Two kings of the indie dancefloor unite for a warm, timeless take on 20th century pop and rock
5 Great Albums That May Have Passed You By This Week
New albums from California X, Liam Hayes, King TV, Flug 8 and Ghost Culture
King TV - Play On Forever
South London quartet King TV’s second EP builds on the fun and fuzz of last year’s debut ‘Set 2’ with ramshackle abandon and chiming indie-pop melodies. ‘Don’t Wanna Go Home’ may sound exactly like Wheatus’ 2000 hit ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ but lines about swooning boys and a noisy finale ensure that it comes off much cooler than the noughties dweebs ever did. On ‘Sanity’, guitar hooks stretch and bend like a reflection in a funhouse mirror. ‘Old Dayz’ is a throbbing tale of unrequited love and the sugary ‘Scumbag’ rounds the record off with singer Louis Milburn’s pleas of “I’m a scumbag, won’t you love me?”.
Flug 8 - Trans Atlantik
After making his first album as Flug 8, 2009’s ‘Lösch Dein Profil’, German musician Daniel Herrmann spent three years on the road as a rock photographer. ‘Trans Atlantik’ expresses “the emotions and isolation” of his photographs. ‘Zeitraffer’ is an unobtrusive start, but second track ‘Konsumprodukt’ thrums with a metallic techno pulse. The eight-minute title track maintains the intensity, bouncing on a motorik beat. Better still are the harsher moments: ‘Musik Aus Metall’ – which hammers away for four minutes before a robotic vocal kicks in – and ‘Höhenkammer’ mirror UK producer Actress’ industrial gloom. The mellower ‘Ostsee’ and ‘Maler’ drag in comparison, but ‘Trans Atlantik’ is still a solid enough trip.
California X - Nights In The Dark
In January 2012, California X released ‘Sucker’, their six-minute debut single. It's endless, pulverising riffs that turned over like a motorbike engine. A year later, the Massachusetts quartet , all juggernaut riffs, battering drums and hoarse vocals. ‘Nights In The Dark’ has taken two years to surface and is a surprising diversion. The opener and title track is fearsome, channelling Motörhead’s oily noise. Afterwards, though, come an acoustic instrumental (‘Ayla’s Song’), a tender ballad (‘Garlic Road’) and midtempo dirges with flagrant cock-rock soloing (‘Blackrazor Pt. 1’, ‘Summer Wall Pt.1’). ‘Blackrazor Pt.2’ is heavier and pacier, but California X’s intensity has waned. Let’s hope it’s not forever.
Liam Hayes - Slurrup
Liam Hayes' output under his own name and as Plush is marked by an infuriating habit of burying his talent behind lo-fi production and sporadic release schedules. On ‘Slurrup’, the reclusive Chicagoan seems to be up to his old tricks: the sleeve is a hand-drawn horror with a scrawled price tag of 12 cents and it begins with a rumble of studio chit-chat. Elsewhere, though, Hayes puts melody to the fore: the sunny 'Nothing Wrong' is reminiscent of The Lovin' Spoonful and 'Fight Magic With Magic' evokes early Pink Floyd. Between them are noodly interludes and slurping noises. Unlikely to move him from the best-kept secrets list, but a solid record nonetheless.
Ghost Culture - Ghost Culture
There's beauty to behold in a well-paced dance record. On his debut as Ghost Culture, 24-year-old Londoner James Greenwood starts slow. 'Guidecca' is a colourful hybrid of LCD Soundsystem and New Order, but the not-of-this-world lyrics - 'How strange, I'm satisfied" - are cold, detached and monotonous. The effect is robotic and eerie. As the album unravels, though, warmth floods in. Greenwood worked as an engineer on Daniel Avery's excellent 'Drone Logic' and knows how to climax. 'Glaciers' and 'Lying' force out melody, and as penultimate track 'Answer' takes hold we enter banger territory, frostiness long forgotten.
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