Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Woog Riots - Alan Rusbridger (Lo-Fi to Disco)

Alan Rusbridger, the new album from Woog Riots, is set for release on 11 March.  Its title, taking the name of the Guardian editor-in-chief who oversaw the publication of the Edward Snowden documents, is entirely fitting for a collection that once against showcases the music of a band whose playful exterior has always provided a suitably off-key medium for archly observant comment.
It's a theme runs throughout the collection: 'Moscow Domodedovo' is the airport at which Snowden spent forty days during his  enforced exile, while 'Gentrification' applies Heaven 17-like grooves to the depiction of a world careering towards financially-dominated inertia, hidden behind blank promises of greater freedoms from an increasingly morally bankrupt west.
However, don't get the impression that Alan Rusbridger is no more than a Housemartins-styled poppy romp through a future dystopia.  As usual, there's far greater depth to the collection than that.  'George Harrison' has a gleefully unpretentious air of pop culture celebration about it, something else that's omnipresent at the heart of the Woog Riots sound.  'The Zombie System' offers greater philosophical depth behind its sing-a-long exterior, digging away at the existential heart of The Walking Dead and proclaiming a pure and brutal truth: in a world ruled by bankers and multi-nationals, we don't need a zombie apocalypse to bring about oblivion.  You can hear it in my February show on Dandelion Radio.
The album's available on the From Lo-Fi to Disco label (distributed by Shellshock in the UK) as a download and limited edition green vinyl.  For information on where you can get it, check here.   

Saturday, 20 February 2016

In the cities of your eyes

I've got into the habit of playing a featured compilation every month in my Dandelion Radio show.  I'm not sure where that came from, to be honest, but,   when you hear an album featuring as many great artists and bands as this one, it's only natural to want to bring it to the attention of as many people as possible.   I suppose that's the only reason that matters.
It's for a great cause too, all proceeds going to the refugee camps in the Greek islands.  It'd be a compilation worth having even if that weren't the case, all of its eighteen tracks offering something intriguing while a good number of them are truly outstanding.
Highlights include a contribution from the legendary Cindytalk - 'Lost in the Hum of the World' - and the bewitching 'Necropolis (6th of December)' from Salonika's Dimitri Panas.  Both have a beguiling, enchanting quality of a kind that runs through so much of this compilation and their omission from this month's show says much about the quality of the three tracks I've gone for.
They include a long-time favourite in the form of Sandfingers' weirdly evocative version of 'Pilgrim', the album's opener.   Members of Sandfingers contributed to the Twice Dead session you may have heard in my January show and they were creators, of course, of that considerable shadow of influence left by The Chasms, for me still the best band to appear this century.
I also feature the contribution from Howling Larsons ('Smile in Your Sleep (Hush, Hush)', whose brand of dark folk I now realise I've not given enough attention to in the past.  Alan Trench from the Larsons is also involved with Temple Music, whose 'They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships' is a bonus track that may well be the best thing on the release.  Needless to say, that features too.
But there's not a track on there that isn't worthy of your attention.  This is a gorgeously diverse and thought-provoking compilation and, what's more, the nine euros they're asking for it helps people.  Get it here

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

WTVR - Acid Fight

Some years ago, I like to think my previous, now defunct blog proved (loosely speaking, anyway) that Brighton was the most fertile musical city in Britain.  Whatever the status of that claim, there's certainly been no letting up since in the quality of what comes out of there since then.
The latest Brighton band to make themselves known to me are WTVR, who display that modern contempt for vowels that's a common element in band naming these days, but everything else they do is very much their own and makes for one hell of a listening experience.  They've also evidently been doing it for quite some time and frankly I'm annoyed at myself for not finding out about it sooner.
Anyway, now's a good time to be picking up on them, because all four tracks on their recently issued Acid Fight EP are great.  Rather than take a single great concept and spread it across all the tracks, which works perfectly well for many people,  WTVR come across as one of those bands who treat their musical ideas pretty much like tissues: you can use one a second time, but the results are often far less appealing after that first good blow. 
The result is that the tunes here, while all very enjoyable, stand as separate and unique musical accomplishments in their own right, whether that's in the organ hook of opener 'Meatcure', the squalling moan of 'Gin Paradise 66' or the audacious Stump-like confessional that is 'Wedding Night Erection Failure'.
It's 'Till Jockey' I've chosen to play in my Dandelion Radio show this month, however, because it's frankly one of the best things I've heard this year.  Its wild tempo-changes and frantic declarations of minimum wage ennui ride the back of another delightful organ motif until you find yourself never looking at the guy who serves you in the local Co-Op in the same way again.
On the whole, as you've probably guessed by now, it's a distinctly lovable experience.  All the more lovably, you can get it as NYOP here.   

