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Available ...
Radiohead, Amnesiac
S.I.Futures, The Mission Statement
Robert Miles, Organik
Queenadreena
boom bip
The Very Best of Marvin Gaye
Michelle Branch, Hotel Paper
Felix Da Housecat: Kittenz And Thee Glitz
Aphex Twin, drukqs
Avalanches, Frontier Psychiatrist
Depeche Mode: I Feel Loved
Voodoo Child, Baby Monkey
Underworld, Anthology
Brothomstates, Claro
Goldfrapp, Utopia
Amon Tobin, Out from out where
Escape Pod, Losing Control
Kid Loco, Kill Your Darlings
Vanity Set
Martin L Gore - Counterfeit2
Madonna, GHV2 Greatest Hits Vol 2
Rough Trade Shops: Country 01
Aphex Twin, 26 Mixes for Cash
The Vanity Set, Little Stabs of Happiness
Boom Boom Satellites, Umbra
All Tomorrow's Parties, 1.0
various, Matrix Reloaded
Morvern Callar
Cinematic Orchestra, Every Day
Antipop Consortium, Arrhythmia
Nightmares on Wax
Gilles Peterson, GP03
Speedy J, Loudboxer
Gerald Wenzel, pferia
Jane's Addiction, Strays
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Nocturama
Bellrays, Meet the Bellrays
Amon Tobin, Supermodified
Depeche Mode, Goodnight Lovers
Stina Nordenstam,
Beachwood Sparks
Peaches, Teaches of Peaches
Monastery of Chant
Various, Hot Shit - Sonic Mook Experiment 3
Misstress Barbara, MB02
boards of canada, geogaddi
Tricky, Blowkcab, oh alright Blowback
Magic Bus
Quantic, The 5th Exotic
Squarepusher, Go Plastic
Squarepusher, do you
Vincent Gallo, film
Morelenbaum, Sakamoto
Chris Clark, Empty the Bones of You
Avalanches, Since I left You
Beth Orton, Daybreaker
Plaid, P-Brane

Req, Sketchbook
Boom Boom Satellites, Photon
Beans, Tomorrow right now
various, Tamla Motown Gold
Vincent Gallo, When
Strokes, Is this It?
Req, Car Paint Scheme
various, Rough Trade Shops best of 2003
Hawtin, Vath
Moby, 18
JAMEZ, Dreamchasing

 

Tom Baker's DJ review section 


Husky Rescue, Country Falls
LP, Catskills Records via Vital (UK)

Cool lo-fi-ish lounge-rock with nice female vocals and soft
wandering grooves. Nice sleeve art too. 

At a time when it seems like there's a hard rain perpetually 
just over the horizon, it's nice that people still make the sort of
soft-edged tunes that let you know that sensuality hasn't
been banished from the world.
(thunderfinger)

The Mutts
6 track EP, Fat Cat

Looking at the charts, you could be forgiven for thinking that
all that was happening was fakey pretty-pretties with fake
attitudes and fake music, but there is an alternative world out
there where guitar bands roam and somehow feed and clothe
themselves -- which reminds of one of my favourite guitarist
jokes from times past. What do you call a guitarist without a
girlfriend? Homeless!

So, anyway, here we have The Mutts who do some fairly rock-a-long
stuff with some nice breaks and changes and some good riffs as
well. I think they hail from Brighton, UK, and can be seen around
London quite regularly.
(thunderfinger)

Gravenhurst
6 track LP, 30 mins-ish, Warp

Nick Talbot is from Bristol, UK, and his likes include Flying
Saucer Attack and Neil Young. Right now (Sept, October, Nov, 04)
he/they are touring with Juana Molina.

Here, on the record, we have a soft voice, and lots of fingerpicked
guitar. It's a low-key, somewhat sad world but with interesting,
subtle textures to it.
(Mr Snerk)

Tom Waits, Real Gone
LP, Anti, out 4 October

Tom Waits seems to have created a nice life for himself with the
occasional album release and lots of cameo appearances in
interesting movies. His last albums were in 2002 when he put
out Alice and Blood Money.

