Apart from the daily delete of Abercrombie & Fitch promoting spam comments I’ve not touched this blog for a month. So its about time for another of those roundup “music Ive been loving” posts. This one seems to feature returning favourites, rather than brand spanking new finds.

DENIS JONES

Its been a long wait since Denis’s 2007 debut “Humdrum Virtue” beguiled all who listened with its beat boxing, loops, and fragmented vocals that brought to mind Jon Martyn mixed with Badly Drawn Boy. To put the proverbial cherry on top the CD came in limited edition industrial plastic sheeting packaging with a selection of cloth samples! Standout track “Beginning” remains a thing of beauty.

Denis Jones – Beginning” (MP3)
[audio:http://www.musiclikedirt.com/wp-content/MP3/few/Beginning.mp3]

Now the 2nd LP “Red + Yellow =” is available for pre-order and Denis continues his love of industrial plastic with early orders coming in a rather fetching limited edition yellow sleeve. The album features contributions from Manchester’s finest including Luke Flowers (Cinematic Orchestra), Paddy Steer (Homelife) and Aidan Smith, but for the most part, it features Denis himself on guitar, piano, organ, percussion, vocals, beat-boxing and electronics.

Lead single “Clap Hands” (Video) pilfers its lyrics from the 1965 Shirley Ellis hit “Clapping Song” (which itself borrowed from an old nursery rhyme). Musically its a world away from Shirley (Youtube) with a huge squelching synth throb, Jones’ vocal clicks and a generally dark tone, its fantastic but there’ll be no skipping to this version. Have a listen to the album in the fancy widget thing to the right.

Piccadilly Records have an exclusive Denis Jones designed red plastic sleeved 10″ of “Clap Hands”, including a Graham Massey remix.

DENIS JONES – Facebook / Website / Buy

Jones’s will be performing as part of a Humble Soul showcase at the swanky Kings Place in Kings Cross. Organised by Arctic Circle who put on the fantastic Bubbly Blue & Green festival earlier in the year. To mark the event they’ve released a compilation of artists who’ll be appearing at the “festival”.

It’s a brave artist who takes on Morrissey but Nancy Elizabeth covers the closing track from The Smith’ Hatful Of Hollow, making it her own with a slight lyrical tweak. Denis Jones tries his hand at the blues of John Mayall.

RIRA

RiRa has been at the forefront of Ireland’s Hip-Hop scene since forming the Scary Eire collective back in the 80’s. In the 90’s he worked with Sinead O’Conner, On-U sound, and released one of the all time great hip-hop anthems in the shape of “25 O’clock (In the morning)” (YouTube).

For me its the equivalent of “Jump Around” or “Ante Up“, with its irresistible chorus of “No pausing, no stalling, keep it going till 25 o’clock in the morning“. Never one to adopt an American accent as many of his Uk contempories did, Rira runs rhymes like “a fucking culchy mulla from tulla“. I’m not entirely sure what it means but christ its catchy.

I would say he’s now back, but I’m not sure he ever actually went away, just off my radar. Demo Straights : Unreleased & Underplayed is out on his own MaddAxxe imprint and is pretty much as it sounds, a compilation of rare stuff, remasters, remixes, and demo’s.

“The Future Is Comin’ Back To Haunt Ya” is available as a free download (below) and is released just in time for the pope’s visit to Ireland in September.

Keep on at them ‘til the Vatican confess what they did
How they labelled us as sinners while they’re messin’ with kids

RI-RA – Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp

FLYING LOTUS VS. MIGUEL ATWOOD FERGUSON

Flying Lotus must be the most universally adored artist in the media right now, and for once the music fully justifies it. However Miguel Atwood Ferguson takes his “Do the Astral Plane” track into an entirely new direction with this beautiful strings version..

Miguel Atwood Ferguson – Facebook / Myspace

THE SHADOW ORCHESTRA

Thanks go to Kat Arney for the gentle kick to remind me that The Shadow Orchestra are back with a new EP, “Remaker“. It doesnt seem like February 2007 since they first came to this blogs attention as support for Daedelus at The Luminaire.

The Shadow Orchestra started out as a vehicle for producer/DJ/Cellist, Chris Bangs (presumably not the one who started the Acid Jazz label).

The band have now evolved away from their laptop beginnings to the point where the Orchestra in the title could almost be literal. Chris is now backed by Kat Arney (pictured) on harp, Dave Oliver on drums, Nick Siddall on guitar and Mary Erskine on Vocals.

Sweet As A Nut” was one of my favourites from the first LP and its been given an epic makeover for the new EP. If this isn’t the soundtrack to many a sports montage over the coming months I’ll be surprised.

The addition of vocalist Mary Erskine moves the Shadow Orchestra more into Zero 7’s territory, and at first I wasn’t really keen on the new found slickness. “Time & Distance” is based on “Creaking & Bowing” from their first release, and its a stand out here. Its a joy to hear the subtle sounds of the harp on a song, and that complimented by Bang’s Cello provide the perfect backdrop for Erskine’s gentle vocal.

The EP is available on a Pay what you like price so you’re free to pay something or nothing depending on whether you want to encourage the band to keep recording.

On their blog there’s news of a brand new top secret track they’ve just recorded to tie in with an equally under wraps gig on the 8th of October: Keep an eye out on their website for more news.

Shadow Orchestra – Facebook / Website / Twitter / Bandcamp

BADLY DRAWN BOY

Damon Gough recently said his only dream was to become a successful sound engineer, and his solo stardom was something of an accident. Apart from recording the soundtrack to Caroline Aherne’s charming Fattest Man In Britain” (Video) Gough has been absent after taking the critical mauling of his last LP to heart.

Now he’s back with the first of a trilogy of albums “It’s What I’m Thinking: Part One, Photographing Snowflakes” due in October. He’s also made a demo of album track “In Safe Hands” available as a taster of what’s in store.

Badly Drawn Boy – Facebook / Website / Twitter
Badly Drawn Boy – “In Safe Hands (Demo)” (MP3)
[audio:http://www.musiclikedirt.com/wp-content/MP3/few/insafeHandsLivedelay.mp3]

CEE-LO

Finally the mighty Cee-Lo Green is back with a tune insanely catchy enough to recreate the ubiquity of his most famous track “Crazy“. Its dedicated to all ex’s out there, and “Fuck You” will no doubt drive us all insane before long but for now its divine. This is the kind of track to spawn countless remakes and responses, and already 50Cent has tagged on his own freestyle version (available for free download from his website)

I guess he’s an X-Box, and I’m more Atari

Cee-Lo – Website / Twitter
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