With London club Fabric currently fighting its closure, many artists and producers who have played at the club have contributed a track each to help cover the significant legal costs involved in the fight to stop the revoke of the license by Islington Council and the closure of the club.
The 111-track #SaveFabric compilation featuring tracks from Clams Casino, Clark, Skream, Machinedrum, Ikonika, Addison Groove, Skream, Vex’d, Kuedo and many more. Download it via Bandcamp, iTunes or Fabric’s site.
Body & Soul Festival does things differently. The festival on the grounds of Ballinlough Castle doesn’t just erect some tents and hire stages, it builds bespoke areas to house music and people, it embellishes them with installations, art and a thoughtfulness that makes for a special experience, taking in a walled garden, custom-built bars, an amphitheatre, woodlands and much more. You can read more on the festival’s ethos in my interview with festival director Avril Stanley.
There are a few must-visit areas at the festival, Wonderlust in the walled garden features thoughtful talks during the day, with music at night and bingo and performances in between. It’s a perfect place to hang out and with the Happy Pear just around the corner, a good place to stop for food. Tree Haus, curated by Homebeat will host a haven of great Irish music and on Saturday and Sunday in the woods. We are giving it some Vinyl Love from Noon to 5pm at Tree haus with over 20 DJs playing 7 of their favourite 7″s on rotation. Stumble upon a cottage late into the night done up like the living room of filmmaker Myles O’Reilly and you will have found the Arbutus Yarns theatre with its sense of lawlessness and creativity. Or how about some special cocktails and tunes at The Glasshouse? Vodafone Centre Stage will also be there for with a full array of comedians at the Vodafone Comedy Tent too.
Before we get into the live acts, here are just some of DJs worth a dance to down there this year: Get Down Edits, Sally Cinnamon, Decent Perks, This Greedy Pig, Mother, Hidden Agenda, Laura Bap To The Future, Stevie G and Donal Dineen.
Here are 20 bands and artists to catch at the festival.
Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds and Faroe Islands’ synth-pop musician Janus Rasmussen’s Kiasmos project mixes glacial electronics with a classical grandeur, creating minimal dance music from disparate textures. As they showed in the Opium Rooms in April, their live set hits hard with beats and beauty.
2. Super Furry Animals
There is no better place for the return of the Welsh pop weirdos than the amphitheatre at Body & Soul. Expect a smattering of Yeti and Power Ranger costuming among the catalogue of electronic, folk and psychedelic gems. If anything, their stature as one of the UK’s best bands has grown since they were away.
Katie Stelmanis and band create twinkling night-time dance atmospheres with synths and operatic vocals. Shake it out.
Eoin French sound draws on ambience, reverb, falsetto and honey-eyed song craft. Live with a full band or as a solo musician on piano, his performances were among the best I saw last year.
Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal’s project produced a sophisticated collection of music that is informed by things that maybe aren’t considered cool – disco-lite and soft jazz, lounge-fun. The result is emotional R&B songs with love at its heart. This will be their first Irish show.
6. Dan Deacon
There ain’t no show like a Dan Deacon show. Whether he’s picking out audience members for dance offs, forming a conga line around and outside the venue or generally shattering the barriers between performer and audience, Deacon’s live show is a must see. With new album Gliss Riffer presenting a deeper compositional side to the Baltimore music, his Body & Soul performance may be a re-invigorating highlight.
Galway’s Maria Somerville makes slow, moving music with the barest of instruments and the most delicate of touch. She hasn’t been giving much away of late so the festival will be an opportunity to see how that slow moving sound is progressing.
Cork funk and soul eight-piece band Shookrah burst into my conscious with the righteous and celebatory ‘Woman’.
9. Hare Squead
Friday / Saturday
A trio of rappers from South county Dublin still in their teens, Jessy Rose, Tony Konstone and E-Knock move between rap, R&B and pop and do it with a full band with backing singers and a barrel of youthful exuberance. A glimpse of the future.
10. Natalie Prass
Having sat in the wings as Matthew E.White’s career was taking off, this year was the time for Prass and her classic songwriting with the honeyed voice to take her own impact. White’s Spacebomb records released Prass’ self-titled debut album this year to great acclaim and Body & Soul will be her third appearance in Ireland after a support slot with Ryan Adams and a solo show in Whelan’s.
Chris Clark’s prolific output stays that way with a new four-track EP called Flame Rave out on March 20th on Warp, following on from his self-titled eighth album released in November.
Some of the tracks are alternative versions of the LP tracks, ‘Springtime Linn’ is one of 40 versions of ‘Winter Linn’, ‘Unfurla Cremated’ is the result of a jam around that LP’s ‘Unfurla’ and the EP’s lead track ‘Silver Sun’ also exists in a beatless format, yet to be released.
“I started making these ravey tunes to play out at gigs, but they gathered a momentum and gradually formed this E.P. I came back to it again and again – it seemed to work in clubs but also as a sneaky, immersive headphone listen. I love the feel of an almost overwhelming percussive violence being suddenly flooded with heartache and melody. I find that dynamic exhilarating.”
The tracks are definitely heavy dancefloor weapons.’To Live And Die in Grantham’ sounds like a particularly scuzzy version of ‘One Night In Hackney’ at a less relentless pace.
‘Silver Sun’ builds on a synth arpeggio into a breakbeat that pushes into drum and bass and jungle territory.
If last week’s mad free track ‘Mfb Skank’ wasn’t enough for you, wrap your ears around this dirty electronic skank. ‘Fantasm Planes’ is the lead track from Clark’sEP out in September of the same name, the followup to this year’s Iradelphic. The EP’s six tracks feature variations on tracks from that album.
The third preview from Clark’s Iradelphic album reinforces the point that this may be his most diverse album yet. ‘The Pining Pt. 2’ gave us an electronic clatter with a harpischord at its centrepiece and the arpegiatted ’70s TV soundtrack sounding ‘Com Touch’ . ‘Secret’ meanwhile, flips it up again and goes for twisted brittle guitar-led ambiance featuring the vocal talents of Martina Topley-Bird (who is getting back to do some show with Tricky this year). Iradelphic is out on April 2nd on Warp.
Sunday 25th October – The Button Factory, Dublin. Tickets €25 From Road, Sound Cellar, Spindizzy, City Discs & online at www.tickets.ie/umack
Plaid set will be a Classics set taken from the best of their back catalogue including tracks that have not been played for ten years – pretty excited about this. Both Clark and Bibio have released great albums this year: Clark’s Totems Flare (listen to his bonkers Friendly Fires remix here) and Bibio’s magically schizophrenic Ambivalence Avenue. I haven’t listened to Tim Exile much recently apart from ‘Don’t Think We’re One’ from Listening Tree, his album also released this year. This is going to be a hell of a show.
Remember those archaic days when you picked up a magazine or a weekly music paper in your grubby music-hungry hands and read a playlist of what the publication’s writers were playing in the office that week? There is power in those recommendation charts. Here is my version. No great fanfare or descriptions just ten of the best song around right now you should know or you might already know.
This week: The Major Lazer and Mos Def albums obsessions continue, a new track from Yo La Tengo, Toddla T’s excellent skanky album, new Clark, The XX and Simian Mobile Disco.
It’s July 1st, the mid-point of the year, a good time to reflect on what we’ve been offered musically so far in 2009. There’s been some stonkers like Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective and Fever Ray but you know about them already. I’ve listed my ten obvious favourite records of the year so far and then fifteen overlooked ones (with MP3s) you should definitely check out. Obviously “overlooked” is not exact science but generally, these are records you would like to see get more attention in the remaining six months of the year.
I left out a couple of newer albums like White Denim’sFits and Paul White’sThe Strange Dreams of because they are relatively new and I haven’t listened to them enough to place them here as much as I like them. There are a few others like Black Milk, Ribbons, Solid Gold which were actually last year officially but check them out anyway because they are amazing. Here we go..
Our quarter-century podcast is all about new releases. We’ve got superb new tasty tunes from Hudson Mohawke, Montreal’s Clues (whose debut is worth checking out), a song from the already-lauded Suckers EP, a song from the new Starfucker EPlum, a track from David Kitt’s new one The Nightsaver and towards the dancier end of the spectrum: brand new tunes from Clark, Moderat, The Juan Maclean and I shit you not, a surprising song from the Twilight soundtrack.
Yet another bridge for Warp Records to traverse with the release of Pivot’s O Soundtrack My Heart, the Aussie instrumentalists second album and debut on the label. Technically, it’s math-rock through and through but one with a major differentiation from the likes of Battles in my eyes. By basing the majority of their material on synth sounds first, Pivot assert their influences as primarily classic electronica – Jean Michel Jarre and Brian Eno. The guitars, drums and bass over the top are added as the 3-piece see fit. Any easier description – Post-rock as played by Vangelis. I’m loving it.
‘Fool in Rain’ sounds like a soundtrack to exactly that, except for maybe in a Bladerunner city dystopia. ‘Sweet Memory’ is as close to math-rock as they get until it descends into a Godspeed-esque mechanised groove towards the end. Also included is the rather brilliant Clark remix of ‘Sweet Memory’.