Thursday, 31 December 2009

Top 20 Albums Of The Decade

1. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Warner Bros., 2002)
This is one of my favourite albums of all time. Let's face it, The Flaming Lips are the Pink Floyd of the 21st Century. Is that controversial? No, because I'm right. If you disagree you can start your own tedious music blog that no one reads.

2. Radiohead - Kid A (Parlophone, 2000)
OK Computer was recently named the greatest album of all time (by Channel 4 as opposed to anyone whose opinion is worth anything). Of course they were absolutely wrong. They were also wrong to include the U2's Joshua Tree anywhere in the chart - let alone in the number 2 slot - for obvious reasons. I don't want this to become a barrage of U2 insults (it's too easy, we'll be here all day) so I'll move on. The fact is, this album marks the precise balance between pop melodies, technical prowess and raw passion.

3. The Avalanches - Since I Left You (XL, 2001)
What an absolute sonic masterpiece! I fear such experimentation is pretty much dead, save for a few dears like Four Tet. It's avant-garde sans the snobbery and contains some of the most beautiful songs in existence, the title track being a prime example. Sadly, the original release as it was is no longer available. Since it's release a lot of sniffy dickheads got offended that The Avalanches were giving them free publicity for their music which no one had heard of previously. As punishment for this heinous crime they decided to reprimand them by ordering the offending samples be removed, rendering it ridiculous sounding. If you have the original, you're a lucky sod and possibly the proud owner of a bit of musical history before it was shat on by nobodies.

4. Eels - Souljacker (DreamWorks, 2001)
Mark Everett has a dark, dark past which always makes for the best music (his father died an alcoholic after a tumultuous relationship with his son and his cousin died in the plane that struck the Pentagon on 9/11). His father was physicist Hugh Everett III, originator of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory (something about parallel universes and dimensions). Evidently, his father's brilliant mind has been inherited by Everett Jr. If you can imagine the best elements of The Butthole Surfers, Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd all mixed together you might have half an idea of just how brilliant Eels are/is.

5. Jurassic 5 - Quality Control (Interscope, 2000)
This is the kind of album that's such an immediate classic, you don't release how recent is. When I released it was released less than a decade ago, I was staggered. How could such an anodine, vacuous generation put out an album this good? Answer: fuck knows. J5, where are you now that we need you?

6. PJ Harvey - Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea (Island Records, 2000)
I know this only just qualifies, and perhaps shouldn't, but ol' Peej had to be in this list somewhere. Like a lot of music, I only found this about 5 years after it was actually released (I was 12 when it came out and had the music taste of a sulky retard). Anyway, this album earned its place on this list purely on the strength of that song, 'This Is Love'.

7. Four Tet - Everything Ecstatic (Domino, 2005)
If you don't like this album, you don't like music. Or you're a bit thick. Either way, you and I are no longer friends.

8. Skream - Skream! (Tempa, 2006)
Forget your prejudices about dubstep, the fact is this LP is pretty much responsible (along with Benga & Coki's plague-like 'Night') for making dubstep massive. Whether you think that's a good thing or not, it's still quite an achievement to more or less single-handedly drag a genre from a local underground scene to a global phenomenon (albeit inasmuch as jungle/drum & bass was a global phenomenon in the early-to-mid 90's). I know, I know, Rusko played a big part too, but dubstep was already pretty big before 'Woo Boost' or 'Cockney Thug' trickled onto the interwebs. I was going to put Benga's 'Newstep' on here but that was nowhere near as strong an album as Skream's debut, the basslines were repetitive and derivative.

9. Florence & The Machine - Lungs (Universal, 2009)
Apart from Bat For Lashes, this is the only "kooky" female (to use that horrible phrase) to warrant even proximity to this list. If you have to wonder why, imagine Kate Bush with good songs.

10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell (Interscope, 2003)
With three albums released this decade it was a little hard to choose, but this debut pulled through simply because there's not a single weak song on it.

11. Jason Forrest - Shamelessly Exciting (Sonig, 2005)
Another fine record from Mr. Forrest, drawing together punk, prog-rock, post-punk, disco, jazz, funk, soul, folk and breakcore. Sounds like it shouldn't work, but does like you wouldn't believe.

12. Bong-Ra - Bikini Bandits, Kill! Kill! Kill! (Supertracks, 2003)
Again, another breakcore release but one that heralded the rise of what Mr. Kohnen referred to as "yardcore" (that's jungle to you and I). Actually a solid release, without a single weak link, something very few artists have managed to achieve in the scene.

13. DJ Kentaro - Enter (MCA, 2002)
I had originally included DJ Shadow's 'The Private Press' before I remembered how horribly downhill he went after his debut. Kentaro's 'Enter', on the other hand, is a beautiful, thoughtfully crafted hip-hop LP that really holds its own against 'Endtroducing...' and anything by cLOUDDEAD.

14. Late Of The Pier - Fantasy Black Channel (EMI, 2008)
This was one of my favourite albums of last year, it's camp and it's funny. It's also pretty dark in places and stands on the shoulder of giants such as Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk without sounding kitsch. Not only does it lack a single bad track, it doesn't even have any average tracks. They're all ACE.

