Hello again friends, freaks and fans of new alternative music of the kind that makes you wax lyrical to disinterested strangers.
Have I got a selection for you this week! I’ll be honest, I’d only heard of one of the five artists featured here a week ago and each one of this week’s five have beaten off competition from some of my favourite emerging artists (Noga Erez, KÁRYYN and Fallujah to name just some) to make the list.
We’ve got The Budos Band (pictured) bringing some updated Stax soul power, we’ve got Tim Hecker transporting you to another world (but also just Japan) and we’ve got Re NaïQa on a quest to make you vibrate. Which sounds possibly a little more cheeky than it actually is.
So, I hope you enjoy. And if you don’t, try the other three artists I’ve mentioned above, you might not totally hate them. And if you don’t like them either, I hear Chaka Khan’s got another derivative Justin Timberlake rip-off you might like…
| The Charm Offensive |
Archie Faulks: Hung Up
My best mate (OK, my only mate) has just picked himself up a lovely new Merc and will spend the better part of his day tomorrow driving down from London to my new Cornish abode, no doubt enjoying the early Spring sunshine and the perks of his new premium German automobile.
What he won’t be enjoying, sadly, is the wonderful sounds of Archie Faulks. And that is precisely because – like a wally – he ballsed up his priorities and concentrated on sorting out things like car insurance rather than the appropriate lead to play his own music from his phone. I know. If I had another friend to relegate him behind, I would do.
And that’s a real shame for him because Hung Up is the perfect companion for a long, leisurely Friday drive in your new wheels; part John Mayer jam-along, part Isley Brothers harmony-fest, it’s brimming with the promise of warmer days to come.
If you like what you hear, the London-based singer-songwriter has released two other tracks on Spotify and has also written and recorded under the moniker, Tenterhooks.
| The Military Coup |
Re NaïQa: Eyes Wide Open
Toulouse duo, Re NaïQa describe their music as being designed to make “the body vibrate while the mind calms down”.
It’s rare to hear a more poetic – nor more perfect – description of a band’s sound.
Their debut album, Cosmogonie is an enchanting mix of world-flavoured vocals alongside †††-style robotic beats and deep bass.
Where Eyes Wide Open really starts to soar, for me, is when the drum production kicks up a notch around half way through. I’m reminded of the breakdown in Blur’s On the Way To The Club, The Great Collapse by Nine Inch Nails or even Pigeon by Cannibal Ox – three completely disparate artists, none of whom should have nothing in common with Re NaïQa. But then that just goes to show the breadth and ambition of their work.
| The Peaceful Protest |
Tim Hecker: That World
I completely understand if That World weirds you out. I’ve been a Tim Hecker fan for a number of years now; indeed, I reviewed his track Castrati Stack in an earlier incarnation of this very blog in 2016 and, to this day, it gives me the willies. To put not too fine a point on it, I think of his stuff as being horror-movie music without the jumpy bits.
But this track, man. This track, I could meditate to.
In 2018, the Canadian electronic musician and ‘sound artist’ released the album Konoyo (Japanese for “the living world”). It featured collaborations with a gagaku (a type of traditional Japanese classical music… *adjusts specs*) ensemble recorded in a temple on the outskirts of Tokyo.
And, while that album never really resonated with me, this track – which follows very much in that vein – absolutely gets me going.
I love the koto that opens the track and the swirling flutes that make up its bed. But I also love that he twins that with the 80s-sounding bass line and – of course, it’s Tim Hecker, so there’s gotta be some dissonance in there too.
That World comes from a new album called Anoyo (a companion album to Konoyo and, fittingly, Japanese for “the afterlife”), to be released on May 10th. And if you think you’re already excited, watch this teaser clip which includes footage of the album’s recording.
| Guerilla Warfare |
The Budos Band: Old Engine Oi
The Budos Band ought to be ashamed of themselves. When the world hears Old Engine Oil, a whole population of Costa Rican plantation workers are going to be out of a job.
And that, quite simply, is because one shot of this a day will mean you’ll never need your morning coffee again.
I’ve been putting this track on immediately after I roll out of bed for the last few days and by the time I’ve moseyed to the bathroom I’m Rocky bastard Balboa, lad, and I veritably piss excellence.
Like a straight-faced The Go! Team, practising their Led Zep licks while Melt Yourself Down’s North African horns warble on top, this track is on the edge, full of energy and shimmering with shit-kicking attitude.
Old Engine Oil comes from the forthcoming record, V, out April 12th via Daptone.
| The Quiet Riot |
Sego: Neon Me Out
You know how Hollywood films will sometimes try to recreate the old Ugly Duckling story by putting ‘nerdy’ glasses on some impossibly gorgeous starlet only so they can do the ‘big reveal’ at the end about how she was really beautiful under it all?
Well, sometimes I get the feeling some bands are kinda doing the same thing – roughing up their sound around the edges to disguise the fact that they’re actually really talented songwriters who actually know how to write beautiful, soaring melodies.
Sego – who, as if to prove a point, have named their up-coming record Sego Sucks (out April 5th) – are just one such band.
Neon Me Out comes crashing in with fuzzy basslines and generation slacker vocals a la Darwin Deez. But then it hits the chorus and there’s this big, stadium-filling sing-along twinned with these sublime and unexpected chord-changes.
And to cap it all off, the Utah four-piece combine it all with super-cool, if possibly slightly vacuous, sloganeering (“Your opinions are a crutch”) and lyrics that definitely sound like a cat asking to be fed. What more could you want?
And so we reach a cease-fire for this week. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
The silence is broken again next week when I’ll return with five more selections for your consideration. Until then, thank you for reading and go in peace.
– SV –