Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Track Of The Day: False-Heads - 'Fall Around'

False-Heads are a trio based in East London, who release a new EP entitled 'Tunnel Vision' on July 28. Consisting of Luke Griffiths (vocals/guitar), Jake Elliott (bass) and Daniel Delgaty (drums), the group's sound falls somewhere between thrashy grunge and energetic punk, displayed brilliantly on new track 'Fall Around'. Bearing heavy shades of the Pixies, early Feeder and even a touch of 90s britrockers Symposium, noisy guitars and calm, cooling bass combine with snotty vocals to supply a rough n' ready slice of summer grunge-pop brilliance. It's also available to download for FREE via their Soundcloud page. 'Tunnel Vision' will be released through Hi4Head Records, available from all good digital stores and as a limited edition CD release with bonus tracks.



LIVE DATES
23 July – BRIGHTON – Green Door Store
25 July – UXBRIDGE – Crown and Treaty
01 Aug – UXBRIDGE – Crown and Treaty
02 Aug – KENT – Stepping Stone Records (in-store)
06 Aug – LONDON – Tooting Tram and Social
09 Aug – LONDON – Aces and Eights
23 Aug – CRAWLEY – The Black Dog
26 Aug – DARTFORD – Bull and Vic
13 Sept – BRIGHTON – Fitzherbets
25 Sept – LONDON – The Purple Turtle
17 Oct – PORTSMOUTH – The Cellar Rooms


REWIND: Asian Dub Foundation: 'Free Satpal Ram' (Primal Scream and Brendan Lynch Mix)

It was due to my love of Primal Scream that I ended up coming across this band. Bobby Gillespie would rave about Asian Dub Foundation in the music press, and in 1998 the Scream remixed their raging 'Free Satpal Ram' single, with the help of producer Brendan Lynch.

Satpal Ram was an Asian man who was wrongly accused of murder and jailed after defending himself in a racist attack. Ram, along with two friends visited a restaurant in November 1986. While there, an argument broke out between the three men and another group of six people who were also in the restaurant, an altercation that was over Asian music being played on the restaurant's radio system. After the fight turned physical, Clarke Pearce was taken to hospital with knife wounds and later died. Consequently, Satpal Ram was arrested for murder and convicted in 1987. Controversy arose among the British media when it was alleged that his barrister did not meet with him, onl;y speaking to him for around 40 minutes before the trial. The jury was claimed to have missed vital evidence because no interpreter was provided to translate for a Bengali-speaking waiter who had been present at the incident. It is also alleged that the judge was to have said he would interpret but also that he couldn't speak the Bengali language. There were also reports of Ram being beaten, starved, repeatedly strip-searched, and made to spend large periods of time in solitary confinement. 

Back then, I was still in secondary school. As part of our PSE (personal and social education) lessons, one of our projects was to give a talk to the class on a chosen subject. Inspired by Satpal Ram's case, I told his story to the rest of my classmates and even handed round a petition for people to sign. Satpal Ram was released from Blantyre House Prison on parole in June 2002.

Asian Dub Foundation play the world premiere of their original live soundtrack to George Lucas' film 'THX 1138' at Celebrate Brooklyn! Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY on August 8th.



Monday, 21 July 2014

Track Of The Day: Plank! - 'Aphidelity'

Manchester trio Plank! have just released their second full-length 'Hivemind', a superb album inspired by "the millions of arthropods without which our global eco-system could not survive." And indeed the 10 track LP is rather insect-like in a lot of ways: its movements are rhythmically odd, it has many legs, and like some insects, it is also capable of flying exploratively. Taken from it, the magnificent 'Aphidelity' is an essential slice of European-flavoured intergalactic disco, marching into the cosmos with authoritative power. A masterfully crafted blend of prog, post-rock, electronica and Krautrock, 'Hivemind' succeeds in exploring structural possibilities and forever journeying to different habitats, yet it's also a cohesive set of songs that fit together superbly as one inspired idea. Read the full album review HERE.



REWIND: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - 'Whatever Happened To My Rock 'n' Roll (Punk Song)'

Released in 2001 and still the best LP to come out of the early 2000's 'new rock n roll revolution', 'B.R.M.C.' is the self-titled debut album by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, released on Virgin Records. 

Carrying a sound indebted to hard rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, it also encompassed psychedelic rock, space rock, and noise pop influences from the likes of The Verve, Loop, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and The Jesus and Mary Chain

The fiery 'Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll (Punk Song)' was the first song of theirs that I ever heard, and one that made me want to get my hands on that album as soon as I heard it. Still sounds excellent 13 years on.




Sunday, 20 July 2014

Track Of The Day: Manic Street Preachers - 'Between The Clock And The Bed'


On my first listen to the new Manics album 'Futurology', I didn't immediately warm to many of these songs, and felt that the band I fell in love with were barely recognisable anymore. After the second time I played it, all that changed. One thing that takes a lot of getting used to at first is the unfamiliar sound of the occasional guest vocalists. On the stunning 'Between The Clock And The Bed', you could easily be forgiven for beginning to think that the CD has accidentally been mispressed with another artist's track, as Scritti Pollitti man Green Gartside's voice emerges over the relaxed soul groove it slips smoothly into. However, by the time James Dean Bradfield's soaring, life affirming vocal melody arrives near the end, you may very well have fallen in love with another new side of the Manics. And that dazzling, uplifting feeling that shines throughout the song? Look beneath and examine the tortured lyrics, inspired by an unsettling painting by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch which gave the track its name. 

