Tuesday, 20 August 2013

SINGLE: LOS PORCOS - SUNSHINE / C.F.W

Los Porcos is the new summery nu-disco indie infused musical incarnation of former indie rock music makers Wu Lyf, who, always evasive of press attention, saw a massive transformation following frontman Ellery James Roberts’ surprise departure at the end of 2012. Now similarly elusive 7-piece Los Porcos are set to release their double A-side “Sunshine/C.F.W.” this September 15 on Caledonia Records.

With its indie dance beats and 70s guitar jangles, chunky wah wah guitar riffs and light-up dance-floor funk flashbacks: opening track “Sunshine” is a feel-good pop-rocked tune with a catchy chorus of rippling vocals and a heavy sprinkling of classic disco. Meanwhile on the flipside ‘C.F.W.’ (Classically Feminine Woman) with similarly vintage disco funk infused feel, is a smooth, laid back dance pop track underpinned by sunny beats, tastefully vocoded vocals and jangling upbeat funk guitar.

Dancing in the sunshine, Los Porcos mixes up everything that’s good about its members’ musical make up. Despite Soundcloud declaring they come from “New Pork City” the line-up is actually made of seven London and Manchester natives and members of Profundo and FAMY as well as the now defunct Wu Lyf, each bringing their own sound to the fore. Los Porcos’ seamlessly combines the cloudy dream popped melodies of FAMY with the weighty psych-rock riffs of Wu Lyf but with a completely fresh nu-disco funk twist. A band to watch: rely on these guys to keep your Summer going smooth, well into the autumn.

The tracks will be released via Limited Edition 12" and digitally on 15th September through Caledonia Records / Los Porcos

Sunday, 11 August 2013

ALBUM: MAYORS OF MIYAZAKI - HOLY COP

Brat punk. The exuberance of youth pouring out of every jutting note and shouty verse. Adolescence is both a celebrated freedom and an angst-ridden cross to bear for those in this genre. They’re young, they’re twee, they’re happy. They’re sad, they’re hurt, they’re self-harmy. Such personal turmoil is expressed in an oddly uniform way across the genre considering it comprises of people seemingly angry about conformity and the need for self expression. 

Mostly, it’s dual vocals that yap and protest whilst angular guitars jab out math riffs that burst into poppy digressions now and again. Here’s a twisted guitar riff that Battles would be proud of. Here’s a sing along chorus that Johnny Foreigner would love. 

Here’s an album by Mayors of Miyazaki called Holy Cop

You can’t help but feel this brat punk, angular, indie rock genre has sailed, disappeared over the horizon, hit an iceberg and is coming back to us in dribs and drabs as flotsam and jetsam. Yet it’s not Mayors of Miyazaki’s fault they’re struggling to stay afloat on an ex-boat. Or genre. Or something. “I didn’t ask to be born!” they might exclaim, before eating their dinner in their bedroom, rather than at the dining table with the rest of the family. 

You see, this music has been done and then done some more. The yearning, burning, churning of urgent, angular notes and jerky vocals, the endless switching between the purposely obtuse and the accessibly pop. The duel vocal shrill, the 7/8 time signature, The Automatic, Dananananaykroyd; whatever. Dynastically, this record is a carbon copy of the genre’s forefathers. A predictable romp at best. 

Holy Cop conjures up the summer nights of youth, the burn of teenage love and the unrepentant loyalty of your equally youthful friends. It’s all painted here in broad strokes. Broad indeed, as chopping up this album into individual tracks is a baffling challenge. It’s a giant, continuous smear of meandering notes, staccato rhythms and shouty choruses. Saying that, the celebratory jangle of ‘Tongues’ is more poppy and enjoyable than most, whilst the Sleigh Bells style ‘Human Resources’ is a mouth-wateringly jagged and turbulent ride. The wonderful head nodding and groovy riff on ‘Parts per Million’ is stand out, whilst ‘Dry Palm’ has reverberations of 80s post punk pop and the monstrous ‘Muy Sexo’ is a stomping, awesomely swollen riff that could be in any number of gangster movies. 

This album seems, at first glance, uninspiring if only for its formulaic predictability. It appears dated and oddly naive. There are moments that, probably in their bid to be different, sound like everything from the last decade. The closing track is guilty as charged, for example. But in this haystack of fiddly guitarisms and half riffs, of barking, spluttered vocal lines and a million drum fills, is a charm, an identity, a odd idiosyncratic quirk that draws you in. The naivety becomes welcoming, a permission to let go of pretension, an instruction to just fucking enjoy yourself. Ok, so Holy Cop isn’t all good but it isn’t all bad either. Its weaknesses are perversely its strengths. It’s hedonistic goofiness turned up to 11. And that alone, is worth checking out. 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

EP: SOPHIE JAMIESON - WHERE

'Where' is the softly spoken debut EP from Sophie Jamieson which was released through Folkroom Records at the end of June.

Having recently played a series of live shows including the To Kill a King stage at London's quickest growing, not for profit event Leefest, this Cambridge educated folk musician has gained nods of approval from across blogging networks and the online music scene, as well as featuring on radio stations across London, including independent music lovers BBC 6 Music.

Along with Ben Walker (electric guitar, bass, programming), Derek Yau (cello) and Liam Hoflay (electric guitar) Jamieson's music fills shady silences with pensive waves of stillness. She makes gently breathing melodies with soft instrumentation, lifted with cello and electronic nuances, while her vocals lift and fall from heady breaths to strong expressive, full bodied notes. 

Opening and stand-out track 'Waterloo' sends silent shocks of melody through the 'crowds of waterloo' repeating the refrain and EP title questioning 'where are we going to?' Finger style guitar and sustained cello with subtle electronic instrumentation add body to this pensive sound. In 'Dinah' Jamieson's acoustic guitar riffs stand out on this soulfully soft and introspective folksy tune with delicate melodies harmonising with classical touches in the instrumentation. 

'I Don't' has the added drama of deep resonating drum beats and fervid cello vibrato that add to the melodic shifts and lulls. 'Ode to the East' is hymn-like in contrast and reminiscent of the quieter moments of The Cranberries

Folk is always in danger of falling through the cracks of dull repetitiveness, but there is just enough emotional and instrumental tension within this EP to keep a dreaming listener entranced. This is music like flickering candlelight, to lie still, to think and to feel to.

Sophie Jamieson // 'Where' EP // Folkroom Records

Thursday, 1 August 2013

SINGLE: GINA CIMMELLI - CLEMENTINE

Every so often I become fairly disillusioned with the acoustic singer songwriter genre. Personally I like my acoustic music to be just that, acoustic. Stripped back, mainly letting the guitar, vocals, and lyrics do their thing. Unfortunately there seems to be an increasingly common approach for acoustic artists to quickly shun their rawer roots in favour of a bigger, more in your face production that leans more to pop music than it does acoustic. (Gabrielle Aplin is an example - for me her early work far outshines the debut record which the masses have so far gobbled up this year but left me fairly disappointed).

Which today leads us to Gina Cimmelli, a Brookyln based singer songwriter who oozes talent, confindence, and a clear appreication of how powerful her gentle, yet alluring music can be. 'Clementine' is the first of three tracks which will make up her latest EP which is due to be released this Summer.

The track has a beautiful arrangement throughout, with Cimmelli's vocals a clear standout - her voice is tantalizingly fragile yet assured, and overall the track has lovely warm feeling. Imagine a slowed down Best Coast crossed with First Aid it and The Staves and you're getting somewhere close. Keep your ears out for the next single 'Like I Did', which we can tell you is equally fantastic!