After a brief siesta the weekly roundup returns with a dozen or so musical diamonds, albeit not particularly brand spanking new. I’m not sure if long posts like this are the best way to highlight acts or if those lower down the post miss out on listens and loves?
As ever check Spotify for an ever-growing playlist (of tracks available through Spotify) or Why’d.com for the full-fat playlist of all the tunes. You can also listen to all the selections with Whyd’s fancy new widget below.
JUNIOR KIMBROUGH (DAFT PUNK EDIT)
With Giorgio Moroder and Nile Rodgers both said to have a hand in the long-awaited Daft Punk album (7 years since Human After All) we need a little from the robots to tide us over while we impatiently wait.
One such morsel arrived courtesy of an exclusive edit produced for fashion house Saint Laurent. While at Dior, Hedi Slimane collaborated with the DP boys on robot toys, photographs and leather suits and Daft Punk returned the favour by soundtracking his first show as creative director of
They’ve put together a 15 minute edit of Hill country bluesman Junior Kimbrough, “I Gotta Try You Babe“. Along with fellow North Missisipian R.L. Burnside with whom he shared a late blossoming recording deal on Fat Possum records, Kimbrough had an influence far greater than his relatively small recorded output. In later years The Stones, Chilli Peppers, Sonic Youth and others made pilgrimages to his Holly Springs club to hear him play.
It’s incredible to think he was 62 when he finally recorded his first album in 1992, and although he passed away just five years later he managed two more albums in that time (along with another two posthumous releases). He also claimed to have fathered 36 children (not between 92 and 98)!
Joshua Idehen has popped up on Music Like Dirt in many guises, most recently as part of Benin City, but also on his own, with LV, Dan Le Sac and as part of the PIP (A Poem inbetween People) collective.
Now he’s teamed up with producer Andy Highmore and vocalist Holly Bestic to create Maze Hill, who’ve signed to the ever dependable Wah Wah 45. I can imagine first single “Long Hall” being introduced by a chunky knitwear clad Casey Kasem on “America’s Top 10” in the days when the US devoured radio friendly soul like Janet, SOS Band and The Family Stand.
Good though that is its ‘I Can Be Your Light‘ that shines for me, a tender, beautiful duet between Idehen & Bestic with delicate piano backing from Andy Highmore.
Maze Hill will be doing a stripped down live set as part of “Wah Wah at The Scala” on November 10th and the debut album should arrive early next year.
DUFFY POWER – “SWEET AGAIN”
Given the moniker “Power” by the impresario Larry Parnes who also gave Billy his Fury, Duffy Power has been described as the ‘Zelig’ of British music. He was present at the birth of skiffle, rock’n’roll, blues, underground folk, jazz rock fusion, the Summer of Love, Prog-rock and in the heyday of Northern Soul. Then in 1973, silence.
Whether it was ill health, lack of sales or general disillusionment only Duffy himself knows but nothing was heard of him until the late ’90s and in 2003 he recorded “Sweet Again” for a compilation CD. Now that track features on “Tigers”, the first new album for 39 years from one of Britain’s hidden blues singers (well, blues, rocknroll, rock…).
In 2011 Aaron Sayer’s “Change” was one of the picks from the 200! songs I listened to as part of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition. Since then he’s finished a music production course at Huddersfield University and has moved to London to manage singer/songwriter and occasional rapper Owen Penrice.
“Have No Fear” appears on both Aaron and Owen’s Soundcloud page’s so I’m not entirely sure if it’s a co-production but it’s certainly more evidence of a burgeoning talent. On his cover of Chase and Status’s Blind Faith, Penrice sounds very Jamie T-esque, but on “Have No Fear” the vocals recall Walthamstow’s finest, Brian Harvey who i’ll always defend as a fine r&b/soul vocalist. The rapper (Aaron?) compliments this perfectly as he rhymes over a skittering dubstep meets trip hop backing with a repeated hook of “Romance was killed by nightclubs“.
Sayer has also uploaded a demo “Funky Music” featuring the unmistakable riff of Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music”.
The Finders Keepers label has a ridiculous gift for unearthing unheard or unappreciated gems from the darkest recesses of basically the entire planet. Indian Prog rock, Ukrainian avant-garde, if you dream up and unlikely combination the chances are they’ve released a jaw dropping compilation of it.
Their latest “MAN CHEST HAIR!” features outbursts of unreleased testosterone from the 1970s Mancunian rock underground. Aside from the wonderful music contained within there’s a limited edition version that includes a tshirt and a bottle of MAN CHEST HAIR Musk aftershave!
‘Man Chest Hair’ documents the missing stink between The Hollies, The Hermits, Hamburg, Hannett and Hotlegs with a HEAVY emphasis on dirty drums and filthy fuzz from beneath the black rainclouds of Greater Manchester. It boasts the seldom recorded, unshaven sounds of the Mancunian “independent” industry from the future capital of “indie” music. Cruising via prog, psych, funk, glam and hard rock with no toilet breaks or refuels along the way.
Finders Keepers also sifted through 34-year’s and 900 film scores in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada in order to unearth some the heaviest dancefloor friendly electronic pop from Southern India. Naanthaan Ungappanda’s “Ilaiyaraaja” was even included in Danny Boyle’s brilliant Olympic opening ceremony.
With an album “Troubadour” to come next year on Stones Throw, The Step Kids whet our appetite with “Sweet Salvation” from the EP of the same name.
It’s the kind of psychedelia-tinged pop pleasure we’ve come to expect from the Step Kids, slightly quirky, slightly funky but very hooky.
The first couple of hundred copies of Los Fulanos’ “Si Esto Se Acaba Que Siga El Boogaloo” album come with a spicy 7″ featuring dub versions of tracks like “The End Of The World”. Their label describe the resulting sound as “a sexadelic piece of echo chamber boogaloo” and I can’t coin a turn of phrase better than that!
These versions are exclusive to this extremely limited vinyl single and will apparently not be released digitally.
Lazarus and The Plane Crash is a collision between Joe Coles of The Guillotines, a singer renowned for wild live performance- (“somewhere between Iggy Pop and Captain Beefheart, but stranger and more beguiling than either”) and The Clerkenwell Kid (the man behind The Real Tuesday Weld, a band whose admirers include Anna Paquin and Johnny Depp).
Influenced by George Romero, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Beefheart, Brighton Rock, Cab Calloway, The Cramps, Jurassic Five and Scott Walker. Really.
Their songs mix sweaty garage rock, gypsy jazz, sexual over-excitement, Violence and Torch Song Piano under Joe’s spontaneous versifying.
The CD album comes with a bespoke designed Ouija board, instructions and a planchet to spell out the messages from beyond. It can be signed in blood red ink by the spirit of Lazarus if you like
Use it, at your discretion, to predict the end of the world, the end of the music industry or the likelihood of the future stardom of Lazarus Plane Crash.
If you stopped a dozen people in the street and asked them to name any record by Omar, I’d put good money on “There’s Nothing Like This” being the only song mentioned. This is despite countless guest appearances, a large and loyal fan base and six albums to his name.
Never mind, its always an absolute pleasure to hear those distinctive and wonderfully warm vocals emanating from my speakers even when guesting on in this case a Hidden Jazz Quartett release.
“Three O’clock in the morning, where could you be?” On “High Heels” Omar bemoans the errant ways of his lady friend in fine style and best of all Adam Gibbons aka Lack Of Afro transforms the track into his signature Hammond tinged 60′s style delight. It all makes me look forward to new material from both Afro and Omar.
The next two selections are shamefully pilfered from one of the finest music blogs going, Nialler9. It’s always a mystery to me how sites like this (primarily run by one person) can maintain such a consistently high standard dating back to 2005!
The latest gem from Nialler is Bridie Monds Watson, a 16 year old Derry teenager with the sweetest heartbreaking voice you can imagine. “Sea Creatures” is the pick of the songs I’ve heard so far and Belfast producers Ryan Vail and Unknown, have turned the track on its head with their remix.
“The percussion is replaced with a beat that sounds like a downtrodden heart. There’s still a positive spirit in the piano chords but Monds-Watson’s voice has been covered in an echoey spectral film and pitched-shifted like some half-remembered lover’s advice“.
Despite obviously not paying attention when Nialler9 introduced Gallops as Wrexham’s answer to Battles two years ago, their latest “G Is For Jaile” has certainly got my attention.
It’s taken from Gallops debut album Yours Sincerely, Dr. Hardcore out on Blood & Biscuits on December 10th. Pre-order.
The Wu-Tang Clan featuring Queens veteran Kool G Rap on the soundtrack for RZA’s directorial debut featuring Tarantino on production duties. It sounds like somekind of fantasy pairing and while only time will tell if the film lives up to its promise, the music is absolutely incredible.
The City Shanty Band are an 11-member shanty band described by the Daily Mail as a “hackney-based a cappella group”. Being featured in a paper loathed and loved in equal measure (actually it might be loathed more) is a double edged sword. The band playfully scolded the paper as “Silly fascists” because if you’ve got an accordion and a drum you’re probably not a cappella.
The band continued reading the review… “We sing a mix of original compositions and traditional sea shanties with an urban twist. Jesus! Urban twist is a horrible way of describing anything. Basically, we change the lyrics a bit to make them relevant and shit, yeah?”
The Youtube comments for the wonderfully off the hook trip-slop of Fascinator’s “Sexuality // Mystery” make entertaining reading.
“Whats wrong with this guy… I bet his family is worried about him”
“After finishing watching this, i leave this place scared and confused”
“what the fuck??”
and finally it wouldn’t be Youtube without a final slice of casual homophobia.
“i want my 10 seconds of life back
fucking drug fucked faggot”
One for fans of Twin Shadow, Solomon Grey’s “Firechild” is an incredibly slickly produced and catchy tune resulting from three years slaving away behind closed doors. There’s an album ready and waiting, and on this evidence they’ll be following Twin Shadow onto the Radio 1 playlist.
D’EON’S MUSIC FOR KEYBOARDS VOL III
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The third instalment of d’Eon’s Music For Keyboards series is a traditional symphony for MIDI orchestra. In a time of increased national identity and pride in Quebec, the two movements of Volume III bear themes of nationalism and patriotism through the symphony form, inspired by composers like Aaron Copland, Jean Sibelius, Russian nationalist composers and many other 20th-century North American composers, who evoke a feeling of love and awe for one’s country. Scored and played by d’Eon on MIDI keyboard & MIDI tracker, and performed by Edirol Orchestral.
“Don’t Wait To be Hunted To Hide” the new LP from David Cronenberg’s Wife must be a PR and Radio plugger’s nightmare, packed as it is with fairly unpleasant Saville-esque tales told in the first person from the not at all likeable perpetrators view.
The fact that the lyrics come in such an upbeat singalong indie sugar coated pill makes them even harder to swallow. Lead singer Tom Mayne has said, “These are definitely not anti-‐women songs in any way, but, to my mind, anti-‐men songs against the men who do these things.”
Personally they make me very uneasy but thats their intention. I never bought the “ironic” lock a girl in the basement and rape her lyrics of Odd Future – even though some of the music was incredible and I think I probably feel the same about the same topics in an indie form. I can picture a crowd bellowing-along to this tale of spiking the drink of a girl with the tight jeans and then raping her or a beer’ed up Student Union or Rugby club chanting the chorus. The song may be stuck in my head but all things considered I can’t help but come over all Daily Mail on it!
I’d be interested to hear anyone else’s views.