Meat-Locker-155-web.jpg
57483_471607439544628_1887926243_o.jpg

Shuf first came across Topaz Jones at a rooftop party in his home city of New York. Since that chance meeting he has been brewing 'The Honeymoon Suite', a new full-length that features contributions from Odd Future's Hodgy Beats and some of the slickest and sharpest production values on that side of the atlantic. His airtight flow, distinctive lyricism and New York City attitude to perfectionism is something to follow very closely in the year ahead. In Jones' own words, this is "just the beginning".

For people who haven’t heard Topaz Jones before, how would you describe your sound?

My sound is inspired by a blend of funk, psychedelic rock and soul. 

Tell us how you started out...

As a kid just watching my pops in the studio and imitating him. Writing songs, singing, performing, all began very early for me.

What’s been the biggest turning point in your career so far?

I don't think I've had that true big turning point yet but the release of my new LP The Honeymoon Suite has definitely generated a lot of new fans.

Name a song you wish you’d made? 

"Church" by Outkast or "Baby Be Mine" by Michael Jackson. Also "What A Fool Believes" by The Doobie Brothers. Those songs are fuckin’ perfect man.

What are your plans for 2014?

Mainly to keep giving y'all the best quality music and visuals. I also wanna do some touring because I'm a performer first and foremost. 

What would you like to change in the music industry this year?

I wanna just influence people to do their own shit. Be themselves. Stop copying what everyone else is doing or making because there's nothing cooler than being a one of one. I made the conscious decision not to put any trap beats on my album. There's nothing creative or artistic about copying the same drum patterns we've all been bumping to since 09. Try something different.

Tell us about the best live show you’ve played (if any)...

Best show ever would have to be this show I did out in Brooklyn. I was still getting used to playing with a live band (AltoPalo) and the energy and vibes were crazy. The crowd got so hype when we did our last song it was wavy.

Who would you list as your biggest inspirations?

I'm really inspired by Sly & The Family Stone, Outkast, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Kanye West & Jimi Hendrix to name a few.  

Where can people find your music?

http://TOPAZJONES.COM

Anything else you’d like say to our readers?

The Honeymoon Suite is just the beginning. Follow my lead. 

Words: Duncan Harrison

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison
576667_314411758635239_721506207_n.jpg

There isn't much yet known about LATE but when Shuf stumbled upon the murky production and muffled vocals of Southern Florida's Wren Turco and Ola Lindefelt we were, at some level, a bit hooked. Their first demo was made available by the carefully curated FatCat Records and their BandCamp page hosts a few choice cuts from their upcoming 'Volvox' release. The pixelated and cryptic nature of the sound is intriguing and LATE offer a glimpse in to what it might sound like in the underbelly of the Miami moonlight.

For people who haven’t heard LATE before, how would you describe your sound?

Friends and fellow artists have given our music some pretty entertaining descriptions: "black hole gaze", "alien dub", "tropical abyss transmissions", "sub-spacewave" to name a few. It is true that we have a shared gravitation toward water and space as themes for our work, but we mostly just think of ourselves as a duo making low-tech electronic music with a lot of voice.

Tell us how you started out...

The two of us coincidentally crossed paths some 2 years ago in America. We immediately decided to start making music together, initially commuting back and forth between Sweden and the US, sleeping in airports, trading clips, loops and sound sketches, expanding the work whenever we had the chance to coalesce.

What’s been the biggest turning point in your career so far?

Permanently sharing the same continent was a big change in the right direction for us.

Name a song you wish you’d made?

Mort Garson - Déjá Vu. 

What are your plans for 2014?

We'll spend the first couple of months of 2014 sorting out the details of the 'Volvox' release, as well as stitching together an east coast US late spring tour (no UK dates yet but we'll keep you posted). We initially planned it as a train tour, but train-sizing the rig may have to happen next time around. We're also taking the studio off the grid.

What would you like to change in the music industry this year?

We don't really operate within the boundaries of an industry (creative or otherwise) and we're not sure exactly how any of that would change, this year or the next.

Tell us about the best live show you’ve played (if any) ...

Friends of ours run a dark minimal electronic club in Miami called Zeitgeist. We had an excellent time playing there using a large number of analog televisions, playing way too loud through a laughably oversized speaker system. 

Who would you list as your biggest inspirations?

Apart from early audio and visual pioneers like Delia Derbyshire or John/James Whitney, the brave remaining people of this world who strive for originality. Look around you. They are everywhere. Most of them invisible.

Where can people find your music?

We're currently working out the details for a vinyl and tape release later this spring.

For now:

late.pm

soundcloud.com/lateduo

lateduo.bandcamp.com

Anything else you’d like say to our readers?

Sure, but rather in person. Text is boring. 

Words: Duncan Harrison

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison
964329_555532521187991_1347461138_o-2.jpg

Adult Jazz are a band full of life. This oozes through the opening of their recent release ‘Springful’ but also through fact that their singer, Harry, sent us his answers for our questions on a Word document ornamented with ClipArt and a bigger range of fonts than a year 3 ICT classroom. There’s a blissful curiosity and carelessness that races through their theatrical melodies and pop-routed experimentalism. Having caught the band open for Arthur Beatrice earlier in the year, Shuf were certain of a glowing future. The focus is joy, the sound is everywhere and it’s growing. In their words, “Let us join up and be thankful”.

For people who haven’t heard Adult Jazz before, how would you describe your sound?

I would usually avoid it at all costs. But that isn’t playing the game! It’s definitely pop based, but it is fun to be a bit broader with it and let more in. There’s lots of singing, I end up singing for the length of most tracks.  

Tell us how you started out...

Tim, Steve and I were friends from home and went, at different points, to study in Leeds and to form that band we were always talking about. We played a little bit, and then we met Tom, who had the expertise to record and produce the songs, and joined forces. Leeds was really nice, and supportive. Over 3 years we played live a little bit as a three-piece, then a four-piece, but we were mainly focussed on making a record. 

What’s been the biggest turning point in your career so far?

We shot a live video in 2011 in an old nursing home in Headingley that people who weren’t our friends managed to see, which was exciting. Also, before we formed the band, I was convinced that electronic/sample based stuff was what I needed to look at to make something I was excited by, but hearing/seeing Wildbirds and Peacedrums made feel like a live band was still a really exciting thing to work with. What they could get out of such limited instrumentation was definitely a bit of a spark. 

Name a song you wish you’d written?

'Blind' by Hercules and Love Affair

What are your plans for 2014?

Release our record, hopefully play some interesting shows. 

What would you like to change in the music industry this year?

Not sure I know enough about it to speak with authority I’m afraid! 

Tell us about the best live show you’ve played... 

We played live at Leeds 2011 in Holy Trinity Church, which was really special. A few of songs on the record are church based, or kind of liturgical at least, about formalising ‘spiritual’ twinges. Some people didn’t really like us there, but it felt quite nice to be somewhere spacious and get to fill it with our music after playing in small rooms. The drums sounded very massive though. 

Who would you list as your biggest inspirations?

Van Morrison, Arthur Russell and Joanna Newsom are who we have decided to say in terms of composition. All of them have a nice way of revisiting themes and developing pop sensibilities in more uncommon contexts. Keeping a friendliness, but still having a kind of uncompromising character. That’s the kind of overarching mission statement, but the form that takes, especially regarding a sort of sonic palette, isn’t ever super defined. The above three also seem to sing in really expressive ways too. Having fun with singing is a focus, and there are people like Meredith Monk who have pushed it quite far so make you feel less self conscious trying things out- so her stuff is useful to think about. There is the weird idea of an ‘authentic’ voice which I think can be a bit restrictive, so it’s nice to know there are people I can point to who are clearly obstructing that and choosing a voice that feels expressive and aesthetically fun to use, without too much consideration of its believability. What accent is authentic? Do I have to sound like I am from the south-east? Could that ever be palatable? What makes a voice palatable or unpalatable? Some more ‘extreme’ artists are helpful points of safety in that way, but there are plenty of conventional singers who have really considered voices too. That’s always motivating! 

