Monday, 22 September 2014

Track Of The Day: The Asteroid #4 - 'The Windmill Of The Autumn Sky'

As someone with a respectable knowledge of alternative music, it's surprising that it's taken 16 years for me to discover the California-based outfit The Asteroid #4, and it's also likely that many reading this article won't have experienced their music yet. 

So it's a good job that their new self titled album (out tomorrow) has found their way onto my radar, since it is something of a treat. Their eighth full length since their formation back in 1998 is a diverse record that's linked together by a psychedelic thread, taking various genres to far out territories. A major highlight arrives with the solemnly majestic beauty of 'The Windmill Of The Autumn Sky', a lovely helping of Americana flavoured dreampop that exudes a harmonious warmth and a compellingly heartfelt elegance. The song will be released digitally as one half of a double A side single (along with 'Back Of Your Mind') next week on September 29. Read RW/FF's full review of this great album HERE.

Before that, the band have live dates coming up over the next week. Details below...


Thursday 25th September Shaklewell Arms, London
Friday 26th September Psych Fest in Liverpool
Saturday 27th September The Scene Lincoln
Sunday 28th September The Oobleck, Birmingham


Sunday, 21 September 2014

REVIEW: Jupiter Lion - 'Brighter' (BCore Disc Records)

The excellent Valencia-based trio Jupiter Lion first captured RW/FF's ears early in 2013 after the release of their impressive self titled debut album. 'Brighter' is their second full length effort, and takes their Krautrock-infused sound to new heights and further dimensions.

Kicking things off with banging drums, forcefully potent bass and a very rare vocal hook, the opening title track falls somewhere between the worlds of Krautrock and post-punk, and on the excellent 'Your God Is Human', squealing synths ride on propulsive rhythms until developing into an explosion of tumbling basslines and chattering synths. After the scenic 'Delpasse Effect' flows into trippier places with its slow burning ambient beauty and atmospheric textures, the astonishing 'Doppelgänger' thrives with pulsating momentum, pushing its foot firmly down on the pedal before cruising blissfully towards the end.

The harmonious, kinetic euphoria of the relatively brief 'Walking In Circles' precedes the ascendency of 'The Golden Emperor', where elevating analogue electronic patterns and effectively repetitive elements blend wonderfully, with the following bright beam of light 'Ashes' acting as a nice segue into the epic closer 'Lost Cannibal'. Frantic time signatures, glitchy bursts of keys and manic cut-up vocal samples make way for brutal machine gun rhythms, menacing notes and vocals that burn with a darkly hallucinogenic power, before pitch black atmospheres enter the picture, and the song's progression continues as it grows into something that by the end is indeed 'Brighter'.

If driving rhythms, relentless bass, nagging synths and beautifully elevating melodies are your tonic, then this cosmic helping of Spanish post-psychedelic krautrock is something you will need to hear. Pushing into new galaxies and leaving an awe-inspiring trail of light, 'Brighter' is a ball of momentum that flies with powerful trajectory. 8.2/10




Track Of The Day: Black Rivers - 'The Ship'

Black Rivers are a duo made up of "the other two" from Mamchester indie legends Doves, Andy and Jez Williams. Their first single is available as a free download from their website HERE. A haunting and compelling track, 'The Ship' combines the electronic textures of their early 90s Sub Sub incarnation and the sublime, sweeping power of the Doves sound. Sooner than I could fnd time to publish this, the duo have already released another track, 'Voyager 1', which you can listen to HERE.

Jez says: “Some bands are rooted in the reality of the here and now. I suppose we’ve always been about escapism: searching for something. That’s the link, but I wouldn’t want to think we sound too much like Doves. The exciting thing about Black Rivers is that we had the freedom to go wherever we wanted.” On the subject of the brothers regrouping after Doves was put on hiatus, added: “We just drifted back together. It made sense. After 20 years we’re still absolutely crazy about making music. We’re the lucky ones. As for the only downside to working as a duo as opposed to a trio, they say they now find it harder to agree on anything, because no one has the casting vote. The name, it seems, was a particular cause of consternation. Jez wanted Help. Andy liked the juxtaposition of Black and River, and won the day."




REVIEW: Dark Horses - 'Hail Lucid State' (Last Gang Records)

 Described as "sonic soul art rockers", the UK five piece Dark Horses follow up last year's debut 'Black Music' with a strengthy second full-length that sees them deliver on their promise in a way their first offering failed to. Venturing into similar territories visited by the likes of Esben And The Witch, Savages and (somewhat surprisingly) the Sneaker Pimps, there are also heavy shades of shoegaze-infused post punk combined with touches of dark psychedelica. 'Hail Lucid State' was produced by Death In Vegas man Richard Fearless, who lends the band's sound a unique edge.

