listen: hypem.com //
album: out of frequency [released 24th february 2012] //
reviews: metacritic.com //
theasteroidsgalaxytour.com //

I first heard about Copenhagen’s THE ASTEROIDS GALAXY TOUR a month ago when, I’ll be honest, I downloaded ‘Major’ purely on the strength of the band’s name. Imagine my unfettered joy, therefore, when the song turned out to be a funky monkey too.

THE ASTEROIDS claim to be “a psychedelic big band of the future” which the blog, Surviving The Golden Age, interpreted as: “basically, it’s ‘Groove is in the Heart’ mixed with Britney Spears.” I concede I have a soft spot for a bit of retro futurism, which is probably the same reason I like their Nordic cousins, Pepe Deluxé.

My friend, Norman, is beaver keen on THE AGT and bought tickets to see them at The Scala on Tuesday. Foolishly, he went to the Isle of Man instead, but his loss was my gain. Singer, Mette Lindberg, channels Barbarella beauty, the band brings a trunk of funk and, on the singles, ‘Around The Bend’, ‘The Golden Age’, ‘Heart Attack’ and the aforementioned ‘Major’, it’s a potent combination. But, it’s the songs in between which struggle to sustain the momentum across a full set and lack the killer punch.

“As their name might imply, THE ASTEROIDS GALAXY TOUR are somehow less of a band than they are a many-legged, ever-evolving, constantly moving party machine. Since beaming into popular consciousness back in 2008 with Fruit—a debut album responsible for producing the unstoppable, globally ubiquitous “Around the Bend” and “The Golden Age” singles—the band have toured the world, proving themselves to be one of the most unorthodox and uniquely original live bands on the planet.

Unlike so many of their Scandinavian contemporaries—bands that often attack pop music with an almost surgical precision—The Asteroids Galaxy Tour’s vision of pop music is a much more kaleidoscopic, free-wheeling affair—a symphonic collision of big pop hooks, soaring horn sections, retro-synth flourishes, and epic beats. Inspired by everything from Blaxploitation soundtracks to Primal Scream to old reruns of Dynasty, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour evolved from a bedroom recording project between friends into a psychedelic big band of the future.

Now, nearly two years since the release of their debut album, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour return with Out of Frequency — an album that represents the next logical step in the musical partnership of founding members Lars Iversen and Mette Lindberg. Working from Iversen’s studio–itself a veritable museum of collected instruments and vintage gear—the two began assembling a collection of songs that would become a kind of imaginary soundtrack to what one might imagine is the world’s most over-the-top spy film.

“We didn’t want to bore people with our private diaries, “ says Iversen, “We wanted to make music with a truly filmic quality—songs that feature characters that aren’t necessarily us. Songs with bad guys, heroes, and lovers.” Taking cues from classic big bands, psychedelic Danish children’s TV shows from the 70s, and old Parliament records, Lindberg and Iversen slowly perfected their own version of pop noir—music that manages the clever trick of sounding somehow classic and futuristic at the same time.”

More music to love:
twitter.com/djprolix //

:{IS LOVING…}: PLAN B: ill manors //

PLAN B: ill manors [atlantic] //

FREE the prodigy remix: rcrdlbl.com //
album: ill manors [released 14th may 2012] //
time4planb.co.uk //

I remember hearing MJ Cole’s ‘Volcano Riddim’ and thinking that it was halfway to being an amazing tune, but that the jagged, processed strings and beats didn’t quite add up to a cohesive whole. Two years later, Plan B’s strings are full of the same foreboding, allied to a menacing, urban, state of the nation vocal, informed by the fallout from last year’s UK riots.  (A staggering) 18 years ago, The Prodigy were also concerned with political matters affecting Britain’s youth, due to the Criminal Justice Act. The beats on ‘Ill Manors’ would have been right at home on ‘Music for the Jilted Generation’ and, coincidentally, The Prodigy have also remixed the track. Gone are the sweet, Smokey Robinson pastiches and polished blue-eyed soul; Strickland Banks may not be dead, but he’s definitely resting.

More music to love:
twitter.com/djprolix //

:{IS LOVING…}: CHAIRLIFT: i belong in your arms //

CHAIRLIFT: i belong in your arms [young turks/columbia] //

listen: hypem.com //
album: something [released 23rd january 2012] //
reviews: metacritic.com //
chairlifted.com //

Plus, RCRD LBL are hosting several FREE Chairlift tracks, including Sinden’s whopping remix of ‘Evident Utensil’.

