Perhaps you blinked and missed it, but Tom Misch is kind of a big deal these days, already scheduled into festival slots above the likes of Flying Lotus and Mavis Staples this summer. For his debut album ‘Geography’, the 22-year-old has roped in several guest appearances, and across the duration of an LP, it becomes abundantly clear why: like fellow producer-turned- guitarist Mark Ronson, no-one’s really paying to hear him jam out Stevie Wonder covers.
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For all our literary devotion to sunlit afternoons and dark nights of the soul, real life rarely works in such easy contrasts. Our gold medal moments are flecked with sadness, swollen in purples and blues under the skin, and we scold ourselves for allowing the compromise: this should be the job, the house, the lover, the moment. “How can a child of the sun seem so cold?” Laura Veirs asks on her tenth album The Lookout, and though the line appears only once in allusion to the Colorado native’s childhood memories, it is the question that permeates the entire record.
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Drums are fading in. In film soundtracks, the immediate crash of cymbals is never cause for concern, but an arrival of known quantities; the singularity has passed, the explosions are here, chaos reigns. It’s the fade that unsettles, that sweeping sense that war is on the horizon. Yo La Tengo have just made a record called There’s A Riot Going On, and by the time opening number ‘You Are Here’ has swung into full view – by the time the record begins to show its hand – you realise this is, in fact, the most relentlessly serene the band have sounded since Summer Sun. The riot is elsewhere.
Continue reading at Drowned in Sound
Jonathan Higgs remains fascinated by the musical elements that still inform his own band’s style: the thrill of novelty, the power of repetition, and the allure of narratives that defy easy resolution.
Continue reading at The Line of Best Fit
The first thing you notice are the houses floating in the sky. Flashes of light rise up from the water, one after another, each one an impossible feat of geometry and space that rents the physical world asunder, unclear whether it should belong to the ocean or the stars. As the bus moves further into the city and your eyesight adjusts to unseen horizons, realisation dawns: the creases above the light do not cleave the sky from the clouds, but the mountains from the sky. In England, certainly, seaside towns are not usually distracted by mountains. If this sounds familiar, perhaps you have also seen Palermo for the first time on a late evening bus journey.
As I depart the bus and find my suitcase, a man is already stood waiting for me. Even by Sicilian standards, Fabrizio Cammarata is absurdly handsome, and although he confesses to several stories of having his heart broken across the weekend to follow, one suspects it has worked both ways. In Palermo, the eyes begin to adjust to beauty as they would to the dark; by the time we’ve reached the renovated 19th Century palace that I’d be calling home for the next two days, I fear that the slightly fancier Wetherspoons pubs of Exeter and Sheffield may no longer hold the same majesty.
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On a clear night — wide-eyed, gin-soaked, fists raised, starry-skied — the streets of towns and small cities take on their own blurry glamour. The shatter of glass after dark is a starting pistol here, spurred on by the sound of sirens and the faint taste of blood in the mouth, sprinting around corners and side streets. In the early years, at least, every Wild Beasts song seemed desperate to synthesize that juvenile adrenaline, crooning about exchanges that were sometimes brawling, sometimes lusty, often both. Last Night All My Dreams Came True is their attempt to distill 16 years and five albums into one loving retrospective, a “best of” collection where each song has been re-recorded in one final, go-for-broke session. For a band whose magic was almost entirely captured in those early scenes, it leans pretty hard on their late-career Junior Boys impression, but consistently lifts those tracks beyond their original pallor.
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There’s nothing accidental about the visceral associations of naming your record ‘Blood’. Like love, the word conjures both absolute vitality and the fear of losing it; when we envisage blood, it is usually spent in stains, drawn from a sullied life force. After extensively touring their widely adored debut ‘Woman’, it made sense that the next Rhye album would be informed by those live experiences. That album was defined by its intimate moments; something else that was susceptible to be lost.
Featured in issue 106 of Clash Magazine and online
Featured in issue 106 of Clash Magazine
There are records that sing of the land, and those that wear traces of its soil beneath its author’s fingertips. Nature is a coarse thing, roughly marked by men and women who have known the abrasion of bark and nettle, skinned knees and chapped lips, seasons marked by sloe berries and the quick snap of frost. “In north-east Derbyshire,” Jim Ghedi begins at last, “I have worked my years.” Five songs in, they’re the first words spoken on A Hymn for Ancient Land, and the preceding tracks immediately feel less like instrumentals and more like their own wordless storytelling, the landscape rendered in strings and bows before anything as brittle as language is permitted to enter the fray.
Continue reading at God Is In The TV