Interview: DELS

For people who haven’t heard about you before, describe your sound to them; what can they expect from you?

DELS: Hip-hop, raw, honest, experimental… that’s it basically. Simple.

What sets you aside from the other hip-hop artists that are around at the moment do you think?

I don’t know. It’s not something I really think about really, but I guess that with the producers that I’m working with it’s got like a different sound to what’s currently out there.

I wanted to ask you about your choice of producers actually because you’ve worked with some really interesting producers – producers I really like –so I was wondering were you involved with those choices or were they suggested to you by the label? How did that come about?

I’ve been working on this record years before I signed with the label last year and I’ve been friends with Micachu, Joe Goddard from Hot Chip and Kwes since like 2006. That’s around the time when I started getting into their music, ‘cos before I went to university I was straight like hip-hop, dancehall music, stuff like that and then when I went to uni I met different people and got into different types of music and I guess that’s the reason why my music sounds the way it does. I don’t really listen to hip-hop that much anymore and I spend time listening to other interesting sounds.


So you mentioned you started way back in 2006 and then I think in 2008 you released a single with Moshi Moshi?


So what have you been doing between that release and releasing ‘Shapeshift’ on Big Dada?

Well, after that in 2009 I had ‘Shapeshift’ ready. We shot the video in 2009. So we’ve been sitting on that for a very long time and I only got to release it last year in July. I was just kind of trying to work out my live show, cos now I’ve got like a proper band and I thought a hip-hop show can be a bit boring when it’s just DJs and a guy on the mic. I just wanted to build that process you know. And make sure that when I’m onstage I’m communicating something to the audience because I feel like hip-hop could be so much more interesting if you have some great musicians around you.  I’ve also been working on my record. I finally finished it at the beginning of the year and it’s coming out in May.

How has your live show changed over the course of writing the album?

It started off with me and a CD player, to me with a DJ, to me with a drummer and a DJ, to now with two keyboardists, singers, delay pedals, bass guitar. I’m really happy with it, but the next step is to add visuals; I want my instrument to be a visual.

How long ago was you and a CD player?

Last gig was in Hull in a dingy club with about four people looking at me and that was in 2009.

Wow, that’s quite recently. I was thinking it would have been back when you were in college.

No, no, no it was recently!

Why is the album called GOB?

Just because I like the word “gob”. It’s very British, it’s something that my mum used to tell me to shut up all the time like “shut yer gob”. My friend Kwes who’s producing on this album he made this track called ‘Gob’ and I just thought it was so punchy. It’s gonna be the next single.

Are you going to make a video for it?

Yeah definitely. We’re shooting a week Tuesday.

You do all your own graphics and videos and things don’t you?

Yeah. With another design studio.

Does that make you feel like you have greater ownership over the whole project?

Yeah for sure. That’s how I’ve always wanted it to be. I’ve always said that I wanted this DELS project to be equally about the audio and the visual, because the times that we’re living in now everything’s online and people are interacting with music in different ways. I think pushing the whole visual element is a really interesting concept for me and that’s something that I’ve been interested in for the last few years. And coming from a graphic design background it’s kind of like a natural progress.

And my music might not last. I might fuck up in a few years time. So I don’t want to go to an interview at a design studio in London and they’ll be like “Ok so what have you been doing for the last few years?” – “Oh I’ve been making music.” But they want to see evidence that I’ve still been thinking in a visual way. So that’s like my plan b.

So it’s like at the same time you’re building your portfolio.

Yeah, exactly!

What kind of themes can we expect to hear lyrically on the album?

Basically the album’s all about the coexistence between fantasy and reality and it’s like an exploration of that space in between.

Yeah that’s what I got from the track titles…

Yeah. ‘Hydronenburg’: that’s about alcoholic water and it’s all about changing. There’s a lot of things where I’m talking about changing objects or changing myself or changing things about other people and stuff like that. So it’s kind of like this distorted view of reality. That’s what I was interested in for this album; just because it lends itself to such a rich visual. Cos if you just base everything on reality it’s too regimented but with fantasy you can do anything.