15. Blackalicious - Blazing Arrow (MCA, 2002)
Blackalicious are poets, in every sense of the word. There are no gaps between the tracks so they flow into one another perfectly. I would even go so far as to say they were at least as good as Jurassic 5. If you like hip-hop on any level, you need this album like a junkie needs smack. Best taken intravenously.

16. DJ /rupture - Special Gunpowder (Tigerbea6, 2004)
One of the most thoughtfully made ragga/hip-hop releases of all time. The rejuvenation of his partnership with Matt Shadetek bodes well for 2010

17. cLOUDDEAD - Ten (Mush, 2004)
I'm sure to be lambasted for putting this release so low, but who cares? This LP boasts some impressive influences: JG Ballard and William S. Burroughs to name just two. It's incredibly complex in a way that doesn't alienate, rather it draws you in and forces you to listen in one of the most sensual full-nelsons OF ALL TIME.

18. Major Lazer - Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do (Mad Decent, 2009)
A bit of a double-edge sword, this release. It's a great dancehall/jump up record, but it has ushered in piss-weak imitators and the abomination that is UK funky. Nice album, shame about the residue.

19. Arcade Fire - Funeral (Merge, 2004)
Magazines Uncut, Fact and Rolling Stone lauded this album as one of the greatest debuts of all time, putting it amongst releases such as Led Zeppelin I, The Stone Roses and The Smiths. Also, 'Haiti' has been wideley considered to be the best song of the decade.

20. Bat For Lashes - Two Suns (Parlophone, 2009)
Cruelly dubbed (by me) Florence-lite, Bat For Lashes made waves this year but were left in the shadow of Flossy, but don't let that put you off. Soaring melodies and a complexity that's lacking from 'Lungs'. Not essential, but the best things in life aren't.

If you disagree with this list, you're wrong. You're also a tool for bothering to get riled up about it. Either way, I win.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Sunshine Superman

The wonderfully talented and generous, if not shittily named, Tommie Sunshine has offered his Soundcloud page up to the world for a good hard pillaging. In fairness, as bad as Tommie Sunshine is, Sammy Bananas is quite a bit worse and he does seem to be the perfect balance between techy geek and tongue-in-cheek fun peddler.

Señor Sunshine has been making music for some time now and is a staple of the thriving New York club scene, regularly touring with such luminaries as Drop The Lime, Udachi and B.Rich. His remixes have always proved to be at least fun, if not banging to the maximum.

On his page you can find remixes of Gossip, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and even - vomit - Armand Van Helden. It's a really cool way to find bands you haven't heard before and to hear crap tunes reimagined as good ones. Oh, and there's a couple of Tommie Sunshine originals to get you in the party mood.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Super Late Christmas Present For All Y'all!

Oh Snap!! has made a very sexual festive mix just in case you weren't completely sick of Christmas. Or, if you have a soul, you'll want one last thing to prolong the joy of Christmas. I really wanted to post a link to the mp3, but sadly it's reached it's download limit on Soundcloud. Anyway, you can still listen to it below or on his Soundcloud page.

Oh Snap!! - Save a Turkey, Eat a Salad - DJ MIX... by ohsnapmusic

And if you feel as though I haven't spoiled you as much as I should, here's a wee 5 minute minimix DJ Yoda made:

Download: DJ Yoda - The 5 Minute Christmas Mix

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

"Give Me A Tissue In Case Of Mess..."

I know this is unbelievably ancient in the grand scheme of the internets, but it's still hilarious and really pokes fun at badly made grime. South East Londoners, Red Hot Entertainment comprise Gracious K, Jaxor, J Formula, Kabir, Klayze Flaymez, Terra Kid, X Ray. They don't seem to be doing anything anymore and the rest of the stuff on their MySpace isn't that great but this tune is still hilarious, and I'm 90% sure they're kidding.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Joy Orbison - She Dressed In Her Best (Video)

I'm glad to be able to show you why Joy Orbison is so good, instead of showing you on of his remixes. It really reminds me of those great records by Four Tet or Amon Tobin. You can hear the influence of Aphex Twin's squelchy acid synths as well in what is a well balanced blend of dubstep, acid and IDM.

New A Silver Mt. Zion LP

Post rock royalty, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra have announced they will be releasing their sixth album this February on Constellation. The new record, 'Kollaps Tradixionales', sees the introduction of a new drummer, David Payant and a departure from what went before.

The happy-go-lucky Candian collective has also been trimmed to the tune of three members and the Tra-La-La Band, presumably to suit what promises to be more inline with their more low-key pieces.

Efrim Menuck's sister band to Godspeed You! Black Emperor, A Silver Mt. Zion, have made some of post-rock's finest albums, particularly 2001's Horses In The Sky and 2000's 'He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms...', released as Thee Silver Mountain Reveries.

You can get your grubby little mits on a copy over at Norman Records.

And if you're too impatient for that then have a wee gander thither:

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

New Massive Attack LP!

Massive Attack have announced they will be releasing their first LP in 7 years, 'Heligoland' (formerly 'LP5', formerly 'Weather Underground'), on February 8th next year. It boasts an impressive host of guest artists, including Horace Andy, Martina Topley-Bird, Damon Albarn, Tunde Adebimpe and Guy Garvey.

