4ZZZ Music Department Awesome Fortnightly Music Update

It's another list of our favourite things to hit the 4ZZZ Music Library and our last for the year. If you see anything you like you can request it: requests@4zzz.org.au

You can also SMS a request: 0416 281 220

Or call: 07 3252 1555

Thanks to Clare Armstrong, Ally Cole, Lonnie Gilroy & Nick Rodwell for their contributions to this list.

Australian Artists:

Various Artists: Hot Freaks: Volume One (Gun Fever)
- This collection of Gun Fever’s guitar-heavy rock roster has all sorts of - relatively - slamming sounds: punk, post-punk, alternative, grunge, indie-rock, shoegaze, stoner. You’ll hear some well-known faves (Super Best Friends’ Round And Round), some of my faves (Pretty City), and probably some great stuff you’ve never heard before (for me, that would be the crushing stoner of Puck or the Mudhoney-esque garage punk of Pat Chow). Many good things all FREE on bandcamp, hoorah. (Chris Cobcroft)

Various Artists: Community 3 - A Compilation Of Hobart Music (Rough Skies)
- A collection of singles and never before released tracks from a varied selection of bands the city has to offer. A few of the bands on the compilation have been featured across the entire series over the past couple of years, which in a way highlights just how difficult it is to get a foot in the door when you’re geographically isolated. The fact that many of these artists, including Treehouse, Drunk Elk and The Native Cats to name a few, are well known to the creator of the compilation, Julian Teakle, by virtue of his own participation in the Hobart music scene could also be the reason for their continued inclusion. They are united by the challenge they face as unknown artists trying to gain traction in a competitive industry as they emerge from the relative obscurity of one of the country’s smallest capital cities.(Clare Armstrong)

The Aves: Static (Single) (Mirador)
- This single and its b-side are indie-rock-pop, but with more of a sense of history and a grown-up quality to their musicianship than most of their contemporaries. I was kind of surprised to learn that vocalist Lucy Campbell was a woman (no offence), she has a poise in her delivery that is similar to Robert Smith. The band themselves have something of The Cure’s infectious pop, but in their rockier moments they sound, perhaps, more like one of their other influences, The Kinks. (Chris Cobcroft)

Back Back Forward Punch: Emergency Bow Tie (Single) (Mammal)
- If you were to enter Back Back Forward Punch into a game console it would probably result in something quite macabre, but when you enter that same combination into a media player it's a lot more innocent and fun. The Melbourne duo have released an electro-pop single that grooves its way into your move-your-limbs regulator (just below the medulla oblongata). Full of blips, bleeps and the always infectious vocoder, this track is catchy.
A week after we got the original we were serviced with three remixes: the pleasantly reserved nu-disco of Mighty Mouse, Sun City’s punchy electro and Brisbane’s own Pigeon kinda running down the middle of both with their wonderfully relaxing, mid-tempo groove. (Nick Rodwell & Chris Cobcroft)

Clubfeet: Heirs & Graces: The Remixes (Illusive / Mushroom)
- This is a nicely balanced, both listenable and danceable collection of remixes for Clubfeet’s recent album. Starting out with Ta-Ku’s trap, moving to Mercury’s bass driven but minimal stylings, Panama’s nu-disco sweetness and so on. This really builds on the original and there’s lots to like here. (Chris Cobcroft)

The Cold Mean Reds : Garagem De Moderno (Indie)
- When a band claims to be influenced by Fugazi, Elvis Costello and The Drones, you’re either in for a disaster or, maybe, you get The Cold Mean Reds. Thumping hard / blues rock sometimes freezing into the angular scoliosis of post-punk rhythms and melodies. It’s led by Lachlan Marks’ vocals, whose big range, power and wit remind me of Clutch’s Neil Fallon or maybe Man Man’s Honus Honus. (Chris Cobcroft)

Crapulous Gee Gaw: The Road To Milfville (Indie)
- If you’re a fan of The Hardons and The Cosmic Psychos, you’re probably already aware of Sydneysiders Crapulous Gee Gaw. Thoroughly bogan punk that is quite tongue in cheek - often literally - you may have guessed from the title of this, their fifth album, The Road To Milfville. It features twenty-eight songs, too, although that still clocks in at under an hour. If you long for the Aussie punk of the ‘80s then you probably want to check this out. (Chris Cobcroft)

Cuntz: Solid Mates (Homeless)
- Those explosively splattery Melbourne punks serve up their second record of the year (late, as usual), vomiting out their opinions on various topics, including our own little berg, Brizbane. Messy, lo-fi but with a new attention to song-writing that gives you a reason to stick around, once the gimmick wears thin. (Chris Cobcroft)

