In this weeks New Borns we deliver 5 albums that you probably havent heard, but you cant expect us to review albums that you know already can you? So this week we reached to every genre corner and found a bit of hip hop, electronic, progressive rock, soul/RnB and Folk Pop. The debut from Future Brown was reviews by our French writer Jerome, he kind of dug the album. On the other side of the planet and opinion, was Sarah who reviewed Elle King. Sarah didnt dig the album. In fact we had to score it one of the lowest in the history of TWL. Sorry Elle, you cant win them all.
Album Title_ Future Brown
Label_ Wrap reccord
Genre_ Electro hip hop
Moments Of_ MIA, Brain Damage
Stand Out_ Talkin Bandz, Wanna Party, Room 302
Future Brown, the super group created by Fatima Al Qadiri, J-Cush (Lit City Trax), Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda (Nguzunguzu) revealed six months ago their single Talkin Bandz, a collaboration with Shawnna and DJ Victoriouz . The group now offers us the continuity of this musical project with the release of their self titled debut album Future Brown. An album of multiple colaborations and influences.
In 2013, Future Brown gave birth to an electro music project, bringing together four artists and producers, all from Los Angeles. There first offering was the well-recieved single Wanna Party, in colaboration with Tink, one to watch in 2015. Future Brown signed with label Wrap Records in September 2014 that paved the way for the production of this very eclectic album that offers a mixture of musical culture and collaborations. On an electronic basic, Future Brown’s debut brings together a combination of dance, electro, jungle and many other- and hip hop layers. Not for all, but for the hip hop inclined.
A sound nested on in complete electronic bliss it comes across to me on first listen that it is a sound that both tormented and energetic while taking this almost psychedelic musical direction. What makes the album worthy is its parade of collaborations featuring Timberland, 3D, Na’Tee Kelela, Sicko Mobb and much more that each leave their indeniable influence on respective songs.
Tink’s voice, for example is fully integrated on tracks Room 302 and Wanna Party, sitting comfortably with the idea that lines this super group .On the excellent Talkin Bandz, you can hear the heavy, slow and modulated dj victorious’ s voice that hangs inperfect harmony with the fast and clear delivery of shawnna’s voice, making the piece amazinglu powerful. Everyone has their own vocal style, wearing synthetic arrangement but which alwasy remains original.
The results on this album, overall are accomplished. The mix up of artist collaborations gives us an album full of energy and rhythm, where the electronic styles match up, overlap and collide. We can dance, we can move, we are entertained and it leaves me wanting more. This is an album with exploited production values, orchestrated in an completely optimal way. In the end and after a few listensit makes me ponder the question :When is the release of the next album ??
Album Title_ The Door Behind The Door
Label_ Anti-Machine Machine
Genre_ Progressive Rock
Moments Of_ The Church, The Dears, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Stand Out_ Babylon, Seventh Moon, Going Up Was Worth The Coming Down
Former Sydney-siders Aimee Nash and Scott Van Ryper, making music as a duo dubbed Black Ryder, have relocated to Los Angeles (as you do, just ask Brooke Fraser) since their debut release “Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride” in 2009. In the intervening six-year period the two have divorced, yet remain best writing buddies (apparently). So, what’s this second effort like, then? All I have to go on is a cover that looks like a chess board blurred out of shape and a tracklist that clocks in at nine songs across 53 minutes.
Black Ryder’s “The Door Behind The Door” is truly one of those “pleasantly surprised with…” records. And, arguably, it’s even more so due to the fact that they’re originally from Australia. Dare one suggest, we almost have ready-made successors to The Church here? Almost?
The LP opens with a two-minute instrumental build-up titled “Babylon”, all slow pulsing synthesizer and droning, low-end guitar, sitting somewhere between Nine Inch Nails and The Killers. Atmospherics aplenty, and Black Ryder have barely begun the journey. The buzzing and humming keyboards continue into “Seventh Moon” before the slow-waltz drum shuffle comes in. Pink Floyd skins man Nick Mason would be proud of this beautiful pace. Yes, it’s been done before but it’s all good fun. Aimee Nash’s singing is as weightless as a weekend afternoon, whispering like a husky Robert Smith or Steve Kilbey. In its own way, it’s simple and sublime. The shock shift to acoustic guitar on “Going Up Was Worth The Coming Down” is again somewhat derivative, but it’s done well. Then, for two whole minutes, the ending enters Radiohead backwards looping feedback territory – noice!
