Santiago Street Machine – Noisemaker

Manchester alternative electro three piece Santiago Street Machine released their debut single, Noisemaker, today.

Alongside a rampant, thumping, grit fuelled, bassy monster of a track, they’ve linked up with some very talented photographers, videographers and graphic designers to bring a triple threat track, video and artwork.

The single artwork features a photograph by Cambridge based photographer Tom Mayle with graphics from London based designer Ed Chandler. It’s an explosive photo which sets off the explosive sound of the track well.

No single release is complete without a music video, and London based duo James Gough and Steve Roberts (Master Original Dub) have delivered an intriguing watch to accompany the track. The steps needed to make that “noise” with your debut offering can ride on the flip of a coin decision, as the video portrays. Some young acting talent on show too from Alex Payne and Isabella Lueen.

You can pick up the single now on iTunes, Amazon and all the other big download sites. Next live show is at London hot spot Cargo on Saturday 17 December.

The Weeknd – House of Balloons / Thursday

Canada; the boring loft gathering above the killer house party that is America. That’s how I’ve heard it described before. I’m not sure that such a description is really fair, and given the rate at which Canada is bringing us a whole raft of new creatives, I’d say the tables could be turning.

The likes of Drake have made it HUGE on a global scale in the last few years. You can see that through the decadence in the video for Headlines, doesn’t the man know there’s Euro zone debt crisis going on! Lunice has raided the UK this year to bring his own blend of electrified hip hop madness to Carnival and the Boiler Room to great effect. More than just a DJ, he’s a one man mime dance troop to boot (I sometimes wish his audience would give has much as he does).

For me, the maverick of the bunch has been 21 year old game changer Abel Tesfaye, you probably know him by his stage name; The Weeknd.

This, his latest offering called Initiation, is full of angst ridden, pitch shifted vocals, eerie guitar loops and a drum shuffle that would break down any club floor.

But what’s the big deal, surely he’s just another major label backed, R&B crooner with a bit of edge. No sir! Rumour has it he’s never even left his home town of Scarborough, Ontario (although some of the lyrics in “The Morning” suggest otherwise).

His two releases to date have both been put out on his own “XO” label as completely free (you don’t even need to give him your e-mail address) downloads.

Out of the two, I’d say debut offering “House Of Balloons” is the stronger, with tracks like “What You Need” (introduced with Aliyah samples then slinking along in the style of a smooth K-Ci & Jo Jo classic) and “The Morning” (picture waking up to a Prince guitar solo, being serenaded with memories of the night before before an 808 roll explodes to snap you back to reality) standing firm in the pack.

It’s the emotion in his delivery that really mark The Weeknd out. That and the fact that, by all accounts, there’s been little outside assistance in pulling these albums cum mixtapes together.

Still unsigned at the time of writing this, and with another self released album “Echoes Of Silence” pencilled in for this year, we could be seeing The Weeknd and Canada riding higher and higher on the musical map in the coming year.

Click the pics, download the albums and enjoy the weekend!

Flying Lotus @ Roundhouse (22.10.11)

Billed as one of only three live shows this year, the others in Paris and New York, expectation was high. Recommended in Time Out, Flying Lotus would be flanked by a vj set from AntiVJ and supported by Martyn and Kutmah, the former’s new lp already a Dash’n’Verve favourite.

So perhaps I started to let excitement get the better of me as we filed in to the excellent Roundhouse to hear Martyn drop Mega Drive Generation. Though he wasn’t the main event, the Chicago house inspired Masks and enveloping Popgun from the album Ghost People proved Martyn has a lot to offer FlyLo’s label Brainfeeder.

Kutmah with a warm up set next. an amazing version of Shugge Otis’ Aht Uh Mi Hed slinked through the mix and big bouncy r’n’b retakes reminded of the massive influence Hudson Mohawke has had on the genre.

And so to Flying Lotus. The big screen centre stage blinked with a galaxy of stars (or a windows screensaver as a Dutchman behind me quipped) and out Steve Ellison came, fresh white shirt and all. A couple of bass heavy hits in to his Ableton set, Flying Lotus appeared to apologise for something. Whilst it wasn’t clear what the apology was for, it felt to me as though something was supposed to be better. A quick post mortem on the performance…

The AntiVJ visuals were dull – like being trapped inside the crystal maze dome without a hope of reaching 100 gold tokens net. And from the guy who brought us Unexpected Delight, GNG BNG and the matchless Cosmogramma lp, the sound unfortunately matched the visuals. On the aforementioned lp tour, FlyLo drew on the fantastic Thundercat and Austin Peralta to do something truly live with the band Infinity. This was more like going to an expensive Italian restaurant and being served a Dr Oetker pizza.

Yes, the music was great, typified with FlyLo’s finale of Astral Plane followed by the Rolling Stones classic Paint it Black. But playing to thousands of punters paying 25 notes each, you need to offer more than a laptop and an apology.

Mosca – Done Me Wrong / Bax

I didn’t really latch on to Mosca first time around. Releasing his debut offering, the Square One EP, on Bok Bok and L-Vis 1990’s club night turned label, Night Slugs, in 2010, I heard the hype but just wasn’t being pushed over the edge into euphoria for the music like others seemed to be.

And I mean, this EP got plaudits. The “b-side”, Nike got voted superblog XLR8R’s track of 2010, and when you have five (you can only just count ’em on one hand) remixes of the title track on your debut release from names like Roska, Julio Bashmore, Greena, L-Vis 1990 and Bok Bok, there’s clearly something nifty going on.

So, the record collection was still awaiting it’s first Mosca purchase. Needless to say (you may have seen this coming), it’s now happened. Marking the 16th release on the Numbers label, Done Me Wrong / Bax is a heady throwback to garage sounds from 10 years ago muddled with an assortment of tropical bells and elastic dubby stabs.

No Mars bars will be awarded for guessing the influences that have gone into these tracks, they’re pretty clear. What I like is that there are so many and that they come together in such a coherent way. There’s mellow moments, the face is screwed in appreciation at others, and you’re definitely stepping the whole way through.

You’ll undoubtedly hear both of these tracks jammed into sets up and down the land for the rest of the year. If you’re up late after a club session next Wednesday night, I highly recommend tuning into Benji B where Mosca will be having a chin wag and tickling us with a 30 minute mix.

Done Me Wrong by Mosca

Bax by Mosca

“Come on!”

Champion – Rainforest [EP]

Remember Remember The 5th of December… cos Champion’s War Dance will drop! That’s how the saying goes yeah? Hmm, well it probably will do soon. I’ve been following the latest offering from Champion after first hearing it on Benji B’s Radio 1 show a month or so ago. It makes me happy that it’s now got a release date.

Bleeping, laser beaming and shuffling into the descending bass hook, Champion’s War Dance is a big time roller. Released on the increasingly prolific Roska’s Kicks & Snares (‘RKS’) label as part of the Rainforest EP, the track features the almost trademark, stuttering DJ name vocal layered over the top. It works for Roska, and it works for me on this one too.

The EP also features modern tribal offering; Rainforest, complete with atmospheric monkey chorus and native chants. Finishing off the three track release is Selecta, featuring garage shouts and rewinds hot from 2000, over a fresh and crisp Champion 2011 beat.

No complete track to listen to just yet (well, there’s this rip off the Benji B show), but here’s a nice sneak peak of all three tracks from the RKS Soundcloud.

Check Champion on Twitter – @Champion_DJ