Are you inspired by things you read?

Yeah things I read, I love Aruki Murakami, the way he writes, he’s a Japanese writer.  Also I love Hayao Miyazaki, he’s amazing; and I just love the whole story element. That’s why when I was growing up I used to like people like The Streets, Roots Manuva or even like Notorious B.I.G. just because they all told stories and that’s what I really like.

And you’ve got Roots Manuva on the album, how did that come about?

Yeah! Oh my god. To be honest that was quite random how that happened. I played his night at the Queen of Hoxton and he came up to me out of nowhere and was like “Yeah let’s make a song.” I didn’t even meet him yet! We were label mates but I’d never met him and he’s like “let’s make a song” and he’s talking to me like he knew me. It was quite weird but I was really excited at the same time. I was trying to compose myself. He’s one of my idols and to make a song with him was just amazing. That was done with me, him and Joe Goddard and we had a brass section. Yeah it sounds really cool.

So you’ve got many different producers working across your album, how do you think all of their different sounds and styles tie together to make the finished product?

Because the beginnings of the instrumentals that they sent through to me I picked them while keeping in mind “how can these all go together?” So I wasn’t just picking any old instrumental, I was thinking “Nah that’s not right, we need to work on this.” And then as the album was coming to its completion we kind of just tied the sounds together. It was supposed to be Joe Goddard producing but it ended up with Kwes producing six tracks on the album, Joe Goddard having three and Micachu two. So that was quite interesting for me. The project was originally going to be a joint project with me and Joe Goddard and we were going to come up with a name for it, but we couldn’t think of a name; we came up with all these shitty names. Then he said “you might as well just call it DELS” and I became a solo act basically.

Speaking of names, how did you get the name DELS?

It’s a nickname from when I was a kid. This teacher got me confused with this boy called Delroy and everyone started taking the piss, calling me Delroy every day and then it kind of stuck. My mum calls me Dels. I’d quite like for people to start calling me Kieran again you know? Cos it’s like, just lost in the mist somewhere.

How did you end up signing to [Ninjatune subsidiary] Big Dada? Were there a lot of offers coming in?

They were the ones that were really passionate about what I’m doing and I felt like they understood my vision. That was the most important thing for me. I also wanted to make sure that I have creative control over what I’m doing, that’s important.

I noticed on the b-sides to ‘Trumpalump’, the Joe Goddard remix isn’t so much of a remix; it’s pretty much a whole new song.

Yeah I know!

Do you end up with a lot of extra lyrics that you don’t use?

I thought about using the same lyrics again, but then I thought that would be cheating the audience. I wanted to give the audience something fresh. And it’s quite a heartfelt lyric; it’s about my granddad. I don’t know, I just wrote it. Joe said we were gonna do a remix and I always wanted to do something with my friend Ghostpoet at some point because I think he’s a great artist. He did his verse and when he did that I said to Joe that I thought we should do a quiet remix, stripped down, less crazy, and I just wrote that verse and then that was it.

I wanted to ask you about Ghostpoet because in a lot of the press I’ve read you two have been touted together as a “new wave of hip-hop.” So with his verse on that track did you meet him, do you know him? Or was it something that was hooked up?

No, he’s one of my friends. I met him… I met Kwes, Micachu, Joe Goddard and Ghostpoet… Sampha… I met all of these great producers and artists all on MySpace! So this was when MySpace was booming. I was always talking to these guys every single day and I’d never even met them. It was really weird. So when I saw Kwes – I remember bumping into him on the underground I was like “Whoa! You’re Kwes,” and he was like “yeah.” Then we kept seeing each other out at like gigs and stuff. But I’ve known Ghostpoet for a few years and I think he’s a great artist and I think he’s going to do some really great things.

Would you consider getting together again and doing another collaboration?

