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The NBTMusicRadio Review 143

Published April 17, 2014 by nbtmusic

Review 1 april 2014

 

At long bloody last, the writer part of the NBTMusicRadio brains-trust slides slowly back into action, here with some thoughts on some of the latest releases currently gracing our 24 hour stream. Here be Fragments, Random Joy and unrestrained excitement, here will be attempts to listen between the chords, read between the lines, to discover the stories and dance with the ghosts in the music.

Right let’s get down to it

Older Reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

Reviews 124 till now right on this very blog.

I am writing about SONGS here although most of these tracks come from fine albums which you can discover by simply following the links like the good curious reader you should be.

The Frown – This Is How The World Ends (I AM NOIZE & DESTRUKTO Mysterio Mix)

I have to admit, I like my club music to be slightly menacing and moody, yet still able to deliver the release needed for the dance floor fanatic to lose themselves under the mirrorball darts. This is all factory throb and sly tension yet never succumbs to the dreary tank crawl that some industrial tracks mistake for ‘passion’

https://soundcloud.com/destruktorobots

Stoney Spring  – That’s Not An Ice Cream Truck , That’s God

Coffee House piano battles a creeping otherworldly synth, then weirdly morphs into something Hudson and Manuel would get down into on a good night with the Band. You can almost hear Dr John thinking about singing over this as he passes on his way to his spaceship in this alternate universe.

http://www.stoneyspring.com/

Galleons – Rise

This is slow burning, slow building, song circle intimate harmonies, the dreaming, the soft desire for the dreaming, then release perhaps even surrender.  Most bands would leave it at that, but the Galleons push forward, ever higher till it’s not just a bird, it’s a sleek air jet of a song, modern and shiny.

http://thegalleons.com/

Andrew Kay – Bernoldus

Like all four tracks here, this is a shape shifter of sorts. It flirts with loss, but is more about legacy, the most fragile call to arms we have yet to hear from a singer who balances the gleeful with the late night heaviness. Deceptive in its simplicity, like all good music, it catches you unaware and all of a sudden you are making plans to change the world.

http://www.reverbnation.com/andrewkay7

You can catch all these songs and oh so much more on the NBTMusicRadio’s 24 hour stream

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
TuneIn (for Windows Phone, Blackberry and Android):NBTMusicRadio

iTunes: Click on  ‘Open Stream’

and paste: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

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The NBTMusic Review 142

Published February 9, 2013 by nbtmusic

review 143

The Random Playlist Experiment

Older Reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

So I thought I would try something different, Take three very talented, very different artists, throw all their new songs into a folder and let my player spit out the music at will, and I will attempt to convey my emotional, my sensual, my heart’s response to what hits me, and for three tracks from each artist I shall discover what private movies are created, what memories are triggered. I shall leave the technical dissection for other worthy critics; they have my permission, to conduct strenuous autopsies upon the verse and chorus of each song.

The three albums I will listen to are:

Monsters by Dudley Saunders (Strange Troubadours)

Tokyo’s Fifth – Tokyo Rosenthal (Rock and Sock Records)

Long Way Home – Max Carmichael (Independent Release)

So as a famous pair of lips once said in a cult film one dark rainy night, ‘’let’s get to it boppers’’

The first track up is Rosenthal’s ‘’What Did I Used To be’’ a reflective dark start to the proceedings.  3AM fragile where sunrise seems a lifetime away, and the hope that kept the younger man going seems in short supply. What surprises is how gentle this is, perhaps this is how depression hits us not with blunt force, but cloaked in sweet melody.

Saunder’s ‘’ What Rats Are We’’ stays in that temperamental time zone,  part of the night where time slows to a crawl, but this is  jazz romantic, neon sign reflected in puddle moody, kinda hip as the ghosts of Marlon Brando and Miles Davis are evoked. These too are lost men, but watch for the proud tilt of the head, the small wicked smile.

And so we leave the street and enter a packed club, An impossibly cool band whose members all look like Max Carmichael are playing on a tiny cramped stage, the song is, ‘’ Yellow Mud’’, we think of the Beatles, but not in Hamburg, rather in CBGBs, Jonathan Richman looks on and takes notes, a yuppie in the corner is loudly demanding a coloured drink, perhaps because his girlfriend is paying too much attention to the band.

