Pretty disappointed that I wasn’t on the ball to catch his first London show during March, but I hear he’s returning for some UK festival dates this summer. Don’t miss them
It’s been a while, for us and Rodney Smith, but guess what, we’re both back with all the energy and flavour we had before plus some more!
Roots Manuva’s new slammer Facety 2:11 has been doing the rounds this week and it’s definitely hitting the mark.
Having teamed up previously on Kelela’s game changing 2013 mixtape (it’s not a mixtape, it’s an album but let’s not split hairs) for tracks Guns & Synths and A Lie, Bok Bok and Kelela have once again joined forces to deliver a jittery hyper-funk belter – Melba’s Call.
Kelela’s vocal is soft and playful layered over the shuffle and rumble of Bok Bok’s beat. This is definitely one to crank in the Nova when out on your weekend cruise.
Melba’s Call is released on Bok Bok’s very own Night Slugs on 31 March 2014. Pre-order it here.
Alongside the peachy weather, we’ve also been treated to a handful of fine long-playing records this Summer. Here’s a quick overview of three that have caught our attention.
Jon Hopkins / Immunity (Domino)
Jon Hopkins’ background in classical music lends his electronic sound an atmosphere that few other producers can match. Insides, Hopkins’ previous solo LP, flitted between grinding uptempo numbers and score-like tracks. This transition between the two genres is more subtle on Immunity. Opener ‘We Disappear’ comes complete with juddering, coarse beats and an industrial, pulsating clank. This brooding factory of sound is maintained through the next three tracks, culminating with the other worldly ‘Collider’, a tornado of a song which rips along for over nine minutes. Then everything changes. ‘Abandon Window’ offers calm after the storm, showcasing Hopkins’ undoubted talent as a pianist and composer (Hopkins was nominated for an Ivor Novello award for Best Original Score with the soundtrack to the film Monsters). The second half of the album rides out on this contemplative theme. The pace drops off and the beats play a lesser role before the title track brings everything together in one evocative, dream sequence of a song. The thinking man’s dance music.
Gold Panda / Half of Where You Live (Ghostly International)
Gold Panda’s 2010 debut Lucky Shiner really got our attention. The whimsical sounds and exotic samples make it the perfect accompaniment to a long haul flight. Three years on, Gold Panda’s follow up is no less powerful, albeit this time the sound is a little less playful. The textures and layers of sound are almost palpable on ‘Junk City II’ and ‘Brazil’ which bounce along with boundless vim. Gold Panda’s gift is his ability to create a collage of noise that seeps with emotion. As with John Hopkins’ Immunity, the uptempo sound on Half of Where You Live subsides to leave a more introspective vibe. On ‘Flinton’, Gold Panda wields lush strings, Chinese harp and trundling piano to deliver a sumptuous, beautiful song. ‘Enoshima’ continues on this theme, taking us deeper into Gold Panda’s travels while he toured the Lucky Shiner LP. With the album so overtly referencing places of significance to the artist, we’re pretty sure this will be another perfect long haul long-player. Traveller’s delight.
Fat Freddy’s Drop / Blackbird (The Drop)
We were nervous ahead of listening to FFD’s third album. With such an extensive catalogue of dub-infused rollers, would this be a bit ‘samey’ and lack the innovation that made their debut, Based on a True Story, so refreshing? Concerns were heightened after listening to the LP opener, ‘Blackbird’, which feels as though it could have sat on either of the last two albums. However, whereas the other LPs reviewed above start uptempo and then slow down, Blackbird grows and grows, the first single from the album ‘Silver and Gold’ throbbing with rock-influenced electric guitar and Joe Dukie’s rich, unmistakable vocals. The stripped-back ‘Soldier’ stomps along nicely and then reaches a crescendo before taking you back to a heavy head-nod. ‘Never Moving’ is perhaps the most exciting track on the album, a hearty slice of electronica complements FFD’s trademark dub sound and Dukie’s vocals offer a Chicago house-esque opulence. The album rides out with afrobeat and funk influenced tracks ‘Mother Mother’ and ‘Bohannon’, two other sounds FFD blend with their signature style to great success. It turns out Blackbird is indeed innovative and as refreshing as an ice cube down the Y-fronts. Third time’s a charm.
Making your band easily Googleable is a challenge faced by many new bands starting out. You want a name that is unique, catchy, easily spelt and, most importantly, something that won’t be confused for something altogether different when you punch it in to your favourite search engine. An article from earlier this year charted the eight hardest bands to Google and I was pleased to see a personal favourite of mine; Pink, slide in at number eight (her Wikipedia page was the first thing that came up when I tried so I don’t really know what all the fuss is about). Number one on the list was “!!!” who literally cannot be found by simply typing in their name (try it for yourself).
The band I want to talk about today didn’t feature on this list, however I’d say they would be strong contenders should a similar pole be performed in 2014. Pronounced “I am a Jedi”, the spelling is somewhat different – EYE EMMA JEDI. Once you’ve got your head round the phraseology, you can dive into what this band are really about; making serious fun, catchy, indie pop-rock.
Hailing from Norway, via Liverpool (guitarists Alex and Andrew attended LIPA, the same educational stable as Mikhael Paskalev and Picture Book drummer Dario Darnell) and London, the band have recently finished recording their debut album in the idyllic Andalucian hillside village of Monda over an epic hundred day stint. What’s more, they catalogued the musical journey in pictures and videos available for you the adoring punter on their various online outlets.
The album is now finished, and so begins the relentless promo schedule which commenced with a German tour. Once again, the footage is available for all to see in four low attention span friendly videos on their Youtube page.
Having completed the German leg of the tour the boys sailed over to the UK to play at Brighton’s Great Escape Festival just over a month ago where Dash ‘n’ Verve were in attendance. A riotous performance ensued packed full of hair, sweat, broken strings (after one song), impromptu lounge jazz to mask the changing of a string, more hair and a final flurry of guitar riffage to finish the enthralled crowd off. My pick of the tracks played on the night was the unquestionably infectious “Sin”. Opening with screaming guitar licks and the bounciest of bass lines, before moving to an almost tropical verse and back into what will certainly be a festival front row scream out loud favourite of a chorus. The video’s just as much of a treat.
Go on, be sinful and indulge in a bit of this on a Saturday afternoon.