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Music Albums & Singles

VerbalTerrorists.jpg OCTOBER 12 ALBUM & SINGLE REVIEWS
 

Album of the Month

Verbal Terrorists

The War On Terra (Verbal Terrorists)

Whoah! This is potent stuff from this Newcastle based hip-hop outfit who turn their fire on all of the injustices which exist in the world in an endlessly inventive album which uses an incredible patchwork of beats for their wide ranging concerns which include everything from Tory cuts and tax-dodging millionaires to the destruction of the planet. The superb production always keeps the message interesting and their Marx meets Chomsky fronting up Public Enemy approach is a real shot in the arm for not only the local hip-hop scene, but the UK scene in general. RM

Out now

Barb Jungr

Stockport To Memphis (Naim Jazz)

Barb Jungr, as the title of her new album suggests, is from Stockport but her heart, seemingly, has always been in the bluesy, countrified world of Memphis, winning knockout reviews in the past for her take on songs by everyone from Nina Simone to Jacques Brel. This latest album includes five of her own compositions and jolly good they are too, but it’s her interpretations of Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay”, Hank Williams’ “Lost On The River”, and Neil Young’s “Old Man” which really stand out. Cabaret stuff, in the best sense of the word. GM

Released October 22

Various

I Love Techno: Mixed by Erol Alkan (Lektroluv)

The London based DJ and producer really set bells ringing with his 2005 “Bugged Out” mix and his latest collection is a similarly vibrant affair with an exciting selection which touches base (and bass) with the past, present and future and includes everyone from Duke Dumont to Kebacid to Para One feat. Surkin (Alkan’s live re-edit of “Compute” is an absolute Godzilla of a tune). True techno heads will absolutely eat this up. GM

Released October 9

Joe McElderry

Here’s What I Believe (Decca)

A taxi driver in Newcastle last year told me that Joe McElderry wasn’t ‘Gay Gay’, and a tryst with her daughter was imminent. I thought that as unlikely as McElderrry’s new album going all dubstep on us, and what do you know, it doesn’t. It does feature some of his own songs however, which are inconsequential and vaguely soaring, and his covers include stuff from Leo Sayer (not “Thunder In My Heart” unfortunately), Rod Stewart (not anything by The Faces unfortunately) and Gene Pitney (“Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart” – hooray!). Not great great. RM

Released September 10

The Bastard Sons Of Cavan

Lust Songs For Wantons (Western Star Recording)

I never thought that unexpected treats would ever sound like Vic Reeves’ club singer fronting up a punk band trying to play down and dirty rockabilly, but this release had me spinning like a dervish and swirling my skirt up rather dangerously round my ears. As is often the case with down and dirty rockabilly however, each track doesn’t wobble too far from its twangy template but when that template is so damn sexy, who really cares? It certainly left me wanton – wanton more. DP

Out now

Dog Is Dead

All Our Favourite Stories (Your Childhood Records)

After a clutch of fine singles it’s great to finally get acquainted with Dog Is Dead’s debut album which is just the kind of inventive indie pop which threatens to give inventive indie pop a good name. The harmonies are pitched just the right side of infectious and the melodies are hook-laden but never overworked. Imagine Alt-J holidaying at one of the classier Butlin’s outlets and you’ll get the idea with this. GM

Released October 8

Lupen Crook

British Folk Tales (Preservation Society)

The first album in five years for Lupen Crook and it’s a gloriously ramshackle affair, taking the story-telling tradition of traditional folk and then shoving it through a Passion Mangle, with added fire and spit. Expect to hear a hurdy gurdy; expect to hear off-kilter waltzes; expect to hear fuzzy analogue warmth; and expect to be utterly captivated from the get go. Echoes of everyone from Neil Hannon to Leonard Cohen abound and the album is none the worse for that. DP

Released October 29

The Jim Jones Revue

The Savage Heart (Play It Again Sam)

