For the last 20 years, music has primarily entered my lugholes via tinny computers,”i” prefixed devices and a pair of speakers salvaged from a £200 Aiwa midi hi-fi system that was already 10 years old when the Tricky stickers that adorn them were put on.

This week Richer Sounds seduced me into a new decent-ish pair of speakers and my god, it’s like I grew a new pair of ears!

The only trouble is, everything sounds so good, if you put Morris Minor & The Majors “Stutter Rap” on right now, the chances are I’d proclaim it the future of hip-hop.
Thankfully, with perfect timing a promo of DJ WrongTom & Ed Zed’s “Spiky Dread: Issue 1” compilation popped into my inbox to christen my new purchase in more fitting style.
Following his acclaimed Roots Manuva collaboration “Duppy Writer“, WrongTom teamed up with Deemas for “In East London“, described by Wire Magazine as “the strongest modern reggae set to emerge from the UK in years”. At the same time, Tom and friend Ed Zed set themselves up as the “Time Team” of Punky Funky Reggae unearthing lost gems of the genre on a weekly basis via their Skank Blog Bologna website.
After tracking down the owners of the finest of their finds, “Spiky Dread Issue 1” was born featuring a smattering of cuts by well-known bands like The Slits but more importantly a feast of – to me at least – totally unheard of tracks by acts plundering the rich seam between punk and reggae.

Cool Down” by ‘America’s greatest unknown band’, The Offs is a glorious opener to a compilation that will hopefully find its way into the Christmas stocking of anyone who ever loved Punk, Reggae, Funk or a SoulJazz compilation. I’ll be buying it for Vivian Goldman & Ed Zed’s eight pages of liner notes alone (but that’s just me).

BUY Spiky Dread Issue 1

Right, on with a rundown of some of the finest music I’ve stumbled across recently. As ever you can listen to just the sounds (without the words) via the links below or the embedded Whyd playlist.

LISTEN: playlist (or below) / Spotify

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The video for Keaton Henson’s new single is the perfect visual representation of his music, its stark, beautiful, with muted colours and at the end someone cries.
It might just be the most effective on screen blub since Sinead O’Conner covered Prince, but like Sinead it’s moving because you don’t doubt it sincerity.
Londoner Heaton rarely plays live, didn’t originally intend to release his music publicly and on occasional interactions with the press responds to questions by quoting from poets or illustrations.
Many of his rawest songs appear to be inspired by the fallout from a relationship with French singer Soko. Posting a live video of the unreleased “Gard De Nord” on Facebook, Soko commented “THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SONG ANYONE HAS EVER WROTE ME.. My heart is aching, bleeding.. Miss him..

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To record their album ‘La Ferme De Fontenaille‘, husband and wife duo “Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou packed guitars, a few mics and a 4-track cassette recorder into their long suffering British Leyland campervan, and headed for northern France.

I was born in the North West of England
Where Industrial shells like monuments stand” (lyrics)

A Proud Surrender” from their free to download taster EP sounds like a protest song that’s been passed down through generations and forged in the struggle of the working man. It is however entirely original and like the rest of the album was largely forged in a barn in the Pay De La Loire region.
The EP also contains the perhaps more straight-forward but none the less beguiling folk love song “For A Minute There“.

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From English folk recorded in France to Hip-Hop direct from Paris. Nicky Lars describes “Rock Rock On” as “Just a lil’ track…made the beat quickly and recorded the voice in one take” but it’s got a wonderfully retro A Tribe Called Quest feel to it.

Just as PiL reform and release new material, two of the key players from their most revered album “Metal Box” make their own return. The unmistakable sound of Jah Wobble’s bass first reunited with Keith Levene’s guitar after the latter kicked smack and fancied recording some music again.
Yin & Yang” finds Wobble in abrasive but ebullient mood as he rasps “Fuckin’ Yin & Fuckin Yang” to a backing of fierce drums, distorted guitars and manic laughter. Never one to mince his words he ends with the rhyming couplet… “Like a bolt out of the blue, I’m a cunt and so are you“.

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Continuing a fine tradition of not just missing the boat but walking straight off the jetty I’ve come across this burst of reggae sunshine that almost single-handedly rewinds the clock to the glorious summer we didn’t actually have.

Created by Jahtari trailblazer Disrupt and Anglo-Indian Glaswegian MC Soom T, “Summer Days” bounces along with more of a spring in its step than Inspector Gadget.

Released on Soom T’s Renegade Masters label, there’s a dub version on the flip that unfolds the wonderful Nintendo Dub beeps and throbs and sends them echoing off into the distance.

