Collaborator laden debut albums are hard to create cohesively but Mura Masa’s production characterised by box-of-tricks percussion, playful steel drum tones and electronic and R&B pop music is strong enough to stand up to contributions from a wide cast of singers like Damon Albarn, Christine and the Queens, Bonzai, NAO, Charli XCX, ASAP Rocky and Desiigner. Much of it was heard in advance as is the custom these days but contributions from AK Paul, Jamie Lidell and Tom Tripp add to the flavour. The album feels like the start of a journey and it’s a very repeatable one.
A band with a gift for melody, Ultralife is the English duo’s first album to be constructed as one, as opposed to 2015’s debut album which collected the singles they released monthly that garnered them fans in the first place. Not much has changed in the tunes department and that’s a good thing. Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West make bright and breezy songs that are easily-digestible; perfectly conceived. Pop but on their own terms. If anything, their songwriting has become moire confident and more upbeat without losing their initial charm.
Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jack Steadman has made a hip-hop beat production record with guests like BJ The Chicago Kid, Charles Bradley, Lianne La Havas and De La Soul. It’s a fine record that crosses the streams between rap, soul and retro funk with aplomb, a surprising thing for a former indie band member but as a jazz-trained musician, Steadman is able to indulge and impress.
There’s a lot to be said for mining the past when you take the best qualities while leaving the pomp. Philadelphia rock band Sheer Mag are the best 70s rock band around based on their new album. There’s nothing but kicking out the rock’n’roll jams and good times throughout with Tina Halladay’s sneering vocal bringing old sounds alive once more. This could totally work as an alternative soundtrack to Richard Linklater’s film Dazed and Confused.
Shabazz Palaces – Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star / Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines
One Shabazz Palaces is usually dense enough to take in in one week but the Sub Pop alt-rap futurists went and released two albums. No one quite explores the outer fringes quite like Shabazz and these two albums compliment that interstellar, out-space quality with a laser-guided production precision that was lacking in 2014’s Lese Majesty. I’m still early days listening to these album but it’s quite a trip.
Shabazz Palaces are releasing not one but two “sci-fi Afrofuturist concept albums” tomorrow on Sub Pop and they’ll play Dublin’s Sugar Club on November 3rd.
Animal Collective’s Avey Tare is to play Whelan’s on November 4th. He has a new album Eucalyptus out on July 21st on Domino. Tickets priced €18.50 go on sale tomorrow, Friday 14th July at 10am through Ticketmaster.ie & usual outlets nationwide.
Also on November 3rd, early noughties rap favourites DJ Format and Abdominal play The Workman’s Club, Dublin on November 3rd. Tickets priced €15 go on sale Friday 14th July at 9am through Ticketmaster.ie & usual outlets nationwide.They have an album together Still Hungry, their first as it happens billed together.
I spent a lot of time writing about SZA thisweek and this song keeps coming back to my ears.
Felix Pallas – ‘Similarities’
A Belgian band who are our blog friend Disco Naivete’s first release as a label, ‘Similarities’ is a sheenful dance-pop track rooted in full-band dynamics that reaches unexpected peaks.
The Academic – ‘Bear Claws’
The Mullingar band have re-recorded the song that turned everyone’s heads a few years back. This tighter version of the singalong indie-pop song is tighter and comes from the band’s debut album to come.
Shay Lia – What’s Your Problem?
Kaytranada on the beat and Shay Lia on the R&B low-end flow.
Skepta – ‘Hypocrisy’
“They try to disrespect me / When they’re online especially /But everything cool when they check me / Because I’m so cool and deadly / See, I had to realise slowly / That nobody actually knows me/ Yeah, man, I’ve got fifteen different iPhones / But I am so not phoney.” Skepta, true to form. He declined some amazing dinners and an MBE apparently.
Shabazz Palaces – ‘When Cats Claw’
Extraterrestial alt-rap group Shabazz Palaces will release two albums next Friday : Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star and Quazarz vs The Jealous Machines but until that overload arrives drink in ‘When Cats Claw’, a echo chambering track.
Four Tet – Two Thousand And Seventeen’
Kieran Hebden returns to the relative calm of his early work with this minimally-pitched track that lets a string instrument become the main focus.
The first Nialler9 show of 2015 was broadcast last Thursday at 10pm on TXFM. The two hour show leaned forward and featured some of the best new music coming out in the first months of the new year: from All We Are to Emmy The Great; Laura Marling to Jape, Marina & The Diamonds to Lapsley, Dan Deacon to Panda Bear. HAve a listen below.
The Nialler9 TXFM show airs every Thursday night at 10pm for two hours. You can listen live on 105.2FM, online, the TXFM app or if you missed it, on the listen back function on the site, as per below. The show starts six minutes in,right after the news in each hour. Click the buttons to launch the TXFM site autoplaying links.
Tune back in Christmas Day and New Year’s Day at 10pm for my songs of the year specials.
How to enter ticket comp – Email [email protected] with the gig above in the Subject line you’re entering for along with your full name and phone number in the body of the message. Full info on each show below. Draw closes at 6pm the day before the gig or Friday 1pm latest for weekend gigs.