Definitely! We did a mixtape, we released it in 2009 and it had everyone on it. It was produced predominantly by Micachu and Kwes, and it had Ghostpoet on it, it had The xx on it, it had The Invisible, Golden Silvers, Man Like Me, just a crazy amount of artists and we all know each other through friends of friends. It’s called Kwesachu Volume 1 and we’re going to do a Volume 2 this year hopefully, just everyone get together and make music.

Are you looking to get the same lineup with big artists on the second mixtape or have you got some new people in mind?

I don’t know; I don’t really control the mixtape, but I’m sure there’ll be loads of new artists on there.

You mentioned Sampha. Are any of the tracks you’ve made with Sampha ever going to be released? Are they going to show up as b-sides?

Yeah I’m sure they’re going to be released in the future, we just need to finish them. He unexpectedly got really popular so then he got really busy and we couldn’t finish the tracks. I really wanted him to be on the album but I think we’re going to do something over the next month or so and finish it and put it out there because I think he’s just a wicked, wicked producer and he’s an amazing soul singer as well.

So you’ve got a few people featuring on your album, are you featuring on anyone else’s album?

Not at the moment, no. Not any hip-hop records or anything.

You still live in Ipswich and you’ve been commuting to London to record; if this album is a success will you move to London?

The plan is to move to London this summer, obviously I lived here before, I moved back to write the album. I just wanted to write it in Ipswich for some reason and it’s worked. I’m looking forward to moving back to London but to be honest I’d probably prefer to write my second album in another city like Tokyo or New York.

That’s really interesting because a lot of the press that I’ve seen says that one of the reasons your music is so fresh is because you took that step away from the “London scene” and wrote it in a different city, so is that something you’re going to try to do; write each album in a different city and see where it takes you?

Yeah I’d love to do that, that’d be a good excuse to go travelling! I’d meet loads of new people, make new friends, stuff like that and I’m sure it would have a massive effect on my music.

In 2008 you released ‘Lazy’; do you think you’re still lazy?

No I’m definitely not lazy, not anymore. <laughs> That was kind of like a reflection of my teenage years before I went to college and stuff like that.

I suppose we should whack this in: every press release I’ve read about you says you were in a two-step garage band that John Peel played. What was the band called and can people still hear the song?

No, no, you can’t find the song. It was a band before the internet age so it doesn’t exist, luckily. <laughs> We were called The Alliance Inn. If you go on the BBC website and search The Alliance Inn we don’t come up, it’s like a picture of these random four white dudes with beards. <laughs> So you won’t ever trace it back to that period.

If you take off it might come out on an old John Peel sessions CD or something.

I hope not!

Rob Hakimian, Tom Riste Smith


Interview: Titus Andronicus

Hey Patrick, how’s the tour going?

It’s been a great tour, probably the most enjoyable on of England yet. We’ve had some bigger audiences than we’re generally used to over here and we’ve had the hospitality from a lot of nice people that have invited us over to their houses afterwards. We’ve made a ton of nice friends. So yeah, it’s been really nice… apart from the cold. This has also being the coldest tour we’ve ever done.

Even colder than back in the US?

Dude, it’s cold. I think it’s colder. I don’t even remember any other weather.

You mentioned sleeping on people’s floors, how’s that been going?

It’s nice. Most of the time we end up staying up till some obscene hour, talking, laughing and learning about English culture. I’ve learned the most valuable lesson though is that people are all the same wherever you go … all assholes.. . JOKE.

You sound like a really positive guy Patrick, but your lyrics are sometimes really bleak.

Well you know, if I didn’t have the outlet for the bleakness, how could I maintain positivity?

So it’s some sort of catharsis then?

Well I dunno. There are good days and bad, as with anyone. Walt Whitman says that “contain multitudes” right?  So you can try and find good in the world even though you know there’s great evil. You’ve got to try and take the bad with the good. Though the bad is usually worse than the good is good. Also, how could I not be feeling up right now when the seminal UK punk band Television Personalities are supporting us?

How did that come about?

Well I would never have thought of it. In my mind they should be headlining stadiums. But Texas Bob, their guitar player, friended me on facebook and asked if they could support at our London show.  It’s really happening, it’s surreal.  It was kinda fortunate cos we were meant to be doing this tour with Let’s Wrestle, but they had to pull out.