D.D. Dumbo: D.D Dumbo (The Blue Rider)
- This Brunswick muso creates a head-turning combo of roots, with electronic beats and highly experimental production. Despite that description, it’s very listenable, especially his voice, which rightly garners comparisons to Jeff Buckley. Overall, however, this has a lot more in common with the crazy-cross-genre-awesome that Nicholas Jaar’s Darkside achieved so much acclaim for, just a month or two ago. Perhaps that’s why this is coming out on London and New York based label The Blue Rider. Good one. (Chris Cobcroft)

Dave Hammer: Hammer In The Universe Destroyer EP (Indie)
- I don’t know whether to love or hate veteran producer Dave Hammer’s solo EP, but he’s certainly diverting enough to mention. It kicks off with hard-glam-rock a-la The Darkness, which is OK, but is made more interesting by the synth elements infecting the sound. It becomes more obvious on the second cut, with its gothic folly of a title: Now Showing: Curser Organs And The Master Plays. it’s like darkwave, glam-goth - pretty cheesy, but pretty interesting too. From there we descend into the smouldering indie-electro-goth-folk of I Am The Acidic Controller. It wouldn’t be complete, apparently, without an inspirational synth-pop / autotune croon over a casiotone beat to finish. Odd but oddly compelling. (Chris Cobcroft)

The Dreamer And His Pillow: Thoughts From A Dirty Bathtub (Indie)
- Luke Elliott mixes up all sorts of things on this EP: dubby synth-rock, glitchy beats, whisper-quiet latin pop, vocals that sound like Elliott Smith, ambient soundscapes - the list goes on. If you had to pick reference points you might choose Prefuse 73 or even Tunng, although this is not a carbon copy of either. Diverse, talented and speaking of good things to come. (Chris Cobcroft)

East Brunswick All Girls Choir: Dirty Bird (Single) (Indie)
- Dirty Bird is the first taste of Melbourne-based quintet East Brunswick All Girls Choir’s upcoming debut full-length album, Seven Drummers. A contradiction to their name, the band has created a track that blends distorted blues, country and folk - particularly in the screaming of the vocals - to appealing effect. Seven Drummers is due for release in early 2014. (Ally Cole)

Empire Of The Sun: Celebrate (Single) (EMI)
- After a rumour-laden hiatus, EOTS hit the dance floor with this electro-pop single. All the pump, falsetto and Ratatat-esque synths to sink your stereosonic-teeth into. (Nick Rodwell)

Enclosures: Scotch Mist (Powertool)
- Post-punk noise merchants, Enclosures, have released their debut album, Scotch Mist. Much like the idiom that the album is named after it's dissonant and provocative. Lo-fi from beginning to end, it does have it's lighter, more melodic moments, although, when these moments do arrive, they are countered with harsh reminders that these Melbournians are noise-makers, first and foremost. (Nick Rodwell)

Flying Emus: The Collection: 1984-1990 (Warner)
- Pretty good at whatever they chose to do: country, pop, trad-folk, the Flying Emus were at their best, I think, when doing bluegrass. Bluegrass bands are renowned for their crazy soloing, but even amongst them The Flying Emus have the skills to make you do a double-take. I don’t know if they still have hootanannies (they took the word out of the OED), but if you do find yourself at one, you should wish to have a band there, half as good as this. (Chris Cobcroft)

The Hannah James Group: Effigy (Indie)
- Longform cuts of very contemporary, complex jazz from this group, led by bassist Hannah James, but very strong on sax and piano. Pretty ivory tower, but also pretty good to listen to in a cerebral, progressive sense. (Chris Cobcroft)

Ilias: Loving You (Single) (Indie)
- Far and away the most radio friendly single from Ilias, in the string he has released this year. The indie-folk-rock is a bit more generic than the strange, proggy and dreamy mixtures of instrumental rocking and beats that you may have heard, but Ilias’ ability to turn his idiosyncratic vision into consistent fandom has, so far, been astounding. So maybe this will be the same? (Chris Cobcroft)

Immigrant Union: I Can't Return (Single) (Indie)
- Brent Deboer of The Dandy Warhols teams up with some up and coming Melbourne musicians for this melancholic country-skewed piece of roots rock. Extremely confident. (Lonnie Gilroy)

Jungal: Leave My Head (Indie)
- This all girl trio seem destined to be doing double-headliners with Stonefield. Extremely competent blues and roots rock, very impressive production. Brings a pop friendliness to the table that will endear them to a wider audience but maybe fails to be the ‘everything to everyone’ that The White Stripes were. What do Jungal care? They’ve already released this in Canada where I understand it’s going great-guns. (Chris Cobcroft)

