wed 08/12/2021

New Music Reviews

Album: Efterklang - Windflowers

Kieron Tyler

Although Windflowers showcases Efterklang at their most direct, its sixth track “Living Other Lives” is its most instant, most straightforward composition.

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Van der Graaf Generator - The Charisma Years 1970-1978

Kieron Tyler

“There should be some kind of spirit there which is outside whoever is in the band. The spirit of the band, wanting still to play songs, real songs, wanting to play complicated music to a certain extent. Fairly dense arrangements, also difficult pieces of music, not to be difficult but just because that’s a challenge. To do all that and then also play with a degree of anarchy, chaos, and fire and spirit. That’s the spirit of Van der Graaf.”

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Kero Kero Bonito, Heaven review - euphoric bubblegum

Alfred Quantrill

Here comes the bride. True to Kero Kero Bonito’s unique musical and visual style, a chaotic but masterfully executed fusion of Japanese kawaii culture, kaleiodoscopic synth and indie rock, the audience at Heaven were greeted by lead singer Sarah Midori Perry entering in a wedding dress complete with bridesmaid, while instrumentalists Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled both played the part of disaffected ushers behind their synth decks.

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space; Super Furry Animals - Rings Around the World

Kieron Tyler

Looking for answers to what qualifies an album for a makeover and its attendant return to record shop racks can cause heads to spin. Multiple variables are at play but, still, it merits pondering. Market factors come into consideration, including the prices fetched by original pressings, even if the album isn’t obscure.

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Ben Howard, Royal Festival Hall review - authentic and reassuring

Katie Colombus

Ben Howard is a man of very few words, unless of course, there’s a guitar accompanying them.

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theartsdesk on Vinyl 66: Etta James, BABii, George Harrison, Helloween, Cat Stevens, Gnod and more

Thomas H Green

As the summer folds away on itself, theartsdesk on Vinyl returns. Beset by backlogs at pressing plants and delayed by COVID, it's finally here, jammed to the gunwales with commentary on a grand cross section of the finest music on plastic. Dive in!

VINYL OF THE MONTH

God Damn Raw Coward (One Little Independent)

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Help Yourself - Passing Through, The Complete Studio Recordings

Kieron Tyler

“Reaffirmation” is the sound of a San Francisco ballroom in 1968. The 12-minute long track opens mysteriously with what might be a Mellotron on the flute setting. A bubbling bass guitar arrives, along with jazzy piano. At 02.50, the tempo picks up and the guitar, which until then has delicately picked its way through the arrangement, begins to soar. There’s a vaguely funky section and, just over half-way in, a dive into an almost free-form spiralling section.

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Duran Duran, O2 Institute, Birmingham review – an intimate gig for the local megastars

Guy Oddy

Incredibly it’s now 40 years since the release of Duran Duran’s debut album. To mark this event, the remaining members of the band’s classic line-up decided to return to Birmingham. Not to the NIA or any similar-sized venue, but for a couple of intimate gigs at the city’s O2 Institute.

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Album: The Eivind Aarset 4-Tet - Phantasmagoria, or A Different Kind of Journey

Kieron Tyler

Phantasmagoria, or A Different Kind of Journey instantly sets its controls for an excursion into the interstellar void between gaseous and solid objects. Opening cut “Intoxication” begins with lightly pulsing bass and a keyboard texture. Shimmering guitar floats over the top. Though more sparse and lacking vocals, it’s as if Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them” were performed by an earlier model of the band which had focussed on reducing performative grandeur as much as possible.

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Michael Janisch Band, Ronnie Scott's review - jazz's ace of bass makes a welcome return

Tim Cumming

This was, said bassist Michael Janisch, his first gig since January last year, and his crack group’s Monday evening set, kicking off at the un-jazzy hour of 6.30pm, was an energising, dynamic group performance from A-list British musicians who are band leaders in their own right.

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