There’s not many around who can do rollick like The Jim Jones Revue and here they’re on fine form with the kind of fuzzy, foot to the floor rock ‘n’ roll that they’re past masters at. They’ve also added new strings to their bow with chanting, full-force a capella work-outs, sweaty boogie and even a sneaky chunk of doo-wop (with added feedback, naturally). It’s been produced by Jim Sclavunos and the fact that he’s also twiddled knobs for Grinderman and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds should surprise precisely no one. RM

Released October 15

The Twang

10:20 (Jump The Cut)

I always thought that Birmingham’s The Twang were destined to be a kind of Bluetones for the noughties: a few fans, but largely ignored by everyone else. This is pretty decent, though; a colourful and full-bodied collection of hooky indie/pop that has plenty of yearning chorus action and interesting bits of instrumentation which holds together rather nicely. If it gets reviewed in the NME expect it to get 4/10, but I’ll give it 7 and file under “Better than Hard-Fi”. DP

Released October 29

Salvador Trio

Salvador Trio (Mr Bongo)

One of two re-releases of classic yet barely-known hard bossa from the legendary pianist, Dom Salvador. Recorded in 1965, the album sees Salvador team with bassist Edson Lobo, whose fluid, melodic style perfectly complements Victor Manga’s hard-edged, yet nuanced drumming. If the term ‘Latin jazz’ has you running for the hills, you could do worse than to check out Salvador Trio’s tuneful, muscular hard bossa antidote. RS

Out now

Fulgeance

Step-Thru (rx:tx)

Second album in a year for this French producer, who expertly melds and moulds bass-led beat music of all genres. Opener “Whut It Iz”, featuring rapper FreshDaily, is a space-hop monster, while the skewed electronica of the title track and the brooding dubstep of “Square” prove Fulgeance has the credentials to make music that will satisfy the dance floor while also providing a sophisticated aural treat. RS

Released October 15

Kidkanevil & Daisuke Tanabe

Kidsuke (Project Mooncircle)

Daisuke Tanabe’s intricate, rhythm-led electronica has always intrigued and delighted, and here he pairs with UK beat monger to produce something quite special. There’s an almost toy-like clockwork quality to these tracks, as if each is composed through the intricate arrangement of synchronised music boxes, leading in each case to a multi-faceted aural latticework of crystalline beats, chimes, clicks and whirs. Utterly enchanting. RS

Out now

Reso

Tangram (Civil)

“Tangram” was also the title of a multi-part Tangerine Dream track and Reso’s debut clearly takes its cues from TD’s atmospheric, multi-layered synth explorations, updating it with some heavy-duty breaks that’ll no doubt see it find favour with the dubstep/future bass crew. This is classy, atmospheric dance music bursting with rhythm and melody, and with style to spare.

Released November 5

Hidden Orchestra

Archipelago (Tru Thoughts)

Hidden Orchestra’s music is rooted in jazz, but brings in elements of folk, classical, rock and electronic music to provide an expansive, soundtrack-like experience that sounds both evocatively vintage and refreshingly new at the same time. Like David Axelrod jamming with 4Hero, with a touch of DJ Shadow at his best, Hidden Orchestra have produced a second album that consolidates and builds on the successes of the first. RS

Out now

Wrongtom Meets Deemas J

In East London (Tru Thoughts)

Not a massive fan of contemporary reggae, me; I much prefer the ragged, unrefined charm of the old stuff. This, then, came as a pleasant surprise – a modern reggae album, taking in dancehall and dub, which retains an authentic ruff-house flavour while deftly avoiding sounding derivative or twee. Wrongtom’s production is crisp and uncluttered, but not overly polished, and free of unnecessary frills, allowing rhythm and bass to get on with the reggae business while keyboards and horns unfussily add colour and depth. Deemas J’s toasty vocals top the whole thing off in fine style. RS

Out now

Single of the Month

Little Comets

A Little Opus (Dirty Hit)

