NEW MUSIC FRIDAY begins with cuts, videos, files and review from across the universe to you
we touch ground everywhere we can this week.
LUWTEN - Draft [LP/CD](Glassnote)
While there is no shortage of female singers surrounded by synths and serpentine beats, this new Dutch discovery writes some interesting and catchy songs on her debut. Luwten (actually, Tessa Douwstra) writes some biting lyrics that behind a drony, guitar-based indie Rock would be all the talk (the big kiss of “Airport.”) Hidden beneath her soulful St. Vincent-esque atmospheric vocals are several inventive tracks especially the boom-boom-boom-boom of “Sleeveless.”
WILLIAM DOYLE - Great Spans of Muddy Time [LP](Tough Love UK)
Now himself (having retired the moniker East India Youth,) William Doyle builds a tower of beauty out of the desolation of a hard drive failure. “Great Spans of Muddy Time” is raw emotion, tribute, and love unrequited all pulled from the recesses his cassette mixes. Left to his own devices, Doyle has created what might be the decade’s sound of SynthPop. With his angelic voice mixed way up front, his synths, guitar, and drums blend together leaving his many added effects, noises, and solo ideas to stand out but not drown out. The songs themselves are very mantra-like with lots of building tension from the repetition of the same phrase. His instrumental passages are equally transfixing as they spin around and around a central hook. While “Great Spans” may owe its inspiration to early Brian Eno, Berlin-era Bowie, and Robert Wyatt in the early Seventies, the ingenuity is all from Doyle.
LEON VYNEHALL - Rare, Forever [LP/CD](Ninja Tune/Redeye)
QOQEQA - Axuxa [LP](Kebrada PERU)
NAJWA - Viene de Largo [LP](Mushroom Pillow)
Contemporary Electronic may be incorporated into a lot of Pop music (and now R&B) as well. With the more four-on-the-floor and Funk-based ideas moving toward the mainstream, the outside edges are showing signs of mixing experimentalism with a hint of Pop. Britain’s Leon Vynehall is billed as Deep House. “Rare, Forever” allows him to put his most salient textures on the surface of his music (“An Exhale”) and then challenge you to listen deeply to what is bubbling up from below. On the Orbital-like “Mothra,” layers crawl in beneath the skating beat until he pauses it for a huge wash of synths. The effect is mystifying, as is “Rare, Forever.”
QOQEQA is Peruvian musician/DJ Daniel Valle-Riestra. While impossible to play as a word in Scrabble, QOQEQA constructs a similar wash as Leon Vynehall. However, Riestra’s music is all about the rhythm beneath the Eno-esque synth waves. “888” plays it straight with conga accents and Dub-ian organ stabs. “Kshanti” ups the tension, until “Puntea” and “Momposina” bring into Latin and Afro-Latin rhythms that turn “Axuxa” into a rhythmic travelogue.
Najwa is a Spanish singer whose serpentine and seductive songs neatly combine the best parts of Spanish Pop with authentic dance rhythms. Tracks are minimalist, but all that room means Najwa can take any rhythm for a spin - even Trap. In addition, Najwa’s Sade-ian influence gives her a lot of space to fill each song with her energy. Tracks like “Mira Como Van” and the title cut need just seconds to settle into a danceable pattern. Najwa has the personality to take you the rest of the way.
LUKE HAINES - Setting The Dogs On The Post-Punk Postman [LP/CD](Cherry Red UK)
Throughout his time in the Auteurs, Baader Meinhof, and Black Box Recorder, Luke Haines has been synonymous with clever yet artful Rock. After collaborating last year with Peter Buck, Haines is entering a new phase of writing where he sneers like a more political Syd Barrett. “Ex-Stasi Spy” is as infectious as a polemic pamphlet. While “U Boat Baby” even adds insouciance to the mix which is all just on the cusp of rockin’ out. “Setting The Dogs” is setting up Haines for another chapter of brilliant Rock writing.
THE LEGAL MATTERS - Chapter 3 [LP/CD](Futureman)
“Chapter 3” follows the adventure of a trio from the Midwest who boldly carries on the Power Pop tradition of their region and the world with harmonious, crisp hooky songs custom-made for summer days and nights. Kevin Klingensmith, Andy Reid, and Chris Richards reach for that inseparable harmony where the song of one - becomes the song of all (“Light Up The Sky.”) Evenly chorded and expertly written, each song shows the band’s prowess without letting on exactly who is playing or singing what. Powerful Pop for now people.
