Anton Newcombe, Brian Jonestown Massacre ring leader and talent scout for his Berlin based record label, A Recordings Ltd has been collaborating with Toronto born singer/songwriter Tess Parks over the last year or so and has preppeda full length record, I Declare Nothingavailable June 29th via A Recordings Ltd.
Tess Parks is responsible for all the lyrics and when delivered through her evocatively stirring, cracked vocals, at only 24, she’s proving to be a true force. One reviewer describes her as “Patti Smith on Quaaludes”…sounds about right.
Scope the first two singles below and check this space for a pre-order link (as one becomes available) for I Declare Nothing
The Swedish psychedelic dream pop trio, Death and Vanilla drop their latest effort To Where The Wild Things Are May 4th via Fire Records. Story is they recorded this whole thing with a single vintage mic…also “We found an old library record where one of the tracks was just someone playing single notes on a harpsichord and we sampled each note and built melodies from that. The notes were slightly out of tune, but we thought it sounded good anyway.” yeah…I think it sounds good too.
That old adage about it being better to do one thing well, holds true with music in that its pretty much always preferable to pick a simple idea and nail the fucking shit out of it than to try to “push the envelope” with a bunch of half-cooked ideas.
Tuxedo, a collaborative project from vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mayer Hawthorne and hip-hop producer Jake One (who has produced for everyone from G Unit to MF Doom to Brother Ali) is definitely not breaking any new ground, but with songs that are this fun, who cares.
The duo’s eponymous debut, released last month via Stones Throw Records, is a homage to the late-‘70s/early-‘80s heyday of the West Coast funk—that same influential sound that informed a generation of G-funk ‘90s gangsta rap.
Basically it’s a smoothed out collection of electrified disco boogie, full of synthetic melodies, squiggly Funkadelic sounds and ridiculously, get-stuck-all-in-your-head hooks, that fans of Chromeo and Dam-Funk will be all over, and a soundtrack that will surely heat up some parties/dance floors as the weather gets nice.
And here we have some Christmas boogie for that ass
Also, there are a bunch of killer DJ mixes over at the Souncloud page if that is your kind of thing.
Australia based psych wizards Pond, released their 6th studio record, Man It Feels Like Space Again Jan 27th via Caroline Records. Ok, it’s early April and Im gonna go ahead and call it… this is the best record of the year, not the first quarter…the whole fucking year!! It’s Pond fully realized. The band features a few crossover alliances with Tame Impala Nick Allbrook (lead vocals/guitar/former bassist of Tame Impala) Jay Watson (drums/vocals/current guitarist vocals of Tame Impala) Joseph Ryan (Guitar/Bass/Vocals) Jamie Terry (Keys) and mixed by Kevin Walker (Tame Impala).
Pond formed in 2008 in Perth Australia with the idea of creating “an all inclusive, ego-free collaborative” and have evolved with every record into the dynamic psych driven machine they are today. The record is a cohesive piece of sonic brilliance, so extracting independent standouts proved a chore albeit below you’ll find a couple tasters along with a handful of videos including a short interview.
John Andrews of Woods(keys) and Quilt(drums) and his imaginary backing band, The Yawns will release the first solo record, Bit By The Fang, April 14th via Woodsist. The record is a drop from the same psych/folk vein. Everything on Bit By The Fang was performed and recorded by Andrews in his Grandfathers living room in Yardville, NJ.
Shana Cleveland, leader of the ultra radical Seattle based all girl doo-wop surf band La Luz has had a side project in the works for going on 6 years and has finally prepped its debut. Shana Cleveland & The Sandwichesfeatures a steady rotation of musicians to assist in Cleveland’s acoustic folk wanderings. Oh Man, Cover The Ground gets a May 26th release via Suicide Squeeze Records.
22-year-old Anthony Naples first landed on the scene a few years back igniting New York’s nigh life with the track-y euphoric bump of his sublimely simple “Mad-Disrespect” 12”—a nod to the classic American garage/house sounds of the late ’80s and early ’90s. His production had a raw, impromptu kind of feel that was a perfect antidote to a glut of clinical and over-produced dance music. And on the strength of that, his first ever track, he was picked up by the esteemed club night/ record label Mister Saturday Night.