As well as movements in new directions, we still get all the things that have always made the Manics great: the incredible tunes, the slogans, the values, and of course Bradfield's magnificent voice. I'll say that these last two albums both stand as their strongest works since the 90s. Reignited once again, with 'Futurology' the Manics have written one of the most interesting chapters in their fascinating and eventful story. Read the full album review HERE.



REWIND: Pulp - 'Lipgloss'

Has anyone seen the brilliant Pulp documentary film yet? Released in cinemas a few months ago, 'Pulp: A Film About Life, Death, and Supermarkets' is now available to watch online or to buy on special edition DVD. "In 2012 the band returned to their hometown Sheffield for what could be their last UK concert. Footage of their phenomenal live show is exclusive to this film and the band also share their thoughts on fame, love, mortality and car maintenance. Director Florian Habicht weaves together these elements with dream-like tableaux featuring the people and the city of Sheffield." Running at 87 mins, the movie is available on DVD (Region 2) and Blu-ray (Region B).

EXTRAS

Concert Tracks
I Spy
Mis-shapes
Sheffield: Sex City
Help the Aged
Extended Band Interviews
Extended Sheffield Interviews
Saskia Cocker Sings "Something Changed"
Behind the Scenes

From 1994's 'His 'N' Hers', here's the magnificent 'Lipgloss'. Where have the last 20 years gone?


LISTEN: RW/FF Radio - 07/07/2014

The most recent edition of RW/FF Radio, this one from July 7. After a week's break, the show will return tomorrow night for a very special edition hosted by Jason B. To celebrate a year since the launch of Melksham Town Sound, the station is hosting a one-off week of shows where our presenters are swapping over. Which means that I will be hosting Jason's usual Dance Class show. This will be interesting for sure. Any local people are welcome to attend MTS's birthday night on Friday 25 July, where myself, Jason B and the station's other DJs will be taking to the decks for a night of banging beats and uptempo grooves... More info can be found at the Melksham Town Sound Facebook page HERE. This edition of the show features new music from Stephen Jones, Plank!, Manic Street Preachers, Tape Waves, Erland And The Carnival, Paws, Traams, and The Phantom Band. Plus sounds from the past courtesy of David Bowie, Cluster, Levellers, The Cure, Alison Limerick, and the Freestylers.

Ben Scott hosts RW/FF Radio every Monday night 7-8pm. As well as the most essential new releases, you'll hear lost treasures and classics from the past. Expect everything from indie, shoegaze, electronica, krautrock, psychedelica, funk, soul, reggae, punk, alternative, rock and much more.


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Track Of The Day: Epic45 - 'Weathering' (Bracken remix)

Here is an absolute beauty, lifted from a brilliant digital compilation called 'Music For A Good Home Vol 3'. The original version of 'Weathering' was originally released about 3 years ago on Epic45's album of the same name, but now enjoys a new lease of life thanks to a lovely remix by Bracken, aka Chris Adams of Leeds indie band Hood. A graceful, soothing and additively rhythmic beauty that glows like hazy rays of sunshine, this fine version of 'Weathering' can be bought along with 30 other tracks for just £7.99, with every penny going to homeless charity Shelter. Other acts who feature include Thought Forms, Six By Seven and Esben And The Witch... Buy it at the Audioscope Records Bandcamp page HERE.



REWIND: Blur - 'Resigned'

Back in May 1993, Blur's second LP was just a moderately successful album by a declining indie band that only just reached number 15 in the charts. 21 years later and it's now regarded as a sea change in British music and the beginning of an exciting era. 'Modern Life Is Rubbish' came at a difficult point in the band's career. If they didn't get this one right, there's every chance that they would have been dropped by their label and probably unable to evolve into the legends they would soon become. In a musical climate dominated by American grunge, Blur reinvented themselves as the musical embodiment of pure Englishness. Combining Bowie with Syd Barrett and The Kinks with The Jam, yet still not being bogged down in imitation, the second album suggested that Blur had found an identity of their own. There were big singalongs like 'For Tomorrow' and 'Sunday Sunday', excitingly noisy punk moments like 'Advert' and the brief insanity of 'Intermission', as well as sumptuously lovely tracks like 'Blue Jean' and the wondrous, melancholic closer 'Resigned'. Read an article I wrote in 2013 about the album HERE.



Monday, 14 July 2014

Track Of The Day: Lee Coombs and Kostas G - 'Phunked!'

A member of The Freakazoids, and a founder of the Thrust label, Lee Coombs began his career in the British dance music scene in 1989, immersing himself in the era's acid house culture. Varied influences make their way into his music: breaks, house, electro, techno and acid flavours. His new track 'Phunked!' (in collaboration with Kostas G) comes from an upcoming album 'entitled Kaleidoscope', and serves up a meaty, addictive chunk of breakbeat house blazing with 90s vibes. According to Kostas G, the album has been mastered and will see the light of day in September. Meanwhile Coombs' group The Freakazoids are currently working on a new album project called 'In Freakz We Trust', and you can get involved here: http://www.fundanything.com/thefreakazoids.



REWIND: Mid Day Rain - 'Welcome To The Rain'

Here's another rare gem that I thought I found via the excellent Twitter page @a45aday, but after a recent check, evidence suggests it must have been somewhere else that I heard this a little while ago. Despite the "rain" in the band's name and song title, this obscure 1970 treasure released on RCA Records has summer vibes all over it. Laid back, melancholic and blessed with enchanting harmonies, 'Welcome To The Rain' is an underrated treasure of 60s pop that charms and touches the heart. It seems that Mid Day Rain only released two songs, this and it's B side '. It is believed that Gnarls Barkley sampled this song on the 'St. Elsewhere' track 'Online'.


