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Thursday, 15 January 2015

Johann Bley – Ramp Up

Pick of the Week 60 – Johann Bley

Intense gutsy psi-trance that no-one would give the time of day for from an underrated German producer. I’m loving its full on, no nonsense approach to the genre and it's never spoiled by any unnecessary showing off or noodle doodling. Psytrance TV do an excellent job on YouTube and you should check them out. Even with my new found tolerance of the tattoo, has that woman not heard the phrase ‘less is more’? Seriously though I’m sure she’s a lovely person and thanks for sharing your artwork.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Aesthetic Perfection – All Beauty Destroyed

I’d heard a previous Aesthetic Perfection album (Til Death) on YouTube and decided it was worth investing in their allegedly best work ‘All Beauty Destroyed’. Essentially the album is a game of two halves with half of the tracks proving to be excellent and the other half getting flicked instantly. How can Daniel Graves, the world’s premium purveyor of dark screamy techno, get it simultaneously so right and so wrong? Well I’ll tell you…

Til Death was a lovely album and I’ve only just realised it was released in 2014. It combined catchy electro with a dark atmosphere and the odd burst of screamo style vocals. However to cut through the darkness was a sense of jollity and upbeat singalongability that made tracks like ‘Antibody’ and ‘Oh Gloria!’ so much fun in a downcast sort of way. In short, it has the cheese and jam sandwich effect of combining sweet, sour and salty in a wholesome little package.

Meanwhile ‘All Beauty Destroyed’ is a much darker affair. There’s lots of stinky cheese and a distinct lack of tangy jam. Having said that, the quality half are banging, dancefloor fillers with the emphasis reverting from jolly singing to snarling and full on screamo. ‘Inhuman’ is like New Order meets Marilyn Manson, ‘A Nice Place to Visit’ is darker still and reminiscent of the music played in nightclubs on the outskirts of Hell. Best of all is the no holds barred screamo meets techno bleep-fest of ‘The 11th Hour’ which has to be dark techno’s finest moment.

Unfortunately all the other tracks push the darkness into sleazy and/or attention seeking for the sake of it territory akin to the afore mentioned Manson. They’re all rubbish and that includes the too slowies that aren’t that seedy but are still hopeless.

With hindsight I should have bought and reviewed the more recent album ‘Til Death’ but I suppose I have really. Of the two I’d definitely prefer this latest offering, but ‘The 11th Hour’ is a must listen moment!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

DocCortex's Festive Fifty 2014 (10-1)

10. Aesthetic Perfection - The 11th Hour

Storming, anthemic track from 'All Beauty Destroyed'

9. Ayumi Ishida - Taiyou Wa Naite Iru

Japanese sixties chic from the 'Nippon Girls' compilation.

Sadly this is not the song but another of her ditties.

8. Megson - The Longshot

Football meets folk in engaging story format, hurray!

7.  Kiesza - Hideaway

Even a billion hits on Youtube can't stopping us lovely this dance floor crowd pleaser. Great video and ginger too!

6.  Eels - New Alphabet

Chunky and well produced number from Mark Oliver Everett.

5. DJ Sanj - Balle Balle Hogay Mitro

Classic track from Bhangra Evolution.

4. Cinerama - Careless

David Gedge returns with Cinerama who I only just discovered this year.

3. Heidi Talbot  - The Lonliest

Stalk, beautiful Irish folk music everyone should hear.

2. Rise Against - A Gentlemen's Coup

Another piece of quality from the world's favourite agit-rockers.

1.  Emmy the Great - Mia

Fantastic track from fanastic album. 'MIA' basically picked itself by getting stuck in my head for the whole year. A work of genius!

Well that's Christmas over and done with I suppose. It's now time to start listening to some new music!


Saturday, 3 January 2015

Doccortex's Festive Fifty 2014 (20-11)

20. Bright Eyes - Ladder Song

Profound little acoustic ditty from the slightly disappointing album 'The People's Key'. 

19. Teleman - Skeleton Dance

Straightforward indie action from the London based 3 piece.

18. Sons and Daughters - Rose Red

The one bright spot from the suspect album Mirror Mirror.

17.  ARIA - Your Underling

Confident pop music from the mysterious band from Buffalo.

16. Fong Tran -  Problem with what's taught in school

Blistering spoken word that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.

15. Morrissey - Staircase at the University

Sublime highlight from the excellent 'World Peace...' LP.

14. Swami - Challa II

Outstanding Bhangra fusion from the Beginners Guide compilation.

13. The Be Good Tanyas Only in the Past

Classic bluegrass from the Cursed Earth from the lovely Tanyas.

12. Ezra Furman Walk on in Darkness

The talented member of the Furman clan with my favourite from the classic 'Day of the Dog' LP.

11. Veronica Falls - Beachy Head

Glorious indie harmonies from the current best band in the world. 


Friday, 2 January 2015

Doccortex's Festive Fifty 2014 (30-21)

30. Saira Khan - Dachi Wallya

Gorgeous slice of bhangra from the Beginner's Guide compilation. 

Another of her offerings.

29. SEMARGL - Credo Revolution (Zardonic Remix)

Death metal meets dance remix from the man in the mask.

28. Adora _Save Yourself

Lovely slice of Paramore-esque pop rock.

27. The Soft Pack - Second Look

Low key, slow-burning indie from the San Diego throwbacks.

26. Marisa Medina - No Te Acuerdas De Mí

Tacky but brilliant Spanish 60's action from the 'Chicas!' compilation.

25. Terry Lynn - Streetlife [Wildlife! Mix]

Classy Jamaican flavoured dance from the underrated Ms. Lynn.

24. Okkervil River - Plus Ones

Standard issue number from festive fifty folk stalwarts.

23. Jenny Lewis - Late Bloomer

Glorious yodel-fest from the lovely but hard to pin down genre-wise songstress.

22. Savages - Shut Up

Sounds like Siouxsie but somehow takes the format forward. Lovely drumming too.

21.  Lindi Ortega - Murder of Crows

Slick little gem from the League 1 Country & Western diva.


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Doccortex's Festive Fifty 2014 (40-31)

40. Suli Breaks -  I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate

Excellent example of spoken word at its best.

39. Mesh - You want what's owed to you

The pick of the tracks from Automation Baby.

38. Bob Marley - Burnin' And Lootin

Great track on the La Haine soundtrack from the legend himself.

37. Gorgon City - Real

The standout track on the Subsoul compilation.

36. Keaton Henson - Flesh and Bone

Touching and passionate songwriting from the multi-talented tortured little soul.

35. Grendel - Neon City Lights

Quality pumping old school techno from the dutch super producer. Harsh Generation was also a fantastic LP.

34.  Karolina Cicha & Spolka - Bialystok Majn Hejm

Top quality Polish folk from Songlines 'Discover Poland' compilation.

33. Vic Godard & the Subway Sect The Water Was Bad

Fun new-ish material from the legendary Punk veterans.

32. Rokia Traoré - Ka Moun Kè

Beautiful vocals from the current queen of world music.

31. Craig Connelly & Christina Novelli - Black Hole

Pure and simple dance based singalong from my favourite female trance vocalist. Great video too.


Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Doccortex's Festive Fifty 2014 (50-41)

It's that time of the year again when we publish our favourite fifty tracks of the year. Any genre, any era and just one entry per artist. So without further ado here's the first ten for this year...

50. Austra - The Villain

Lacklustre offering from a poor album (Feel it Break)

49. Banco de Gaia - Lamentations

Average atmospheric wailing from veteran dance music producers.

48. CocoRosie - End of Time

Odd quirky rap from the Casady sisters. I'm not that impressed.

47. Deadmau5 (sic) Dead Mouse - My Pet Coelacanth

Average electronic fun from people so cool the standard alphabet is not enough for them.

46. Allo Darlin' - Kiss your Lips

Elizabeth Morris adopts a strange accent for this twee outing from the eponymou5 album.

45. Queens of the Stone Age - I Sat by the Queen

Agreeable standard issue number from tired alternative rockers.

