I have been getting tons of material lately for review consideration so I thought I would try something new and shrink down my usually lengthy reviews. Nothing fancy, just trying to get the word out on some amazing bands and releases. Enjoy.
Sh*t Robot – From The Cradle To The Rave
Marcus Lambkin, aka Sh*t Robot, has taken his time releasing his debut album – literally it has been 20 years in the making. The Irish born punk rocker turned DJ has made a name for himself in the NYC club scene and even though has never recorded an album before has made a huge name for himself by just doing his thing. I should also mention that Lambkin helped build that which is now DFA Records from the ground up.
From The Cradle To The Rave reflects Lambkin’s life as a DJ and more. Opening track, co-written by LCD Soundsystem‘s James Murphy, “Tuff Enough?” is an electronic anthem of sorts with simple beats and synthesizer that was actually written about an upcoming expectancy. “Losing My Patience” featuring Hot Chip‘s Alexia Taylor was a fun track that I think many of the dance clubs will have no problem spinning. “Simple Things (Work It Out)” was an entertaining experimental dance track of sorts with almost a spoken word feel to it.
My personal favorite cut on the album was “Take ‘Em Up” featuring another musician from LCD Soundsystem, Nancy Whang. This song not only screamed retro 80’s but also heavily reminded me of what would happen if Daft Punk decided to sample a Sonic The Hedgehog soundtrack. Whang’s vocals are perfect for this track more suitable to be played at a roller rink.
From The Cradle To The Rave is proof that sometimes taking your time is a good thing. This release is for all the folk out there that still enjoy the clubs. Full of electronic goodness that reaches back to the days when techno was all the hype in the 90’s as well as hints at some Kraftwerk. The album is solid front to back without over doing it. Where I don’t frequent those types of clubs anymore I still got a kick out of that which is Sh*t Robot.
The Chemical Brothers – Further
Seeing a band like The Chemical Brothers come out with new material makes this guy right here happy. As a longtime fan of the British duo (Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons), I was thrilled when Further was released and even more intrigued when I heard that alongside the album would be visuals to accompany each of the songs. While I still have yet to obtain the videos I can tell you that they are available on DVD and iTunes for download.
Further is different from previous releases as it is mostly instrumental with Rowlands taking it upon himself to sing on a couple tracks as well as features Stephanie Dosen (Massive Attack) who lends her vocals as well. I honestly prefer when they collaborate with other musicians on their previous releases but still enjoyed listening to tracks like “Escape Velocity” and “Another World”. “Swoon” was a trip in itself that I could not help but tag along with.
Heavy on the synthesizers and easing back on the drum machines throughout make for a very chill album to listen to. This is one of those types of albums I can see myself not growing tired of anytime soon. For those of you out there that still has a soft spot for the duo who hit the charts with “Block Rocking Beats” back in the day don’t hesitate to pick up Further. The duo still has it and has dropped one great album to dance the night away to or even just sit back and get lost in.
J. Tillman – Singing Ax
Beautiful is just one of the many words that can be used to describe J. Tillman‘s latest release Singing Ax. Not just a member of Fleet Foxes, the folk artist has been very involved in recording material with others as well as himself since around 2004. His latest offering is a vinyl only release that was recorded by Tillman almost entirely by himself in just three days. The result is a calm yet captivating collection of songs that couple compliment any campfire gathering or just a quiet afternoon of solitude.
Opening track “Three Sisters” pretty much set the bar up high for the entire album for me. While listening to TIllman’s singing I could only anticipate on what he was going to sing next and patiently waited the story, backed by acoustic guitar playing and drum machine, to unfold. “Diamondback” continued with a calm retreat of a pleasant tale that had me closing my eyes and absorbing the intimate song. In fact I found myself doing that a lot while listening to Singing Ax. Later on I was treated to the album ending “A Seat At The Table” a song, to me, that almost was a musical rendition of a storm rolling in complete with thundering drumming towards the end of the track.
Tillman dropped an amazing album that barely carried any further supplement aside from his singing and acoustic guitar. Honestly nothing more was needed as the folk chill release was presented perfectly. I can only imagine what a live performance would entail. Luckily for me he is touring with Phosphorescent and is making a stop in Cleveland in just a short couple of weeks. Fans of Nick Drake and even a younger Neil Young I think will really enjoy this album as well as anyone out there that is just looking for a musical form of relaxation.