Well, it's almost December…
East 17's 'Stay Another Day' isn't strictly about Christmas, but it's certainly become synonymous with the festive season – perhaps due to that snow-clad video.
Holiday Sidewinder hails from Australia, but caught the track shortly after her move to a tinsel-clad UK.
Promptly smitten, she then recorded her own version of it, utilising glacial synths and sun-washed vocals.
She even shot the video, too. Tune in now.
Clubbing in London has rarely been under such intense pressure, with spaces closing across the city.
New project The Rave Space aims to celebrate club culture, fusing beats, MCs and more to ask central questions about the underground.
Delivered as part of All The Right Notes, The Rave Space is overseen by artist Will Dickie director Peader Kirk.
Taking place at Camden People's Theatre, London the project runs between December 2nd – 3rd.
The sheer individuality of GAIKA's seems to draw like-minds.
New EP 'SPAGHETTO' is a remarkable document, traversing digital ley-lines and soaking up inspiration where it can find it.
The Jam City co-produced cut 'Glad We Found It' fuses the starkness of grime with something quite alien, and it's now received the visuals to match.
Awful Records cohort Father directs the clip, which steers GAIKA's music towards the depths of the forest, where a cult ritual is taking place.
Father says: "The initial inspiration came from the movie, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, when George Clooney encounters the three sirens. I wanted to recreate the outward appearance of great beauty, but still give it a sense of warning, indicating that the subject (GAIKA) was in danger, even though he was seemingly in the safe hands of three beautiful women. The idea then developed further after a conversation between GAIKA, Bobby (DP) and I. We wanted to avoid a typical narrative structure, and focus on mimicking the dark and haunting tone of the track itself visually. Combined with the use of the female siren characters and the open environment of the Georgia woods, we wanted to express themes of isolation, internal struggle, and volatile relationships."
"GAIKA and I first met in Oslo last winter at a music festival. When he reached out to get involved in the project I was instantly intrigued, the track presented an opportunity to operate outside the traditional confines of a "rap" music video – providing a lot of wiggle room for the treatment. Gaika isn't your conventional rap/urban artist, he actively challenges the status quo; I wanted the visual to mirror that."
Tune in now.
'SPAGHETTO' EP is out now.
You can’t trust Ronnie Wood with a secret. Pressed on the red carpet at the opening of The Rolling Stones’ immense and impressive Exhibitionism show in London back in April 2016, the visibly enthused guitarist let slip that the group’s most recent recordings were covers of vintage blues songs, recorded over three days some months previously, thus blithely overthrowing the heightened confidentiality surrounding their first album release since 2005’s ‘A Bigger Bang’.
His uncontainable excitement was palpable, no doubt inspired by the spontaneity of the sessions for what turned out to be ‘Blue And Lonesome’, their impulsive conception presumably somewhat at odds with the meticulous and complex running of the Stones’ well-oiled machine.
Gathering at British Grove Studios in Chiswick last December, the Stones were ignited by their warm-up jams on old blues favourites, and duly set up equipment in the round to face off on an exercise to revisit the very treasures that first served to unite the teenage enthusiasts in the early-’60s.
Hearing these songs for the first time, you can sense the regard in which the originals are held – these versions are injected with an instinctive reverence only acquired from a lifetime of study and devotion – but what’s most evident is the inherent joy in those live recordings: the raw, uninhibited sound of old friends reminiscing on their first love.
It begins with the succinct romp of lead single ‘Just Your Fool’, which is dominated – naturally, since it’s a take on Little Walter – by Mick Jagger’s fulsome harmonica. Reportedly the chief architect behind this dedicated blues tribute and main supplier of song suggestions, Jagger immediately establishes the impassioned tone of the album, wherein capturing its ingenuous spirit was paramount.
Mick is suitably blustering, in fine Howlin’ Wolf style, on ‘Commit A Crime’, and seriously yearning in ‘Blue And Lonesome’ – his emphatic pines bolstered by Ronnie’s forceful licks.
