Archive for the ‘Bands’ Category

Omi Palone – Lindsay


Omi Palone are another incredible band out of London recently. This track ‘Lindsay’ has been on heavy rotation for me over the last few months.

I’m waiting impatiently for the fruit of their current recording sessions, you should be too.

Buy their first cassette, see them live

Listen Here

Omi Palone – Lindsay


Drop Out Venus – Tapes



Jawdroppingly good, and the most refreshing sounds I’ve heard in a long long while, straight out of Deptford. See them live.

Download / Listen here

Tapes – Drop Out Venus

The Duke of Uke


The Duke of Uke, needs your support! Come along to one of these two great fundraising events, happening tomorrow and Friday at the Crypt in Spitalfields. There is a great post here from Darren Hayman about the situation facing the Duke of Uke and why you should get involved. I’m particularly excited to be seeing Omi Palone and the Wave Pictures playing at the first event tomorrow.


The Proper Ornaments – Recalling





The Proper Ornaments – Recalling

No Pain in Pop / Forest Swords / Echo Lake


No Pain in Pop have had a formidable start to the year, with January and February seeing the release of two of the best debut EPs I’ve heard in recent months. Forest Swords’ ‘Dagger’ is  a stunning 6-track by Wirrall based producer, Matthew Barnes. The tracks are a consumate and direct vision of Barnes’ musical landscape – one populated by the spectres of Lee Perry, Pierre Schafer and Ennio Morricone.

You can buy the ‘Dagger Paths EP’, in a variety of formats, from the No Pain in Pop shop here.

Echo Lake’s debut EP, ‘Young Silence’, is an entirely different affair. Released on 14th February 2011, their reverb drenched guitar jams create a fragile and distant prospect, one made intimate by some truly haunting vocal melodies. The EP release party, at the Old Blue Last on February 19th, was a wonderful night with the Proper Ornaments providing an incredible support slot.

The video for the title track ‘Young Silence’, produced by Dan Nixon and Dom Jones using Microsoft’s Kinect sensor, is something very special indeed;


Forest Swords – Miarches


Echo Lake – Young Silence

Rites Of Spring


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Rites of Spring – Persistent Vision

Stop Making Sense


Hands down the best live music DVD I have ever seen.

This is the opening.

Buy it now.

Download / Listen Here

Talking Heads – Born Under Punches

I’m New Here


Photo : Mischa Richter

Gil Scott-Heron has returned from the wilderness with a album ‘I’m New Here’. Released on XL Recordings and wonderfully produced by label owner Richard Russell, ‘I’m New Here’ is a fitting addition to the prodigious legacy of the man. The record sees Scott-Heron in new voice, rich with his life experience and looking towards the future.

For those that have not come across Scott-Heron before, here is great Newsnight interview that goes some way to showing just how influential his work has been upon our culture.

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Gil Scott-Heron – Where did the night go

Vindicatrix – Die Alten Bosen Lieder


I’ve been wanting to write about the 2009 Mordant Music debut full length release of ‘Die Alten Bosen Lieder’ from South East London’s Vindicatrix (real name David Aird) for quite a few weeks.

The landscape that Aird layers his heavy and beguiling vocals upon is rich and varied – swelling string cadences rise and fall amongst an intricately arranged patchwork of effected samples, tuba lines, ambient techno and barbarous percussion. At times the unease and suspense in these tracks is practically unbearable and I won’t even try to pretend after two listens through this album that I have grasped anything more than a vague understanding of the narrative of these songs. Interestingly in this case this isn’t something that concerns me as a listener, I’m quite thoroughly bewitched every time I listen. Having pondered about this album for some time before posting, I believe, (and I might be wrong so please correct me), that the title for the album comes from Robert Schumman’s ‘Dichterliebe’ Op.48 in which we find the main character placing all of his grief inside a giant coffin to be sent out and sunk in the sea.

This is a work so alternate from the current stream that it merits the various accolades being bestowed upon it (a glowing review in a recent issue of the Wire for one) and the avid attentions of a much wider audience. ‘Die Alten Bosen Lieder’ (roughly translated as ‘The Bad Old Songs’) is sure to divide opinion, being as it is a startlingly forward thinking and musically dexterous piece of work. You can purchase a digital copy of the album here.

Download / Listen here

Vinidcatrix – Insulinde

Beaty Heart


New Cross based ‘Beaty Heart’ have just posted their first demo – ‘Cola’. It’s a beautiful and rambunctious tapestry that sees soaring vocals, music concrète and electronic manipulation intertwined into one of the most uplifting songs I’ve heard this year. Follow them on myspace here and find yourself in Deptford on March 5th and you’ll be able to see them live at the quite unhealthy Bunker Club, for the inaugural ‘Dead Gentlemen’.

