Monday, 29 April 2019

Listen! - Vukovar - Decameron (Or 10 Days Of Violence)


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Sunday, 28 April 2019

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Friday, 26 April 2019

Listen! - Life As Surface Noise - Biographical Compost


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Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Listen! - Feral Five - Shake It


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Listen! - Ummagma - Caravan


Considering just how much music washes on our earbuds these days, how much of it is actually something you are thankful you’ve even heard? And how much of that really makes you stand up and notice an artist for having a particularly unique sound – one that is unmistakably theirs, allowing you to distinguish one of their tracks from anyone else at first listen?  For many, the answer both times around would be ‘not many’. Fortunately, today we present you a band that most definitely should be on your radar (and will likely to stay there on their own merit).

While otherwise seemingly prolific, it has been 7 years since Ummagma has released their last long-play. Springing onto the musical scene in 2012 with not one, but two albums (‘Antigravity’ and self-titled ‘Ummagma’), they made quite an impression with their special brand of electronic rock-infused indie pop. Dabbling also in shoegaze and ethereal territory, their subsequent EPs and singles brought them further into ambient and indietronic realms, conducting their voyages through both female and male vox, sometimes even in tandem.

Ummagma's sound may not be known to the masses, but it has pleased those who have encountered it, ultimately leading to collaborations with music icons Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) and Dean Garcia (Curve) on their most recent ‘LCD’ EP with 4AD dreampop pioneer A.R.Kane on their 'Winter Tale' EP, both released in 2017. Prior tracks saw them work with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's Malcolm Holmes, Swervedriver's Graham Bonnar and nudisco kingpin Alexander Robotnick, in addition to releasing the entire 'New Born' album with Moscow shoegaze post-rockers Sounds of Sputnik .
Their ecstatic yet grounded compositions demonstrate their ability to wander diverse musical pathways, a vision that resulted in a full-page spread in Rolling Stone Russia and saw them win the Alternative Eurovision on Amazing Radio in 2013, representing Ukraine among 23 countries. In 2015, their work was also recognized when Sounds of Sputnik received the prestigious Jagermeister indie award for their joint ‘New Born’ album.

Ummagma is a must-serve prescription for music connoisseurs into the likes of Curve, Daughter, Lanterns on the Lake, A.R.Kane, Wolf Alice, Broadcast, Cocteau Twins and Still Corners. Rolling Stone calls this music “massive with an intricate fabric” and a “full kaleidoscope of sounds, harmonies and musical instruments”. Their music has always presented the optimistic side of the emotional spectrum, as noted by such publications as Clash Music, The Skinny, BrooklynVegan and The Wire Magazine.

Finally Ummagma will be releasing their new album 'Compass' in June via Manchester-based label Leonard Skully Records. Ahead of this third long-play, which will also be the first time the band is releasing a record on vinyl, they present the 'Caravan' single, along with a special B-side 'Ty i Ya'.

Enthralling and summoning the wilds of one’s imagination, here we find a mesmerizing drum beat, steady ethno-prog guitar stylings, ideal sense of space, and gossamer female vocals interchanged with confident and earthy male vox.

Both tracks on this single are inspired by the journey taken by vocalist Shauna McLarnon and multi-instrumentalist Alexander Kretov. Having met in Moscow in 2003 and eventually making a home in Ukraine before relocating to Canada, the two have traversed much terrain and life experiences together. Now based in Ontario, they finally present this new offering from their new studio. With such transience in the real world, it’s no wonder that this release should be governed by fluidity and movement?

"Caravan is about a personal journey - one that begins in the mind before any borders have even been crossed," says Ummagma vocalist Shauna McLarnon. "The trip is so much better when you truly want to be part of it. You map your own destiny in many ways and dreaming is a great place to begin."

'Ty i Ya' is a vibe-injected upbeat track, with infectious Daft Punk-esque bassline, that 
Alexander Kretov composed and performs in his native Ukrainian language. This is the first single Ummagma has ever released in a language other than English, stepping beyond the confines of past songwriting limits.

Ummagma’s music is fascinating in its post-genre nature, embodying grace and change, familiarity and exploration, emotion and euphoria, as well as cinematic highs and intimate lows. This is the sound of a band allowing themselves to jump creative divides, to kick down musical barriers, and rip up the rule book or perhaps just ignore the fact that there ever was one in the first place.

While Ummagma’s ‘Caravan’ single is out on May 8, it can already be pre-ordered at It won’t be long after that the ‘Compass’ LP itself will be released (on June 21), available on black vinyl and CD with artwork by Alexander Kretov and also digitally everywhere, including on iTunesAmazon and Spotify. 

All songs written and performed by Ummagma
Music and arrangement by Alexander Kretov and Shauna McLarnon
Lyrics and vocals by Alexander Kretov and Shauna McLarnon
Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Alexander Kretov at Ummagma Studio
Publicity by 
Shameless Promotion PR
Cover design and artwork by Alexander Kretov at Ummagma Studio

Also enjoy ‘Galacticon’, another track from the upcoming album, as well as the Robin Guthrie mix of their song ‘Lama’ (video directed by Brazilian videographer Dimitry Uziel and produced by Coisas Que Pairam).

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Review - Erasure - Wild! Deluxe Edition

Erasure – Wild! Deluxe Edition (Mute/BMG)

2 x CD

29 March 2019

Legendary British synthpop duo re-package their 1989 album.  

