We love the occasional rave-up here at CM Towers, especially when it’s in the form of nostalgic housey-garage reminiscent of the short-lived yet much loved glory days before the scene all got a little bit serious – too popular, too naughty… and kind of imploded a bit.
Step forward world-conquering DJ /producer Kissy Sell Out, with his new bangin’ EP ‘The Promise’ – which manages to draw on the unique ‘old skool’ atmosphere and vibe of the 90s and early 00s house and garage scene, whilst imbuing his own considerable talent and personality in to the tracks with a meticulous playfulness that absolutely works. – Kind of what you would expect from a producer who also blogs about astrophysics…
Lead track ‘The Promise’ from ‘The Promise EP’ features a familiar sounding female vocal, not completely dissimilar to ‘Show Me Love’ by Robin S, ramped up with solid chunky house beats, claps, samples, loops and a bassline that follows the melody like a pilled-up loved-up puppy.
Also check the sampler mini-mix of the 4 track EP here (out 19th May):
Manor House boys Bleach Blood, fronted by former King Blues man Jamie Jazz, are seemingly on a mission to keep music in London exciting and alive. last month BB released a four track EP titled “Darling Don’t Dive” and sat back as new and old fans alike downloaded the tracks with gusto. Having already featured their video for “Anything Anything” in the past I kind of knew what I was getting into but I have to admit the end product blew me away.
Drawing a clear and intentional line with everything the frontman has been involved with in the past, these tracks are not only unexpectedly upbeat for the most part but also pack a veritable punch and hooks galore. Inspired by a mix of the Buzzcocks‘ energy, TV On The Radio‘s eclecticism and LCD Soundsystem‘s warped pop sensibilities there is a real sense of potential about what is to come from this exciting outfit.
EP title track “Darling Don’t Dive Without Me” literally kicks off proceedings at full pace resembling Los Campesinos having an altercation with Art Brut at a speakeasy while James Murphy is doing chasers on the bar blissfully unaware. It all sounds effortlessly cool and full of confidence with a carnival chorus and multiple harmonies that will have even the most hardened cynic tapping along.
In case you were getting too comfortable “S.O.U.L” rears it’s head just to make sure you are still paying attention. Sounding like Refused playing an old The Strokes b-side the track is intentionally abrasive but scratch underneath the distortion and you will find a beautifully fucked up pop track. “S.O.U.L” shows BB has more than one weapon in it’s arsenal and more importantly have not entirely turned their backs on the British punk scene that served them so well in past endeavours.
Next up is the aforementioned “Anything, Anything” revisited for this release. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what has changed in this new recording but it seems more bullish and ends up sounding fuller for it. Once again that chorus is worth shouting along to anytime of the day with Linda Harrison‘s guest spot proving to be a total delight.
It’s a sign of how good “Darling Don’t Dive” is that just 9 minutes in I hit the final track wishing there was a lot more left to hear. Fortunately what is possibly the best, or at the very least the most complex, track has been left for last. “The Circle And The Square” begins unassumingly enough before venturing into a stirring crescendo that culminates in a terrific chorus filled with haunting melodies and harmonies over one another. Back before the term emo became a negative slur bands like Braid and Jimmy Eat World were producing this kind of affair regularly and on “The Circle And The Square” Jamie Jazz and co show they can be just as ambitious and successful at it.
Just like it begun ‘Darling Don’t Dive‘ ends on a high note. Over the course of 4 tracks the band surpassed my already high expectations and I I can’t wait to hear more material.
Bleach Blood are currently on tour across the UK and Europe with Natives and Arches. Catch them at their homecoming show at The Borderline on the 3rd of April and get your free copy of “Darling Don’t Dive” here.
The Hood Internet are easily our favourite mashups artists (ok, this isn’t 2011 and they are essentially the only mashup artists).
the explanation for their latest number is fairly straightforward: “In 1982, Queen and David Bowie made a song together. Then in 2013, Dillon Francis and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs made a song together. In 2014, The Hood Internet put those togethers together in addition to re-assembling the song titles. And thus: “Without Pressure“”
Take it away monsieurs Mercury and Bowie
Taking over from Kendrick Lamar as this year’s biggest rap breakthrough Chance The Rapper offered up one of 2013′s most exciting albums while seemingly ignoring everything that was “hot” around him. The samples retain an old school quality that allows for Chances upbeat verses to shine.
“All of the hype is warranted. All of the praise is deserved. Chance the Rapper, not Kanye, put out the best rap album by a Chicagoan this year. No knocks to Ye as he still made my list, but what Chance did with this thing must be applauded. The cohesiveness of the album, matched with its stellar production and features, and Chance’s originality in his tortured crooning and wacky sing-rapping is one of the best things that happened in 2013 musically. It’s acts like this that are ensuring that new rappers in 2014 and beyond cannot expect to be taken seriously, unless they’re willing to bring something seriously great to the table” – Daniel Benny
“‘Acid Rap’ was this young rapper’s second self-released mix tape and it put Chance in the spotlight for being the next rapper to watch. The album is surpassingly upbeat which is always refreshing in a genre that is dominated by put-downs. Acid rap was released right before summer and it” – Robin Petering
For her fourth and fifth Metropolis suites Janelle Monae made an all out statement and cemented her spot as R&B royalty. For an album that featured guest spots from some of musics biggest names there is only one real star on this album and that is The Electric Lady herself.
