Saturday, 28 September 2013

New Mixtape Project: Tayalarz vol.1: The Queen of Sheba (september 2013)

and how has your music blogging experience been recently?

certainly from myself, you will have had features and opinions on new artists and albums, some of whom i sincerely hope you have taken a shine to.

but one of my favourite ways of discovering and sharing music is via the art-form that is the humble mixtape.

whilst i am buzzing about various other blogs looking for new and exciting music in much the same way that a bee collects pollen, occasionally these odd tracks from here there and everywhere haphazardly join my massive i-tunes library, and are promptly forgotten about until a shuffle throws up a track that could be months or could be years old.

but those special tracks, those chosen ones, those are the ones that find company within a playlist or a mixtape, a coherent hour or so of music that encompass my new finds and my new passions.

they live on my i-pod, sometimes i'll burn a copy for my girlfriends car.

but why not share it further...

and so my new mixtape series begins

all tracks included have been sourced via music blogs found on hype machine, and all tracks have been made available by the stated blog or by the artist themselves

since the purpose of this is discovery, i have provided links to the blogs and the relavent post, so you yourself can compile the same mixtape in a type of digitally based scavenger hunt... sharing a little love for blogs and for new artists that i find along the way

September's mixtape is the sound of the last embers of Summer, bright evenings drawing to a close, the first glimpses of winter waiting around the corner and catching you unaware on a chilly morning, shocking you into digging out the warmer layers and sticking the heating on when yesterday you was parading around in shorts still.

It is the sound of repressed chill wave and dub beats, fidgetting dance, block party bangers, multicultural electicness and more besides, taking you on a journey that reflects the time of year and my current tastes.

Massive love to the blogs that have expanded my musical horizons so far, and thanks to Ian Byford who shall be providing the artwork for the first three mixtapes in this new series.

1. Bear Mountain - Congo (available via The Morning After)
2. Joor Nith - Going Home (available via acid ted)
3. mvnners - we stay in, it rains all night (available via deepmuzik)
4. Dickystixxx - Make Me Feel Better (available via Caveman Sound)
5. Iamnobodi - Maputo Dance (available via Spread The Word 96')
6. Sidi Touri - Bon Koum (available via Draw Us Lines)
7. Psapp - Everything Belongs To The Sun (available via Burl Veneer Music)
8. The Gremlins and PrimalCriminal Scum (THE GREMLINS GOT FED AFTER MIDNIGHT VIP) (available via Bwomp! Beats)
9. DJ Snake x Yellow Claw x Spanker - Slow Down (available via Dani Deahl)
10. J.Nolan - Coming Down (Crash The Internet) (available via Word Is Bond)
11. Old Haunt - Ghost Town (available via Wake The Deaf)
12. Yoofs - Hazy dayz (available via Hearing Gold)

In the tracklisting above are links to the artist's bandcamp/soundcloud/website if you click on their name, and clicking on the track name or blog link will direct you to where I originally encountered their music, good luck hunting it all down...

And keep an eye out for Octobers instalment reflecting the darker time of year.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Franz Ferdinand - Evil Actions, Review

NME seem to grace us with the occasional covermount occasionally these days, certainly, with so much music available freely online, being a taste maker with freebies isn't a neccesity, so instead they have changed tack and are targeting the fanbases of established artists with, so far, divisive demo collections.

With new album upcoming and the marketing machine rolling into town, the spotlight this time falls upon the arch-dukes of pop, Franz Ferdinand, hoping to fire up interest in Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions, indeed, the title track of the album and preceding single opens this collection in demo form, although casual listeners will be hard pressed to spot the difference between this version and the one all over the airwaves.

And it is this polished finish, even on apparent demos and live studio versions that mark 'Evil Action' out in comparison to recent freebie demo collections in the same vein coming from The Vaccines and The Cribs. Franz are now seasoned veterans in this game, and even their demos are startlingly slick and well thought out, making this CD a well placed companion piece (or even cut-price alternative) to their latest release.