Kapow!Kraken: Kapow!Kraken (Indie)
- If you don’t catch it from their sound, seeing Jess on the drums and Simon on the synth, will clue you in to the fact that Kapow!Kraken have a bit in common with Matt & Kim. In a time where M&K have developed a bit of a bad reputation for their endlessly upbeat output, Kapow!Kraken are actually a bit more nuanced, sloshing in some ambient synth to go with the pounding kit, taking their time and not necessarily just thundering towards top speed every opportunity they get. A very short EP, many of these songs punch out before they hit two minutes, but that leaves space to be interested in hearing more and as far as twee synth-pop goes, especially in Oz, you could do substantially worse than this. (Chris Cobcroft)

King Colour: Break The Ice (Single) (The A&R Department)
- Sydney indie four piece who have seemingly emerged from a rocking time machine where they were jamming with the early fun Beatles before they got a bit serious, and the Beach Boys when they were still relevant. More recently they recall The Kooks and Two Door Cinema Club, but show enough potential to soon carve out their own groovy groove of summer tunes indie-rock-pop. (Lonnie Gilroy)

King Krill: Back In Beige (Indie)
- This came out back in May, but it’s only being launched now. I’m glad to get a second look at this: thunderous power-pop / proto-punk which owes debts to The Buzzcocks, MC5 and The Ramones (there’s also a ska horn section on the final number). Despite having tongues firmly in their cheeks (see: Back In Beige), they put an energy into this that’d bring out a sheen of sweat on the brow of all those old guys they reference. (Chris Cobcroft)

Kit Pop: Rose Star (Indie)
- Kit Pop once again proves to have more knowledge than any ten other producers. Sneaking in another EP before the end of the year, it brings together both the dance and downbeat sounds he’s been working with, with elements of trap, r’n’b, UK Garage and more in a cleverly paced and stylish package. This is, in many ways, similar to and as exciting as Hermitude’s Hyperparadise, or the best of Rustie or TNGHT. (Chris Cobcroft)

The Leap Year: The Narrowing (Hobbledehoy)
- The second album from this Perth band is mope rock that follows the trail blazed by a band like The Church, but has a gutsy guitar sound that puts The Leap Year in the company of fellow West Australians like Eleventh He Reaches London. The Narrowing is full of unresolved tension and small town angst, threatening to overflow and engulf everyone. Quintessential Australian gothic. (Chris Cobcroft)

Methyl Ethel: Teeth (Indie)
- Perth’s Methyl Ethel have made a beautiful EP. Drifting clouds of ambient pop lurk amongst strange samples. This has some of the willful weirdness, mass-culture-pastiche and excellent pop sensibility of Ariel Pink without being exactly the same, by any stretch. Maybe something of a kinder, gentler Sonic Youth too. All good things in this EP. (Chris Cobcroft)

The Nerve : Audiodacity (Bird's Robe Records)
- An unusual addition to the increasingly eclectic Bird’s Robe collective. The Melbourne band mix up old-school hardcore with blues-rock, cock-rock and… hiphop? It puts them surprisingly close to fellow Aussie shredders Gay Paris, or maybe, with the hip hop thing, Deez Nutz or Infectious Grooves? This sort of thing is very easy to do REALLY badly, but here it’s loud, tight and well-produced. (Chris Cobcroft)

The Occupants: Wonderland (Single) (The A&R Department)
- Vocalist Flynn Gower who, along with his brother Luke, are both former members of Cog and now comprise this Byron Bay duo, has a breathy quality to his voice that makes him sound like Seal or the guy from Londonbeat and it contributes to a strongly poppy flavour in what is otherwise eight-and-a-half minutes of prog. rock. This work of studio wizardry is nearly worthy of the synth-prog mastery of a band like Porcupine Tree. Every element of it is virtuosic and completely unselfconscious. Cheesy, insane and beautiful. (Chris Cobcroft)

Oscar Key Sung: All I Could Do (Single) (Two Bright Lakes / Remote Control)
- This is more like it. OKS mixes up his pleasant r’n’b vocal with a soulful but upbeat house track. All the cut-up / pitch-shifted vocal samples and tinny beats link this to the more ghetto, underground house sounds of late, and as such, this is pretty fresh. (Chris Cobcroft)

Papa Pilko And The Binrats: Third Time Lucky (Indie)
- I keep hearing ‘country’ associated with Papa Pilko, but, if this EP’s anything to go by, they’re a brass and sax heavy, slow, bluesy, swing band, infatuated with the same mythological world Tom Waits inhabits. Vocalist Cyrus Pilko helps this along by sounding like a combination of Tom’s gravelliness when he’s singing at his lowest but applied to the top of his tenor range - ear-splitting goodness. (Chris Cobcroft)

