Friday 4 November 2011


Do you have a MasterCard? If so you're in luck. You can book priority tickets for the BRIT Awards 2012. Not bad eh? It all comes from MasterCard's long-term partnership with the UK's biggest music event - bar Glastonbury perhaps.

Tipped for big big success at 2012's BRITs is Adele, who (alongside others, like Cee Lo Green and Arcade Fire) absolutely smashed this year's with a live performance of her radio-exploding song, 'Someone Like You', shortly afterwards becoming the aural currency by which many pop-lovers did business.

She claimed
it to be "the most life changing night" of her life. "Everyone stood up," she said. "I've never been given a standing ovation by my peers and the industry." And all the better for it; she gets embarrased singing about missing her ex-boyfriend, the one who inspired her 21 album, so it was a massive achievement for her.

So if you'd like to be part of an audience that is privvy to witness such a life-altering thing as an artist receiving recognition for their talents, artistic and creative, then it's all the better for you if you do indeed have a MasterCard. Until 24th November, you can book those priority tickets and get some prime seats before they go on general sale to the hoi polloi.

This all comes as part of MasterCard's Priceless Cities offering - have a look there to see what you could get. There's all sorts, from visits to the capitals best museums and stately homes to West End musicals. And it's all for you fortunate MasterCard holders.

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Find out more about the BRIT Awards
BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE (MasterCard holders only!)
• Become an official fan of the BRITs on Facebook
• This has been a Sponsored Post

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Tuesday 1 November 2011


Who is Slugabed? I wasn't too sure until about a week ago. But since then I have had the bass sounds from his wonderful song 'Depth Perception' echo in my bones, shaking like brittle china in the wake of the earthquake beats.

This comes from his new EP, Sun Too Bright Turn It Off, which was released 24th October. It's being released on label Ninja Tune, Slugabed - real name Gregory Feldwick (Slugabed is something his mum used to call him) - having moved around from label to label, like Planet Mu and Ramp Recordings, to settle down earlier this year with the label.

And what a song 'Depth Perception' is. It's chilled to the core, exuding a strong heart-kicking beat flows through you, the various underwater modulated synth streaming through like blurs of light. Dancehall rhythm with a warm surrounding all-surmounting window shaking vibe as it drizzles glitch bleeps.

The progression of the beat from start to finish is supremely well done. Two thirds of the way through this song, the melodic high frequency solo, 80s in soul 80s in spirit, is pretty much divine. The whole thing comes on like an intense dream. This guy can really pull some moves. Heavenly producer. He's also from Kingston.

You can download this track. Do it!

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Slugabed on Discogs
Slugabed is on SoundCloud
• He is on Myspace (IF NOT FOR SEO, THEN WHY?)
Facebook/ Slugabed

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Friday 28 October 2011


I haven't yet seen Drive, but if some of the music blasting out of the essences of the by-mouth reviews and praise of that film is anything to go by, it's safe to say that it'd be a good idea to go and see it. And of the music, the sound that seems to be in the air at the moment permeating the brain of anybody/everybody who went to see the film is the distinctly brilliant 'Nightcall' by Kavinsky.

Real name Vincent Belorgey, Kavinsky is one of the children of the Parisian electro house family, having toured with the likes of Daft Punk, Justice and The Rapture, delivering high energy tunes based on that 2005-7 fuzzy electronic aesthetic. And that's not everyone. Aside from being mates with one of my favourite French artists, Mr. Oizo, he's also called upon the talents of fellow electro-honeymooner Lovefoxxx (of CSS) to lend her lovely vocal stylings to the creeping cat of a track that is 'Nightcall'.

And what a creeping cat this track is. If Kavinsky here is trying to evoke a kind of night feeling, of the dark air and rushing blank road orange streetlights, the quiet and cold if it all, then he has done it very very well. The slow house beat whisks you away like an urban dreamtime rowboat into a kind of 80s alternate reality where everything resounds with a kind of computerised nostalgia. The altered machine-like voice offset against Lovefoxxx's vocals is the perfect contrast. All I can say is that I love the tempo and I love the feel. It's the kind of thing that suits night much more than morning, like I said. Like a creeping night cat. And this song, by the way, comes from Kavinsky's 7-song 2010 EP, Nightcall.

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• Listen to more Kavinsky on his SoundCloud
Or Myspace
• And here is Kavinsky on Bandcamp
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Tuesday 25 October 2011


Completely loving this sound at the moment I could just sink in sublime and explore these super melodies like a scuba diver in some coral or the deepest waters man I love it. It's house (House) but not as it has always been. This is No Articifical Colours.

Laden with heaps of groove, the song below 'In The Deep' is but a mere taster of their beat-driven sensibilities. When not being No Artificial Colours, the two people that make it up are known in the real world as Ryan Ellis (23) and Lewis Wright (26). Both relatively young, to an old tree or the earth perhaps, they started making music when they started playing the same nights ("We should stop meeting like this" - that kind of thing), after which they realised their musical tastes were pretty in synch. With a debut EP, Welcome To The Jungle, out at the beginning of this year, they have another one out tomorrow but technically today (25th October) which is called Street Knowledge.

'In The Deep' is actually not on the EP but is a great song nonetheless. Perfect for night time. And it got put up only a few hours ago too.

The groove is created by the simplest of things, things which take a very fine-tuned ear to figure out sometimes - there's just that extra tap on the hi-hat at the end of each bar that is the equivalent of a spring in someone's step. Not that you see someone walking down the road looking particularly happy and say "Wow they sure are grooving today" - not at all, but you must understand what I mean. The sample is unidentifiable which in my mind makes it better.

It's house, it's deep, there are some modulating synths and samples popping up like friendly ghosts, and there is a progression towards a final segment that adds in yet more depth. Perfect for chilling, but perfect for dancing too. Like chicken - perfect for a salad, but also great for a ceylon curry. But please don't think I equate these two things together; it's just an analogy.

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You can catch No Artificial Colours playing FABRIC on 6th November
Listen to much more No Artificial Colours on SoundCloud
• Also you should follow them on Twitter

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Monday 24 October 2011


Always up for something new; here is something new. For me anyway. For you perhaps not. If it is new, all the better. These are the lovely jazztronic glitchive triphopular sounds of Japanese producer, Daisuke Tanabe. Hailing from Chiba with an art degree and a pretty clear vision of the sound he would be crafting, Daisuke Tanabe has been going for a while, living and working in London for a while before settling back in Japan - Tokyo to be exact - to make beautiful beautiful music. He comes from a background working especially in the techno and breakbeat genre, explaining why his forays into the now with music taking elements of jazz, hiphop, folk and electronica have that hard dancey edge. You start with something, you can't get away from it. But in Daisuke's case, it doesn't seem to be a problem whatsoever.

Let's start with the irreverently chilled 'Ghost' (below). It's a handsome shard of a song, containing all the parts of Four Tet glitchdom you've ever loved. This edgy throwing out and pulling back of sounds, as if constantly casting out a line, as in fishing line - the fluidity of the song and the nearly wind-shook electro bells running through give a totally nature-inspired feel to the sound.