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Detroit garage rock five piece return with a thrashing shouty romp about trying to get home. Are American roads that much catchier and more fun to shout out load or would the song still work if Michigan were transposed to “West Sussex Roads“?


Scott Walker’s new material has been ruminating in his mind for five years now and based on ‘Epizootics!‘ one of the first songs to emerge, he’s crammed an albums worth of ideas and sounds into each song.
With a surreal video featuring super slo-motion Hawaiian dancers, the track ebbs flows and explodes over 10 minutes with banks of strident horns, militaristic drums and of course Walker’s off the wall lyrics. A welcome return for a true innovator.

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The unofficial video for Nouvelle Vague singer Melanie Pain’s “Just A Girl” makes inspired use of the Steve Guttenburg starring Village People movie, “Can’t Stop The Music”.

I’m not sure why the combination of camp men prancing around locker rooms works so well with Pain’s perfect bubble gum pop song but it does. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

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Putting “Ground Beneath Our Feet” on is like arriving home to find a steaming hot bubble filled bath awaiting with a glass of wine on the side. It softly soothes your soul and probably gives you a bit of a backrub too.
It’s the lush and relaxed sound of Burt Bacharach jamming with vocoder don, Zapp.
It’s also worth checking out The School Of Architecture’s blog for musical tips. I did and am now watching a fantastic video of a naked French man singing in some woodland! And If that’s not a recommendation I don’t know what is!!?

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The video for “The Wheel” creates a collage of found footage exploring “the interplay between industry and nature” that somehow manages to match the beauty of Sohn’s song.

Originally from London but now dwelling amongst the “mountainous landscapes” of Vienna, Sohn twists and manipulates his own voice, layering it on a minimalistic electronic backing.

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Having loved Girls Pon Mi Mind, the Dirty Dubsters collaboration with Top Cat earlier in the year, it seems they’re also putting out “mashups” – as they were once known – on their digital only label.

Boom In The Jungle” takes the ever mashable accapella from The Fugees “Rumble In The Jungle” and melds it to The Jamaicans rocksteady classic “Ba Ba Boom. The 1967 original was also reborn this year as part of the Ba Ba Boom Ridim, a few examples of which can be heard over here.
(Hat-tip to listener & Jamaican’s fan Tom for musical knowledge)

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If you’ve ever wondered what a Latin Frank Sidebottom would sound like Bogota’s Meridian Brothers provide the answer.

Actually that might be a bit offensive, what I mean is the sonic creations of Eblis Álvarez are so wilfully obscure and playful, they’re almost unclassifiable.
Traditional instruments rub up against tinny keyboard riffs, the sweetest female backing singers and bizarre electronic noodling. That description may sound horrendous but it’s an utter joy.
Latin American surrealism at its finest!

The album ‘Deseperanza’ came out on September the 24th on Soundway Records.

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Also on Soundway, Bomba Estereo released a video for “El Alma y El Cuerpo” which has actually been around since 2011 but I’ll take the excuse to include it in a newbies post.

It’s a very accessible pop take on the Colombian Champeta sound (Champeta being Colombia’s take on West African guitar-pop).

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A journey into the darker side next with the humongous squelching Acid bassline of “Zug Island”. Inspiration came from a trip to Zug, a polluted toxic metal factory situated on an island on the Detroit Rouge River.

According to Hall & Kero the sound is meant to “personify the environment of Zug Island and its harmful industrial vibrations it currently has on the river, wild life, and even the humans residing there

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Glorious glitchy 8-bit electronic pop from Grimes’ touring companion Doldrums.

She Is The Wave” is a free taster download to wet your whistle for the album ‘Lesser Evil’ out February 25th on Souterrain Transmissions (Europe) / February 26th on Arbutus Records (North America).

LEGOWELT – “AND THE BEAT GOES ON (Whispers cover)”
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The ‘And finally’ in this week’s collection comes in the form of a double helping of uplifting nostalgia. As I write this its 5am on my fifth nightshift and frankly I need comfort music.

Danny Wolfers aka Legowelt has crafted a analogue interpretation of one of his favourite West Coast Cali R&B Soul Disco songs from 1980, the Whisper’s “And the Beat Goes On” (He also made the animated gif above).

Finally I felt sure I’d posted this absolutely incredible Bee Gee’s edit when Robin Gibb passed away but apparently not, so here it is in all its disco glory.
Soak up those chaka chaka wah wah’s, the odd high pitched “ahhh haa ha haaaa’s” and of course Maurice’s unmistakable voice.

Too many lovers in one lifetime, ain’t good for you“. Indeed.