Bootstrap Example
629 “People Through My Windows Were Stars” by Deathcrash
8·7 “Excellent Moodcore from England”
Lead track on their “People Through My Windows Were Stars” (3 track, 40 mins) album in October, 2020.
– Big rewards for 15 minutes of 'me time' investors. I picked up on this when Jeff Graimger played it on Dandelion Radio in October. I see it made #13 in the official Festive 50, nice. They say: The new E.P, recorded before and after Lockdown in 2020 is a product of a truly uncertain time, a period when everything we hold so dear fell apart and we were forced to look in the mirror at ourselves and re-evaluate everything we are and how we navigate ourselves responsibly. The length of the new songs flirt in full length territory with a unique fragility that never loses focus, taking sacred deep breaths whilst building to huge epic crescendos using the generosity (when kind) that time can give...
Get it at Bandcamp
628 “I Haven’t Been Through Any Of That” by Emily Brown
9·1 “Classic Alternative Country from the USA”
From her album “A Fish Of Earth” released in October, 2020.
– I'm captivated by the whole eight minutes of this one. There's something about Emily; she just pulls you in. The fragility reminds me of Jason Pierce, himself not immune to leaning on alt-country motifs, outwith his regular genre territories. “Emily Brown is a Californian songwriter and poet. Her impressive vocal range, wandering melodies, and conversational lyrical style have drawn frequent comparisons to Joni Mitchell, Judee Sill, and Fiona Apple.”
Get it at Bandcamp
627 “Cold Caller” by Julia Jacklin
8·9 “Excellent Blues Rock / Soul Rock from Australia”
AA-side of her “Eastwick” single in September, 2017.
– Sydney-born Melbourne-based artist, 8 years in the game. I just love the hooky, moody, blues groove on this one, lyrically inspired by her older sister’s pregnancy: “I know people get pregnant all the time but this was different, this was my sister. The one who explained tampons to me, told me what kissing felt like, convinced mum to let me shave my legs, sung ‘Boys of Summer’ a capella at the school talent quest. I went to New Zealand to record this 7 inch and on the first day she went into labor, I was checking my phone every 10 minutes but managed to write the second part of the song. That night I had all these crazy nightmares, where she kept disappearing into the dark and every time I caught up to her she’d slip out of my hands again. Woke up in an absolute state to the news that she had given birth to a healthy baby boy. I went into the studio and recorded this song. So this is for her, my wonderful sister Emma.”
Get it at Bandcamp
626 “Panic In Babylon” by Lee 'Scratch' Perry
9·0 “Classic Reggae from Jamaica”
From his album “Panic In Babylon” in September, 2004.
– “Grabbylon”! LOL. This one goes out to all Tories, especially the current crop of bad faith divide and conquer charlatans. Missed this at the time, happy to be rectifying that. Made in Switzerland, the upsetter is on great form, backed here by the White Belly Rats, to whom I shall apply the term crack Swiss combo who, as well as being ace at reggae, give plenty of space for the long-time joy-giver to wax lyrical in his own inimitable style. Rave on Lee.
Get it at Amazon UK
625 “Boasty” by Wiley, Sean Paul, Stefflon Don, P.Nyne and Idris Elba
8·5 “Excellent Dubbeat from England”
Single release in March, 2019.
– Proper UK chart hit alert! I actually first picked up the drum n bass Mista Trick remix (April 2019) but it's opened up a can of worms, as the song exists in several versions released at different times. The original (Wiley featuring Mucky) was out in August 2018, but it's the spring-in-the-step multi-collaboration effort that just shades it in my affections. And a #11 hit in the pop charts too, blimey. A certain someone I know, who shall remain nameless, has a bit of a thing for Idris Elba, so she'll be very pleased to hear this. Hi Mum.
Get it at Amazon UK
624 “VS Cancelled” by Jan St. Werner
7·3 “Really good Avant-Garde from Germany”
Single in January, 2020, and included on his mini-album “Molocular Meditation” a month later.
– 3 years gone yesterday, but Mark E. Smith is still making me laugh from beyond the grave. Here he is, in his own inimitable style, dealing with Domino's rejection of a potential second Von Sudenfed (VS) album. No one reads back an e-mail quite like Mark. THANKS "JOHNNY"! Life just bounces and what a roller he was.
