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For a song about the consequences of car use, “Go Green” sure doesn’t make it any easier for you to hop on your bike instead. With a slick guitar slide providing the perfect in, Buddy Peace’s wonderful summer-cool drum loop gives Prolyphic a great platform to make you feel guilty for wanting to play his song through rolled-down windows. First, he attacks himself for damaging the world with his car and electronics. Second, he attacks the corporations that try, under the guise of a supposed moral backbone, to make a tidy profit from cleaning up the messes they’d previously made. But though the usual chip on Prolyphic’s shoulder should be the draw, it’s Buddy’s breezy and revitalizing beat that gives the track its pull.

Check out Prolyphic and Buddy Peace’s collaborative album ‘The Working Man’, released earlier this year through Strange Famous Records. (Better yet, check out Buddy Peace’s 2008 mixtape masterpiece ‘Wolf Diesel Mountain’, released through 2600 recordings.)

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Ever since I was little I’ve always dreamt about having a machine that could just translate your thoughts instantly and directly into word form and transcribe them onto the page. When I was young, these were happy-faced, benevolent machines that always kept your privacy and never made a mess. As I get older, I care less for the tidy construct of untangled wires and the sweet sound of scribbling pencil attached to swishing robotic arm. Instead, in my growing desperation for what is true and naked and unsullied, I imagine a pair of hands plunging through my forehead and into my brain, ripping out a handful of thoughts, and scattering them with a clang onto a shiny silver tray. An image from a horror movie, perhaps, but purity has never been dependent on clean cuts.

Such a machine, ethical implications put to one side, would be a revelation for most of us because of a deep and debilitating affliction we all share: I like to call it The Fridge Door Syndrome. When the fridge door is closed, the disco ball spins. Seeds are swapped, skins are dropped, foodstuffs roam from shelf to shelf to shelf. You know it, I know it, Homer knows it. But then when you open that fridge door and look inside, the foods freeze, deaden, become statues of themselves. Close the door again, the volume knob is spun and the party resumes. So it goes with…

In ‘My Childhood Friend’, Swedish post rockers Dorena have offered up one of the best surprises of the year so far. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I won’t. Just give it a listen. For a genre that’s been criticized in recent years for becoming too stale and predictable, this is a much welcome blast of fresh air.

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Taken from their new album Nuet, which is available via the band’s bandcamp / Deep Elm Records.

Despite being formed in 2009, Sans Parade – an indie-rock trio two thirds Finnish and one third Swedish (amongst a studio support cast of several others) – had released only a handful of songs prior to last month, when they released their self-titled debut album. For that, they had good reason. They were working on it.

The band described their journey to the album’s release as ‘long and arduous’, and it’s easy to hear why when listening to the album opener ‘The Last Song is a Love Song’. Not that the song is strained, difficult, or heavy with conflict. It isn’t. Rather, it appears to have been meticulously crafted from the bottom up, thoughtfully structured and arranged, and fastidiously tinkered with to achieve the most accomplished opening statement the band could ask of themselves.

It’s obvious in the choice of instruments, the way they’re played, what they’re accompanied with and when: they’ve all been given a consideration rarely seen amongst fresh upstarts, let alone more experienced outfits. The familiar quiet-loud post-rock dynamic is employed with no eye-roll backlash; instead, the guitar-embellished string section behind singer Markus Pertulla is dynamic and expressive, offering a contained, delicate intensity in the verses, swelling at the bridge, and then throwing it all to the sky for the eruptive chorus. It’s a chorus that begs to be played loud, and you’d do well to oblige.

It’s clear that Sans Parade have not just aimed for, but doggedly pursued, a first impression…

A few months ago, my best friend and I had the good sense to sign ourselves up for a competitive triathlon. 1.5km swim in the sea, 40km cycle, 10km run. We’re decent runners, decent cyclists, and terrible swimmers, so we figured why not. We like a challenge. I hadn’t swum aerobically for about six years before my first foray back in the murky blue a couple months ago. What an idiot. This shit is hard. And still is. We’re already much better than we were, but I’ll be honest, I’m fucking terrified of losing my cool in the ocean and pulling a Jack Dawson (sans the freezing cold and quiet, dignified death).

Anyway, I’m stuck in a little apartment in Vienna today listening to the rain rap its knuckles against the windows (fair enough after the beautiful week we’ve had here), trying to muster the energy to cycle out to the pool for another indecorous dip. But hey, procrastination seems so much more appealing, so instead I’m going to share a few tracks of my triathlon playlist with you all. Unfortunately, there can be no use of music during the actual event, so eventually I’ll start phasing out the usage so as not to become reliant. But, even if only in my head, I’ll still be keeping step to songs about the Holocaust as we round the last corner.

