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.
Tv On The Radio didn’t take too long to follow up 2009’s brilliant ‘Dear Science,‘ and as usual didn’t disappoint. This time the Brooklyn outfit set up camp on the West Coast and the sunnier climate appears to have seeped through to these tracks.
With another mild change of direction the tracks on ‘Nine Types Of Light‘ have borrowed some of the horns from its predecessor but definitely comes across as a more laid back affair.
Lyrically frontman Tunde Adebimpe and singer-guitarist Kyp Malone seem less preoccupied with tales of apocalypse and the end of the world and more focussed on making sure you tell the ones you love exactly how you feel for them. That this would be the last album Gerard Smith would appear on before his untimely death makes this all the more poignant.
Meanwhile, special praise should go to guitarist and producer extraordinaire Dave Sitek for realizing that the band’s sound needed a tweak and for incorporating some of the ideas he has been involved with in his “other” projects recently. TVOTR haven’t lost the electricity that initially made us fall in love with them, they have just refined the way they administer it to us.
Just in case you wanted clarifications on how to pronounce the name of multi-talented Theophilus London offers his video ‘Last Name London‘ to help.
The Brooklyn raised rapper/producer has dropped the mixtapes ‘This Charming Mixtape’ and ‘I Want You’ to garner online success before the release of ‘Lovers Holiday‘ EP earlier this year. With collaborations with Gorillaz as and Mark Ronson under his belt already the 22 year old’s star looks set to keep rising.
Theophilus’ debut album ‘Timez Are Weird These Days’ later this year and boasts work from a bunch of A-listers producers such John Hill (Santogold), Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio), Jokke (Swedish House Mafia) and Ariel Rechstshaid (Murs)
When it comes to music, Brooklyn seems to be the land of cool. From The Velvet Underground to Sonic Youth, TV on the Radio through to MGMT (and this list can go on and on), whatever the generation, when you hail from BK you are seemingly ahead of the pack and, somehow, able to generate something new and ‘different’ that will shake the music world. Snowmine look set to follow this blueprint.
This indie psych-pop ensemble is set to release their debut album ‘Laminate Pet Animal‘ on the 3rd May, and something tells me they will not stay unnoticed. Fronted by new-classical music composer Grayson Sanders, the five-pice offers richness and diversity encompassing tribal beats, echo pedals and classical orchestrations.
The album shows a surprising ability to juggle between the pop-rock rhythms on tracks such as ‘Penny‘ to more afrobeat/tropical sounds on the likes of ‘The Hill‘. The strongest aspect is the frontman’s magically soothing voice which is reminiscent of Fleet Floxes‘ singer Robin Pecknold.
Needless to say that they will naturally be compared to the likes of fellow Brooklynites Yeasayer, Grizzly Bear or Dirty Projectors. Furthermore their sound undoubtedly fits that beach surf indie wave that is currently so en vogue. But instead of blindly following the current like countless other acts Snowmine’s intriguing style is representative, to follow the theme, of gloriously riding a wave.
Their inspiration comes from love, lost and found and forest trips, and this clearly transpires through their music. With its vibrant melodies ‘Laminate Pet Animal‘ is definitely a perfect record for this summer.
It’s been just over 3 months since Cougar Microbes referenced TV On The Radiolast time and that is way too long in my books. Fortunately my favourite Brooklyn rockers have returned from their rather short hiatus with last wee’s release of 5th studio album ‘Nine Types Of Light‘.
The album was preceded by the single ‘Will Do‘ which is a slow burning number reminiscent of a more optimistic take on 2008’s awesome ‘Love Dog‘.
How do you follow up an album that is so distinct and brilliant in its amalgamation of “world music” and modern rock that it instantly became timeless? This was the question Yeasayer were facing when recording the follow up to 2007’s ‘All Hour Cymbals’. And the answer? Well in short you don’t…
Instead the band sought new horizons. By design ‘Odd Blood’ often veers into chart friendly territory yet crucially maintains a fiercely individualistic streak. A will to get people moving appears to be at the core of this more accessible direction, not too unlike recent efforts by fellow New YorkersTV On The Radio and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
‘Odd Blood’ truly succeeds because tracks like ‘O.N.E.’, ‘Madder Red’,‘Ambling Alp’ and ‘Mondegreen’ work just as well when heard within the album as a whole as they do individually. The album is littered with subtle allusion to 80s sounds confronted with most modern recording techniques to achieve a blend of beats, melodies, keys and shamanistic chanting.
There are few bands around who sound like Yeasayer and even when attempting their version of a so-called accessible album the Brooklynites come out with a sonic mishmash that seduces you into repeat listens. In my mind this is futuristic music from the past.
It seems that when it comes to devising these end of year lists a general question to be asked should be “Have the guys from TV On The Radio been involved in any music this year?”.
Whereas ‘Dear Science,’ marked a brilliant return for the Brooklyn experimentalists in 2008 last year we were treated to the lo-fi aesthetics of Iran, featuring KypMalone on guitar duty as well as DaveSitek manning the production.
This year is the turn of Dave Sitek’s own Maximum Balloon project to take flight. This being very much a studio project meant Sitek did not having to concern himself with how to recreate these songs live. As a result he was able to call up a whole host of talent on the album including KarenO, Theophilus London, DavidByrne as well as his bandmates TundeAdebimpe and the aforementioned KypMalone.
The result is an eccentric and luscious multi-layered album that sounds like it has evolved from the experimentation of ‘Dear Science,’ Whilst I eagerly await a new TVOTR release I am glad to say that MaximumBalloon was more than a suitable replacement in 2010.