Bodytonic have announced the first lineup of events for The Beatyard numero 10 for October 16th – 26th.
The emphasis is on a reduced number of venues over the 10 days with music performances coming from Shabazz Palaces, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Dead Prez, The Barr Brothers, Erol Alkan, Peter Broderick, Ghost Culture, Skream, Jacques Renault, Hercules & Love Affair’s Andy Butler, Omar S, Lunice and Ben Klock.
There’ll be a screening of the Nas documentary Time is Illmatic, Banter talks, Artclash, a 3FE special coffee roast, Indian Truck Art, rum cocktail masterclasses and Jamaican food among other things. Choice Cuts, Hidden Agenda and Harmonic are involved too.
Shabazz Palaces, the avant-hip-hop project of Ishmael Butler has taken a deeper turn into sculpting a world of Shabazz sound on new album Lese Majesty but not at the expense of engagement with the listener.
Lese Majesty keeps moving, keeps searching by creating mellow musical vistas that seep into each other through synthesizers, sparse beats and eerie psychedelic conjurings. It’s a trip and one that feels like a document.
It’s Butler’s voice and the sound of his words (along with Tendai Maraire) that gives the sprawling 18-track seven suite 45 minute record its human focus. He’s the space and time travelling otherworldly guide into this ambient and experimentally-leaning album. “All of our stories told in codes,” they say and while Lese Majesty is impenetrable in meaning, it’s revealing in experience.
Track two, ‘Forerunner Foray’, part of the first of seven suites on the album, is more reliant on atmosphere and production as synth notes ping in the distance, the track seeps into your consciousness. The album is out next week on Sub Pop but check back here on Monday to hear it in full.
Body&Soul today added some names to their lineup for Ballinlough Castle in Co.Westmeath for 21 to 22 June.
Good bookings with Holden, Shabazz Palaces and Lasertom. The new names are:
Max Romeo – Jamaican singer/legend. James Holden – UK experimental techno producer. Tom Vek – His time has gone – new album out now sounds out of step. Shabazz Palaces – experimental poetic avant hip-hop. Great booking. TOKiMONSTA – American electronic producer. Also a woman, not that it matters. I just didn’t know that. Alle Farben – Berlin DJ/producer Hermigervill – From Iceland, that’s all you need to know. September Girls – shoegazy garage rock. Lasertom – Dublin space disco. Booka Brass Band – New Orleans brass / Dublin-style. Interskalactic – SKA covers of popular songs. Prison Love – Bluegrass/country band. Jerry Fish – he’s on every Irish festival bill these days. Ryan Vail – ambient electronic Derry duo. Colm Mac An Iomaire – Frames’ fiddler playing his elegaic soundtrack-style instrumentals The Irish National Clown Orchestra – No words
The festival has announced that the Bathhouse & Sauna in the Lakeside Sanctuary & Spa, the Soul Kids entertainment in the Walled Garden; Artisan food yurts, the Radioshack in the Orangerie; the Wonderlust Stage championing spoken word, music and debate; late-night woodlands epicentre of mischief ‘My House’ and the return of the velvet lounge cocktail bar, decadent dinning at the Woodlands Banquet Feast and humorous happenings at the Good Times Comedy Lounge will also be there.
Tickets are now €139.50 excluding fees for the weekend, €169.50 with bus from Dublin. Sunday tickets are €55 excluding fees (€84 with bus).
Shabazz Palaces are back with a new album Lese Majesty on 29th July on Sub Pop. Gorilla vs Bear is pretty taken with the album as a whole (“the future of hip-hop”). I haven’t heard the record yet myself but ‘They Come In Gold’ is typically of the authoritative poetic leftfield sonic rap we’ve come to expect from former Digable Planets man Ishmael Butler.
‘They Come In Gold’ Lyrics
Sanity, a visage of my wealth Lost but always found before the idols that I’ve knelt Strategy, the only way to cry Keep it do or die and always think in terms of I Reverie, some legend futures past Revelry, instead for it renders hella fast Capitol, a sound that’s on the rise It’s slaking unrealized until essence has been razed Sepulcher, a stage enlived by ghosts Floating off with bags of the blood encrusted dough.”
Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty Tracklist
Suite 1: The Phasing Shift 01 Dawn In Luxor 02 Forerunner Foray 03 They Come In Gold
Authors of one of the most interesting leftfield rap records of 2011 in Black Up, Shabazz Palaces are coming to Cork for a show at The Pavilion on May 19th. More info as it happens. I suspect a Dublin date is also imminent (Update: Jim confirms it). A new video is above while live footage and a album short film are below to give you an idea of what to expect.
I’ve been following Shabazz Palaces since Gorilla vs. Bear was shouting about them way back but nothing grabbed me enough to investigate beyond brief listens. That was until I heard ‘Swerve’ and it’s like the door has been opened. Signed to Sub Pop, Shabazz Palaces is none other than former Digable Planets member Ishmael Butler, operating out of Seattle along with producer Erik Blood and percussionist Tendai Maraire. The debut album Black Up is released on June 28th in the US. This is the closing track: