The Wandering Lamb delivers a second round of New Borns for 2016, selected from an outstanding list of albums that spawned so early in the new year. Although we managed to fit in the latest from multi-instrumentalist lo-fi creator Ty Segall, electronic pop duo, Chairlift, the return of Trip Hop maetro Tricky and the excellent return of once brit-pop leaders, Suede, we most out on a load of other great releases. So as we share our take on this outstanding New Borns, we urge you to also check out Savages, Tindersticks, The Besnard Lakes, Fat White Family, Charlie Hilton and Bonnie “Prince” Billy. See you back here, same spot, around about same time on 14th November.
Album Title Emotional Mugger
Label Drag City
Genre Psychedelic Garage Rock
Moments Of Alice Cooper, Deer Tick
Stand Out Californian Hills, Squealer Two
Ty Segall doesnt know how to rest, he has, up this album, released eight studio albums, a load of EP’s and singles, is a currently member of Fuzz and Broken Bat and GOGGS. Still in his late 20’s, to many he is of cult status, a hero and an influener and with his multi-instrumental talents and ambition to re-invent, this is an artist who will no doubt remain on our landscape for many, many years to come.
Entering stage right; Ty Segall struts in like a gunman collecting his money from a bar in a Tarantino movie, except this album feels more like you’re wearing the Scramble Suit from A Scanner Darkly. Emotional Mugger is the latest installment from this Californian musical mastermind. You may remember him from Sic Alps or The Perverts. He’s buds with Thee Oh Sees. If you’re a fan, you’ll know this is Segall’s ninth album in as many years not including countless EPs and more recently the LP of T-Rexcovers.
To find out more, head to http://emotionalmugger.com where Segall himself will explain that “Emotional mugging is a psychoanalytic subject to subject exchange formed as a response to our hyper-digital sexual landscape.” This LP was originally released to some musical journalists on a VHS with old Blockbuster films on it like Star Trek II. An Emotional Mugger Hotline was also set up that played a creepy message from Segall.
This album came to me at a great time. I chose to review Emotional Mugger thinking I’d get a little nostalgic and flashback to the summer I turned 21; bombing hills on skateboards and scuzzy homemade tattoos to a backdrop of Goodbye Bread. Instead, I got this erratic child, screaming and tugging at your limbs. Adolescent, cheeky and completely untamed.
On the surface Emotional Mugger can seem stressful, but its really quite tress-relieving. Statistics have shown that listening to heavy metal music makes you calmer. This album is frantic & abrasive – I’m currently in the process of moving house and changing jobs, I’ve been feeling a little stressed and this album really helped me loosen up.
Emotional Mugger has made me coin a new genre, I will call it, Violent Psychedelic Garage rock. I also want to ask Segal what the track W.U.O.T.W.S. stands for. In it’s imagery, it pictures me on a bike in San Fran cruising around the streets. You have this album playing through your headphones quiet enough so that as you pass houses, you hear a different noise coming out of each of them.
Standout track is Squealer Two, it has this dirty lo-fi funk to it and helps give the album texture. The final track The Magazine is like an infant on a come down from red cordial, trying to keep his eyes open in a high chair (like I will be by the time I unpack the last box this Sunday night).
Album Title Night Thoughts
Label WM UK
Genre Indie-Rock, Chamber Rock
Moments Of David Bowie
Stand Out I Don’t Know How To Reach You, Outsiders
Suede have release seven albums in their wonderfully turbulent but brilliant career as pioneers, or shall we say, the believers of glam and righteous attitude British Indie Rock. From the release of their highly influential self-titled debut, to the under-rated return and reform to create Bloodsports, Suede are “back” and at their theatrical best with an album that is so full of confidence and drama, there relevance in British pop culture may well be affirmed.
I adored Suede. I am not young, I bought their debut in 1992 and still have the CD passionately stored. This was an album that marked my youth and gave me an attitude, it made me believe that I was British in a past life. Their second album Dog Man Star, made me question the idea of the challenging second album, this album was pure brilliance. Don’t get me started on Coming Up, an album that delivered classics like Trash and The Beautiful Ones. After that, well Suede and I decided to call it a day.
In 2013, the band reformed and released Bloodsports, both the musical moguls and I let out a big sigh of relief, knowing that Suede once again found their ridiculously arrogant side. In a rather odd twist, this “big” British comeback was smothered by the return of the bands biggest influence, David Bowie’s and his album The Next Day. The noose tightens with the release of Night Thoughts and perhaps over analysing on my part, but the sad death of Bowie and the release of his final album.
Either way and without a shadow of a doubt, Suede have produced an electrifying and theatrical album. An album that needs to be played from the opening song through to it’s climatic and emotional end. for each track unfolds and climbs into one another through fade in and outs, lyrical narrative. The opening orchestral power of When We Were Young could well have been the theme for James Bond, with a crescendo strings and rolling drums, this is Suede and full glory. Glorious!!
The album has its obvious single standouts, Outsiders, No Tomorrow, I Don’t Know How To Reach You and Like Kids but each track in-between holds power and urgency to create a “full” album that had me holding my breath, along with an intent ear of lyrical interest. Lead singer Brett Anderson has a way with words and despite becoming a father, manages to dive into his angered youth to write of troubled minds, regret and fear.
Lead guitarist Richard Oakes, who replaced Bernard Butler while touring Dog Man Star, settled in nicely, mimicking Butler’s guitar of which now has claimed it his own and on Night Thoughts, shows just how talented, with cutting riffs and sharp licks, he can be. Rhythmically, Matt Osmond and Simon Gilbert have held every album together and retained the true heart of what the Suede swagger.
The opening riffs of I Don’t Know How To Reach You, take me back to early 2002, when the band peaked their excellence, and they hit the mark here beautifully.
The band toured the album in London before its release and played its entirety against a film that was, directed by photographer Roger Sargent and written by Stephanie de Giorgio. A series of scenes depicting the dying memory of the main protagonist called ‘Man’ about his relationship with his partner (’Woman’) and a terrible tragedy that unravels their lives. Incredibly bleak but beautiful we are told in various reviews that said it was “astonishing”, perfectly suited to a band called Suede. Below are a selection of music videos, released consecutively.
Album Title Moth
Label Columbia Records
Genre Alternative, Pop, Experimental
Moments Of Kavinsky, Chet Faker, Ellie Goulding
Stand Out Romeo, Crying In Public, Moth to the Flame
This oh-so-quirky synth-pop duo, Chairlift, bring us a new development in their musical journey with their fresh album Moth. With 2 records to their name, Moth is an interesting exploration of foreign sounds and a whole lot of bouncy tunes, so will this release make it third time lucky?
A set of ten songs for this new album, an order which confused me slightly. From the first listen, I thought the songs were completely out of order when it came to the poptastic, vibrant tunes and the wackier alternative jams. After I absorbed what was presented, I changed my opinion and realised what they’re trying to get across with this release.
The first two songs, Look Up and Poly morphing are giving a somewhat clear idea of what’s to come. There’s a vision of running through the jungle in a Tim Burton world or a feeling of running through Brooklyn, looking over the East River at Manhattan. Ch-Ching also has this almost-African vibe, a glimmer in the eyes of Caroline Polachek and a knowing glance to Patrick Wimberly. From their previous work, it seems like they’ve got the same objective, I’m just not sure I believe it too. That being said, who said artists always have to move forward instead of moving sideways?
Throughout the whole record, the percussion is solid and the vocals are unsurprisingly gorgeous. Polachek can belt out an unrestrained tune like nothing else. Unfinished Business is a great example with pretty lyrics and a killer melody. On the more experimental side, Ottawa to Osaka and No Such Thing as Illusions are both surreal. I’m not positive about these two, while normally I love when people step out of their comfort zone, I can’t say I feel this way about these songs.
Having said that, there are some stellar jams on this album, my favourite being Moth to the Flame which definitely would feel at home in a festival setting. Shut your eyes, play it on full volume and dream of driving through Venice Beach in a bright blue convertible. It’s super energetic and fits in well with this new found genre “Chill”. A close second favourite is Crying In Public that also feels very bouncy and whippy.
After a substantial listen, I do like this record but I don’t think it’s a huge improvement. With some top-notch bangers, it does make the rest of this statement feel like a midway lull. Neither a step forward or a step back, just a step in a different direction and I don’t hate it.
Album Title Skilled Mechanics
Label False Idols
Genre Trip hop
Moments Of Massive Attack
Stand Out I’m not Going, Don’t Go, Unreal
Known as one of the pioneers of the trip hop music scene that came out of Bristol in the 90’s, particularly through his alliance with the Massive Attack (although parting after two albums) , Tricky releases his 12th collaborative album Skilled Mechanics an album that draws on his eclectic and fascinating musical past.
It must be granted that the British (Bristol) author/composer/singer has a lot to offer his fellow artists having spent more than twenty years of collaborative efforts with major artists such as Massive Attack, PJ Harvey , Red Hot Chili Pepper to name just a few. After 11 albums and 21 years in the world of music , Tricky offers his new project, Skilled Mechanics , barely two years after his well received last album, Adrian Thaws in 2014. Skilled Mechanics is a complete collaborative album where he teamed up with DJ Milo and Luke Harris and other listed artists to deliver an album of eclectic tracks that goes through all the moods of his mentors. Skilled Mechanics again shows that Tricky is a stand-alone and multifaceted artist, that delivers personal albums, mixing different styles that all draw for his benchmark Trip hop roots.
This album includes several gems such as I’m Not Going, a little pearl, sweet and intense but at the same time, leads us gently in his particular peculiar world. Boy and just like How’s Your Life are reminiscent of the golden age of rap in the 80’s and 90’s. That would probably delight some nostalgia in us.
On all of Tricky’s releases no matter how obscure or accessible, he always offers a bridge between a sense of past and present in music that remains timeless in style and production. Two words come to mind when listening to Skilled Mechanics, Modernity and Renewal with one thing that binds it all together is that unmistakable, unsettling, gravelly voice.
There are some great stand out moments on this 13 track album where no track passes the 3 minute mark but in its entirety creates an accomplished and opportunistic return to form for Tricky and when the, less than 2 minute closing track Unreal unravels its dark spirit, it carries an urge to want to hear it again and delve deeper into it’s subtleties.