Here we have a variety of styles and ... no piano! And pretty
much the same gritty voice though I might be imagining that it's
getting a little more tuneful. Diehard fans from day one might
consider this move from the back of the smokey bar to be a
sort of Bloombergization (and lets not be mealy-mouthed, that's
a roundhead badhead-ization) but the stylistic playtime is
actually fun. Not that it's exactly eclectic. There is a raw
bluesy sort of push throughout that ties it together and also
ties it with the past.
(thunderfinger)

Green Day, American Idiot
LP, Reprise

Yeah! Big guitar! Small thoughts! Three chord tunes!

Green Day take up the mantle left by the late, lamented, and mostly
dead Ramones. It makes you wonder if playing at Guiness book of
Records levels of loudness, even with earplugs, is just a bit much
for the human system. Or maybe it was the social life. Whatever -- 
they produced hundreds of rambunctious, riff-laden, tuneful, rock
hymns that were best enjoyed at home because the concerts were so
loud you could barely make out a note. Cleansing by noise, all
thought blown away, existence as urges! And how are Madsy and Kira
now? Quite OK I hope.

So it's a heavy, and maybe even a scarey, mantle that's been passed
to Greenday mostly by the media. They aren't the Ramones. They have
some of the same characteristics including a tendency to be cartoon-
like but whether that's them or the American marketing machine is a
question -- percieved reality is The reality in this sort of case
anyway.

Anyhow, lots of fun tunes, some good riffs, and the title track
will get a few more people on their side. 
(thunderfinger)

Miss Kitten, Requiem for a Hit
5 track single, Novamute

Tunes and breaks at first and then we go closer to Miss K's home
territory of heavier tech-house stuff. There's enough variety here
to make this single quite good value and if you just have to have 
everything of hers then the single will give you a few more tracks
to add to the album.
(Dr Boots)

Home Video, Citizen EP
5 track EP, Warp

The promo material talks of seeds of voodoo in New Orleans, and
their home in Brooklyn, NY, with its crowds of the weird and the
commercial. Whatever the seeds, this is drifting melody that puts
me in mind of a clean, electronica-based My Bloody Valentine. 

It's pretty. It's a little haunting. It's quite nice.
(Mr Snerk)

Paul Schwartz, Aria Metamorphisis
LP, Koch Records

The concept is to take moments from operatic arias and turn them
into ambient/dance soundscapes. It's the sort of concept that will
have some people running for cover without hearing a note because
a) it is not a part of the religious creed and/or b) this sort
of thing has been done very badly on a number of occasions -- opera
as elevator music, or biggest sin of all, dumbed-down classical.

This is not all bad. The featured singer, Rebecca Luker, has a
lovely voice and her entries and exits are all tastefully done 
along with the introduction of various small beats along with the
selected pieces of melody. 

Whether this can be fish or fowl will depend on what the listener
brings along to the party.
(Count K)


Moby and Public Enemy, Make Love F*** War
3 track single, Mute

First we have the powerful title track and then an instrumental
version followed by an acappella version... which is actually
a hip-hop track of its own.  It's stirring stuff
with a nice sort of grinding beat to it which will sound
excellent over a big PA rig.
(thunderfinger)

Beyer and Lenk featuring Tiga
Heartbreak, Ananda
2 track single, novamute out sept 13, 2004

Two starkish thumpa-thumpa tracks with some nice breathing
synth in the background which comes and goes. These tracks
are for dancing and if you're liable to that sort of thing
they will get you up and moving about.
(Mr Snerk)

various, Rush Hour 
2 CD's, Universal

Interesting line up on these discs -- Faithless, Layo and Bushwacka, Benny
Bennassi, Groove Armada amongst others on the first, and the likes of U2 
(Beautiful Day - Quincey and Sonance), William Orbit, Underworld, The 
Cardigans, and Leftfield (Open Up) on disc 2. 