After igniting with the explosive colours and elevating excitement of terrific opener 'Live On Hunger', 'Desire' brings together a drum sound that brings to mind that of Bowie's 'Low', filthy bass notes, a vocal melody that tips its hat to Pink Floyd's 'Arnold Layne', and an expansive burst of melodic light that surges through the chorus. The magnificent single 'Saturn Returns' puts motorik rhythms, shoegazey guitars to immersive vocals and space rock vibes, a journey into orbit that provides a clear stand out. After the powerfully raw post-punk snarl of the striking 'Transister' comes the entrancing slow burner 'Wire Blood', its shadowy, brooding atmospheres topped superbly with the skeletal, piercing guitar that rings eerily throughout. 

After the intense pulse and dark groove of the title track deliver a great representation of the album as a whole, the superb 'Sevens' steps further down the path signposted 'Krautrock', via a route through early Mute Records and the grinding blackness of Joy Division to create another one of the album's finest moments. Built around a strict, snappy rhythm and a transcendental bass hook, the catchy 'Wake Up' dives into gothic space disco during its high reaching chorus, while the mesmeric guitars, hypnotic drones and psychedelic moods of 'The Bravest' equate to a another vibrant highlight, before the heaving roar of the epic, expansive closer 'Western' rounds things off pleasingly.

While their debut LP from last year gave only occasional glimpses of their potential, Dark Horses have developed a more accomplished sound, and a standard of songwriting that has moved them up to a new level. Melodic, dark, atmospheric, and with stellar production from Fearless, it's post-punk psych rock burning with soul and energy. 8/10



REWIND: Ocean Colour Scene - 'Up On The Downside'

A lot of people forget just how successful Ocean Colour Scene actually are. As well as an impressive six consecutive Top 10 hits, they also scored another 11 Top 40 singles and no less than five UK Top 10 albums. This particular single from was one that I purchased on 7" vinyl on its week of release, or it may have even been on the Sunday before release, since Rival Records in Bath used to sell a lot of their stuff a day early in the late 90s. 'Up n The Downside' was released in 2001 and reached number 19 in the UK Singles Chart, and was the first single to be released from their album Mechanical Wonder', an album that I spent last Sunday morning listening to and tweeting my thoughts on. The superb 'Up On The Downside' provides a lively, soulful way to start the album. As well as Steve Cradock's wah-wah guitar, another thing I love about the song is the vibrant percussion which reminds me of the great Curtis Mayfield... 'Mechanical Wonder' was released April 2001 and reached #7 in the UK album charts. Their last major label release and their last Top 10 record to date. Personal highlights include Up On The Downsise, Sail On My Boat, Give Me A Letter, Mechanical Wonder, and Can't Get Back To The Baseline. Overall rating: 6.5/10. Not a great album, not a bad one either but some major highlights...



LISTEN: The RW/FF Compilation Volume 23

After a lengthy period over the summer with no new mixtapes, Volume 22 of The RW/FF Compilation appeared last week and has done pretty well in the Mixcloud radio show charts. Now, just a week later here is the latest compilation, which is one of my favourite ones yet. It's a bit more far-out than the last one, a journey that begins with some krautrock before venturing through psychedelica, shoegaze, electronica, post-punk and ending with a few helpings of disco. 

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.


CAMERA - ROEHRE
ZIGURI - 'BELLA HOPP'
NEGATIVE LOVERS - FASTER LOVER (JAGZ KOONER REMIX)
TRUCKER - RADIOACTIVE STARS
RICHARD FEARLESS - GAMMA RAY
GUT UND IRMLER - FRUH
THE FALL - 'FIBRE BOOK TROLL'
BLACK RIVERS - THE SHIP
DARK HORSES - SATYRN RETURNS
THE ASTEROID #4 - THE WINDMILL OF THE AUTUMN SKY
THE HOBBES FANCLUB - HOW COULD YOU LEAVE ME LIKE THIS?
GUM TAKES TOOTH - BURIED FIRES
TO ROCOCCO ROT - BARITONE
HEADMAN - DER
THE JUAN MACLEAN - A SIMPLE DESIGN

LISTEN: RW/FF Radio - 15/09/2014

This Monday's show featured new sounds from The Asteroid #4, Gut Und Irmler, The Watanabes, Jupiter Lion, Xinobi and Ellis island Sound, plus great music from the past courtesy of Suede, The Four Tops, and Todd Terry, as well as a tribute to ex Primal Scream guitarist Robert 'Throb Young', who passed away recently. This particular recording of the show also features Dance Class With Jason B, plus an hour or so of mostly awful music from the Melksham Town Sound Playlist... 

