Review: Before we get to his solo career credentials, it's a good thing to know something of Kevin Morby's background first. The American singer-songwriter has counted himself as the bassist in the Brooklyn outfit Woods and was frontman of The Babies before that. This cassette release of Oh My God delivers Morby a fifth solo studio album since his Harlem River debut in 2013 and the versatility of his styles and inspirations seem to be hitting a new high, given the sometimes bluesy substance of his lyrics. Often where Morby's voice hits a sweet spot, subtle humming attenuations caress his deeper notations, all coated in a slight smokey haze similar to Bob Dylan (of now) and the late Leonard Cohen. Throw this into a mix of light distortion, piano ballads and theatrical big band techniques, it's in Kevin Morby we trust.
Review: Listening to the awaited full length of The National's Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon's (Bon Iver) Big Red Machine project and it's hard not to think they've invested themselves in discovering deeper strands of electronic music, or production... if the sporadic drum machine work of "Deep Green" is anything to go by. "I Won't Run From It" however sees the pair back in their full choral beauty, presenting a song for thousands to potentially wave their hands this summer. This Big Red Machine was produced over the past two years involving many-a collaboration from New York and its artistic community, with the band themself saying: "this feels like something new-the process felt different and the outcome felt different." Check it.
Review: Sporting something of an appearance that looks like it could have come out of Harmony Korine's Gummo, Cherry Glazerr reappear once again on their homely label Secretly Canadian. There's a mass of pop culture appeal to band, and considering they surfaced early on [Adult Swim] it's no surprise maybe to see everything from mid-western emo to punk motifs alongside more cosmo R&B beats. It's an album that wears its hair up or down, experiencing softer and more introverted moments to thrash guitars and punk stances. With angst and distortion never far from earshot, the album's flex is acoustic and electronic with the imaginations of talented kids dosed up on MTV Americana coming to the fore.
Review: It's safe to say when City Slang releases a record everyone listens, with White Denim now the newest Texan contingent filling the ranks of the German label. Following a longplayer this year from Calexico outta Tucson, White Denim bring the sound of Austin to the label by delivering their ninth long player in ten years. Like the artwork of performance, the music is a colourful montage that brings together saxxy jazz, mellow tropicana and distorted garage to psych rock and pop, with melancholic vocals only adding to its unique cross section of colours. A highlight for us is the '70s Biker rock of "It Might Get Dark" and finger snappin', vibrato heavy "Moves On".
Review: By the time you reach the muffled, eccentric opening bars of "Tenderness", just past halfway on "Anak Ko", Jay Som's remit is clear. The Los Angeles singer-songwriter has left her shoes, or rather shoegaze, behind. This time she's walking barefoot through a lo-fi musical tapestry, baring soles and heartbreak while musing on the importance of self-value. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the head-noddingly agreeable "Nighttime Drive" to the jerking, grunge-y "Peace Out", it's equal parts gorgeous and effortlessly- not to mention breathily- cool, sexy and surprising. Perhaps what's most reassuring, though, is that there's every chance this could all come across as affected and a little too self-aware. Nothing could be further from the truth from what we can hear- an honest work representing the next step in the evolution of a truly exciting American indie talent.
Review: Secretsundaze return with a second volume of their new mixtape series. After the success of the Joe Claussell tape they turn to Carista for another introspective mix aimed at a relaxed home-listening session.
In May 2018, Carista performed one of her first international gigs at Secretsundaze in London and went on to play 2 other shows for them that year. A year later, she has become a mainstay on the European club & festival circuit, playing to an ever growing, passionate and loyal fanbase week in week out, already playing shows that most DJs would only dream of, including closing a stage at Lowlands festival to an audience of 10000. No wonder a recent Mixmag article crowned her as "A DJ star in the making".
Her residencies on NTS and Red Light Radio showcase her love of house, boogie, broken beat, disco, funk and beyond. Her DJ gigs can also see her explore further into house and techno but this mixtape showcases a different, softer side of Carista blending ambient soundscapes, jazz, dub and soul as well as some poignant words from Nina Simone.
This is Carista's debut physical format release so don't sleep!
Review: Since defining the band's hybrid rock-rave sound with 1994's "Music For The Jilted Generation" and 1997's "The Fat of the Land", Prodigy main man Liam Howlett has largely stuck to his guns. He is, after all, incredibly good at what he does, and the formula has given us a string of bombastic, full-throttle singles and albums that have lasted the test of time. "No Tourists", Howlett and company's first full-length in three years, offers plenty of trademark festival-friendly workouts, hard-wired dancefloor smashers and fuzzy, all-action cuts. Judged on these terms, it's a triumph. Fans of the band's trademark brand of slamming sonic hedonism will love it.