EP review: Octo Octa – For Lovers

Brooklyn DJ and producer Maya (formerly Michael) Bouldry-Mason, better known as Octo Octa, has poured her years of experience into three highly competent house tracks that are a treat for both your mind and your feet.

For Lovers is a three- track, 22 minute EP that explores some more ethereal elements, as well as offering you some proper four-to-the-floor groove outs.

I Need You begins with some vocal harmonics and ambient synths that builds up over the course of a few minutes, until the break beats drop. The synth work throughout has me harking back to early Orb efforts and overall the track is more for digesting than dancing – but still highly enjoyable. It’s eight minute length passes in the blink of an eye.

Bodies Meld Together offers your more standard 4×4 house beat structure complete with hand claps, soul vocal samples and classic house-style percussion. This isn’t a blast from the past though as it still maintains some modern vitality to it. This one’s clearly more suited for the club – don’t expect it to develop massively as the song moves along.

Loops For Healing is another strong house number featuring piano scales and some sparse but clinical use of keyboard and organs. This is no ecstatic, hands in the air number, but will get your feet moving. I suspect this would play perfectly mid-morning at an Ibiza beach bar. I can almost see myself there now.

Release date: 01 March 2019

Rating: 7/10

Standout track: I Need You

For fans of:

  • Todd Terry
  • Paul Oakenfold
  • Derrick Carter

Listen on Spotify

EP review: Snow Palms – Everything Ascending

Snow Palms - Everything Ascending cover

More of a single than an EP, but with its two tracks spanning over 16 mins it’s still worth shouting out this effort from Snow Palms.

Title track Everything Ascending is a 10-minute epic that blends dance and electronica with orchestral and choral elements through a series of intertwined ‘movements’ that blend together seamlessly. You’re carried along on a musical journey, with even the tempo sometimes reflecting the regular rattle of a high-speed train.

It’s the kind of piece that deserves repeat listening just to take it all in, you’ll have a different experience with it every time.

The b-side is an orchestral reworking of Circling, a track from an older album. Its minimalist use of strings is highly emotive and highly impressive, reminiscent of Philip Glass’s Koyaanisqatsi at times. Expect to hear it on a trailer for something soon.

Release date: 22 February 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: Everything Ascending

For fans of:

  • Brian Eno
  • Jon Hopkins
  • Philip Glass

Listen on Spotify

EP review: Lazybones – Bang! Bang!

Lazybones - Bang! Bang! cover

Brighton three-piece power-pop punk project Lazybones have put together a hugely enjoyable four-track romp of an EP that will have your head nodding. There’s not much in the way of depth and complexity in Bang! Bang! but with a bass this dirty and songs so catchy, who really cares.

Fashion Victim kicks us off, making full use of vocalist Candi Underwood’s lung capacity as she belts out a tirade against conformity and clothing choices. As I mentioned, we’re not going too deep here, but it does contain the line ‘You wear your Metallica T, but where’s you Kill ‘Em All‘ CD?’, so all is forgiven.

Next up is Heart Beats Like a Drum, which sees dirty, heavy bass employed to create a feeling akin to early hypnotic Queens Of The Stone Age tracks. My favourite track on the EP

We then enter strange territory with what appears to be an ode to jeans with Denim. Odd, but otherwise this is a bouncy number that keeps the record ticking along nicely and sees some of the organ work enter the spotlight.

Closer All My Friends Are Dead sounds like it might be a pretty serious number, but no such worries as we move between some staccato riffs, 60s influenced organ and a full on rock-out chorus.

Hopefully Bang! Bang! is a sign of things to come and Lazybones will managed to pull together a full album of fun garage pop rock anthems like these.

Release date: 15 February 2019

Rating: 7/10

Standout track: Heart Beats Like a Drum

For fans of:

  • Marmozets
  • Demob Happy
  • The White Stripes

Listen on Spotify

EP review: Flat Worms – Into The Iris

Flat Worms - Into The Iris EP cover

This is the first full EP from LA post-punk (very much on the punk side) three-piece Flat Worms since their fantastic eponymous debut album in 2017, and it was worth the wait.

Into The Iris is a six-track, 16-minute adrenaline rush, that barely takes its foot off the pedal. opener Surreal New Year starts at breakneck speed – all fuzzy guitar riffs, impatient drums and a distinct Dead Kennedys vibe.

This continues with title track Into The Iris, which draws on more hypnotic elements and brings vocalist Will Ivy’s lazy, drawling lyrics (you can hardly call it singing) to the fore.

Things barely drop off through Plastic at Home, with it’s nice wobbly bass line and Shouting at the Wall, which has a strong retro feel to it – no bad thing in this case.

Only as we hit the final third of the EP do things start to slow down a little with laid back instrumental Scattered Palms and melancholy closer At the Citadel, a more pedestrian number which unfortunately shows that Ivy’s vocal style isn’t as well suited to the slower pace.

Overall a great EP that whet’s the appetite for another full-length album. Hurry up fellas!

Release date: 08 February 2019

Rating: 7/10

Standout track: Shouting at the Wall

For fans of:

  • Dead Kennedys
  • Idles
  • The Lovely Eggs

Listen on Spotify

EP review: Nils Frahm – Encores 2

This is the second EP release from the German electronic-neoclassical maestro recorded during the sessions that resulted in last year’s masterpiece All Melody.

While the first EP Encores 1 was a further exploration of Frahm’s delicate piano work, Encores 2 takes a more ambient approach and to my mind is the far stronger of the two works.. It still struggles to reach the dizzying heights of the album that preceded it, but then again not much does. This 26-minute four-track EP, however is a fantastic addendum to All Melody and has some wonderful moments in which you get truly lost in the sonic landscape Frahm creates.

There are no weak moments on this piece, but the 12-minute epic that is Spells truly stands out as a work of art.

If you have enjoyed his work in the past, this will not be a disappointment.

Release date: 25 January 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: Spells

For fans of:

  • Max Richter
  • Brian Eno
  • Biosphere

Listen on Spotify