Open Ear Blog

New Music Reviews | October

Sauna Youth — Deaths

Channeling the early days of Wire, The Mekons, or The Slits, Sauna Youth have the raw fuzz of the tentative first days of late 70s Post Punk yet are still rooted firmly in the present. Filled with energy without spilling over into a non-stop riot, their smart Punk shows an appreciation for texture and depth. Overtly recognizing their musical ancestors on tracks like ‘No Personal Space’ which references the classic drumbeat from The Damned’s ‘New Rose’, Sauna Youth tackle the concept of endings throughout this final LP of a trilogy.

Neil - “Deaths, Sauna Youth’s final release in a trilogy of LPs is the genuine sound of modern DIY rock. In a sea of posers, derivation and parody, it’s incredibly refreshing to see a band like this get the attention they deserve, whether they care or not. If this is the last thing we hear from them, I’ll still be glad that a record like this exists amongst the myriad of over-produced, stylised, unconvincing indie rock of 2018. It’s been a pleasure to playlist it in some of my more forward-looking playlists, and I’d recommend it to anybody needing a break from the constant deluge of Sunday Brunch-ready artists currently holding back mainstream guitar music. A modern return to primitivism we all need.”

Dur Dur Band — Dur Dur of Somalia

As always for an Analog Africa release, this is a long lost set of rare tracks brought a new lease of life thanks to exceptional remastering. Featuring the first two albums from the Dur Dur Band, a nightclub band made up of the finest musicians from Mogadishu, we’re treated to a mix of Funk and traditional Somali music with Reggae and Disco vibes. ‘Dab’ has the sound of classic Funk, ‘Haddi Aanan Gacaloy’ hits those Reggae vibes, while ‘Yabaal’ hits several stylistic touchpoints and bubbles over with vivacious life.

Jungle — For Ever

Channelling the classic sounds of Soul and Funk but with a contemporary feel thanks to subtly fresh beats the second record from Jungle carries on in a similar vein to its critically-acclaimed predecessor. A little more melancholy than the debut, ‘For Ever’ still has fun but this time it’s as likely to be on a rain soaked street as it is a sun drenched party. ‘Casio’ is stripped back to a simple stomp-clap beat, while ‘Happy Man’ slides in multi layers of vocals on top of crisp beats. From the opener ‘Smile’ onwards, ‘For Ever’ captivates.

Brian - “I’ve been looking forward to Jungle’s new album for months, having been a huge fan of their first one. Jungle just do perfect pop music: somehow managing to both sound super fresh and timelessly classic in equal measure. On day of release I added it across most of my playlists so hope you are as much a fan as I am.”

Yves Tumor — Safe In The Hands Of Love

At the experimental end of what could be conceived of as Indie comes this surprise release from Yves Tumor. Beat driven and packed with samples of many hues, ‘Safe In The Hands of Love’ is a genre-less album that thrusts rhythms, ambient textures, and vocals into close confines. Reveling in noise like on ‘Hope In Suffering’, or recalling classic Hip Hop beats on ‘Noid’, it’s the twists and turns and contrast from track to track that really make this album a standout. Highlight ‘Licking An Orchid’ is ice cool Indie Electronica set for rotation all winter.

Maribou State — Kingdom Of Colours

We’ve spun Maribou State’s previous release, ‘Portraits’, so often we hadn’t realised how much of an ear worm it’d become until we flipped on ‘Kingdom in Colour’. Taking in widescreen, cinematic Electronica in the smoothest of palettes, it’s an album that retains attention in spite of its lack of giddy up. When coupled with the of-the-moment Khruangbin the pace picks up but the highlights come in a pair of precision Pop moments when Holly Walker takes on vocal duties. Add this one to the pantheon of great Electronica albums.

Novalima — Ch'usay

After fifteen years of producing critically acclaimed albums, Novalima have become a significant influence for a generation of musicians in their native Peru. On their latest album they join forces with some of that younger generation of artists alongside contemporaries such as Cuban rapper Kumar and Andean soprano Sylvia Falcon. Pulling in traditional sounds from the Andes and Amazon we’re treated to an eclectic mix of Cumbia, Hip Hop, Electronica and Pop. Filled with deep grooves and enthusiasm it’s an album not to be missed.

Auntie Flo — Radio Highlife

Featuring field recordings and built from sessions with local musicians from all over the world alongside a cast of friends and collaborators, this collection of multi-textural House and Electronica encapsulates the ethos behind Auntie Flo’s long running Radio Highlife show and it’s new home on Worldwide FM. The second album released on Brownswood Recordings this month, the mix of indigenous sounds from around the world coupled with Auntie Flo’s ear for a groove and a beat results in an enveloping experience. As elements drop in and out of the mix, the depth of each track highlights the many strands of musicianship that have gone in to their making.

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