Add this with some cute major scale synth sounds and you have yourself a pretty trippy number with a slow nearly-disappeared beat. To beef the song up, he adds some thin cymbals to crash lightly over everything, as the ongoing ringing clacking twisting ghost beat grasshoppers staccato to the end.

See what I mean?

But you get something a little different with the much more offbeat trip-hop tripstyles of the jazz-electro-glitchfunk of 'Cuculus Canorus' (below). It starts with a totally stripped down beat, bitcrushed moderately to give it an 8bit feel in all its swagger-inducing glory. Here, everything gets a bit loungey, though with a killer clean bass foundation to stop you the chill from being just pure lounge and pure sit back. Again, we have a near-trademark cutesy melody in some high-pitched synth blips, and a breakdown featuring open-hi-hat sounds. Nothing wrong with sticking to your guns.

That SUB BASS at the end! Shudderingly ice cold.

So that is Daisuke Tanabe - no doubt you'll hear more from him one day. Hopefully he will be gracing the world with some new stuff very soon. But at the moment, there's so much on his SoundCloud that we're not exactly wanting. I urge you to listen to this man's creations whenever you feel like you need to. At work, walking places, or during an afternoon's worth of chill.

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Please listen to more Daisuke Tanabe on his SoundCloud
• And here is his profile at Discogs
• But you may be more interested in following him on Twitter
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Ever heard of Isa GT? I hadn't. And I feel like I've missed out on a little bit, because this kind of discovery is most certainly the good kind. I'm not about to not bother to feature this London-based Colombian and her new track 'Leyenda', which comes hot-launched like a foil airplane from upcoming EP Leyenda, due for release in November on Isa GT's very-own-brand-new label, Etoro Records.

I am fond of a good beat, and if there are ever any good beats to be had, you find these in the places you'd perhaps least expect them, which I guess is in traditional music. And this is kind of the first thing you notice about 'Leyenda' - its entirely based on this infectious minimal beat which doesn't explode with any ridiculous over-the-topness, and at most feeds you some grooving shakers and a nicely timed sub-bass kick that really gets to you in a good way. Without further description, here is the track:

It's a teleportive number, something hot and sweaty about it, something floorboards and mosquitos and sunshine, something flamboyantly intoxicated. It features chill with just that right amount of near-threatening potential to go somewhere unnecessary and insane - and it stays necessary and sane, and as a result, it's a good one. It's a mix of traditional flavours and electronic modern methods, a complete cocktail of spicy content and execution. Naturally, there'll be a review of the EP in its entirety here soon.

Also, if you're interested, 'Leyenda' is the alternative name of the classical guitar piece, 'Asturias' (or the prelude to Chants d'Espagne). You'll recognise it if you heard it. In fact, here it is played to utter perfection by classical guitar legend, Andrés Segovia.

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• Check out Isa GT's official site
• Her label, Etoro Records
• And Etoro's SoundCloud
• And why not follow her on Twitter?

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Friday 21 October 2011


A quick one. Ritualz (or in the proper lexicon, †‡†) has teamed up with Blissed Out to produce the track 'Midnight'. I've written about Ritualz before - bizarre to some, terrible to others, amazing to a few - and this won't be the last time I do, either.

Typified by its dark ambience, the track pummels you with that 16th note hi-hat a little too much perhaps, but then again it's part of it. The thin snare is washed out and understated. The synth is distorted, pulled apart, and fed back into the air like the constant noise it is. I like Ritualz in general, but I don't know much by Blissed Out (and I now probably will get to know). Hopefully this is the start of a beautiful partnership. It's strange music, but what's the world without it?

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Blissed Out on SoundCloud
Ritualz is on SoundCloud
(He does not use Myspace, but has an account)
Blissed Out on Twitter
Ritualz on Twitter

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Monday 19 September 2011


So, Xbox and Ibiza Rocks have been running some supercool competitions. The first, which unfortunately we have missed out on, gave a brilliant prize. If you love Ibiza Rocks, then this was the perfect prize for you. Three lucky winners changed the very definition of the "typical" summer job by offering them a 6 week career as an Xbox "Man on the Ground" - they spread the Xbox word whilst partying with some of this summer's finest Ibiza residents, Example and Plan B included. You don't have to ask me if there was any Xbox 360 Kinect, action: of course there was. Here's Plan B paying a pretty cool surprise visit to a birthday party - the kind of thing that you'd see in Ibiza:

So what's this second competition? Well, despite already having given those three winners a prize to shout home about, and some peachy summer memories to boot, the second competition is still running and ends on 23rd September. All you have to do is share your best summer memory. Simple. And the lucky winner will receive the prize of a lifetime: see Snoop Dogg in concert at the Echo Arena, Liverpool, and meet the man himself, all accompanied by some amazing accommodation, and food and drink spending money.

This competition involves creating an interactive map which shows fans' ultimate summer memories, via the Xbox Ibiza Memories fanpage. Here's what you lucky beggars would get:

• Travel to and from Liverpool (Up to a total value of £100)
• Overnight hotel accommodation in Liverpool
• Food and Drink allowance (up to £100)
• 2 x standing tickets to the show (10/10/11) (general admission)
• 2 x Individual photos with Snoop Dogg
• 2 x Autographed items

Whilst I'd love to win this, I once met Travis from Gym Class Heroes after a gig at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth. Needless to say I was utterly starstruck, had some terrible pictures taken of me, but enjoyed the experience overall. At least I can say I've met him, eh? But Snoop Dogg, S-Dizzle, that's another kettle of fish entirely. It's something you definitely wouldn't want to drop like it was hot - it's way too cool to not hang on to!

So if you want a little chance of meeting Snoop Dogg, get your best, funniest, grossest or loveliest summer memories recorded down at the Xbox Ibiza Memories fanpage (go here before the 23rd September and let me know if you win. Or if you need someone to go with you...

Sponsored post

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Tuesday 6 September 2011


This is the new song from Queen of Hearts - yes, it's a cover of 'Spanish Sahara' by the unobsequious Foals; and yes, it certainly sounds the part. Have a listen below to the electro-pop goodness:

You can still download this track from SoundCloud - I would (I have).

Though, all goodness aside, there seems to be something not quite there about this number. Whilst it sounds great, the worry for me is how easily this sound could be transferred onto someone more generic. It's self-styled electro-pop, sure, but it sounds nearly too in the direction of formulated pop to be altogether spirit-liftingly life-changingly exciting.

However, that is a little harsh; I just think it could've been done better. Is it because the original is so good? Could well be. I particularly like the last third of the song, where the crescendo begins to build up, with some lovely floating-ghost vocals sweeping over the top like clouds in front of the moon. The whole song should've been like this, then built up to something even more intense. That's it - that's what it's missing. Intensity. And it's also missing more dreaminess - where the soft-harsh sighs fly around is the most perfect part of this song, and it's where more attention should be focused, rather than forcing out some arpeggiated synth as an afterthought.

