Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Flashguns “Matching Hearts, Similar Parts”

01:21 PM

Guess what happens if three guys on a Catholic boy’s school have too much free time? Good guess, they form a guitar rock band, call themselves (in this example) Flashguns, get produced by Luke Smith (who worked together with Depeche Mode and Foals) and sign to a label working with the likes of The XX and Friendly Fires!

In insider circles the three Londoners’ work has been circulating for quite a while now, so it were good news for the growing fan-base when the band announced to release their debut album this year. Flashguns are influenced by none other than The Smiths and The Cure, but stylistically close to The Maccabees and their friends of Bombay Bicycle Club.

To shorten the waiting time, they are going to release the limited and hand numbered EP Matching Hearts, Similar Parts on April 16 finally in Germany (Austria, Switzerland) via fresh new label Humming Records, too, after it got originally released in the UK nearly a year ago.

Just the opener “I Don’t Not Love You” (already available from all common download stores) is thrilling from the first to the last second.  Only few people know that singer and guitarist Sam Johnston received psychological treatment over long time because of his depressions, so his strong emotional vocals and lyrics full of feeling are very authentic. But hey, no time to calm down! The next songs on the EP – “Bells at Midnight” and “St. George”, a hymn to the band’s home – are full of power and passion, too. Only “Racing Race” is a bit slower, vocals and accompaniment need four wonderful minutes to increase just to decay slowly after its great climax. The last song on the CD is a danceable and fresh remix of “I don’t not love you” by Marius Lauber, drummer of the band Beat!Beat!Beat!, which is exclusively available on the new German release.

And Matching Hearts, Similar Parts is just a foretaste of what listeners can expect from the upcoming album: emotional music full of musical enthusiasm and energy. It’s the perfect soundtrack for hot summer days. In July Flashguns will play German Phono Pop festival among HEALTH, Turbostaat, Friska Viljor; more dates will follow soon.

Video | Flashguns “I Don’t Not Love You

Matching Hearts, Similar Parts (Ltd. Edition) Tracklisting:
1. I Don’t Not Love You
2. Bells At Mitdnight
3. St. George
4. Racing Race
5. I Don’t Not Love You (laubér Remix)

Flashguns Matching Hearts, Similar Parts will be released on April 16 via Humming Records (distribution: Snowhite / Universal).

Kavinsky “Nightcall” (Competition)

04:10 PM

Kavinsky is back! Despite ongoing touring his new Nightcall EP is the first sign of “life” since  the1986 EP anno 2007 and likewise the first aperitif for his upcoming debut album and one of the first releases by Parisian Record Makers for the label’s tenth anniversary celebrations. But through all the years everything stayed the same:  Kavinsky is still the zombie’esque resurgence as a modern French house dj of a young college boy killed in accident in 1986 while driving his blazing red and beloved Ferrari Testarossa.

Thus it’s the old companion Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo from Daft Punk, who’s exclusively put his golden producer hands on the title track, and Ed Banger’s SebastiAn, who’s mixed it, both well known to the deadcruiser at least since their common appearance on DP’s Alive world tour in 2007. Thereto Kavinsky asks CSS singer Lovefoxxx for a deadly seducing duet in his iconic sportster – quote, “I’m gonna kill you where it’s dark, but have no fear.” – while a mighty disco house bass is slowly rolling through the acoustic background.

Second track “Pacific Coast Highway” sees the story continued in the soundtrack to a police car chase through Garden City allegedly narrated from a TV news station helicopter. In the end it’s of course Kavinsky and his magical Testarossa successfully escape.

This A-side disco radio play is accompanied by one remix for each of both songs on the B-Side, where Dustin NGuyen ultimately leads “Nightcall” on the dance floor and Warp‘s Jackson stretches “Pacific Coast Highway” to an epic eight and a half minute long tale.