The slow barroom shuffle of Magic Sam’s ‘All Your Love’ is pure, bourbon-soaked despair – Keith Richards and Ronnie trading spare, expressive riffs rather than filling space with unnecessary notes – and is countered by the impetuous ‘I Gotta Go’ that follows, underpinned by Charlie Watts’ crisp, relentless beat.
‘Everybody Knows About My Good Thing’ boasts a guest slot from Eric Clapton, whose polished fingerwork shines through the song’s rough edges. Eddie Taylor’s 1955 track ‘Ride ’Em On Down’ is ripe for a Stones reworking – its brash mettle sounding not unlike the effrontery as heard on their earliest albums.
Jagger’s breathless intonations rock Little Walter’s ‘Hate To See You Go’, while ‘Hoodoo Blues’ finds the 73-year-old peddling a mean ol’ growl. The guitarists drive Jimmy Reed’s ‘Little Rain’ with tight, restrained riffs – Charlie’s sinister brushes flick and spit – turning into that deft, fiery Stones weave in ‘Just Like I Treat You’, where Keith and Ronnie take turns to let rip.
‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’ draws the album to a smoky close, its menacing groove playfully provoked by Jagger’s teasing howls, and the return of Clapton’s effortless and mellifluous support.
There’s an unrefined quality to the album – a slight distortion to proceedings – that suggests even the producer, Don Was, was indulging too much in the natural order of the day to notice his EQ needles touching the red. It evokes the primitive studio methods of Chicago’s Chess Records, where most of these songs first found life, and reinforces the Stones’ unsophisticated approach without sounding forced or artificial.
Some would say an album of covers is a lazy step for bands to make, but ‘Blue And Lonesome’ is an entirely logical and timely release for The Rolling Stones, who forged their reputation by replicating and acknowledging these very artists long before they’d developed their own songwriting skills. These cuts – not to be found on any Greatest Hits collections – are the choices of skilled and discerning aficionados, and once again provide a foot in the door for anyone curious enough to venture deeper into the roots of rock ‘n’ roll.
If it’s a stopgap between albums, so be it, but I’d wager ‘Blue And Lonesome’ will stand out as more honest, more rousing and more representative of The Rolling Stones as septuagenarians than anything that might follow. I’d hope, of course, that this impulsive endeavor might beget an album of originals that picks up from this deep well of inspiration, but, as they did once warn, you can’t always get what you want.
Words: Simon Harper
Daniel Avery has spent most of his adult life in some way associated with club culture.
First as a fabric resident, then as an internationally known producer and DJ, the London-based talent has continually sought out new pathways, new avenues.
Debut album 'Drone Logic' was a titanic statement, and it's allowed him plenty of fresh opportunities.
Agreeing to craft a unique selection for the DJ-Kicks mix series, the producer sought to include some of his own work, and it's resulted in a truly absorbing document with an identity of its own.
In the press note, Daniel explained: “Electronic music is unique in that, whilst it has an immediate effect on the body, the culture surrounding it has the ability to run deep into your life. Whenever I’m in a club, I want to give myself up to music. This is the very thing that excites me the most. Witnessing a DJ create an atmosphere in a room from the ground up takes patience and effort from everyone present but when the pivotal moments hit, your watch stops ticking.”
A succinct statement, perhaps, but one that still left Clash with plenty of questions…
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Why take the DJ-Kicks commission? Are you a fan of the series? And which instalments stand out?
I’ve been DJing for over a decade and it’s a huge part of my life so an opportunity like this felt right. I’ve always admired the DJ-Kicks series. Recently the Nina Kraviz and Actress instalments stood out as interesting pieces of work.
Why do this now? Do you feel the need/urge to focus on the craft of the mix? Or is this a stimulus to get back in the studio?
This mix represents my three years on the road since 'Drone Logic'. I’ve had people try to compare it to the album but that is firmly missing the point. The DJ-Kicks mix was designed to stand as its own piece: a representation of the things that have inspired me inside clubs. Those DJs who are able to take you somewhere else. Those who say “This is going to be a trip. You can come with us but we are going at this pace and in this single direction.” I wanted to give my take on that idea.
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It becomes like a dream from which you don’t want to wake up…
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The mix shifts through different textures and moods, did you have any guiding criteria for the tracklisting?
Whenever I go to a club, I want to give myself up to music. It’s a communal experience but it has a focus. Witnessing a DJ create an atmosphere in a room from the ground up takes patience and effort from everyone present but when the pivotal moments hit, your watch stops ticking. Every detail of every record is crucial because the mix as a whole ultimately becomes the most important factor. It becomes like a dream from which you don’t want to wake up.
You include three new tracks – was that always the intention? And was the new material prompted by the themes/sounds included within the mix?
Yes I wanted the mix and everything in it to exist as its own entity. The new tracks I made were designed to fit specifically into the mix. It was interesting to work within those boundaries.
You describe the artists on here as “music by like-minded souls” – what do you think threads through these different voices? Is it an approach, an attitude… or something else?
Underground electronic music is in an interesting phase. Techno is being influenced by genres like ambient, noise and drone as much as anything else. I count myself as one of a number of outsiders making and playing club music. Before I began I knew I wanted to include labels like Semantica and Northern Electronics alongside artists like In Aeternam Vale and Rrose. That was important to me.
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Underground electronic music is in an interesting phase…
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In the press quote you discuss music that is “unreal” – do you think that club culture is at its most potent when offering a juncture away from the ‘real’? Is that it’s role and purpose?
Its role is more crucial now than ever. The outside world is fucked and full of rampant, unabashed hate. Club culture is based on love and positivity. It is exactly the energy that is needed in the world right now. It’s a tiny piece of the overall puzzle but the balance has got to be re-dressed somehow.
Exciting news that you’re back in the studio – should we take the three tracks on this mix as an indication of what could happen next? And how close is a follow up to ‘Drone Logic’?
The DJ-Kicks is only a one indicator of where my head is at – it is one idea played out. Whilst it comes from the same place, I see it as totally different to a full album. I’m excited about the new stuff. Some finish lines are appearing on the horizon.
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'Daniel Avery – DJ-Kicks' is out now.
Kadhja Bonet was educated in a classical tradition, taught that music had to be played or composed in a certain way.
But then she went rogue. Plunging head-long into other forms, other styles, she began absorbing jazz, folk, soul, and psychedelia, writing her own material along the way.
New mini-album 'The Visitor' is out now on Fat Possum and Fresh Selects, and it's a fascinating introduction to a truly unique musical universe.
Supple and wide-ranging, her melodic flourish pulls together these disparate and bewitching influences into something rather special.
Clash sought out Kadhja Bonet to explore her cultured side…
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I've just started Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. I think it's an important social narrative as well as captivating personal account. Trevor is bestowed with one of the highest gifts, bring humour to bleak circumstance. What's so special about humour is that it succeeds where pathos cannot, bridging differences and stirring a more intimate empathy.
I'm watching Atlanta. I think Donald Glover is super smart. The combination of tension, humour, philosophy… good TV.
I'm not sure if you're going to like my film recommendation. Most people I make watch this film don't like it nearly as much as I do, even though in some circles it is considered a classic. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is an absurdist's portrayal of one evening with a troubled middle-aged couple. But I found the lens painfully accurate of the passive-aggressive ways in which people who have been too close for too long may communicate. There is so much subtext though out seemingly innocuous banter, and even though much of the dialogue will find you bemused, there's a second layer of understanding that is unavoidable.
And also Divines (2016) – directed by Houda Benyamina. If you could use a good cry!
You know, I was reflecting on this year of music, and I think the surprise stand out for me was Rihanna's 'ANTI'. About half of that album is absolute fire, which is a better average than most. The other half I skip for sure… but of recent music I find myself revisiting tracks from 'ANTI' the most often. Her delivery is intoxicating.
For the heads out there with an aversion, at least try the first few tracks – it was an interesting tactic front-loading the album. But I guess it makes sense given the modern attention span, and the likelihood of capturing all the buyers after they've iTunes tasted the first couple…
I was never a huge gamer, but still appreciate the classics, Street Fighter and Mario Kart.
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'The Visitor' is out now.
Ought's Tim Darcy will release new solo album 'Saturday Night' next year.
The musician found himself working on additional material during sessions for Ought's second album, working in the storage room of a commercial studio in Toronto.
Gathering friends round to explore where these songs might lead, Tim Darcy quickly found that he had assembled a full album.
'Saturday Night' will arrive on February 17th via Jagjaguwar, with the songwriter sharing lead single 'Tall Glass Of Water'.
A neat adjunct to his work in Ought, the off kilter guitars and that unmistakeable vocal timbre will lure you away from his parent work.
Tune in now.
Tim Darcy will play London's Lexington venue on February 20th.
Naomi Pilgrim spent years in the background, working as a vocalist with artists such as Lykke Li.
When the time came, though, she confidently seized centre-stage – debut solo single 'No Gun' was a viral success, sparking a new burst of creativity.
Born in Barbados, she recently returned to the island from her home in Sweden, and this journey helped her to re-connect with her roots.
"It was difficult to see how Barbados had grown into a kind of poverty I couldn’t recall from my childhood. At the same time I was reminded of the joy that can come from simplicity. It was an important trip that helped me understand how to use my Barbadian heritage in my music.”
New EP 'Sink Like A Stone' is the result. Out now, it's a work of real depth, with no small degree of subtle poetry running through its veins.
Clash has obtained a live session recording, with Naomi Pilgrim oozing emotion on the frank, autobiographical 'Mama'.
Tune in now.
Kreol Lovecall is a new venture from Jonathan Richards, a multi-faceted South London musician who has worked for some time with psych juggernaut Hey Colossus.
Helping forge their 2015 albums 'In Black And Gold' and 'Radio Static High', the musician is now set to perform another nimble about-turn.
Kreol Lovecall matches the fizzing and popping of drum machines against taut 80s machine funk, all delivered with a wonky, woozy underground feel.
Delirious with colour and soaked in melody, the physicality of the sound is just about the only connection to Hey Colossus.
A deeply independent entity, Kreol Lovecall will release solo debut 'Jangle And Chime' next March via Fighting Spirit Records.
Superbly creative, the record is redolent of an era when individual decisions manifest themselves as functions of dissent against an encroaching, pervasive political system.
Clash is able to premiere new cut 'One In F1ve' and it's a heroic return blessed with a mantra-like chorus.
Out on December 2nd, you can indulge below.
There must be something in the water in Brighton these days. Clash first came across Tigercub when they opened thunderously for fellow Brightonian rock princes Royal Blood way back at the time of the release of their debut single. Now having seen their friends and tour mates ascend to the pantheon of rock’s top table, Tigercub arrive, equipped with a debut album every bit as fearsome, devastating and yet assuredly-controlled as one could have hoped for.
Whereas much of what was in evidence in the band’s work prior to this debut album focused primarily on the primal, almost feral force of early ‘90s grunge, from the moment ‘Burning Effigies’ makes its entrance, you know that things have changed. Here is a mature, confident band, making a statement of intent to take over not just your ears and hearts, but those of a great many more people than might otherwise have succumbed to their charms in the past.
Whether it’s the seductively slinky overdrive of ‘Omen’, the smooth melodies of ‘Up In Smoke’ or the screaming cacophony of ‘Migraine’ that originally grabs you, this is an album of more depth and nuance than you might expect. Where, in the past, Tigercub might have been easy to consider as grunge revivalists, this album reveals them to have the sonic palette and ambition to outstrip any of their contemporaries. Not many acts, on their debut album, would be able to comfortably coalesce the discomfiture of the aforementioned ‘Migraine’ alongside the groove of ‘The Golden Ratio’ or the lazy lope of the spitting ‘Serial Killer’, but Tigercub can. Every time you have them and this album pegged, there is a twist and turn which arches an eyebrow and proves beyond doubt that this is one special band who are not only just getting started, but have a scope, a capacity to be a truly scene-defining act.
So, the lesson here is, if you want to be a world-changing band, following in the wake of such a majestic lineage, which may yet continue with up-and-comers Army of Bones (look out for them next year), get yourself down to Brighton, pronto.
Words: Haydon Spencely
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