What For? – Toro Y Moi
The rush to find big summer hits is just as pertinent as the similar fuss around December’s number one. While Pharrell Williams has dominated the previous two years with his focus group pleasing pop, it’s time to move on and get into something a little bit deeper. Something with a little more soul. Something that doesn’t sound so fucking plastic and disposable.
Chaz Bundick has produced chilled out, beat driven music since 2009’s ‘Left Alone At Night’ EP and although his last record ‘Anything In Return’ felt like a career high, he’s taken a surprising side-step in his style. Previous records have been dance heavy and featured plenty of dancefloor fillers. On ‘What For?’ Chaz filters the nuances of dance music through a live band sound and presents a record that is dizzying in its glory.
It feels timeless in its hazy, sunshine inflected sound and there’s plenty of interesting instrument choices to keep each track feeling fresh. The warm clavinet of ‘Lily’ gives way to a laid back groove while the phased guitar of ‘Buffalo’ combines with soaring synths to soundtrack your best days of BST. You light the BBQ, I’ll bring this beaut over on vinyl. I want to party with y’all to this record.
Workingman’s Dead – Grateful Dead
It’s rare for any band to find themselves in a position to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Bands get fed up with each other, get bored, get married, overdose on their egos and mountains of grade A pharmaceuticals. Grateful Dead have barely squeaked by, their de facto leader, Jerry Garcia, passed away in rehab in 1995. 2015 finds the remaining members saying a fond farewell to the band and bowing out gracefully with a clutch of US shows in the summer.
1970, however, was a whole different trip for a band that had burnt themselves hard in the white light of the LSD party scene that saw them at the centre of everything psychedelic in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury scene. They decamped to the country and broke out the acoustics and pedal steels to produce a beautiful country record full of songs about the devil, whiskey and dangerous women.
‘Workingmen’s Dead’ highlights a band in transition, a band ready to surprise and a band willing to take risks. There’s plenty of golden moments on this record that make perfect sense after a few cold beers and a little light smoke. It’s an album that invokes the spirit of the old west, fractured through a band mind that REALLY went out there. Happy fiftieth, dudes.
Understanding and Everything Else – Woahnows
I asked Tim from Woahnows if I could get a copy of this record and he said, “If you hate it, please don’t give it a bad review!” That made me feel like a monster. I’m passionate about music and I love all genres. Some music jumps out and grabs me by the throat and leaves me gasping music, other music gives me a limp, cold sweat handshake and I want nothing more to do with it. I’m an opinionated motherfucker and I have your best interests at heart. Listen or don’t listen to me, that’s your choice.
You’ll really do yourself a disservice by ignoring this record though. That’s a stone cold promise. I’ve already raved in this pages about this awesome Plymouth band and it’s been amazing to watch them become tighter, stronger, and leaner. Amazingly, after the departure of bassist Dan James, Tim and Wherly laid this record down together and there’s not a dull second in its fast paced thirty minutes.
‘Watching Accidents’ is a highlight of the record, an insanely catchy riff is driven by full-bloodied drumming to produce a song that transcends the pop punk genre and propel the band to a great guitar band that not only shines on record but will kick your ass live, too. Buy two copies of this record, you’ll wear the first one out by overplaying it.