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Track Of The Day: The Vines - 'Out Of The Loop'

I find it hard to believe that 12 whole years have passed since I first heard of The Vines. Taken from their upcoming double album 'Wicked Nature', the impressive 'Out Of The Loop' an abrasive rock n roll banger, as no-nonsense as it gets really. They still sound a bit like The Beatles doing Nirvana and sometimes a bit like Nirvana doing The Beatles. And yet somehow their sound hasn't outstayed its welcome. At 1 minutes and 21 seconds, neither does the song. 

'Wicked Nature' clocks in at 22 tracks, and is produced by frontman Craig Nicholls. The album will be released on September 2 via new label that the band have set up to release the album, which shares its name. 

It will be available worldwide digitally and also as a physical release on both double CD and double gatefold vinyl in the UK, Europe, USA, Japan, and Australia. It's their first release in three years since 2011's 'Future Primitive'.



REWIND: Suede - 'By The Sea'

From one of my favourite albums from the glorious year of 1996, here's Suede with the stunning piano tearjerker 'By The Sea'. As oppose to the previous album 'Dog Man Star', where former guitarist Bernard Butler composed music for Brett Anderson's lyrics, the number 1 LP 'Coming Up' was a more collaborative project in terms of writing, with the large majority of it being composed by Anderson, Richard Oakes and Neil Codling. At the time Oakes and Codling had only been in the band for a short while. But along with the single 'Lazy', the beautiful 'By The Sea' was written solely by Brett. No less than five Top 10 singles were released from the album, and the remaining five tracks also could have been hits. Quite simply one of the all-time great LPs, that often doesn't get the acclaim it deserves. The album sold 1.5 million and was nominated for the 1997 Mercury Prize and is regarded as the record that introduced Suede to a worldwide audience, in places such as Europe, Canada and Asia.



Saturday, 12 July 2014

RW/FF With Ben P Scott #51

Another packed round-up this week, featuring new albums from the Manic Street Preachers and Plank!, plus new music from Tape Waves, Stephen Jones, Goat, Erland And The Carnival, Télépopmusik feat Mark Gardener, Tricky, Hell Death Fury, Fingersnap, The Black Keys, Spies, The Juan MacLean, The Vacant Lots, Traams, Paws, Esben And The Witch, I Heart The Monster Hero and a great Depeche Mode remix from Boys Noize. As well as those, Damon Albarn features three times this week, in a brief album review and on two tracks from Tony Allen and The Child Of Lov. There's a new video from the excellent Zoo Zero, plus an interview with the band as well. All that plus a new edition of The RW/FF Compilation, featuring the finest new music of recent times...


When Nicky Wire announced in 2010 that the Manic Street Preachers were going to have "an extended break", we all knew that their eventual return would be an interesting one. So they returned last year with the wonderful 'Rewind The Film', an album that finally accepted that their days of mainstream superstardom were in the past, and that trying to repeat themselves was doing them no good. It also took a retrospective look at their own past, as well as the gradual erosion of the things they hold dear, laid a few ghosts to rest and tried to figure out a way forward, all things that continue in a much more proactive manner on 'Futurology'. They've had plenty of experience at bouncing back, trying to make a fresh start, and changing people's perception of what they "should" be. Wasn't a lot of 'Everything Must Go' about that? Maybe it's impossible to "escape from a history" as eventful and astonishing as the one the Manics have had, but 'Futurology' ensures that they can still stay significant and relevant, proving that their continued existence is not only necessary, but hugely vital.




'Futurology' is about finding a new sense of purpose. And plenty of it can be found in the triumphant 'Walk Me To The Bridge', which pushes forward like some sort of transportation powering across the continent through the night, delivering a sucker punch of a chorus that has heavy touches of 80s stadium rock to it. Lyrically it often sees them trying to make some sense of their current position, asking themselves questions, reflecting on their own history, and taking a leap forward into unknown territories, excited by the uncertainty of what the future holds. Fully aware that "old songs leave long shadows", it's an album that sets out to cross new bridges, defy expectations and not be afraid to take risks.




Indeed it is a very different kettle of fish to its predecessor, which was recorded during the same sessions. While 'Rewind The Film' "can't fight this war anymore", 'Futurology' declares that "we need to go to war again", as the band take a stand against the lack of rebellion in today's popular culture on the abrasive, unsettling militant groove of 'Let's Go To War'. Imagining a frightening future where "working class skeletons lay scattered in museums", it's a surprising moment that's not too far from a sinister trip hop version of 'In The Hall Of The Mountain King'. The magnificent 'Next Jet To Leave Moscow' references their past flirtations with Communism over a liberated, Krautrock-flavoured backdrop that brings to mind the similar energetic melancholy of The Clash's 'Spanish Bombs', and comes complete with an elevating guitar solo from JDB. There are echoes of 'The Holy Bible' too, but the tone is a great deal more introspective, and beautifully melodic. The European influence isn't just a purely musical one, as the intense, menacing stomp 'Europa Geht Durch Mich' demonstrates, with its references to roads and motion symbolic of a group travelling forwards. A commanding German-sung second verse from actress Nina Hoss sends shivers down the spine. Once again the Manics sound dangerous, and prepared to stand up and fight. Then we're treated to one of the biggest surprises here, tje instrumental post-punk freak out 'Hugheskova (Dreaming A City)', which recalls 'Low'-era Bowie doing a cosmic funk cop show theme. In particular, the atmosphere and superb drum sound seem to have been influenced by 'Low''s 'Speed Of Life', which like 'Futurology', was recorded at the Hansa studios near the Berlin Wall. 




Lines are drawn between the slate-wiping ideas of radical Russian art and the hollowness of modern culture's dumbed down, disposable nature on pretty synth lament 'Black Square', a slow burning beauty which revisits musical ground last heard on 2004's opinion-dividing 'Lifeblood'. 'Futurology' is also destined to provoke initial mixed reactions. On the first listen, I didn't immediately warm to many of these songs, and felt that the band I fell in love with were barely recognisable anymore. After the second time I played it, all that changed. One thing that takes a lot of getting used to at first is the unfamiliar sound of the occasional guest vocalists. On the stunning 'Between The Clock And The Bed', you could easily be forgiven for beginning to think that the CD has accidentally been mispressed with another artist's track, as Scritti Pollitti man Green Gartside's voice emerges over the relaxed soul groove it slips smoothly into. However, by the time Bradfield's soaring, life affirming vocal melody arrives near the end, you may very well have fallen in love with another new side of the Manics. And that dazzling, uplifting feeling that shines throughout the song? Look beneath and examine the tortured lyrics, inspired by an unsettling painting by Norwegian artist Munch which gave the track its name. Returning immediately to darker musical territory is the incredible 'Misguided Missile', the sort of urgent, trail blazing excitement that we haven't heard from them in years. As well as featuring a hugely enjoyable bassline, it rhymes "schadenfreude" with "void", and delivers another massive singalong chorus. Joining the dots with 'Rewind The Film' is the ghostly, melancholic sigh of '(The View From) Stow Hill', which would rather spend time appreciating the world's natural beauty than indulging in a modern routine of "misguided tweets" and "sad Facebooking". It would have made a charming closer, but instead 'Mayakovsky' ends the record with a noodly instrumental hard rock sci-fi jam that's interesting enough but not really substantial or remarkable enough to be included here.




While 'Rewind The Film' is a more consistent and focused album, 'Futurology' strikes the most powerful blows, but gets points deducted for a few wobbly moments. Still, you can't expect them to try new things and not make the odd error. As well as movements in new directions, we still get all the things that have always made the Manics great: the incredible tunes, the slogans, the values, and of course James Dean Bradfield's magnificent voice. I'll say that these last two albums both stand as their strongest works since the 90s. Reignited once again, with 'Futurology' the Manics have written one of the most interesting chapters in their fascinating and eventful story. Read the full 8.2/10 review HERE.





Manchester trio Plank! released a debut album entitled 'Animalism' in 2012 and elaborate on these themes of nature with the follow-up 'Hivemind', a superb album inspired by "the millions of arthropods without which our global eco-system could not survive." And indeed the 10 track LP is rather insect-like in a lot of ways: its movements are rhythmically odd, it has many legs, and like some insects, it is also capable of flying exploratively. 

Right from the outset, new drummer Liam Stewart makes his presence known with some outstanding work behind the kit as 'Grasshoppers From Mars' provides a vigorous opener. Progressing engagingly throughout, a hard, disciplined rhythm establishes odd, jerky time signatures, and stimulating guitars jostle with blurting synths, creating luminous atmospheres. The magnificent 'Aphidelity' is an essential slice of European-flavoured intergalactic disco, marching into the cosmos with authoritative power.

On the weighty 'Dark Web', they play with brooding post-rock before bursting into furious riffage in between intricately jerky rhythms, a trick also used to brilliant effect on 'Swarm Behaviour', where frantic drum fills and cloudy atmospheres meet massive, earworm guitar hooks, evolving masterfully throughout. Only four tracks in, and 'Hivemind' has already visited a variety of places, keeping the listener constantly occupied with the shifting structures, recurring rhythms and impressive dynamic instincts. Like its title suggests, 'Metamorphosis' is a blossoming wonder that glows with an uplifting, energising beauty, while the stunning 'Moth Lover' takes flight through glistening trails of synth and beautifully organic acoustic notes, ascending higher with its driving rhythms.

'Drone' provides a dazzling, mesmeric soundscape before the entrancing space age pulse of 'Waterboatman' slowly and solemnly grows into a haunting, panoramic earworm. Another side to the trio is revealed on the warm, tender piano and bass notes on 'Cricket', where an emergence of uplifting synth patterns segue into the brilliantly accomplished and instinctively arranged epic 'Kephri', an immense climax that ends the album with an exhilarating bang.

A masterfully crafted blend of prog, post-rock, electronica and Krautrock, 'Hivemind' succeeds in exploring structural possibilities and forever journeying to different habitats, yet it's also a cohesive set of songs that fit together superbly as one inspired idea. 8.5/10





'La Torta De La Muerte' is a six track EP made by five men who hail from the Wiltshire town of Melksham. Hell Death Fury deliver something way beyond the tried and tested ska-punk formula, bashing out an adrenaline fuelled blend of metal, dub, hardcore and rocksteady with occasional dips into hip hop, funk and whatever else they feel like throwing into the mixture. After forming in 2007, they gathered up enough material to release a debut album entitled 'Free Porn' in 2010 before spending the last four years gigging and refining their sound. Their new EP flies by at just over twelve minutes in length, serving up a face smacking wake up call that energises, excites and highly amuses with its fun and bizarre choices of lyrical topics.