Get it at Bandcamp
623 “Bi De Sen Söyle” by Dirtmusic featuring Brenna Mac Crimmon
8·7 “Excellent Dubbeat from Slovenia”
From their album “Bu Bir Ruya” released in January, 2018.
– A gripping collaboration and no mistake; Slovenia, the USA, Canada, Australia and Turkey all in the melting pot. Bandcamp: Dirtmusic return for their fifth album, a full-scale collaboration with Turkish-psych visionary Murat Ertel from Baba Zula. Recorded in Istanbul, the album navigates hypnotic rhythms, cinematic atmospheres and dark political realities. The opening track, ‘Bi De Sen Söyle’, is a statement of intent, musically and lyrically: shared vocals that mass in urgent call-and-response, the psychedelic grip of Ertel’s saz, which barely leaves the record for a second, and percussion from Ümit Adakale that tells us that this is music for clubs and parties as much as for private spaces.
Get it at Bandcamp
622 “Error Vision” by Drop-E
8·0 “Fantastic Alternative Dance from Spain”
From his EP “Error Vision” in February, 2019.
– DJ and techno producer from southern Spain. Subtle modulations and some sense of a dark mystery lie at the heart of the appeal on this 'un. Released on his own Signal label, the press release states: Drop-E releases his newest "Error Vision EP" with three original sounding tracks with his unique hypnotic approach to techno. His productions involve drone cuts, reverberant atmospheres and dark textures in which you could easily get lost in your deepest thoughts. Heavy but at the same time subtle bass lines combined with raw percussion elements gives this EP a special spark of originality. A blend suited for a rave duty!
Get it at Bandcamp
621 “Eskista” by Kibrom Birhane featuring Nasambu Barasa
8·4 “Fantastic Middle Eastern from Ethiopia”
From his album “Bo Gizzae Lekulu” in October, 2016.
– I've no idea if he's played it, but this would fit right in with a Gilles Peterson show, which often has a treasure or two buried in peripheral rebel genres, for want of a better phrase. Of this artist, Bandcamp says: Ethiopian-born Jazz Musician Kibrom Birhane mixes Spiritual Jazz with Ethiopian Jazz motifs to create a unique and deep sound that resonates across many cultures and musical concepts. His understanding of Jazz and improvisation is unparalleled among Jazz artists in the world today. This understanding combined with a connection to the spirits creates a rich and diverse tapestry of sounds & ideas.
Get it at Bandcamp
620 “Nothing At All” by The Stroppies
8·3 “Fantastic Indie from Australia”
Opening track on their album “Whoosh” in March, 2019.
– The 4-year-old Melbourne 4-piece are influnced by all sorts of things including life, work, relationships, old cartoons and the last 60+ years of guitar-based pop music in some form or another, from Bill Fay to the Clean to Stephen Malkmus to name but a few. And damn fine splendid they are with it too. My spies on the ground tell me gigs are starting to happen again in Melbourne, and you can catch them at The John Curtin Hotel on February 27th.
Get it at Bandcamp
619 “Guabi Guabi” by George Sibanda
8·9 “Excellent Folk from Zimbabwe”
Recorded in 1948.
– Just to prove Zimbabweans were always excellent at making music, here's George Sibanda, recorded more than 70 years ago. “Guabi Guabi”, sung in the country's Northern Sindebele language, was included in Andrew Tracey's “Wait a Minim!” touring review which broke out of Africa into London (1964) and New York (1966), leading to versions of the song by Ramblin'Joe Elliot, Arlo Guthrie and Taj Mahal. George was a great picker with an endearing personality and became a bit of a star of radio at home. Alas, he could not cope with fame and fortune and had drunk himself to death by the end of the 50s. Back in 2004, this was included on a cool collection by SWP Records, “a one-man operation by Zambian-born drummer, composer, producer, field recordist Michael Baird. The label releases his own music, music from central, southern, and eastern Africa, and any other beautiful music that has been forgotten.” Accurate.
Get it at Bandcamp
618 “Hope” by Cable Ties
8·5 “Excellent Post-Punk from Australia”
From their album “Far Enough” released in March, 2020.