“Chairlift, a multi-instrumental two-piece, currently hailing from Brooklyn, New York, play a thoughtful, dream-filled pop music, combining the timelessness of unforgettable melody with spare and sophisticated production, a meta-psychedelic worldview, and a classical avant-garde sensibility resolutely and merrily embracing the future.

Chairlift is: Aaron Pfenning, an experimental minimalist guitar player, who creates the delicate haunting quality of Chairlift; Caroline Polachek, a Connecticut-born singer whose vocals shape-shift from the ethereal to the earthy to the evanescent, depending on the particular needs or lines of a song; and Patrick Wimberly, a Nashville native whose decision to study jazz and orchestral arrangements at university first brought him into the radius of the band.”

More music to love:
twitter.com/djprolix //

:{IS LOVING…}: JAGWAR MA: come save me {the bumblebeez mix} //

JAGWAR MA: come save me {the bumblebeez mix} [the blue rider] //

FREE download: soundcloud.com //
listen to original: hypem.com //
original released: 27th february 2012 //
jagwarma.com //
thebumblebeez.com //

:{NB}: the video is for the original, not The Bumblebeez remix.

To dismiss ‘Come Save Me’ as a more radio friendly ANIMAL COLLECTIVE would be damning with faint praise, but they share a love of Beach Boys melody and the opening is certainly redolent of PANDA BEAR’s ‘Comfy in Nautica’ (especially when JAGWAR MA is played at the wrong speed).

The Bumblebeez reworking is altogether different, casting any retro yearnings through the nearest window, slicing the original in two with a bleeping, squeaking bread knife and dancing about on its grave singing “Hallelujah”. A difficult sensation to articulate, but it feels like a remix where it helps to hear the original first. Either way, it’s a lot of wonky fun, which they usefully describe as “a journey from Peru to Pluto, meeting Hendrix along the way.”

“When I was living in Berlin we would go to a bar called Club Bassy, where they only played vinyl from the 40s/50s/60s and we would dance our pants off.” says Jono of the band’s early days “Afterwards we would go to Panorama Bar, where they only play vinyl from the year 2000+ and we would dance our pants off to deep, deep techno and house. There was something about that journey each weekend in Berlin that I really loved and I guess Jagwar Ma follows that in a way: I wanted to start a project that somehow combined those two unlikely worlds.”

More music to love:
twitter.com/djprolix //


PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING: roygbiv [test card] //

listen: hypem.com //
released: 5th march 2012 //
publicservicebroadcasting.net //

“Constituent parts being: J. Willgoose, Esq. and Wrigglesworth. Musical entity based in London. Teaching the lessons of the past through the music of the future. Proud wearers of corduroy. Informing, educating and entertaining since 2009.”

‘ROYGBIV’ is not only a very good piece of music, but a fine example of the (currently niche) genre, banjotronica. Not to be confused with ‘ROYGBIV’:

“Public Service Broadcasting are releasing their debut single ROYGBIV (Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet) – celebration of the birth of colour television. Public Service Broadcasting is the brainchild of J. Willgoose, Esq., who combines a guitar, a banjo, a computer and a theremin with samples from old public information films to create new, exciting and decidedly eccentric music that informs, educates and entertains in equal measure.

Played regularly on BBC 6Music, Tom Robinson has described PSB as ‘absolutely, sensationally brilliant’. Having performed to rave reviews in the London area since 2009, in 2010 PSB took a live show which added synchronised video (played on a 1960s TV set) to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for 7 nights, generating considerable word-of-mouth. Late 2010 also saw the debut of PSB’s occasional drumming partner, adding yet another dimension to the live show.

Willgoose is an erstwhile geography teacher and public information film enthusiast from south-west London with far too much time on his hands. He likes to put a smile on people’s faces, whether it be through the music, the quotes, the videos, the corduroy or the bow tie – and, as several punters have happily confessed, they have never seen anything quite like this before.”

More music to love:
twitter.com/djprolix //

:{IS LOVING…}: ALEX WINSTON: choice notes //

ALEX WINSTON: choice notes [v2] //

listen: hypem.com //
FREE remixes: rcrdlbl.com //
album: king con [released 5th march 2012] //
alexwinstonofficial.com //

Whilst I take issue with the curious production decision to record Ms Winston’s vocals in a tiled bathroom, at the bottom of a well, this remains sugar packed, full fat, perfect pop. Such is its irrepressible charm, I apologise in advance if you’re whistling ‘Choice Notes’ for the rest of the weekend. And, if you like this, the benevolent chaps at RCRD LBL have got a bunch of FREE remixes for your downloading pleasure.