Where can people find your music?

adultjazz.tumblr.com and adultjazz.bandcamp.com

FACEBOOK | TWITTER 

Words: Duncan Harrison

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison
1507495_571134146301791_3704516_o.jpg

Although both members of MAXIXE (pronounced max-cease) started off in separate bands, they have already formed a relationship and sound that is intoxicating. Made up of Darren Bancroft and Marc Withasee, the pair have an awful lot to offer to the soundtrack of 2014. Darren’s voice can feel both ghostly and heartwarming in equal measure. When accompanied by Marc’s mesmerizing production, its a combination that seems it should’ve taken years in the working. Their sound is not only assured but hugely varied, which makes them an exciting prospect. Shuf had a chat with the duo on how they started out and where they want to go.

Tell us how you started out...

We first met in 2009 when both of our other bands (Micachu & The Shapes and We Have Band) were touring in Australia. Then Marc started to drum on and off with WHB for a couple of years. During that time on the road Marc was writing lots of music and one day he said he could imagine my vocal on something he'd started so he gave the music to me and I came back with some ideas and we took it from there. We loved working together right away but it was a very gradual process to where we are now because of other things we were involved with and also us just really wanting to get it right.

What’s been the biggest turning point in your career so far?

We were pleased when we first put a song and video we filmed ourselves online. Doing our first gig felt great too. We like to just feel like we're always creeping forwards bit by bit but we probably wouldn't call it a career just yet!

Name a song you wish you’d written?

Some kind of filthy drum and bass or dance track that people go wild to in clubs across the country every weekend. But we'll most likely try and make something like that at some point.

What are your plans for 2014?

To be honest we've really not thought past making some new tunes and playing some more shows. We're very lucky that this project is operating without any gravitational pulls on it. We're sort of weightless and we love that.

What would you like to change in the music industry this year?

We're not concerned about music as an industry. We obviously have some people we're in touch with like our show booker and promoters or blogs like you who have all been very kind to us and we appreciate that hugely. We haven't got the power to change or control anything other than the little world around our own music and we try to do that lovingly and thoughtfully so we're cool.

Tell us about the best live show you’ve played...

We had a great time playing 2 festivals in Russia in the summer because it was our first shows outside of the the UK. The VICE magazine tour we did with Superfood and The Wytches was great fun too. We're funny though because we're not always in sync with each other in terms of what a good show was or wasn't. One of us is often like "that was amazing" and the other goes "man, I fucked that all up".

Who would you list as your biggest inspirations?

Melt Yourself Down, Bjork, The Invisible, Owiny Sigoma Band, These New Puritans. We like all these artists a lot so they inspire us in various ways.

Where can people find your music?

We've got videos on YouTube and songs on SoundCloud. We've just recently given away our first album 'Ice On The Belly' online here. You can find the link also on any of our various online aliases, or you can just message us and we'll send it to you. The best option really if its practical is to come to see a show.

TWITTER | SOUNDCLOUD | YOUTUBE | FACEBOOK

Words: Jacob Roy

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison
1000522_500879766665766_827519481_n.jpg
934691_504747292945680_926056604_n.jpg

It’s not often we come across a band that formed through playing covers around the campsite at Reading Festival. BOYS, the West London 3-piece, drench the cold air in UV goodness opposed to the dreary rain we get gloomy over. Having formed back in 2012, their debut EP ‘Secrets’ weaves in and out of lo-fi chill-wave and lethargic goodness that drags us out from hibernation.

Ross Pearce’s vocals are whisper-like, giving the bedroom-recorded EP delicacy that contrasts with Mike Stothard’s hazy guitar and Daniel Heffernon’s bass in the second track ‘Heartbreaker’. The soft vocals exaggerate the bedroom-pop aspect that can be deemed similar to DIIV, Beach Fossils and other beach-related-names bands. 

The interesting aspect of the trio is the drums. Instead of having a drummer, the persistent pulse comes from a drum-machine, fooling the listener and creating an image of a devoted drummer smashing cymbals behind the frontmen.

The 3-track EP is perfect for reminiscing over the summer. ‘Secrets’ has a great 80s spin with the bass and the synth provoking the waves on a sunny beach, and Mike’s melodic guitar is tropical and tantalising, sending the listener into a swirl of sand and sea. ‘Heartbreaker’ is probably the darkest track on the EP, but instead of bringing the clouds in, it just gives the band more electricity and energy, as if the waves are starting to crash against the shore more violently. The fast-paced guitar melody is again enticing, adding a surf-tone onto the dreamy track. ‘Bad Intentions’, is more dominated by lo-fi goodness. The vocals echo, and reach a more prominent volume than a whisper. Mike’s guitar takes a more watery tone, yet still manages to hold the chill-wave sound. 

Their debut material is ace, and the timing is also spot on. My winter blues have certainly been shaken off with their tropical chill-wave sound. Their EP is up for free download here and can be streamed to the left.

Words: Cerys Kenneally

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison
patten-warp.jpg

There's little that can be authoritatively said about Patten. The recent warp signee doesn't do many interviews. When he does they’re cryptic and short. His bare soundcloud and YouTube pages are far from the scattered sketchbooks of other producers, eager to show the world everything they've ever made.

His brand of techno is hard to pinpoint or explain; skittering drum patterns sit sloppily over lo-fi loops, arpeggiated synth lines and melodies you might hear on classroom science videos from the 80s. Its a mix that’s familiar but brand new.

This is why he's a perfect fit for warp, a label known picking up experimental artists in their relative infancy and providing them a platform on which to present their works. Aphex twin, Boards of Canada and Squarepusher; More recently Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke and Mount Kimbie. These are all artists releasing under warp who have altered and helped build new genres. They make close, introverted music that's as suited to home listening as it is being played out at 2am.

Blue Mosaic (left) shows Patten’s production at its most playful. A constantly pitch-bending melody carries the track forward whilst an almost punk vocal mumbles over the top. It’s either shoegaze or arresting techno for dancefloor primetime. Maybe it's both; Its odd, but it makes sense.

Worlds Collided (unavailable to stream) is another stand out from 2011's well received GLAQJO XAACSSO. A buzzy, pulsating chord keeps your sense of rhythm grounded as a saturated kick drum and other out-of-place textures bounce around and keep you unsure of everything you think you know about the track. It wouldn't feel too out of place on a label like L.I.E.S.

Plurals is much less dance floor orientated than his other work, it takes all of the producer's hallmarks and re imagines them at a slower tempo. A track which can blend into the background of whatever you’re doing, although despite its lathargic pace often demands more attention.

His new EP for warp is currently available to stream over at Dazed Digital. It's clear it came from the same mind as GLAQJO XAACSSO, Patten has clearly spent his two years of silence productively as EOLIAN INSTATE offers a more cohesive and fully realised vision of his sound.

Patten also runs the Kaleidoscope imprint. Releasing all of the labels catalogue for free with extremely limited edition cassettes and vinyl also available. Kaleidescope's sound shares the same aesthetics as Patten pushes in his own music which is no bad thing.

Catch Patten, along with Hudson Mohawke, Oneohtrix Point Never and Rustie at the Tate on the 6th of December. More info here.

Words: P. Maxwell

 

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison

We’ve now had three videos for the penultimate track on Arcade Fire’s Reflektor - Afterlife. Before the albums release date, the band released the song in the form of a lyric video, accompanied by a selection of footage from Marcel Camus’ Black Orpheus. Following this, the dubious and disjointed Youtube Music Awards opened with a Spike Jonze directed live performance of the track, featuring Greta Gerwig. Finally, the band released the track’s official video - this one directed by Emily Kai Bock. Perhaps it is appropriate to have a multitude of imaginings for a term, a concept, with as many possible understandings as ‘afterlife’. It is heaven, hell, purgatory as much as it is moving on, forgiving or forgetting.  Three videos. Three visions. Three interpretations.

The lyric video was the first visual accompaniment the song had, and its afterlife is the most thrillingly literal performance. Marcel Camus’ movie, and the Orpheus myth, play a central role in the entire album and contextualise Afterlife in this narrative. The use of Camus’ movie is deliberate, as in a way it set out to achieve a similar task to Reflektor, taking the mythos and heightening the celebration and mourning to fever pitch. Death, on carnival day. On the album the despairing push and pull mantra of Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice) is followed by the blindly hopeful, but panicked It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus). At this point, we are to assume, Orpheus has sung to Eurydice and beckoned her across the underworld, only to lose her when he turns to face her. It is at this point where the album turns to Afterlife, a moment that asks Orpheus, ‘what next?’ 