Paul Conrad: Heresy Baby (Single) (Indie)
- Paul Conrad is a singer-songwriter with a taste for now classic indie, dark folk and alt-country that you might remember from The Shins and Band Of Horses (when they were slightly less pop). Heresy Baby has the big rock chorus and it’s pretty impressive, but if I had to choose it would be the b-side, Thanks For Nothing: a gothically echoing, almost angelic guitar melody played off against the bitter recriminations of the lyrics. I don’t know Paul Conrad outside of these two tracks, but for good or for ill, I expect to hear a lot more. (Chris Cobcroft)

Reverse Polarities: On The Contrary (Big Village)
- We got this a bit late, but it is pretty good. Great flow, smart spitting, bass-heavy beats matched...contrarily…to jazzy loops. It’s long, but it hits like a hammer from first to last and it’s all good. (Chris Cobcroft)

Sierra Fin: T-Shirt Weather (Single) (Grand Street Music / MGM)
- A distinctly Australian ode to summer. If this isn't playing at every barbeque over Christmas and the new year, I'll have lost a bet with myself (again). (Lonnie Gilroy)

The Stickmen: S/T / Man Made Stars (Homeless)
- One of Tasmania’s best-loved / most undersung bands continue its resurgance. Propulsive, unforgiving, murkily lofi post-punk is not so uncommon, but the quality of songwriting The Stickmen brought to their two full-lengths back in the late ‘90s is extremely uncommon. Beloved by many of Australia’s finest including Tom Lyngcoln and Mike Noga, you may have caught the band storming back to acclaim when they reformed for The Drones’ curated ATP? Now is your chance to hear those two records, lovingly remastered by Mikey Young and re-released by Homeless Records. Very special. (Chris Cobcroft)

Suiix: Planet (Single) (Indie)
- Sydney’s Sarah Julienne lists both kyu and Julia Holter as influences and, well, she’s doing my job for me. The ethereal, ambient pop melodies lilt along, weaving in and out of the crashing, kyu style beats. Very interested to hear more of this. (Chris Cobcroft)

Sumie: Sumie (Bella Union / Pias / Mushroom)
- Classic, simple acoustic folk from this melancholy, Swedish singer-songwriter. Without the country or hillbilly affectations, Sumie still has the same beautiful purity of tone as Alela Diane. (Chris Cobcroft)

Tokeo: Weasel Face (For Tony Abbott) (Single) (Indie)
- Hip hop out of NT, "annoyed" with the "honorable" Tony Abbott. It's a big topic over a big beat, if only Chuck D were on it to really spit on Abbott, because the discontent in the lyrics does not match the tone inherent in the flow. With this in mind, though, this track has a home on 4ZZZ, the sentiment, however delivered, is significant. (Nick Rodwell)

Thyrsday: Skin (Single) (The A&R Department)
- Nikki Malvar’s smooth but enervated sounding vocal, along with the penitent junkie bravado of the lyrics hint at an even greater melancholy than its restrained delivery allows. Indie-folk mixes with a brisk, country beat, which sounds like life slipping away while you tell yourself there’s plenty of time, even though you know there really isn’t. A country sadness the equal of Cat Power. (Chris Cobcroft)

Unity Floors: Exotic Goldfish Blues (Pop Frenzy)
- Their first full-length. Lots of fuzzy, lo-fi slightly grungy rock, mixed up with a jangly pop sensibility, where the two are always duelling for supremacy. Not necessarily as interesting at full album length as it might be, but still better than most of what’s out there. (Chris Cobcroft)

Local Artists:

BitchRatch: Freshbatch Vol 1 (Indie)
- Strange drum-loops, indistinct, lo-fi noise, vocals that sound like they’re through a megaphone, growling synth-fuzz, beats that make your head bleed as they move nauseously out of phase with each other. Sometimes stylishly industrial in the tradition of Crystal Castles or Atari Teenage Riot and sometimes just deranged … probably in the style of the same. (Chris Cobcroft)

Classik Nawu: So Tight (Single) (Various Artists / Pumped Up Kids)
- Upbeat, party focused reggae and neo-soul. It might be a little bit shallow, but this crew are undeniably tight, with great horn sections, talented vocalists and impressive tempo and rhythm changes that seem effortless in their hands. (Chris Cobcroft)

Deadweight Express: Deadweight Express (Indie)
- Really thumping blues-rock, again, something Kyuss fans will probably be into. Strong musicianship and production - what’s not to like? (Chris Cobcroft)

Foxsmith: Wake Up (Single) (The A&R Department)
- Upcoming Brisbane all female band, part pop, equal parts all of the indie soundscape. Bucking trends of the last few years (at least in my mind anyway) where vocals and music compete for dominance, everything works together and adds to the overall experience of youthful yearning. We've all been there, surely. (Lonnie Gilroy)

