Review: It's clear that Naive founder Ines Borges Coutinho put a lot of thought into "Bed Of Roses", her debut album under the now familiar Violet alias. According to the label releasing it, Dark Entries, Coutinho approached the production process with the idea of creating songs that would together form "a sort of childhood-teenage memories diary". While it's largely instrumental, it's certainly true that the album touches on a variety of moods and retro-futurist sounds, galloping between dark ambient, ear-catching electronic melancholia, angry dancefloor intensity, dreamy happiness, good-natured post synth-pop grooves, luscious slow jams and the kind of glassy-eyed, loved-up fare that has always been a significant part of her growing body of work. In other words, it's a wonderfully produced, paced and deeply personal set.
Review: Fresh from remixing Goldie classic "Crystal Clear" for the veteran producer's reissue of 1997 album "Saturnz Return", Djrum (real name Felix Manuel) offers up his first single in nearly two years. "Hard To Say" seemingly surges from the speakers, with ambient style deep space chords, blissful female vocal snippets and tactile aural textures rising above a blisteringly fast techno beat. This high-octane pace continues on "Tournesol", a cheerily positive affair that wraps chiming, new age style melodies and humid tropical flourishes around another sweaty, non-stop beat. Like the A-side, it's impressively ear pleasing but also percussively intense, especially when the Aphex Twin style mind-altering acid lines make an appearance midway through.
Review: While Juan MacLean, LCD Soundsystem's Nancy Whang and Holy Ghost!'s Nick Millhiser have always had one eye on the dancefloor, their albums have tended to be slightly more eccentric and esoteric affairs that lack some of the sparkle associated with their more joyous, club-ready cuts. It's perhaps for this reason that they've spent the last six years releasing DJ-friendly 12" singles, thus avoiding making a new album altogether. In hindsight, it seems a wise choice because "The Brighter The Light" - a compilation of those dancefloor-focused releases shot through with references to various vintage club styles and bottom-end weight to match - is their most vibrant, colourful and enjoyable full-length to date.
Review: If you're not sold based on album title alone allow us a moment to convince you of the genius of Howe Gelb's latest. And indeed his work to date. Never a dull moment, in this lifetime he has flirted with flamenco, adventured into Americana and gone for it with gospel choirs. The result is a back catalogue packed with great ideas, and inspiration for more great ideas. Enter Giant Sand, where artist dons disguise and revisits his old classics to make them fresh and different. Here Gelb, or Giant Sand, takes on the second Gelb album, "The Ballad Of Thin Line Man". First released in 1986, when New Hollywood was kicking Reaganite attitudes to the curb in favour of modern high plains drifters influenced by the preceding LSD decades, that same ethic is here, only louder and more urgent. A strange but familiar and abstract Americana, with roughness turned up to 11.