Four tracks taken from the new 10 track album are present and correct, either as demos or Konk studio sessions, and a further two tracks, including single Evil Eye, are presented as extended mixes courtesy of producer and DJ, Todd Terje, with the dance-tinged elements almost psychedelic production echoing back to Tonight: Franz Ferdinand and its remix collection, Blood.

Connecting the dots between Franz Ferdinand's previous exploits is also achieved by the inclusion of Do You Want To, presented as another Konk take, from 2005's You Could Have It So Much Better, and harking even further back, and rounding out the collection is a remix of breakthrough single, Take Me Out.

Daft Punk managed to steal the summer with uber-hit Get Lucky, and have been ahead of the music game for years, but when tasked with retooling Take Me Out, it seems the Parisian robots doth their metallic caps to the art-punk Glaswegians, their remix doesn't stray too far from the base template, instead it simply ramps up the tension of the chorus with some building synths, other than that, it lets the genius of the original recording shine through undeterred.

As a covermount, it is amazing value for money, and as a Franz Ferdinand artefact, it is a worthwhile addition to their growing back catalogue, showing that the world of angular pop and indie dancefloors just wouldn't be the same without them.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Hackney Colliery Band - Common Decency

The summer of 2012 and all of the negative energies and grumbles of washed out summers that typify us British have been erased by the sun drenched positivity and pride that arrived with Jubilee celebrations and stuck around as our over analysed and over debated Olympics finally took hold.

It was the summer of 2012 that I discovered Hackney Colliery Band, and near enough couldn't escape them at times. With a fuzzy head after birthday celebrations, I travelled the DLR to the newly opened London Pleasure Gardens, and as i walk in a crowd has gathered round a brass band, the vibe is casual, they almost look as if they are busking here, the mood is playful and engaging, and the music... hang on... what is that they're playing?


 Those that stumble upon Hackney Colliery Band in a similar situation to mine with have no doubt done the same cartoon style double-take, the sound is stunningly colloquial, a strange throwback that is as much an indulgence as it is a curiosity. Yes, this is a brass band, yes, with trumpets and trombones and other instruments I may be able to name after adequate research... but what is that they're playing?

To base a review purely on the merits of their cover versions would be poor form indeed, new album Common Decency sees to that, but those that are paying attention to this band are surely doing so after hearing hip-hop melded with a good old British sense of fun, and when I perched my bum on the grass in front of a stage in Victoria Park for an Olympic celebration of Sports and Music, surely those that booked Hackney Colliery Band must have thought the same.

The beauty of the album is that it isn't just a covers album, unique original material is abound, and for those unfamiliar with the source material it is sometimes difficult to discern which is which, making this flighty and joyous rumble of brass and rebellious behaviour a joy to revel in.

I won't lie to you, at live outings and on record, Kanye West's pompous and already mammoth sounding All Of The Lights takes on a majestic incarnation when being blasted out by brass horns, it is my favourite track by a country mile and just the thought of it sends a shiver up my spine and a smile across my lips. Empire State of Mind by Jay -Z/Alicia Keys is a magnificent reinterpretation and the closing Prodigy medley is bloody good fun, but Smile for The Webcam and You Got What I Need also hold their own against the easy lure of recording the songs of others and watching fans flock to you.


And as the summer seemed to be signalled that it was time to wind things up with the Olympic Closing Ceremony, and BBC newscasters walking around the stadium talk about and hint at the sights we may see coming up later, who is that I can hear in the background, performing as a precursor to the main event, its only that Hackney Colliery Band again?!?

With good reason have they found so many new acolytes along their musical journey, this is enthralling feelgood music that would fit in at village fĂȘtes as perfectly as it would at trendy Shoreditch nightspots, if there is one thing that is universal, it is fun, and as the summer of 2013 draws in, I've got good reason to believe that Hackney Colliery Band should be the perfect soundtrack to every summer.