How about Mazes, do you know them at all?

Yeah, they were supposed to support us in Manchester but they pulled out as well! We actually met their singer the first time we played in Manchester 2 years ago, and he gave us their cassette and we’ve treasured it ever since. Sadly, they couldn’t make it, for one reason or another.

You’ve got them here at least?

THEY’RE PLAYING TONIGHT?! Oh shit. That’s great news. Wow, what a great show. Sweet.

Sure.  Can we just talk about your latest record, The Monitor.  What’s the back-story to it?

Well it’s about the theme of disunion and organisations, communities and relationships that are supposed to have a certain amount of solidarity but actually don’t. We just end up pitting one against another. It all just seems to me that it’s just people trying pass the buck for their own happiness or unhappiness, trying to define themselves in relation to one another rather than trying to define yourself, positively. From that, the Civil War is an extended metaphor, seen as that was the largest occurrence of that in American history. The confederacy vs. the Union, that was pretty disharmonious. Though it’s pretty much just a different set of clothes on the set of problems we have today. You know what I’m saying? It’s also about me moving to Boston, which I did a couple of years ago, but then having to move back.  It’s about all these things and more.

What sort of musical influences did you have whilst making the record?

Well, The Television Personalities, you know. Big Country was another big one. They’re a Scottish band from the 80s. We listened to a lot of Trail Of Dead and Fucked Up in the studio.

But you seem to get lumped into a lot of indie-type stuff on sites like Pitchfork. Do you feel like you identify with any of that really?

Well I identify with plenty of it, and listen to it, but nobody likes being put in a box. It’s cool though. I guess we’re an indie rock band, to the extent that there is such a thing.

How about on the tour, what do you think of the bands that are supporting you?

There’s been some awesome bands. In Bristol we had Bravo Brave Bats, they were really an awesome band. They kinda sounded like McClucsky or something. The other night in Newcastle we played with this band called Oh Messy Life, they were really great too. They kinda sounded like The Mekons or Neutral Milk Hotel, but more 90s alt rock or something.

How about in the US?

Well we just did a tour with Free Energy and we really liked those guys. You should also check out a band called Spider Bags, they’re pretty much the best American band. There’s also this great Baltimore band called Double Dagger. They’re a cool 3 piece punk band.  Also check out my man Andrew Cedermark who used to play guitar in Titus Andronicus. He just put out his own record that’s really awesome.  Me, Andrew and Martin from Real Estate used to be in a band called Library of Congress at college, but at the end of first year they both transferred to other colleges.  Thusly, Titus Andronicus was born.

Talking of sleeping on floors, you seem to be quite into the DIY ethos as a band.  Is that true?

Yeah, sure. I mean, we have to be reluctant to say yes, because there are a lot of things we don’t do ourselves, and there are lots of bands that are more DIY than we are.  However it is important for us to break the fourth wall a little bit and demonstrate that we’re regular folks, who just happen to be in a band. We did one tour over here where we just stayed in hotels cos we were scared. It was just really depressing, everyday just felt the same. It was just too sterile and inhuman.  And you know we have to keep the overhead down cos it’s expensive to come over here. We can barely afford the plane tickets let alone the hotels without going into debt. I will say that these English are notoriously cheap with their fees… Like really stingy motherfuckers most of the time. Compared to mainland Europe, you guys are real tightwads… FYI. But it’s cool, it’s just funny money. I reckon we might just break even on this tour for the first time.

What’s the plan for after the tour finishes, what are you up to then?

Not really any real plans. We won’t be going out on the road again till springtime.  Probably just rehearse and learn some new songs, hang out and kinda take it easy. Mostly just refamiliarise ourselves with our civilian lives, spend time with loved ones, sleep in, eat food that’s not from a gas station.

You’re missing Thanksgiving today.

Yeah, that’s true. I’ve still got a lot to be thankful for though, like the Television Personalities! Definitely better than a turkey.