Stream | Kavinsky “Nightcall

Stream | Kavinsky “Pacific Coast Highway

And since it has been such a long Kavinsky break we are now bringing the death dance to your house. Together with Record Makers we are giving away an exclusively signed copy of the new EP and beautiful “Nightcall” picture disc 12″ (out on April 5)! All what we want you to do therefore is to get creative and picture yourselves with the zombie master himself – or even turn into him (may it be through a photo montage or putting up some zombie make-up). The one artwork sent to until April 1 (!) representing the Kav’myth and 80ies disco atmosphere the best wins. Find a little inspiration and two images of him free to use here or check his Myspace for more. Good luck!

In addition Kavinsky will play at two Record-Release-Party in both, Paris and London, in April 2010. The Parisian night will take place on April 2 at Le 1515 with SebastiAn, Jackson, Ed Banger’s So Me and Clara 3000 (see all details here) and the London one on April 23 as part of the Together Club: Season 1 / Week 7 at the Coronet Theatre along the likes of the too-French Cassius and Uffie plus Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, Mumdance, Primary 1 and more at room 1 (and Holy Ghost! and In Flagranti among other cool acts on the further floors; see all details incl. the complete line-up here).

See the Myspace again for even more  Kavinsky live sets (incl. four in Japan and South Korea ). If you want to improve your chances to win a Nightcall picture disk see the sites of the lovely fellow Truants as well. The EP will be worldwide released digital with an exclusive Breakbot remix on iTunes already on March 26.

Ikons (album review)

02:58 AM

When six men get together in Swedish city Gothenburg and name themselves IKONS*, which is Swedish for icons, one should know he or she is dealing with a self-fulfilling prophecy from now on. After we already praised the brilliant “cosmic 8-minute long instrumental krautrock anthem” alias “Slow Light” on this site, we can’t help ourselves but do the same thing with their new debut album without title, which gets opened by the previously mentioned song.

Here IKONS do perform a nine-songs-strong vibrant on the entire almost asleep rock’n’roll circus, while drawing sonic parallels to the Horrors latest full-length.

Most of the songs share the same key structure: First the six-piece creates looping wall of sound slowly growing thicker and thicker till a keyboard or guitar breaks into it. And whenever this kicks off again, it will somehow feel like listening to Can, Space’s “Magic Fly” or Air‘s Moon Safari for the first time and somehow it will feel completely different from that, too. It’s a ongoing and thrilling trip to outer space and the next transcendental level. No wonder, that the cherished genius of Dan Lissvik of Studio did mix the album together with Alex Palmestål of Pistol Disco.

Sounding rough and beautiful at the same time, IKONS manage to pull you into a vision of the future which seems to be closer to the 1960ies/70ies’ notion of the post-millennium life, than to our modern societies clean and ambient styled version of the future. But fast you’ll discover that this music is timeless. Call it retro futuro** if you like.

And the album has with “Bye” a, in a broadest sense, typical Swedish, but resounding rock’n’roll song, too.

Still it has its tough moments around the middle and you will find some repetitions from time to time, but in the end you get a record, that’s rather outstanding not only in terms of style, but of quality from the majority of current music releases.

Ikons (no title) is out now as CD, vinyl and download via Service Label.

*The band features also an video artist.
**The real Retro Futuro is a great promoting agency here in Berlin.

The Sounds “Crossing the Rubicon”

07:54 PM

Whether The Sounds betook themselves onto dangerous terrain irrevocalby with Crossing the Rubicon is questionable, but there is definitely a difference recognizable in contrast to the former longplayers Living in America and Dying to say this to you.

Against all expectations, that The Sounds would always be like dream dancers on stage, Crossing the Rubicon shows their development away from the light-hearted synth pop. By their own admission the band doesn’t only care about “music, alcohol, sex und teenage angst” anymore. Even though you are not able to note this on their first single “No one sleeps when I’awake”, because this one comes along in a typical The-Sounds-style with catchy melody and some easy lyrics. But song by song the promised change emerges and beside the energetic dance anthems there are also ballad-like songs. Some of them turned out better, some worse but “Midnight Sun” seems to be the highlight.  In comparison to the former two full-lengths the current one feels more structured and not like a song conglomeration anymore. But even if The Sounds lost some of their ease, they still have got the potential for great live shows.