Ben Scott hosts RW/FF Radio every Monday night 7-8pm on Melksham Town Sound
This is where the music featured on RW/FF comes to life on the radio. 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. It's followed by Dance Class With Jason B at 8pm, a show which can be listened to HERE.


For more info on RW/FF Radio, the RW/FF Specials and Melksham Town Sound, go HERE.


You can listen live HERE (Link opens in new window).

All the latest show news, announcements and "listen again" can be found HERE.

Contact the show on Twitter https://twitter.com/rwffmusic


Saturday, 20 September 2014

Track Of The Day: Jamie T - 'Zombie'

Up until recently, I've known absolutely nothing about the singer-songwriter who calls himself Jamie T, other than the fact that he caused quite a stir a few years back, and has taken ages to release his new album, His third LP 'Carry On The Grudge' will be released on September 29 (already a VERY busy day for album releases), and follows five years after his previous full length 'Kings And Queens'. A press release reads: "The likes of Zombie recall the urgency of Jamie's past records but it's balanced with the likes of They Told Me It Rained and Mary Lee. The old influences of punk, folk and reggae are all still here, but reshaped into something new whilst still defiantly the work of Jamie T." I'll make my own mind up about that when and if I have time to listen to the record, but one thing I do know for sure is that 'Zombie' is an addictive indie punk rock n roll cracker that's difficult to get out of your head once it finds its way in there.




REWIND: King Prawn - 'Someone To Hate'

The London band King Prawn are another group who I played on Wednesday when I for covered for Rob Escott and hosted the weekly punk show The Colour Of Vinyl on Melksham Town Sound. Formed in 1993, the underrated King Prawn released four albums before splitting in 2003. However, they reformed in 2012 without original bassist Babar Luck and are now augmented by a brass section. One of the most inventive bands to have grown from the punk scene in recent decades, King Prawn blend elements of punk, hardcore, metal, ska, dub, reggae, and hip hop into their music, a sound which they dub "wildstyle". A few months ago they released their first new material since reforming, and you can read more about that HERE. Meanwhile, this is a superb moment from the 2001 album 'Surrender To The Blender'. Since there's only a noticeably incomplete radio edit of this track on YouTube, here's a live version from an Italian TV show...




Friday, 19 September 2014

Track Of The Day: Antenna Happy - 'Pinto'

Here's an absolutely superb new track that started off my Saturday absolutely beautifully last weekend, when I discovered it in my inbox upon checking my emails in the morning. It's the lead track from Antenna Happy's wonderful new 'Pinto' EP, which will be the first 12" release on Reinhardt Records. After the track builds progressively out of soft, pulsing rhythms and warm swathes of harmonious electronics, it thrives over the course of nine minutes, combining subtle elements from various genres to form a beautifully tranquil and entrancing sense of movement. Antenna Happy is Brighton-based musician Nathan Pope, and his fine new EP is released on September 22. If you think this radio edit below is good, then brace yourselves for the brilliance of the full length featured on the record...




REWIND: Todd Terry ft. Martha Wash and Jocelyn Brown - 'Keep On Jumpin'' (Rhythm Masters Thumpin' Mix)

Today's Friday Banger is another one of my favourite floorfillers from the 90s. Musique's 1978 b-side 'Keep On Jumpin'' is probably more recognisable than its A side 'In The Bush', since the song has gone on to be sampled, remixed and covered by a host of different artists. In 1991 Beatboxx released a rave version, and in 1995 The Lisa Marie Experience earned themselves a Top 20 hit in the UK with their version of the track, which was in fact the first rendition of the song that I ever heard. A short while later in 1996, Todd Terry released a version of the song that was closer to the Musique version, featuring vocals from Martha Wash and Jocelyn Brown (who sang on the original). The six track CD single that I purchased at the time featured this slamming remix by the Rhythm Masters, a house duo that consisted of DJs Robert Chetcuti and Steve McGuinness. During my days as a very young club DJ at Bentleys in Corsham, this was a regular fixture in my sets. This particular mix is based around Terry's initial 1994 track 'Jumpin'', which samples extensively from the Musique original.


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Track Of The Day: Manic Street Preachers - 'Futurology' (Seiliog Mix)

The Manics are of course one of my favourite bands of all time, which is why remixes of their songs rarely ever have the same impact on me as the unbeatable original versions. But here is a rarity: a remix of a Manics track that I feel improves on the original. For a start, it doesn;t feature that silly line about killing ants. Welsh electro experimentalist R.Seiliog's progressively chaotic take on the title track from the recent 'Futurology' recasts the song into a hypnotic yet dizzying helping of Teutonic flavoured techno. Astonishing. If you like the sound of this, there's a great R.Seiliog track on the Cam 1 compilation released a while ago, and a review of that album from the Monolith Cocktail can be found HERE. Meanwhile you can read my thoughts on the Manics' 'Futurology' HERE.





REWIND: Bad Religion - 'You'

Following Monday night's edition of RW/FF Radio (which will be online for you to listen to very soon), I did an extra hour of radio duties last night (Wednesday September 17) when I guest hosted the weekly punk rock show The Colour Of Vinyl. The show is usually hosted by Rob Escott (who also co-runs Sheer Music promotions), but since Rob couldn't make it last night, he handed the reigns over to me for one night. So for an hour between 8pm and 9pm I played out some of the key songs from my "punk rock years", that period from 2003-2009 when I listened to very little but punk, ska, psychobilly and anything else that was deemed "acceptable" by the punk scene. And while I thank God that I don't play by those rules anymore, it was great revisiting the highly rousing tunage that used to fire me up so much about a decade ago. One song I played was Bad Religion's excellent 'You', a track taken from their 1992 album 'No Control'. The LP was Bad Religion's fourth overall, and was released in 1989 on Epitaph Records.

The Colour Of Vinyl isn't just a radio show... Like RW/FF, it is also a music site featuring reviews, news and lots more. Find it HERE.




Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Track Of The Day: School - 'So Long'

The debut single from Scandinavian four piece School is a wondrous burst of lo-fi dream pop that stirs the musical senses. 'So Long' was released a few weeks back on September 1, and three more tracks can be found on their Soundcloud page HERE. The Göteborg-based group is made up of Per Svensson, Alice Botéus, Felix Andersson and Efraim Kent. 'So Long' has to be one of the most bewitchingly beautiful things I've heard in ages, and excites with its mesmeric, sparkling energy. School only formed late last year in the autumn of 2013, and are already creating something of a stir. Keep them firmly on your musical radars...



Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Track Of The Day: To Rococo Rot - 'Baritone'

The first To Rococo Rot album in five years was released recently. A bubbling mixture of post rock atmospheres, ambient electronics, rhythmic repetitions, and even a spot of acid house, 'Instrument' throws up some interesting sounds, and appropriately enough for an album with such a title, the instrumental tracks are the ones that shine through the most. Delicious helpings of warm bass, the shuffle and snap of excellent rhythms and oddly compelling electronic textures make 'Baritone' one of the record's stand out tracks.




Monday, 15 September 2014

Track Of The Day: Johnny Marr - 'Easy Money'

Johnny Marr's second solo offering 'Playland' arrives in record shops in October 6, and follows hot on the heels of last year's solo debut 'The Messenger'. And although 'Easy Money' hardly wins maximum points for originality and has a riff that bears a great deal more than a passing resemblance to that of Modest Mouse's 'Dashboard', it's an addictive singalong that bodes well for the former Smiths guitar legend's second solo LP.

"I like the idea of sneaking a serious concern into the mainstream, disguised as a big pop tune," Marr told Rolling Stone magazine. "The riff was so catchy and infectious that I wanted it to be about something that appeared to be trite but was actually quite universal. Money is a preoccupation of everybody, and it took me quite a long time to write something that appeared to be simple. If you were to ask anybody in the City what they're after, essentially the root of it is money. It's the age-old thing of people thinking that it will make us happy."



Johnny Marr tours throughout October. He will play: 

Lincoln The Engine Shed (October 13)
Southend Cliffs Pavillion (14)
Bexhill De La Warr (15)
Wolverhampton Civic Hall (17)
Cardiff Great Hall (18)
Bournemouth O2 Academy (20) 
Cambridge Corn Exchange (21)
London O2 Academy Brixton (23)
Bath Pavilion (24)
Manchester O2 Apollo (25)
Glasgow O2 Academy (27)
Newcastle O2 Academy (28)
Leeds O2 Academy (29)


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Track Of The Day: Xinobi - 'Mom And Dad'

Xinobi's new single 'Mom And Dad' is a funky earworm that puts a housey groove over shady spaghetti western guitars and a slinky vocal line from Margarida Encarnação. And it's very nice indeed.

The track is available to download now and can also be found on the upcoming album '1975', which will be released via Discotexas, a label Xinobi (real name Bruno Cardoso) founded with his friends Moullinex and Mr Mitsuhirato.




REVIEW: The Asteroid #4 - 'The Asteroid #4' (Bad Vibrations Records)

As someone with a respectable knowledge of alternative music, it's surprising that it's taken 16 years for me to discover the California-based outfit The Asteroid #4, and it's also likely that many reading this article won't have experienced their music yet.

