All Those Freaks

Picture all your favourite art house films involving road trips, flecked sunlight through thick trees and lot’s of rose tinted nostalgia. Then, picture long haired, harmonica ladened and free sprited eccentrics dressed probably in courd pants who enjoy strumming their guitars with a  trance inducing finenes that leaves a clear, lasting impression.

There’s really lot’s of strumming.

If any of those images sound like a dream and you’ve found yourself lost for words avert your attention towards All Those Freaks, the captivating and highly narrative latest release by North London’s The Roves. Put simply, All Those Freaks is a wish fulfilling love soaked anthology of heart felt good vibes and homage to a captured musical past. Finally we have a soundtrack to that inspired coming – of – age, Magical Mystery Ride of our imagination.

Album Cover.jpgphoto credit : Tom Wing

A band of brothers James and Tom Wing there’s an unvarnished quality to James’ lead vocals that result in a charmingly raw and unfiltered casual twang. Bassist Luke Evans and Brendan Monahan on drums complete the set and add structure to the sentimental oddities. They’re all really rather happy and boy will they help us all to bask in their high spirits. 

Opener Speaking for Jerry is a wistfull, stripped back mountain cry to the people. We should all get started on that which we preferably would be doing whatever that may be. Encouraging and twee it’s enchantedly paced at a guitared gallop which, when followed by Everybody’s High, a heritage minded journey into psychedelia and youthful antics is exactly the sort of easy going optimism the world needs right now. 

All Those Freaks is not however all good vibrations and carefree sweetness. King of Comedy is a minimalist, acoustic set lovers dream that sounds like early Jake Bugg in it’s Shangri-La but evidently less Midlands. Likewise, finale Boy from Underdog is a moody, slightly nasal yet meitculously arranged tale that conjours up imagery of dancing alone at school discos and pulls at the heartstrings in a manner certainly unlike its forebearers.

Penultimate track Who’s Sleeping On The Throne is a Where the Wild Things Are reminiscence tale of purity within lonesomness and captivated simplicity. It’s the right kind of fuzzy warmth with a delicate temprement. 

All in all this is a record collection must.  

Al Mills

Too Real

Portobello roars as Dublin City’s finest take front.

Did someone mention Ireland? Step aside The Pogues these Boys from the Better Land are here to smash the system and then build it back up again. As Record Store Day 2019 rampaged through Portobello’s Rough Trade West a storm was brewing outside.

Literally.

Newcomers Fontaines D.C are far from rookie in capability. Leaking out onto the street withwords soaked in an unvarnished Irish drawl and core tremoring riff’s for days, the heaven’s caved biblically as hail splintered out over the crowd sporadically and opportune. THANK GOD FOR PUNK.

A more inspired location for the groups consciously defined crowd conquer could not have been chosen. Heritage punk seeps through RTW greedily searching for the next generations takeover. The walls tremored and lurched as frontman Grian Chatten oozed anachronistic maturity and breathed life into the remnants of Sex Pistol glory days dust. Fontaines D.C are symbol of a time before their time. Contemporary relevancy is in abundance with an addictively candid attitude to match. Chatten daringly chants about ‘Brits out’ and ‘A pregnant city with a Catholic mind’. If the crowd didn’t know the words then, they certainly do now.

 

Al Mills

As if we needed another reason to love Aurora

How many adjectives can be used to describe communal soul ache?

Rhapsodic and really, really, haunting. The kind that makes your body and soul crawl uncontrollably and repeatedly an inescapable and undulating celestial body. The Seed screams gauzy rawness paired divine energy that propels thick and stirring. You’re going to want to blackout draw the blinds, light a dozen white candles and outer-body abandon to experience this fully. 

You cannot eat money

A phonic tackling of humanistic destructive ugliness Aurora channels cosmic pith like no other. She has a potency to her voice that could grow trees or power tides with addictive staggered lust and sensory warmth. An empire of sound, if this is the seed to a greater good then we can all look forward to it’s birth.

Al Mills.
shout out to Dan the celestial connoisseur xo
Continue reading “As if we needed another reason to love Aurora”

A. Swayze & the Ghosts – Suddenly

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing and beardphoto credit to: A.Swayze & the Ghosts

A stella and uncontrollably tight debut laced up in rigorous, soul strung unity before being spat out in a 10 minute spiral of urguncy, sweat and razored narrative. Liberatingly unhinged vocals drool spiritedly and dauntless all over a scything powerhouse of instrumentalism you can stomp your DM’s to.

This is Garage Punk at its peak promising. Charasmatic, determined and gnarly.

Yes to all of it. 

Al Mills

Ibibio Sound Machine – Doko Mien

Image may contain: one or more peoplephoto credit: Ibibio Sound Machine

 

This is damn epic. Glittering disco grooves, riffs for days and the return of Nigerian Ibibio language to the mainstream Doko Mien, the second album by London’s ‘Ibibio Sound Machine’ is a fusionist celebration of universalness and rich heritage, proving once again the group can deliver illustrious high life perfection (figuratively and literally). A bit chaotic and chicly CHIC but not, Doko Mien is fuel for you inner sequinned disco-come-polyrhythmic diva.

Frontwoman Eno Williams is gloriously commanding in both delivery and lyricism; “I need you to be sweet like sugar”. A figurhead for badassness in eclectic tongue, she infectiously soars over a blended futuristic weave of synths and cow bells. A match made in an invigoratingly fusioned yet traditionalist heaven it’s an unsubtley unique and all round encompassing extravaganza. Where ‘I Will Run’ falls flat in comparison to initial elations, penultimate track Guess We Found a Way is the ideal counterargument to the (unapologetic) repetitivness of previous funk.

Image result for ibibio sound machine merge recordsphoto credit: Merge Records

 

At times there’s an apparent Morcheeba inspired crossover in sound. Williams does fine tuned, sultrous moody as well as she does feel good domination; in Ibibio (naturally). All in all if honoured, progressively nostalgic funk with a twist sounds like a shout then this is for you. Perhaps you need to be in the right mood to listen or perhaps, by listening, you’ll be in the right mood. 

Al Mills

for melancholic mermaids

emilie.pngphoto credit Lean Benoit

Emilie Kahn is a French-Canadian Mermaid in disguise. Equipped with her harp (although she’s dropped it’s moniker Ogden) and enchanted tales of heartbreak and fearlesness, Emilie has created a wonderfully lush, deeply distinctive, emotional rock pool of a follow up record.

There’s a driving pulse to Emilie’s writing style. Uniquely adaptable and immersive, Outro is a fitting soundtrack for an empowered fairtyale. With a depth to storytelling like no other, she capably creates her own genre of transformative layered Pop and Indie Folk. Never an afterthought, the presence of harp makes immediate and total sense, a seemingly withstanding engraving not addition to Emilie’s person. Outro is built as a resonating tide of ethereal choruses and captivated instrumental breaks whilst Emilie’s vocals are angelic but not without vigor. With subtle progression and glittering lovesick landscapes all encompassed into blossoming siren song. 

Sixth track Horse somehow sounds like blue lagoons and stardust.  A call out to a lover long gone it’s smoothly residual and soothing whilst stand out track Three is a blazingly controlled release of frustration; unshackled and Devine Feminine.

This is a record that’s both rhapsodic and mellow. Classical weaves with contemporary seamlessly with delicacy and reminiscent magic.  As youthfull as it’s ageless,  “I’ll give you all the goddamn stars if you want some space.” 

Al Mills

 

Moon Song’s and Yerba Mate

When Malena Zavala sings it sounds like a hazy summer evening glow, all murky and delicate. Her songs are alluring in their intimacy, showcasing a wide range of artistic capability and promise. I spoke with her (unfortunately not present up a mountain) before she embarks on her EU tour.

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Image by Victoria Cranstoun

Hey Malena where in the world are you right now?

Right now, I am up in the Andalucian mountains just outside of Tarifa, Spain.

I adored Aliso’. What was your mindset whilst writing the record?

Aliso was a whirlwind for me, I actually can’t remember making it. It was a catharsis of events that had built up before the summer of 2016 and ending up in me manically learning how to write and record music within a few months. A combination of obsession with writing and producing and a desire to prove my self worth.

Do you keep any sentiments with you whilst writing/ recording to help inspire?

The main thing writing this record was that all the songs are paired with a memory or visual idea I had. It’s hard for me to write music without visual reference. I make experimental short films and do all my music videos.

Is there a distinct influence behind your approach to writing or do you draw inspiration from everywhere?

Definitely a load of different influences. Every decision made are influenced by artists I love. For example, if I’m stuck on a transition between a verse and a chorus I think “what would Devendra Banhart do?” or “what would Beach House do?”. I slowly learn by what others have done and incorporate it into my own style.

malena

Image by Charlotte Patmore

You’re signed to Yucatan who are pretty rad. Was there ever a moment when you realised fuck I think this is all going somewhere?

I don’t think I’ve had that feeling yet, I keep my expectations low as a sort of defence mechanism. It’s super early days for me but the moment I was able to do music full time was big. It was a goal I had in life and once I’d reached that my focus switched to working as hard as possible.

If you weren’t making music what do you think you’d be doing right now?

Something creative, probably [working as] a film director/editor, visual artist, maybe even a choreographer. All the things I love doing as hobbies.

You’re about to go on tour and some of those dates are Festivals. Do you have a preference between playing venues or festivals?

Definitely venues. Festivals are super fun but it’s a lot of stress and logistics. When you have a gig in a venue it’s all organised and you know what you’re doing. I love that you get to see other bands at festivals though. I often get to play festivals that my friends are playing at so that’s cool.

If there was anywhere in the world you could perform where would you pick?

Oh, I don’t know. Somewhere really hot, South America definitely.