From the archives: Head master

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IF HERBIE Hancock’s semainal Head Hunters album is not yet in your collection, it’s time for you to track it down and capture a copy for yourself.
The four-track LP was a real breakwater for the jazz funk genre, soaking the listener in squelching basslines, wah wah synths, furious-fingered piano, skittering drums and space age sound effects, even blazing trails for genres yet to be invented, such as hop hop and electro.
Amazingly, the pioneering album was released way back in 1973.
Less amazingly, the first half of the album, made up of the all-time classic Chameleon and beer bottle blowing Watermelon Man, are standards today.
Coupled with Sly, a jazz track dedicated to funk musician Sly Stone, and the wild Vein Melter, Head Hunters is a real bounty.
5/5

Review: The Pure Conjecture need to prove themselves

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SUPERGROUP The Pure Conjecture – made up of members of British Sea Power, The Brakes, Electric Soft Parade and more – pick an unusual choice for an opener to their second album.
Because there are interesting ideas all over their second LP, Gendres.
I Just Want You To Love Me and Surfin’ Sunset have overtones of surf rock, Opinion Fatigue drips with Pet Sounds harmonies, Dictators has its sound subtley but brillantly warped, etc.
But the band choose a mediocre indie track, Roadworks On Memory Lane, a forgettable track about being completely unremarkable, to start.
This kind of sums up this collection for me – despite all the good things going on here, this soft soul indie rock record has an aura of unremarkbleness all over.
The Pure Conjecture may be a supergroup on paper, but on this evidence to argue they’resuper on record would be speculative at best.
3/5

Lyrics: Cowgirl by Underworld

Underworld band.jpg“EVERYTHING, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything.”
Cowgirl by Underworld

Download: Morgan Doctor prescribes a free mp3

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JUST what the Doctor ordered!
Morgan Doctor, an American artist who released her latest LP earlier this year, is offering up a slice of her new ambient instrumental sound to Sound Advice, in the form of West Coast.
A spokesman for Aporia Records said: “Her first fully instrumental album, Major Over Minor came together after three years of soul searching that started when she left a band (The Cliks) and a relationship.
“The ambient electronic album is about that time, full of contemplation and hopefulness.”
Click here to grab yours – Morgan Doctor – West Coast

Review: Chilled out Moby leaves me cold

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INNOCENTS, the new album from Moby, couldn’t be more chilled out if you kept it in the fridge.
Hell, you could use the case to keep small, circular edible products fresh, like garlic sausage perhaps, so chilled is this release.
And when you press play on the opening track, Everything That Rises, there’s the promise of something good here – trouble is, so chilled out as Moby is here, it never really bothers to arrive.
By the time Almost Home arrives and Damien Jurado’s Bon Iver lite – Pas Bon Iver perhaps – is piping out of the speakers, you realise that proceedings and never going to warm up.
The theory is shortly proved, when the Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne performs the jarring, below par single The Perfect Life.
That’s not to say this album isn’t without merit – some of the latter tracks, such as A Long Time and Mark Lanegan collaboration The Lonely Night, do fulfill the promise of the opener – but by then, the listener has been left cold.
3/5

From the archives: Automatica choice

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OF ALL the bands you’d have expected to spawn a side project of groovy dance-floor filling hip-hop, screaming hardcore outfit Glassjaw would be pretty far down the list.
However frontman Daryl Palumbo, whose inimitable vocal style is more heavily influenced by his Chrone’s disease than any singer, created Head Automatica in 2004 to indulge his love for the distinctly un-Glassjaw genres of hip hop and Britpop.
With Dan The Automator of Gorillaz and Handsome Boy Modeling School fame at the mixing desk, the resulting Decadance album is a triumphant clash of styles.
With reggae-influenced skanking hip-hop beats meeting glittery electronica and funk-soaked indie guitar licking backing a toned-down Palumbo, Decadance was a classic that woefully slipped under the radar.
5/5

Review: Spacehog have grown

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NOW Spacehog’s return was a comeback I wasn’t expecting.
But when a copy of their album, As It Is On Earth, landed on my desk – their first LP in a good decade – I was as happy as a pig in muck.
Because for me, Spacehog were a band that always deserved more.
They stuck their tongue in the cheek of glam rock before The Darkness made it cool, and then rubbish, to do so.
They were a great guitar-slinging band at a time when guitar bands ruled, yet they were plonked firmly in the back seat of ’90s rock, sharing an earphone and staring out of the window with the likes of Gay Dad and the Longpigs, while the likes of Oasis drove and Blur held the map up front.
And I reckon this might be a view shared by Royston Langdon and his band – there’s a huge slice of melancholy flavouring this album, and it makes for a stirring listen.
Because juxtaposed with the knowing rock numbers which fit with their previous oeuvre, such as the funky Oh, Dinosaur or the anthemic Sunset Boulevard, are simply beautiful offerings like the emotional Deceit, and the ethereal Cool Water.
This results are a more mature sound from Spacehog, which makes what was a great albeit underrated band all the more compelling.
Just don’t leave it 12 years until the next one, eh lads.
5/5

Review: Late Pass is well Jel

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ANTICON found Jel’s latest LP Late Pass sees the producer open with a title track featuring the repeated mantra “don’t get too comfortable”.
Which is odd, because Jel – real name Jeffery James Logan – sounds totally at ease with his sound here.
The beats are head-noddingly crisp, over sparse bass throbs, turntablist scratching and sampling, and a smattering of other instrumentation, plus now and then a little vocal.
But throughout nothing is forced or OTT, no particular sound dominates proceedings, no overpowering basslines or furious lyrical flows – it’s just a well produced, if short, collection of largely instrumental hip hop, and business as usual for Anticon.
4/5

Review: Crazy Arm go West

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PUNK band Crazy Arm, in previous efforts, had a bit of a folky twang to their sound – but on new LP The Southern Wild they’ve gone so country and western you wouldn’t bet against them wearing spurs when they recorded it.
Actually, as they’re all animal rights campaigners, they probably didn’t, but I bet they had those string things that cowboys wear instead of ties or something.
And they do do this sound very well – singer VIctoria Butterfield’s well-suited vocals in particular dripping with a soulful edge on Oh Hell/Death To Pay, the finger-picking good Fossils, or the wild stomping Roasting River showing a variety to their new sound too.
But for a Devon-based band, what would have set this collection far enough away from pastiche would have been just a hint more of the West Country on this Wild West soundscape.
4/5