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Diane Marie Kloba - Ghost in the Museum

It's been well over two and a half years since we last heard an album from Diane Marie Kloba, the excellent 'It's is All an Illusion', so inevitably news of this new collection was greeted with a keen sense of anticipation.

I certainly haven't been disappointed.  The warmth and intimacy that lay very much beneath the surface in her last album is much more prominent here.  There's an emotional honesty that gives her a clearer musical voice on Ghost in the Museum and perhaps this will bring the broader attention her music so richly deserves.

Thankfully, that's not diminished the angular quality that makes Diane such a unique artist.  'Ancient Art', the album's opener, works as a title track of sorts, enticing us into the museum and 'making you imagine what you never knew you knew'.  Which is as good a description of her music as you'll get: in Kloba's hands, ancient pre-existing musical notes are dragged into the world and twisted into new, enticing shapes.  'The answer is already in your mind' we're reminded in 'A Thousand Pretty Strings', one of the album's many highlights.

Among the tracks here are two re-workings of tunes Diane recorded in session for my Dandelion Radio show in July 2014. One of these, 'Rescued', features in my show this month.   It's significant, perhaps, that the track then was called 'Rescue': the past tense here allowing it to pick up again on the album's theme of reclamation, this time via a rush of remembered images of a perfect love glimpsed, clasped and ultimately given powerful new life via memory.
You don't just listen to a Diane Marie Kloba album: you live with it and absorb it. The reason there's a danger of that sounding like pretentious bollocks is that we're so familiar with artists who declare that kind of intent invariably failing to live up to their own professed vision.  Kloba makes no such claims: the music does the talking and the pointed whisper of Ghost in the Museum is the most beautiful articulation we've heard from it yet.

Get it as CD or download here

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Bloomin' Nora - Nowt O'clock

Bloomin' Nora, the information on the bandcamp site tells us, is a 56 year old retired RE teacher/novelist and her musical mates.   Which makes a welcome change from being told you're about to hear an 'alternative rock' band with no ideas of their own or some other such promised mediocrity

Even more reason to suspect this was going to be great was prior knowledge that those 'musical mates' include Phil South and Brent Jackson, whose musical CVs, separately and collectively, include such fascinating musical adventures as The Sinatra Test, Late Road Lunatics and Anonymous Bosch (incidentally, check out Phil's brilliantly curated Crowdrock project - more of that in my March Dandelion show).

Here they step back and let 'Nora' take centre stage, her darkly deadpan spoken word pieces brilliantly complemented by their fractured instrumental soundscapes.  I'm playing title track 'Nowt O'clock' in my Dandelion Radio show this month.  Here the vocals produce their own rhythm as they collide in demented harmony with the bastard jazz musical going on underneath.

Other pieces - such as opener 'I'm Not Invisible' - see music and vocals clashing brilliantly, the poetry sometimes running ahead, sometimes stopping to do battle with the wild sonic collage, or 'This Is Now', where something akin to an eccentric dance groove emerges from the  intoxicating vocal repetition and battered percussion.  The result, as you'd wish, is something like a high scoring draw.

Nowt O'clock is a hugely arresting, unique listening experience.  and it's available from bandcamp for only 99p.  So what are you waiting for?