Gentlemen: Sex Tape (Homeless)
- Extraordinarily disintegratory punky thrash, originally release on tape back in 2012, but getting a go on vinyl, courtesy of Homeless records and in higher-fidelity, courtesy of Mikey Young. If you rate some of their influences like The Locust, then you’ll most certainly rate this as well. (Chris Cobcroft)

Go Van Go: Taking Hostages (Various Artists)
- Go Van Go, an extrapolation from a band called Trojan Horse, have grown into something quite exciting. They namecheck a lot of blues-rockers in their influences and they do indeed have something of The White Stripes and The Stones in what they do, but not all the time. Elsewhere they pump the same angular, energetic, angry and smart rock as a band like Future Of The Left. This is no feeble imitation either, this is really good. (Chris Cobcroft)

Major Leagues: Weird Season (Indie / MGM)
- Exploding onto the scene in early 2013 with singles Teen Mums and Endless Drain, Brisbane’s Major Leagues have closed their big year with their debut EP, Weird Season. Combining influences ranging from 90’s shoegaze to 60’s garage-pop, the quartet have put together a collection of sun-drenched tracks that are full of fuzzy guitars, feedback and melodic harmonies. Major Leagues prove that girls can be in charge of the fuzz too. (Ally Cole)

RY X: Berlin (Single) (Dumont Dumont / Liberator / Mushroom)
- Berlin is the title track from RY X’s critically acclaimed debut EP of the same name. Stripped back to its bare elements, RY X has created a captivating, simple track that leaves only the powerful, almost intimate vocals and ambient guitar to draw the listener in. Emotive and melodic, Berlin draws comparisons to Bon Iver and Ben Howard, but also stands in a realm of its own. (Ally Cole)

The Upskirts: We Could Be A Team (Single) (Indie)
- I don’t think I’ll ever like their bandname, but this slow and fuzzy burn is right up there with the other really good shoegaze coming out of Oz (Pretty City, Flyying Colours) right now. It’s a bit different from the garage / proto-punk they’ve been rocking, maybe it’s a bit of a cash-in on the shoegaze re-(re-re-)vival, but it still sounds pretty good. (Chris Cobcroft)

Mtns: Salvage (SGC)
- Mtns do a slow-burning, downbeat electro-pop, which hits many of the same notes as Oliver Tank, although there is a pop simplicity to Mtns style that may well appeal to a wide audience and on tracks live Crave they prove capable of blowing out their sound to a stadium size. The unexpected M-Phazes remix of single Lost Track Of Time is nice: a subtle r’n’b / trap refocus of the original; M-Phazes is the master. (Chris Cobcroft)

The Royal Artillery : Gloria Ducunt (Indie)
- Oi, Kyuss fans, gloriously sludgy blues / stoner / desert rock from the Brisbane bad-boys. If you were wondering, the title is the latter half / best bit (snigger, snigger) of the actual motto of the British Royal Artillery Regiment: Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt. I’ll let you make your own interpretation of what exactly that means. (Chris Cobcroft)

Tumesce: Moon Tune / The Alchemist (Single) (Indie)
- Despite the disturbingly suggestive name, local folk collective Tumesce appear to be pretty straight-up indie-folk in the style of Bon Iver and pretty good at it, too. (Chris Cobcroft)

New Zealand Artists:

T54: In Brush Park (Flying Nun / Remote Control)
- Following up their 2010 EP, Drone Attacks, Christchurch’s T54 have released their debut album, In Brush Park. Produced by Tom Bell (Ghost Wave) and mastered by Steven Marr (Doprah), In Brush Park is ten songs of hazy guitars, fuzzy vocals and heavy, grungy drums. As much as the shoegaze is heavy, there’s plenty of throwbacks to a more sedate Flying Nun sound and also a strong link to be drawn with the sound of Dinosaur Jr.. Not just for fans of My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus And Mary Chain. (Ally Cole & Chris Cobcroft)

Overseas Artists:

Various Artists: Asthmatic Kitty Digital Sampler Winter 2013/2014 (Asthmatic Kitty)
- Sufjan Stevens’ own label continues to thrive, as you’ll notice on its latest sampler, featuring old indie-folk faves like Shannon Stephens and Sufjan, of course, doing Christmas songs (what else?). There are also new international successes like Lilly & Madeleine and Fol Chen - whose folk-tronic sounds seem to follow in Sufjan’s ever more progressive footsteps. One of the most interesting additions is more electronic than any other artist on AK: Helado Negro with their washed out glitch, wonky and minimal funk. Land Of A Thousand Rappers start out as soundscapey, experimental songcraft of some kind, then go full on, left-field hip hop. It’s very easy to trace the course of Sufjan’s own, crazy artistic development through the artists his label signs. There’s also, as always, plenty of beautiful folk / singer-songwriter fare from the likes of Chris Schlarb, Linda Perhacs and Denison Witmer. As interesting as always. (Chris Cobcroft)