The fact that neither lyrics fetishists, nor the fans of complex arrangements will get their money’s worth with Crossing the Rubicon will not be a breakup for the band’s success. Because with The Sound’s third longplayer you receive what you could have been expecting: synth pop anthems with simple lyrics but a little bit more thoughtfulness.

The Sounds Crossing the Rubicon will be released on March 5 via Snowhite/Universal/Irascible in Germany and is already out in the UK and USA via Original Signal.

Tommy Finke “Poet of the Apes”

09:03 AM

tommy finke poet der affen

First thing that catches your eye when you take a first look on Poet der Affen, the new record by German singer/songwriter Tommy Finke, is its title which is already worth a discussion in German but sounds even more stiltedly as official English album title Poet of the Apes. Since the album should be made compatible for the international market all songs appear here in a German and an English version.

In terms of his music Tommy Finke stays true to himself with his second full-length and is busy to continue adapting his own icons like Oasis, the Beatles and more. It’s a fine line he’s on here and sometimes it leads into an amusing guessing game about which song he’s currently taking from this time. That can be nice entertainment from time to time but doesn’t cheat the various weaknesses of this record.

Besides previously mentioned obvious inspiration from his colleagues the lyrics, which shall appear funny and fresh, are lacking of punch and charm. But there’s still a certain ease that makes Poet der Affen to a perfect background music but another lack, this time of substance, averts more – as long as you listen to Poet der Affen.

If you put in it’s English counterpart the result is a bit different. He sings his figuratively translated lyrics on the original instrumental melody but that doesn’t sound satisfying after all. We remember, these songs shall pave the way for for Tommy Finke’s international success but it seems like till now he’s the only one convinced of this record’s quality.

Tommy Finke Poet der Affen / Poet of the Apes will be released on January 29 via Roof Music. See Tommy Finke’s website for (German) tour dates.

Emika “Drop The Other”

05:55 AM

emika drop the other

Wild old player like Massive Attack are releasing a new album or re-record and re-edit older ones like Tricky, there’s young acts are causing waves in the trip-hop scene as well, only this time the directions are electronica and dubstep. One of the newcomers is Emika, who just released her new single Drop The Other and is in this way rising the expectations for her debut full-length to be out this year higher and higher.

Listening to the song one can easily guess that she’s still listening to music from her former adopted home Bristol. The melancholic mood, female vocals and fragmented beats – who’s thinking about the early Portishead & Co right now gets pretty close to the core. In terms of beats one can draw the line to Aphex Twin’s creative rhythms, too.

Two remixes come with the single. Former London inhabitant and now Berliner (like Emika by now) dubstep pioneer Scuba (see at CTM.10 soon!), alias Paul Rose, turned “Drop The Other” into a even darker, mechanically cold version creating an even more atmospheric track. For the end a re-edit by G.e.R.M. is awaiting you. This is a pretty dancy remix forcing you with a catchy hook on the dance floor while Grum and MSTRKRFT are greeting from further up the road.

All in all it’s a great record making us excited to hear more. Get Drop The Other digitally (f.i. from Beatport here) or as 12″ from the releasing label Ninja Tune. Have a look on Mary Anne Hobbs’ BBC Radio 1 website there a mix by Emika from her last show will be made available as stream pretty soon.

Delphic – Acolyte

02:11 AM

delphic acolyte

When a hype band of Mancunian origin and a eminently respectable electronic producer based in Berlin get together to record the band’s debut full length, great things are expected. In 2010 Delphic‘s Ewan-Pearson-produced debut album Acolyte can be filed under this paradigm. Sadly they only partly meet one’s high expectations.

