Saturday, 24 July 2010

Angil and the Hiddentracks have a new album out

Which isn't the sort of thing I'd usually bother telling you, but no one else seems to have picked up on it, so I thought I might as well. Seriously, it's ridiculous how conflicted I feel about this. Album reviews? Release news? That's not what I had planned. Anyway, just know how much it pains me to put this picture of the cover up:

As you may be able to see (if you're not distracted by all the pretty colours at the top), it's called The And, a reference to the fact that all but two of the tracks (and even those feature allusions to the overall theme within their respective titles) are duets, mainly with French women. The most noticeable exception is 'Unbroken Hearts', featuring Emma Pollock, a.k.a. the only guest on the album I'd actually heard of.

At first, this disappointed me slightly. While frontman Mickaël Mottet, or 'Angil', hardly has the best voice in the world, it was nonetheless a key element in defining the aesthetic of the band's previous album, Ouliposaliva, and part of the reason I loved that record so much. So with the opening track focusing more than would be desired on the vocal of somebody called Brigitte Vautrin, the first listen through made for an initially unsatisfying experience.

Fortunately, as the album progresses, Mottet manages to gradually impose himself upon it, as well as improving the quality of his song-writing. In fact, the collaborative nature of the record may well prove to be a point in its favour, diluting as it does what, on Ouliposaliva, could at times be an overwhelming sound. Otherwise, it's more of the same blend of pop, jazz and folk, with perhaps a greater musical singularity than before to draw together the many disparate voices.

MySpace: (where lots of tracks from the new album are currently up, so I'm not even going to bother trying to get away with an mp3 upload)

Album available from CD1D.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Single Frame

Okay, I'm going to come clean: I'm full of shit. I'm a faker. A charlatan. Because, when I say I like a band, what I usually mean is, "I like one or two albums by them. I haven't even heard the others." Thus far in this blog's unproductive history, that hasn't really been an issue, since all of the bands I've previously recommended have only released one or two albums, if that. Now, however, it has become one, for Single Frame have released THREE ALBUMS. Three! And EPs! And I've only listened to one! Their debut, Wetheads Come Running! (Admittedly, one of those three is primarily a collection of remixes, but I nonetheless feel unable to claim in good faith that I am endorsing the band's entire creative output. I am not.) So basically, this is an album review of the very type I set out to avoid when I started Days Like Television, but since it's a review of an album released seven years ago that no one has heard of, I think I'm in the clear.

Back in 2003, when Wetheads Come Running was re-released for the first and only time, people liked it: Pitchfork gave the album 8.5 out of 10, along with their controversial 'best new music' tag; Tiny Mix Tapes, having discovered the album as a result of that review, exclaimed "I absolutely love the internet" and awarded it 5 stars; and a few years later, when they were compiling their 'Top Albums of the '00s So Far' list, Cokemachineglow named Wetheads as one of the best full-lengths of 2002 (the year of the album's original release). By the time it came to putting together their end-of-decade lists though, the album had either been forgotten or was neglected by all three of the aforementioned publications.

Within my own end-of-decade list (available upon request), however, Wetheads Come Running was positioned firmly towards the top. Predominantly an indie rock/pop record, the band employs synths and found sounds to differentiate themselves from the guitar-led masses. That goes some way towards conveying how diverse a range of influences are displayed across the album, with post-hardcore and hip-hop also playing their part in shaping the overall sound: 'Mod Style '68' in particular owes more than a small debt to Fugazi, and while the latter genre's impact is maybe less obvious - 'Taxidermy Heads', with its beatboxed percussion and rapped vocal, and the previously mentioned 'Mod Style '68' arguably being the only two tracks explicitly affected - it is nonetheless pervading, especially in determining the structure of the record as brief instrumentals separate most of the 'proper' tracks like indiefied skits.

Thematically, the album embraces those two great indie standards of paranoia and depression. If that suggests there's anything one-paced about Wetheads though, then it couldn't be further from the truth. From the abrasiveness of '3 Bloodless Shadows' and 'New Car Smell' and their screamed vocals, to the more melody-driven 'Comm. Jet (Creepykid Remix)' and 'Post Daydream Forecast Endeavor', the apathetic dejection of 'Eavesdropper Goes Solo' and the more boisterous 'I've Been to a Party at His House', stark shifts in tone ensure that boredom never sets in, even if the lyrics occasionally instil a sense of déjà vu.

Single Frame - Spacedust and Handcuffs

Comm. Jet (Creepykid Remix)

Monday, 12 July 2010

Kenton Slash Demon

In my last proper blog entry, I mentioned that I'd "become a bit bored and disillusioned by [guitar music's] constant inability to surprise, looking instead to hip-hop and more ambient fare for innovation". That was almost a year ago now and is largely irrelevant with regard to my current outlook on music, but it segues nicely into what I'm about to write, so bear with me.

Kenton Slash Demon are Danish production duo Silas Moldenhawer and Jonas Kenton. They first caught my attention with their name, partly because it's just a cool name, but mainly because I am from a part of London called Kenton and a massive narcissist. To be honest, I don't really know much about the sort of music they make (other than that it's awesome, obvs), so I'm just going to quote Dazed & Confused: "[Kenton Slash Demon] inadvertently lead the ethnic/tribal influenced tech-house movement with their Khattabi EP, and have already moved on to a more raw, organic take with their new single 'Sun'". I'll take their word for it. All I can say with certainty is that listening to the aforementioned EP makes me want to go out and start my own painfully hip club night.