We were wondering whether the band has any sort of philosophy?  You’ve mentioned about the positive/negative balance and you’ve referenced writers such as Albert Camus in songs.

Yes, we are a punk band. Sure, we’ve got plenty of philosophies, but I guess the big one is that life in an absurd universe causes people to be mean, and people being mean makes me sad.

We were looking at [guitarist] Amy’s blog the other day and saw that she used to be in Riot Grrl bands.  Do you guys still stand for those causes?

Sure, she’s still a feminist, I hope she never gives up. Caring about people, that’s all that is. Just treating people decently, that’s the only ideology worth its salt. Just treat them like how you’d like to be treated. I mean it’s an old line but it’s still the truth. Old and cliché as it is, we humans still haven’t figured out how to implement it on any useful scale. But hey, what are you gonna do?

What are your feelings about US politics in general?

I don’t concern myself with that stuff. They’re all a bunch of liars and swindlers what ever side of the stupid aisle they’re on. I’m much more concerned with the stuff that’s going on on the ground. People that I can relate to, from one human to another. That’s where I think where people can do the most good.

Sure.  In the UK at the moment many people have become disillusioned over the Liberal Democrats [Explains tuition fees and university story].  A group of students at our university UCL, have occupied one of the main rooms in protest.  Do you have any messages for them?

I’m always happy to see the kids getting excited, but it sucks that it’s about money. There are a lot more important things in this world than money. It’s a good start though. I dunno, money… fuck it, but I like that they’re excited and standing up for themselves. It is bad that they’re trying to take all your money, that does suck. If it was about something other than money, I could be a little more excited, but I’m still pretty excited. Usually in America, you couldn’t get students to protest fucking anything, unless you took their Twitter away. It’s sad, but that’s the world in which we live in; ain’t that right boys? I say good luck to those students and get what they’re after, remember how good it felt to stand up for themselves and maybe they can continue to stand up for what they believe in in the future. Hopefully they won’t just get their money back and go on to being fat and lazy like the people who used to protest all the time in America. We’ll see.  It’s not for me to judge even though I just did.

Finally, on a lighter note, I saw you had a little funny video about Kanye West on your blog. Did you guys make that yourselves?

Oh, thank you.  Yeah, me and Eric, the drummer made that.  We were just staying up one night thinking about Kanye and we just hopped on the computer in a couple hours. We all really like the new record and have been listening to it a lot.  He’s funny, and always keeping things interesting. He believes in himself, a lot, which is a rare thing. He dares to be great. It’s always nice to see.

Thanks Patrick, good luck with the gig.
Edwin Shaw & Dasal Abayaratne

Dntel – After Parties 1 and 2 (Sub Pop, 2010)

Jimmy Tamborello aka Dntel is stuck in a bit of a rut. In the late 90s his career began to snowball; first hailed as a pioneering electronica artist he gained a cult following. In 2001 he released his first full length under the Dntel moniker Life Is Full Of Possibilities, which featured a smattering of collaborations, most famously with Death Cab front man Ben Gibbard. This one-time collaboration turned into a full on world-beating side project when the pair released Give Up as The Postal Service in 2003. The end of the Postal Service’s tour marked the end of Tamborello’s quick rise to fame and he went quiet for a while. He finally followed up with Dumb Luck in 2007, which featured a different guest vocalist on every track, as if Tamborello was auditioning people for the next Postal Service-esque surprise package. Unfortunately nothing on Dumb Luck reached the heights of Life Is Full Of Possibilites and Tamborello retreated and has since only released demos and reworks of older material as Dntel.

Now Dntel returns with a pair of EPs; After Parties 1 and 2, which immediately set themselves apart from his previous work through the mere fact that they are entirely lacking in vocals. As the title of the EPs would suggest, his aim here is to create something for people to dance to. Every song has a beat, decorated by lightly sprinkled synths and the inclusion of unthreateningly looming reverberations, the basic ingredients of any dance track. People could easily dance to this, my doubt is as to whether people would dance to this when there is so much else similar and more importantly, better, out there. The beats are tame, the additional instrumentation is boring and insignificantly different from track to track to even tell them apart.

The definition between the two EPs is almost indistinguishable, although  After Parties 2 takes a slight step off the dance floor to venture more into textural electronica akin to Pantha Du Prince, and has relative success on ‘Peepsie’ and the demented funfair electronics of ‘Aimless’. However, the majority of the tracks will have listeners wondering whether Tamborello accidentally put an early, unfinished version of his tracks on; so uninteresting and lifeless are the tracks that you can’t help but feel a certain lack of inspiration went into them.

It’s a sad state of affairs for an artist who started the last decade riding a vibrant wave of interesting and loveable electronic music. However, the start of this subsequent one finds Tamborello at the end of his party and sadly the only after party activity that these two new EPs are likely to soundtrack is sleep.

Rob Hakimian

Live Review: Broken Social Scene and Tortoise at KOKO, November 16th 2010

Chicagoan post-rockers Tortoise have been around for nearly twenty years now and are often hailed as one of the forefathers of post-rock. Therefore it was somewhat odd to see them take to the stage at the ludicrously early time of 7.45pm; a side-effect of the promoters evidently thinking “you’re important enough to deserve a decent set-time, but not popular enough to take the headline slot.” Tortoise didn’t seem perturbed by the fact that they were on early and that the crowd was somewhat thin, this was probably because they were focused on their music. A purely-instrumental band of six members constantly switching instruments including guitar, bass, keyboard, electric xylophone and two drumkits, Tortoise showed their experience by professionally running through a set spanning their entire discography staying tighter than you may have thought possible. The sonic shifts were smooth and beautiful as the sweeping audio landscapes they create in the studio and bolstered here in the live setting. By the end the crowd was nearly full and everyone was intently and respectfully watching and listening to every graceful musical piece emerge and work its way into their ears. One shout from a crowd member of “you should be headlining” didn’t flatter the band.

Although Tortoise may have history on their side, it was evident from the moment that Broken Social Scene played their first chord why they were the headliners. I said it when I first saw them and tonight’s show only reinforced it: Broken Social Scene are the epitome of everything a live band should be. What I mean by this is that the band are tight, loud, clear, aware of what their audience want to hear, evidently excited to be there (even though this is the fifth time they’ve played in London in 2010), funny in their between-song talks, interesting to watch in their instrument-swapping madness, willing to play for two hours solid and don’t go off and back on again for an encore. Also, they bring horns on tour with them across the Atlantic, how many bands these days bother to do that? The band plays through a set consisting of all the best songs from newest album Forgiveness Rock Record, and plenty of fan favourites from their self-titled album and breakthrough album You Forgot It In People. In a set wherein each song could be picked as the highlight since every chorus soared, every crescendo was reached, maintained and perfected, and every riff scythed cleanly through the excited atmosphere, a special mention must go to ‘Superconnected’ and the mellowest moment of the night ‘Lover’s Spit’. The latter was begun by Kevin Drew solo on keyboard before slowly each of the other members joined in with their preferred choice of brass instrument.

The atmosphere was one of the most buoyant I’ve ever experienced and this general sense of bonhomie was summed up towards the end when Drew laid on his back on top of the audience to be crowd-surfed heroically from the stage to the back of the room and back again whilst accompanied by spacey-atmospheric rock and encouragement from his band-mates on stage. A true image of the connecting power of rock music if ever there was one. Upon returning to the stage Drew announced that the next song would be their last, only for them to go ahead and play three more.

If you missed Broken Social Scene this time around then that’s bad luck; the band announced that this would be the last time they’d play in London “for a very long time.” However the band will be back eventually and now that you’ve read this you’ve no excuse to miss them. If you’re not a fan of BSS on record don’t let that hold you back; I was never a huge fan of their recorded material but when it comes to their live act it’s a whole different matter. You will be converted, they have powers, they are after all a “super group”.