Kicking off the record with two pretty inexpressive, eclectic tracks – ‘Clarion Call’ and current single ‘Doubt’ – and two catchy, remarkable ones – omnipresent Kitsuné single ‘This Momentary’ and ‘Red Light’ – Delphic suboptimally celebrate a electronic rock-pop hybrid, in which guitar and synthesizer are coequal. It’s music, which – in it’s best moments – can be a modernly designed and intoxicating dancefloor filler (think of the fantastic drum sample in ‘This Momentary‘!) and it’s weakest an overcooled and grey bore.

Clearly produced and setting a nearly maximum store to the aesthetics Delphic still manage to sound not as calculated and über-perfect as Zoot Woman recently did, but often one’s sometimes missing the euphoria and briskness of a Friendly Fires tune. In a way you’ll find this in the title song, a nearly nine minutes long instrumental, which tastefully arranged erupts after three minutes turning into fine synthie ride before strangely fading for more than a minute like it would already be the album’s last track.

This could have a been a great opportunity to open a second conceptually different counterpart to the record but sadly Delphic keep on following the same lines and ideas as before. In ‘Halcyon’ it seems like the band is already pointing out to the huge arenas but misses to boost the actual song to that level and ‘Submission’ gets scotched by it’s own dramatization. ‘Counterpaint’ – their debut single – then is of course all right but the last two songs again appear as plane padding again and I find myself wishing the band of the Silent-Alarm-Bloc-Party.

Delphic surely have some great tunes and sounds compiled here, but the non-optimal arrangement and – considering the total of songs – the lack of real ideas make Acolyte not easy to deal with and only half as good as expected. It simply doesn’t feel right.

Delphic Acolyte is out now on Chimeric Records / Polydor. The Band will be touring the UK in the next days before travelling through Europe the whole February, except another and third London show on the 22th. See all dates here.

Godly Grooves

01:46 PM

godly grooves

Sunday; the Sabbath, the day of rest, the Lord’s day. Whatever you want to call it, it was on the first Sunday ever that God finally kicked back, brewed up an Ovaltine and took a break from six entire days of slaving away laying the groundwork for the unadulterated shit storm the world would soon turn into. It could be argued that given the way things have turned out, God did a bit of a cack-handed job with the whole creation of the world thing. For a start, Adam would surely just have spent his days fishing and masturbating in the Garden of Eden if God hadn’t created Eve. And surely the snake was a mistake. Just my opinion of course; my experiences of world planning are limited to say the least and given that I only have one planet to compare notes against I can hardly lay claim to being an expert. Basically, if we want to lay the blame for the world’s problems at anyone’s door it should be at God’s since he (allegedly!) started the whole show and things seemed to go pear-shaped the minute Eve showed her face. So God and his planet building; nice ideas exectuted in record time but fatally flawed nonetheless.

Anyway, back to Sundays. That grating, dull thud at the back of your head on a Sunday morning is not the effects of too much soda water down the disco or a teenage guilt-niggle forcing your brain out of your nose because you slowdanced with someone else’s girlfriend. That itchy, nauseous, white-noise-in-your-head feeling you’re experiencing is actually your conscience telling you you’ve been much, much worse. You see, in much the same way the Eve was way back when, you’ve perhaps unwittingly also been seduced by the snake. In a figurative sense of course. That slithering, hypnotic, fork-tongued little cretin has managed to insinuate itself way into your heart, curl up there and is slowly squeezing out any sense of right or wrong when it comes to matters of the dancefloor. It’s made you lazy and convinced you that every time you swill up on cheap beer and hit the club to freak to the latest plastic happiness remix from Kitsune or some other godawful bleepy, scratchy drivel from Ed Banger that you’re having the absolute time of your life. And you fall for it every time Goddamn it! So much so that musicians are even taking the piss out of you. MSTRKRFT dropped one of the least inspiring records ever produced recently; dropped being appropriate because I can’t believe that even they like it. Just open iElectroMusicStar, click in some beats and add Cliché-Glitch-Filter and hey presto; instant second LP. Simian Mobile Disco did more or less the same. The breathless enthusiasm of their debut album, so fresh and immediate that we all wet ourselves when we heard it, has been replaced this time around by a bunch of fat, flabby, custardy tracks which even the way too obvious celebrity mates shopping list can’t lift out of the ditch it landed in. And by Jove, if I hear one more person giggling and turning to jelly at the thought of an imminent new Klaxons LP, I might just have to start my own religious cult which encourages their ritual slaughter. With spoons. Even Digitalism don’t bother anymore. If I was the promoter of the last gig they DJd at and they turned up in crumpled white t-shirts on my shift, I’d have pulled the plug and horsewhipped them on stage until they went home and got fucking dressed properly.