It's not a bad collection as far as as these things go, and sure, you can
play them in your car but I'm not quite sure what makes these tracks so
especially suitable for driving (Rush Hour?). Well, anyway, there are some
nice tracks here and the mixes make them not quite as obvious as these
collections usually are.
(Dr Boots)

James Yorkston and the Athletes, Just Beyond the River
LP, Domino

Sparse singer-songwriter songs with a quiet voice and quiet instruments.
Ideal for late .... or early. James Yorkston isn't an exciting evening
out but there is some class and poetry here. No doubt some people
will eat and drink to it and if some pubs and bars absolutely have
to play music to try and create the false impression that they and 
their clientelle are happening and buzzy, then why not play this?
People who weren't interested could then at least have a conversation.
(Mr Snerk)

Embrace, Gravity
Single, Independiente

Most of the Independiente titles I used to see were hip-hop
but this is a totally different kettle of fish -- straight
guitar-based pop. This was written by Coldplay's Chris
Marten and it's quite nice ... lots of guitar and a tune
and wandering voice.
(Dr Boots)

various, Rough Trade Shops - Indiepop Sampler
2 CD's, Mute, out Aug 23 04.

Here we have the likes of Love is All, The Pooh Sticks, Modesty Blaise, 
Juniper Moon and Josef K as well as Primal Scream and The Jesus and
Mary Chain... and more! 

Guitars, voice, and lo-fi glory live here. The tracks span a time from the
1980's to a few months ago. Some tracks are unavailable now so it's
worth the price to nab these if you're a fan of this sort of thing.

In a way this is a bit of a time capsule, but you can still find this
sort of thing if you look hard enough.
(thunderfinger) 

Escape Pod, Winter
Limited edition 7" vinyl, Dead Digital
out July 5, 2004

First a purple pundit's patch: narco folk, folk band abandoned
on Mars, continuing to re-define eclecticism ...

But don't be frightened, this is more lovely stuff from Escape Pod,
brought to you by Dead Digital. It is a mix of ethereal voice and
soft soundscape that operates somewhere at the back of your head and
all of it presented within a harmonic and rhythmic framework that
most people will understand.
(thunderfinger)

Two Lone Swordsmen, Sex Beat
from the album The Double Gone Chapel
4 track single, Warp 

Catchy, rockalong track that is infectious but not quite into the killer
category of something like Sisters of Mercy's Dr. Jeep. Here there
is the main track, an instrumental track, a remix, and a remix instrumental. 
(Dr Boots)

Squarepusher, Venus No. 17
single, Warp

There are three tracks: Venus No 17, an acid remix of same, and then a
twelve minute mini-opus called Tundra. This last, while not being
programatic in any strict sense, makes it easy to conjure up visions
of sweeping ice vistas ... until about the ten minute mark when
staticy voices make you think that HQ is trying to get you on your
fading radio.
(thunderfinger)

Goldfrapp, Strict Machine
Single, Mute

It seems to have been a little while since we heard from
the great G. This is a development from where we were
before -- in other words, more zappy dancey stuff but
still with some nice art to it. 

We get two mixes of Strict Machine here: one, the radio
mix and the other the Benny Benassi edit. The first gets
clues from Depeche Mode and the second from Moroder. The 
cover style and general air is wonderland decadence with
a tip of the hat to old Berlin.

Let me run my fingers through it.
(thunderfinger)

Pink Grease, The Pink G.R.EASE
Single, Mute, out 14 June

Two thumpalong tracks from the forthcoming LP, This is for Real.
Here we have some driving drums and guitar. It's general fun from
Alternative Universe -- which hasn't gone away just yet even if
the general run of record stores would make you think it had.


Ben Arthur, Edible Darling
LP, Bardic Records

Life was never all that easy for singer-songwriters but in yesteryear
all you had to do was be a bit clever, and wail soulfully along with
your guitar. Nowadays, an eclectic bunch of musical influences should
be displayed along with a bit of cleverness... except for stand-still
genres, where you don't want to be unless you _are_ the genre.

Here we have Virginian Ben Arthur, who's been playing guitar since 14
and has been on stage with Tori Amos and Bruce Hornsby. 

It's not too bad at all and expresses the required singer-songwriter
thoughfulness in a variety of ways and with some skill. 
(thunderfinger)

Tim Wright, Thirst
LP, Novamute

Analoguey synth noises and beaty grooves with a little voice
and funk thrown in. Nice lot of variety here that you could dance
or pose to, or, why not, just be you.

This is modern urban stuff that keeps progressing from that
initial meeting between trippy stuff and hip-hop. It's mmm-mmm
good too.
(soldierSue)

Pan Sonic, Kesto
4 CD's, Blast First thro Mute
released 17 May

Aren't they annoying, the sort of reviews that go on and on
about something completely extraneous to the task at hand.
Quite frequently the object of this is to let you know what
a fantastically cool and in the know person is doing the review
and at other times it might not be ego but just a complete
lack of any connection with the music at hand.

As an illustration, let's consider the matter of clothes and
music: could you describe most genres in terms of the clothes
people wear? Sure you could! So what would people wear to a
Pan Sonic concert? 

OK, some clues: PS are Mika Vainio and Lipo Vaisanan from Turku,
in Finland. They first moved to Barcelona to escape the long
Finnish winter and now live in Berlin. Not much of a clue?

They recently did an epic world tour after placing two ads in 
The Wire magazine (big clue). These ads asked for interested
promoters and fans to contact them. What they wanted was
accommodation and a share of the concert profits. This saw
them play a huge variety of venues in all sorts of countries.

So now we have this epic four CD set just as some more touring
activity gets under way - in England and Scotland this spring,
China in November, and Japan and Australia in 05.

The content? Scapey and beaty, broad and sweeping: you can dance
to bits or just take the trip.

The clothes? How would I know?
(thunderfinger)

Animal Collective, Sung Thongs
LP, Fatcat

Round sounds, lots of voice, sometimes dibby-dib-dibbing,
mostly busy - it has a sort of amped space-hippie vibe and 
then some slow lilting passage will summon up rocks, sticks
and organic carrot juice.
(thunderfinger)

Two Lone Swordsmen, From the Double Gone Chapel
LP, Warp

Is the description "left field" helpful? I guess it should be
as it conjures up visions of creativity, eccentricity even.
And sometimes cringe-making twee-ness. In any case it is
usually considered to be for smart educated kids and frowned
upon by those whose social emphasis is ... not connected with
smartness.

Here, we have some grooves and some pretty straight songs that
mostly have a greyish cloud somewhere around. The details
of the straight songs are interesting though -- instruments
low in the mix, droning FXed sprechtstimme, cheesy little drums.
It has a nice pace and is worth a listen.
(thunderfinger)


Miss Kitten, I Com
LP, Novamute out May 17

While this is her debut LP, she is not new at all to the electro
scene, having collaborated with The Hacker, Felix da Housecat,
Sven Vath and T. Raumschmiere and Tricky. 

To some, this will be electroclash grown up a little but it's not
as simple as that, and it is better than that. There are different moods
here and some pop sensibility as well... in a good way, which is
to say it is tuneful and accessible rather than disappearing
into edgy angst. What part Chicks on Speed producers, Tobi
Neumann and Thies Mynther had in this is hard to know but it
doesn't sound like Eurotrash Girl anyway.

Guests on this album incude Indochine, Chicagoite L.A. Williams,
and The Hacker. Nice tracks all.

Miss Kitten, Caroline Herve, is French born and lives in Berlin.
There is a big tour underway which goes through until June.
Details at  www.misskitten.com or www.novamute.com

Agnetha Falskog, If I thought you'd ever...
single, Warners, out April 12, album April 19, 04

Yes, you got it right. Agnetha used to sing things like ...
Dancing Queen! Abba! Pure pop inanity with funny costumes,
and that was its appeal. 

