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Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Soft Pack – Strapped

The Soft Pack are generic indie goodness hailing from San Diego. They unashamedly wear their influences on their sleeve and these influences are not the standard boring Joy Division or Echo and the Bunny Men that are so prevalent in the 2014 incarnation of the genre. The Soft Pack stir up a punch bowl that combines The Bodines, Weather Prophets, Sebadoh, Bob, The Teardrop Explodes, Haircut 100, the Higsons, Inspiral Carpets, the Primitives and Mighty Mighty in a mouth-wateringly straightforward concoction. It’s a fun, fruity and effervescent vintage.

Sadly, they’re almost certainly headed for the obscurity of our pages rather than the real media of the NME or radio air play. They’re too wholesome, too standard and have too much quality to engage with the proper music biz. And that’s a really positive attribute. If you loved ‘Played’ and wonder why that kind of music had to disappear, well it didn’t, it’s the sound of the Soft Pack.

All the tracks are stonkers, but my personal favourites are the adrenaline fuelled charms of ‘Chinatown’, the eighties throwback of ‘They Say’ and the Teardrop-esque ‘Tallboy’. Best of all is the strange hybrid of the Bodines and Serious Drinking that is ‘Second Look’ resplendent with tooting horns and twanging guitars.

A fantastic album, a refreshing change and well worth searching out. Fingers crossed for a new album in the near future.

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.