I know next to nothing about EGOMASINA, other than that they come from Lithuania (Vilnius) and are soon to release their second album, in both vinyl and digital formats.
‘Spastai‘ follows on from ‘id‘ which was released in May of last year, and although it may be a little presumptive to judge from just the two tracks that have so far been released (see video below) it would seem the trio of Karolis, (guitar / vocals) Tomas (bass / vocals) and Antanas (synths / drums) have worked on the depth of their sound.
To an extent, I’d say their earlier album release reflected the sounds of, for example, The Fall and Joy Division. I think it’s the driving bass that does it.
‘Spastai‘ has built on that, but factored in a sound more akin to the motorik noise of Krautrock innovators Neu! – with a added heavier and rockier punch.
In fact, if pushed, I’d say EGOMASINAremind me a little of Berlin ‘krautrock guerillas,’ Camera.
And that’s a good thing!
(‘Spastai,’ is released on 1st July, an can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp right now. )
It would be terribly insensitive to say there’s anything ‘good’ to come from this dreadful situation the world finds itself in right now. We have to accept that, for the immediate time being at least, Nature holds the upper hand but we need make best of the position we find ourselves in.
In my case, that means Saturday afternoons sat in the house listening to the radio instead of following my local football team. And that has resulted in my experiencing new sounds via the Gilles Peterson show on Radio 6Music.
Which, in turn, when skipping through Bandcamp the other day, I for the first time, checked out a forthcoming album that was portrayed as straddling the ‘jazz fusion,’ ‘hip-hop’ and neo-soul’ categories.
Now, I’m just a beginner when it comes to these genres of music. I’m more of a shallow, in your face, punk / rock kinda guy, but even I can tell ‘Vibrations,’ by SIMON JEFFERIS is pure class.
Brixton based multi-instrumentalist Simon has garnered a burgeoning reputation throughout London hip-hop circles these past few years for not only his music, but also his production skills.
This new album would appear to be his first since the ‘SJ’s Pockets – Vol 1′ EP back in 2017, though there have been several other digital tracks released along the way.
From the four tracks currently available to stream, ‘Vibrations‘ would certainly seem to be worth the wait. ‘White Rabbit,‘ is slow-funky, featuring the warm vocals of Rosie Lowe, while ‘High Grade,‘ is a smooth, slow burner which has the feel of a lovely, deep, chilled pillow for your head to sink into. There’s a lot going on in this track and each listen brings something new to the fore.
‘Something In The Water,’ makes me think of early Saturday evenings as I listen to Craig Charles’ show on the radio, and groove (in a very inelegant and sort of bad Dad Dancing way) around the kitchen with a couple of beers in hand as I prepare the meal. Like I’ve said, I’m new to this style of music, but this track, reminds me of The Meters and Deodato. (Apologies if I’m way out on this!)
My favourite track though, so far, is ‘Back 2 Ours.’ Featuring the rapped vocals of Abhi the Nomad, this one fuses a laid back jazz groove with hip-hop rhymes and beats.
I know I’m old, and only just about getting my head around accepting the concept of digital music – but THIS album is surely one to be listened to in its physical format. Some music is made for vinyl – this is one.
Oh – and thank you Gilles Peterson / Simon Jefferis for opening my ears to differnt styles of music. I’ll definitely be back for more.
‘Vibrations’ is released in both vinyl and digital formats via DeepMatteron June 12th 2020)
The trouble with finding bands on Bandcamp, is that it can be difficult to find out much about them.
The beauty of finding bands on Bandcamp is that you have no preconceived notion of what to expect; no inflated PR description to influence your thoughts, often leaving you on the distinctly underwhelmed side.
So here’s what I’ve got: SAILOR POON are a five-piece, all girl group from Austin, Texas. They sound to me like a really interesting, fun and vibrant amalgam of old skool punk, mixed with a growling horror-pop undercurrent.
If doing that really annoying pretentious ‘wine tasting’ thing that not-very-good-music-writers often resort to, I’d say I could hear influences such as X-Ray Spex, The Stooges, The Horrors, The Cramps. And given the excellent and manic use of saxophone at various stages, you’d have to throw into the mix, the likes of The Comet Is Coming. It’s the law, apparently.
