Review: Here's something to get Talking Heads fans salivating: a fresh EP featuring previously buried, unheard alternative versions and outtakes recorded during the sessions for the celebrated New York new wave band's 1979 album Fear of Music. The EP begins with the completely unheard 'Dancing For Money', a typically undulating, off-kilter chunk of post-punk eccentricity that seemingly never went beyond the demo stage, before offering up a riotous alternate mix of the noisy, guitar-laden stomper 'Life During Wartime'. Over on the flip you'll find notably different arrangements and recordings of 'Cities' and 'Mind'; the latter, with its juju style guitar sounds and languid rhythm section, is particularly good.
Sare Havlicek - "White Russian (Lazy Summer)" (5:20)
Oliver Cheatham - "Get Down Saturday Night" (7:10)
The Sugarhill Gang - "Rapper´s Delight" (3:34)
Gibson Brothers - "Cuba" (7:45)
Review: For the next installment of Argentinian label Music Broker's tribute series, they have selected some of seminal Parisian duo Daft Punk's finest works and remixes, spanning the last two decades, along with some of the music that inspired them. The Many Faces Of Daft Punk: A Journey Through The Inner World Of Daft Punk features disco royalty such as Niles Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder and Cerrone, while more contemporary producers from the house music spectrum feature also, such as Detroit's Scott Grooves (featuring Parliament/Funkadelic), The Micronauts and Versatile's I:Cube receive de Homem-Christo and Bangalter's midas touch. the latter's 'Disco Cubizm" from '96 being a particular highlight on the remix side of things. Not to mention their roaring rework of indie-pop darlings Franz Ferdinand's classic 'Take Me Out'.
Review: It's easy to forget this is the first new record we've had from Doves in more than a decade, given the rousing call to action and emotional intensity of aptly-titled album opener 'Carousel'. A huge, nostalgic fairground thumper that sets the adrenaline levels at 11, it could be their most confident album opener to date.
And The Universal Want is far from a tease, too, capturing the essence of what we hoped from this Manchester trio's comeback fanfare. From the science fiction synth beams of Bowie ode 'Cathedrals Of The Mind', to the redemptive and hope-filled stadium indie of 'For Tomorrow', and the title track's melancholic proto-house stomp, it's very much a record of our time but also one that will likely stand the test of time. A very welcome return for, and another schooling from, Jez Williams and his team.
Review: You might have heard about this LP..... After a pre-release campaign that took on Hollywood-esque proportions, French pair Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter return as Daft Punk with their fourth studio album Random Access Memories sporting a A-list cast of guests and contributors. Given the input of disco icons Giorgio Moroder and Nile Rogers it's entirely understandable that the overbearing sound on Random Access Memories is one of classic disco with lead single "Get Lucky" a good indicator for what to expect. There's also a smattering of yacht rock within the thirteen track set, whilst the ubiquitous Panda Bear turns up on the midnight stutter funk album highlight "Doin' It Right". Those expecting a return to Daft Punk's Homework heyday will be disappointed but Bangalter and de Homem-Christo are touching forty so the polished, expertly constructed disco direction makes perfect sense.
Review: International specialists Soundway provide some superbly soothing and cathartic electronic beats here from Reuben Vaun Smith. The debut album follows on from his vocal and production work on
Expositions's Yellow Haze EP early in the year on the First Jams label. The seven tracks that make it up are all different perspectives on chill, with mature musical motifs, seaside sounds and trips down to the beach at sunset all checked off the list. Spare a moment to admire the artwork, too, a seamless fusion of pastel colours, 80s graphic design and tropical escapism.
Review: The world was very different in 1992, but some of the greatest musical moments from that year stand the test of time. Just take Polly Jean Harvey's staggering debut - the making of a musical icon and one of the era's finest examples of songwriting. It still sounds exceptional and its messages still resonate, lifting the woke-washed veil of our age in one fell swoop, laying bare the fact that many toxic attitudes prevail. It's rock music, but that's hardly the point. What matters isn't so much what's being played, but how and what's being said. Delivered with an air of Pixies and nod to Patti Smith, written in the wake of a relationship imploding, our introduction to Harvey remains vital as ever. A refusal to accept simplistic, patriarchal views of womanhood and femininity, or indeed simplistic patriarchal views of anything, the record's razor sharp observations, cunning wit and deft ability to reference but feel original is remarkable.
Review: Originally released back in 2011 on two singles, Shades of Detroit is a journey of six deep and dubby house monsters! The new limited reissue includes both Dark and Light parts, marbled vinyl and a new updated artwork. Essential Detroit house classic!
Review: Jazz Rock doesn't quite do exactly what it says on the cover - jazz features heavily on this gorgeous record, but of the spiritual kind, and often driven by lush, funky drum playing. It is also a record defined by the distinctive sound of the koto - a traditional Japanese string instrument that lends the record a delicate and beautiful feel. It was recorded in 1973 and sounds both perfectly aged yet utterly fresh and also features bamboo flute playing by Hozan Yamamoto. It's a laidback record, one filled with the joys of spring, but also one that doesn't take itself too seriously and gets upbeat and funky as often as it does tender and pensive.
Review: Over the last 12 months Mr Bongo has provided hip-hop heads with a ton of classic, golden-era rap reissues. Here they deliver another, as the title track from the crew's brilliant 1993 LP "'93 Until Infinity" returns on "45", complete with facsimile artwork. The track is undoubtedly one of their best - a jaunty, club-friendly affair in which Taja, Opio, A-Plus and Phesto exchange fluent, loose-limbed rhymes over a brilliantly positive (and slightly) jazzy beat crafted from a Grand Central Station break and selected samples of Billy Cobham's "Heather". The fine A-side vocal version comes accompanied by an essential instrumental take, in which A-Plus's brilliant boom-bap beat gets a much deserved chance to shine.
Review: Billing themselves as an ethno-industrial outfit, French group Vox Populi! have more in common with the German kosmische movement than the sound of their own fair land. They came from serious stock, including Axel Kyrou's mother who was a musique concrete pioneer at GRM, which set them up to make a bold and challenging debut album Myscitismes, originally released on their own Vox Man label in 1985. Combining advanced studio manipulation and liberal FX treatments with a pastoral folk thrum, motorik synth work and a heavy dose of pan-continental mysticism, they created a stunning and forward-thinking work that sounds shockingly relevant in the here and now. Finally reissued after more than 30 years, now is the perfect chance to grab this trailblazing slice of sonic sorcery.
Review: We're starting to see, or at least hear, a number of releases that have been forged in the depths of coronavirus lockdown despair, but few wear that badge of honour on their sleeves quite like the appropriately-titled 'Folk N' Rock Vol.1: Tales of Isolation'.
Astoundingly, celebrated Nigerian born troubadour Ondara - known to some as J.S. Ondara, although the letters have now been officially dropped- composed and produced the 11 tracks here during a single week spent under stay at home order in Minneapolis, and the results are astounding. The artist himself described the experience as compulsive, "a kind of vomit of words, melodies". Take from that what you will, the record is a stunning collection of personal thoughts, musings, fears and hopes laid bare across some captivating acoustic serenades. It's basically impossible not to fall in love with it, or ideally to it.