So it's a good job that their new self titled album found their way onto my radar, since it is something of a treat.

Their eighth full length since their formation back in 1998 is a diverse record that's linked together by a psychedelic thread, taking various genres to far out territories. 




Apparently it blends the space-rock of their debut with the variety of their later work, but since this is the first Asteroid #4 record I've heard, that is something I can't offer any comment on. However, what is apparent on this record is the sound of the kind of confidence and versatility that comes with experience, while there are also the bright sparks of vitality that you would usually expect from newly formed bands. A newfound sense of purpose is what fuels this album, which seems to have been self titled to represent a definitive work. 

After opening with the Eastern psychedelica and sleepy country on the sitar-heavy haze of 'The River', they blast into 'Rukma Vimana''s dark, heavy motorik rock and roll drone, bringing to mind Black Rebel Motorcycle Club colliding with Cream and Hawkwind. The radiant stand out 'Ghosts Of Dos Erres' moves onwards like some sort of Neu!-Ride hybrid built on intertwining guitars, immersive synth patterns and double tracked drums, before another highlight arrives with the solemnly majestic beauty of 'The Windmill Of The Autumn Sky', a lovely helping of Americana flavoured dreampop that exudes a harmonious warmth and a compellingly heartfelt elegance.
After the deep Indian vibes of the hypnotic, snake-like 'Mount Meru' provides a trippy interlude between side 1 and 2 of the record, 'Back Of Your Mind' offers the pacy, eerie shake and rattle of abrasive, spaced-out desert rock, but it's outclassed by the blissed-out euphoria of the magnificent 'Ropeless Free Climber', a 60s-shaded daydream that provides another strong reason to investigate this collection of songs. After the brief sitar and tabla instrumental 'Ode To Cosmo' comes the motorik post-punk prog ball of energy that is the raucous 'Revolution Prevail', and the gorgeous acoustic instrumental 'Yuba', a calming, picturesque musical sunset that closes the album in bright, wondrous fashion.

Delving into country, folk, krautrock and shoegaze, a much welcome sense of variety allows the psychedelic sound of 'The Asteroid #4' to take the listener on an enjoyable, rewarding and often blissful trip. 7.9/10

Out September 23


LISTEN: The RW/FF Compilation Volume 22

Blimey, it's been a while since the last RW/FF Compilation, about a month and a half to be more precise. The last one was a Sound Of Summer special, so it's somewhat appropriate that the latest one should arrive in September as the evenings begin to start sooner. Watch out for the next volume (Volume 23), which will be online at the end of the week. 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.


TELEPOPMUSIK FT. MARK GARDENER - SOUND
PLANK! - APHIDELITY
THE FAUNS - 4AM
CHILDHOOD - SOLEMN SKIES
THE FAMILY RAIN - YOU SHOULD BE GLAD YOU'VE GOT A MAN
MARTIN CARR - THE SANTA FE SKYWAY
DAMON ALBARN - SISTER RUST
DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 - TRAINWRECK 1979
ERLAND AND THE CARNIVAL - QUIET LOVE
INTERPOL - ALL THE RAGE BACK HOME
JOHNNY MARR - EASY MONEY
MORRISSEY - OBOE CONCERTO
THE VINES - OUT OF THE LOOP
ROBERT PLANT - RAINBOW
SPARKS - WHY DID YOU MAKE ME CARE?
TAPE WAVES - STAY ALL NIGHT

LISTEN: RW/FF Radio Specials - Mansun

Due to RW/FF having to adjust to completely new routines over the last few weeks, the weekly editions of RW/FF Radio have only just been uploaded online. 

So there's a lot to catch up with here, as the three latest shows are now available to listen to HERE. The show from Monday Sep 8 was preceded by the latest of the RW/FF Radio Specials, which on this occasion was dedicated to the legendary yet underrated 90s outfit Mansun, without a doubt one of the most interesting and unusual groups to grow from the Britpop era. While Oasis sang about being a rock n roll star, and Blur were observing British culture, this four piece from Chester were collaborating with Doctor Who's Tom Baker, sampling 'Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy' and writing songs about cross dressing clergymen... This special looks back at their career and their legacy. 



Many articles I've written about Mansun can all be found HERE, including an exclusive interview with Paul Draper, which can be found HERE.

Ben Scott hosts RW/FF Radio every Monday night 7-8pm on Melksham Town Sound. 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. It's followed by Dance Class With Jason B at 8pm, a show which can be listened to HERE.

For more info on RW/FF Radio, the RW/FF Specials and Melksham Town Sound, go HERE.