SAILOR POON have been around a good few years, initially as all bands do, messing around in their bedrooms and garages, before graduating to the local Austin punk scene. Not long after, their demo was picked up on by King Khan, who invited the girls to join him on tour.
In 2016, a digital EP was released, (‘Yeast Pigeon‘) and the following year saw the album CD / digital release of ‘B-sides and Rarities.’ No – I’m not sure how that works, either.
I can find no other releases until this year, when February’s ‘Moneysnake Rising‘ digital single was the precursor to the free download of the lead track to this, ‘Sailor Poon’s First Album,’ – ‘Be My Dog.’
The music throughout the album’s thirteen tracks is high energy; frantic. Only the final track, ‘Fly in the Attic,’ tops three minutes in duration, which is just perfect for their spiky delivery. This particular track does hold back slightly on the tempo compared to the others, but does still climb to frenzied peaks with the discordant sax giving a bit of early Roxy Music feel, while the swirling keyboards and pounding drums reflect shades of Inspiral Carpets. There is also still that threatening, gothic growl underpinning the whole thing.
It’s an eclectic mix, for sure, but one that works so well. And as I’m now onto my 4th listen to the album, I’d say it has become my favourite track.
‘Too Many Boyfriends,’ is the direct antithesis – at only fifty-eight seconds and as fast as it’s furious. ‘Neglect Attraction‘ has a cult comic book feel to it – I think perhaps because the organ and bassline sound remind me a little of the B-52s.
And maybe the comic book reference is not too far from the truth, as the girls obviously have a wicked sense of humour, with a song titles like, ‘SheFarts Like A Motorcycle,’ and the fourth track, (thirty-one seconds long) ‘New York’s All Right If You Like Saxophones.’
I’m conscious that throughout this wee piece, I’ve referenced several other bands. This is not something I generally like to do. But I think it fantastically exciting that I have been able to reference some of favourites and write about a band that can meld so many different sounds into something so fresh and vibrant – and importantly, without losing that defined punk sensibility.
SAILOR POON’S FIRST ALBUM – definitely worth checking out!
You know what? I actually know very little about the band STONEGRASS, or indeed this, I believe, their debut eponymous album.
See, I was skipping through Bandcamp again today and stumbled upon the pre-order page. Mention was made of ‘psychedelic,’ and ‘acid’ and ‘big bold psyche jams.’ And I guess that’s the importance of keywords, right there kids!
I was hooked and reeled in pretty quickly!
From what I can make out, STONEGRASS are essentially a duo from Toronto, Canada. Comprising bass / guitarist Matthew ‘Doc’ Dunn and drummer Jay Anderson, they hooked up again after previously working together on their Spiritual Sky Blues Band project.
As I write, having just bought the album on pre-order, only two tracks of the seven have been made available: ‘Tea,’ is a thirteen minute long , stoner guitar wig-out; lots of wah-wah underpinned by a prominent bass line and crashing cymbals and drums. This was composed to be played LOUD, that’s for sure.
‘Frozen Dunes‘ to me has more of a desert rock feel to it. It’s certainly more laid back and dreamy / spaced out in its delivery. Jay’s rolling toms and bongos (says the writer with absolutely no musical experience!) lead the track through its seven minute duration, while effects-laden guitars cry and drift over the top.
I don’t think I’d be a million miles away in saying this track reminds me a bit of early Sleepy Sun, from back in the day.
Whatever – these two tracks on their own are well worth shelling out for, and with the other five being made available on release day, 22nd May, what’s not to like?
(The album will also have a limited edition – 300 – vinyl run. If the costs of importing from Canada to Scotland was not so prohibitive, I’d be right in there myself.)
You know how it is: you’re on coronavirus lockdown, stuck in the house. There are no shops open, which means no record stores to hang out in. But that doesn’t really matter, ’cause you ain’t working and have no money anyway.
Bored out your box, you half heartedly surf through Bandcamp looking for something fresh. But it’s a struggle.
I’ll admit, it was the album’s artwork that first caught my eye. Then the names … VIC RUGGIERO & KEPI GHOULIE. I know these dudes. Well, I know of them – they both already have places in my record and CD collections, courtesy of their history with The Slackers and Groovie Ghoulies respectively. This was gonna be good.
In fact, it was more than’good.’ The next thirty-five minutes or so were spent foot tapping and bouncing around my room to a good, old fashioned, stripped back rhythm & blues vibe.
My first reaction was it reminded me very much of the Rolling Stones album, ‘Stripped‘ from around 1995. I had never really noticed before, but perhaps because of the song content on this album, there is a similarity at times between Vic and Mick’s vocal intonation.
And then, just as I was reveling in this comparison, I reached track four, ‘Bright Lights.’ Of course this is a Jimmy Reed standard, but I recognised it from an ‘unofficial’ Stones album from back in the day when their staple was covering some of the big blues players from USA.
Several songs on ‘After the Flood,’ sound familiar, I have to say, though I really have no idea as to the writing credits. I do know, though, that Vic & Kepi cover the Shangri-las – twice. ‘Big Kiss,‘ at track six is a slowed down version of the Sixties hit. It works really well, though I personally prefer the album-closing version of the track, ‘Great Big Reprise,’ which is a lot more ‘perky’ in its delivery
There’s something really endearing about an acoustic and more organic interpretation of rhythm & blues. Maybe it’s because the bass lines have more room to cut through and add to the bouncy feel; maybe it’s because, as in this case, Vic & Kepi are afforded space to blend their vocals and interaction, or maybe it’s just that good music doesn’t need to be over complicated and cluttered.
Seriously, there’s not one dodgy track on this album. It just feels like the lads are playing a relaxed, fun jam and somebody left the recording switch on accidentally.
Which, actually, if you read the notes to this Bandcamp release …..
“When I was a teenager I lied about my age and got a gig supporting Frightened Rabbit (then largely unknown) in a dingy basement bar in Glasgow. Scott Hutchison’s genius that night changed my life. His music was a revelation – you can be from Glasgow and be in a band that doesn’t sound like Oasis! Unfortunately, he quipped that my own ramshackle group reminded him of High School talent shows. Inspired nevertheless, I took my free copy of their home-recorded album, ‘Sing the Greys,’ and I listened to it on repeat all night.
So says Dougie, akaKILLER WHALE, and formerly St. Cool, the masked, shamanic frontman of cult Glasgow’s mentalist, metal-funk band, The Mikey 9s.
From being inspired by a formative Frightened Rabbit to prancing around the stages of the UK gig circuit with Mickey 9s, is quite a transformation.
But as Harry Chapin sang back in ’72, ‘All my life’s a circle …’ and perhaps there is no more appropriate song to describe musical journey (God, I hate that term!) with the release of his debut album as KILLER WHALE.
The eleven tracks on ‘Everyone You Know Someday,’ are thoughtful, and introspective. As Dougie explains, they were written in the comedown of the six-month Scottish darkness that is euphemistically termed ‘winter.’ Yet, creativity often sprouts from bleakness; ” … out of the darkness, light; in the light, shadows; like the patterns on a killer whale.”
Most of the tracks are mid-tempo, melodic and I have to say exhibit a style that I can only term as typically ‘Glasgow’ – an eclectic mix of folk and ‘indie.’ Others more familiar with this brand of music have suggested:
‘The poetry of Leonard Cohen and Neil Young mixed with the lush musicality of Wilco and Death Cab for Cutie; the sentimental melodies ofThe Blue Nile and Hot Chip with the experimentality of Brian Eno and The Velvet Underground; the fragile vocals of Arthur Russell and Bon Iver with the sincerity of Joni Mitchell and Frightened Rabbit.’
For me, the outstanding track is the second one in, ‘Something Like That,’ which initially evokes an image of a bleak Scottish landscape before gently bouncing along on a catchy bass line.
If any of that’s your bag, then you’ll be right into this album.