“Monae already was a critical darling, but with this album she no doubt has ascended to the Queen of R&B (Sorry Bey). Song for song, this album does not dip in quality, nor suffers from any staleness. The elements that make this album great are so strong, from its exploration into nearly every fact of R&B/Soul from MoTown until now, its continued concept-story of a future run by cyborgs and android entertainers. But maybe the most impressive thing about Electric Lady is even when Monae enlists R&B Royalty like Prince, Erykah Badu, & Miguel to sing alongside her, you never question that she is the real crown jewel here -Daniel Benny
“On paper, ‘The Electric Lady‘ shouldn’t work as well as it does. It’s a double album featuring tons of skits and big name guest stars. Typically that’s a recipe for disaster in the world of pop. However, Janelle Monae is bigger than pop. Sure her songs have a pop sensibility, but if you listen closely you’ll realize that she’s a vessel for over 50 years of black music tradition. She’s channeling bits of Motown, Hendrix, Aretha, James Brown, Quincy Jones, Prince, Michael Jackson, hip hop, and the civil rights and women’s movement in her songs. Her role as cultural torchbearer is even more apparent if you are lucky enough to see her live: truly immaculate stage presence and showmanship” – Roger Jao
It’s hard to say that Haim came out of nowhere considering they had already been heavily namedropped as one of the artists to watch for 2013. The good news is once the girls dropped their debut it showed that much of the hype was justified. With a phenomenal live show in their arsenal, worth losing friendships over, long live these sisters.
“The feeling I get when I hear an album’s concept executed flawlessly is a smile that starts in my belly, and slowly works its way to my mouth. That’s the only way to explain the warmth that the retro-lusting artistry of ‘Days Are Gone‘ gives me. Ariel Reichstag really killed in 2013 helming two of the year’s best albums (this one and Vampire Weekend’s), and you can really hear his touch combined with the HAIM sisters years of dedication to songwriting. In the time since loving this album’s near-perfection, I’ve come across a few bands that you’d have to describe as simply “Post-HAIM”, making me hopeful that we are moving into an era of 1000 Stevie Nicks’s. I could go for that” – Daniel Benny
“‘Days Are Gone‘ visited the garage sale of 80’s mainstream and turned it into something cool and fresh again. Haim have fashioned a fantastic debut filled with the hooks and irresistible, guilty-pleasure synths, and the overall result is sleek, sexy and tight”. – T.R. Wicks
“Skinny Jewish girls who truly know how to rock – a rare breed indeed. Charming vocal harmonies, lyrics with life advice you wish you’d heard sooner, and the lead sister shreds on guitar” – Jabes
2013 was a fantastic year for Adi Ulmansky where she seemingly could do no wrong. Her debut mixtape ‘Shit Just Got Real’ was well received and swiftly followed up with the awesome ‘Hurricane Girl‘ EP. the Israeli singer/rapper/producer lined up shows in the UK, appearances at Milan Fashion Week 2013 as well as finally playing for US audiences at both Culture Collide Festival in LA and CMJ Music Marathon in New York.
The usual hyperbole accompanying an artist’s sophomore release is the classic copy/paste line “shows more focus than previous work”. In Ulmansky’s case it’s the very scattered nature of her music, and by extension Adi herself, that makes this package so irresistible managing to sound utterly menacing one moment and authentically lovelorn the next often within the space of one track. Check out her “Work It” video if you need more proof.
‘Hurricane Girl’ channels everyone from Die Antwoord’s Yolandi Visser, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and even MIA but the big difference is Ulmansky handles production duties herself directly overseeing her infectious mix of apocalyptic samples, machine gun raps and saccharine vocals.
The pocket-sized manga princess efforts are not going unnoticed either with a shoutout from the talented Earl Sweatshirt’s, of Odd Future fame, who guaranteed her appreciation for him was completely mutual.
Keep your eyes on Adi Ulmansky in 2014 as she bring her fierce one-woman-show to the next level.
When El-P and Killer Mike combine there is very little than they can do wrong. The eponymous ‘Run The Jewels‘ album was released for free online and seemed like the total antithesis to the previous year’s big Kanye/Jay-Z‘s ‘Watch The Throne‘ collab proving that if you had any hip-hop aspirations you should have probably sat 2013 out. Case in hand the video for their ‘A Christmas Fucking Miracle‘.
“In a year that saw high profile releases from Kanye, Jay-Z, J. Cole, Drake, Earl, & Tyler & more, it’s El-P & Killer Mike who outclassed them. 10 Tracks of straight bangers, each one as lively as the last, filled with tough-talk, brash call outs of the status quo, and beats that make me have to give hip hop producer of the year honors to El-P for the second straight year“. - Daniel Benny