Nevertheless, I am looking forward to hearing more from Queen of Hearts. She has a new EP coming out soon, The Arrival (3rd October), so with Foals' masterpiece as its centrepiece it will be interesting to see, and more importantly, hear what else is on the spread.

• Like what you hear? There's plenty more on her SoundCloud
• And why not follow Queen of Hearts on Twitter?

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Friday 2 September 2011


Just a short one. This is the sound of The Dø, French/Finnish duo who make some lovely sounds. Here is a song from their upcoming album (they've already had a number 1 album in France), titled Both Ways Open Jaws, set for worldwide release this November. Have a listen...

It's tribal electro dance glam weird chic, and I love it - the drums and the nonchalant, quasi-MIA-style vocals drive 'Slippery Slope' not down a slippery slope, but up a gnarly hill into a heatbox of noise and boogie. I can't wait to hear more from the album.

• Here's The Dø's official site
• Their Facebook page
• And why not follow them on Twitter?

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Thursday 1 September 2011


Here's a real treat. This amazing talent that is Josie Charlwood has just blown my mind. Covering 'Feel Good Inc' by Gorillaz, she really makes it her own, incorporating sounds and effects that are so future contemporary that it makes my eyes pop, as well as singing in a wonderfully sweet voice, playing guitar, and beatboxing to provide a hefty drum track. She's a regular one-girl band.

It's great to see in this video the two shots: one of above, one of the pedals doing all the looping below. Wonderfully, the looping phenomenon seems to have caught a lot of attention - and for a good reason; playing like this requires a great ear for beats and what works together, as well as an improvising mind. This is basically making a track, but instead of being holed up in a dusky bedroom or studio, Josie Charlwood does it all live. Impressive and mesmerising.

• Check out Josie Charlwood on Facebook
• And have a look at her SoundCloud where you can listen to more covers, PLUS some tasty originals
She is also on Bandcamp
And Twitter

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Thursday 25 August 2011


This is the swaggery single from California-based trio, PAPA, prepped just ahead of their latest release, A Good Woman Is Hard To Find, scheduled for release on 4th October.

Fronted by ex-Girls drummer Darren Weiss, PAPA are a force made up of jangling soul and punky attitude - mainly in the sharp, choppy, entirely coastal guitar sounds shown especially in this new single, 'I Am The Lion King'. With vocals that are as smooth as they are casual and confident, and a high-pitched guitar lick that hits all the right places, it's a great number that leaves me waiting for October.

Have a listen below and let me know what you think. It starts off like it might be a nearly generic electro song, but quickly bounds into something far more substantial, a glittering tune that is aiming to send Weiss, along with bandmates Danny Presant and Sean O'Brien, sailing into your brains.

• Listen to more on PAPA's Myspace page
• Check the PAPA official site
Follow them on Twitter

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Sunday 21 August 2011


The first line of the whole of Mathieu Santos' stunning album Massachusetts 2010, in opener 'I Can Hear The Trains Coming', sums up not only how obviously positive he seems to be, but also the general sentiment that invades the album's sound from first to last: "I'm a believer…" It's so simple, so ambiguous, but sung with such perfect carefree gloriously reverbed voice - and since that atmosphere is set, the rest of the achingly sun-worshipping heavily warm and layered song follows. Wow. Then comes the rest of the album.

It's a triumph in a retro Americana sound, mixed with a penchant for afrobeat - found especially in the upbeat 'Massachusetts'; this song starts with a sonic picture of a North American harbour town, with boats clinking and seagulls wheeling about. It's a romantic picture of the northern states that leaves me in a peaceful kind of mood, even after the second half of the song where a long refrain of a very urbane guitar riff, a superbly simple baseline mixed with well timed claps and near-dub horns relentlessly goes on and gets feet moving, heads nodding.

This kind of intelligent indie rock is mixed with a channeling of an older sound, something closer to the Beach Boys, and something we hear quite prominently in '(I Just) Need To Know' - with its kitschy organ melody resting on a bouncy honky-tonk rhythm, it develops into a masterclass in progression, Santos bringing in a sunny guitar towards the end which drips with sand and heat. Similarly, the minimal lo-fi Americana slow-dance march 'I'd Go' permeates the air like worn perfume and after-prom standardisation, told with a end-of-night slow blues bass scale that matches the classic vibe of the song; the soft guitar that creeps in like a hint of love or something is a fantastic touch, too. 'Silly Thoughts' is up there as well, catching your attention with an endless current of claps and a virally catchy vocal melody, all folded in a 6/8 timed song positively bubbling with a jamboree of rhythms, from the reggae swagger of the punctuating synth, to the chorus where the guitar injects an off-kilter mathsy groove to the song.

And it's those delicate touches in a wide sea of minimalism that sets the debut offering from the Ra Ra Riot's bass player aside from instant comparison, Vampire Weekend. Even album closer 'The Bay/Where To Find Her', which distinctly displays more than a smattering of indie-fro stylings, is very different - it's that minimalism, the audacity of repetition, the trust and faith in a single note of a guitar. Mathieu Santos is certainly a believer - in music, that is.

He's only gone and put the whole album on SoundCloud!

So you'll understand when I say that 'Northern Mentality' is like nothing I've heard before. First of all, the stark DIY beat features some of the best hi-hat action I've heard all year, offbeat hits and rolls giving it a cliffhanger of a sound, leaving being driven along with the song. This ain't a toetapper, it's a footstomper, a genuine indie headbanger. The end of the song combines some fantastically mashed-up guitars, and a horns section blare that cradles a near-ridiculous jazz fusion sax solo that squeals in the last part of the song. It almost sounds like a reminder: don't take things too seriously.

And then there's his foray into post-punk - shown in the ballsy punk drums of 'I Said So' combined with its sweeping guitar chords, lo-fi vocals; and at just 1:11 it's the shortest song of the album, totally echoing the quick explosive numbers that defined punk from its outset, but something that now seems a little dated and just left me wanting more, really. You get a bit of this also in 'Wait To Get Up' - whilst starting off sounding like a song by The Police, it ends adopting a post-punk formula, including plenty of palm muted guitar, a few 'Hey!'s in the final quarter, and a distorted mini-guitar solo in the bridge. But that said, the harmonies he lays down here are just mind-blowing. There's something so satisfying, soul-soothing, about hearing multiple voices working at once in perfect fifths or whatever - he's got those harmonies perfected.

Mathieu Santos has basically written one of the best albums I've heard in a while. The songs are consistently good. And when he's not making you dance and filling your ears with golden words, he's giving you beautiful soundscapes. The guitar that makes up 'The Bay' part of 'The Bay/Where To Find Her' gives a good idea of how well he can just compose a song - an adolescent bedroom-dreams symphony. But it's 'Good Return Theme' that really shakes me. It's a decidedly poignant instrumental, acting half-interlude and half-best-song-of-the-album. It sounds like a theme to something, definitely. It builds up throughout the whole song, delayed guitars whirring away as a frenetic snare rimshot beat cackles all around it, followed by reggae-rhythm guitars and a further four-note guitar repetition that eats away at the empty space that Santos has cleverly laid aside for such extensions of his genius. It's a dramatic jaccuzzi-at-night sound, stars, warmth, and endless energetic bubbles. Wonderful.

