Roachford rules. That’s all.
Who’s having a stressful one today? I am. And nah, luckily for you guys, I don’t really wanna talk about it. It is ok though, you don’t have to worry your pretty heads about it cos I’ll be fine. Mainly because this morning, when I was at the height of my stressful-ness, one of my buddies emailed me with solo newcomer, Espa’s debut track, Apartment 2F, which instantly chilled me right out man. Good timing hey? Well I thought as the universe had smiled on me at my time of need this morning, I’d share the wealth and maybe do the same for some of you lot. Cos I’m nice like that.
Espa (that’s the back of her head above, and might I add it’s probably the most colourfully interesting back of someone’s head I’ve ever seen) hails from London originally but from what I’ve found out, spends a fair bit of her time across the pond in NYC, and it’s there where she met her buddies and collaborators from minimal Hip Hop act, the Flatbush Zombies. Having featured on one of their tracks (Red Light, Green Light), Espa enlisted the help of Erick Arc Elliot (or Erick The Architect), to help her create her own sound. And you’re now (hopefully) listening to the gorgeously chilled result of that union. Erick’s deft production is pretty evident, in the minimal, atmospheric synths & beats, which give the platform for Espa’s soulful vocals to seep deep into your brain, where if you’re lucky, they’ll take up residence and stay for a while. If you’re looking for a few references before you listen, think along the lines of yesterday’s Mercury Award Nominee, FKA Twigs, SZA, Jessie Ware, Rosie Lowe, or Gallant and that should make you wanna press play immediately…
Cooler than an Eskimo with shaved nuts, wearing assless chaps, eating a mini milk,with a baseball cap on back to front, here’s the first single, ‘Young Blood’, as taken from our buddy, the genius that is James Yuill’s new project Mapaga’s debut E.P., Realia, which drop this very bloody friday (12th)!! Go on have a listen and cover yourself in it’s awesomeness…
P.S. we’ll be doing a full, well as close to full as we ever do, review of the E.P. next tues on Jasper’s Purchase Of The Week
Lots to do, lots to do today, sounds like a quote that doesn’t it? I’ll send a bunch of fresh bananas to whoever tells me who said that and in what context… Aside from that little comp, I genuinely do have a lot to do today and it seems like very little time, which is an odd feeling for me, cos it’s normally the other way round, loads of time and feck all to do with it, hence me taking up music journalism. But today is not one of those days, and it just so happens that the law of the sod means that this week has an absolute boat load of decent releases that are more than worthy of a few of my choice words. Damn that sod.
Luckily for me, this week Ryan Adams has released his best album for years, with this self titled record, and obviously Ryan Adams needs zero introduction cos he’s been around for donkeys, prolifically churning out his singer songwriter’y combo of emotive americana, country, folk & rock (of varying quality) for all that time. He’s so prolific in fact that I reckon Mark Kozelek, with his 784 musical projects, is probably the only bloke alive that actually releases more stuff. Bottom line here is, I’m not gonna patronise you guys by telling you who Ryan is what he’s about, cos I’m sure most of you already know. And for those of you who don’t, well, either go wiki his ass or better still get yourself on spotify and start with Whiskeytown (his first band) and then make your way through his many many solo albums (Gold, Love Is Hell pt 1, Ashes & Fire and his work with The Cardinals are my personal faves). But back to the here and now, and as I said earlier, in my view, this latest work is his strongest, most consistent set of songs in a good few years, pitching somewhere between, Neil Young, Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac, but less country than his most recent releases. And that my friends is all you need to know. Just buy it.
BEST OF THE REST
INTERPOL – EL PINTOR
Another act that’s returning to form this week/ year is Interpol. Not that they ever really completely lost it or anything but El Pintor, is pretty close if not arguably as good as their alt gloom rock debut Turn On The Bright Lights. And if you own a copy of that you’ll know that that’s quite a statement, cos that album was a bit of a masterpiece, and made most people’s lists as one of the album’s of the noughties, spawning the arrival of a whole host of copy cat bands too (Editors anyone?). In summation, the record’s dark, it’s cool, and you should probably buy it as well.