The tracklisting is thusly:

01. Pray For Rain
02. Babel
03. Splitting The Atom
04. Girl I Love You
05. Psyche
06. Flat Of The Blade
07. Paradise
08. Circus Rush
09. Minute
10. Saturday Come Slow
11. Atlas
12. Air

I haven't heard any of the album but hopefully they'll do as well as Portishead did with 'Third'. I do know that 'Psyche' is a remix of a song by Martina Topley-Bird and 'Pray For A Rain' is a remix of Tunde Adebimpe's song of the same name.

I surely will keep you posted with stuff like mp3s and videos and the suchlike when I can.

Cumbia: Scorchio!

Good old DJ /rupture's been busy of late preaching the gospel according to Cumbia and working on new material with Matt Shadetek on a new 12" that comes out very soon and features DJ Kiva and is sure to include Cumbia deliciousness.

DJ /rupture is one of those really solid artists you can really rely on to put out forward-thinking, intelligent music; from jungle to hip-hop and ragga. And on top of all this, he runs a radio show on WFMU that you can catch up on by clicking on that link over yonder. You should definitely listen to the most reason show because it opens with a tune by Einstürzende Neubauten, which makes him sexy by my count.

He's also a really prolific blogger and always has a lot to say about Cumbia on Negrophonic and La Congona, particularly so on the latter. It really is one of the only places to read about Cumbia, and /rupture's an incredibly well-versed teacher. If it isn't the only place to read about Cumbia, it's definitely the best.

Oh, and he asked me to ask you to ask yourselves to add him on Twitter. If you know what a Twitter is his username is @djrupture. Then, once you've done all of those things you should download the following track by Grupo Estrella:

Download: Grupo Estrella - Muevelo

Monday, 14 December 2009

Junglist Massive Inna Di Place

Some kind soul on the interwebs has dug out an old BBC2 documentary about jungle (seriously.) from 1994. The sound quality isn't great but it's pretty good given how old it is. It features some pretty interesting footage of Shy FX and Gunsmoke recording 'Gangster'.

It's also pretty interesting to see how jungle influenced drum & bass and then dubstep and now even UK funky. Basically, this is the golden age of jungle; although there was a revival a few years ago with people like RCola and Paulie Waulnuts. It really is a shame what happened to jungle and drum & bass after this documentary was made.

The documentary marks the period that jungle purists consider to be the point where jungle went bad; the beats got slower, the synths got dancier and eventually you got Dillinja. Before that, however, ragga jungle really kicked off in the UK with people like Tenor Fly, Shy FX and General Levy all doing incredibly well from the surge in interest.

If you're not sure how big this was, it was as big as dubstep is now and it went the same way dubstep will probably go. The documentary itself was clearly made to mark the ascension of jungle drum & bass, but unfortunately it ended up chronicling the end of the genre. Still, it's really funny to see people like Shy FX and Gunsmoke as little whipper snappers trying to explain jungle.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

And as a little yuletide treat, here's a classic jungle tune from that era:

Download: Tenor Fly - Don't Dis The Jungle

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Buraka Som Sistema - FabricLive.49

In contrast to yesterday's post, I've decided to share something a little warmer with you, the new FabricLive mix by Buraka Som Sistema. Credited with furthering the kuduro style, Buraka had been touring their latest album 'Black Diamond' for a year and decided to take things back to the beginning.

"A mix CD is at the core of what Buraka was about at the beginning. It's like going back to the roots. At the same time, it's very exciting to be out there doing different music and influencing different sounds. A lot of artists, like some dubstep artists and even some UK funky are picking up on the sound, and that's amazing. That's something that we are really happy to be part of. We also wanted to avoid making a compilation of 20 club bangers that two months from now are going to be totally forgotten and people are going to be totally sick of them because they've heard it in the club so many times already. We also wanted to have a lot of our fresh material on there. And thirdly, we wanted to achieve a kind of flow where there are moments in the mix for you to relax, like Zomby's track."
- Buraka Som Sistema

Their mix for FabricLive contains a stackful of re-hashes of their own records, including versions from L-Vis 1990, Stenchman and A1 Bassline. What's becoming increasingly apparent is the impact kuduro is having on club music the world over, as more and more sounds beginning to absorb the influence of kuduro - UK funky, dubstep, electro and bassline have all started to incorporate kuduro's jump-up drum beats.

This mix has some of my favourite tunes of the year on it. It also has one of the worst (Diplo & Laidback Luke's 'Hey!') but it's still a fun mix and is sure to pick you up in the winter months.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

DJ Oneman Winter 2009 Mix

This tasty little mix from DJ Oneman has already reached a heady 1800 in the two days it's been on Soundcloud. But then, this sort of thing is par for the course with ol' Steve; he remains (to the best of my knowledge) the only DJ to appear on Mary Anne Hobbs' Radio 1 show without a single release to his name.

The Winter mix is a real mix of styles, incorporating old favourites like Shackleton and Burial as well as some new peeps to check out like Joy Orbison and Bisweed. It also draws in elements of downtempo d&b and some light techno for good measure and makes for a mix that reminds you of frosty winter nights.

If you check out his Soundcloud and Mixcloud pages there's a tonne of his mixes to download and delve into. Anyway, here's the tracklist:

01. South East Soul - Lust
02. Four Tet - Love Cry (Joy Orbison Remix)
03. Deadboy - Heartbreaker
04. Dusk & Blackdown - Dasaflex
05. Blackpocket - U'Re A Sta (Martyn Remix)
06. Point B - Fossils
07. Shackleton - Blood On My Hands
08. Peverelist - Roll With The Punches
09. Digital Mystikz - I Wait
10. Skream - Sweetz
11. Kissy Sellout - This Kiss (Synkro Remix)
12. Faltydl - Lay
13. Bisweed - You're In Love
14. Burial - Etched Headplate
15. Kamikaze - Ghetto Kyote
16. Desto - Skyline
17. Shackleton - Naked
18. Burial - Endorphin

Download: DJ Oneman - Winter 2009 Mix (click to download)

Friday, 11 December 2009

Starkey Raving Mad

Just when you thought he'd outdone himself with 'Gutter Music', along comes Starkey's new single, 'Capsule'. The track comes from his second full length album, 'Ear Drums And Black Holes' and is due out on March 16th on Planet Mu.

What sets Starkey apart from other dubstep producers is he never shys away from layers and complexity, even at his grimiest. If you can imagine dubstep having come from the post-apocalyptic nightmare that is Ghost In The Machine, that's pretty much how Starkey sounds.

Hailing from Philadelphia, Paul "Starkey" Geissinger began making techy-dubstep back in 2005, a whole 2 years before it was cool to like dubstep, especially in the U.S. Since then, he's gone from strength to strength with releases on Planet Mu, Peace Off sublabel Ruff, Dead Homies and his own label Slit Jockey.

Capsule - Radio World Premiere by starkbot

Warp Release 20th Anniversary Compilation

To celebrate 20 marvellous years of Warp, they're releasing a new compilation. It comprises new music from established artists like Gonjasufi, The Hundred In The Hands, Nice Nice, De Tropix and Rustie.

If you haven't heard any Flying Lotus, then check him out. It's exactly how you would expect a dubstep producer to sound signed to Warp, with all its musical history somehow seeping through into the arpeggiated synths.

Gladly, ol' Rustie keeps things irreverent in a way we haven't seen since the golden days of breakcore and glitch! There's also enough of a mix to keep things interesting, showing that Warp can always deliver when so many have stalled.

Better yet, there'll be an event on Saturday 12th in London featuring most of the artists on the release as well as Nightmares On Wax and Jackson. And if you buy your copy from Bleep you can get a free ticket with your copy.

01 - Bibio - Jealous Of Roses (Pivot Remix)
2009 saw Bibio’s debut hailed as a masterful meshing of ethereal folk and electronic rhythms destined for classic status. Here labelmates Pivot lend their space-rock bombast to one of the album’s many standouts.

02 - The Hundred In The Hands - Dressed In Dresden
Brooklyn alchemists The Hundred In The Hands stand to define the borough’s ever-mutating sound in 2010 with fiery post-punk anthems, slow-burning synthesizer ballads and a brilliantly realized vision of avant-garde pop music.

03 - Nice Nice - See Waves
Recalling the heyday of kosmiche krautrock explorers while looking towards a new realm of psychedelic music, this Portland, Oregon two-piece energetically summon a staggering sea of melodic noise.

04 - Flying Lotus - Quakes
Already regarded as one of the most talented and innovative producers of his young generation, 2009 saw Flying Lotus conclude the saga of his Los Angeles album and accompanying EPs. From the sessions for his as-yet-untitled new album (due in 2010) comes this low-slung masterpiece.

05 - Pivot - The Quick Mile
One of the riskiest ways to sidestep a sophomore slump is an all-out sonic overhaul, but in 2010 Pivot look to succeed brilliantly by adapting their dynamic instrumental movements into brooding, melancholy pop songs…without losing the anthemic crunch they’re know for.

06 - Africa HiTech - Blen
Mark Pritchard’s latest guise may also be his absolute heaviest. Africa HiTech’s futuristic take on Jamaican dancehall fuses global bass music with the dynamic vocals of Steve Spacek for an incredibly heavy musical and lyrical combination.

07 - Rustie - Inside Pikachu's Cunt
Straight out of the Glasgow gloom shines the neon flash of young, irreverent Rustie – equally enamored with low-slung crunk and cascading bleep symphonies, his forthcoming debut signals a loud new voice in dance music. He’s no slouch at naming his tracks either.

08 - De Tropix - Adeyhey
Debuting in 2010, De Tropix will be a name already familiar to those paying attention to London clubland. Bashment pop that is as undeniably catchy as it is speaker-rumbling, taking in everything from dubstep to soca and dancehall to grime, and with no shortage of rudegirl attitude from frontwoman Cherry B there's little to stop the De Tropix invasion.

09 - Hudson Mohawke - FUSE
2009’s Butter album was HudMo’s coming out party as a twisted R&B genius, and 2010 will hear his name ring out from both sides of the mainstream.

10 - Gonjasufi - Ancestors
There’s something emerging from the desolation of the California desert. It’s Gonjasufi, a street mystic with a shadowy identity and deep hymns to match.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

A-Trak Remixes Yeah Yeah Yeahs

A-Trak has done a rather spiffy little remix of the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs single, 'Heads Will Roll'. There are a few different remixes out there a minute: one by Passion Pit and another by DJ Tiësto of all people. As you can imagine, this is by far the best one out there at the minute.

For those who have been hibernating recently, A-Trak is an amazing DJ and turntablist: he won the DMCs World DJ Championship back in 1997 at the tender age of 15 and he's been making pretty hip hop flavoured house ever since. Check out his 'Dirty South Dance' mixed LP if you don't believe me.

As an added treat, you can watch the set he won the competition with below. He's pretty arrogant but I suppose you could hardly blame him.

Oh and while you're at it, look at Roc Raida's mix for the 1996 DMC Championships. I still can't believe he's dead.

Download: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll (A-Trak Remix)

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

New Animal Collective EP!

Animal Collective have been around since 2000 when friends and core members, Avey Tare and Panda Bear. At present, the band also includes Geologist and Deaken, but operate with anything between 1 and 4 of the members.

In doing so, the band manages to simultaneously master everything from "skewed pop ballads to fiercely ruptured noise-squalls to tribal rhythmic work-outs to simple folk songs, to who knows where; from fully orchestrated group freak-outs to a the intimacy of an acoustic duo", their website boasts.

Animal Collective have always had an interest in the "sonic experience", but remain grounded in indie-pop sensibilities. There's almost a hint of Ween in them, the more you listen to them the more you can hear the similarities, and in a good way: I was just thinking it was a shame Ween aren't recording so much nowadays.

Anyway, below is the latest of their tracks to come to my intention, taken from their 'Fall Be Kind' EP, out on the 16th on Domino. It's a 7 minute Eno-ish epic that builds with equal measure shoegazer and post-rock. It does have a bit of a poppy edge to it but it's more introverted than their catchier stuff and borders on choral with the layered vocals. So dig in, it's reet scrummy!

Download: Animal Collective - I Think I Can

31 Tracks In 31 Days!

Our good friends at Ad Noiseam inform me that Zero Inch are currently running a month-long giveaway, 31 tracks in 31 days. Sadly, the Ad Noiseam feature has been and gone but there's plenty of good stuff to come in the rest of the month and you can still stream older tracks.

It's basically a countdown to the New Year. It's a little hit and miss but there's definitely something for everything and at least worth a look-in.

You'll need your to find the code for each day and each track is only up for a day, so get hunting and make sure you check back each day!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Led Queens Of The Nirvana

Josh Homme has emerged from his silence surrounding his new band, Them Crooked Vultures. It has been announced the band's lineup comprises Homme, John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl. It's a really promising lineup and the songs do sound great but supergroups always seem to be playing it safe, there's no rawness.

Fortunately, it doesn't stray too far from the Kyuss/QOTSA bluesy dirge. It's still great music, and you could hardly describe it as bad in any way, but but it's not exactly groundbreaking.

And if I'm honest, John Paul Jones sounds like a bit of a novelty, although his blues credentials do make sense in band with Homme. I also don't really see why this wasn't a new Queens Of The Stone Age record since Jones is the only discernible difference between the two bands, especially since both Grohl and Jones featured on 2002's 'Songs For The Deaf'.

But I think I'm probably being too much of a pessimist, at least I hope I am. In any case, it's still a promising lineup, they have worked well together in the past and it is good music - I'm just not sure that having such a lineup won't detract from that.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Primal Scream + The Rolling Stones = London School Of Economics

If you like your music with its tongue rammed so hard into its cheek it spits blood, then you'll enjoy London School Of Economics. If you're a po-faced Buzzkillington who takes music very seriously then you won't like this. But then again you probably didn't like dubstep to begin with.

Anyway, tide yourself over with this cheeky little number, for tomorrow brings some other stuff. Oh, and if you can find anything about them on YouTube you deserve a VERY happy ending.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Full Metal Reissue

Bong-Ra has reissued the 'Full Metal Racket' CD on Ad Noiseam this week. The album is a collection of two of his most banging 12-inch releases, 'Grindkore' and 'SickSickSick' and a few unreleased tracks for good measure.

It's predominantly a speedcore and grindcore affair but it does have some ruddy great breakcore tunes. If you don't have any decks then this release is pretty invaluable unless you're one of those awful buckaneering file-sharers we hear about.

It's a super limited edition and may be your last chance to get it first hand. So go to Ad Noiseam and download the little beauty. While stocks last and all that!

Wait Oh Wait It's A1 Bassline!

I find myself constantly defending my love of bassline. Whenever anyone hears me profess my love for all things bass I'm always met with derision and mockery: "Really? Bassline? All that DJ Q charvey pop-dance? Are you stupid?"

It's at times like those that I'm grateful for A1 Bassline. The other New Yorkers like B.Rich, Drop The Lime and AC Slater do put out some really amazing releases but they stray so far from the traditional bassline/2-step formula that it becomes hard to define them as bassline.

A1 Bassline, on the other hand, still uses the straightforward four-to-the-floor kicks and clipped synths but he also encorporates elements of Dutch House and Techno into his wobbly pot of gumbo. This year's 'Badman Horror Theme' stormed clubs worlwide and definitely marks him out as one to watch.

Since it's (nearly) Christmas, check one of his latest tunes out, and then head on over to Beatport and buy the flat-out ACE EP 'Bad Man Horror'!

Download: A1 Bassline - 8oh8

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

New Little Jinder Remix EP!

I'm a bit late getting to this but Trouble & Bass staple, Little Jinder, has a new remix EP of Youth Blood out today yesterday. The EP comes with remixes by 12th Planet & Finch, Sharkslayer, Bok Bok, Rico Tubbs, Chateau LaTeuf and The Squire Of Gothos. The original is a really chilled synthy bit of electro, sort of like The Knife but more like being cuddled by Björk. In a good way, of course. If anyone remembers her first single 'Polyhedron' (which was perfectly remixed by Supra1) you'll know she has a really beautiful voice and her productions knock the shit out of the others'.

Trouble & Bass is putting out some really amazing records at the minute. If you haven't heard of them, you probably don't get out much. It's owned by Drop The Lime and is absolutely DOMINATING the New York electro/bassline/dubstep scene (and now the UK too).

Seriously though, go to Juno and download it. But first, have a butchers' at the original:

Download: Little Jinder - Youth Blood

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

New Hostage EP Out Today!

It's been a busy year for Hostage this year, touring Australia, Asia and Europe and becoming Scotland's biggest export since heart-attacks-in-a-bun. He's received a lot of support from two of Radio 1's biggest luminaries, Toddla T and Annie Mac just on the strength of his first EP and his now legendary remix of 'Dominator' by Human Resource.

His second EP is a more bassy affair but still retains the ghettotech/juke influence of his first EP and the Rock It Out b-sides. The title track is epic but Momma's Boy's remix gives it a really old skool house feel and really amplifies this one sample that almost passes you by in the original.

The rest of the remixes come from Angel Alanis, Rampage and Chrissy Murderbot. Valhalla and Asgard have a really strong, almost cheesy Nordic theme to them but the second track, Ronnie Ronnie is more reminiscient of his heavy dubstep or "ravestep".

Now download the title track below and then nip over to Beatport to download the whole jobby.

Download: Hostage - Valhalla (320 mp3, direct link)

Monday, 30 November 2009

Sona Di So Good For Me

Recently I haven't listened to a great deal of post-rock, it all started to sound boring, depressing and monotonous; Explosions In The Sky were starting to repeat themselves and Godspeed have pretty much collapsed as an entity. How refreshing, then, to find a post-rock band that doesn't preoccupy itself with playing the same dull guitar riff over and over again until the end of time - step forward, Sona Di.

Last night I was privy to a spleen-blowing gig at the Head Of Steam up here in sunny Newcastle, Sona Di were the opening act but nothing separated any of three bands. What made it an exceptional gig was the way in which every act complemented each other perfectly.

What sets them apart from, say, Explosions In The Sky is the passion in their performance and the fusion of other styles like drone and noise into a style of post-rock that peaks and falls with far more tension than their contemporaries.

I do like Explosions In The Sky but their performance when I saw them at the Sage was turgid, with very little progression. Sona Di, on the other hand, seemed to have planned their set perfectly, climaxing as it did with the literal disintegration of the stage.

As their set reached its zenith, so did their exertion: Angus Mason, the drummer, beat that drumkit so hard it shook throughout and collapsed right at the end as their driving beat crescendoed; Daniel Irving, the guitarist, rose from his seat at the same point and played with such ferocity that he too nearly collapsed. That with the intensity of Michael Marwood's vocals made for a truly impassioned performance.

Now look down for some (two) Sona Di goodies: a video of the performing live at The Musical Restaurant last year plus a free mp3 of my personal favourite Sona Di tune to indulge yourself in. Enjoy!

Download: Sona Di - Forest

Sunday, 29 November 2009

New Donna Summer mix for ZNMA Vodka!

Smashing new mix from DJ Donna Summer. Download the crap out of it if you like your basslines fast and wibbly wobbly.

"Boss man DJ Donna Summer was asked to make a new mix for this Russian vodka company called ZNMA. It’s actually pronounced “Zima” but that’s the Russian word for winter and there’s absolutely no connection between the two, so we keep the “N” in there because it looks cool and that’s how my man Oleg spells it… haha! This is available in a Deluxe Digi-pack format in Russia but we want the music spread far and wide, so here it is for free @ 320!

"The mix is 100% Nightshifters tracks with a lot of exclusive new tracks as well as a few of our older favorites. Comes with the artwork for the CD in the .zip as well, so take a look!"

Download: Nightshifters Mix for ZNMA Vodka (320 mp3)

Thursday, 26 November 2009

New Monolake album!

When I read what Robert Henke had written on the Monolake website I thought "What a load of pretentious wanky drivel." but then I listened to the album and I realised I was absolutely right. The new LP, 'Silence', should really have been just that.

I actually really liked Monolake's older stuff; it managed to blend elements of dub, techno, and minimalist drum & bass. Their first three records, Cyan, Magenta and HongKong were perfect ambient records and paved the way for the really early, breaksy dubstep.

