It's! NEWMUSICFRIDAY taking you on a globetrotting trek around the world!
We're talking the UK, Spain, Poland, France, Denmark, and back through New York City, Los Angeles and more.
BABY IN VAIN - See Through [LP](Escho DEN)
With a mixture of the swishy Rock of Sonic Youth, the warped vision of Royal Trux, and Nineties shoegaze firmly in mind, Denmark's Baby In Vain have concocted an album of darkly lit yet slightly anthemic Alt.Rock. "Before You" and the P.J. Harvey-esque "Million" demonstrate their ability to control mood and toss out hooks. As just a slim trio, Baby In Vain may make a lot of noise (the rumbling "Be My Baby Now") but it never takes away from their music. When they cool down on the beautiful organ-led "You Don't Have To Pretend," they even ease into more melodic/downbeat music that any Indie Rocker would use as a showcase. On their second album, Baby In Vain makes an album that meets their growing potential.
THE REDS, PINKS, AND PURPLES - You Might Be Happy Someday [LP](Tough Love UK/The Orchard)
San Francisco's Glenn Donaldson creates some shimmering C86/pre-Shoegaze Anglo guitar Pop on this record. "Last Summer In A Rented Room" perfectly encapsulates that effervescent feeling of jangly guitars and downtrodden vocals. Like Belle And Sebastian, Donaldson is a quick storyteller giving you setting, action, and often making you feel like the central character. With its Velvets crispness and R.E.M. jangle, "Forgotten Names" is another standout on an album of true beauties. In addition, Donaldson's lyrics are clever ("Your suicide note was full of lies" on the biting "Sex, Lies & Therapy") and sincere. Billed as "Kitchen Pop," Donaldson's drum machines sound like a natural fit, and his effects work wraps "You Might Be Happy Someday" in a dreamy Dream Pop haze.
CANDY OPERA - The Patron Saint of Heartache [LP/CD](A Turntable Friend GER)
Liverpool-bred C86 Indie Rock comes back with a very Prefab Sprout sound. "These Days Are Ours" is a stunner especially given how understated several of the chord changes are beneath its true anthemic reach. Elsewhere, "The Patron Saint" is a rundown of Eighties influences (heavy on Haircut 100 and Aztec Camera) with a Nineties sheen. If this were 1986, College Radio would go nuts for driving tracks like "Start All Over Again" and you might even stay up late enough to see them on 120 Minutes. However, Candy Opera is no nostalgia act. Your hope is that “Patron Saint” echoes their live thrust with earnest songs ("Through Your Eyes" could be their modus operandi) about how they are always trying to connect with that one audience member who needs Candy Opera’s music to articulate their feelings.
STIMULATOR JONES - La Mano [LP](Mutual Intentions NOR)
Samuel Taylor Lunsford moves his music in several very cool circles. Unlike his earlier efforts, "La Mano" proves that his best tracks are often like the middle of a Venn diagram. "Shaman's Dose" conjoins Seventies soul with some serious Funk. "La Mano" comes out swinging like Fifties Jazz, while "Cupcakes" fast-forwards it to the Seventies. Even when Lunsford is (likely) being a little arch on "Late Night With Terry Phillmore," he cooks up a true Funk/Jazz burner. "La Mano" may seem like the kitchen sink approach (Jones even covers Aaron Hall's "Don't Be Afraid,") he does no wrong. Blues. Jazz, R&B, Funk. Soul. (all decades, the Sixties-esque "Tripp Cisco" is tight) even DUB! ("Prince Sammy") are all here punched out with some flashy Hip-Hop beats and flavor. Stimulator Jones to the rescue.