Various Artists: Bonobo: Late Night Tales (LateNightTales)
- Bonobo has transitioned more successfully into the modern world of beats than just about anybody on the Ninja Tune roster. On his chapter of the LNT series however it feels like he’s slipping back into something more comfortable, and it may be even better. Ninja Tune always had a strong suit in jazzy downbeat, and this almost feels like one of their old mixtapes - if Nina Simone and The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble had lazily rubbed shoulders on their roster. There are names you’ll know and plenty you’ll be off to the internet to hunt down. Funk, wonky, bass music, jazz, old school instrumental hip hop, piano and string suites: everything coheres in an early morning malaise. This is a pretty great mixtape, Bonobo continues to get it right. (Chris Cobcroft)

Beastmilk: Climax (Svart)
- This Finnish band combine the driving post-punk of Joy Division, the melodrama of later Depeche Mode and a heaviness that could - as the band themselves say - be linked back to Killing Joke. Gothically thunderous but with plenty of melodic hooks to soften the blows. (Chris Cobcroft)

bEEdEEgEE: Flowers (Single) (4AD / Remote Control)
- Under the moniker bEEdEEgEE, Gang Gang Dance founder Brian DeGraw has presented Flowers, the first track from his debut LP SUM/ONE. Featuring vocals from CSS frontwoman Lovefoxxx, Flowers, is a hazy, mellow track that ventures into relaxed synthpop (one might even say chillwave), showcasing solid songwriting, a mixture of peculiar sounds and restrained vocals. SUM/ONE is out now. (Ally Cole)

Beyonce: Beyonce (Parkwood / Columbia)
- Beyonce’s sneak attack, unleashing her album and its fourteen videos with no notice in the middle of December has had the pundits scrambling to shower fawning reviews all over it. Having said which, on initial listens, this does sound pretty good. Beyonce is in a pretty enviable position: r’n’b diva to the masses and, increasingly, critical darling as well. As the hype wave recedes there’ll be plenty to talk about. At this early stage I am prepared to say, it’s better than R Kelly. (Chris Cobcroft)

The Bohicas: XXX (Single) (Domino / EMI)
- English lads The Bohicas look like they might do big things for Domino. A surging indie-rock sound which has, very much as they say, a touch of The Horrors and Franz Ferdinand, but as those bands sag into mid-career MORishness, The Bohicas bring just enough edge to turn your head. (Chris Cobcroft)

Burial: Rival Dealer (Hyperdub)
- There’s something uncanny in how Burial, aka William Bevan manages to leap from pinnacle to pinnacle of the zeitgeist, appearing with another fifteen minutes worth of cheesy dance, vandalised an aural steel wool pad and ruling all for the next six months. Rival Dealer’s three cuts continue his trend into longform numbers. Beginning with its eleven minute title-track which mixes up his most explicit reproduction of 90’s rave yet with a relentless garage beat and Gavin DeGraw’s pop hook transformed into the sound of a house diva, followed by a slamming, fuzzy bass crush. Hiders takes a shimmering synth melody and, out of the haze and rain sound effects pairs it with a hilariously unsubtle electro beat from the ‘80s. Closer, Come Down To Us, essentially takes two more on a similar theme, at first marrying a synth-pop melody to a bass heavy hiphop beat and then folding into an upbeat dance anthem with electric piano ringing like bells. The soundscapes that Burial creates have always been ‘cinematic’, but there’s a cohesive theme that runs across this EP in its spoken-word vocal samples: some 3am expression of what it is to be LGBT, which, in all the darkness, sadness, cheesiness and transcendent euphoria that Burial incorporates, is captured pretty perfectly. (Chris Cobcroft)

Childish Gambino: Because The Internet (Glassnote / Universal)
- Donald Glover continues to divide opinion with this curious, possibly autobiographical / possibly a load of codswallop, concept album about modern life’s little isolations. Uplifted again by his comedian wit, which sparkles even when his nerdiness fails to charm. (Chris Cobcroft)

Dam-Funk & Snoopzilla: 7 Days Of Funk (Stones Throw)
- Future-funker Dam-Funk & yet another avatar of the increasingly (thankfully) tongue-in-cheek Snoop, make a pleasantly laidback team. The future, here, sounds strangely like the g-funk of the past, but it’s been long enough and this little trip down memory lane offers some happy reveries. Refreshingly light on skits and other hip hop paraphernalia, it’s just Snoop and the funk, for your listening pleasure. (Chris Cobcroft)

East India Youth: Looking For Someone (Single) (Stolen / Remote Control)
- There’s a tribal chant quality, an ol’ timeiness that Fleet Foxes would like and that gets paired with a heavy beat and thick synth harmonies, almost synth-gaze heavy. An effective combo. (Chris Cobcroft)

