Friday, February 27, 2009

King Django - A Single Thread

Wow. It's at exactly 4 tracks in to "A Single Thread", the title track, that you have to do three things, 1: turn it up 2: take a step back to say "holy wowfuck" and 3: start listening even more intently (as if you weren't gripped excited and laughing for joy from the very beginning). As the album progresses, words fail. This is unclassifyable, ineffable. I therefore shall talk about the imprint of the album on my memory rather than the album itself, for to feel like I'm talking about the sounds alone is like trying to describe water. We all know it's the most amazing thing on the earth, but you can never do it justice, you just drink it, encourage others to drink it, and feel it doing amazing things to you. So, the imprint: I feel cleansed. I have taken a journey. I have discovered one of my new favourite artists. I feel an incredible zest for life. I feel like life has given me a gift. Sorry this isn't much of an objective review, but holy wowfuck. Just fuckin' get this album. King Django - A Single Thread. Ok I'll throw words at you but it's not gonna do the sounds justice... Sparkle magic glowstick usurped by tribal midgets cute and funny laughing at the sky ploughing fields on temperate days surrounded by palms glorious sunshine amazing lyrics don't even feel the need to have sex. Complete. Joy. No moment of reflection, churning flutes and shakers through a monkey-grinder's organ being played by a cat, dog and rat who love each other with the intellect of stephen hawking the pride of a lion the savannah hosting a party sword fighting on a pirate ship the carribean is a myth compared to the reality that exists inside your head when you listen to this album. I'm not even on drugs. I still don't feel the need to have sex, maybe not ever again. Joy. Complete. Amazing. Listen. Then listen again. Holy wowfuck.

You can buy this album here. King Django also has a fancy homepage with gig listings etc.

Predator Dub Assassins - The Hardest

There's something about reggae dub that fascinates me: it gets you up, by "getting down". This works in a metaphorical sense as well as a strict musical sense. The bass and kick drum falls on the down beats, dragging with them, as they sink, the chords and snare/rim shots (that sit on the upbeats), into a sort of lull, a spiral, that makes you casually nod your head in a downwards motion, traveling through your spine until, if you're standing, you find yourself swaying, and if you're sitting, you tap your foot and bounce around on the chair. The overall feeling is that of being pulled towards the earth, of being grounded, and the mood of this sort of music, by directly engaging with your body, makes your soul soar: you can't help but smile. That's the overall metaphysics of dub in general and as an album made up entirely of dub, "The Hardest" hits those vertebrae just right. But is there anything original going on here? No. It's the kind of stuff that is constantly verging on being great - often due to the incredible rasta flow of the vocals, and the smooth production - but never gets there; and in terms of song structure, well, I find it hard telling one track from another. Frankly, the album is saved from the drudgery of repitition by only a few things: the amazing guitar lead and piano that both remain distinctly behind the scenes, yet shine when they take the stage, the occasional interesting instrumentation ie. harmonica and saxophone, and the chilled and very smooth voice coupled with down-to-earth, cosy lyrics, that are uplifting and inspiring ("You'll never know until you try" is floating around in my head). In the end, it's not the sort of music you would pay for an album's worth, but would turn up if you heard one song on the radio, and would absolutely love if it were played live in front of you, especially if you were high. Having said that though, I've got a massive smile on my face now and never felt the urge to skip a track. Breezy, easy, flow: getting you up by getting down, but just not great album material unless you're a hardcore reggae dub fanatic, in which case you'll love it.

Available for purchase at CDBaby

Bomb Town - ?!INTERROBANG?!

When I receive a new album, I rarely play it immediately. I'm either afraid I'll hate it, or love it so much I will listen to nothing else for weeks until I get sick of it. Unfortunately, the infectious mix of awesome bass that immediately grabs you from the word go, "punk to the floor + dub to the step drums" that follow swift tempo changes to the letter, incredibly slick vocals, bright horn sections and absolutely droolable keys, combined with just outstanding songwriting and production, means that alas, I will indeed be listening to nothing else but this album for some time. With this release Bomb Town manage to at the same time completely chill you out with their reggae approach - which manages to thread its way into even the hardest, punkiest songs, and maintains a prevalent presence throughout the album, thus giving it a distinct "upbeat" flavour - and yet maintain a certain funevilness that is engaging, and even at times confronting. I love that shit, and it's the thing that will make sure I don't get sick of it. The left-hook of sinister lurking beneath the tangy, rich, positive flavoured jabs. I'm not sure quite how to describe it, but the music is groovy and yet daggy at the same time, life-affirming yet destructive at the same time (destructive in a very subtle way, as if taking apart a molecule piece by piece for scientific investigation rather than out of recklessness), and there's a feel of basically "hard rock plus reggae equals more than the sum of genres, a step above anything you'll hear from either of the aforementioned". The CD came with a .pdf that I was wary of at first: utilising military inuendos to propogate imagery of "hitting a town with a shell of music"; I thought the music would be a lot angrier, yet it's unmistakeable that the destructiveness of this album is more about breaking down barriers and destroying egos, than numb "kill that fucker" stuff. The ultimate message, again carried through the reggae-ness that is always there, is of peace. Peace, fun times, chillin' out, yet slapping you on the head with that evil every now and then to make sure you're still riding the wave, and testing your ability to stand upright in a sea of punk. Brilliant stuff, highly recommended.

Available to purchase at CDBaby