Following on from the pop-stomp of debut album Wonderland and the subsequent pop onslaught of The Circus and The Innocents, Erasure released their fourth long player in October 1989 to continue the claim of being one of the most popular artists of the late 80s-early 90s.  With Wild! came a more sophisticated sound with more complex arrangements and became with second of what would be four consecutive number one albums in the UK.

Selling over 600,000 copies and achieving double platinum status Wild! was produced by Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Einstürzende Neubauten, Nick Cave) and Mark Saunders (The Cure, Tricky, Neneh Cherry) and contained four top 20 singles following on from their number 23 success with Stop! arguably one of the finest pop songs of the last fifty years.

Beginning with a minute long instrumental version of album closer Piano Song the album set up a grandiose entrance which was followed by the albums highest charting single Blue Savannah.  Still a live favourite to this date, it was signature Erasure with sweeping piano, faux strings and crisp synth effects with a wonderfully uplifting feel.

The albums opening single, Drama! Stormed to into the UK top 5 and cemented the duo’s dominance on the chart.  Starting with a subtle keyboard intro and subdued vocals from Any Bell, it soon proceeded to one of the most complicated arrangements to hit the airwaves becoming a startling dancefloor anthem.  The multi-layered Bell vocals were an incredible performance from the singer and the group shout of “Guilty” was added to by Jim and William Reid (The Jesus Mary Chain) who were recording in a next door studio!

In amongst the high paced tracks of Wild! there is also time for some slower tracks to break the chaos – How Many Times, the albums second single You Surround Me and Crown Of Thorns – all of which mingle perfectly into the genius wizardry of Vince Clarke and his extricable melody talents and, it is probably on tracks like La Gloria and Brother And Sister that we see the true range of Bell’s vocals in some positively exciting performances.

The success of the album prompted the release of a fourth single in Star, a high powered out-and-out pop song whose lyric gave way to the title of the retrospective box set From Moscow To Mars and, tickled the UK top 10 from the safety of the number eleven spot and, there were other tracks, namely 2,000 Miles that could have stretched to a fifth.

Of course, no deluxe edition wold be complete without a disc of bonus features and Wild! is no exception with thirteen extra tracks (including five previously unreleased) comprising of remixed, new mixes and, live versions. 

The incredible Drama! (Act 2) and (almost) instrumental Sweet Sweet Baby (The Moo-Moo Mix) from the Drama!12” single  and here together with Piano Song (premiered by Louder Than War here) and Brother And Sister which were both recorded at the London Arena in December 1989.  There’s also a huge treat in the Daniel Miller/Phil Legg remix of Cerrone’s Supernature which appeared on the Extra Limited Edition 12” of You Surround Me along with the Gareth Jones Mix of the single from the same disc.

A brand new mix of Drama! by Richard Norris of The Grid and the Alternative Mix of How Many Times completes the brand new listening and the experimental 91 Steps (6 Pianos Mix) ends a fascinating disc.

Wild! has stood the test of time as a brilliant pop album and, now updated with additional sought after material, becomes indispensable to all pop fans.


Published on Louder Than War 27/03/19 - here

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Friday, 5 April 2019

Review - Anni Hogan – Lost In Blue

Anni Hogan – Lost In Blue (Cold Spring Records)


5 April 2019

Multi-talented musician, producer, composer and DJ releases here new album. 

Originally rising to prominence via her association with Soft Cell, Anni Hogan returns with a fascinating album of cabaret and vaudeville tinged tracks comprising of several collaborations from members of Kraftwerk, Virgin Prunes and Bad Seeds.  

As a student at Leeds University in the late 70s she met Marc Almond and David Ball at a local live venue and was later asked to join Marc And The Mambas who also included Matt Johnson of The The.  Her work as part of the Mambas and also The Willing Sinners was pivotal in the cult success of Almond’s solo material as was her production of his albums Jacques and The Stars We Are.

Produced by David Ball and film score producer Riccardo Mulhall. Lost In Blue consists of eleven new tracks of crisp and clinical quality.  Beautiful orchestral arrangements and her gorgeous piano playing intertwine with a feel of bleakness and sordid torch which will strike a loving and sentimental chord with any fans of the grossly underrated Mambas.

Album opener, Lost Somewhere features Hogan on vocals against an almost ambient, Gaelic backdrop introducing some magnificent electro swirls and sax solo around the halfway mark.  It’s a wonderful start to an album that will grow and grow as it weaves its way beautifully and naturally from piece to piece.

Whether purposefully or not, many of the tracks feature the guest appearances in a spoken word format.  It works well, particularly as each artist presents a different tone and presentation which stops the sound of a bohemian Soho becoming commonplace and boring.  Kid Congo Powers (Cramps, Bad Seeds) provides the first taste of collaboration on My Career, a lamentable and enthralling.  

Silk Paper featuring Kraftwerk percussionist Wolfgang Flür is simply captivating.  His accent taking the song on a different slant – so descriptive and alluring that it becomes almost sexual as piano and strings melt with his mellow tones.  Along with Ghosts Of Soho featuring writer, actress and artist Celine Hispiche and, Making Blackpool Rock with Scarlet West it is one of the hard to pick highlights of the album.

Both Ghosts Of Soho and Making Blackpool Rock display a touch of anger as we weave down the bleakness of troubled society with a simple and honest depiction of modern times, before John Fiddler of Medicine Head closes the album with the title track, a blues infused lament containing some wonderful harmonica.

Lost In Blue is a fine album, created with passion and a love for all things tattered and torn.  Be impressed.


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Monday, 1 April 2019

Listen! - BOO - Poliakov (midierror Remix)


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