Well it’s our last batch of New Borns for the year and after the many surprises, disappointments through out the year, we are ending on a high. All four artists nailed it and we couldn’t be happier! So strap one last time for 2016 and get in on the magic.
Album Title: Valuables
Label: Top Shelf Records
Genre: Math Rock
Moments Of: Foals / Viola Beach / U2
Stand Out: Itsallwaves / Play Fire
Enemies return with their final album, Valuables. The Parting gift from the Irish four-piece is one filled with joyous rhythms and catchy hooks that leave an endless playability.
Album opener ‘Itsallwaves’ is just bursting with energy. The track deliciously balances dark and light sounds with its swirling guitars complimented by the heavier instrumental interludes. It’s a nice follow-up to 2013’s ‘Embark, Embrace’ which saw the four piece create a refreshingly noisy sound mixing elements of Foals and U2. This loud, daring nature now seems part of the DNA of the band.
During moments like ‘For Carla,’ Enemies let their instrumentation do the talking. The energy and exuberance are evident but so is the low- key lightness that the track displays. ‘Glow,’ follow suits with it winsome late-night lament that hints at hidden depths and a burgeoning songwriting. The unknown female vocalist takes the reins and seems right at home with the dreamy tone and subdued percussion. Lead single ‘Play Fire’ sums up Valuables. The back and forth musicianship, swirling harmonies and groovy bass effortlessly creates a storm of acapella and flow.
Enemies general instrumentation throughout the LP seems more passionate than its vocals and lyrics. Much of the album has soft vocals that are often hard to decipher, thus letting the math/ dance rock tell the story of the band’s last hurrah.
Artist: Ricky Eat Acid
Album Title: Talk to You Soon
Label: Terrible Records
Moments Of: Werkha / Shlohmo
Stand Out: ‘hey’ / Fucking to Songs on Radios
Electronic producer Sam Ray AKA Ricky Eat Acid unleashes his most experimental release yet. The mixed bag of genres and sounds is a masterful array of EDM tunes and undeniable curve balls.
Sam Rays readiness to expand his sound serves him well on this LP. ‘hey’ Gets off to a dramatic start with an intense intro of sampled string arrangments swirling in a concoction of atmospheric piano rhythms. Part of Ray’s experimental structure is the lack of cohesiveness in the sound, but at times this works well. The undoubtedly innovative ‘Nice to See You’ see an alternating structure of pretty beats and atmospherical interludes that transport the song to different genres every minute.
Moments like ‘Fucking to Songs on Radio’ outline rays producing talent with a highly layered song that is deliciously relaxed but at the same time danceable. The track feels like a continuation or an improvement from the ambient tone of Ray’s previous album ‘Three love songs.’ The lush ‘on the floor beneath the cross’ sees a clear influence from drum and bass culture with thumping beats mixed with an atmospheric underbelly of synths.
Ray displays high detail and effort within his tracks. His vast musical palette introduces many new sounds creating complex musical arrangements showing growth for the versatile producer.
Artist: Peter Broderick
Label: Erased Tapes
Genre: Modern Classical
Moments Of: Nils Frahm, Philip Glass
Standout: It’s A Storm When I Sleep
Music is an intensely physical phenomenon, from the way sound scoops itself through open space to the very real and intense emotion it provokes. We’re immensely lucky to close off the year with one of the strongest reminders of these facts in Peter Broderick’s phenomenal Grunewald.
The release takes its name from the Grunewaldkirche on the outskirts of Berlin. The church has played host to many compositions in recent times, Nils Frahm’s The Bells being one of the more notable instances. With all five tracks here recorded in the same night, Grunewald is a beautifully executed demonstration of reverb and resonance.
Space is everything here. The pedal and felt of the piano linger in the quieter, more drawn out moments of ‘Good Night’ and ‘Low Light’, and beautifully highlight the upper harmonics that flitter across ‘Eyes Closed And Travelling’.
‘Violin Solo No. 1’, manages to capture that Soviet era classicism, that rapid double-stopped chase through a harsh winter’s night that here happens so effortlessly. That’s a recurring motif actually, it’s as if the instruments themselves yearn to make these sounds of the their own volition.
We reach a peak with the penultimate track ‘It’s A Storm When I Sleep’, which floods your world with sound as it rapidly turns and swirls around that Eb Major core, a key aptly reserved for devotion and conversation with God.
With many of these tracks seeing previous release on separate labels, it’s a joy to have them all once again occupy the same space. Space is everything, and with it Broderick continues to delight. For that we’re extremely grateful.
Artist: Richard Youngs
Album: The Rest Is Scenery
Label: Glass Redux
Moments Of: David Bowie / Terry Riley / LaMonte Young
Standout: Like An Astronaut
Chord progressions are the bane of the creative musician. There are fields of arbitrary rules that leave few paths untrod, the effort to avoid sounding naff can be overwhelming. Richard Youngs, through his release The Rest Is Scenery, has thus done the only logical thing and done away with them altogether and we thank him greatly for that.
The high concept, low technique style of the release sees Youngs using only one chord per song for this release. Starting with the first chord he ever learned, E minor, he cycles up a step with each track to F minor, F sharp minor and so on before coming full circle back to E minor.
Far from being repetitive and boring, this release is full of golden moments and successes. There’s a distinct Bowie-esque flavour to the journey of ‘The Strangest Day On Earth’. ‘Like An Astronaut’ skirts dangerously close to Brit-Pop with it’s pulsing bass and claps. On the other end of the spectrum we have ‘For Too Long’, which begins to resemble a curious hybrid of railway blues and soul.
Each track on this release is strikingly different from it’s predecessor, yet disregarding the obvious technical impositions they turn into each other naturally and effortlessly. Youngs has achieved here what many musicians are incapable of churning out with all the chords under the sun: something sonically interesting yet aesthetically enjoyable.