Since then, though, they seem like they're just trying too hard to be 'weird'. There's intellectual snobbery in here somewhere, I'm just not sure if it's mine or theirs.

The whole concept of the album (by now alarm bells should have shattered your eardrums) was that music recorded live before digital cleanups and whatnot had dynamics - i.e. some bits would be louder, some softer, etc. - and that this was a golden age. The fact is, there's very little else to this album and it comes off as a really tedious experiment that I could've survived quite happily without hearing.

It's such a shame because they used to be such pioneers, both members now run Ableton Live full time, but now I can't help but feel like they're just doing it for the sake of it, and at times simply going through the motions - especially on the opening track.

For a much better experience just ignore this album and go back to their early stuff. And try to stay away from all the showing off and techno-cockery.

On the upside, Torsten Pröfrock also produces really spiffy dubstep as T++. His remix of 'Death Is Not Final' for Shackleton has taken off a storm on the ol' blogosphere. Go, prosper and stay away from this album.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Randy Twigg - Undone

After spending 3, count them 3, hours downloading this LP, I couldn't help but feel that it better be good. And honestly, I wasn't expecting much.

I hadn't heard of Randy Twigg before but the accompanying blurb from tigerbeat6 told me that she comes from:

"Deep in the bowels of Europe, well past the architecture and schnitzel hauses, past the sweating line-ups roped away from already packed clubs, past the throbbing mass on the dance floor itself, deep in the hot flashes of stages across Europe and Canada, slamming her beats, strapped into her bass, playing every note like her last"

With that in mind, I slapped it on and was underwhelmed to begin with. At first listen this sounds a little too much like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, without much of a signature. Having said that, 'Done Up' is a great opener, with a real Kraut-rock influence and a touch of MC5 for good measure.

After the first track things get a little hazy and border on lazy until you get to 'Photograph' and the bluesy electro-rock really kicks in. Any worries I had about Ms. Twigg not being able to find the right balance between electroclash and garage rock completely dissipated.

The vocals throughout draw on elements of Kate Bush and early Siouxsie Sioux, but what I love most is how the contrasting layers and the soundscapes they use reminded me of Einstürzende Neubauten with just a hint of Nick Cave. Shitty derivative Radio 1 electro it ain't. Which is nice.

I couldn't tell you what the lyrics are about, and if I'm honest I'm not sure she could either, but it's really great music and makes a nice change from the whole "kooky female singer" schtick with the likes of La Roux, Little Boots, etc. It does teeter on the verges of really boring girl-shouting-over-electro a la Fannypack and Fagget Fairies, but it picks up by the fourth track and there's some really great remixes of from Kid606, GD Luxxe and Khan to boot.

Stand out tracks: Suitcase, Made Of Mouse, Bona Fide, Assassin
Download: Randy Twigg - 3 Parrots (Kid606 Remix)

Title: Undone (meow154)
Artist: Randy Twigg
Out now on Tigerbeat6

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Durutti Column's tribute to Tony Wilson

It has been announced today that The Durutti Column, of which the creatively erratic Vini Reilly is a founding member, are to release a commemorative album to mark the death of Factory Records co-founder and manager of the Hacienda nightclub, Tony Wilson.

The release, A Paean To Wilson, was originally written by Vini Reilly as a personal collection for Wilson to listen to while he was seriously ill in hospital in 2007, shortly before his death. The tape, in its present form was commissioned by the Manchester International Festival of Music. It is scheduled to be released on 24th January next year, the 32nd anniversary of the day Factory Records was set up in 1978.

"A Paean to Wilson is part of a body of work which I started around the time that my friend, Tony Wilson died. Towards the end of his illness, I sent him an instrumental track and he loved it, so I decided that the right thing to do was carry on.

"I was at the hospital when he died. We were very, very close. Afterwards, many things were done in his name. They were all about 'Mr Manchester', and about what Tony had done for music, art and literature. I didn't attend many of them. I'd just lost one of my closest friends and I had all the grief that you feel under such circumstances. Once I'd got my act together though, I decided to do something for myself and for Tony.

"The Durutti Column was Tony Wilson's baby. We were the first act signed up to his Factory club night and the first band signed to Factory Records. Over the years we worked on many albums together and the one thing that Tony and I always argued about was that he thought that I should make music and write rather than sing.

"After he died, I decided to make a body of work which did not have traditional song structures and which was concerned solely with the musical content. My only objective was to create some music that Tony would thoroughly approve of. I think I've done that and, if his spirit lives on - which I like to think that it does - I want him to know that this is for him."
- Vini Reilly

As Reilly points out, The Durutti Column were Wilson's band. Rob Gretton had Joy Division (previously The Stiff Kittens and Warsaw, later New Order) but The Durutti Column were special to him, they were the first band he discovered and one of the few bands he discovered that could be taken remotely serious (A Certain Ratio anyone?). So it seems largely fitting that Reilly and his band would put together such a piece. And let's face it, a tribute by the Happy Mondays wouldn't have quite the same poignancy. Particularly, now that it's essentially Shaun Ryder and Bez with a few session musicians.

