Thursday, 26 May 2011

Medicine 8 – Mercury Injection / Rock Music Pays Off

The new one from acid house duo Medicine 8 shows off two disparate sides to their output. Mercury Injection is a futuristic electro babble with hi energy beats and robotic sensual vocal from tattoo artist Leticia La Bruja. It’s a right catchy piece of work, one that would have the less trendy of us attempting pathetic robot dancing in the club. The Hip House remix of Rock Music Pays Off features the idiosyncratic and immediately identifiable vocals of outsider artists Wesley Willis. The vocals take the form a Grammy Acceptance Speech Willis gave on Howard Stern’s show, bent and sliced out of shape. This is pushed forward by hi energy house, like Black Box used to make, along with funky Daft Punk squelches. Whatever you say about them, Medicine 8 know what’s catchy and danceable and have delivered two great slices of it on this, their first single in some time.

Mercury Injection / Rock Music Pays Off is out now on Trashmouth Records

The Medicine 8 facebook page is here

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Gorillaz – The Fall

Released to little fanfare here’s a new Gorillaz album. After the opening toodling intro of Phoner To Arizona we get Revolving Doors, a blissed out tune with a reggae vibe, yet not sound. Albarn’s plaintive vocals are present and correct and there’s and a mantra of the title which goes all through the tune. This itself is lovely, but I find myself not even noticing the next few tracks go by. And this is something that goes on through the rest of the album. Apparently this album was written by Damon (and let’s not keep up the cartoon fa├žade) on his iPad during downtime on tour and boy it shows. It’s mostly half-baked and unfinished ideas. Some of the tracks you wonder if he hasn’t booted up the Bloom app, or something similar and randomly chucked items at the screen to make the tunes. I’ve always thought of Gorillaz as more of a singles than albums band, and this is the full proof, if it were still needed. This was originally released on vinyl as a special item for Record Store Day, and before that as a download to fan club members, which is quite appropriate given that it is something for completists only.

Maybe repeated listens would enable the charms of this album to become apparent to me. I somehow doubt it though. The other thing to take into account is my mere passing interest in Gorillaz, and their experimental side more so. But it still remains that this appears to be a mere ragbag of cast offs that wasn’t particularly worthy of a wider release.

Find Gorillaz multi-media extravaganza here

Monday, 2 May 2011

Not Made In China - Not Made In China EP

It’s not often you listen to a band and agree wholeheartedly with their own description of themselves, or previous press reviews, but in the case of Not Made In China you have a band who know their identity and make it clear to everyone else. The review description was The Smiths crossed with Paul Simon’s Graceland, while the band themselves note Vampire Weekend as one of their main inspirations. There is also more than a dash of twee influence here, with the cutesy female vocals reminiscent of The Sundays or even Talulah Gosh. The thing that sets them apart from the current slew of overly fey and twee bands is that they have evidently concentrated much more on the melodies than some affected knock kneed stance.

My favourite track is Retro Rejects, about the discarding of childhood toys. It has the twiddly white man take of the African sounding guitar line, great lyrics which include whole lists of toys and a nice attitude. If this sounds too much like I Love the 80s to you, then I’ve failed in my job of describing it. The rest of the EP is rather unassuming yet beautiful, and I can recommend you invest in a copy.

Not Made In China myspace is here and you can buy the EP here

Sunday, 1 May 2011

T.C. Folkpunk - T.C. Folkpunk

Folkpunk is certainly the name for it. The mini album kicks off with The Age Of Nefarious, a barrelling tune and the wordplay contained within is as good as the title. It has this cool trick of delaying the launch into the chorus, building up and up and up, before finally launching. The sneer and stance of Zero To Hero reminds me of the Clash, with insertions of twanged Duane Eddy style guitar. It collapses into a squawking, squealing end. Take A Look Around You is the nearest the album gets to pop, a straight forward clear melody and some words of advice. Feeling My Way Around In The Dark For You reminds me of Dylan at his best, just gone electric, harmonica wailing and having a whale of a time. She Has Everything is a more stripped back tune, but gritty nonetheless. Then we’re back onto rambunctious form with Instant Coffee Lifestyle. Whenever I Sink My Teeth Into You sees things stretch out, an almost joyous and devil may care climax to the album. It’s like the last track let’s really go for it, throw everything into it, and it comes off rather well.

You can buy the CD here and his website is here

Julius Way – The Slow Death Of Julius Way

Although Julius Way has been making music for years now, he now finds himself in the middle of a genre of music that is suddenly in vogue. Think Fleet Foxes, Stornoway, older Iron & Wine stuff and any of the alt folk pastoral artists. Recorded last year in Dartmoor it has certainly taken on it’s surrounding. It may not be a log cabin in the Catskills, but we have places of such beauty here too.

I Will Live leads you in gently to the album, before the joyous clattering and clinking of Jessie’s Yurt, when everything feels so alive. Cradle is a delightful surprise, awash with fuzzy effects to start with, which pop back in now and again. The effects free bits feel a bit fey in comparison, but it leaves you in anticipation of the hazier stuff. Friends is beautifully ethereal, the gorgeous voice of Bex Baxter interweaving with that of Julius Way wonderfully. Enemy goes all medieval on us, then The Dusk does remind me a lot of the aforementioned Stornoway, strong vocals and deft touch. There is a sense that the album is a bit too long at 13 tracks for this type of music to hold your attention, but when you persevere to final track Slow Death, where Bex Baxter is back with her heavenly voice, everything seems worthwhile.

Everything you want to know about Julius Way, plus streaming and album download are here