So if you fancy a touch of minimalism in your life, boundless energy, a modern monument to small-town northern-states America, fresh and simple afrobeat rhythms, heartsqueezing harmonies, gorgeous-basic baselines, well - give this genius new contender a listen.

• Check out the wonderful Mathieu Santos on SoundCloud
• And why not follow the man himself on Twitter?

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Thursday 11 August 2011


I had no idea that this band even existed, the UK-based BEAK>, until a couple of days ago. More to the point, I had no idea that it was formed and is fronted by Geoff Barrow from Portishead. Why? I have no idea - I guess if you don't look you don't find.

So I had a wee listen to their 2009 self-titled debut album and was super impressed at the way everything sounded - raw and energetic, but well-produced and polished at the same time. It's a kind of minimal mix of strong bass mixed with erratic beats that all provide foundations for washed-out vocals, harsh effect-laden whipped-up guitars and other ambient sounds that all provide for a pretty majestic experience, I've gotta say.

It runs through all sorts of genres, from the wonderful pure synthtastic electro of opener 'Backwell' to the psyched-out ambient dub of 'Ears Have Ears'. The psychedelic grunge post-rock spook-fest that is 'Ham Green' comes out of nowhere and fills the air with real crunchy bass some ethereal just-in-earshot yelling and a lovely bit of heavily phased guitar solo madness towards the end. It's that sound that you can't get away from though, that triumphantly energetic atmosphere that seems too good to be true.

But it is true. Geoff Barrow and bandmates Billy Fuller and Matt Williams recorded the album "live in one room with no overdubs or repair, only using edits to create arrangements." So that's how they get that amazing sound, like you're listening to a live take - BECAUSE IT IS ONE. All the songs were also written in Bristol during a 12 day period, meaning that this band just goes up and up in my estimation - there's a lot of talent here. Even the pure noise of 'Barrow Gurney' is cool to listen to, acting as a scuzzy introduction to the chilled and gentle lounge chants of 'The Cornubia'; yes, they sure know how to create a dynamic.

The album ends on strangely dystopian tribal electro vibe, it becoming the final echo you hear before the music fizzles out - its first half cries with beats and bass, the second is bristling with harsh experimental electronic noise, reverb and distortion flying around until the last second.

But the stand-out track, for me, is the understated buzzing fly presence of 'I Know'. Carried through to its end by a galloping skiffly sped-up hip-hop beat, this is the perfect song to put you in a daze and keep you there - it's very easy to lose track of time listening to this song. There are some wonderful Ian Curtis-esque vocals skulking in the background that drop quietly with the bass that provides the beef for this brilliant song.

So, as you can tell, this is definitely worth a listen. And being the nice guy that I am, I've shared the album below, along with the track listing. Enjoy these sultry sounds.

1. Backwell - 06:14
2. Pill - 05:34
3. Ham Green - 06:27
4. I Know - 05:01 (could've been 0:30 - could've been 10:43)
5. Battery Point - 07:10
6. Ears Have Ears - 04:22
7. Iron Acton - 05:00
8. Blagdon Lake - 04:43
9. Barrow Gurney - 02:01
10. The Cornubia - 04:00
11. Dundry Hill - 07:37
12. Flax Bourton - 02:49

• Check BEAK> on Bandcamp
And also on Myspace
• And here's their little Wikipedia page

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Saturday 30 July 2011


I found this Barcelona-based producer thanks to a recent remix (or 'vocal refix' as he calls it) he did of the wonderful Teengirl Fantasy's underheard 2010 anthem 'Cheaters'. It's great - completely chilled with deepened vocals, giving the already-classic song a completely different vibe.

This song below, 'Leave Me (friendly pattern version)' is a solo effort by John Talabot and certainly not his first. It's a masterclass in giving a song time to build up by letting it breathe and lift organically, rather than forcing dynamic with sudden syncopated changes in volume or tempo.

Though repetitive (and what dance music isn't?) this chilled house is extremely easy on the ears, a sampled "Don't leave me..." gradually finding its way through the chords to become the main focus of the song around two thirds of the way through, when Talabot really goes to town, messing with the sample till the close of the track. Nearly perfect, you'll be melting in the sun to this track.

And if you like that, and if you like house music, you'll love his 'Summerized mix'. Released a year ago to his SoundCloud page, it's an hour-long festival of sun-dreched poolside cocktail-soaked chatter-driven party-forged obscure disco house tunes, mixed together with more than a small dose of knowledge in how to create and sustain an atmosphere. I'm listening to it in the garden right now - this mix chills to the max.

So now you'll know exactly what to play when the starts setting at your next Saturday barbecue; summer is definitely, and finally, here.

'Leave Me' is soon being physically introduced to the world via German label Permanent Vacation's latest compilation, beautifully named If This Is House I Want My Money Back Zwei. Due for release on 26th August, and if John Talabot's input is anything to go by, it's going to be a delightful experience. Have a listen to a quick teaser mix of the album - the quick and dirty Megamixx.

• Have a listen to more of John Talbot's music on his Myspace page
Check out his amazing tracks and mixes on SoundCloud
• Check out his or even Like his Facebook page
Permanent Vacation's official site
• And here's their Facebook page

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Discovered whilst nursing a headache in bed, this is the sound of a Swiss guy who according to the blurb on his SoundCloud is an "ex member of a bunch of punk hardcore bands but
too tired to play the guitar" - so he's now a DJ/producer. And he makes music like the track below, 'Lightless'.

This is hardcore electro - not surprising given his background in hardcore punk bands - and it's good, too. The cut-up nature of the synth lends itself to a very French kind of electro (he's Swiss, but...) similar to Justice at its heaviest, and someone like Mr Oizo in his more stable moments. Mess Me manages to capture a rough-housing hard electro sound, chainsaw synths grinding and exploding all the way through - though the drums are a little weak and could do with packing much more a punch behind the wall of bending elastic fuzzed melody. Not a song for a hangover, but I can see its potential - a sweaty Paris nightclub or something.

And if we're lucky, we might just get to hear more of his stuff in a more official way:

• For more electro goodness, listen to Mess Me on SoundCloud
• And check out his Facebook page

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Friday 29 July 2011


It's about time I shared some Teengirl Fantasy (great name right?) songs here. Though these are probably about two years old, I've still been blasting these out every so often because it's simply so good. But who are Teengirl Fantasy? Made up of Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss, it's a little like a musical revolution - so different to anything that I've heard in a while. Predominantly, these songs are a mix of dance, techno, trance and EBM, super chilled and more catchy than a cold circulating through an airplane.