Femme: Fever Boy (Single) (Tape / Shock)
- Londoner Femme mixes bratty hip hop a-la Lady Sovereign in the verses (but notably more successful than she’s been lately, and, yeah, less chav) paired with a 60’s girl group chorus. Both are aided by fantastic production and the whole sounds brilliant. (Chris Cobcroft)

Gentlemen: Night Reel 1 (Week Of Wonders)
- More psych pop out of the UK. Slow and tunefully groovy, with the emphasis on the pop melodies rather than the psych. Tame Impala fans, Beatles fans, etc., line up. (Chris Cobcroft)

James Ruskin : Slit (Blueprint / EPM)
- The head-honcho of the Blueprint label gets a headstart on the new year with this three track EP. Beginning with something that initially sounds like it might be channeling the same ouervre as Jon Hopkins with a cloud of fuzz haunting the beats of Slit, but it moves into clean and powerful electro-funk with some quasi-industrial stylings, just enough to make it thoroughly interesting, without being intimidating. Wisdom Of Youth is electro-dancehall in an uncompromising and downright crushing style, washed over with soaring ambience. Closer, Emotion Erode takes elements of both tracks, but especially the creepy atmosphere alluded to at the outset, and creates knots of roiling beats, lurking in clouds of atmosphere and emerging from thunderheads of glitchy distortion. A formidably stylish outing. (Chris Cobcroft)

Jon Hopkins: Immunity Extended (Domino / EMI)
- In a year of great dance records, Jon Hopkins’ Immunity is one of the greatest. The extended edition dumps a bunch of remixes on the end of the original glitchy, techno masterpiece. Many of these are pretty fine, but, the original was so inspired it’s pretty hard to top it. Also included is the Hopkins / Purity Ring mash-up, which was always a bit of a disappointment for me: separately I’m a big fan of either, but together they prove to be marginally less than the sum of their parts. Something to go to if you don’t have the original and if you don’t, WHY NOT!? (Chris Cobcroft)

Ken Stringfellow: I Never Said I’d Make It Easy (Lojinx)
- An idiosyncratic look at the solo back-catalogue of the REM / Posies / Big Star guy. Despite its mixture of indie, folk-rock and country from a diversity of time periods there is a coherence to this material that is much easier to understand than Stringfellow’s last record, the extremely wide-ranging and - to my mind - quite underrated, Danzig In The Moonlight. Perhaps the title of this record is a jab at the critics. Contrarily enough I think this has plenty of access points for both the indie aficionado and the easy-listener alike. (Chris Cobcroft)

Marshall Applewhite: Sludge EP (YoSucka! / EPM)
- Any dance producer who takes his name from the leader of the Heaven’s Gate cult is hardly going to sound like David Guetta, are they? Strongly influenced by the techno of his native Detroit, Applewhite nonetheless sounds distinct. This EP runs counter to much of his other work that I’ve heard, which, while equally downtempo, has a dirty grind, a scattershot of bassy electronic sound that’s quasi-industrial, but would still work excellently on a (very creepy) dancefloor. Here he’s progressed to something sparse and electro, often sounding like a throwback to the pre-techno sounds of Kraftwerk, although he throws in at least one curve-ball in the gunning proto-hardcore of a cut like Bleek. Maybe not my favourite of his productions, but still pretty interesting. (Chris Cobcroft)

Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro: Perfect Times (Backfire / P-Vine / Jazzman / Instrumental)
- There’s a bit of jazziness and comparatively very little soul in the all-on funk of Japan’s Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro. Their third album, released here just ahead of a tour, is as insanely energetic as you could possibly hope for. There may be other references to make, but this is as exciting as Yoko Kano when he really cuts sick, and to my mind that’s all the recommendation you need. This is what funk is supposed to be about. (Chris Cobcroft)

The Notwist: Close To The Glass (Single) (Sub Pop / Spunk)
- More chilly, glitchy, semi-kraut from The Notwist, in advance of an album we’ll see in February 2014. The cold sparseness makes a curious contrast to the propulsive kraut rhythms, but it’s a combination that ends up being compelling. (Chris Cobcroft)

Nova Heart: Beautiful Boys (INDICA Australia / MGM)
- An Australian release of this Chinese band’s 2012 EP, doing a strangely logical mix of new-wave, triphop and disco. A bit like Sneaker Pimps with slightly less rock and slightly more of a disco groove. Maybe a bit of Blondie too. (Chris Cobcroft)

