NEW MUSIC: Orchestra Gold – Maribayassa

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The sounds of Africa have been explored, excavated and reissued with great enthusiasm in recent years – from the Soundways compilations to Soul Jazz’s Nigeria series and many more. The sound has filtered through into plenty of contemporary acts too – Goat come to mind with their mix of African, psych and Krautrock sounds and this Oakland CA USA group Orchestra Gold are another fine example, with singer/dancer Mariam Diakite and the arranger and guitar player Erich Huffaker, plus an all-star cast comprised of musicians from the Bay Area and Santa Cruz.

II is their third EP, following 0 and I which were released in April this year. Authentic sounds and production, endlessly rhythmic and infectious sounds!

For fans of Khruangbin and Goat.

NEW MUSIC: KIALLA – Kotton Kandy

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This Russian-Iranian duo KIALLA was formed in 2018 in the west-side of Chicago and their latest single is ‘Kotton Kandy’, a track that blends jungle breaks and a stoned 90s trip hop vibe. It works really well. We’re looking forward to hear more of what the pair have to offer.

KIA grew up in Tehran, Iran where he began his creative journey. Via was born in Siberia, Russia and became one of the few female pioneers in the Russian hip-hop scene. After meeting in Southeast Asia, the inspired duo moved to Chicago.

LIVE REVIEW: U2 @ Sydney Cricket Ground, 2019

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U2, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Sydney Cricket Ground
22 November, 2019

For 43 years Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr have been playing music together. From Dublin bars to stadiums across the world, they’re one of the few legendary bands to boast such longevity with their original lineup – something that Bono would give gratitude and praise for across an epic night of jaw-dropping sound and visuals as they took a grand trip through the musical history of the band, with their magnum opus’ The Joshua Tree as its centrepiece.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds landed on stage as the Friday evening rain began to slowly ease but that didn’t stop him from giving it to the “fucking pussies’ wearing ponchos and describing the weather as a normal day in Manchester before guaranteeing that the rain would stop before U2 took to the stage because, as he said “they’ll be back there praying”. His was a set that balanced his solo material (including the stomping glam excellence of Holy Mountain that kicked things off) with a handful of Oasis songs (Wonderwall, Don’t Look Back In Anger, Stop Crying Your Heart Out, Little By Little) and a fine version of The Beatles’ All You Need Is Love. The weather and the image of the band closely gathered amongst tents and dwarfed by the imposing video screen, slightly dampened the impact of their performance but Gallagher was a fine choice of opening act to warm-up the arriving audience.

As the floodlights faded to black the spotlights pierced the night to reveal a drum kit and four figures in close formation at the front of the section of the stage that stretched out into the audience, shaped as a perfect reflection of the imposing Joshua Tree image towering above. This was a trip back to U2’s early days, a snapshot of those formative songs that thrust them onto radio and into bedrooms around the world – and what a way to start. Sunday Bloody Sunday, I Will Follow, New Year’s Day, Bad and Pride (In The Name Of Love). Any other band would end their show with iconic songs of that ilk. Sonically they were spot on, possessing the same rawness and vitality as they did all those years ago. Bad was the first mention of, and generous tribute to, Michael Hutchence who died on this day, in this city 22 years ago, with Bono interlacing the song with snippets of Never Tear Us Apart.

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Then came the big moment, the reveal of the scale, resolution and theatrical impact of that massive (almost 8k) LED video screen, the largest ever used in a touring show. It was a moment that recalled the ambition and immersion of the ZOO TV tour yet a total contrast with its serenity and Anton Corbijn’s desert and American-themed focus versus the dizzying overload of that early 90s stage design. 

Playing The Joshua Tree in full does present some issues, primarily that the album is heavily front-loaded with the hits – Where The Streets Have No Name, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and With Or Without You – followed by the slash and burn dystopia of Bullet The Blue Sky. It was an incredible 20 mins, the core of what made that album and this concert so great. It also highlighted the singularity of the Edge’s guitar playing and the anthemic soulfulness of Bono’s voice, still sounding as strong as it ever has. The rest of the album set possessed numerous highlights, particularly the dark throb of Exit and In God’s Country, yet it felt like it had peaked early. That said, as an album performance, every song was essential to the overarching narrative and it was a perfectly executed presentation, devoid of retrograde nostalgia.

We’d had the first set contextualising the early years, the widescreen deep dive into The Joshua Tree and so it was time to bring it home with an eight song run that included three songs from Achtung Baby but drew mostly from the U2 of the new millennium, including the brash and insipid Elevation and Vertigo which surprisingly were contenders for the biggest response of the night. In those moments one realised how well the band successfully recalibrated themselves to a new commercial audience for the third act of their career. The closing highlights included a touching tribute to Hutchence with Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of and Ultraviolet (Light My Way) which was dedicated to the trailblazing women of the world, featuring images including Australians Madga Szubanski, Hannah Gadsby and Cathy Freeman. U2 left us with the low key/high impact One – a contender for one of the finest songs the band have written – as a sea of cellphone lights lit up the Sydney Cricket Ground in a heartwarming end to a show that deserves equal status and accolades with the band’s iconic Zoo TV tour. 