Speaking of the Beatles, Tokyo takes back control of their ‘’Helter Skelter’’ but with none of the affectation of U2. This is country fiddle joyful, recalling a glorious time in the mid 70s when the American charts were full of country rock boogie, sing along anthems devoid of guile, you know, like when the Doobie Brothers were NOT slick, NOT polished, and there wasn’t a genre called adult contemporary.

Carmichael’s ‘’Plateau’’ comes skipping in, keeping the party vibe going, Everly Brothers overdosed on Paul Simon sanctioned subliminal afro rhythms, the singer enjoying the insecurity of sunshine through clouds,  we feel we are on a roundabout ,things become a pleasant blur, tension and giggles in equal measure.

Dudley Saunders brings back the fear, but oh how tactile, stirring seductive he makes it, in ’’ The Man In The Game’’ we cuddle up nervous next to one of his curiously broken characters, find an understanding for the approaching horror, glory in the detachment, this is how nightmares should be written, not with screeches and bombast, but rather with a slightly dangerous empathy.

Rosenthal’s ‘’Waste Of A Heart’’ with its traditional Oprey feel, and shy lilting harmonies from Andrea Connolly, makes us wish that Leonard Cohen, had written more Country songs. Regret and acceptance he moves out towards the dawn at last

In ‘’Zero Out (In These Boxes) ‘’ by Dudley Saunders,  we discover how memories can trap the soul, how powerful inanimate objects can be, as if they are magic, that just by looking at them, taking them out of that box in the attic or the top of the cupboard, they bestow the not  completely welcome gift of time travel. This for me is the most personal track on this album and all the more beautiful for it.

And finally we head down into Max Carmichael’s ‘’Rifted Valley.’’ What amazes me here is suddenly we are no longer in the artist’s beloved New York post Punk Loft dreamscape, but somewhere deep in that intellectual alt Americana that folks like Andrew Bird inhabit. It is fitting that this is the last song of this random journey, because the music is epic, growing, dense and like all that we have heard today, full of ideas, but never disregarding the raw emotion of it all.

Find out more from these artists right here:

http://www.tokyorosenthal.com/tokyo_rosenthal/home.html

http://www.dudleysaunders.com/index.php

http://www.maxcarmichael.com/

And you can hear LOADS of tracks from these three albums on the NBTMusicRadio 24 hour stream

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
TuneIn (for Windows Phone, Blackberry and Android):NBTMusicRadio

iTunes: Click on ‘Advanced’ then ‘Open Stream’

and paste: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

or search Under ‘radios’ /’eclectic’

stream thru your Media Player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

The NBTMusic Review 141

Published November 24, 2012 by nbtmusic

Older Reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

Child Of Ancestors – Sarah Jane Mary Hills (Sjambok Music)

Written by Jacobus Rossouw aka 88KOS

Every month, I read every music magazine and website and blog end to
end. It’s a search for albums that are personal, stripped of ego,
beautiful and honest. On my twitter account I ask questions, hoping
that the crowd will source these beautiful albums for me… And every
so often I’ll come across Warpaint or a rare perfection like Mountain
Man’s “Made the Harbour”, but more often than not I’m disappointed by
the anodyne starch that is served up as music so regularly.

Then, out of the blue I see a post about Sarah Jane Mary Hills’ new
album, Child of Ancestors, on NBT’s Facebook feed. I loved the work
she did with Sunways and so it was an easy decision to buy the album
immediately from her bandcamp site. After listening to the opening 5
seconds I was hooked, and when NBT Music Radio asked me to do a review
I jumped at the chance.

This is a rare album, so deeply honest and personal that it’s an act
of courage (and perhaps catharsis) to release it to the public. The
arrangement is simple and the production sparse, and combines with
introspective lyrics to produce an intimacy that is arresting and
inspiring.

Though this is a solo album the collaboration with the Legendary
Warrick Sony in terms of the final product is worth mentioning. Hills
and Sony have worked together before with Hills contributing vocals to
two Kalahari Surfers albums – One Party State
(http://kalaharisurfer.bandcamp.com/album/one-party-state) and the
recent Agitprop (http://kalaharisurfer.bandcamp.com/). For this album,
Hills recorded the vocals and guitar before sending the songs to Sony
to add final musical touches after which he did the final mix and
mastering.