44. The Geraldine Fibbers - Toybox

The best of a bad bunch from the 'Butch' album.

43. Susheela Raman - Sharabi

Quality slice of eastern folk fusion from the British Indian songstress with big hair.

42. Fernhill - Folentein

Stark welsh tooting with a little bit of singing on the end. Lovely!

41. Bob Mould - The Silence Between Us

More of the trademark sound from the stalwart beardy popster.


Monday, 22 December 2014

Allo Darlin’ – Allo Darlin’ LP

Regular readers will know how much we loved Allo Darlin’s 2012 LP ‘Europe’ so it seemed only polite to give its predecessor, 2010’s eponymously titled album a spin. In some ways it’s a disappointment as it never quite lives up to the consistency and quality of ‘Europe’, however this is still a great album by anyone else’s standards, and throw in the flagship single ‘Dreaming’, which I’d already played to death, and you’re onto a winner. It’s quirkier and more twee than its more polished successor but there are odd flashes of brilliance if you can get past the irritation factor.

Top of the irritation list Elizabeth Morris’ accent on several tracks which sounds at best false and at worst attention seeking, with the worst offender being the chorus of ‘Kiss Your Lips’ where I almost needed subtitles to understand what was going on (I kassed your laps and they were kinduv salteee.). It’s not an Aussie drawl or a twee British stiff upper lip, it’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before! And secondly there’s the super twee nature of some of the lyrics, exemplified by the excruciating ‘Heartbeat Chilli’, with its introverted cookery related monologue.

Anyway that’s the rant over. This is actually a solid and enjoyable album that chugs along with consistency and singalongability. If it wasn’t for the accent then ‘Kiss Your Lips’ would have been the standout track, but with its obvious limitations I’d have plump for the quiet confidence of ‘Let’s go Swimming’. Also worthy of a mention are the beautiful silky ‘Silver Dollars’, the desperation of ‘If Loneliness was Art’ and the slightly cloying but catchy ‘Woody Allen’.  

The whole thing is a bit too sickly sweet for my tastes, but the song-writing shows the promise that would ultimately lead to Europe. Hopefully there’s and even better album to come in the near future.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Oliver Koletzki featuring Fran – Hypnotised

Pick of the Week 59 – Oliver Koletzki

A nifty little house number from Oliver Koletzki with silky vocals from the wholesome looking Fran. Their other numbers is equally agreeable and nine million hits on YouTube shows that it’s not all willfully obscure stuff at Into the Valley… A lovely homemade video in a park, a smart frock and just a hint of submarine sounds; what more do you want?

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Terry Lynn – Kingston Logic 2.0

After enjoying Terry’s Kingston Logic track on the Rough Trade compilation I was curious to discover whether she had more little gems up her sleeve on the album of the same name. The answer is a resounding yes, but in unusual and interesting ways. The album veers away from the hardcore dance of the title track and instantly strays into MIA territory but with a distinctly spicy Jamaican flavour. It’s political, passionate and there’s lots of gunshot samples.

If the album was a film it would certainly be a gritty film. Terry covers a range of topics from poverty, the system, street life, violence and the International Monetary Fund to name but a few, so this is not one for the feint hearted. But if the social comment, hard hitting lyrics and pounding rhythms are the meat and two veg, then the gravy is definitely Terry’s fantastic accent. She refreshingly makes no attempt to hide her Jamaican roots and her voice adds an authenticity and realism to these tales of urban decay. If only we had a Yorkshire version of MIA.

Aside from the aforementioned title track the pick of the bunch are the soulful aspirational message of ‘Destiny’, the political economics lesson of ‘IMF’ and best of all, the guttural growl of ‘Streetlife’ which sees Terry reach world record levels of broadness in her Jamaican accent. Throw in some decent dancehall tunes like ‘Stone’ and the odd remix and you’ve got a good value package.

It’s a different, intelligent and engaging mix of songs that celebrates the culture of Jamaica. It’s like MIA, but then again that’s perhaps a lazy comparison as there is so much more to like about this album that is out of Maya’s frame of reference. Well worth a listen.