Aside from the cavalcade of songs that are cultural landmarks of modern rock music, the brilliance of the show was that even though it clearly involved an incredible amount of large-scale planning and precise execution, it was delivered with a simple, direct and ultimately powerfully artistic vision.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: Past Present & Tortusa – Black Mist

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Out of Norway comes this fascinating piece of experimental dubbed and smeared atmospheric jazz fusion from Past Present & Tortusa. The trio of trumpet, upright bass and live sampling is composed and performed by Simen Kiil Halvorsen, Alexander Hoholm and Tortusa respectively. Space is the key to what makes ‘Black Mist’ so compelling as the digital details flicker and dance around the edge of the music, creating texture and nuance quite wonderfully while the trumpet and bass deftly interweave ghostly melodies and rhythmic pulses.

‘Black Mist’ comes from the album Eternal Return:

“Eternal Return is a dystopian tale told in three chapters. It starts with the track ‘Nowhere’ representing a beautiful utopian dream, followed by ‘Black Mist’, where conflict and despair have become a norm, and the final chapter, ‘Dawn of Hope’, brings light and hope for a new and better future.”

NEW MUSIC: Gold Dime – My House

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New York trio Gold Dime recently released this video for the title track of their new album My House. The sum of their parts but each distinctly carving their own niche in the band’s sound – Andrya Ambro (drums/vocals), Ian Douglas-Moore (bass), John Bohannon (guitar) all play with/off each other in a heavily rhythmic and mantra-like way. There are dense, pummelling sections, punctuated by squalls of textural noise and Ambro’s tense, and dramatic intonements.

RIYL: Gothic post-punk, Krautrock, avant jazz, noise rock and post-rock.

My House is out now on Fire Talk RecordsBandcamp and streaming services.

NEW MUSIC: Daymaker – Mpc

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Chicagoans Daymaker recently released their new album Let The Sun Fall and this is one of its highlights, the jerky, yelp and howl of ‘Mpc’.

The start of the track reminds me of Hot Snakes and then they throw their jagged-edged guitar shards across the song before Erin Delaney lets loose with her strident holler. She’s part Siouxsie Sioux, part Carrie Brownstein  as she leads the song into the open framed chorus – tautness still intact as the song churns and spins dizzyingly on its post-punk axis.

 

NEW MUSIC: Burning House – Her Vowel No

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A blistering sonic harmonic scree is the order of the day on this new track from the Southampton, UK band Burning House. You can hear the spirit and verve of bands like Swervedriver, Trail Of Dead, My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth as they careen across the speakers, leaving vapour trails of melody and distortion.

‘Her Vowel No’ comes from their debut LP Anthropocene which came out mid year.

 

NEW MUSIC: Squarepusher – Vortrack

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Photo by Donald Milne

Taken from the new album Be Up A Hello, here’s the latest glitchy, electro squelch from the mercurial musician and producer Squarepusher.

After a 5 year hiatus that has seen him delve into a range of diverse musical projects, Tom Jenkinson will release his new album on the 31st of January. Fans can enjoy a taster as the double-A side 12” ‘Vortrack’ will be released on the 6th of December, featuring Squarepusher’s Fracture Remix.

With this new album, Squarepusher has returned to using a bewildering array of vintage analogue and digital hardware, the same equipment that first helped him develop his sound in the early ’90s. Something of a 180 degree turn, these synths, effects units and even a Commodore Vic20 are in complete contrast to the tools he used to create 2015’s Damogen Furies – cutting edge software that Tom developed over the course of 15 years. The result is Be Up A Hello, an album that is celebratory with rinsing breakbeat tracks such as Nervelevers and Terminal Slam – classic floor fillers – as well pieces loaded with visceral atmosphere and melody in Squarepusher’s inimitable style. Darker moments such as Vortrack and Mekrev Bass illustrate Tom’s continuing fascination with finely balanced psychological overload. As such, Be Up A Hello gives a nod to the mayhem, joyousness and abandon of the DIY Essex rave scene that was a strong determinant in Tom’s work.

Squarepusher
Be Up A Hello
(WARP)
Street Date: Jan. 31, 2020

Track List:

A1. Oberlove
A2. Hitsonu
A3. Nervelevers
A4. Speedcrank
A5. Detroit People Mover
B1. Vortrack
B2. Terminal Slam
B3. Mekrev Bass
B4. 80 Ondula