Review: Panda Bear aka Noah Lennox has been one of the more prolific solo artists to come out of the Animal Collective fold. Buoys presents a second album on UK independent Domino and his sixth solo album overall offers something of a new direction. Made in co-production with Rusty Santos (from The Present) the pair have delivered a work routed in hip hop and beat-making inspirations taking Panda Bear's music into a dubby and bass music realm. At times reminiscent of Ed Banger & Mr. Oizo quirkiness, alongside a trademark guitar sound and vocals drenched in reverb, the dub culture influence mixed in with the folk, and pop abnormalities, prove there's a deep layer of experimentation to Panda Bear's music yet.
Review: Half journeyman, half David Lynch bar scene, all twisted crooner-dom, and at least a little tongue in cheek, Mike Patton & Jean Claude Vannier are aiming straight for the alternatives with this 12-strong collection of bizarre ballads and obscure odes that will appeal to rarer tastebuds. There's the spoken word and strummed guitars guiding us through the various parts of "A Schoolgirl's Day". The Sinatra-does-sarcasm of closer "Pink & Bleue", and the way "Hungry Ghost" aurally recalls "Everybody Knows" by Leonard Cohen. Truly unique stuff, despite its debt of gratitude to troubadour totems, counterculture rock and The Rat Pack, it's as rooted in the 21st Century as anything you'll hear today. The production process involved two creators in two different parts of the world, Patton and band in L.A., Vannier with a full orchestra in Vienna. Not that you can tell considering how complete the record feels.
Review: Most widely known as the front man for '70s rock and roll outfit The Only Ones, Peter Perrett returns once again with Humanworld, his second album since signing to Domino. Perrett successfully resurfaced in 2017 with How The West Was Won, an album that saw him chart in the UK and star on BBC Newsnight. Humanworld, then, does its best again to dissect romance and politics with Perrett's trademark sense of sardonic wit and wry humour. "I'm fully aware there are a lot of people who never even thought I'd get to make another album, let alone two, in such a short time," Perrett has been quoted saying, and with a production credit going to Peter's son Jamie who contributed to "Master Of Destruction", the album rejoices in one's ability to defy the odds. For fans of Dylan, Velvet Underground and Nick Cave for sure.
Review: There's a certain infallibility to Phoenix, a band one imagines would manage to keep a certain louche, cocktail-sipping cool even in the middst of a full-scale thermonuclear war, and 'Ti Amo' is another effortlessly assured and almost indecently cool outing from a band who nonetheless have pushed the kitsch factor further here than ever before. With an Italian theme presiding over these characteristically sunny and laidback ditties, here we're gifted Moroder-esque disco, smooth house and a plethora of '80s synths, yet far from coasting on charm and glamour these young fops are as adept with a memorable hook as a sharply-turned collar.
Review: For the younger generation maybe it's Wolfmother, and for everyone else it's Black Sabbath, but for a slightly ironic psych rock band that's here to be taken seriously, with a pinch of motorik fun, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs bring home the bacon. King Of Cowards provides the north eastern Brits with arguably their most rock solid record that comes in at six tracks large. It can sometimes be few and far between that perfect place, or band, that has the ability to capture the visceral vibe, howl and punch of heavy rock but there's no denying these guys do it with devil horns all the way.