:{V2 MUSIC}:
“Originally from Detroit, most of the songs on Alex’s debut LP are inspired by books and documentaries about marginal subcultures in America, with the resulting record almost acting as a musical adaptation of the works of Errol Morris and Louis Theroux. ‘King Con’ – the suggestion that an Elvis impersonator is the ultimate con – came to Alex after spending several months in an Elvis costume herself whilst promoting her recent single ‘Velvet Elvis’. ‘Velvet Elvis’ itself is inspired by objectum sexuality and the documentary ‘I Married the Eiffel Tower’.

Alex’s previous releases, including an acclaimed mini-album, were recorded on Garageband and ‘King Con’ sees her take a step up in terms of production, working with the likes of Charlie Hugall (Florence and the Machine, Ed Sheeran, Crystal Fighters), Bjorn Yttling (Lykke Li) and The Knocks. Winston sings in the international language of pure joy, producing a giddy, heart-stopping sound. However, beneath that Sixties pop-tinged soul exuberance lie hidden depths. On ‘Benny’, a poignant warning of Benny Hinn – a preacher whose healing powers seem to be in proportion to church donations – Alex sings “Benny Benny / Takes my penny / Then he skins me to the bone”.

Not wanting to deride the subjects of these stories though, Alex translates them to everyday situations. In ‘Run Rumspringa’, she applies Rumspringa – the condoned acts of adolescence rebellion in the Amish church – to a relationship. ‘Sister Wife’, inspired by polygamy, is about not wanting to share something you love. Traces of her Motown influences can be seen on ‘King Con’ and it is full of Alex’s signature melodies, from the stunning, propulsive percussion on ‘The Fold’ to the eerie harmonies of ‘Fire Ant’ and the soaring chorus of ‘Choice Notes’.”

More music to love:
twitter.com/djprolix //

:{IS LOVING…}: GOTYE feat. KIMBRA: somebody that i used to know //

GOTYE feat. KIMBRA: somebody that i used to know [eleven/island] //

listen: hypem.com //
album: making mirrors [released 13th february 2012] //
gotye.com //
kimbramusic.com //

26th January is Australia Day and the only way to celebrate is listening to :{ABC TRIPLE J}: Hottest 100:
“triple j’s hottest 100 is one of the largest public music polls in the world with millions of individual votes counted since it started in 1989.”
It’s just been revealed that this year’s number one is ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’. The song has a stripped down elegance which reveals itself gradually over the course of four minutes. If it sounds familiar, the main guitar figure puts me in mind of the opening to XTC’s ‘Senses Working Overtime’:

And, the strategic bleeps and bloops could be an understated ‘Bongo Bong’ by Manu Chao:

But, the actual source is an instrumental piece called ‘Seville’ by the Brazilian guitarist and composer, Luiz Bonfá:

More music to love:
twitter.com/djprolix //

:{IS LOVING…}: GRIMES: genesis //

GRIMES: genesis [4ad] //

FREE download: 4ad.com/grimes/genesis.mp3 //
album: visions [released 12th march 2012] //
www.grimesmusic.com //

After initially hearing the GRIMES track, ‘Oblivion’, courtesy of NME’s 100 New Bands For 2012, ‘Genesis’ jumped out of the radio. On first listen, it feels like a fascinating, jostling alliance of Cocteau Twins vocals, Boards Of Canada synths and beats familiar from the leftfield pop of Robyn and Little Boots.

“Grimes is the inventive work of Claire Boucher, a project that has gained notoriety since its inception back in early-2010. Moving to Montreal from Vancouver in 2006, she developed Grimes among the city’s burgeoning DIY scene; a scene where both punk ethos and pop music collide, resulting in a distinct sense of community, religiosity and psychedelic revelry. Also a prolific force, her 4AD debut Visions will be her fourth release in less than two years and countless shows have been performed in this time, both helping to build much intrigue as to what’s next – “She’s blossoming and developing almost more quickly than we can keep track of… (She) could very well be poised for a meteoric rise with the release of her next full length.” (Pitchfork).

