“THE juice of the carrot, the smile of the parrot.
“A little drop of claret – anything that rocks.
“Elvis and Scotty, days when I ain’t spotty.
“Sitting on the potty – curing smallpox.”
Reasons To Be Cheerful by Ian Dury & The Blockheads
BELGIAN Argentinean rock group Strumpets have a classic feel to their sound.
Everything from their choice of artwork and the font of the title to the sound that comes drifting out of the speakers would suggest that this was an album crafted in the days of Fleetwood Mac and Steeleye Span, not 2013.
Because there’s a vintage vibe to Rubies & Ruffians – there’s a lazy, airy feel to the guitar work here, and harmonies the Beach Boys or The Beatles would have been proud of, with touchstones of ’60s psychedlic pop too.
But there is something not quite classic about this release, the nonchalent air of the recordings not quite connecting with me, the album not quite the sum of its parts.
This means that while Strumpets are well worth a fling, they are still only likely to ever be a passing passion.
IF YOU couldn’t guess that the last Felt Hits entry was Michael Jackson’s classic Bad LP, then consider yourself one of the unforgiven, as it was one of the easiest yet.
Nevertheless, it’s sad but true that nothing else matters but this week’s picture now, so if you can harness the stuggle within your mind and pluck out the title of this album, redrawn by a seven-year-old child, then leave a comment on this post.
EDM artist Lorn already inhabits a bit of a shady corner of the scene – but new EP Debris sees him burrowing even further into his dark art.
On this release his trademark shady electronica is still clearly the work of Lorn, but it’s somehow more alienated, more haunting, and more arresting than ever before.
Here the beats have taken a back seat to the overall production, and it’s a genius step – the already otherworldly soundscapes have been jarred, smeared and enhanced by hours of experimentation in the studio, and the EP is all the more intense for him trashing his drum emphasis.
In the bumph that came with this review copy, Lorn himself says he took his original samples and “blended them with synths and guitars, ran them back and forth through tape, burned them through analog valves, recorded them playing inside of themselves”.
Of course there are beats here still, clicks and stomps and deep rumblings and all, but on Debris Lorn seems to have stepped up and away from mere drumbeat creation – this is a dark and foreboding landscape I cannot wait to explore more of when the full LP drops.
FOR 1971’s seminal Maggot Brain, funk legends Funkadelic decided on a stark departure from their previously groove-orientated sound.
As a young pup I can only imagine what die-hard fans of the band made of it when they whacked the album on for the first time to hear 10-minute long opener Maggot Brain, where the group wander around spaced out in the realms of psychedelia.
However with George Clinton at the helm, Maggot Brain was always going to be funky – and from track two, Can You Get To That, onwards, the mould for the funk rock genre was set.
On Hit It And Quit It, the guitars roar, and You And Your Folks, Me And My Folks sees a soulful gospel side added to the mix.
Fans of any modern rock band that every slapped a bass string in anger should not hesitate to add this blistering collection of formative funk rock to their collection.
THE 4-four track EP, when done properly, has a particular soft spot for me – and Frightened Rabbit’s The Woodpile leaves me beaming.
Normally the format works best as a precursor to an album, with just enough material to tease a great band’s forthcoming sound but too much so the listener is left wanting more.
And although the title track here already sits on their Pedestrian Verse album, the Scottish indie rockers have got fully on board with the format, throwing three new tracks at fans – Default Blues, Radio Silence and Candlelit.
While the first two of these extras may just be pretty straight-up indie rock tracks, Candlelit and the title track show off Frightened Rabbit at their emotional soaring best, and as a whole, The Woodpile will only fuel the passions of fans of the band.
AS A taster for Manchester four-piece PINS’ new album Girls Like Us, the group have unveiled a brand new song from the LP.
Lost Lost Lost, from the Bella Union-released debut album, is a lithe two and a half minutes which perfectly showcases the stark, analogue sound of the album.
Click here to download a free mp3 of Lost Lost Lost now.
ACCORDING to Last.fm, Grey Reverend, who is preparing to release his second album A Hero’s Lie, has a paltry 12,505 listeners.
By way of comparison, according to the music site, Michael Kiwanuka has 164,888 listeners, Ben Howard has 372,251 listeners, Jose Gonzalez has 1,223,562 listeners, Bon Iver has 1,478,963 listeners – you get the picture, Grey Reverend has a pretty small flock at present.
Despite high profile collaborators in the form of Bonobo and Cinematic Orchestra, Grey Reverend’s touching acoustic guitar compositions have slipped largely under the mainstream radar.
It is, quite simply, a travesty.
The Brooklyn singer-songwriter, real name L.D Brown, crafts compositions that are cathartic and emotional yet simple and understated.
And on this collection, produced by Grey Reverend himself, the added swells and production really bring the raw acoustic and crooning vocals of the music out of its shell – whether through the sweeping majesty of Postcard or The Payoff for instance, or the more subtle work like little piano touches on tracks like Everlasting.
Hopefully this LP will bring out a deservedly bigger congregation to hear the Grey Reverend in action.
LAST week’s album cover redrawn by a child – Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica – seemed to stump nearly everyone.
So this week we’ve gone all pop, with an album cover chosen by our six-year-old artist.
Not bad, eh?
If it’s not driving you wacko and you can guess it, leave a comment on this post and let us know!