– In the presser, lead singer Jenny McKechnie says: “it’s about the importance of getting hope back, even when you can see no logical reason to have it. Without hope, anger becomes despair or bitterness.” Wise words. Feels like 2 songs for the price of 1 from the Melbourne trio, both terrific, the punky second half getting more and more determined on the hopeful journey. “Cable Ties are frenetic lead lines tethered to a hypnotic rhythm section. They take the 3 minute punk burner and stretch it past breaking point. Suddenly the garage rock gives way as primitive boogie, kraut and post-punk take things way out to the horizon.”
Get it at Bandcamp
617 “Minty” by Bumble Bee Crown King
8·7 “Excellent Dreamgaze from the USA”
Streamable download via Soundcloud from late in 2019.
– Under the radar but that, of course, does not define excellence, it's something which you know when you hear it. They're from Phoenix, AZ, and core members include Chris Dunham & Scarlett Ellers. Influenced by Sparklehorse, Mercury Rev, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Lou Reed and The Notwist and way too many more to name.
Get it at Soundcloud
616 “Carnage Bargain” by The Paranoyds
9·0 “Classic Proto-Punk from the USA”
Title track to their album in September, 2019.
– Los Angeles quartet chanelling all the coolest traits of 90s indie rock, this 'un coming on like a pop Breeders. “Ever since he's been crowned, all I see is Orange clowns”. Don't worry Paranoyds, the nightmare is all but over. I've still to unpack this album (like so many others, groan), but on first impressions I'm loving the campaign to bring back off-kilter Manzarek-isms to alt-pop. Check them out mates...
Get it at Bandcamp
615 “Sufi Dub pt.2” by Delmighty Sounds
8·4 “Fantastic Reggae from Portugal”
A 12" single release in August, 2019.
– Irie sistible heavyweight dub action from Lisbon with magical eastern delights to help soothe the soul in these troubled times. From what I can gather, this was very popular in their soundsystem gatherings and they were encouraged to press up 500 copies. Nice up the place.
Get it at Juno
614 “Vortack [fracture remix]” by Squarepusher
8·5 “Excellent Drum n Bass from England”
A 12" single release in November, 2019.
– The ever-complex Thomas Jenkinson is on fine form right here. Bleep say: Rather than haring out of the blocks, ‘Vortrack’ actually reveals itself rather slowly, unfurling over the course of five-and-a-half minutes. It begins in rather disorientating fashion, a lopsided melange of kicks, hi-hats and acid bass that is pitched somewhere between Syro-era Aphex Twin and the discombobulating releases of Bjarki’s bbbbbb label. Rather than coalescing into a more streamlined groove, the track remains in this jittery holding pattern throughout, becoming increasingly agitated as widescreen reverb and choppy breaks are thrown into the mix. By the four-minute mark the centre can no longer hold and ‘Vortrack’ begins to break apart, eventually collapsing into a droning digital scree. It’s strange, it’s mesmerising, and it’s very distinctly Squarepusher.
Get it at Beatport
613 “Modality Transporter” by Sote
8·6 “Excellent Alternative Folk from Iran ”
From his album “Parallel Persia” in April, 2019.
– Extraordinary work from this Tehran innovator, 30 years in the game. Presser: Ata Ebtekar (aka Sote) composes music with a deeply-held conviction that rules and formulas should be deconstructed and rethought. A pivotal figure of the electronic music scene in the Middle East, he alters musical modal codes from their original tonality and rhythmic tradition to achieve vivid synthetic soundscapes. The music on 'Parallel Persia' was created in Tehran, Iran, in early 2018, after Donau Festival commissioned Sote to do an electro-acoustic AV project for their upcoming festival. The set combines various synthesis techniques [notably, physical modelling, FM, wavetable, granular and additive] with Iranian acoustic instruments [santour, tar] that are pushed beyond ordinary operation. Thus the synthetic and acoustic combine with equal strength to form a euphonious and complete whole.
Get it at Bandcamp
612 “Threat Of Rain” by Underworld
9·2 “Classic Club from England”
Originally available as a free download on in February, 2019, and later included on their album “DRIFT Episode 2: ATOM” in June, 2020.
