Saturday, 27 June 2009

Various - Kitsuné Maison 7: The Lucky One (Kitsuné)

The Lucky One? Well to be honest, we’re the lucky ones to be blessed with another compilation offering from Paris’s acclaimed Kitsuné label, taken from their Maison series. This is a musical scene where fashion and style are as important as content, but when the music is good as the indiey-dancey-synthy grooves on offer here, the accompanying circus fades into the background. As usual, the chic Parisians have gone for a mixture of high profile numbers and obscure efforts, showing their ears for musical talent and providing an excellent snapshot of current popular culture. Highs include Two Door Cinema Club’s jolly Something Good Can Work, the blissful Classixx version of Phoenix’s Listzomania and The Golden Filter’s fizzing Favourite Things. Once more, we are blessed to be admitted to Kitsuné’s Maison.

Speech Debelle - Speech Therapy (Big Dada)

Speech Debelle’s half spoken half rapped album is an intimate portrait of life on the breadline, as a twenty something year old woman in South London. Debelle’s deft lyrics are backed by the production dexterity of the likes of Lotek Hi-Fi and Tunng. At times heartbreakingly sad and at others powerfully uplifting, this is an album that demands attention from start to finish. It’s hard not to be touched by efforts such as tortured Go Then, Bye, a number that describes the sickening monotony of Working Weak and friendship meets deeper attraction of Buddy Love. Speech Therapy is a powerful portrait of life in the late 00s from Ms. Debelle.

Toddla T - Skanky Skanky (Sony/1965)

Known as the ‘Toddla’ because he was the young lad hanging around with older mates in the vibrant clubs and record shops of Sheffield in the early to mid 00’s and T has always been keen to stress the inspiration of the city and his musical guides. Toddla T’s music is the product of an all embracing music scene in Sheffield, typified by a sporadic club night called Kabal, where dancers from all walks of life got down to music played by three generations of the steel city’s DJs including T. It comes as no surprise that his music is therefore all embracing and reflects the mishmash of styles, cultures and creeds of so called ’urban’ Britain in its grooves, words and mannerisms, drawing in various guest lyricists and musicians. An astute businessman, T has managed to get in with ‘trendy’ indie media and radio shows, whilst managing to strike a deal with Sony, a residency at Fabric, do hundreds of DJ gigs and keep his underground kudos intact. Insightful and able to poke fun at himself and the music business with a wry Yorkshire humour, this is a very personal long player from T that has tunes to both rock the party and ’pop songs’. Highlights include the mouth watering Mr. Versatile vocalised Rice & Peas, Hervé and Serocee assisted banger Shake It and the gorgeous Better. It is inevitable that the current gushing hype surrounding T will die down, but this album shows that he has the talents to forge a career as a beat smith par excellence and it’s good to know that the Toddla still has his feet on the ground.

Nathan Fake - Hard Islands (Border Community)

Fake’s debut LP was all dreamy ethereal soundscapes and beautifully calm ideas, but here he steps it up a notch, exchanging thoughtful ambience for technoid grit on this small landmass inspired effort. There’s an urgency to this short yet striking album, with Fake’s trademark penchant for melody still in evidence, despite the speed of his sound. Winners appear in the shape of the sharp grooved Turtle, serene Basic Mountain and messy Castle Rising. It is worth venturing out to Fake’s island.

V/A - Harbour Boat Trips: 01 Copenhagen (hfn music)

Distinguished electronic producer Trentemøller is the Captain for this musical ride into uncharted waters, which sets off from his native Copenhagen. For the most part, it is a calm voyage in a rowing boat that lets you take in the musical surroundings of relaxed guitar driven efforts as opposed to full throttle technotic trip on a motorboat, but the waters do get a little choppier towards the end. Highlights of the trip include Emiliana Torrini’s melancholic Lifesaver, I Got You On Tape’s touching Somersault and a bizarre melding of Trentemøller’s own edit of Copenhagen Collective’s Copenhagen and Soft Cell’s timeless Tained Love. This is an enjoyable nautical journey with Trentemøller.

Ojos De Brujo - Aocaná (Warner Music Spain/Diquela)

Ojos De Brujo bring us a jolting album of electronic dipped Latin lovelies. On the back of the CD inlay is the phrase, ‘Aocaná Corazón‘, which roughly translates to ‘Now with The Heart’. This sums up the Spanish eight piece’s attitude to making music nicely, as you can literally feel the passion that the group have for the music that they make in every single song. Highlights include the beautiful Todos Mortales (Mortals Alls), the powerful Correveidile (Run Go Tell Him) and the mournful Baraka (Baraka). Aocaná is an album that tugs on the heartstrings and has the ability to empower the listener in the same movement.

Zwicker - Songs Of Lucid Dreams (Compost)

Zwicker is Cyril Boehler aka Tweak, a Swiss artist whose striking electronic grooves underpin the hearty vocal contributions from a gallant band of singers and speakers on this album. This album is very easy on the ears and it doesn’t take much to get caught up in Zwicker’s grooves. Highs include the powerful opener entitled Who You Are, the Billy Oden blessed Dragon Fly and the cute Strangeways. Close your eyes and enter the make-believe world of Zwicker.

V/A - 2 (NET28)

Spain’s NET28 hit us with a collection of numerically titled technoid efforts from label heads and likeminded friends. The Madrid based imprint is headed by Alex Under, Damian Schwarz, Jose Villalobos (no, not that one), Imek and Tadeo, who contribute some of the finer musical moments on this disc. As much about sensations and odd feelings as conventional grooves, efforts such as From Karaoke To Stardom’s wobbly 20, Imek & Xpansul’s punishing 23 and Alex Under’s 22 hit the spot. This is an album of cutting edge technoid tackle for mind and feet.

Who Made Who - The Plot (Gomma)

Who Made Who or should it be Who Made This album of playful musical ditties? The answer to that question is a three piece from Denmark, consisting of two guys called Tomas and one named Jeppe, who create songs and grooves that lie somewhere between the world of electronics and that of ’real’ instrumentation and songmanship. The Plot is a smooth ride consisting of funny songs and off-kilter musicianship and whilst it doesn‘t explore many different terrains, the album still pleases. Highs include the bass driven Small Town City, the amusing Keep Me In My Plane and hip shaking Motown Bizarre. The Plot is a fun offering from the Danish group.

The Glimmers - Disko Drunkards (

The Glimmers screw over the record labels and others profiteers once more by ditching the commercial release of this album in order to give it away at gigs. This one sees the duo bring forth their fuzzy broth alongside a group of likeminded kit hitters, guitar strummers, key tinklers and vocal spewers, creating the Disko Drunkards band. Linking dirty discoid grooves with post-punk rhythm sections and electronic craziness alongside an oddly fitting ’band’ set-up, the LP does the business. G features a filthy bassline, electrically charged vocals and pointed guitars, Oh Oh Oh confuses and delights in equal measures, as their Physical cover hits courtesy of scuzzy grooves and lustful vocals. Downright sleazy, yet so much fun, you yearn for a night out with the Disko Drunkards.