Sony’s genius is that his contribution is light and sensitive thereby
adding to the album’s haunting beauty. The layered vocals and the
simple guitar figures against a background of sweeping soundscape is a
trip into someone’s soul.

Hills’ writing is superb, never over the top and never straying from a
sound that suits the album’s themes. The subject matter is sometimes
emotionally tough but ultimately leaves this listener with hope and a
sense of peace. This may make it sound like a “difficult” album but it
is extremely accessible and you will find yourself humming the songs
long after listening.

This is not an album for anyone that is fond of aggresive posturing or
frivolous pap, but for those who appreciate simplicity and beauty it
is a rare find and I encourage you to make your way to Hills’ bandcamp
site with your credit card ready.
(http://sarahjanemaryhills.bandcamp.com/). Child of Ancestors is
another superb Sjambok Music release and while you’re in a buying mood
make sure to check out other albums released by one of SA’s finest
labels at http://www.sjambokmusic.com

Tracks from this cool album can be heard all over the 24 hour stream that is the NBTMusicRadio

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
TuneIn (for blackberry and android):NBTMusicRadio

iTunes: Click on ‘Advanced’ then ‘Open Stream’

and paste: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

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The NBTMusicReview 139

Published September 15, 2012 by nbtmusic

Older Reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

Tracks from Asleep In Transit’s EP can also be heard on the NBTMusicRadio during the 6 PM (Berlin Time) slot

Wide-awake in a starry sky: Asleep in Transit – Jackie Horner Pub, Helen Joseph Road, Glenwood, Durban. 08 September 2012

review: Helge Janssen

This five member band, formed as a duo almost two years ago, presented the Jackie Horner pub with an acoustic set as a threesome: singer/percussion Irena Buzdugan, acoustic guitarist Allister Christie, and bassist Joshua Woolf. Vlad Buzdugan (synthesizer) and Chris McNabb (drums) were otherwise engaged.

Like the proverbial live-wire, Irina Buzdugan’s beautiful voice weaves its way around the acoustic and bass guitars, slithers through the notes sparking their intention, explores range and depth, tempo and space, stretches, evolves – holds time itself -with an ease of expression that belies its depth of persuasion. As such, Irina locates  the melody outside of and between the driving rhythms with intuitive jazzy-verve. This creates space for melodic invention that is the casting point of strength of this band. With charisma to match, her exotic beauty is alluring and mesmerising, while the two guitarists wouldn’t be out of place in a vogue photographic shoot either! Allister has a natural alto voice that entwines Irina’s in an harmonic, shamanic echo-chorus – and at other times he leads – that is as pleasing as it is surprising. With his acoustic guitar, at times banjo-like, sometimes upbeat in a blue-grass kind of way, Allister forms and informs the essential fulcrum through which the performers anchor their focus while allowing space for each musician to explore their potential unhindered.

Joshua is reinventing the bass guitar: at times driving the songs rhythm, at others leading with an electric guitar-like riff, or happy to simply accentuate and prolong the dramatic use of a deep and warm bass reverb in sudden contrast to the dancing higher notes, he is always inventive. And yet, these bass guitar melodies do exactly what a bass guitar is meant to do: heighten the countering rhythm, and add depth to instrument structure.

Of particular note too is the arrangement of the songs. These have well thought out deceptively simple layers of melodies that dance around the primary rhythms sustaining aural intrigue progressively adding depth and range to the dramatic context. These performers are not afraid to play with time, have an equable performance style which belies the poignancy in their message. The songs are thought provoking, memorable and accessible. I had a strong sense of lateral thinking infusing their creative processes. This allows for maximum individual input within an infrastructure of mutual respect. Listen to “Brother, Sister” or “What a mess we must appear” which are both melancholic AND upbeat and will have you smiling!

What a Mess We Must Appear:

“Why’d you burn all the buildings?

I just don’t get it.

Why can’t you tell your smoke from fire?

I heard I’m dying tonight
and I think I just found out why..”