– Soooo good to hear Underworld in such classic form; they're still lovin' it and doesn't it just shine through? The presser sez: Threat of Rain builds from a murky locked techno groove and a looped refrain of “I’m good, I’m good… I’m alright” into an orchestra of analogue noise that swells and surges and at times obliterates everything around it, which, with the accompanying film by Tomato’s Simon Taylor and Rick Smith, looks and sounds like a lost recording of a musique concrète symposium being broadcast from the DJ booth of the Omen.
Get it at Bandcamp
611 “Fuck Trump America” by Wesdaruler and Louis Larceny featuring Linqua Franqa and DopeKNife
7·5 “Great Hip Hop / Rap from the USA”
A single release in June, 2020.
– And so ends the four year term of the narcissistic manchild, quite possibly the worst of the 45 to date; a liar, a liability and an affront to democracy. Athens, GA-based beat-maker Wesdaruler is behind this one, released ahead of the last 4th of July weekend. HHBTM Records states: “The message is loud and clear in the lyrics, no statements need, the track is the statement. It’s a timely take on life in America in general, but especially during the Trump administration.
Get it at Bandcamp
610 “Get The Devil Out” by Nadia Reid
9·6 “All-time classic Folk from New Zealand”
Streamable from January, 2020, and included on her album “Out Of My Province” a couple of months later.
– This gorgeous and superior cut is unquestionably right up there as one of my year-end favourites. On this, her third album, the Dunedin-born lass was 28, but comes on like a seasoned veteran, very much a trait of her contemporaries, Laura Marling and Aldous Harding. Sublime.
Get it at Bandcamp
609 “Comin' Over Here” by Asian Dub Foundation featuring Stewart Lee
8·2 “Fantastic Dubbeat from England”
From their album “Access Denied” released in September, 2020. Released as a single in December, 2020.
– The best 99p or (1 Euro) you could spend this year. I'm in. OK everyone here's the plan... We are aiming to get the anti-racism anthem COMIN' OVER HER to the top of the UK chart on the exact day the United Kingdom withdrawal agreement ceases... will you help? To do this we need to sell as many downloads of the track as possible between these dates: 00:01 on Christmas Day (25th December) to 23:59 on New Years Eve (31st December). If all goes to plan we could have an anti-racism and anti-bigotry anthem at #1, showing the rest of Europe and even the World who we really are as a nation. Buying a download counts around 100 times more on the chart than streaming the song, so do spare a 99p. It's a good cause too, ALL of the band's profits will be donated to the KENT REFUGEE ACTION NETWORK (KRAN).
Get it at Amazon UK | Bandcamp | iTunes
608 “Handmade Card” by Nina Nastasia
9·2 “Classic Songwriter from the USA”
Single release in December, 2018.
– I picked up this exquisite little Xmas cracker several months back. The good news is there's a new Nina Nastasia album in the pipeline which fills my heart with joy, what a singular talent she is. The site stats tell me that there are more and more of you visiting more regularly than ever before, so this seems like a perfect opportunity to dedicate this one to you; especially if, like me, you're missing family this year. Sláinte!
Get it at Bandcamp
607 “Threats” by Blue Sky Black Death and Jean Grae featuring Chen Lo
9·0 “Classic Hip Hop / Rap from the USA”
From their album “The Evil Jeanius” released in September, 2008.
– Blue Sky Black Death are San Franciscan production duo Ryan 'Kingston' Maguire Ian 'Young God' Taggart. They're joined here by two Brooklyn residents, rapper Jean Grae and 'tablist / rapper Chen Lo. The powerful sample comes from Etta James's “Something's Got A Hold On Me”. Stunning track, just a pity that the project has a bit of a shady background, the Babygrande label not having cleared the release with Jean Grae herself.
Get it at Amazon
606 “Salga Bien” by Linda Guilala
9·2 “Classic Indie from Spain”
B-side of their “Agosto” single (Virgin VS-237) released in September, 2019.
– I can hardly believe these Galicians have been going for 14 years; they always seem like an exciting new band to me, even though I've been picking up singles for the best part of a decade. Delicious like primetime Ladytron, “Salga Bien” is a crisis of confidence: “Necesito que alguien me diga que esto va a salir bien” (trans: “I need someone to tell me this is going to work out”) A real dreamy classic.
Get it at Bandcamp
605 “Dybbuk” by Yotam Avni
8·3 “Fantastic Alternative Dance from Israel”
From his EP “Perlude To Dybbuk” in January, 2018.
– Love it! I'll let the label do the talking: Perlude to Dybbuk makes references – both in title and in sonic content – to the ancient Hebrew folklore of his homeland (a “dybbuk” being a kind of limbonic spirit attaching itself to the body of a living human until it has successfully reached its final destination). However, the atmospheric, rather than overt, use of these references gives this record a level of dignity and quality as well as a premonitory feeling that hovers over the proceedings. “Dybbuk” situates listeners in brutal modernity, with the first sounds heard being something like insistently slicing helicopter blades. Avni merely uses this as the foundation, though, for a genuinely unique construction whose shamanic beats, throttled horn and undertow of frenzied electronics combine to give the feeling of being menaced and eventually overtaken by a spirit entity. This piece shows just what Avni is capable when operating in a more aggressive, ‘post-industrial’ mode, and the result stands up with some of the best exponents of that genre.
Get it at Bandcamp
604 “Nothing” by Esya
8·2 “Fantastic Alternative Rock from England”
Streamable from April, 2019, then included on her EP “Absurdity of ATCG (I)” a month later.
– Sidestepping Savages for a bit, Ayşe Hassan explores her inner Kim Gordon on this thrilling piece. Mood, tone, delivery, all fantastic, she's a one-woman mean-machine.
Get it at Bandcamp
603 “The Sticks” by The Cool Greenhouse
8·4 “Fantastic Trance Rock from England”
First out as a single in March, 2020, before serving as the opening track on their self-titled debut album a couple of months later.
– Fall-tastic 5-piece led by the wonderfully sarcastic Tom Greenhouse who places market town oddballs firmly in the firing line on this 'un. The blurb: Having caused a stir on the underground DIY label circuit with their inimitable, infectious brand of lo-fi post-punk in 2019, The Cool Greenhouse’s debut album shows off a newly developed, fuller sound, taking their signature style to previously unexplored heights while doubling down on their tried and tested formula of angular motoric riffs and no holds barred biting social commentary.
Get it at Bandcamp
602 “Nga Ba Compensadora” by Pedro Lima
9·2 “Classic Africana from São Tomé and Príncipe”
First released on his “África Minha Terra” album in 1987. Featured on the compilation “Léve Léve : Sao Tomé & Principe Sounds 70s-80s Vol.1” (Les Disques Bongo Joe BJR-040) late in 2019.
– This should gently soothe, following on from yesterday's tense affair. I collected my first ever record from São Tomé and Príncipe earlier this year, a wonderful compilation packed with gems that I'd thoroughly recommend. As the CD says: The two Portuguese-speaking African islands of Sao Tomé & Principe, located in the Gulf of Guinea, created an unique music called Puxa; a refined mixture of various musical components from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. A blend of Semba, Merengue, Kompas, Soukouss, Coladeira patterns, often pushing forward with a voodoo-like energy, solid bass lines, delicate melodies and backing harmonies of the rich Sao Tomean melodic traditions. Very first compilation focusing on the golden age of these island’s sounds, the 16 tracks selected will surely set fire on all dance floors.
Get it at Bandcamp
601 “Supermarine” by Hans Zimmer
9·3 “Classic Film Score / Incidental from Germany”
From his album “Dunkirk (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” released in July, 2017.
– As with many of these posts, I don't have the album, so this is just a cherry-pick; I haven't even seen the film tbh - what else am I missing out on I wonder? This ominous and dramatic cut is simply epic. As I understand it, film director Christopher Nolan used little dialogue, with much of the onus being on cinematography and music to recreate the suspense and intensity of the deseperate situation. Zimmer's mathematical approach uses layers of rhythmic elements, with subtle shifts of tempo and volume that seem to build and build forever, getting your heart racing and keeping you on the edge of your seat. I think I need to see this film!
Get it at Amazon UK