Download / listen here

Beaty Heart – Cola



I’ve completely missed the wave of blog hype surrounding tUnE-YaRdS over recent months, and only stumbled over this video a couple of days ago. Merrill Garbus has quite an astounding and strange talent – it’s great to hear something as original as this doing the rounds. Check her myspace here.

Download / Listen Here

tUnE-YaRdS – Sunlight

Rollin it back like Asda


This Friday at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch, the wholesome Alexander Nut graces Goldsmiths Bass Society’s first Old Blue night – free to get in, Beaty Heart live and plenty of youngun DJs playing the freshest in dubstep, wonky and jungle…

Check out Nut’s Rinse mix down below and watch out for the Beaty Heart live set too, good things that way come…

Download / Listen here

Alexander Nut – Rinse 08 mix

Ska is a serious thing


Just in case y’all didn’t know, ska can kill you.  Serious.  And this isn’t even comparable to some half-baked urban myth lionising a Gabba raver who was so ‘into it’ that he simply dropped dead when the sunlight came up and the incessant pounding stopped.  That was too many drugs.  Ska can kill anyone, regardless of what may or may not be pervading their bloodstream.  Like a musical Dirty Harry, it has no mercy.  Forget swine flu, this is the real pandemic.  And if you don’t believe me, here is the testimony of a man so eager to reveal Jamaica’s deadliest weapon that he risks a manslaughter charge at best;  Skatalites double-bass player Lloyd Brevett ……

Not scared yet?  You should be.  But for those foolhardy types who like to stare danger in the face and insult her mother, here is the newly-reformed Skatalites playing Live at Reggae Sunsplash in 1983.  If I don’t hear anything, I’ll assume Brevett’s hypothesis was right and his double-bass ‘heartbeat’ has ‘taken you out’ too………

Download / Listen here

The Skatalites – Fidel Castro

‘Love We A Go Spread’ – Trojan Sound System


A formidably epic new tune from Trojan Sound System.

‘Love We A Go Spread’ is a special on Rusko’s monster dubstep tune ‘Jahova’, that sees MC Superfour and singer Chuckie Bantom unleash an epic call to action amid the shattered landscape of Rusko’s swooping basslines and sirens. It’s intense and wholesome business and comes highly recommended; nine out of ten cats prefer it.


Download / Listen Here

Trojan Soundsystem – Love We A Go Spread (A Trojan Sound System special on Rusko’s Jahova)



From the moment ‘Isla’ starts, the listener embarks on a journey through an aural landscape of surprising variety and virtuosity. The innate bond, instrumentation and improvisatory skills present between the four members of Portico Quartet create a truly unique sound, lending them fans of all ages, from the niche audiences of London’s underground jazz scene right through to the listeners of BBC Radio 1. It is a rare thing indeed, when a group appears who balance such a wide variety of genres with definitive individual style.

portico_quartet - isla

Artwork by Duncan Bellamy

Glimpses of the inspirations for Portico’s music are fleeting but striking – scenic references to Africa and Arabia abound, entwined within contemporary minimalist rhythms and electronics. These references provide the listener with an idea of what the Quartet have been up to since their 2007 Mercury nominated Babel Vortex release ‘Knee Deep in the North Sea’. The months of touring abroad and at home have influenced and broadened their compositional skills, with innumerable musical refractions woven expertly into their musical tapestry.

Duncan Bellamy’s drums shimmer and push, providing a tangible energy for Jack Wyllie’s storytelling saxophone lines. In ‘The Vistor’, Wyllie’s melodies find an endpoint in a haze of delay; a use of electronics that marks a development in the established sound and one that works superbly. Nick Mulvey’s ubiquitous Hang is given just the right amount of lightness and room in the mix, and is particularly bewitching in the opening figures of the title track, ‘Isla’. Milo Fitzpatrick on Double Bass provides an integral and magnificent definition to the album with the second half of ‘Isla’ showcasing his exceptional arranging skills. The additional instrumentation used (electronics, marimba, cello, viola and violin) is explored in a delicate and subtle way, lending a new found poise to Portico’s wholesome soundscape.

Recorded at Abbey Road and Fish Factory studios in May of this year, John Leckie’s production gives this second album both clarity and atmosphere. The quality of Leckie’s work lends real progression to Portico’s sound, a true sign of his versatility as a producer.

This is an album that you make space for. I’ll admit I’ve been listening to it through and through in the last seven days prior to writing this post. That is not to say that ‘Isla’ isn’t immediately appealing and gratifying – ‘Clipper’ the sixth track on the album, and probably my favourite, has been on pinball style rotation around my temporal lobes since my first listen. The album is constructed in such a way that a thread seems to run all the way through it – an almost filmic aspect, and deserves listening to in full each time.

In short, Portico Quartet’s ‘Isla’ is an accomplished, sincere and beautiful album providing a natural growth from their first, ‘Knee Deep in the North Sea’.

If you hurry, you might still be able to buy tickets for the ‘Isla’ album launch at Camden’s Koko on the 2nd November.

‘Isla’ is the new album from UK based Portico Quartet. It came out two days ago and you can purchase it here.

Download / Listen here

Portico Quartet – (Something’s Going Down On) Zavodovski Island

‘Heart of the Congos’ by The Congos


Have you ever known you would love an album, but never got around to listening to it? Well this was my initial relationship with the classic roots-reggae album ‘Heart of the Congos’ by The Congos. For years I was told about it, read about, and even heard the odd song from it, but I never sat down and listened to it in its entirety. Sometimes there is just too much good music in the world. Eventually a nerdy reggae discussion with my songwriting lecturer at university was the kick I needed to finally get involved. He simply couldn’t believe that such a massive reggae fan had never listened to it, and neither could I.

Heart of the Congos
Track 1 on the album, ‘Fisherman’ is an instantly recognisable roots staple. Despite being rinsed by generic reggae DJ’s for decades, its parable-style narrative and hypnotic bass and drums still set a great tone for the album. Just don’t expect it to sound quite so great on its seven-hundredth play on the soundsystem at pretty much any festival. ‘Fisherman’ draws parallels between the fisherman struggling amid the political and financial chaos of Jamaica in the late 1970s and the disciple-fisherman John & Peter. This reference is slightly confusing when you consider that as dedicated Rastafarians, the Congos would almost certainly have rejected Jesus and his disciples, instead worshipping the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie as their messiah (although a belief in both Messiahs is not impossible, roots artist Vivian ‘Yabby You’ Jackson who also worked with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry was known as ‘Jesus Dread’).

And it is Perry’s magic touch, along with the help of the young engineer Scientist, which really makes this album stand out. Recorded at the legendary Black Ark studios (which he later burnt down in a moment of temporary madness), Perry drenches every track in so much reverb and delay that it feels like you are listening to the album with one ear under water. The drums of ‘Congoman’ somehow sound like rubber, and it is this strange, futuristic production which makes this album so popular with modern day dubstep and drum and bass producers. The use of traditional Rastafarian Nyabinghi drums throughout neatly complements the lyrical content, making listeners feel like they have been invited to a ‘Groundation’, a Rastafarian Spiritual gathering which utilises these drums, chanting, Old Testament readings and of course, ganja.

Lee Perry at the Black Ark

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry outside his Black Ark studios

The line-up of session musicians is jaw-dropping. Ernest Ranglin, who provides lead guitar, is still relatively unknown considering his influence on all areas of Jamaican music, through R & B, Ska, and rocksteady right through to roots. He probably recorded this in between stints at Ronnie Scott’s in London where, amazingly, his jazz talents had secured him a place in the house band. Drummer Sly Dunbar and Bob Marley’s percussionist ‘Scully’ also offer their services, as does Boris Gardiner who, although best known for the 1986 vomit-inducing U.K. No 1. single ‘I Want to Wake Up With You’, offers some stellar bass work on this recording. The swooning falsetto of Cedric Myton and tenor Roy Johnson blend beautifully with the backing vocals of the session singers, the most notable of which is Gregory Isaacs, a man known better for his love songs than Rastafarian anthems. And this is exactly what this album is ram-jam packed-full of. The lyrics are so Old Testament heavy that by the end of it you feel like you’ve endured a Rastafarian sermon in a Rastafarian church (if such a place existed). Or maybe a very liberal Synagogue, as this incessant use of Old Testament scripture reminds us how closely Rastafari and Judaism are related.

The overwhelming spirituality and ‘fire-and-blood’ rhetoric of the album could possibly alienate audiences who are not too familiar with roots-reggae. However for most listeners the power of the music and conviction of the vocal delivery can empress regardless of any religious convictions or lack of. After all, this is much cooler than having the Jonas Brothers preaching at you, and when you see Johnson & Myton’s outlandish grins on the front cover, you can’t take them too seriously (although I would probably look like that if I had written this album). It is however hard to listen to ‘Sodom and Gomorrow’, which opens with the line “Sodom and Gomorrow was destroy by fire, it keep on burning” without being reminded of the huge problems with homophobia in Jamaica, most recently manifested in the international row over the lyrics of dancehall artists like Elephant Man and Buju Banton. My personal favourite, the up-tempo and musically light-hearted ‘Children Crying’, can however be used as an antidote for those who need a break from the intensely ‘dread’ sounds which command the majority of the album.