With her creative bent being both musical and visual, her second self embodies the arts of 2D, performance, dance, video and sound, weaving them all together to strong rhythmic effect. Subsequent records have sharpened her production skills and each one has tackled different influences and styles. This new set incorporates influences as wide as Enya, TLC and Aphex Twin, whilst drawing from genres like New Jack Swing, IDM, New Age, K-pop, Industrial and glitch resulting in a record that is both otherworldly and futuristic.

Claire describes her work as, “the only means through which I can be fully expressive. It is both an ethereal escape from, and a violent embrace of, my experience. The creative process is a quest for the ultimate sensual, mystical and cathartic experience and the vehicle for my psychic purging. Visions was conceived in a period of self-imposed cloistering during which time I did not see daylight.””

More music to love:
twitter.com/djprolix //

:{IS LOVING…}: ORBITAL: never //

ORBITAL: never [acp recordings] //

FREE download: soundcloud.com //
album: wonky [released 2nd april 2012] //
orbitalofficial.com //

I can imagine that the news of another band reforming is often met with the same weary resignation and indignation as a favourite film being pointlessly remade. There are exceptions, however, and I will always give Orbital a second chance. If nothing else, a reunion of the brothers Hartnoll afforded me the opportunity to witness their blistering performance on the banks of Hungary’s Lake Balaton in 2009.

With the exception of ‘In Sides’, Orbital have never been an album group but, selectively, they have produced more than several pieces of my favourite electronic music ever. It was with cautious excitement, then, I read John Mulvey claim on the Uncut Magazine website that ‘Wonky’, their first studio album for eight years, is “a more or less magnificent return to form”.

With breath firmly bated, Phil and Paul have generously offered a free taster in the shape of ‘Never’, which succeeds in being identifiably Orbital, without obviously re-treading old ground. That said, there is a luminous quality familiar from ‘The Girl With The Sun In Her Head’:

Plus, a gentle steal from the glacial ‘Monday Paracetamol’ by Ulrich Schnauss:

“Orbital will release their new album, ‘Wonky’ on the 1st April in the UK. The first studio album for eight years features vocals by Lady Lesurr and Zola Jesus. Wonky was recorded in a small studio in Orbital’s Brighton home base, then mixed in London with help from internationally acclaimed producer Mark ‘Flood’ Ellis, whose stellar list of previous collaborators includes PJ Harvey, U2, Nine Inch Nails and The Killers. Paul credits Flood with giving the album a more rounded, holistic sound.

‘I mostly remember Flood from all the electronic stuff like Cabaret Voltaire, Depeche Mode and Renegade Soundwave,’ Paul says. ‘One of his first and greatest loves is electronic music. He’s actually got a bigger synthesizer collection than us. He also has a good structural overview of music, because he’s not just a dance producer, he comes from a more holistic song viewpoint, which is how we like to approach it. I didn’t want to work with just a dance producer because I don¹t think this is a dance album, it¹s an electronic album.’”

More music to love:
twitter.com/djprolix //

:{IS LOVING…}: REN HARVIEU: through the night //

REN HARVIEU: through the night [kid gloves/island] //

listen: hypem.com //
album: through the night [released 2nd april 2012] //
www.renharvieu.com //

Insert Dusty Springfield comparison here:

:{BBC}: Sound Of 2012
“She’s just 21 years old but Lancashire born Ren Harvieu’s musical inspirations seem to come from three decades before her birth – the string-soaked white soul of Dusty Springfield or the cinematic melancholic MOR of The Walker Brothers, to name just two.

After a childhood peppered with talent show disasters, she was discovered through a demo on MySpace by manager Paul Harrison. Harvieu was paired with producer/writer Jimmy Hogarth (Duffy, Amy Winehouse, Suzanne Vega) and given a year or so to come up with some material. A tour in support of Glasvegas led to an invitation from BBC Introducing to play Glastonbury, and a trip to the US resulted in an invitation to collaborate with superstar hip hop type Nas. Neither of those things happened though – a freak accident in a London park led to two months in hospital and facing up to the possibility she might never walk again.

Luckily that wasn’t the case and Harvieu has most recently been treading the boards in support of James Morrison. Rumours abound of a possible collaboration with Johnny Marr, and following in the footsteps of Duffy, Rumer or even Adele, Harvieu looks likely to become one of the most talked about singing voices of the next few years.”

:{THE GUARDIAN}: New Band Of The Day (No 1137)

:{ISLAND RECORDS}: Biography

More music to love:
twitter.com/djprolix //