Taking this question further is Emily Kai Bock’s video, that places familial loss in the space between dream and reality. The father and his two sons, left reeling from the loss of a wife and mother, attempt to perform as a family unit around the table - yet they are barely able to talk to one and other, let alone confess and share in their grief. It is left then to the moments they have alone to bring them together. For the father, he takes comfort in a final dance with his wife and the youngest son is reminded of the comfort of his father in moments of vulnerability. It is the eldest son, in Kai Bock’s video, that leads onto Spike Jonze’s vision. In his dream, the teenager roams though a courtyard, towards a pool where he witnesses a baptism. This act of a rebirth is a new kind of afterlife - a beginning.

Spike Jonze’ new beginning is a torch carried with fear and breathtaking optimism by Greta Gerwig. After kissing a faceless person, who then leaves the room, Gerwig performs a joyful, ungainly ballet; leaving her apartment for a winter forest, breaking out of the previously defined four walls for freedom. What it is that has empowered Gerwig, be it the final kiss of a bad relationship or the first of a new one, is unclear. Yet it is clear that her dance is born from the start of something, not the end. It is no longer a song of mourning, rather one of celebration.

Orpheus loses his Eurydice, yet it takes the family in Kai Bock’s video to show him that he could never of saved her. Both Orpheus and the father visit their lost loves, yet the father realises this is a moment of dreaming. Like Eurydice, once the mother belonged to death the family unit have to fall deep into memories and the process of grief. Having done this, after all the bad advice, having screamed, shouted and tried to work it out, Gerwig shows Orpheus and the family how to start again. Dancing.

blackorph.jpg
Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison
946585_469462766470559_773749820_n.jpg

First formed nearly a decade ago, Blind Pilots, who are now known as Bold Things, have travelled to London to infect us with their passion filled emotive material. Following the release of their first track ‘Keep Together’ four months ago, they have proceeded to release a new offering ‘Hearts Ajar’. 

‘Keep Together’ is entwined with ghostly, soft vocals from Jim O’Donoghue and guitar melodies that pull your heart-strings sideways in a slightly unnerving manner. It’s incredible to listen to the layers of experimentation put into this track too, with samples, swirling synths and compelling drum beats that seem to come and go at exactly the right times to pursue the emotive realm of their capabilities. 

Even on their most recent track, ‘Hearts Ajar’, the Irish guys still implement their contagious sensitive abilities, with Jim’s vocals sounding more distilled and soft, whilst the guitar melodies by Ian Patterson, Gavin Murray and Jim O’Donoghue add to the fragility of the track, creating a poignant atmosphere. Ronan Mc Geough’s bass adds a concrete ground along with Gavin and Jim’s drums, slowly becoming more intense as the track progresses. 

They’re truly wonderful, ambient, uplifting and relatable. I’d give them a listen if you like dios (malos), and a more mellow side of The Doves with a more experimental twist.

Words: Cerys Kenneally 

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison
a2818623788_2.jpg

I own an album called "Good Vibes: the Jingly Jangly Sound of Summer". If they release a second edition, San Mei would make the cut. 

"My name is Emily, I'm from the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. I make music under the name San Mei and my debut single comes out on the 16th September." 

All other information is superfluous and here is why...

First heard at the turn of the year ‘Watch the Breezes’ commands your attention despite barely seeming to rise above a whisper. In fact, its very subtlety is what has you hanging on her every word. The soothing echo of the drums complimented by the never jarring but relentlessly stirring synth creates an aural canvas which sheds all context and takes you elsewhere. A place from which you reluctantly return as the song concludes. 

For a while this was all San Mei gave us but six months later her debut single ‘Brighter’ is coming up to release [26.09] having already amassed several thousand plays and numerous favourable reviews. I fear this arrived too late to become the summer anthem is was written to be: ripe for remix and best enjoyed at sunset. Nevertheless the level of progression is promising, this sounds like a single: seamlessly uniting her complex, hollow and at times haunting tones with the contrastingly simplistic, yet optimistic tune.

Listen if: 

  • you like Lyyke Li.
  • you were disappointed by how same-y Lana Del Rey’s recent single was.
  • If you want Aluna George to release another album already.

Words: Georgette MK

 

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison