BEAT CITY 63 – Tinfoil Deathstar (Sleeve Notes)

You can download Beat City 63 here

OH BOY! – Carrot And The Stick @ohboytheband ohboytheband.com

Northampton’s noisiest pop group recently signed to the excellent Oxford indie label Alcopop Records, home of Johnny Foreigner, Sam “Got Cape. Wore Cape. Flew” Duckworth, Katie Malco and The Spills among others, and to be honest I’d put money on Oh Boy! outdoing all of the above in time.

They’ve been steadily building interest for a year or so with airplay from the likes of Steve Lamacq on 6 Music and John Kennedy on Radio X (as we must now call it)

“Carrot And The Stick” is slightly less noisy than previous records but no less brilliant.

This is “Love And Other Difficulties” from a couple of years ago.

HALF JAPANESE – “That Is That” (from the album “Perfect”)

Unfortunately most famous for being the band on Kurt Cobain’s T-shirt when he died, Half Japanese were formed by brothers Jad and David Fair in 1977, their first album release a TRIPLE set “1/2 Gentlemen/Not Beasts” and sonologically and attitude-wise are a candidate for being the closest band to The Fall produced by the USA. Check the vocals for a start, and add to that the use of an out-of-tune guitar by mainman Jad who has gone on record as saying “you do need cords to plug the guitar in but that’s pretty much it”

This is from 2014’s “Overjoyed” album, which was their first in 13 years, so the release of “Perfect” in 2016 shows they’re on a mission to catch up for lost time.

SKILLED MECHANICS / TRICKY – “Don’t Go”

Trip-hop legend Tricky is back with a new project called “Skilled Mechanics”, which refers to his collaborators on the album and apparently is a phrase used by the CIA for covert operatives who infiltrate organisations and governments with the aim of bringing them down.

The excellent Music Is My Oxygen site has this to say about the album:

“Some of those on board are no stranger to the world of Adrian Thaws, including regular vocalist Francesca Belmonte who lends her sultry tones to the eerie synth-balladry of “We Begin,” drummer Luke Harris who swaps the sticks for the microphone on a haunting piano-led cover version of Corey Taylor’s “Bother,” and fellow Bristolian DJ Milo who serves as producer on five of the album’s 13 tracks.

But it’s the new recruits who make the most notable impression. Kooky Danish chanteuse Oh Land sets the bewitching tone on the creepy beatless opener “I’m Not Going,” newcomer Xdare suggests FKA twigs may soon have some tough competition with the breathless alt-R&B of closer “Unreal,” while Chinese rapper Ivy also makes the most of her guest spot on the globe-trotting hip-hop of “Beijing to Berlin.”

As with his recent prolific output, Skilled Mechanics also proves that even at the age of 47 and with 11 albums to his name, Tricky remains anything but predictable. “Diving Away” finds him transforming the tortured alt-rock of Porno for Pyros’ “Porpoise Head” into a twinkling lullaby, while the sci-fi doom of “Necessary” is interspersed with the cover of Janet Kay’s “Silly Games” that appeared on his last record.”

“Skilled Mechanics” isn’t perfect by any means but its a damn good Tricky album that benefits massively from the various collaborations.

This is “Ponderosa” from “Maxinquaye” the album that everything else he does will forever be measured against.

MECHANIMAL – “Sunlight”

There’s something about the insistent, industrial – mechanical if you like – sound of Mechanimal’s new album “Delta Pi Delta”.

From the band’s website:

“After two albums exploring the dystopian universe of their city in crisis, the Athenian group Mechanimal delve now into the outskirts of their hometown, away from the sociopolitical fragmentation of the Greek capital, inside a deep and prolonged silence of the mountain forests surrounding Athens.

“Delta Pi Delta” started with a new lineup, erasing the events of a rather tense and tough past, focusing on nature as a means of escape from the modern depression of urban life. This time with female vocals, featuring lead singer Eleni Tzavara (formerly of Film and Etten), electric guitars by Tassos Nikogiannis and Kostas Matiatos, and electronic programming by Giannis Papaioannou, Mechanimal started recording the backbone of their new album during the spring of 2015, while final editing and mixing took place during August 2015, in an isolated room by some faraway beach.

The result of these new recordings is 8 new songs plus 2 instrumentals which will be included as extra tracks in the digital version of the album. Ten new tunes captivating the mystery that lies beneath a quiet life outside a big city. The group’s own hybrid blend of mechanical beats, shoegazing guitar drones and repetitive electronic patterns, shapes now a different perspective that embraces the strangeness and the atmosphere of dreamy landscapes around Athens. The materializing of these silent places into a conceptual sound revealed a new process, which helped the group transform their vision into a tangible medium.

The symbolical acronym title “Delta Pi Delta” is referring to the lyric “giving names to stars”. As a whole it represents the existential journey of any two-footed animal. In this journey, dreams reveal desires and fears that we’re not consciously aware of, but play an important part in consciously or subconsciously helping us become better at dealing with life.

“Delta Pi Delta” is dedicated to the loving memory of Greek artist and painter Nicholas Liber (1956 – 2013), a long-term friend of the band”

NO MADDZ – “Better Must Come “

One of the best bands in Jamaica just now, No Maddz’ self-titled 2015 album was produce by Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, who also play on the album. The band are excellent in their own right, however, as this live version of the song shows – this clip also features the track “Shotta”.

HINDS – “Warts”

They’ve definitely got something about them, have Madrid’s Hinds. Frontwomen Carlotta Cosials and And Garcia Perrote met when their boyfriends were in a band whose name they’ve since forgotten.

They ended up writing songs together and recruited female rhythm section Ade Martin and Amber Grimbergen (the latter from Facebook) – in an overpopulated and male-dominated Madrid garage band scene, they knew it was important for the image to avoid people looking at the band and “everyone thinking the boys were writing and we were just smiling”)

There is something of the ramshackle chaos of the Libertines about them, and indeed they’ve supported Doherty and Barat’s “ultimate lads band” a couple of times.

The album is not perfect by any means, and a lot of commentators have noted that “that’s part of the appeal” which is fair enough I suppose.

This is “Chili Town” from the album.

ANDERSON PAAK “The Bird”

Anderson Paak’s “Malibu” album is excellent, the first great album of the year as far as I’m concerned.

I love the 70s funk and soul sound to the record – not so much “Old Skool” as PRE-school – and while I haven’t yet had time to fully digest it.

Hey, you can’t possibly get the whole lyrical content of a rap album – or indeed the full force of the different samples and riffs – on the first four or five listens, which is probably why many people think they don’t like rap, but don’t get me started!

WHITE REAPER “Wolf Trap Hotel”

Ten thousand apologies for overlooking White Reaper until know, they’re superb. Not too many bands playing good hard keyboard-based garage punk these days. Similar in outlook to Hinds (above), their debut album is an absolute joy. I particularly love how the vocals sound lik ethey have been shouted down a megaphone.

They’re on Polyvinyl Records, who are the model for how all record labels should be IMHO. Cool as fook roster (I first came to the label through Of Montreal), no end of excellent special offers, and they send you extra badges, stickers, and in one bizarre instance chewing gum which always makes yer day.

This is the very strange video to the single “Make Me Wanna Die”. Keyboards in the style of Martha And The Muffins.

FAT WHITE FAMILY “Tinfoil Deathstar”

The new Fat White Family album “Songs For Our Mothers” is out now. The jury’s still out for me, I love the more immediate tracks but haven’t had time to give it a proper listen – some of the more “out there” tracks are still firmly in the “WTF” category for me, although this may well change.

It does sound like they haven’t cleaned up their act, sonologically or lyrically, since 2014’s “Champagne Holocaust” – if anything they’ve gotten more impenetrable, which is a good thing since they’re probably going to take a large part of their audience with them into some pretty dark places.

And if ever a band knew how to use the video medium, this is the definitely-not-safe-for-work “Touch The Leather”

PELL “Almighty Dollar”

“Limbo” is the second album from New Orleans-based rapper Pell, the follow-up to the well-received “Floating While Dreaming”

From “Limbo” this is “Cafe Du Monde”

THE DRINK “The Coming Rain”

The suggestion was made recently to The Drink’s songwriter, singer and guitarist Dearbhla Minogue that the band could sit happily in around 1987 as a cross between the Shop Assistants, Throwing Muses and the Bhundu Boys.

I can maybe see where the guy was coming from, at least on their excellent recently released debut album proper “Capital” but I think that’s a simplification.

One of the other standout tracks from the album is “Potter’s Grave”

THE OWL SERVICE “Salisbury Plain”

From the forthcoming album “His Pride. No Spear. No Friend” which could be the Owl Service’s finest record yet.

MOH! KOUYATE “Loundo (Un Jour)”

Guinean singer / songwriter / guitaris Moh! Koyuate played a blinder at the recent Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow. Here’s a link to his set which was recorded by the BBC.

Moh! Koyuate at Celtic Connections 2016

MAX RAPTOR “Blue On Red”

Another band out to demonstrate beyond any shadow of doubt that punk’s not dead.

Max Raptor hail from Burton-on-Trent. With Wakefield’s AllusonDrugs and Press To Meco who hail from Croydon they’re setting out on tour in February courtesy of the Scuzz UK Throwdown Tour.
Check the dates on this link:

Scuzz UK Throwdown Tour Feb 2016

From the “Damage Appreciation” EP – here’s the vid to the title track.

AIDAN KNIGHT “All Clear”

Describing himself on Twitter as “songwriter, producer, buttlord”. I have no idea what that means but I love this song.

Seems he’s supporting Villagers on tour soon, which I reckon is unmissable. See you dahn the front.

The album “Each Other” is out now – this is “The Arp”

Next week we’ll be playing tracks from Tuff Love, Press To Meco, Violet Skies and Trembling Bells, among others.

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Thank you. Come Again.

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