Oranssi Pazuzu: Valonielu (Svart / 20 Buck Spin)
- Thickly textured, gritty, messy, even psychedelic black metal that lumbers along, slowly whipping up its many layers into, at it’s height, a revolving storm of sound. The band are diverse enough to work all sorts of things in here: goth rock, bizarre sci-fi soundscapes, space-rock sound effects, even a cheesy metalcore sounding synth on the opener, but it doesn’t ruin the overall delivery of a very interesting metal record. (Chris Cobcroft)

Paavoharju: Joko sinä tulet tänne alas tai minä nousen sinne (Svart)
- This Finnish collective of ascetic Christians are releasing their third album of ghostly, fuzzy, quasi-industrial sounding soundscapes full of what might be best described as indistinct yet terrifying chants. It’s a little bit like some of Current 93’s recent output. It becomes less like that with the addition of something unique to this third opus: rapping. The goth hop might be better (or worse) if I could speak Finnish. Maybe a bit of a mood-breaker, or not, if you really embrace what the group are trying to do. (Chris Cobcroft)

Quitty And The Don’ts: All Of You (Single) (Indie)
- Three cuts of very authentic garage / blues-rock / psych / maybe even a little bit of soul, from this NY band. Bit of the Stones, bit of the Yardbirds, bit of The Doors. (Chris Cobcroft)

Sebadoh: State Of Mine (Single) (Domino / EMI)
- Upbeat indie charm from the far-from-bad return album by everybody’s indie heroes of the 1990s. (Chris Cobcroft)

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings: Stranger To My Happiness (Single) (Daptone / Shock)
- Toe-tappin’, thigh slappin’, groove lappin’ throwback (good for the) soul music. Don't let anyone tell you they don't make music like the best of Motown because they're just lying straight to your face. (Lonnie Gilroy)

Sohn: Lessons (Single) (4AD / Remote Control)
- The melancholy r’n’b strains of London’s Sohn are cut from the same cloth as James Blake, but the best thing about this single is the way they’re played off against the driving synth backing which pulses like a huge, artificial heartbeat. Gripping in the extreme. (Chris Cobcroft)

Son Little: Cross My Heart (Single) (Anti- / Warner)
- Son Little’s debut for Anti- is an unusual mixture of blues, electro beats and as the song builds to its climax, increasingly soulful r’n’b. It has something in common with Gil Scott Heron’s last record, with its unusual blending of worlds and, like that, it is pretty revelatory. (Chris Cobcroft)

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks: Lariat (Single) (Matador / Spunk)
- You kinda get what you expect at this point from SM and co., right? Fortunately what you get is, as always, pretty enjoyable, easy-going (indie-rock with a laid-back piano) and yet with hidden depths and Malkmus-style lyrical conundrums to get into if you choose. From the album that’ll arrive very early in the new year. (Chris Cobcroft)

Temples: Mesmerise (Single) (Heavenly Recordings / Mushroom Promotions)
- Mesmerise is the first single off Temples’ debut LP, Sun Structures. Melodic and reverb-drenched, Mesmerise is a hint at what the psych-pop sounds of today would have turned out like if they came out of the 1990s Brit Pop scene. The UK psych rockers have created a sound easily compared to current psychedelic favourite Tame Impala, but rather than coming across as an inferior copy, they prove that they are tough competition. (Ally Cole)

Toy: Join The Dots (Heavenly / Pias / Mushroom)
- The second full-length from the Brighton indie / psych / kraut / shoegaze. Maybe not quite as uncompromisingly interesting as a band like Cave, but for that, probably more listenable, and with a record still full of enormous slabs of mind-bending rock. (Chris Cobcroft)

Van Dyke Parks: I’m History (Bella Union / Pias / Mushroom)
- VDP follows his own, ineffable muse, penning a fully orchestrated crooner that could’ve been the work of Ivor Novello or Noel Coward. The lyrics are a fit - very witty - even if it is some incredibly strange, heavy going tale of politics, philosophy and, of course, history. (Chris Cobcroft)

Xiu Xiu: Nina (Graveface)
- James Stewart and co. do a whole record of Nina Simone classics in the (one and only) style of Xiu Xiu. The interaction of the jazzy, soulful originals with Stewart’s often lacerating interpretations is at times, unsurprisingly, clashing, but at others offers a harmonisation of the deep sadness in both musicians, some unexpected insights and genuine beauty. Not always successful, but, certainly if you like Xiu Xiu, worth the journey. (Chris Cobcroft)

White Denim: At Night In Dreams (Single) (Downtown / Pias / Mushroom)
- A new single off the excellent album Corsicana Lemonade by the Austin four piece. All the stylistic progressions this band go through, it’s kinda difficult to keep up. Here they sound a bit like a very frisky Steve Miller. If that doesn’t cool, trust me, this is very cool. (Chris Cobcroft)

Album Details

Album Title: Awesome Fortnightly Music Update
Artist: 4ZZZ Music Department
Record Label: