Despedidos Ska – Despedidos Ska

1 07 2009

Despedidos Ska – Despedidos Ska (Jamendo (Album cover unavailable))

Summer = Ska Season. It’s a well known fact that. Sure, at this precise moment in time I can’t think of a single other genre more suited to Summer than Ska, although admitedly I’m not thinking very hard at all, but the point stands. Sun glaring down? Get some beer and some Skatalites. Overheated evening? Get some rum and some Doberman to skank away your sorrows and see if you can get carted away with heat stroke. Temperate at 6am? Turn up the volume and stick Madness on for the neighbours. And have a beer. Now who could argue with that sort of well thought out logic eh? No one, that’s who, so Ska is Summer and Summer is Ska, hence todays album choice, in case you hadn’t guessed already. Read the rest of this entry »





Grüün – Kraut-Hop

28 06 2009

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Grüün – Kraut-Hop (iD.EOLOGY)

It’s always a half arsed sort of job when I review foreign language Hip Hop. Sure, I can cover the music well enough, which to me is the generally the main point anyway, but I always feel a dash of discomfort when I start pontificating upon the lyrical qualities. Of course usually I just view it as another layer to the sound, an instrument which carries itself with the same weight as any other but there’s still a level of ignorant prescriptiveness contained in whatever I say fuelled at least in part by my own habitual biases and stereotyping. Read the rest of this entry »





Annie.R – Megalo

22 06 2009

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Annie.R – Megalo (Jamendo)

A dose of blunt Pop today, the likes of which I habitually avoid for reasons unknown to even me given that, all things considered, I’ve nothing in particular against the music itself. Annie.R, who loses points by default for having the full stop there, is a songstress working on the borders of that heartland of female singer song writers who seem to be an eternal presense in the world of mainstream music. Read the rest of this entry »





The Art Punk Band – Zeno And The Happy Cats

19 06 2009

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The Art Punk Band – Zeno And The Happy Cats (Jamendo)

A very definite example of an aquired taste today in the form of a short album release from American trio The Art Punk Band, who appear to have thrown themselves back in time a few decades to an era when musical perfection lagged far behind a self-convinced ‘good’ idea and a couple of friends. Read the rest of this entry »





The Wind Whistles – Animals Are People Too

10 06 2009

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The Wind Whistles – Animals Are People Too (Aaahh Records)

Another release here from those prolific purveyors of Indie Folk, Aaahh Records who, as well as being home to the habitually excellent Julia Kotowski (also known as Entertainment for the Braindead) play host to Canadian strummers ‘The Wind Whistles’. Who, for those not in the know, have been reviewed on this here blog once before in a relatively polite and likeable way. Read the rest of this entry »





Jay Slim – The High Life

6 06 2009
Jay Slim – The High Life
Mo’ mo’ Hip Hop, which should come as about as much of a surprise on this blog as a corrupt MP resigning from Parliament. Bu-ut on a slightly more novel tip there’s actually a Rapper here as opposed to the usual collection of tracks borne of a producer having a good time alone in front of his laptop. And he isn’t even Rapping in Russian.
As I’ve probably mentioned before I’ve got a soft spot in the corner of my nefarious, vermin like mind for lyricists who team up with producers to release CC music, if only because it’s such a bizarre rarity in our usually eclectic community, made even more bizarre by the fact that you can’t throw an ethereal brick on the internet without it connecting with the head of a budding producer. Although that’s something of a digression and one which I’ve dwelt on more than a few times before now.
So, ‘The High Life’ from Jay Slim, a full length album with a smattering of guest appearances and prodtion by Just Plain Ant whose name rings enough of a bell for me to know that I have some of his work lurking on my hard drive but not quite so loudly as to remind me exactly what I thought of it last time I heard it. So shame on me for not paying more attention, even more so now that he’s apparently operating his own NetLabel (Just Plain Sounds), serves me right for taking a few weeks off no doubt. Anyway, I’m listening now and natural inclinations to be kind to these more ambitious Hip Hop projects aside I’m not entirely disliking what I’m hearing.
Lyrically this is on fairly safe, well trodden ground with the usual smattering of digs and despair over the state of the industry mixed with a dash of romantic softness which, so far, makes it much the same as an awful lot of ‘Alternative’ Rap albums which struggle to find their place in a genre so commercially dominated by questionable Gangster stuff and no full of tiny niche styles which don’t work well with outsiders. The delivery is nice though, smooth and easy if slightly anonymous and while the subject matter isn’t exactly revolutionary it’s well enough constructed not to leave you wondering how many monkeys the creator had pounding at type writers to make something so pointless, which can be a common problem when it comes to Rap, just visit the DefJux monkey offices for proof of that.
Musically you’re looking at a similar but perhaps slightly less successful version of the above. It’s all very smooth in the dimmed lights, rotating bed, late ’80s Hollywood love scene sort of way and that can have it’s place if you’re lazing around without looking for too much from your backing track but there’s no denying that it’s dying a death in the originality stakes. Conventions exist in music for a reason though, sometimes they do just have their place in the grand scheme of things and if you’re in the sort of place which requires this sort of thing then it’s a good enough example to do the job. A generous assessment on my behalf perhaps (and I can’t think of a time or place where I’d be running to stick this on) but there y’go.
To summarise though I was, from the moment I downloaded this, thinking of Tab (of ‘Poet in the Darkness’ fame) if only because he’s one of the few CC Rappers/Hip Hop artists (he produces too after all) who’s released a truly high quality album and as such a little comparison seems fair although, in this case, none too favourable towards Jay Slim. Both lyrically and rhythmically Tab’s got the edge on originality and depth and even if there’s no major difference between the too in the quality of production, which is technically quite neat here, there remains a difference between something you may as well listen to and something which you really should listen to.
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Jay Slim – The High Life (Just Plain Sound)
Mo’ mo’ Hip Hop, which should come as about as much of a surprise on this blog as a corrupt MP resigning from Parliament. Bu-ut on a slightly more novel tip there’s actually a Rapper here as opposed to the usual collection of tracks borne of a producer having a good time alone in front of his laptop. And he isn’t even Rapping in Russian.




Jules – Devil Blues on the Rock

3 06 2009

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Jules – Devil Blues on the Rock (Jamendo)

I like the idea of modern Blues, especially when it’s emerging from the CC world. Call me a cynic, or just a miserable bastard, but there’s never enough morbid, grinding, despairing music around when you need it and even if the old Delta standards still offer the ideal backing track for an evening of wearing black, chain smoking and lamenting the evil deeds of that woman who done you wrong to a world weary barman who’s wiping down spit stained shot glasses with a grey and grubby rag they’re never quite enough. Read the rest of this entry »