Wild Beasts – Last Night All My Dreams Came True

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.

Continue reading at Tiny Mix Tapes

Rhye – Blood

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

Jim Ghedi – A Hymn for Ancient Land

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

Tune-Yards implore us to listen to other voices, and the way we use our own

When I talk about voices, I am gesturing around the room. It is understood that voices are non-white, female, queer, working class, trans, excluded or otherwise compromised narratives that require underlining in urgent reds and blacks.

The privileged storyteller never hears the sound of their own voice, because – unless they have elsewhere known the feeling that some essential part of their being is second-class – it has never required any validation to be heard. Reading interviews with Merrill Garbus, it’s obvious that she invests a lot of time in thinking about how her own tongue carries the names of the African people and places she’s known and adored: teaching music at a primary school in Kenya; seeing Taarab music live; the ongoing influence of Fela Kuti, among others. For the fourth Tune-Yards album, I can feel you creep into my private life, Garbus chooses to examine the inherent privileges she is afforded by swiping her white-American library card through other cultures, while simultaneously fighting patriarchal bluster at home.

Continue reading at The Line of Best Fit

N.E.R.D – NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES

Regardless of whether anyone needed to hear this record, certainly no one needed to make it. It was famously documented in 2003 that, at one point, 43 percent of songs on U.S. radio (and 20 percent in the UK) were Neptunes-produced; the team of Pharrell Williams and Hugo Chavez were having to stagger releases, essentially to stop all their own songs competing against each other in the charts. With a hit-making machine already in place, the addition of Shae Haley to establish N.E.R.D. allowed Pharrell a playground for his more audacious off-cuts. On NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES, their first output since 2010’s wildly inessential Nothing, the trio’s meandering avant-rap is somehow more encumbered by its lack of ideas than its lack of editorial savvy.

Continue reading at Drowned in Sound

Baths – Romaplasm

The capitulations of the body form the basis for every Baths record, a foreign field eternally compromised by grand massacres and little deaths. At the time of Will Wiesenfeld’s last outing, the dark heaven that was 2013’s Obsidian, his body had just begun to recover from its loudest rejection yet: a fierce bout of E. coli that left the artist barely able to eat or sleep for any length of time. That album, like Sufjan Stevens’ Age of Adz three years prior, was less a joyous celebration of new health than a post-mortem at the body’s point of failure. This was billed in interviews as Baths’ “weird version of a pop record” at the time which, even as a qualifying statement, may have been a stretch; its most urgent highlight (‘No Eyes’) found the artist pleading to be fucked, with or without sincerity. On Romaplasm, Wiesenfeld seems to have finally made something that could pass as a pop record, exuberant in both its content and execution.

Continue reading at The Quietus

DrunkenWerewolf Albums of 2017: Deputy Editor’s Pick

Perhaps I’m reading too much into it – as writers, it is our job to stretch cogent narratives across increasingly cracked and disparate landscapes – but my top ten feels subdued this year. For the most part, these are albums defined by their restorative properties, where global anxieties are conveyed through sighs and whispers rather than shouts. It won’t stay that way for long.

Continue reading at Drunken Werewolf

Live Report: Budapest Showcase Hub 2017

 

Each time I return from Budapest, through no fault but my own, the bright corridors of Bristol or Amsterdam Schiphol alert me to an unscheduled lightness; I have left something behind. Invariably it’s an assortment of the same items: keys, wallet, heart, cash, sense of direction, preconceived notions of both popular and alternative music as an exclusively Anglophonic affair that extends as far as Scandinavia before offering diminishing returns as soon as one ventures further south or east. Upon my visit to Budapest Showcase Hub (or BUSH) 2017, the extraordinary sophomore to last year’s debut event, I am pleased to report that I am now only bereft of the final four items on that list.

Continue reading at Clash