KHALAB & M’BERRA ENSEMBLE - M’Berra[CD](Real World)
Italians have a fantastic tradition in synth-based dance music. Malians have THE tradition of drone-based African polyrhythmic “voodoo” jams. The Mauritania M’Berra Ensemble turns over their field recording to DJ/explorer DJ Khalab who wisely gives their grooves a modern boost. “Curfew” and “Rest A L’Ombre” benefit from Khalab’s beds. While Khalab’s inclusion of the beat-less tracks (“Skit Guit”) as bridges really draws attention to the quality of M’Berra’s natural music. Further cooperation is provided by INTERSOS, an Italian aid organization bringing aid to the Mauritanians and all over the world.
EVILE - Hell Unleashed [LP/CD](Napalm/The Orchard)
English Thrash-Metallers Evile gives it the gas on their newest album, a thunderous, volcano-hot mountain of riffage. As much as Evile sound like classic Death (that speed metal guitar is just searing this time out,) this band knows exactly how to structure their songs to find that rollercoaster mixture of blinding speed and the slowdown/windup that Thrash has returned to Metal. “The Thing (1982)” may be their best song yet. Fast even when the track is not that way, the blend of pounding drums and percussive picking will speed up your pulse. While “Hell Unleashed” unleashes an awesome solo and “Gore” features a fiery Metallica-esque de-escalation. Thrash is definitely back.
SPIKE IN VAIN - Disease is Relative [LP](Scat/The Orchard)
One can only guess that had SST heard this promising Midwestern band led by Chris Marec in 1984, they would have signed them. Gloriously punk and strangely post-punk danceable in places, "Disease" bangs them out one after another with huge basslines, thundering toms, and vocalists literally fighting to get their words in. The dissonance and damage go a long way toward pulling together the skronky No Wave roots and the Black Flag/Minutemen blistering social commentary.
BLOOD FROM THE SOUL - DSM-5 [LP/CD](Deathwish/The Orchard)
Screamcore side project from Shane Embury of Napalm Death and Lou Koller from Sick of It All that return after 25 years with a solid METAL record as a band. Embury now leads Jacob Bannon of Converge, Dirk Verbeuren of At The Gates, and Jesper Liverod of Nasum through a searing Sci-Fi song cycle. While those dissonant chiming Napalm chords are there, BFTS is an entirely different beast than Napalm or their initial incarnation. Bannon’s shriek to the skies is almost Punk - yet drowned in effects. While Liverod and Verbeuren lock-in time on several songs awesomely (the end of “Debris of Dreams” falls in nicely with Bannon’s ongoing scream of “crawl to light.”) But the star of the show is Embury’s muscular guitar and punk/industrial riffage. As these twelve songs pound and lurch along, a story emerges but the apocalyptic riffage keeps you glued to your seat.
SEIJI MORIMOTO/YAN JUN - Ring + Balance/Solo With Background [LP](Editions Telemark)
Japanese electronic noise artist Morimoto allows you to sit front and center for his sound experiment. Given a handful of electronics, Morimoto's looping on "Ring + Balance" begins as a piercing exercise in thought and quickly loops into something more hypnotic. Yan Jun's piece is constructed around the physical changes he makes in the vicinity of it. While more meditative (like Tuvan throat singing) the breaks and interval announcements make "Solo With Background" one to listen to with your eyes closed as if you were one of the two fortunate audience members to have seen this in person.
ANTHONY MANNING - Islets In Pink Propylene [LP](Mental Groove LTD)
In 1994, artist/synthesist Manning sat down with Roland R-8 and "mapped" out microtonal changes in the synthesizer until patterns came together. Unlike the lengthy process, these five strangely soothing pieces drift by even as the weird half-tones hit your ear in odd ways from time to time. While several pieces drift, the streams of notes together snap it right back into focus. Twenty-seven years later, "Islets" still sounds like satellite transmissions from a distant future.
Temperatures are heating up and the hunt for more new music goes on and on for you. Enjoy the offerings this week. Share what you like. We hope to see you again and again.
On a final note, T-BONES would like you to know that Record Store Day is coming in two drops - June 12th and July 17th. This list of exclusives, reissues, and just awesome products will be invading our time shared here for the next few weeks. However, it is just another guest at the party. There’s no slowing us down. Tell your friends about us.
Enjoy. Share. And check out the entire RSD list and even WISHLIST us if you like. RSD 21 with TBONES
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