This? It's nicely produced and put together, and nicely
sung too. It's only one track though, so I'll reserve
judgement. This one track isn't all that interesting.

Throbbing Gristle, Mutant Throbbing Gristle
LP, Novamute

These are classic Throbbing Gristle tracks remixed by the
likes of Carl Craig, Hedonastik, Two Lone Swordsmen, Carter
Tutti, and Simon Ratcliffe - hence the title "Mutant".

And we have throbbing synths and pulses and occasional little
electro orchestral things in the background. It is more
dancey and arty than a geek bleepfest and should be greeted
with some enthusiasm on a certain sort of club floor.
(niasamucious)

various, F.U.N.
LP, Four music/Amato
www.fourmusic.com
www.funberlin.com

Twelve techno tracks from the club F.U.N. in Berlin. It
features people such as Italian X-Rays, Blackstrobe, DJ Oskar
and Sebo K, DJ Naughty, Mocky, Headman, and Kaos and The
Wild Guts.

I have to admit I'm a bit partial to crescendos of bleepiness
over a pounding (preferably at several kilowatts) four by four.
This LP is mostly an onwards progression from that basic old
skool stuff though. The tracks generally have more complex
arrangements in beats, voices, and harmonies than the old
timer tracks. Some of it has even moved along to catch laggards
who were trying to grasp funk but couldn't quite squeeze
their fingers around it.
(thunderfinger)



MuM, Nightly Cares and ...
single, Fat-Cat

Softly swirling instruments and a small female voice. These
two tracks are mini-symphonies from the land where pop meets
art and craft. The band are from Iceland but it would be
unfair to use the "B" word in a descriptive way. In a separate
small interview we'll be asking about the influence of "B"
however.

(Thunderfinger)

Speedy J, Literon
single, Novamute

There's 14 minutes plus of two meaty beaty tracks here. 
Meaty, in that there's a relentless pounding going on
while in the background are sort of ethereal industrial
noises, if you can imagine that. 

The second track is a machinelike thing as well, but this
time with the driving force mutating and developing.

Quite nice, all round.
(phoophace)



Michael Reinboth, Soul Elektrisch
LP, TrustheDJ.com MR01

Micheal Reinboth hails from Munich where he operates
as a DJ and runs Compost and Compost-Jazzanova Records.

That should give you a fairly good clue as to what this
mix is about - smooth grooves and voices with nice
rythms and cross-rythms. The tempo on some tracks is 
quicker than you might expect which makes the thing 
danceable as opposed to late night revery making.
You can do that too.

Oops, nope, TTDJ has gone into liquidation so this will
not be issued but you can chase up Reinboth on his own 
labels.
(Dr Boots)
 



 Luke Slater, Traktion Action
Novamute

Dense electro beat action for your dance edification along with
a cheesy melody that's saved by interesting textures and is
redolent of old computer games music.
(Dr Boots)

Clea, Stuck in the Middle
single, upside

Four cute women with two tracks of smooth harmony pop with a
little garage voice wobble. For late.
(thunderfinger)

Nitzer Ebb, Murderous, Control I'm here
single, Novamute

Beats, grooves, and voice on the 8:05 opening track and a deep
synth groove on the second will get feet moving in groovy shops
and clubs.
(Coraline)

Sean Paul, I'm still in love with you
Single, Atlantic

Strong ragga roots and a spliffy rythmn section are a nice intro to
the more interesting and less commercial side two which is called
Like Glue.
(Coraline)

Si Begg, Buss
5 track sngle, Novamute

While trip-hop went off on a strange (and good, if you like it) road
all its own, there is still a body of work coming out which is almost
at the fork in the road where it came from. 