Things then take something of a less-engaging dip through the second half of proceedings, but bright spots remain, including the likes of “Let Me Be Your Light” (soft-wash strings), “Throwing Stones” (Earthy, personal, acoustic) and “All That We Are” (with Hammond organ interlude).
[“Seventh Moon” official music video]
[“Let Me Be Your Light” on official band soundcloud]
Closer “The Final Sleep” is the big, 12-minute instrumental to top the lot. It coasts along like an old soundscaping effort from King Crimson fret-man Robert Fripp. Perhaps taking its time, but like much of “Door Behind The Door”, also offering a glimpse of real beauty.
Throughout the album there are really three touchstones – the aforementioned Church, Canadian outfit The Dears and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, particularly the latter in the lyrical department. Cue stuff like “I’m not giving up, I was lost then found” (“Going Up Was Worth The Coming Down”) and later “If you wana be free, let your love shine on, if you wana keep it together”, etc (on “Throwing Stones”).
But, essentially, for the most part, Black Ryder produce just plain good five-and-a-half-minute stuff. And if The Church ever go the way of the proverbial dodo, the understudies await their curtain call. In the same way that Oz Rock (in the minds of certain Joe Publics at least) sort of had a direct line from Midnight Oil, through Powderfinger, to Birds Of Tokyo.
Black Ryder present a sonic echo of the past. But amid the flux of daily pop that demands less attention span than pressing a remote control button, it might just also point to their own future. Where longer songs still get the chance to live longer in the memory.
Album Title_ Gliss Riffer
Moments Of_ Panda Bear, Animal Collective
Stand Out_ Feel the Lightening, Take it to the Max
There’s no doubting that Baltimore electroacoustic artist Dan Deacon is often perceived to be a little off kilter. Not surprising when you consider his eclectic back catalogue of electronic mayhem, excusing his brief venture into minimalism. Sixth album ‘Gliss Riffer’ is a pop-driven journey to his earlier days, showcasing bright timbres in chaotic arrangements that some may find to be a challenging listening experience, others will cherish the madness.
Kicking around since 2003, ‘Gliss Riffer’ marks Dan Deacon’s sixth full length album. ‘Gliss’, referring to the term glissando, is the rapid ascending or descending streams of sequential notes, which makes sense when you listen to how Dan creates his music. Moving away from the grandiose orchestral arrangements of 2009 album ‘Bromst’, ‘Gliss Riffer’ is more akin to his earlier works.
Standout track and album opener ‘Feel the Lightening’ is Dan Deacon at his poppy best, layering dense electronica to create a full sounding track without being overly busy. A song that could easily fit into ‘Spiderman of the Rings’, though a little more polished this time around. Second track ‘Sheathed Wings’ is an absolute flurry of noise, with so many things going on at one time, it becomes more of a hindrance rather than an impressive composition. This tends to happen at certain points throughout ‘Gliss Riffer’, but once acclimatised to the complex flamboyance, it becomes quite addictive.
The hilariously titled ‘Meme Generator’ offers a mellow moment, slowing the tempo to optimal head-nodding speed. The albums longest track ‘Take it to the Max’ clocks in at just under eight minutes with all of the styling of 2009’s ‘Bromst’. A slow building track, it’s less upbeat than most of the record, but offering contrast amongst the pop laden commotion works surprisingly well after the avalanche that is ‘Learning to Relax’. Any common theme of disapproval here comes down to the slices of ‘Gliss Riffer’ that are just plain overwhelming. When done right, ‘Gliss Riffer’ is full of merriment and earnestly fun to listen to. Lyrically it’s quite light and delivered through any number of strange effects, or Dan Deacon is actually a robot. I’ll let you decide.
Whilst some may find the textural immensity of ‘Gliss Riffer’ a little overbearing, those who are able to listen through the noise will be pleased. The often joyous and upbeat tones of the album are genuinely fun and ensure an enjoyable experience, though amongst all of the chaos, it can become easy to lose interest simply by aural bombardment. It doesn’t happen too often, but it’s disappointing when you notice that you haven’t paid attention for the last few minutes of listening because of it. Overall, Dan Deacon has hit a sweet spot and the gleam of the production suits it well. With some finer tuning, I’m sure that his next album will be his best yet. It really comes down to what you’re into, but if you maintain an open mind, you won’t leave empty handed.
Album Title_ Love Stuff
Genre_ Soul, RnB, Pop
Moments Of_ Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Adele
Stand Out_ Too bored to notice any
Do you like being bored? Of hearing something redone over again but not as well, so it has little to no impact on the genre at all? Good thing you’re reading this then, cause Elle King’s tired pseudo-country cool, down south blues gospel with a white girl pop twist Love Stuff is the album for you! Yipyew.
Elle King is a good singer, but so is Susan Boyle. Doesn’t mean she’s worth listening to. Tell you who is a good singer, AND is worth listening to? Leadbelly. Or Bessie Smith, or Blind Lemon Jefferson. Performers who actually coined this dark gospel-devil kind of blues, and owned it so much that no singer is ever worth listening to over them for this kind of music.
But then, it is a little different. Much more pop, King swings from gospel blues to soul ballads with a sugary pop vibe, to a Herdrix style guitar riff thrown in – it’s like she’s traversing the evolution of the African-American musical history in one album. And I’m definitely not saying she shouldn’t – any artist has the right to sing whatever genre they please (see Iggy Azalea vs Azelea Banks. Whole can of musical worms right there, amirite?), but I feel it should be acknowledged somehow, especially when it is an appropriation of an historically marginalised genre.
Appropriation makes the musical world go round, but in this case, it’s not worth the argument. Because why listen to Elle King’s mediocre mish-mash when you can listen to the sweet, sweet originals? Or even the pioneers of White-Girls-Singing-African-American-Coined Genres? Amy Winehouse anyone? Just my humble ol’ opinion.
Genre_ Folk Pop
Moments Of _ Andrew Sharpe and The Magnetic Zero’s. Vampire Weekend, Foster The People
Stand Out_ Sophia
Sometimes, brothers do stuff. More often than not it usually involves a tonne of mischief and potentially someone crying but when you are Isle of Wight duo Michael and David Champion, well, you just happen to make some truly melifluous folk pop. This week I review their sophomore effort Vamala.
There is a quiet simplicity on this album that really resonated with me early in. Although folk pop is not particularly high on my list of genre de jour, sometimes when I am at odds with how I feel about an album, I will always look to two main aspects of the album and consider its merits on the strength of these two factors, namely songwriting/wordplay and sonic dexterity. But firstly, I simply cannot go any further without first making mention of Michael Champion’s voice. Its really an oddly curious refrain, kind of like if you were to imagine one of the Gibb brothers in an ostensibly less New York disco saturated setting and a more lofty, forlorn and inevitably hipster locale. I also enjoyed the wordplay that possessed a kind of juvenile innocence that ebbs and flows, one moment vociferous the next childish and coy. There is a youthful honesty that taints these songs, whilst still offering some ethereal sonic scapes in that very same token … it’s the kind of backdrop that sets the scene for some palpable and sometimes haunting overtures.
So Vamala comes pretty much hot off the heels of their debut Down Like Gold, well more or less a year after the aforementioned and although I wasn’t at all familiar with it, really the first thing that spoke to on a seminal level me about this album were the harmonies. They are a primary driving force on this album and if you are into this persuasion of ear candy then you have hit the lucky draw. Dimitri Tikovol sat in on production duties here so that may explain the inherent aloofness I felt at times. There are some really beautiful moments that stick out like little gems on here, the first track Desire that speaks about the residual decline of love which as always, starts off with the best of intentions but then tapers out under the weight of reality whereas 3000 Miles ponders the nuance of relationships and the hand that distance plays in the way that we recall the ones that we love. Sophia is a heavily percussive track that almost reminded me of an early Oasis in parts, with Champion crooning about perhaps having given way too much of himself potentially at the expense of self – preservation. Cue inevitable vulnerability. It’s a delicate lilting that sticks with you long after the track has finished and I think, perhaps my fave on the album.
So whilst I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Vamala for your raucous end of the year work bash, perhaps more like a reflective Sunday arvo with some joe on hand.