Album Roundup – October 2014
This article is from 2014.
Including new releases from Flying Lotus, Adrian Crowley, Graveyard Tapes and Deerhoof
The album you’re surely least likely to expect to find the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg guesting on this year, Flying Lotus’ fifth, You’re Dead!, is that rare monster, a record which is entirely sonically unique and uncategorisable, yet one which stays in control of its reference points to the extent that it doesn’t sound like it’s trying too hard. There’s free jazz, drum & bass, rap and future soul in there, creating a dazzling sonic dream-state of a record. (DP)
(Chemikal Underground) ●●●
Chemikal Underground’s in-house Irish troubadour returns with this, his seventh album in a decade and a half, and it’s a resonantly moody affair throughout. Through the extravagant symphonies of the title track and ‘The Magpie Song’, the more reserved balladeering of ‘The Hatchet Song’ and ‘Golden Palominos’ and the unexpected spoken word storytelling of ‘The Wild Boar’, Crowley’s dramatic baritone calls to mind Hazlewood (the title is a reference to ‘Some Velvet Morning’), Cohen and the more contemporary strains of Richard Hawley. (DP)
Welcome back to Edinburgh-by-way-of-Glasgow’s We Were Promised Jetpacks, whose third record succeeds so well because it dials back the youthful vigour of their earlier releases and relies more upon a greater sense of reserve. These songs get loud, but they don’t overpower. Instead there is a sense on tracks like ‘I Keep It Composed’ and ‘Disconnecting’ that they’re exploring new sounds and emotional tones with a sense of focused urgency. (DP)
WWPJ play QMU, Glasgow, Sat 13 Dec.
(Lost Tribe Sound) ●●●
The side project of Euan McMeeken of Edinburgh’s the Kays Lavelle and his cohort Matthew Collings (Splintered Instruments), Graveyard Tapes’ second album in as many years for Lost Tribe Sound doesn’t quite embrace the ‘experimental’ tag the band have given their sound. Clearly in awe of the squalling fog of processed guitars and distorted rhythms Radiohead made their own with Kid A and Amnesiac, it manages to be rich in sonic depth despite the obvious influences. (DP)
Last night I dreamt of San Pedro. It was more of a nightmare, truth be told, or indeed a hallucinogenic trip, soundtracked as it was by day-glo San Fran prog-pop deviants Deerhoof. Their brilliantly-titled thirteenth album is a typically thrilling kaleidoscope of dreamy electronica ('Mirror Monster'), off-kilter grrrl-pop ('Paradise Girls'), hi-octane, choral rock 'n' roll ('Exit Only') and guitar-mangling lullabies ('Black Pitch'). It's 20 years since Deerhoof formed and there's still no one like them. (NM)
Unplugged-punk genius Howie Reeve is a linchpin in Glasgow's DIY community, a former member of Balkan-folk wanderers Tattie Toes, and a breathtaking bass player and bard who counts Mike Watt (Minutemen) among his fans. Reeve's intimate, intricate second solo album is as welcoming, homespun and restorative as its title – and poetic tracks like 'Yesterday's Bread' and 'Musty Flannel' follow suit. It's sure to delight fans of RM Hubbert, Richard Dawson and lovers of sublime, visceral fretwork. (NM)
(Song, By Toad) ●●●●
This follow-up to Jonnie Common's lovely 2011 debut Master of None sees the Scottish skewed electro bard simultaneously hone his experimental and pop skills, on an album that is variously joyous, wry and heartbreaking ('Crumbs', 'Guesty' and 'So and So' respectively). And if it's a little less breezy than its predecessor, then that's no bad thing – particularly on 'Fractal's warped balladry, which sees JC summon something akin to a lo-fi, DIY, Avalon-era Roxy Music. (NM)
(Olive Grove Records) ●●●●
A terrific, enlightening counterpoint to Jo Mango's 2012 debut, Murmuration, this record lives up to its title and then some: it sheds new light, and life, on that LP's naturalistic hymns, from the ambient electro-pulse of Ben TD's 'Blue Dawn Light' remix, through the organic, Mice Parade-ish machine music of 'Every Certainty' (Cycad remix) to the truly gorgeous 'Crossties' – a gentle, Numan-esque lullaby, courtesy of an ace remix from Fraction Man (aka Gordon Skene, ex-Frightened Rabbit). (NM)