GERMA ADAN - Souvni (Symphonic Distribution)
The beautiful and haunting Souvni is Germa Adan's first new music in a while, featuring Kadialy Kouyate on kora and backing vocals. Souvni further burnishes Germa's burgeoning reputation as one of a few world class performers popping up out of the work of Birmingham's Celebrate Sanctuary group. Germa continues meld all of her Haitian, American and British influence and heritage into a joyous melting pot. Totally great.
BLACKALICIOUS - Freedom (Blackalicious Records)
by Ancient Champion
Blackalicious take the torpid track on this single and for an aging slacker like me it is richly rewarding. If there are rewards for slackers, you get this. Sparse piano, drums looped, brass pushing back. Wish I'd written it. Makes me want to get my bike out and make a video with the camera attached to the handlebars. Blackalicious an inspiration forever.
THE WEDDING PRESENT - Monochrome (Scorpitones)
by Jay Lewis
Of The Wedding Present's more familiar song structures, the one that goes: quiet and forlorn introduction, then remorse filled confessions ('the tragedy is forgetting how to be your lover') building to squally guitar solo - is by far my favourite. Which this is.
JB DUNCKEL - Corporate Sunset (Prototyp)
by Tim London
Never quite sure how I feel about Air. Here, one of the duo take us back to a 1970s documentary TV series that never existed but had its theme tune updated for the 1980s, which is this one. Which is quite subtly and brilliantly pointless.
CHASE & STATUS - Mixed Emotions (EMI)
by Tim London
Once upon a time young people did the Charleston. These days it’s the two-step and a chorus, which reads just as anodyne. And, just like in the once upon a time, drugs are taken. In fact the video is almost an admission that some music makes little sense, carries no meaning, without some chemical help.
TOMBERLIN - Sunstruck (Saddle Creek)
One of Tomberlin's subtle and understated ones. Delightful and charming and that's just the praise reserved for what sounds like a bodhran. From the forthcoming Saddle Creek LP I Don't Know Who Needs To Hear This, to which of course the answer is, everyone who likes a lazy sunny afternoon sans shovel in the garden - or a park would do too - to ponder. Lovely, lively, lovely.
BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE - The Real (A Recordings)
by Tim London
It’s Beck’s Bolero! the forgotten, classic instrumental B side of Hi Ho Silver Lining, with drums by Kieth Moon… no it’s not, it’s the latest by hip psych Showadywaddy the BJM. To be fair, the Bolero similarities end soon enough and we are left with a strummy 13th Floor Elevators minus the tremolo jug and Roky’s extraordinary singing.
AMANDA WHITING - Where Would We Be (Jazzman)
From her forthcoming LP, Lost in Abstraction, Amanda Whiting gets the summer going with Where Would We Be a mix of mellow ride cymbals, conga-esque bits and bobs and of course, of course Amanda, The Harp. How was it for her parents taking her to band practice. Seems to have paid off. This is languid and lovely and Lawrence of Arabia.
PAVEMENT - Spit On A Stranger (Matador)
I've been thinking long and hard about the things you said to me, Like a bitter stranger
DEPECHE MODE - Violator/Songs of Faith & Devotion/Ultra - 12"singles (Venusnote)
by Jay Lewis
One for the DM obsessives. Having finished releasing hefty box sets of 12" singles from their first nine albums, the band are now making them available for streaming. If you've ever wanted to hear seven versions of 'I Feel You' in succession or an entire hour of 'Enjoy the Silence' plus a splendid selection of live tracks and b-sides then you're in the right place.
Although 'Violater' (1990), is the one with the mega hits on it, the cool kids prefer the dark obsessions of 'Songs of Faith and Devotion' (1993) and I'll point you towards 'Ultra' (1997), the Lazarus like come back, Gore finding the right words for Gahan's fragile and damaged condition like never before.
JOEP BEVING - Hermetism (Deutsche Grammophon)
by Hamilton High
I never think about numbers since they are my undoing, always. But... Joep Beving's Hermetism LP features 12 tracks and ten of them, well what it looks like is that only the artist is pumping up the number of Spotify listens. And then two of the tracks have been listened to by the millions. And why I don't know. Since everything here is almightily awesome. Anyway love how he tinkles tickles the ivories and rocks that full on dirty Jesus look. Go Jo!
SAULT - AIR (Bandcamp)
by Tim London
Someone’s invested in some new orchestral software, including simulations of what could be a particularly strident Morricone choir.
But it’s what it’s being used for that’s important. Perhaps a demo that got out of hand, a way to write some ‘important’ orchestral soul, which, two tracks in finally gets a smidgeon of genuine human voice and… OK, I’m being won over in real time. Inflow, the nom de producer of Dean Wynton Josiah, is a clever bastard.
He has taken that moment in Rosary Connection’s I Am The Black Gold of the Sun, when they take film soundtrack and operatic bombast and give it back to the people, amplified it into a whole, mainly instrumental album. Or tried.
The cynic in me can’t help but wonder if Dean has realised how much more money can be made from film soundtracks (none of that messy, Covid dependant touring or working with other people in a small room) and has made a great big, inflatable air dancer to put on the SAULT forecourt. Composer for hire.
The twelve-plus minutes of Solar takes tolerance of the opera robots to the limit, but thankfully it is followed by the all too human Cleo Sol singing a cappella on the end of Time Is Precious.
Unfortunately, the few, sweet, human moments that are sprinkled as if by a particularly mean Glaswegian ice cream vendor cannot make this much sour digital weight tasty and, in the end, it’s a bit of a headache of an album.
SHAY HAZAN - Reclusive Rituals (Batov Records)
by Ancient Champion
Bass playing band leader Shay Hazan's 2021 missive, Reclusive Rituals, from the great Batov record label, got by us it's fair to say. But it is the record we've been playing all spring. There's a whole lot of the African Desert in the grooves for sure, equal measures of left field hip obstreperousness too. The minimalism of the bass itself probably helped by Shay's use of the guembri - check his video. "I made this album In order to satisfy the inner urge for simple grooves and the search for a different and new sound that draws inspiration from ancient places with great tradition, but still corresponds with the world and the period in which I live and the way I express myself." - Shay Hazan
Main Image: Germa Adan by Edith Adan
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