The opening 'Cletus The Fetus' roars into a mentally unsteady bounce resembling a thrash metal Madness, slipping into offbeat grooves in between thrashing the living shit out of their instruments, while the lively skank and catchy verses of the bouncy, slightly psychobilly-tinged 'Zombie Party' give way to another raging chorus, bursts of fierce riffage and a shitstorm of apocalyptic keys, before leading nicely into a brilliantly arranged dub version of the track. Launching into full on roots reggae, the insanely catchy 'Marijuana' is a terrific pro-legalisation anthem that has all the hooks you could possibly wish for. It's so infectious and well accomplished that you can forgive any sense of parody. From one extreme to another, 'Galahad' is a searing blast of budget lager inspired hardcore punk, where the influence of New York skacore squatters Leftover Crack can be heard in amongst the screaming delivery and blazing riff rampages. The EP closes with the title track ''La Torta De La Muerte'', the most savage song about cake baking that you're ever likely to hear, a vicious ska-metal concoction that wraps things up by letting rip with full throated ferocity.

Brilliant, ridiculously energising and infectious music that makes you want to put on a pork pie hat, light up a spliff, bake an evil cake, and party. HDF succeed in making a heavy combination of styles sound completely natural, fusing the spirit of reggae, thrash metal, punk and dub and distilling it into a force that's as potent as the weed they sing about smoking. 8/10

The whole EP is available as a pay-what-you-like download from their Bandcamp page HERE. A live album recorded at The Fleece in Bristol is also available for a nominal fee. Do give generously.







With a superb debut album under their belts, and an astonishing live energy to their performances, it's surprising that more people aren't aware of the London based four piece who call themselves Zoo Zero. Musically the band are sharp, and energetic while also capable of tripping into weirder, more cosmic places. Their sense of melody and how they utilise it throughout these tracks is what makes them stand out from the rest, as they prove themselves to be one of the UK's most exciting new acts. Frontman Tom  Pinnock spoke to RW/FF about their music, their influences, their debut album (one of RW/FF's top 10 albums of 2013), future plans and his obsession with Mansun, in an interview that you can read HERE. "I'm always depressed by the careerist attitudes of a lot of bands over the last couple of decades, both big and unknown. Everyone seems desperate to bend over backwards for the industry, or dilute what they're about for wider acceptance, second-guessing what they think people want. We've had some interest from industry people in the past and just stopped responding to them when it's clear they don't understand what the band is about. One prospective manager hated the way our first EP sounded and suggested we remix it to make it all glossy and clean, which was of course the opposite of the way we wanted it to sound. I'm not trying to suggest we're heroes fighting against the system, but it's just sad that so many artists actively suck up to it in their sound and approach. Don't they know the man don't give a fuck?"



The band have just made a rather interesting visual accompaniment for 'Spinning Pretty', a superb track which can be found on the LP. Here's drummer Matt Barnes to tell us a bit about it...

"So this is the latest video from our debut album. It follows the 2012 South African downhill champion, Raoul van den Berg as he glides through the Franschhoek Pass ---- near Stellenbosch ---- near(ish) Cape Town. Raoul and I have known each other since the age of 5 when his family moved to England for a short while. Whilst we've only seen each other a couple of times since then, we've kept in touch and, over twenty years later, we thought it would be cool to collaborate and bring our passions together with this video!"

"Raoul tells me how he's really into the sense of momentum you get when Longboarding - how it feels like you can keep on rolling forever. This was my inspiration for this video. Raoul became the visual representation of our drone note that you hear slicing through the whole of the song - the very same drone that plays forever on the locked groove of Side B on our LP. The frequent changing from one section of the song to the next echoes the passing scenery in the video whilst Raoul's constant presence reminds you of that persistent 'E' note... Raoul can be found on Facebook and YouTube pages if you'd like to see more!"



Go HERE to read a review of the brilliant 'Zoo Zero' LP, which (if you're lucky and quick enough) is still available to buy on limited white vinyl.










Back in April, Damon Albarn announced a pair of intimate warm up gigs in Bristol and Portsmouth. Tickets for the show at Bristol's Trinity Centre sold out before people could even enter their credit card details, and the 400 tickets for a date in Portsmouth were fought over by more than 100,000 fans. So I felt very lucky to be there with 399 other people to spend a night in the company of the legend himself and his band The Heavy Seas


A brilliantly eclectic set list and an impressively dynamic performance that gave us a satisfying mixture of almost every side of Albarn that we've known down the years. Adaptable, multi faceted, imaginative and always relishing a new challenge, he continues to grow and develop as an artist and performer while many others from his era stay in their comfort zones. Whether it's with Blur, Gorillaz, Africa Express or any of his other musical outlets, witnessing Albarn playing always feels like a privilege. Read the full gig review HERE.







That former Babybird man and ridiculously overlooked cult hero Stephen Jones has released an album. If any of you are familiar with his work as Black Reindeer, you'll be used to Jones releasing albums, pretty much all the time. In the last year and a bit he's released at least twelve largely instrumental LPs under his Black Reindeer alias, all of which were available via his Bandcamp page. But this particular Stephen Jones release is quite special, as it's the first "proper" solo album since he brought Babybird to an end. The completely self-written, self-performed, self-recorded, self-produced and self-released 'Ambition Expired' is available digitally for just £7.99, and if he sells enough copies we may hopefully see a physical release at some point! I'm hoping for that to happen, since I want to add this incredible album to my CD or vinyl collection, next to his previous solo album, 2003's 'Almost Cured Of Sadness' Have a listen to the stunning 'A Beautiful War' and support an incredible and sorely underrated talent...