The works comprise interesting and inventive musical backgrounds to
reasonably intelligent lyrics. And this work is one such.
(thunderfinger)

UMEK, Telontol
LP, Novamute

Fast paced beats with all kinds of ethereal things going on in
the background, including eerie winds. This is first and foremost,
dance music. I suppose you could just sit and listen to it but
you'd soon find, if you have any affinity at all for this style
of music, that your head is bobbing, and your feet are twitching -
and then you're up and dancing.
(thunderfinger)

Broadcast, Ha Ha Sound
Single, Warp Records

Female voice, synth washes, laid-back cocktail beats - it all grooves
along in a soothing kind of way. For late in the chill room.
(thunderfinger)

Kevin Saunderson, Deep Space Techno
LP, Trust the DJ

I still love this stuff: slowly building thumpa-thumpa with nice
gliding textures happening. It is very good getting-out-of-yourself
dance music with no drugs needed by YT to achieve it.

Kevin Saunderson has been doing this since the early '80s and was
a member, with Juan Atkins and Derrick May of the Detroit techno
producers, Deep Space Soundworks. 

As an aside, I wonder if any academic musicologists have discovered
this music as something to write about. There's lots here to cogitate
on as the surface simplicity is soon belied by all sorts of echoes of
past forms.
(Dr Boots)



Laibach, WAT
CD, Mute

Dirty, aggressive, sleek, minimal - these are adjectives that have
been used to describe Laibach's newest turn in its twenty-three year
history. Well, it's pretty cool stuff anyway - dark, powerful.
There is quite a lot of sprechtstimme in a deep German
voice and the German language seems to accentuate those qualities somehow
as well. 

There are some stomping grooves here and even a little operatics
on one track but not enough to get too pseudy. Supposedly, this whole
thing is a taunt for the PC police (no, no, not Mac vs PC... politically
correct is what we're not talking) so if you're sick of those po-faced
anti-liberty weenies, give this a try.
(Dr Boots)

Plaid, Spokes
LP, Warp Records

It's kind of interesting that while the "charts" might be full of
pre-masticated babyfood, there is a parallel universe that has all
kinds of interesting things from all kinds of genres. And, what's
more, labels and artists are making a living - not a private jet
and harem living but you weren't interested in making donations
to that anyway.

This, from Plaid, is lovingly crafted, downbeat, almost orchestral
(in the sense of sweep and attention to timbres) electronica. The
mood is thoughtful and it's ... nice.
(Thunderfinger)

Hilary Duff, metamorphosis
LP, Buena Vista thro Warners

I have absolutely nothing against cute blondes that make sexy
little singing noises. Quite the contrary. This is (generally)
pop as fun, pop for the moment: where there is no yesterday
and no time beyond now. And when "now" comes again there is
no recollection of what was ... or albums like this. No
matter - people will buy it and listen to it and have a little
fun. It is reasonably straightahead guitar pop with scattered
funk bits.
www.hillaryduff.com
(Thunderfinger)

Plastikman, Closer
LP, Novamute

Anything from Novamute gets my interest. I wouldn't have chosen the title
Closer though - that's too powerful a connection with Joy Division for
my taste but I guess there are lots of people around these days who've never
heard, or heard of, Joy Division. Shame!

This is not reminiscent of Joy Division in any other way though. Hmmm, well
actually, it is pretty sombre, but this is electronica with grooves and
subtle textures. There are a lot of quiet beginnings and quite simple,
slowly developing, tracks. I think the word "minimal" could be used here.
If that sounds like you, go listen to it.
(roastsocks)



Luke Vibert, YosepH
LP, Warp Records

Luke Vibert is a friend of fellow Cornishman Richard James, aka
Aphex Twin and released his first music as Wagon Christ in 1994.
Warp is his latest label and he has recorded on quite a few.

This is twisted voice and instrument assembly with mid tempo
grooves and enough changes for it to be thoughtful rather than
straightahead. If you were to compare this with his mate's work
you'd probably say this was less complex, melodically and 
harmonically, and because of that has its own, more on the ground,
voice.
(Thunderfinger)

 



 

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