Rob Hakimian

Mini Hype – Smallgang

It’s not often that you hear a happy song about a plane crash but such is the attitude of Smallgang; determined to find positives in the unlikeliest of places. This happiness shines through in their jangly guitars, poppy vocals and frantic hooks. On first listen Smallgang may seem too indebted to their influences but further plays will reveal the originality and talent that this troupe has. Look out for a debut full-length in early 2011 on Damnably Records.

 Rob Hakimian

Video Spotlight

The National – ‘Terrible Love’

Videos made from backstage and live tour clips can seem lazy and are often boring, but The National’s new video for ‘Terrible Love’ is an exception. Known for their gloomy sound and often depressing lyrics, this video cuts a stark contrast to the image they portray in their music. The clips alter between funny and inspiring; you’ll find yourself chuckling when you see the band looking serious whilst playing in front of passport check-in at an airport then you’ll find your heart swelling with pride as you see the band triumphantly play an Obama rally in front of the American flag (yes this video and band will make you feel American).

Die Antwoord – ‘Evil Boy’

Becoming an overnight success has only changed Die Antwoord in one way; it gives them more money to screw around with. This is apparent and quite literally true; in their new erection-tastic video for ‘Evil Boy’ we see the trio dancing around to the beat of their new tune amidst dancers, an expensive-looking rotating graffiti’d set and monsters in various incarnations (a nipple-less female definitely falls under this last category). In fact it seems they spent so much money on everything else that they couldn’t afford to clothe two of their members, so they prance around in nothing but underwear. Unfortunately the only member whom we might actually want to see in their underwear, Yo-landi Vi$$er, is in a huge fur coat. We’ll have to get our kicks from watching the two guys’ boners practically burst out from their boxers. Actually at one point Yo-landi does go topless, only to reveal a pair of eyes where her nipples should be. Add it to the extremely long list of WTF!? moments that culminates with the final shot of a rotating wooden carving of smurf-like creature with an erect penis that extends further than the length of its body.

J. Cole – ‘Who Dat’

J. Cole – Who Dat (Directed by BBGUN) from bbgun on Vimeo.

J. Cole’s first video and the perfect way to make a mark upon a scene that of late can be all too familiar, the video for ‘Who Dat’ is shot in one continuous take and is a testament to what good planning, choreography and originality can produce. The camera follows Cole as he works his way through the burnt-out town of Fayetteville. As he proceeds he’s joined by a gang of supporters, some cheerleaders and a marching band who all stick to their cues perfectly. Further on down the road we have fires and exploding cars but none of this distracts J. Cole who at the forefront of it all is continuing his flow with a cool precision and confidence of a pro (or possibly of a man who knows he only has enough budget for one take). By the final shot of J. Cole leaving Fayetteville heroically down the train line as the music fades you feel you can’t help yourself but salute the man and all those involved on a job extremely well done.

Rob Hakimian

Mini Hype – 2:54

This London based female duo are influenced by a plethora of late 80s & early 90s bands, most evidently Sonic Youth, right down to singer Hannah Thurlow’s Kim Gordon-esque husky vocals. The sisters are strong female characters, which shines through in their music and is probably why they have been selected to support Melissa Auf Der Maur on her UK tour.

Rob Hakimian
Creeping by 2:54 Band

Live Review: El Guincho at Cargo, November 4th 2010

Upon entering Cargo for the night’s entertainment – a show put on by hipsters’ favourite Spaniard El Guincho – it was evident that there was a significant Spanish population amongst the crowd. This European influence continued on the stage where Porcelain Raft – a single Italian named Mauro Remiddi – warmed the crowd up substantially. Armed with his guitar and accompanied by a drum machine, he played a brand of dream pop akin to Deerhunter’s recent output. Although he couldn’t quite reach the amount of depth or layering of the Atlanta band he did have a good try at reaching their volume; each harsh beat on the drum machine rattling off the walls until the thunderous guitar came in and blanketed the beats in dreamy metallic resonance. The passion on Mauro’s face was evident throughout, especially when taking a time out from the louder numbers to sing a ballad which culminated in the repetition of the phrase “you are all fools.”

Pablo Diaz-Reixa, better known as El Guincho took to the stage shortly after , looking less like the ultra-cool beat producer than you’d expect and more like a Spanish schoolboy; smart polo shirt tucked into sensibly fitting trousers accompanied by cleanish white converse shoes. Flanked on either side by a bassist and guitarist neither of whom looked particularly flamboyant; it was a wonder where the excitement was going to come from.

The trio started with ‘Kalise’ and the vocal build up into the track left the crowd on edge; “is this really going to work?” But all concerns were soon vanquished as Diaz-Reixa picked up his trusty drumstick for the first time that night and dropped the first beat; the energy onstage instantly quadrupling and this was met in return with equal measure of excitement and energy from the crowd. All I can say is this; Pablo Diaz-Reixa must have some serious muscles in his right arm as he did not stop beating his drum-pad throughout the night; like the puppet master he commanded the beat with his right arm and called the tune on his keyboard with his left. The crowd were powerless to resist, not that any of them would have chosen to if they could.

Playing heavily from his new album Pop Negro the highlights included ‘Bombay’, ‘Ghetto Facil’, and the magnificent ‘Soca Del Eclipse’. Towards the end he dropped in a few more from breakthrough album Alegranza! to the crowd’s delight, and it was ‘Antillas’ from that album which was played as the encore and will forever rest in my memory as one of the most fun live music experiences of my life. From the first beat drop of the song the whole crowd without exception from front to back were jumping around in time. Diaz-Reixa and co. extended the song, dropping the beat several times over and each time the madness in the crowd was rejuvenated. For that short space of time with the high Spanish contingent, the festival feel and the heat in that room made me feel as though I had been transported to a small bar hidden in Las Ramblas of Barcelona where an all night fiesta was taking place. It was a shame that it had to end so soon.

On the night the steel drum sounds may have been synthesized and the lyrics of the songs may have made no sense to me but emanating from the stage and reverberating around the room was a real unmistakeable Spanish passion that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

Rob Hakimian

Mini Hype – Echo Lake

The name Echo Lake tells you everything you need to know about the sound of this band. Cavernous guitars enclose the haunting vocals, which add a mysticism and ethereal quality to their music. Listening to Echo Lake can put you into a state of reverie wherein you’ll picture the placid waters and dreamscapes that is audibly beholden unto you.

Rob Hakimian

Everything Is Real by Echo Lake

Brian Eno – Small Craft on Milk Sea (Warp, 2010)

Listening to a Brian Eno album, especially an ambient one like Small Craft On A Milk Sea, is like being taken on a tour of an alien world – Enoworld. As such, opener ‘Emerald and Lime’ gives a bird’s eye view of the landscape below before we delve right in from the next track on. The swirling and sparse ‘Complex Heaven’ takes us on a tour of the eerie caverns, whilst the driving kraut-rock of ‘2 Forms of Anger’ gives us a good look at the crashing oceans and the beat-heavy ‘Dust Shuffle’ takes us over the sparse plains and deserts. It all has a groove, a melody but also an edge that keeps you on your toes, much like something Eno’s Warp label mate Aphex Twin might create.

The inhospitable first half gives way to a lusher, softer closing half. ‘Slow Ice, Old Moon’ fully realises the arctic tundra of Enoworld; simultaneously serene and sinister, but the electronic blips of ‘Lesser Heaven’ come to swoop us away and give us a beautiful view of the cosmos. From the gusty peaks of ‘Calcium Needles’ we get a phenomenal view of the peaceful side of Enoworld, which is shown to us in further detail on the piano ballad ‘Emerald and Stone’. In fact by the end of Small Craft On A Milk Sea you start to feel wonderfully at home in this new environment, which makes it hard to accept when ‘Invisible’ comes and sucks us back out of our new lives and we re-emerge into our former selves as the album ends with birds chirping and we remember the world we used to call home.

Rob Hakimian