So we’re in an ever decreasing circle. It’s like an yawning great black hole pulling us – lazy musicians and undiscerning record buyers alike – into a seething, inescapable cesspool where all we can do (apart from burn) is pull robotic moves to Pop the Glock and bore each other to death about which Maison compilation was really the best. For ever. It’s not even that we’ve been sold a lie because it was true once; it’s just no one can be bothered to admit it. It takes a bit of time and bravery to confess that the current batch of electronic music is really rather shit. You can be dancing in some club, convulsing like a spastic sat on a pylon and twenty minutes in; epiphany. It’s like the Burning Bush or the parting of the Red Sea when slowly you realise: Hey, I’ve been programmed to like this. It doesn’t speak to me. It doesn’t make me feel anything. I’m on auto pilot here. I just don’t like this. So what do you do? Go back to Nu Rave? Indie rock? Chiptune? If those were the only choices I’d start hiding pills in my socks and start going to Donk parties.

But there is a light; a distant golden glimmer at the end of this fat, flatulent tunnel of muck. And it’s name, rather appropriately, is “Godly Grooves“. And my God, if this record had floated down into my room on a cloud followed by all the angels and cherubs of the heavens, I couldn’t like it more. Arok and Scientist are German DJs and have clearly been snorting inspiration because they’ve just released the strongest contender yet for Best Record of 2009. A unique and ultimately screwy mixtape of rare 60s and 70s Christian grooves, originally released on obscure, religious labels and selected, dusted down, scrubbed up and remixed into an hour long compilation. Blessed be, they’ve even put it out on a brand new imprint and limited the run of units to a mere 100. So heavenly, so unusual, you virtually lose your powers of description and can just goggle open-mouthed in wonder at how someone could have come up with a record which on the surface of it sounds monstrous but which in reality is the nearest thing we’ve heard this year to perfection. Religious music is usually whack and about as much fun as a day doing door-to-door with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is different; bizarre, crackly Christian tracks sung in German over lo-fi beat samples, fat basslines and off-kilter registers. It has to be heard to be believed. And believe it you should brother. Refreshing proof that there are musicians work out there who can move the boundaries of what electronic music is all about, incorporate hitherto untouched genres and spark off something new.

So will we all be dancing to obscure Christian grooves in the near future? Unlikely. And admittedly taking it in context it probably isn’t the greatest album ever, but the fact that it’s just about the only original thing I’ve heard this year (barring Health and Robot Koch’s LP) makes it worthy of a special mention. Plus the fact that no one will like it makes it all the more attractive.

God speed at the disco my children. Amen.


“Goodly Grooves” was released through Audiac Records.

XVI Reflections on Classical Music

01:11 PM

xvi reflections on classical music

Lets try a Gedanken experiment: If little Ludwig van Beethoven would not have not been born in 1770’s Bonn somewhere between the end of  Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassicism but in modern rapid Berlin, wouldn’t he then be known to us as glorius beat producer and dj instead of an ingenious but oldfashioned composer?

Compilation “XVI Reflections On Classical Music” may won’t answer this question and it shouldn’t anyway but it’s able link classical and electronic music a little bit more. These sixteen songs picked and compiled by Berlin label head Martin ‘me’ Raabenstein (nonine) easily archieve that goal since both genres meet here on the same level. Neither plays classic the arrogant aged not able to grant the youngster his success, nor behaves electronica like a pretentious teen.

Maybe not all of this pieces really contribute to the fullfilling of the quest but Raabenstein’s collective performs a suprising symbiosis: the classic centuries after Beethoven & Co presents itself as a dynamic and heterogenious formation not willingly to accept it’s common current role as the music of elderly persons and beer TV ads, while electronica is able to show it’s different sites and shades apart from the dancefloor. Surely this is no new insight to many people and many of the compiled songs have already been released, but nevertheless it makes sense to show this regocnition compressed into one album.

So Berlin’s Carsten Nicolai alias Alva Noto meets Japanese all-area artist Ryuichi Sakamoto, Belgian piano player Francesco Tristano gives Autechre’s “Andover” a new face and Hauschka and Lawrence both add one exclusive song to the project. While Final Fantasy’s “He Poos Clouds” here rather examines the classical aspects only Wolfgang Voigt aka Kompat label’s GAS and Greg Haines put ambient and classical music together as moving as usual. This results in a compilation that’s as far away from yawning lounge music as Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” from the rest of the world back in 1974. Well done.

On Tuesday, September 15th,  “XVI Reflections On Classical Music” will be introduced to the listeners via live performances of Albrecht Mayer and Hauschka as well as by DJ-Sets of Canisius and Lawrence at Berghain’s  Yellow Lounge in Berlin. We draw two tickets for the event, just write us an to if you want to be there.

“XVI Reflections On Classical Music” was released via Point Music/Universal Music. See here for download and previews.

Review: Wavves “Wavvves”

01:01 AM

wavves wavvves

Are Wavves still alive while I’m typing this review of their latest longplayer “Wavvves” (sic! Isn’t that a funny wwwordplay…  sorry)? After their furious self destructive gig at Primavera Festival this May there’s suddenly silence in the tabloids about the band from California [Myspace]. Well, but if beeing alive would be a real criteria for my record collection you could find a bunch of some rare original copies of Joy Division records right now for 1 ct on Ebay …

They aren’t there and they won’t ever be there, so let’s get back to the record!

The sound quality of  “Wavvves” seems to be the result of some really difficult and complex engineering process. According to my imagination it looked like this: First the songs were recorded at home while beeing drunk, then someone added this funny distort-me-like-a-bad-The-Monks-bootleg-out-of-the-last-row-sound effect to it on his computer, the ready product was then put on Youtube, then re-downloaded from it, put on a analouge cassette and brought pack to Mp3 with a modern car stereo and was a last time fourth times compressed before beeing sent to the factory. Of course it was worth the effort.

Thus you have to think about the good ideas on this record (and folks, there are many) like you have to think about you and the cute dolphin at the sealife theme park: you would love to free it and let it swim to it’s freedom but your fists are to small and weak for the thick glas, while Flipper keeps starring at you with big, sad eyes. At least some pills maybe can help you with “Wavvves”, but they can’t do anything for your wet friend.

Anyway, right now this is probably the only record which today can still make your parents* waiting at your door seriously demanding to turn off this “painful crap”. After all this is in someway even conform to Wavves’ intensions for the record, since Nirvana or the Spice Girls became normal for everyone  (could be tough with Sunn O))), too).

*Since the modern human does leave his parents’ house later and later, this category has got a cross-generational meaning now… wait, stop! No, it hasn’t! I’m pretty sure the average aufgemischt! reader does move out superiorly early, don’t you?

Wavves “Wavvves” released by Bella Union/Cooperative Music