Anyway, I digress. The fact is The Durutti Column managed to give the angular, disjointed rhythms of post-punk an ethereal edge. They were also mocked (and still are) for being a bit weird and introspective, but that's what set them apart from bands like Joy Division who still retained a lot of the macho punk ethic. In closing, Reilly and Wilson had a lot in common, both were derided for being a bit different and not being macho or what you would consider "punk". They weren't afraid to be themselves and refused to do anything for the sake of it, making this tribute all the more apt. What's more, these songs are a touching tribute and further testament to Wilson's legacy as a man loyal to his artists 'til the very end.

So here's a little teaser of Vini Reilly performing part of A Paean To Wilson at the Pavillion Theatre as part of the aforementioned Manchester International Festival of Music:

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Chrissy Murderbot's Year of Mixtapes

Given the last post I thought it appropriate to mention Chrissy Murderbot's new project. It's an ambitious task he's setting himself, but he seems to be doing a good job so far. He has set to produce a new mix each week covering a different style of dance or electronica, and every now and again you get two mixes for the price of one! Impressively, he also promises not to repeat the same tune twice. So far we've had drum & bass, techno, two kraftwerk tapes, disco, soul, reggae and happy hardcore. And we're only on week 24. Aside from the party factor it's actually really educational if you're a bit of a nerd when it comes to music. Each mix comes with an incredibly informed introduction about whatever style or artist is covered that week.
This week it's Ghettotech and Chrissy sets us straight on the difference between ghettotech and juke:
"Ghettotech tends to stick to either four-on-the-floor style drum patterns or traditional Miami bass electro drum patterns, whereas juke is a lot more all over the place rhythmically; ghettotech makes a lot less use of the tom tom drum as a melodic instrument; and ghettotech tends to be 'techier' or more futuristic sounding, whereas juke has a lot more of a pronounced soul, hip hop, and R&B influence."

I have to admit I haven't heard of most of the artists he features, but that's the brilliance of it. Whole genres and styles of music you've never even heard before. And don't worry, because it can get quite "breaksy" here and there for anyone interested in something a little harder. My personal favourites have to be this week's Ghettotech tape, the Booty Music/Jack Trax tape and the Steppas Reggae, but believe me there's so much more in there and definitely something for everyone.
It may not be breakcore but it sure is fun. So go to his blog, check out the latest entry and catch up on what you've already missed!


Thanks to the limitless generosity that flows from Mr. Murderbot's very being, we're able to offer you the latest tape absolutely chuffing FREE!:

Download: Chrissy Murderbot - Week 24, Ghettotech Mix

Friday, 30 October 2009

RIP Breakcore 1997-2008

A strange thing has happened in the underground music world: breakcore has officially died. It's been circling the drain since 2006 but my worst fears have been confirmed. Ever since I heard Donna Summer's Birthday Party Berlin mix I knew things were shifting. Within a few months Cardopusher was making dubstep, Kid606 and AC Slater started releasing bassline and then Bong-Ra announced his new dubstep project, "Dubstyx". Drop The Lime jumped the good ship breakcore some time ago with his own brand of electro-bassline but Bong-Ra's conversion is surely the end. Hell, even Sickboy is dabbling in electroclash now.

It's not even that I don't like dubstep, electro or even bassline; it's just I would rather have both. I was talking to a friend about this recently and he said that even Hoonboy had made the conversion, doing a fucking house set for Creamfields. It's not that people aren't still making breakcore and hardcore; it's that the scene has completely died, being confined to bedrooms and tiny rooms above pubs and bars. And even so, it's becoming increasingly difficult to catch any breakcore or hardcore producers live.

But I do honestly love the things that are happening with electro and bass music. Donna Summer's productions still retain the humour and fun of his hardcore tracks. Equally, Kid606's tracks still pack an aggressive punch. But, Cardopusher's efforts have so far been dismal; the fast basslines feel too much like Rusko-lite and there's none of the inventive sampling and wit that made his breakcore stand out from the crowd. Worse still, Knifehandchop and Shitmat seem to have dropped out of the game altogether.

Aaron Spectre, on the other hand, is a beacon of hope. Having let the Drumcorps project take a backseat, he now seems to be focusing on ambient electronica with elements of dub and breaks. Hopefully, others will follow his lead in making more introspective, experimental breakcore and we can see a return to the 2004(ish) with more releases like Venetian Snares' Rossz Csillag Alatt Született, Jason Forrest's earlier LPs and End's Sick Generation. There is also promise of a new Panacea LP this year, but I'm not expecting anything great.

I suppose they have to go where the money is, it's just disappointing.


Welcome to Kick Out The Jam! This will be a blog for me to wax musical about... well, music.

I'm not sure what sorts of music I will be covering in here but I will say that it will be largely at the experimental or underground end of the spectrum. This blog will be a place to read about the latest releases, news and events in the world of hip-hop, electronica, folk, indie and all that other trite nonsense out there. Ultimately, it'll be a rather scatter gun affair with very little in the way of a central theme, other than it "stuff I like". There will also be berating, harsh criticism and knee-jerk reactions.

Hopefully, I'll be able to post up mp3s and other media but, with things the way they are, who can say?

Anyway, with any luck this will be a proper thing that I won't lose interest in after a day. Watch this space! But don't really.