Complete with a pulchritudinous self-made video, it's an enchanting mesmeric space-age lullaby that basks in a dazzling ambience, marrying his sweetly tuneful vocal melodies of old with a more spacious musical presentation, letting the song evolve slowly and naturally for maximum impact. 

Despite selling over two million records worldwide, Jones has never compromised the intelligence of his music for the mainstream, and has a deep hatred of mass marketed insipidness. With his talent for the unusal, why would he want to conform to sounding like everyone else? We need people like Jones, who make this world a more interesting place by challenging the norm and going against the grain. And as long as he continues to battle against the blandness peddled by mainstream culture, this beautiful war will indeed continue to produce more effortless and truly unique magic.





Erland and The Carnival release their third album entitled 'Closing Time' on August 25. Following the break-up of The Verve, Simon Tong formed the band with Orcadian folk guitarist/singer Gawain Erland Cooper and drummer/engineer David Nock. The new LP was recorded at Damon Albarn's 13 studios in London, and this wonderful new track 'Quiet Love' features the legendary Paul Weller on guitar and backing vocals. It's a moody, haunting and elegant helping of string-flavoured melancholic beauty, topped with a warm, heartfelt vocal from Cooper. "Closing Time doesn’t mark the beginning of the end; rather it marks an end to permit a new beginning,” explains Erland. “When Summer dies it’s to let winter in, then spring opens it up again; it has to happen. It’s enjoyable when you accept that you have a limited time to make things happen to the best of your ability."




Swedish psychedelic collective Goat have been busy over the last couple of years. As well as touring the world, setting various festivals alight, releasing a top-notch studio LP and a live album (as well as some superb one-off singles), the band have also been working on their second full length. With the album now finished, Goat prepare to release it on September 22 via the excellent Rocket Recordings, a label that just seem to stop releasing quality music. It will be titled 'Commune', and is available to pre-order in a variety of different formats, including black vinyl LP with diecut sleeve, and various different gold vinyl bundles, which all come with a bonus 7" of exclusive tracks. Go HERE to check those out and see which one takes your fancy. Taken from the album is this riotous new track 'Hide From The Sun', which builds on urgent, oddly-timed rhythms to create a catchy yet refreshingly peculiar blend of Eastern melody, hallucinogenic vibes, searing fuzz guitar and confrontational, otherworldly vocals. Deeply insistent and thrillingly hypnotic, it'll give you an overwhelming urge to dance, although you may be too mesmerised to move...

Goat have a selection of UK dates, including a slot at the mouth-wateringly ace Liverpool Psych Fest. Details below...

Liverpool Psych Festival (September 27th) 
Glasgow’s SWG3 (28th)
Newcastle’s Northumbria University (29th)
Brighton Concorde 2 (October 1st)
Bristol Trinity Centre (2nd)
London Roundhouse (3rd).



French trio Télépopmusik have just released their first new material for over a year, a superb track featuring former Ride legend Mark Gardener on vocals. Despite being relative unknowns in the UK, Télépopmusik have sold over half a million records worldwide during the last decade. 'Sound' is taken from an as-yet untitled new album, which will be their first album in nearly a decade. Combining styles brilliantly, it's a wondrous helping of moody, atmospheric synthpop that falls somewhere between early 90s Depeche Mode and John Grant's 'Pale Green Ghosts', while inevitably benefiting from Gardener's mesmeric tones and the associated ambience that comes with them. Look out for Gardener's forthcoming collaborative album with Cocteau Twins man Robin Guthrie, due for release later in the year...



Bristol trip-hop legend Tricky returns on September 8 with a brand new album entitled 'Adrian Thaws'. It will be his 11th full length effort, and will be released via his own False Idols label. The record's title also happens to be Tricky's birth name. "Calling it Adrian Thaws is saying you don't really know me... So many times people have tried to put a finger on me and every album I go to a different place." Recorded in Tricky's home studio in London, 'Adrian Thaws' is described as "a musically adventurous project" with collaborators on the album including Francesca Belmonte, Nneka, Mykki Blanco, Bella Gotti, Tirzah, Blue Daisy and Oh Land. On 'Nicotine Love', paranoid electro pulses combine with haunting nocturnal atmospheres as Francesca Belmonte provides a captivating vocal. The track is available for immediate download with pre-orders of the album on iTunes HERE.



A magnificent new track from afrobeat legend Tony Allen, which features the voice of Damon Albarn, with who Allen also played with in The Good, The Bad And The Queen a few years ago. The poignantly funky 'Go Back' features smart flicks of bass, a sensual, yearning sigh of a vocal from Albarn added to some truly magnificent piano and horn arrangements, plus of course Allen himself who provides instinctive trademark rhythms to brilliant effect. An absolute gem of a song. A press release describes it as "a homage to the African refugees who ended up on the Italian island of Lampedusa" and "a dazzling new masterpiece to add to the collective adventures of the brilliant English jack-of-all-trades and the cult Nigerian drummer, whose paths first crossed over ten years ago for the album Homecooking, followed by The Good, the Bad and the Queen and Africa Express..." 'Go Back' is taken from Allen's upcoming album 'Film Of Life', which is to be released on the JazzVillage label in October.