DIABOLOGUM - La Jeunesse est un Art [CD](Ici D'Ailleurs FR)
Art students either create art as music or re-create music as art. The French Nineties trio Diabologum found a highly representative yet completely original method to make their astounding art. "La Jeunesse est un Art" collects 2LPs and 2EPs from the influential band in this mammoth CD retrospective. Hearing the band grow from naivete to skillful writing and recording is fascinating. Along the way, their wildest recording say volumes about the freedom of experimentation on tape. Guitars played out of tune forms the undercurrent for eye-opening songs. Also, their samples (the film sample on "Sticky Hair-Pin" is riveting,) or racing against drum machines make these recordings exemplary of artists just following that creative spark. Then as they combine their voices they build intimate connections where even hints of harmony communicate everything. Coming from the guitar twirl of Sonic Youth and Galaxie 500, Diabologum astounds with their sense of both melody and collage. "La Jeunesse" wants to be Situationist and Dada-esque. And, it may be. However, hearing them bashing through these tracks and finding that sense of release - translates whether you take it as art or music.
CHICALOYOH - L'Inventaire Des Disparitions [LP](Magia Roja ESP)
Chicaloyoh is an Avant-Garde/Experimental music showcase for Alice Dourlen. Fiercely minimal, Dourlen is not afraid to turn the tearing of paper into a piece of music. Her atmospheric work with fountains, koto, and synth can be quite dreamlike. As she sings, trills and reads en Francais of course, it is easy to be struck by the beauty of how Dourlen can place the most disparate pieces side-by-side. "L'amour en fumee" even frightens as the distant horn and close-up low register of the piano actually hit you from different distances. What is most impressive is how Dourlen creates this full palette of emotions from just a handful of instruments and sounds. "Disparitions" feels like Dourlen threw all the standards out of the window and recorded them all shattering below. Fascinating.
STEPH RICHARDS - Supersense [LP/CD](Northern Spy/Redeye)
This Free Jazz record left me with a new edict of consideration for this music that too often alienates listeners. "Supersense" is wild, unkempt, and very chaotic. But. It consistently had me thinking that the musicians were having fun making this joyful (some would call it) noise. First of all, Richards is a beast. Her horn work is mighty yet mercurial. As she tangles with the piano of Jason Moran on the title cut, the pair almost leave the rest of the band behind. Do not worry it is not all furious, squiggly Jazz. The opening track "Underbelly" is an awesome collection of the sounds from instruments that are mostly percussive. How Richards can string them all together is almost beyond recognition. She seems to talk back to drummer Kenny Wollesen (he even shows off his unique sounds on "Matter Is Water") on her trumpet until their Martian funk peaks. Even without the band, Richards finds beauty in just the experience of sound. "Supersense" is a thrilling experiment in discovering new sonic atmospheres.
MORAL MAZES - Gold Beach Fortress/Illinoise By Numbers [7"](Little Rocket UK)
J.Robbins as a producer continues to lead younger bands into achieving a more fully-realized sound. With his new band Moral Mazes, the most fun you have is actually throwing back to the Robbins' sound of old. Moral Mazes have that slightly off-kilter but pummeling Nineties Rock down to a science. Robbins and Darren Zentek form a tight bond as the rhythm section, freeing guitar player Jeff Dean to burst through with a great metallic chime and buzz. Add the vocals of Amusement Parks On Fire's Michael Feerick and you get a pair of highly charged songs (especially "Illinoise") that will have you ready to build that Nineties playlist you have been talking about for too long.
EMAPEA - Reflection [LP](Cold Busted)
MARSKE - Swell [LP](Me Me Me UK)
Finally, we leave you with a pair of new beatmakers. Poland's Emapea has a really great touch for making beats and grooves that could fit any occasion. His 12" "Reflection" plays like part Library Music ("B-Boy Stance")/part Beats record (the "Sunny"-like "Reflection.") The future will hopefully see him spinning underneath some awesome new rapper and creating that incessant beat that floods you during some big commercial.
Our second beatmaker is Man Power (a/k/a Geoff Kirkwood) from Newcastle who creates some jaw-dropping backdrops for promising poet/rhymer Marske. Man Power's ability to give his EDM-style beat that Throbbing Gristle-esque edge mixes wonderfully with the often distorted words of Marske. "Two Prayers" continues to build masterfully, while the magnum opus "Gaps" is mesmerizing especially with Marske's metered reading. However, the real take-home prize is "He Don't" which pulls a certain famous sample and turns it inside out.
We hope you enjoyed that dizzying spin of dizzying spins. Never fear, we will return next week with a whole new slate of music for you.
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