Watch out for this psychedelic video for the glorious 'Cheaters':

Having that trippy visual within the video actually really helps to focus on the song itself - unless you're listening to it in the background, in which case that's a terrible shame! No, I'm only joking. But on this heavy grey morning, what else could you ask for but the blessed vibes and chilled modulatory waves of this anthemic dreampop number cuddled by its pulsing beat?

And great advice too in this brilliant song too - "Cheaters never win, winners never lose, that's why I'm sittin' here crying the blues." Too right.

A wonderful mix of emotion and complete carefree dancefloor-dreaming disregard for anything exterior (or interior) pervades the atmosphere of these two tunes, floating in the air like a tipsy neon cloud of absolute pop-heaven and raining down heart-shaped parcels of ethereal electronica.

With that in mind, I think we can safely say that this slightly melancholy-sprinkled next song, 'Dancing In Slow Motion', is the complete harmonious manifestation of what I just said above.

Featuring soulful heart-wringing vocals from the powerhouse Shannon Fuchess (part of !!!), this song is a triumph in sound. Simply put, this song is perfect - slow in speed but huge nonetheless, its sense of 80s nostalgia by way of the chimes and the pre-drop toms, the voice - everything is great. I hope you have enjoyed listening to this should-be-known musical outfit.

Both songs come from Teengirl Fantasy's 7AM, released mid-late last year.

• Listen to more Teengirl Fantasy on their Myspace
• Have a laugh at their crazy old homepage (no longer updated)
• Check out their Facebook page
• And follow Teengirl Fantasy on Twitter while you're at it

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Tuesday 26 July 2011


Spooky, eerie, strange, controversial, stupid, bad, not up to scratch, brilliant, wonderful, different, wreathed in mystique, fantastic - these are just a few of the words that the 200,000+ minds who have listened to M.I.A.'s new tribute track '27' might have thought of it. What do you think of it?

It is indeed a spooky sound, a thin beat applied like an exotic lotion throughout and speckled with crackles and fizzes that sound so ephemeral that MIA might have made this in some alternate dimension. The lyrics to this song are darkly honest, and pertain mainly to the whole 27 club thing, charting her friendship before a friend killed themselves at the age of 27 (whether this is analogous to an actual real event, I'm unsure). The stand-out line, for me, is the bleakly mundane, "I bought you coffee and a muffin, and you quoted me some Lenin", followed by the stark and pretty horrible closer: "When I left, you befriended a rope, and I saw you both were hanging."

Obviously this is a tribute to Amy Winehouse - whether or not it's actually about her, her death clearly sparked the making of this song. But how did she do it so quickly? Well, it's actually an unfinished demo that the superstar music-maker had made previously, and she said it was a dedication to "all my friends who died at 27", announcing this with a tweet that read: "I recorded this song B4 vickileekx and never put it out. It's a unfinished demo. R.I.P Amy".

Typically, The Daily Mail has reported this with some amount of contention - "However, it has been seen as not only being too soon after the singer's death, but in very bad taste as well." This is due to the subject matter, purportedly being too much about the tough times that people go through with addiction, plus romanticising the whole 27 thing. But what can be seen as harrowing can also be seen as the truth, and what can be seen as romanticising can equally be seen as a folly of youth.

Either way, in all fairness, it's a song and it was done as a tribute. It's controversial, but if people see it as negative, be that on their own thick, closed-minded heads. And it's a decent track too. Shut up.

• Check MIA's one-track SoundCloud - I'm sure there'll be more stuff up soon
• Here's her official site
• Follow MIA on Twitter

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Sunday 24 July 2011


Hold on to your hats this Tuesday 26th July because YACHT are playing Hoxton Bar and Grill at 8PM in association with Eat Your Own Ears. Yes indeed.

Now, YACHT are a strange one. Established since 2002, it all started off as the solo project of Jona Brechtolt - a young musician who since his high school days has been focused only on making music. Later, in 2008, YACHT welcomed in long-time collaborator Claire L. Evans and since then more band-members have joined the fray - most recently including Rob Kieswetter (aka Bobby Birdman), Jeffrey Brodsky and Katy Davidson as mainly touring members of the band.

Now, according to their official site, YACHT seem to be (much like Pictureplane) much more than just music, evolving to encompass some kind of philosophy in carving the way forward for progress in their music. Or so that's what I understand from it.
YACHT will continue to travel, speak, sing, give ontological birth, and seek to know the importance or insignificance of existence. YACHT and the YACHT Trust will strive to build a larger and larger community. The path will be long and strange.
(excerpt from 'What is YACHT?')
But aside from all of this philosophising, YACHT are essentially a two-piece, Brechtolt and Evans hailing from Oregon and Texas respectively, who create upbeat electronic music with a light smattering of grunge in occasional studio drums and guitar riffs. With their musical output being rather too prolific to begin to go through all sorts of different tracks, here are two - the first being 'Summer Song', for which the odd-humoured video is below.

As you can hear it fits pretty snugly in the ranks of indie/electro/dance that nearly personified the general sound of 2007-8. With its completely disco-entrenched beat and bassline, 'Summer Song' reeks of dancefloors and summer evening barbecues - it's soft with a sharp edge, combining noisy high pitch synths with who-cares group vocals to create one achingly non-sedentary piece of music. There might be a little owing in this one to the likes of LCD Soundsystem and The Rapture.

The second track is much newer, coming from Shangri-La released earlier this year; here is 'Dystopia':

Encompassing the same pop sensibilities as 'Summer Song' with its catchy refrain and razor-edged hi-hat disco beat, 'Dystopia' is a carefree announcement of Earth's demise. The sounds in this song are tinged with an upped production value, bound to come with years of practice and notoriety, yet the charm is still there: the happiness, the life within the music, and the overall earworming nature of it all.

So if you liked these two, that's probably a good enough criterion to get yourself down to Hoxton Bar and Grill this Tuesday 26th July, where YACHT will be gracing London with their presence alongside some special guests.

Tickets are £8.50.
Doors open at 8PM.

• Check out YACHT's beautiful-looking but ultimately weird official site
• Have a listen to some tracks on their Myspace (no longer in use, but still...)
• Or have a look at YACHT on SoundCloud
• And follow YACHT on Twitter

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I heard this last night - Jaguar Skills' latest mix for Radio 1Xtra, celebrating their visit to sunny Majorca recently. Here in the UK we've lacked the sun for such a summery-sounding mix of music, but luckily the sun is out today and this has been blasting intermittently inside and outside my house.

The mysterious DJ has been making mixes for Radio 1 and 1Xtra a while now, having a weekly slot on the Trevor Nelson Show with his 10 minute mixes. Though the comprehensive cast of artists and their songs featured in this pool party mix is impressive, it seems a little predictable at times - especially with Will Smith's large share and the crowdpleasing 'Jump' in all its various formats. But overall this is perfect for the atmosphere in sun-baked Majorca - Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. with 'Bang Bang Bang' is a surprise and very welcome appearance, as is the luscious 'Coma Cat' by producer Tensnake and of course Dizzee Rascal's 'Fix Up Look Sharp'.

Look out also for the very oddly placed "Santa baby..." - it works!

Music featured
Matti Roots — Jag Skills to Pay The Bills
Isley Brother — Summer Madness
Roy Ayers — Everybody Loves The Sunshine
DJ Pied Piper — Do You Really Like It
SebastiAn — Embody (DJ Premo Remix)
Wiley — Summertime
Brandy — Talk About Our Love
Cassie — Me & U
The Game — Ain't No Doubt About It feat. Justin Timberlake
R. Kelly — Ignition (Remix)
112 — Only You (Bad Boy Remix)
Jamie Foxx — Extravaganza
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince — Fresh Prince Of Bell Air
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince — Girl's Ain't Nuttin But Trouble
Cheryl Lynn — Got To Be Real
Sister Sledge — He's The Greatest Dancer
Will Smith — Gettin' Jiggy With It
Patrice Rushen — Forget Me Nots
Will Smith — Miami
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince — Summertime
Tina Moore — Never Gonna Let You Go
Tensnake — Coma Cat
Stardust — Music Sounds Better With You
Kings of Tomorrow — Finally
Katy B — Broken Record
DJ NG — Tell Me What It Is feat. Katy B
Nightcrawlers — Push The Feeling On
Fish Go Deep — Cure And The Cause
Nightcrawlers — Push The Feeling On (Adam B Remix)
Innercity — Goodlife
Katy B — Goodlife
Eric Prydz — Pjanoo
Blaze — Precious Love
Mark Ronson — Bang Bang Bang
Daniel Bedingfield — Gotta Get Thru This
De La Soul — It Ain't All Good feat. Chaka Khan
Funky Dee — Are You Gonna Bang
Yellowman — Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt
Damian Marley — Welcome To Jamrock
Buju Banton — Ring The Alarm
Reggie Stepper — Drum Pan Sound
Pinchers — Bandelero
Wayne Smith — Golden Hen
Barrington Levy — Here I Come
Yellowman — Zunguzeng
Mr Vagus — Hands Inna Da Air
Beenie Man — Who Am I?
Shabba Ranks — Ting A Ling A Ling
Shabba Ranks — Wicked In The Bed
Snoop Dogg — Ain't No Fun
Pharoahe Monch — Simon Says
A Tribe Called Quest — Scenario
DMX — Party Up In Here
Dizzee Rascal — Fix Up Look Sharp
KRS-One — Sound Of Police
House of Pain — Jump Around
Kris Kross — Jump
The Pointer Sisters — Jump
Harry Belafonte — Jump In The Middle
Magnetic Man — I Need Air
Rusko — Everyday (Netsky Remix)
Kanye West — Power
Jay Electronica — Exsibit C
Drake — Forever
Sub Focus — Let The Story Begin
Diddy — I'm Coming Home
Roy Davis Jr. — Gabriel
Rihanna — Only Girl
The KMDS — Never Stop Believing
Jaguar Skills — Outro

• Check Jaguar Skills' official site and blog
• Listen to more music on his Myspace page
• Or Jaguar Skills on SoundCloud
• And why not follow him on Twitter?

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Saturday 23 July 2011


Search 'Amy Winehouse' on Google images and instantly you will see the rocky late-night drug-infused path that has lead precariously to this sad day. Out of the 8 million-plus results, there are only a few good pictures - you know, like this one to the right, and other pictures of her looking resplendent as indeed she was. However, she was a troubled soul - though a talented singer unrivalled by many others in her generation, her scuffles with drugs and one bad romance in particular became larger problems in her life.

Often spotted making drunken appearances around London (there are many instances you could list - for example, heckling Bono during his acceptance speech at the Q Music Awards 2006 with a drunken "Shut up! No one gives a fuck!") it all came to a head most recently at a performance - or lack of one - in Belgrade; too drunk, she threw her microphone, stumbled on and off stage mumbling her words. Ultimately this resulted in her cancelling the remainder of the tour.

Sadly, today has seen the death of an amazing singer who had potential to continue creating songs that resonated strongly in everyone's hearts. At age 27, she joins a host of musical talent who died at that age - Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrisson and Janis Joplin being just three. It's a sad fact of life that often with creative talent, or let's say genius, it comes accompanied with a large appetite for yielding easily to psychological problems - often in the form of drink and drugs. That in mind, here is my favourite Amy Winehouse song for your listening pleasure: the wonderfully black-humoured drug-referencing relaxed motown-styled and upbeat 'Addicted'. RIP Amy Winehouse, 1983 - 2011.

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This is the video for Kap Bambino's new single 'Obsess', taken in advance of their latest album Obsess which is chalked for release of October this year. There's a while yet.

Directed by Carl Burgess, this is a little showcase of some actors showing a wide range of emotions - perhaps in reaction to the song or perhaps not - I found out from Creative Review. But direction aside, the song is a loud electro-fest founded on a sweeping modulation of scratchy synth whilst ADHD hollow keyboard arpeggiates above during the chorus. It's a galloping number, something that stands out against a lot of music at the moment that is reverting backwards to 80s, even 60s nostalgia - Kap Bambino stick to their guns and electrify the air, producer Orion Bouvier providing the slightly askew mechanical metallic sound and Caroline Martial yelling with such engaging power that it's impossible not to listen.

Here it is:

Are you still sitting down? I'm not.

• Listen to more Kap Bambino on their Myspace
Check out their official site
• And follow them on Twitter

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Thursday 21 July 2011


This is new video for Chris Ward's superchilled dance/lounge project, Tropics. I touched on these guys whilst I was at Glastonbury (the glory of scheduled posts) and will be posting up some live recordings of their set.

For the moment, let's focus on the video for new song 'Mouves' (released this Monday 18th July) - premiered on The Fader, it was directed by Japanese director Yasuyuki Kubota and features two men running through the streets and forests of Japan, eventually into the sea. Seemingly innocent enough, especially when put to Tropics' wonderful sounds, the enigmatic Kubota insists it's something more:

There you have it. Though these messages must be buried pretty deep within the video itself, it's still a really nice concept - the flowing nature of Chris Ward's Fourtet-like liquid synths and softly galloping drums suits these running men perfectly as they ignore the hustle and bustle of their country, and even the country itself, getting lost in the pure escapism of their travels.

• Listen to Tropics on SoundCloud
Follow Tropics on Twitter
• And find out more about Yasuyuki Kubota

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Wednesday 20 July 2011


Afrikan Boy, who got his first big break featuring on the MIA song 'Hussel', has received another leg-up into the mainstream with his next guest spot on new DJ Shadow song, 'I'm Excited'. Released digitally 31st July, the single comes ahead of the producer's newest album The Less You Know, the Better, set for release on 2nd September.

But far from being handed opportunities by artists bigger and more well known than him, the other side of the story perhaps isn't addressed. Could it be the case that DJ Shadow is just using Afrikan Boy (real name Olushola Ajose) to his advantage? Either way, the star of the track is clear - with his vocal stylings, the Woolwich-based Nigerian lends to the track his distinctive grime dish (themes of immigration resurfacing in lyrics like "I am an alien living in the ghetto"), served with Afrobeat flavours and urban swagger.

'I'm Excited'

Though I'm being unfair to DJ Shadow. He's definitely made an impact with this song. The variety of sounds within just the bare bones of the beat is a jumble of metals, beefed-up bongos, and woodblocks that cascade around Afrikan Boy's flow like sparks around a fire. The song is so strong in fact that it can rely wholly on its insane drum beat alone to get us from 0 to 2:50 without realising it's happened. More Afrobeat than grime, more dancehall than dance, 'I'm Excited' is a mix of styles that feels more dirty DIY than it probably is.

More than anything else, however, DJ Shadow - though pulling punches throughout the song - has managed to not divert attention away from Afrikan Boy whatsoever, it being a perfect collaboration and not just a 'feat' appearance from the 22-year-old rapper. With this in mind, could we ever expect a DJ Shadow-produced Afrikan Boy album? Probably not, but at least we have a little taster, a little answer to the 'what-if'. Who's next then?

DJ Shadow on Myspace
Afrikan Boy on Myspace!
• Here's the Afrikan Boy official site
• And you should probably follow him on Twitter

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Tuesday 19 July 2011


This is the new, eye-wateringly glitchy video from grime D Double E for his new song 'Bluku! Bluku!' featuring the now-veteran Dizzee Rascal, putting the punch back into the lulling genre.

Like dubstep bathed in fuzzy synth under the light of eternal swagger, the song is bursting at the seams with high-octane pulled-punch bars from D Double E, a dark, nearly violent undertone running through with aggressive, late-night, wet-tarmac sentiment - and with the repeated war cry of "Bluku! Bluku!" this song is big, bad, and it means business.

It's been a long time since Dizzee's dazzling debut, Boy In Da Corner, yet we're still reeling from it. Arguably one of the best pieces of raw grime made in the last 10 years, it's still a cornerstone of comparison for his later work, and his feature spot on D Double E's latest, unusual effort is no exception. He spits as if he's fresh from his first effort, and it's wonderful to hear his voice in a more raw environment than his latest releases have offered.

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This is another video directed by MENZ - the same duo who did the magic for Pictureplane last week. Featuring a fruit-fighting martial artist, the new video for kooky art rock fourpiece Ponytail captures the colour, power and technical ability of the band in this latest song 'Honey Touches'.

Coming from their April 2011 album, Do Whatever You Want All The Time, the song mixes experimental math rock guitars, frenetic ska-like drums, and vocals from Molly Siegel that are uniquely free - seemingly unconstrained by conventional rhythm or even style. This comes all together into a melting pot that comes out strangely sounding like shizoid pop - this being the original direction of the band, and the resultant sound: the BBC described their sound as "wonderful, crazy, whipped-up."

Having toured internationally with the likes of Battles and Don Caballero, and been chosen by Matt Groening to perform at 2010's All Tomorrow's Parties, this American fourtet are definitely ones to watch if you're not already watching them. Listening to them, even.

• Have a listen to Ponytail on Myspace
• Check their strange blog
• And follow them on Twitter if you like

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Monday 18 July 2011


Round about two years after their first, and arguably best, song hit the world, The Drums are back and they sound to be on absolutely top form. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the disgustingly catchy new single 'Money'.

Beginning with a deep-voiced vocal that I was finding difficult to place - sounding strangely grown-up - the New Yorkers' new song winds into a rhythmic guitar riff that hooks you in alongside makeshift-sounding drums. There's more than a little owing to The Smiths here, from the complicated fretboard-hopping bassline to the Morrissey-aping vocals (listen out for the little grunt before the first chorus and he's got it spot on).

It's a touching little tale - and a classic one at that; the kind of 'I'd buy you something if I had money but hey it's the thought that counts' attitude. But it's that jaw-achingly addictive chorus you've got to watch out for: "I want to buy you something / But I don't have any money / No I don't have any money." You'll be singing this all day.

It sounds much more English indie than 'Let's Go Surfing', which pertained a little more to surf rock Americana lo-fi than anything else - so is 'Money' telling of what's to come? The new album, Portamento, is out 12th September, so there's a little while to wait yet. Until then, you have this catchy little number and after such a long time, what else could you wish for from The Drums?

• Check The Drums on Myspace
• Also their official site
• And follow The Drums on Twitter

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Mid-June saw a new release from rootsy reggae lord Lutan Fyah, the wonderfully bitesized Pon Mi Head EP. He's been around for a while, active musically from 1999 onwards with 9 albums under his belt. Born in Spanish Town, Jamaica, and a follower of the Rastafarian Bobo Shanti movement, his music embraces the dub side of reggae, and has worked not only on his own music but also on covering songs by the likes Dr. Dre and The Fugees. A bio describes his journey: "After years of toil in the dancehall where he built an underground following, the diminutive vocalist is on the brink of a major breakthrough."

Indeed, there's somewhat of a resurgence in dub reggae at the moment - the obvious reason being the huge popularity of now globally recognised and much loved dubstep genre. That half-time drum and bass rhythm has become the metronome by which a lot of pop music lives and breathes by, utilised by a host of people from Britney Spears to the Sugababes, and done to death in all sorts of remixes (the most notable still being Skream's remix of La Roux's 'In For The Kill').

So you can understand that Lutan Fyah's services are rendered quite useful given the current climate - that breakthrough coming ever closer. He features on Rusko's 2009 Babylon: Volume 2 with energy-laden dubstep reggae ska choon 'Sound Guy Is My Target'. You can listen to that below if you're not au fait with it (amazing little breakdown just after 3:10 btw).

'Sound Guy Is My Target'

As you can hear, Lutan Fyah (real name Anthony Martin) puts his all into the vocals, mixing smooth talk-singing with scratchy impassioned yells. But what does he sound like minus the glossy production afforded and endorsed by Rusko? Like the below. This is Lutan Fyah's new single, 'Pon Mi Head' - referencing the dreadlocks and headscarves (or turbans) worn by Bobo Shanti Rastafarians, a constant theme and refrain throughout the song that adds not only authenticity but heart to its dub flavour.

'Pon Mi Head'

Brimming with classic roots reggae elements, lyrically this song encompasses beliefs of the Rastafari Bobo Shanti, namely wearing long hair in dreadlocks - "yes me grew de locks pon mi head, de wool pon mi head" - and wrapped in a headscarf/turban: "Yes man a real Bobo Shanti be no Taliban, come check my turban" - contemporary comment on perhaps mistaken identity. The groove of the drums locks with the laidback bass rhythm, presided over by the offbeat guitar rhythm, dub horns and delay chord every so often - a reggae set-up if ever there was one.

The descent into sparse synth at the end of the song, combined with Lutan's faraaway vocals, sound somehow alone - as if maybe the subject matter of the song is something that is understandably esoteric and unknown by the rest of the world. Filled with references of who he is, where he comes from, and what he believes in, this feels like quite a personal song and one lit with the 'fyah' of his voice.

The Pon Mi Head EP is then graced with a wordless instrumental version of the single, 'Pon Mi Dub' - lacks Lutan's vocal passion, but the fluid rhythms remain. This comes before the third and final song of the EP - a dubstep remix of the song by Illoom (aka James Loomis). Here it is for your aural entertainment:

It's a minimalistic dubstep rendition, founded on a solid beat complete with slap-in-the-face snare and stompy bass, making use of space instead of filling it all up with typical dubstep wobble - intelligently respecting the quiet between sounds. Cutting up the dub horns, he throws them in with lashings of delay, adding to the mix a low-attack buzz-saw synth that creeps subtly into your ears. It's a simple remix, respecting the original but adding just enough difference to ensure it sounds fresh and personalised by Illoom.

If you like reggae, this EP is something for you, definitely. And, if so, why not raid Lutan Fyah's prolific previous discography?

• Visit Lutan Fyah on Myspace
• This was released by King Dubbist Records (Facebook page)
• Check out Illoom on SoundCloud

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Sunday 17 July 2011


Cults, who released their debut self-titled album like a month ago (featured here if you fancy reading what I thought), have released a new video for standout, commercial-friendly, ear-warming and ear-worming single 'Go Outside'. Directed by Isiah Seret, a few days ago it premiered on Boing Boing. See below.

It features footage from Jonestown - the scene of the Jonestown Massacre; a mass suicide/mass murder at a commune in Guyana set up by pseudo-Christian Communist cult Peoples Temple, led by the enigmatic Reverend Jim Jones. The sentiment of the video accompanies that of the song; with the happiness portrayed by members of the People's Temple and their actual contention with being unable to leave and their ultimate untimely end, set to the music of 'Go Outisde' - a song whose lyrics struggle with each other "I really want to go outside and make it light all day... You really want to stay inside and not care where you lay".

Perhaps a comment on how things seem and what they actually are like? Whether you read into it or not, it's a great song, perfect for summer - if indeed the sun ever comes out again.

• Here's the Cults official site
• Listen to Cults on Myspace
• Or just as well on their SoundCloud
• Check their Bandcamp
• And of course, you can follow Cults on Twitter

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Though with a distinct risk of being a little Pictureplane-heavy today, I present to you my thoughts on his new album, Thee Physical. The interesting thing about beginning to piece together my opinion on this album is that Travis Egedy - the face, body and brains behind the music - has written a "concept manifesto" to accompany the album.

But then again - not everybody is going to have access to this piece of writing before during or after listening to the album, so I could just as well disregard it. But it's just too intriguing. Inclusions like "New forms of techno fetish in a world with no true physical limits. Anti-physics as new cultural paradigm" and "Stone, crystal and jewel. Bone marrow, blood, and earth. Thee vibration of the physicality of the planetary being" give an insight into the mind of the creator of this equally ethereal esoteric musical creation. Is Thee Physical something more than music, or are the music and person that created it separate - something that passes into the hands and minds of the people when it is publicly released? Bit heavy. Sorry. Let's get on with it.

(Below is a stream of the album for your listening pleasure.)

Overall Thee Physical is a tour de force of distorted synth, powerfully assertive beats, well-placed samples and emanating positive frenetic energy. It's this last thing that you notice the most - the amount of care and attention taken to make sure each track makes the most impact; a good example of the energy of Pictureplane's work is in the gloriously, understatedly infectious and beautiful single 'Post Physical' (check out the video here) and penultimate 'Breath Work'. With its totally trancey synth and anonymous syllabically drawn-out sampled vocal, all with a hefty dose of repetition, the track sounds a little like a Faithless number. This one's a box clearly marked 'dancefloor tunes' - everything from the pumping anticipatory drumroll that lifts the last quarter of the song to the dark trance atmosphere gives it this label. Though all songs include an element of dance (mainly the heart-pleasing eardrum-vibrating drumtracks - for example the brutal beat of noisy closer, 'Thee Power Hand'), another that swells with get-up-and-move energy is 'Real is a Feeling'.

Heavily modulated synth starts the song off, becoming its thick bassy backbone. The hip-hop beat invites you to sway as a suspended high-pitched synth reminiscent of Crystal Castles waves in the noise. The punchy drumtrack seems to have given Travis more swagger in his electro virtuosity - arguably at its best here with sawwaves. A lovesong for thinkers, the sentiment is echoed in the entire album, catering to connective theories on existence and conceptual ideas about the nature of reality. Similar conceptual thought is at work on neighbouring 'Trancegender' - two instances of Zola Jesus lending her unmatched vocal talent (and singing to the melody of 'Just Be Good To Me') make this a standout track. This is even before considering the gravelly bass, the subtle emulation of The Cure's 'Close To Me' melody in a hollow synth, and the fidgety futuristic fanfare that comes in at 2:13 and rocks your world for about 30 seconds. Lyrically, the repeated "If you could be my boy, and I could be your girl: genderless, and we could be trans" suggests that Travis is very hot on the idea of oneness, not only on like a spiritual level, but also sexual.

Travis mentions it himself in his manifesto: "Thee obsolete gender. Sex. A fact. A feeling. Thee new sex/sexuality." This sexuality is not only suggested, but explicitly implied by some of his song titles, like the short and sweet 'Negative Slave' dripping with muffled electronica, fast-fingered synth and a genius use of a yelping cut-up sample in the chorus; 'Sex Mechanism' with the anonymous female lyric "satisfy me, don't deny me, baby come on show me" and glitchy chiptune stylings definitely mix a fleshy sound with something utterly mechanic; and the instantly dark repetition of 'Techno Fetish'. But it's not all sex and darkness.

Pictureplane seems to act as a pivot between the endless sea of pop and the desolate mountains of no wave noise outsiderism (a picture plane is actually the imaginary space between a viewer and a piece of art). This is most evident in his use of ear-friendly samples - emphatically placed at the very start of this new album is a sample of Fatboy Slim's 'Renegade Master', "Back once again with the renegade master", helping 'Body Mod' add to its own projective drum and bass dynamism before diving headlong into the clunky arcade game trance of club disco 'Black Nails'; again in 'Touching Transform' there is comfort in the classic 90s piano of dance song 'I Love You Baby' (by The Original). This familiarity might help people to get on board with the ideas of Travis - he writes "Understanding/remembering" in his manifesto, leaving me guessing that his quite upbeat and positive attitude that he wants to share with the whole world, the universality of "The human body/humanity understanding new forms of communication."

And so it is that you're brought crashing back to reality after a trip in the Pictureplane through spaces of energy, atmospheres of electronic distortion, rhythms dipped in molten happiness, ever sharing its warmth. It's great stuff, honestly, and so accessible that it's a little difficult to understand why the whole world over isn't listening to this album.

Thee Physical is released 19th July.

• This is the Pictureplane blog. Follow for first-look exclusive news
• Here's the SoundCloud for more tunes
• Here's the Myspace
• And while you're on the internet, why not follow Pictureplane on Twitter?

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