Traams are a three piece post punk outfit from Chichester, who released a debut album called 'Grin' last year in 2013. Already they have toured with the legendary Wire throughout Europe, and their latest release is produced by two members of Hookworms


The hyperactive 'Giddy' opens the band's new 'Cissa' EP with a tempestuous helping of angular riffing, contagious hooks, roaring energy and hard, driving rhythms. Traams are just one of the terrific bands lined up to appear at the Liverpool Psych Fest in September, which boasts an absolutely stunning bill. More info on that can be found HERE






I've been waiting for the sun to come back out before sharing this one. A magnificent little number that I first heard early last week while sitting in my back garden. Tape Waves are a South Carolina-based duo consisting of husband and wife Jarod Weldin and Kim Weldin, who have been releasing music since 2013. Following on from the debut 'Tape Waves' EP, they issued a lovely 7" single last month in May 2014, which features 'Stay All Night' and the sensational 'Looking At The Sun'. A track I discovered via a recommendation on social media... 21st century life has its bright sides. If it wasn't for Twitter then I wouldn't be one of the small but growing number of people lucky enough to have discovered this duo's magnificent music. Sweet, tranquil summer shoegaze dreampop topped with wonderfully breathy vocals and blissful guitar notes, I can't think of anything more perfect for a relaxing lounge in the sunshine. But don't look at the sun, though. It'll hurt your eyes...

Tape Waves have just announced their debut album, which will be called 'Let You Go' and released on July 28 via Bleeding Gold Records. If 'Looking At The Sun' is anything to go by, it'll be amazing.





Here's one that's been cropping up on my radio station of choice BBC 6Music quite a bit lately, and it was only a matter of time before repeated listens caused the song to grow on me. 

Paws are a Glasgow-based trio who released their second album 'Youth Culture Forever' about a month ago in early June 2014. They also hit headlines recently when they accused Morrissey of trying to get their set cancelled at a venue both parties were due to play at, labelling the former Smiths legend "a rich, has-been egomaniac".

A raucously irresistible indie rock swoon that rings with vibrancy, 'Owl Talons Clenching My Heart' (inspired by Sylvia Plath perhaps?) is a whirlwind of sweat, guts and passion, and it won't be long before it creeps up on you too...



Brighton-based trio Esben And the Witch have just announced the release of their third album. It's called 'A New Nature', and will be released on September 1. It's fair to say that they've been rather busy these last couple of years, with their previous LP 'Wash The Sins Not Only The Face' emerging last year in 2013, and a superb split LP with Thought Forms being released a few months ago on Invada Records. 'A New Nature' will be the first material to be released on the band's very own Nostromo Records label, and was recorded by the legendary Steve Albini, following a successful Pledge Music campaign earlier this year. Hypnotic, raw, and insistent, 'Blood Teachings' grows into a fearsome rumble that displays no excess fat. "We wanted to create a record that had a level of purity to it" say the band. "To strip away the layers and loops and see what lay beneath. To keep things naked, unadorned and raw. The three of us, in a room, making noise. We looked to create a more primal record, full of human emotion and sonic intensity. Drawing on themes of endurance, strength, determination and self-actualisation. Themes that have always inspired us but perhaps, only now, a few years down the line, a few years of touring under our belts, we feel we have the confidence and maturity to explore and shout about." 





I Heart The Monster Hero are a psychedelic flavoured, lo-fi synth-pop combo who formed in Dublin back in 2011. Their debut album is called ‘Rhythm And Pals’, and was released through Crocfinger Records on 30th June. With a sound described as "fuzzed-up swirl of pop-laminated psych punk with buckets of steam", the five piece are made up of Andy Walsh, Simon Dowling, Philip Clarke, David Crean and Paddy Walsh

The single 'Toni Bailey' has one of those infernally catchy hooks, which along with its Cure-esque guitars and colourful instrumentation, makes for an enjoyable serving of lively indie pop...




Released last year in 2013, Depeche Mode's 13th studio album 'Delta Machine' was without a doubt something of a return to form. At the time of its release I was a little bit unsure about it, but it subsequently grew on me more and more with each listen, and still sounds superb a year on. But while my original review opined that "a large percentage of 'Delta Machine' delivers some vintage material that's more than worthy of inclusion on a Best Of album", various remixes of tracks from the album have proved to be just as satisfying. So following on from Little Vampire's excellent take on 'Should Be Higher', the striking 'My Little Universe' has been given a blistering acid-shaped overhaul by Boys Noize, aka German producer Alex Ridha. It was made available via Beatport on June 23, and comes backed with a Djedjotronic Remix of 'Alone'. The release of the remixes continues Ridha’s musical relationship with the band, his space age version of ‘Personal Jesus’ having featured on ‘Boys Noize – The Remixes’ back in 2011. 

David McAlmont is probably best known as one half of McAlmont And Butler, but has found a new lease of life as part of another duo. Fingersnap also feature the multi-talented Guy Davies, and began playing together in 2011, releasing their debut EP 'The Smokehouse' later the same year. The Evening Standard has hailed them as 'Smoldering, mesmerising and magical', and brilliantly they list their interests as "The Human Condition" and "The World We Live In". 

Their new offering 'Blackbirds' sees tender piano and a spellbinding vocal cast a dramatic elegance on this beautifully emotive piece which (judging by it being listed as 'Track 3' on my media player) looks like it's taken from an upcoming EP. The wonderful animated video for the track was created by Lewis Campbell, and the song itself is available as a free download for all who sign up to the duo's mailing list (link below). You can listen to more of their dazzling sounds by going HERE and reading a review of 'The Smokehouse' EP from a few years ago, where you can also listen to those songs in full. 