SHUFFLE

P.O.S – Let it Rattle

Well that’s a perfect starter. Worked perfectly on Never Better, works perfectly for setting…

Matt’s Best of 2011

Before I’m lambasted for only putting only six albums on my ‘best of 2011′ list, I’d like to mention a couple of things. One: I’ve digested less music this year than any of the last five or six, and two: there were plenty of albums which I liked but clearly had no place on a ‘best of’ list, especially in a top ten. The lack of discovery isn’t due to any ‘personal issues’ or ‘other commitments’ (though I have been really busy). I’ve just fallen ‘out of love’ with new music a bit this year, and I don’t know whether that’s due to me or the music, but, regardless, something isn’t quite right. I hope to find myself back in the game next year. The quality of reviews/reviewers on this site has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years (seriously, even some of the user reviews blow me away) and I’d be foolish not to want to be a part of that. Anyway….

Inspired by Hemingway’s six word story (after being reminded of its brilliance in Knott’s lyrics post a couple weeks back), I challenged myself to go one better and write my best of 2011 with mini reviews that had only half the word count. It wasn’t easy. Some might say it required even more effort than those writing 500+ words. Others know me better than that. In no order:

comfort

So July is here, and once again we find ourselves nudged by the unrelenting pokey stick of time into the second half of another year. Except this time, we’re staring down the barrel of an end-of-the-world Mayan raygun year and there may not even be time for Google to deliver Mark Zuckerberg that cyber-wedgie he so sorely needs. Worst of all, in merry old England at least, you could hardly even say that summer’s arrived. Even by our standards, it’s been pretty pants.

Nevertheless, it’s always awesome to find tracks like Youth Lagoon’s ‘July’, which sound great come rain or shine, Apocalypse or lazy Sunday. The Year of Hibernation, the debut LP from Trevor Powers’ solo project, is full of songs which charm and captivate with their delightful, youthful exuberance, infectious melodies and summer-daydream fuzz. But it’s on ‘July’ where Powers really excels. Tinged with reverb, lyrics of reminiscence echo from the 22-year-old’s fragile voice whilst the song builds;  from the absorbing ambience, to the uplifting handclaps and pianos, and finally to the canyon-filling cry of fuzzy guitars and rousing oh-ohs, ‘July’ is thoughtfully and maturely structured. And yet, the song still manges to retain that feeling of rawness; of youth. Not the oft-exploited youth of impulse and parties and misguided profundity, but the youth of anxiety, of daydreams, of unrealized strength discovered when it’s needed most.

So whilst this July may be unpredictable, and possibly fill your head with thoughts of the end of the world, you can bet…

Taken from their latest two-track EP, Tastes Like Magic, Three Red Birds showcases mr. Gnome’s most appealing characteritsic; their gorgeous handling of the masculine vs the feminine. While this would make sense, seeing as this is a male/female duo, the actual execution of the theme is impressive. Sludgy, aggressive guitars sparring with the haunting, delicate vocals of Nicole Barille make for an immediately engaging listen that should have you rifling through the rest of their discography. Kinda like a heavy Land of Talk, sans the boring.

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So the sun finally came (and stayed) out today, meaning it is officially time for sick summer mix tapes. What’s that, it’s only April? This is England. Got sun? Got shorts? Got temperatures above 20 degrees celsius? Got summer. Besides, Buddy Peace deserves to be heard by everyone, at all times of the year – anyone who can make MF Doom seem right at home in Jose Gonzalez’ IKEA kitchen is clearly doing something right. So dig out that SPF factor 50, whack on them sunnies, and enjoy the scorchingly mild heat to the tune of one of the best mix tapes of the last decade in Wolf Diesel Mountain. The track below is a minimix of that album, with a few extra bits thrown in for good measure.

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Firstly, if there’s anyone here who actually read the above title and thought “Hey, I wanna piece of that!” then you’re lying, no one ever says stuff like that anymore. But if you were intrigued by the most off-putting title this blog has yet conceived, then your curiosity will not go unrewarded. This is no early April Fools, this is the real deal. Released in 1982, pre-dating the first real acid-house record by five years (Phuture’s Acid Track), Synthesizing: Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat was created by a Bollywood soundtrack composer who intended to capitalize on the disco waves that were flooding the world at the time. Little did he know he was far, far ahead of his time. They could probably play this stuff at my local ‘Dubnium’ and get the pissheads declaring it the future of music… or throwing VK bottles at the DJ. Centuries-old classical (but synthesized) Indian Ragas set atop minimal, trance-inducing machine beats and pure, mesmeric electronic pulses. This is no throwaway record. Early 80’s India is where it’s at. Forget your cultural doubts and EMBRACE THE RAGA.

or maybe its just me

Raga Bhairav

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Raga Bhupali

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