When Horace Andy sang “some steal for it, some kill for it, some do anything for it, it makes friends, it breaks friends, Judas betrayed Christ for it’ he was really talking about money, but he might as well have been talking about this album. It is a mesmerising and important album, essential for reggae fans who know more than “I like Bob Marley”, but also accessible for non-reggae fans who damn it just like good music. Go out and get it. Just don’t take Mr Andy’s advice too literally when doing so. Despite my criminal intentions I managed to find it on vinyl in a Borehamwood charity shop for £1.

Download / Listen here:

The Congos- ‘Congoman’

The Congos- ‘Children Crying’

Felix’s Machines and Leila


On Saturday I went to go and visit Felix’s machines at the Gasworks in Vauxhall.

Felix creates futuristic automatons from pieces of instruments and other material. They play his own compositions, which are somewhere close to a cross between Yann Tiersen and some of Aphex Twin’s more ambient work. Rumour has it he will be taking his machines on tour with the mighty dance bass playing maestro Squarepusher very soon so it’s worth getting down there before it shuts on January 18th [and as a bonus it is free!].

Here is a rather crudely shot video so you can grasp the concept a little better..

More information can be discovered here..

At the opening night of the exhibition, Leila [signed last year to Warp Records] played a DJ set.. I’ve got to draw attention to just how good her album ‘Blood, Looms and blooms’ really is. You can buy it here.

It also brings a realisation of how strong an influence Iran is having upon popular culture in recent times. Two of my closest friends are half Iranian and I can name at least three more people in my friendship group who have Iranian heritage. Early this morning I finished reading the brilliant graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

Download / listen here

Leila – Little Acorns



A nice accompaniment to the London wintertime.

Phoenix have completed their new album and it will be coming out entitled ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ this spring. There is quite an odd intro sequence on their website

Check out Roman Coppola’s video for ‘Funky Squaredance

‘Too Young’ is from the Lost in Translation soundtrack and was released as a single. ‘Run run run’ is from their album ‘Alphabetical’. Both went out on the brilliant Source Records. The label appears to now be swallowed up into EMI’s Astralwerks from what I can figure out.

Download / listen here

Phoenix – Too Young

Phoenix – Run run run



Some things I’m liking…

Download / listen here

Ween – Zoloft

Roots Manuva – It’s Me Oh Lord

The Mountain Goats – Dance Music

The Mountain Goats – No Children

Bloc Party – Mercury

Bug – Skeng feat. Killa P & Flow Dan



Check his myspace here

Download / Listen here

Breakbot – Iron Zombie


For those of you who love that gabba glitch breakcore mentalism. And for those who are interested in music at a faster bpm that human heart rate. Ever wondered what it feels like to be a mouse or a very small shivering dog?

Bong-ra’s set from Bang Face 2006.

Perfect for Monday afternoon listening

Bong-ra on myspace

Download / listen here

Bong-ra at Bang Face – Live Set 2006 : 85MB

Nick Mulvey

Nick Mulvey from Portico Quartet’s solo acoustic project.
He’s a great singer songwriter.
Jose Gonzalez, Paul Simon and Bob Marley are strong influences.

His myspace

Download / Listen here

Nick Mulvey – Wasi Ngoma Gumboots


Watch out…

Prince and David Byrne combined into an Essex indie rock band…

Myspace here

Download / listen here

Magistrates – Make this work

Lykke Li – Little Bit

Lykke Li’s real name is Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson. Which is a pretty incredible name.

Lykke Li on myspace

Buy her 10″ Little Bit EP here

Download / listen here

Lykke Li – Little Bit

Lykke Li – Everybody but me [demo]

Lykke Li – Dance Dance Dance

Gideon Conn – I want you around


I first came across Gideon Conn playing with some friends of mine in the Chai Wallah / One Taste tent at Glastonbury 2007, there is some real natural warmth and charm in Gideon’s manner and music.

Check out his myspace here

Buy his stuff here

Download / listen here

Gideon Conn – I want you around

Soko – I will never love you more


Soko is a French singer songwriter. Listed as one of her favourite artists is the one and only Daniel Johnston.

She is yet to record an album but I’m sure when she does it will stand out from the crowd.

Check her myspace here

This track grabbed me..

Download/listen here

Soko – I will never love you more

What which brand will snap this up first? a ukulele playing cute french girl playing nice whimsical faux folk songs?

My money is on Apple.

‘I will never love you more than dancing to Phil Spektor
I will never love you more than my Casiotone keyboard.
I will never love you more than Daniel Johnston himself
For me he’s more than God, I will never love you more

And you say, you love me more than everything
And compared to me everything is nothing

Ohh this is sweet, I just wonder what it means

You say you love me more, than all the girls you have had before
Even more than music, even more than yourself
Even more than everything, but it’s just a lie
So I will never love you more, than anything

I will never love you more than singing in the shower
I will never love you more than my Mac computer’