'Turn Blue' is the eighth studio album by The Black Keys, released about a month ago or so in May 2014. The record was the group's fourth collaboration with producer Danger Mouse, and most of the songs were recorded at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California. The sessions coincided with singer Dan Auerbach's divorce from his wife, which seems to have inspired much of the album's more melancholy lyrics and moody tone. Holding a crap posthumous Michael Jackson LP off the top spot, the album debuted at number one in the United States and Australia, becoming the duo's first record to top the charts in either country. A seductive, hook-laden blend of heartbroken soul, RnB, southern rock and funk that comes with an added psychedelic twist, 'Turn Blue' proves itself to be their masterpiece, pushing the quality of their songwriting to new levels while adding refreshing new ingredients. Irresistibly funky, with a raw, soul bleeding vibe, '10 Lovers' displays a duo who have become even better at doing the things they were already great at.

Since the song or video aren't streaming anywhere online, you'll have to skip about 2 minutes into this radio show below to hear the track. Maybe they'll release it as a single and make a video for it in the future...





The music world reacted with shock at the tragically premature death of The Child Of Lov last year. Martijn William Zimri Teerlinck, also known as Cole Williams, passed away following complications after surgery, cutting a hugely promising career short. He had only just released his self titled album, which featured a brilliantly unsettling collaboration with Damon Albarn entitled 'One Day'. Now, a posthumous video for the song has just been unveiled, commissioned from director Christine Yuan "just prior to his passing", says a press release. "Yuan had not met him nor did she know about his illness when she made the video but she clued in on the song's lyrics to find inspiration – 'Hold me until the morning. Hold me until the morning. One day baby I got to die and I lie down'..."



Following on from their brilliant 'Distant Shorelines' EP late last year, Dublin five piece Spies return with a smashing new single entitled 'Moosehead'. 

A bright, vibrantly energetic and colourfully melodic cracker topped with commanding vocals and expansive arrangements, the song will be available as a VERY limited edition 7" single on August 4 via Trout Records. It will be backed by another song called 'Yearner', and you can pre-order it from their Bandcamp page HERE

The band are made up of Michael Broderick, Neil Dexter, Conor Cusack, Hugh O'Dwyer, and Jeffrey Courtney.





The list of upcoming album releases continues to excite. This week The Juan MacLean announced details of their sophomore album, which is entitled 'In A Dream'. It will be released August 16 via DFA Records, and follows on from the 2009 debut 'The Future Will Come' and 2011's odds-and-ends collection 'Everybody Get Close'. The duo comprise of John MacLean and former LCD Soundsystem member Nancy Whang, and have already excited RW/FF in recent times with a series of amazing singles that weirdly aren't included on the album. Featuring visuals by Tyler Brodie, here's the video to the superb 'A Place Called Space', an elevating chunk of space disco that will have you grooving into the stratosphere.





Linking mesmeric shoegaze with 60s psychedelica, The Vacant Lots are releasing their debut album 'Departure' next week on June 30 via the excellent Sonic Cathedral label. And it's hard to believe how a mighty racket like this can emerge from just two people, Jared Artaud and Brian MacFadyen. 'Departure' was mixed and mastered by Spacemen 3 legend Sonic Boom and features Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500) on guitar. The primal, adrenaline-fuelled blast of 'Mad Mary Jones' opens the LP with melodic, interlocking riffs, frazzled vocals, and a raw, trashy drum sound that can be heard throughout much of the album. An alternative version of the song is released on one side of a very limited 7"single on Fuzz Club Records, which features a track from Suicide legend Alan Vega on the flipside.




Struggling to hear good new music? In need of some fresh sounds? I believe in 2014 is the best time for new music we have had in years, but thanks to the people in control of the mainstream, not many people are hearing the good stuff. The regular RW/FF Compilation is here to help. It showcases the music that has featured on the site over the last few weeks. 

Just imagine if the 'Now!' albums featured the best recent music instead of lowest-common-denominator shite... they would sound like this! I don't have regular dates set for each of these mixtape-type things, instead I just wait until I have an 80 minute CD's worth of great new music to make up each compilation. Contrary to what some people think, there is plenty of excellent new music out there, as is proved by every one of these brilliant mixes. The idea is to buy all of these tracks and burn onto a blank disc, hence why each compilation will be roughly the length of a CD.



Saint Agnes - 'Old Bone Rattle'
Towns - 'Gone Are The Days'
Manic Street Preachers - 'Europa Geht Durch Mich'
Jupiter Lion - 'Doppelgänger'
Brian Eno and Karl Hyde - 'DBF'
Martin Duffy - 'Promenading'
Plank! - 'Grasshoppers From Mars'
Further Reductions - 'High End Basics'
Depeche Mode - 'My Little Universe' (Boys Noize Remix)
Kasabian - 'Treat'
La Roux - 'Uptight Downtown'
James - 'Interrogation'
Parquet Courts - 'Instant Disassembly'
The Black Keys - '10 Lovers'
Fingersnap - 'Blackbirds'


Rewind:
As usual, I've been too busy to complete the latest instalment of my increasingly less-frequent 'Musical Memories'. I'm taking my time reliving 1996, since my account of that superb year needs to do the year justice. Hopefully in a week or two, you will be reading the next instalment. Until then, HERE's the most recent one from a few weeks ago.

Bye for now.