Album of the week: Teeth Of The Sea – Wraith

Teeth Of The Sea - Wraith album cover

Teeth Of The Sea have produced an absorbing album that mixes electronica, ambient, dance and jazz with a splash of psych rock and even a touch of avent-garde, while managing to maintain its sense of direction throughout.

On Wraith, the band is not shy on using brass to create that jazzy noir feeling but ensure it doesn’t dominate proceedings, and just when you feel that things are in danger of running aground they surprise you with a change up that pulls you back in once again.

I’d Rather, Jack as an opening piece, lays the groundwork for the rest of the album, fusing a simple heavy drum line with synths, trumpet, some electronic soundscapes and electric guitars. At times it feels like a film noir set in a sweaty nightclub.

That trend continues with the brooding Hiraeth, which flirts with becoming too jazzy before deep bass and grungy guitars fully redeems it.

Fortean Steed explores a more atmospheric, swirling electronic motif, incorporating echoing plucked electric guitars with some folky female choral voices and effect-laden glockenspiel.

There’s some masterful work going on in the track Our Love Can Destroy This Whole Fucking World, where not a whole lot seems to be happening but yet you are hooked from the first note to the last bar. Very reminiscent of the last year’s fantastic album by Nils Frahm.

Where the album really takes off is when the beats speed up and the loops take you on a hypnotic journey, such as in the excellent VISITOR and the brilliantly-titled Gladiators Ready – which transforms into a proper mid-tempo banger worthy of any acid rave.

There was enough variety and depth to this album to make it my album of the week, despite some very strong competition. Get your ears round it now.

Release date: 22 February 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: VISITOR

For fans of:

  • GoGo Penguin
  • Nils Frahm
  • These New Puritans

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The best albums of January 2019

January’s normally quite a slow month in terms of new releases, but there were some great albums making their debut. Here’s my view on the best of the month – and a playlist to boot!

1: The Twilight Sad – It Won/t Be Like This All The Time

Rating: 8.5/10 – Read full review

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2: Julia Kent – Temporal

Rating: 8/10Read full review

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3: Lorelle Meets The Obselete – De Facto

Rating: 8/10 – Read full review

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4: Nils Frahm – Encores 2 (EP)

Rating: 8/10Read full review

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5: Rat Boy – Internationally Unknown

Rating: 7.5/10Read full review

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6: Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow

Rating: 7/10 – Read full review

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7: Buke & Gase – Scholars

Rating: 7/10

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8: Balthazar – Fever

Rating: 7/10

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9: Sneaks – Highway Hypnosis

Rating: 7/10

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10: Bring Me The Horizon – Amo

Rating: 7/10

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New releases Friday 25 Jan – Reviewed and rated

Here’s my view on what were the best albums released last Friday 25th January. I’ve reviewed the top three if you want to discover more about the albums before listening. Links below. There’s also a Spotify sample playlist so you can get a feel for the artists.

Julia Kent – Temporal

Rating: 8/10Read full review

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Nils Frahm – Encores 2 (EP)

Rating: 8/10Read full review

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Rat Boy – Internationally Unknown

Rating: 7.5/10Read full review

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Balthazar – Fever

Rating: 7/10

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Sneaks – Highway Hypnosis

Rating: 7/10

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Bring Me The Horizon – Amo

Rating: 7/10

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The Beat feat. Ranking Rodger – Public Confidential

Rating: 6.5/10

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Gum Takes Tooth – Arrow

Rating: 6.5/10

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Toy – Happy In The Hollow

Rating: 6/10

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Mike Krol – Power Chords

Rating: 6/10

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Swervedriver – Future Ruins

Rating: 5.5/10

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The Dandy Warhols – Why You So Crazy

Rating: 5.5/10

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Nicola Cruz – Siku

Rating: 5/10

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Album of the week: Julia Kent – Temporal

Julia Kent - temporal album cover

Canadian cellist Julia Kent has, with Temporal, produced an achingly beautiful album, that while sitting firmly within the neo-classical genre, shows a wide range of influences.

Twelve-minute opener Last Hour Story, sets the bar high for the rest of the album, which fortunately it manages to match. The looping and building of strings on strings pulls at your own heartstrings and by the end of it you may be an emotional wreck.

Through all her tracks, Kent leans on elements of electronica to centre the album in the here-and-now. Without it many of these tracks would be well-suited to the dramatic parts of some of our darker period dramas.

The electronic influence is more obvious on tracks like Imbalance, which features a pulsating deep-bass synth and electro ticks and pops to counterbalance the cello and organ driving the piece.

Similarly Conditional Futures places us in a dystopian landscape, where looped strings and low-key synth tones provide the backdrop as Kent’s cello drifts in and out of the scene, before the tone lightens towards the end to provide that glimmer of hope amongst the gloom.

There are more uplifting moments to be found on Floating City, with its plucked strings and house-style pianos, and again on Through the Window which has an almost Balearic feel to it.

Crepuscolo brings events to a close, with Kent’s cello sitting alongside echoing piano notes, ambient swirls and the sound of chirping crickets as the whole album drifts off into entropy.

Temporal is a cerebral listen rather than one to get your feet going, or even to use as backing music at a dinner party. But if you are the kind of person who is moved by music – brace yourself – because this will be an emotional journey.

Release dates: 25 January 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: Last Hour Story

For fans of:

  • Nils Frahm
  • Max Richter
  • Global Communication

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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

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New Music Friday 25 Jan – What to listen to

Things are really stepping up this Friday with a glut of new releases to plough through. There’s a new EP from Nils Frahm to look forward to, some loud guitars from the likes of Bring Me The Horizon and Mike Krol, and the return on classic ska ban The Beat. Even the new Dandy Warhols album sounds promising.

It’s going to be a busy week…

Nils Frahm – Encores 2 (EP)

Swervedriver – Future Ruins

Julia Kent – Temporal

The Beat feat. Ranking Rodger – Public Confidential

Bring Me The Horizon – Amo

Mike Krol – Power Chords

Balthazar – Fever

The Dandy Warhols – Why You So Crazy

Nicola Cruz – Siku

Rat Boy – Internationally Unknown

Toy – Happy In The Hollow

Gum Takes Tooth – Arrow

Sneaks – Highway Hypnosis

2018 Music Review – January

January started with a bang – in the sense that a lot a bands favouring loud, distorted guitars decided to get out of the blocks early in 2018.  January didn’t produce a deluge of albums to pick from, those that did packed an enormous punch.

We had the catchy, twangy guitars of Shopping, the alt-rock growling of Shame, the psyche-laden riffs of Prettiest Eyes and the unashamedly power-pop-punk of Marmozets  (lead singer Rebecca Macintyre channeling Transvision Vamp’s Wendy James marvellously). These bands proved that loud punk-laced rock still has relevance in a age of auto-tuned RnB.

But the early contender for my album of the year came from another place entirely. German composer Nils Frahm’s All Melody is a stunning blend of neo-classical piano artistry, beautifully desolate electronicawith a touch of smoky late night jazz bars. This took me aback when I first heard it and, after repeated listening, it still blows me away.

Top 10 January 2018

1: Nils Frahm – All Melody

Standout track: Sunson

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2: Shopping – The Official Body

Standout track: Asking for a Friend

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3: Shame – Songs of Praise

Standout track: Lampoon

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4: No Age – Snares Like a Haircut

Standout track: Popper

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5: Prettiest Eyes – Pools

Standout track: A Sweet Song

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6: Marmozets – Knowing What you Know Now

Standout track: Lost in Translation

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7: The Limiñanas – Shadow People

Standout track: Shadow People

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8: Arrows of Love – Product: Your Soundtrack To The Impending Societal Collapse

Standout track: Signal

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9: Starcrawler – Starcrawler

Standout track: Love’s Gone Again

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10: Dirtmusic – Bu Bir Ruya

Standout track: Bi De Sen Soyle

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