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Monday, 24 June 2013

Django Django – Django Django LP

This is an odd little album, but surprisingly enjoyable at the same time. I’d never heard of Django Django until I received this as a Christmas present and on first listen I wasn’t impressed. However, repeated listens wore down my defences and I ended up really enjoying the whole experience.

It’s hard to define what Django Django sound like, other than it’s definitely a fusion of styles, from world music to 60’s psychedelia. Imagine the Beach Boys crooning along to a Transglobal Underground soundtrack and you won’t be too far away. And there’s some lovely slide guitar on the odd track as well.

The best tracks are undoubtedly the folky ‘Hand of Man’, the mellow ‘Life’s a Beach’ and the hey nonny nonny electro folk of ‘Default’. Best of all is the anthemic ‘Hail Bop’ which manages to combine all the best bits and influences from the album in one bite size chunk with the sing-a-long ending of the year.

This is a decent, original and interesting album and I’d definitely recommend it. Thank you Father Christmas.
(A lovely ginger beard in the photo too.)

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Trentmoller – Late Night Tales

I generally like these Late Night Tales compilations where artists produce a mix incorporating their influences from different styles and genres. Trentmoller’s selections are no less eclectic and varied, but none are especially fun or innovative.  The main problem is, it sounds too much like Trentmoller.

All his picks are from a varied palette of  musical tones, however the atmosphere they evoke is the absolute spitting image of Andreas himself. There’s that trademark dark beauty, a starkness and an icy chill that permeates all of these songs. None are particularly offensive, but in a bizarre way for an ‘eclectic’ album, they’re just too’ samey’. It’s essentially like listening to ‘Into the Great Wide Yonder’, but through an ancient magical gramophone that allows you to access the sounds of yester-year.

Of most interest are the contributions of Eden Ahbez, Darkness Falls, Jacqueline Taieb and The Shangri-Las. This Mortal Coil, The Velvet Underground and Mazzy Star are also worth a listen if you’re not already familiar with their work.

Maybe I’m being harsh, because it would be spookily clever if it wasn’t so boring at the same time. If you like Trentmoller you may like this, but if you like Trentmoller then you may as well just listen to a Trentmoller album rather than this deconstructed soundscape of his influences. And with the money you save, buy the Belle and Sebastian Late Night Tales instead.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Kakkmaddafakka - Restless

Pick of the Week 34 – Kakkmaddafakka

They look Australian, but they’re actually from Norway, which means they’re positively mainstream for Scandinavia. It’s catchy indie pop from geeky looking northern Europeans. It’s possibly too catchy to hold your attention for long, but the video is a humorous take on 1980’s style PE lessons with a dinky little dance routine as an extra. I look forward to hearing their other output, however it's probably another 'Country Pancake' moment.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Okkervil River – Down the River of Golden Dreams

Once upon a time there was man who went by the name of Will Sheff. He lived in a dingy, depressing shack in mid-America somewhere between Neutral Milksville and Bright Eyes Creek. Because he had a Mr. Twit style beard and pungent body odour, neither of these local towns would let him live within their boundaries, so he created his own homestead on the banks of the Okkervil River. He invited his buddies to come and stay with him and together they decided to make music.

This was not the everyday music of the era however. They made music that wasn’t quite country, wasn’t quite rock and wasn’t quite folk. Sadly not many people wanted to listen to the dark, dirgy, folky concoction and Will and the band went largely unappreciated. This state of affairs remained unaltered for many years.

Until one day the Evil Witch of Dirge looked into her mirror. ‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the dirgiest of them all?’
‘I’m not quite sure,’ said the mirror, ‘It’s a toss up between you and that band near Okkervil River.’
The witch went a strange green colour and roared ‘I am PJ Harvey, the Evil witch of Dirge, and nobody produces a worse dirge than me!’

She gave their album ‘Down the River of Broken Dreams’ a listen and found that it was nowhere near as dirgy as her Godforsaken output. Some of the songs were indeed dark, but actually had a level of interest and melody that was always missing from her own terrible output. In fact ‘The Velocity of Saul at the Time of his Conversion’ was an absolute cracker, so there was no contest really.

The evil old bag PJ Harvey smashed the mirror to smithereens for his mistake and cackled, ‘No-one on this planet can produce the boring, dirge-fest of an excuse for music and still sell records like I can! Sorry Will Sheff, but you are not in my league so I will let you live. Mwooaaahahahahaha!’ And that’s exactly what happened. The end.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Mimicking Birds - 10%

Pick of the Week 33 – Mimicking Birds

Murmuring, miserable folk  music, what could be better? Portland, Oregan’s Mimicking Birds are Nate Lacy’s vehicle to release some low key, introspective folk numbers. He achieves this in spades with 10%; a muttering chunk of Americana with bonkers lyrics, timeless melody and no video. I can see the similarities to Iron and Wine, but it’s more subtle, haunting and lacking in facial hair. I like it a lot!
Sorry can't seem to make the Youtube link work!