Slapping rhythmic verve down in a manner of Vampire Weekend breaking up for their summer holidays, are Newcastle’s Little Comets with the first single taken from their forthcoming new album “Life Is Elsewhere”. Their guitars continue to twinkle like fairy lights and the lyrics concern themselves with an autopsy on Britain’s ‘old school tie’ political elite. They’re against it, basically. Jolly good. RM

Out now

Psychic Mirrors

I Come For Your Love (Peoples Potential Unlimited)

Two slabs of pulsating vintage Miami boogie from the excellently named Psychic Mirrors. 'I Come For Your Love' is a mid-paced groover built on the sound of synthesisers getting jiggy. 'The Witching Hour' is a jump-up midnite disco stormer with tight, understated rhythm guitar and the cheekiest of synth hooks underpinned by a bass line I can only describe as a 'funky growler'. Grab it while you can. RS

Out now

Los Amigos Invisibles & Dimitri From Paris

Glad To Know You (Gomma)

Fabulous retro-modern flavours in the form of a six and a half minute disco-boogie epic that's funkier than George Clinton's sock drawer and twice as sexy. Ray Mang provides a piano-fied 'Flying Dub' that trades heavily on the chorus – and why not? It's bloody great. RS

Out now

Brazin

Moving (ft Suus & Paul Fisher) (self release)

The local hip-hop scene is bursting with ideas at the minute and that’s exemplified by this quite fabulous release that has a real summery, breezy, PM Dawn vibe which is spine-tinglingly topped off by the sky scraping vocals of Paul Fisher. Superb. RM

Out now

Goy Boy McIlroy

The Pilgrim / Black Glove (self release)

GBM are a Darlington band who are on an upward curve if this arresting double A-side is anything to go by. The lead singer’s commanding baritone voice is the fulcrum for all kinds of dark and bluesy madness to swirl around, with both of these tracks sounding like The Doors playing a gig atop Saruman’s mountain in Lord of the Rings. Feisty. DP

Out now

Lionhall

Perfect (self release)

Lionhall are a two-piece from Scotland, now based in Newcastle, and this is a haunting piece of downtempo electronica, with the female vocals echoing around some roomy instrumentation. Beguiling stuff. DP

Out now

Mr. Blazey

Too Good (Triptik Records)

Newcastle based Mr. Blazey weaves together an intoxicating mixture of dubby Indian sounds and languid hip-hop beats for an incredibly potent release which rings all of my bells. The melange of sounds and genres never feels forced with Mr. B proving a ringmaster par excellence for this truly outstanding single. DP

Released October 22

Watchers

Cut The Ribbon (self release)

There’s nothing startlingly original about this single from this Newcastle band, but if you’re after solid guitar-based indie/rock with bags of melody and more than a hint of the Coldplays about it, then you’ll not go too far wrong with this. DP

Out now

Lone Frontman

The Watchman (self release)

Lone Frontman is Dan Gooch, a Newcastle based fellow with talent to burn as evinced by this fabulously cinematic “murder ballad” (my favourite kind of ballad); a dark slice of scuzzy acoustica which held me rapt throughout. Seek him out immediately. DP

Out now

Jinski

Ship Ahoy (Lucy Smile)

More goodness from this talented local duo who deal in easy-on-the-ear harmonies and tunes as strong as anchor chains. Ship Ahoy is a very good case in point, sounding like something Shack might come up with at their most melodic. GM

Out now

Alistair Griffin

Always No 1 (Dramatico Records)

Philip Schofield declared this song, and the album that it was taken from, the soundtrack to his road trip across America. Can praise actually get any higher than that? It’s like someone has tipped the collective works of Lester Bangs, Nick Kent and all of those other great music journalists of old, into a skip. All it takes is a nod from Schofield and fans of unthreatening, widescreen, slightly soaring pop, go wild. RM

Released October 8

Substantial Error ft. Luke Truth

Sunshine (New State Music)

Great summer dancey banger released just in time for the Autumn… Still, you can just about feel those warm rays, especially if you’re in any way enamoured by poppy dubstep that sounds like it’s been force-fed jelly tots. RM

Released September 30