Hiatus etc.

SorryThe real world, and needing to pay rent caught up with me and as a result I have had to get a proper job – a full time position doesn’t really leave much time for swanning about being a music ‘journalist’.

I would say I’m sorry but a) you probably didn’t notice and b) I’m working for a very good cause - basically curing deafness!

I have a few irons in the fire and some very lovely people that I’ve written for in the past have said that they’d like me to carry on writing for them however occasionally that might be – so cheers to them!

Basically it’ll be a bit more sporadic, but I’m not entirely gone.

Also check out Petite Noir – he is great!

This is not Confession – Purity Ring Interviewed

Purity Ring - Photo by Mikael Gregorsky

I have cracked Purity Ring in two. Sat at a restaurant table with them, half-eaten desserts before us – a gin and tonic sorbet taunts me – a worrying fault line has appeared. Tired and barely fed after a missed train from Paris, Megan [James, vocals] and Corin [Roddick, beats] are at loggerheads. “Of course we’re future pop…” says Corin. “By definition it inhabits the world ahead of us, we can’t pass it,” retorts Megan. “But I like the sound of nightmare pop!” “There is more than one type of ‘mare, Megan.” They see the look on my face and laugh. Light returns to the room. These are exciting times for fans of cross-pollinated pop weirdness. While 4AD label-mate Grimes has perverted chart and R&B tropes, forcing them through an ethereal hyperpop lens, Purity Ring have summoned a swirling, fantastical darkness with their debut album ‘Shrines’. Continue reading

Beach House – Bloom

Beach House - Bloom

With Bloom, Beach House continue their slow languid march toward hushed dream pop domination. Crafting a career of slow adjustment, adding to their sound by small degrees, each step demonstrates their dexterity with beauty. They never let you forget that their entire sound is anchored in splendour. At their most minimal and stripped back, they still stun, showing that despite adding layers with each album, everything is still underpinned with delicacy. Continue reading

Ren Harvieu – Through the Night

Ren Harvieu - Through the Night

Ren Harvieu’s story is one of miraculous triumph over adversity. Of being nearly paralysed after a freak accident at 21, years of grafting her way through working men’s clubs (rather than glitzy television talent shows). Her story has all the ingredients of a successful film. If Through the Night began to play over the final triumphant scene we’d all be up and out of our seats, but not on the strength of the music alone. Undeniably possessed of a wonderful, powerful and real voice, Ren Harvieu feels let down by the production which feels almost as if the cotton wool that was understandably put around her has not quite been taken off. Continue reading

Lower Dens – Nootropics

Lower Dens - Nootropics

Nootropics are ‘smart drugs’ that are supposed to improve, intelligence, attention and concentration. Nootropics is an album by Lower Dens that whilst certainly intelligent, ultimately fails to hold the listener’s attention or concentration. Lower Dens trade heavily in mood, but these songs lack the emotional heft to leave a lasting impression. Lower Dens bring a kind of savant-like focus – the stereotypical obsession with a particular idea. Mistaking the elegance of machine tool motorik for, mechanical repetition, stripping it and reducing it down to a characterless cycle, lacking heart and soul. A slow unfolding of aural sublimation, the gradual removal, or over polishing of the sonic palette leaves a record sounds that sounds absent. Continue reading

Liars – WIXIW

Liars - WIXIW

You wonder why Liars don’t move out of Los Angeles. Their muse previously inspired albums about isolation and betrayal. Now WIXIW (wish you) explores fear, doubt and uncertainty. Yet by exploring dual opposites, this is an album of gentle warmth as much as looming dread. It may be brooding and dark in places, but the duality of emotional turmoil (the good and bad in all of us) defines WIXIW. Wonderfully paced – with a strong narrative arc – it is delicately balanced, exciting and intriguing. Continue reading

Field Day 2012

Field Day

My first time at Field Day and I’ve already been warned of gargantuan queues just to gain access to what has been vividly described to me as a seething mass of compressed people. Getting off at the wrong tube does little to assuage my fears as I follow an ever-increasing column of young people on a Hipster Hajj, making their way around the perimeter of Victoria Park. Continue reading

Squarepusher – Ufabulum

Ufabulum - Squarepusher

In the eight years since Ultravisitor (his last universally praised release) Squarepusher went off on wandering tangents. While this matched his refusal to be penned in, unfortunately the results weren’t great, were missing finesse (Hello Everything), jarring ‘unplugged’ jam sessions (Just a Souvenir), or lacked heart (Numbers Lucent). Solo Electric Bass 1 proved he still had ‘it’, but was essentially an academic textbook of a record. The less said about Shoba Leader One: d’Demonstrator the better; a record perhaps best understood in terms of Warp’s (largely) ill-advised dalliance with indie rock. Continue reading

Outfit have mixed emotions

Outfit

Coming from London by way of Liverpool, Outfit are the UK’s only purveyors of Teary Disco™. Epic, evocative yearning raises their melancholia from self-indulgent mewling to soaring, stirring calls to arms. People have been chucking around Wild Beasts, Roxy Music and New Order comparisons, and while they are all good things to be compared to, it would be better (and more accurate) to say Outfit are a thing unto themselves. They’re funky in a cool, but not chilly way, and propulsive and smart without being overly bookish. Continue reading

Simian Mobile Disco – Unpatterns

Unpatterns - Simian Mobile Disco

Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford and Jas Shaw followed their debut’s success by riding the crest of that particular stylistic wave headlong into heavy-duty collaboration vehicleTemporary Pleasures. That album’s ‘sound’ was right on the money too, bringing together Gruff Rhys, Beth Ditto, Alexis Taylor, Jamie Lidell and one of Yeasayer to form an indomitable indie-dance super panoply. The results were underwhelming then, and, listening back, seem particularly lightweight now. The problem with nailing a zeitgeist is that it’s inherently ephemeral. To their credit, apparently sensing this, 2010′s follow up Delicacies - a compilation of tracks from a series of 12″s – wrong-footed everyone by being an album of enjoyably hard techno, serving as a fan sorting/alienating device. Continue reading

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