notably more aggressive, electronic and masculine sound, at once influenced by the binary thump of Nine Inch Nails and the sonic brinksmanship of 'Yeezus' era Kanye West. Odder still, this gamble has more than paid off, and 'Boy King' is the sound of the band at their most vibrant and persuasive.
Review: Wire are approaching their fortieth anniversary working as a band, and frankly no band has any right to still sound as kinetic, skilful and fresh with ideas in the wake of four decades of cultural shifts as they do on this snappy 15th album, collected from the same sessions that wrought last year's self-titled effort yet more experimental and expansive in nature As ever, their sound is spiky yet seductive, malevolent yet melodic, with its pop flourishes burnished by glacial abstraction. Colin Gilbert's vocals remain as mysterious yet playful as ever, whether backed up by textured ambience or motorik groove, resulting in a rare gem from a national treasure in rare form.
Review: The name Wolf Alice is derived from a story by Angela Carter, and appropriately enough this savage and infectious debut does have more than a little of the fairytale gone macabre about it. The band's indie-rock sound veers in a myraid other stylistic diversions, taking in delicate folk-pop, kraut-tinged groove and My Bloody Valentine guitar scree whilst Ellie Roswell's charismatic whisper-to-scream presence remains fervent and compelling at the mic. Moreover, these songs not only have claws but know how to use 'em, rendering 'My Love Is Cool' more than a mere zesty reinvention of grunge yore, but somewhat akin to the sound of a major new talent taking their first blood.