Mulele Matondo Afrika & friends – ‘Mali la Paix’ (February 7 2013)
By Marco Canepari
Despite the fact that it’s become such common-place news it’s no longer one of the top stories in the media, the war in Mali is still ferocious. In fact, the UK and Ireland have just sent, a new contingent to back the French forces.
That’s a clear sign that the war is far from over. Luckily someone is still moving to support. The music world, for example, is still lending its support to the civilian population trapped in a battlefield with no borders. After the tribute offered by Fatoumata Diawara and her project Voices United for Mali, another African artist has gathered together a group of friends and released a hymn to freedom, hopeful to promote the course of peace in the Azawad region.
Following last year’s critically eulogised Court the Storm LP, Portland’s Y La Bamba have crafted a fine amalgamation of smoky folk and hip-swaying Latino sensuality to produce Oh February, an EP that pours into the ears like a fine bottle of summer wine.
So far, the band have released two LP’s, the other being Lupon (2010), a touching record with a finespun spirit, and their latest jewel provides further evidence of their pleasantly softened talent.
Stubborn Heart – Better Than This (One Little Indian/ April 15 2013)
By Tim Marshall
This is the third single from London based electronic duo, Stubborn Heart, whose eponymous album was released last November to critical acclaim. The band only started performing live with the release of their album and Jonathan Tranter‘s review of their January gig suggested that they are not yet entirely comfortable outside of the studio being rather nervous and particular in their performance. However, he picked ‘Better Than This’ as the highlight of the set, and it is easy to see why they have picked it as a single release.
FOLKS – My Mother (Ignition Records/February 4 2013)
By George Dunne
From what sounds like the remnants of the once popular (but long forgotten) Franz Ferdinand and The Fratellis comes FOLKS, with the release of their new single – ‘My Mother’. Disregarding the coincidence that all of those start with an ‘F’, ‘My Mother’ gives off an essence of an emerging new-wave Brit-pop; a hybrid of those classic British bands that were all about the hit singles crossed with the popularity of the modern rising big boys in the US – the likes of The Black Keys easily comes to mind.
Bridie Jackson & The Arbour – Scarecrow (Debt Records/February 11 2013)
By Gary Lewis
Bridie Jackson & The Arbour obviously don’t have triskaidekaphobia, as they are set to command and conquer the year with a double A-side on the recently signed to Manchester-based label, Debt Records (run by writer of lead track ‘Scarecrow’, Louis Barabbas), followed by a UK mini-tour.
‘Scarecrow’ is the perfect vehicle to showcase the band’s individual and combined skills to any new listeners. For a reviewer with wide eclectic tastes (but settling mainly on the dance spectrum), this is unequivocally beautiful, haunting, clever and worthy of so many looped listens. I will be dreaming of dark fields and empty wedding dresses for nights to come.
Prince Fatty – Ali Baba/Kung Fu Battle Ina Brixton (Mr Bongo/ November 5 2012)
By Gary Lewis
Where in the world would we be without the time, dedication and love put in year after year by labels such as Mr Bongo? We would all be heading in one direction, straight to Blandsville. Population: millions.
Shopping on Berwick street was a mecca for any vinyl lover. Especially at Mr Bongo’s. Leave the market sellers’ cries behind and step into an Aladdin’s cave of bountiful musical riches. Now, we check out Soundcloud. Sigh.
Never mind! It just means that when a Prince Fatty EP lands in your inbox, you can soak up the ‘dub’ble pleasure of the two new tracks, instantly.
Lukid – This Dog Can Swim (Ninja Tune/ October 15 2012)
By Jack Flahaven
London-based producer Lukid offers a strange and unsettling preview of his third album Lonely At The Top with the release of ‘This Dog Can Swim’, a single which will be officially circulating the veins of the music industry on October 15, courtesy of Ninja Tune.
Lorn – Weigh Me Down (Ninja Tune/ September 10 2012)
By Maya Kalev
‘Weigh Me Down’ is the final single from Lorn’s stellar album Ask The Dust, a record that refined the sound of his hard-edged, glitched-out debut Nothing Else. With live drumming, vocals and warm synth timbres, ‘Weigh Me Down’ embodies a warmer yet more visceral spirit than on Nothing Else. Field recordings are layered to create a clamourous introduction that mirrors the darkness of the vocal refrain while percussion stabs and plangent synths give way to a vocal refrain that builds under the weight of its own message. Yet while these are Lorn’s own vocals, they are warped to such an extent that they could be anybody’s – which may be the point, as Lorn’s music treads a precarious line between deeply personal and coldly detached.