For his debut, he’s taken somewhat of an abrupt left turn. Body Pill, released last month via Four Tet’s Text Records imprint is an understated almost meditative offering—more after hours than peak time—that barely clears the 30 minute mark. It’s obvious pretty much right away, in fact, that things are going to be different as the first song “Ris” begins with a bleary elongated wash of synthesizer and slowly builds to something resembling melancholic indie synth-pop. When the thump does drop in “Abrazo” it’s backing a much more intricately melodic framework, something that is right in line with Four Tet or Caribou-style of dance music. Naples’ melodies always tended to veer toward the etherial, but they were very much relegated to minor supporting roles, here they splay out in all directions weaving in and out of his syncopated rhythmic concoctions.
Album closer “Miles” , with its cowbell, handclaps and subdued keys, is probably the closest thing to the classic Naples sound, but the rhythm is short lived as the track fades into contemplative ambiance that drifts across the final few minutes into a bleepy disembodied synthesizer line. It’s actually kind of a strange way to end a record, but who really cares, this guy can clearly do what the fuck he wants.
Psych rock gods, Thee Oh Sees will bring us their latest effort, Mutilator Defeated At Last, May 18th via their own Castle Face Records imprint. This time around the band is featuring a revised lineup with John Dwyer (mastermind), Tim Hellman, Nick Murray, Chris Woodhouse, and Brigid Dawson with Woodhouse recording and mixing the record. Stream the title track below.
Nathan Williams of Wavvesexplores the chiller side of his pop punk sensibilities with a new project Spirit Club featuring his brother Joel and Andrew Caddick of Jeans Wilder. Since forming in October they’ve released a handful of singles a couple videos and announced a self titled debut scheduled for a spring release on Williams’ own Ghost Ramp imprint.
Ibeyi—pronounced “ee-bey-ee”—is a Yoruban, Nigerian word that translates roughly to the concept of “sacred divinity of twins.” It is also the name that Lisa-Kaindé Diáz and Naomi Díaz have adopted for their self-titled debut album, released earlier this month on British record label XL Recordings. And what a debut it is.
These twin sisters—barely 20 years old—have managed to record an album that effortlessly weaves together the disparate strands of West African folk, Cuban jazz, soul, blues and contemporary R&B, into something greater than the sum of its parts.
One of the most striking features characterizing Ibeyi is its many apparent contradictions. Steeped in tradition and yet thoroughly modern, it is in many ways a reflection of the myriad influences that came to bear on the sister’s trans-Atlantic upbringing.
Ibeyi is out now on XL Recordings
Born in Cuba, the girls grew up mostly in Paris, though they made frequent visits to the Caribbean. Their father was the acclaimed Latin jazz percussionist Miguel “Angá” Díaz, who played with the famous Buena Vista Social Club, in Havana. His spirit is alive and embodied in their music, which relies heavily on traditional Cuban percussive instruments such as the cajón and the batá. Naomi has said in interviews that she learned many lessons from her dad, but one of the most important was a love of rhythm.
But “Ibeyi” gets the heft of its emotional impact by drawing back to a much older Cuban musical tradition—one that stretches all the way back to West Africa. The Yoruba language, in which much of the lyrics are sung, is from a culture and religion brought to the Caribbean through the slave trade in the 1700s.
Many of these songs such as “River” and “Yanira” are essentially 21st Century versions of ancient Yoruban folk songs, while songs like “Ghost” are odes to the spirits of ancestors. Both sisters sing, and both have a bluesy earthiness to their voices that suggests wisdom beyond their mere 20 years on earth. Their frequent use of call-and-response-style vocals recall the “spirituals” sung by slaves as they worked in the fields.
The sound of modern club music—both of European techno and of American hip-hop and R&B—is “Ibeyi’s” other guiding light. The songs are crafted using cutting-edge style production (complete with synthesizers and a heavy emphasis on sub bass) that would hold its weight in a club against any contemporary pop music.
Ibeyi is about opposing forces, and it is this interplay between yin and yang, mind and spirit, old world and new that makes it so remarkable.