AVI BUFFALO – AT BEST CUCKOID
Standard’s high this week. Think I mentioned that earlier didn’t i? If not, I have now, and it is. Avi Buffalo are the next lot to keep the bar up way higher than your average week, with their second album, At Best Cuckoid. Taking it’s cues from the late 60′s, early 70′s, it’s a record that takes you away to some sort of melancholic dream world. Full of delicate vocals, sunny guitar melodies but dark witty lyrics, in my eyes it eclipses their also pretty brill self titled debut. Elliott Smith, Death Cab For Cutie & George Harrison fans, step this way…
BANKS – GODDESS
Still a fair few more to go, but stick with me, if Adams, Interpol & Buffalo ain’t your bag, you’ll surely find something to your taste in the next few. Up next we’ve got the very impressive debut from Banks (or Jillian Banks if you want her full name?). My regular readers (if there are any?) will know that I’ve referenced Banks quite a bit over the last year or so, maybe longer actually. As since her debut E.P. Fall Over dropped in march last year, I’ve had her card marked as one of the better acts on the overflowing synth’n’b scene, and this debut backs that opinion right up. She’s effectively a female Sohn, although not quite as minimal, with sultry vocals drifting menacingly over dark synths and r’n’b beats, hence the synth’n’b, clever right?
BALLET SCHOOL – THE DEW LASTS AN HOUR
Still not heard anything you like? Don’t you worry your pretty little head, cos there really is something of quality for everyone this week. Almost. I mean if you like metal or happy hardcore then you may well be disappointed as I wouldn’t know what’s good in those fields anyway, but if that’s your vibe then you really shouldn’t be on this blog anyways as I never write about that crap. I think the only genre that I like, and would consider worthy of these internet pages that’s not well represented on the album front this week is dance, but hey can’t have everything can ya? But if dance really is your thing, the closest I’ve got for you is Ballet School’s dream pop debut The Dew Lasts An Hour. Don’t get me wrong it’s not dance, but their faster paced tracks are all washed in hazy synths and guitars that I reckon would appeal to some dance heads on their down time, as well as genre fans obviously. They’re signed to Cocteau Twins bassist Simon Raymonde’s label, that should give you another clue as to their sound, and here’s a few more- Mint Julep? School Of Seven Bells? parts of the Drive Soundtrack? Got it now? Good.
MAZES – WOODEN AQUARIUM
Back to the geetars now, this time for a bit of early 90′s garage rock, with Mazes third, Wooden Aquarium. If you’re into Parcquet Courts, The Orwells et al, and going back a bit further, The Pixies, then this one’s gonna be right up your strasse. Now you may wonder why I’ve just dropped in a bit of german there despite the fact people stopped using that phrase yonks ago, but it was for a reason. And the reason is that there’s also a dash of Krautrock in this album too. See the link now? German- Kraut- no? Genius right? Naaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!! I do try though
HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER – LATENESS OF DANCERS
For those that have made it this far, big love to you. I reckon 99% of people probably stopped reading two lines into the Ryan Adams section. But hopefully the remaining 1% will be the ones laughing cos they’ve found out about the many other awesome albums out this week. And this you’ll be pleased to know is the last, so you’re almost there. Being last is certainly not the least in this case though, cos Hiss Golden Messenger’s (any ideas what that band name’s all about? again there’s a bunch of bananas in it for anyone with any info…), Lateness Of Dancers, is right up there. Similar in vibe to Ryan’s self titled POTW winner, this is genuine americana gold. Some tracks here could’ve been lifted off Neil Young’s Harvest, or taken from Gram Parsons back catalogue. Ok that’s probs biggin’ them up a touch too much, but it is bloody good, and well worth your hard earn’t pennies.
Wooooohhhoooo that’s your lot, you made it. Worth it though yeah? Yeah course it was. If I was proper loaded i’d buy all of them there albums. If you are, you probably should. Suppose I’ll just have to make do with spotify crashing every 5 mins… Oh well, better than muffin’ I s’pose