This rich tapestry with its counter-point surprises forms the essential drive and interest that becomes the expansive whole of ‘Asleep in Transit’. As such they have produced a unique alternative Durban sound. From this showing this band could neatly slot into the international circuit and they definitely have what it takes to rise to the top.

They might be ‘asleep in transit’ but they are very much wide-awake in transmission!

WHAT a boon! You can download their debut album FREE here: http://soundcloud.com/asleep-in-transit/sets/asleep-in-transit-ep

web site: http://www.asleepintransit.com

Durban is exploding with musical talent!

The NBT MusicReview 138

Published August 30, 2012 by nbtmusic

Older reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

Life Has Not Finished With Me Yet – Piano Magic (Saint Marie Records)

dismissed in some circles for not being ‘indie’ or minimal or pure enough (depending on the ”intellectual” creds of the writer/blog) the latest release from Piano Magic, is a slow burn alternative universe collection, exuding  a shimmering calm that only comes before or after some kind of exquisite tension.

This is the gentlest bitter, a restrained anger, no overblown dramatics, rather a sensual hypnotic even devious journey into the soul. There are words of warning here for the dishonest, the reckless, and the self satisfied, whispered with a smile rather than shouted in futility.

The band has not given up on that (previous label) 4 AD mystery, but now adds a bit of soul, a touch of world, a lot of restlessness to the mix. Imagine if you will a midnight wedding tween a New Order pop song and a David Sylvian willful experiment with just a hint of the more masculine side of Dead Can Dance and then dream on, listen on, from there and let the surprises take you at will.

The title track give a clear indication of what the writer and the band hope to convey, achieve, charting that ambiguous dangerous time, where self doubt and hopelessness can push one to the very edge, and yet somehow you pick yourself up and keep going, keep creating keep trying to express yourself.

This new album is full of such intimate ideas expertly told and wonderfully played.

Trax from This Album will be featured on the NBTMusicRadio during the following hours:

2 PM 6 PM Berlin Time (1 PM/5 PM UK and 8 AM/ 12 Midday New York)

And Both Midnight Madness Hours (midnight Berlin Time (11 PM UK) and also midnight New York Time)

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
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iTunes: Click on ‘Advanced’ then ‘Open Stream’

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stream thru your Media Player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

The NBT Review 135

Published March 6, 2012 by nbtmusic

Whitehorse – Whitehorse (Six Shooter Records)

Let’s mood swing for a moment into this new dream. Old time radio filtered captured thoughts, a lazy ghost drifting across wild western desert or is this hazy vision really Russian winter bleak? The music hints that both worlds could be here, within this fragile opening.

We are taken from this delicate tension, (almost Wim Wender Serene Soundtrack like) into the echoed dramatic of, ‘’Killing Time Is Murder’’ the ghosts become rock n roll real, a finger snapping delightfully urgent harmonic surge, the girl boy balance fine tuned, so it’s not truck driver macho or even ethereal femme detached, but rather that space in between.

Even when Luke Doucet takes on lead vocals, there is enough of Melissa McClelland’s dream pop sensibility to make these songs a wonderful fantasy version of what Okkervil River might sound like mixed lovingly with Beach House.

What delights here is that, just when you think you have tied down this duo to some genre or other, they jump/dance away from the label and throw in something else. There is haunted rock-a-billy here, there is AM radio power pop,  there are slivers of wounded wondering Folk songs and there is even that old time roots pop that the Loving Spoonful got so very right which makes their version of Springsteen’s ‘’I’m On Fire’’ a natural marvel.

Indeed they construct rare beauty in songs that make the listener think of Ryan Adams for a few seconds, then KD Lang for a few more, while never losing their own trance logic, an ‘other’ worldly shimmer that is their own.

Find out more about this incredibly seductive band here:

http://www.whitehorsemusic.ca

You can hear tracks from this album spread ALL over the 24 hour stream that is the NBTMusicRadio

But specially during the ‘’Essence Of The Song’’ Hours which go out every day

3 and 4 PM Berlin Time for our European listeners (2 and 3 PM UK Time)

And 9 and 10 PM New York time for our USA and Canadian Listeners.

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
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Burner – TERRANOVACAIN (Independent Release)

I confess to have succumbed to the jagged post punk soul of this album, so my thoughts are those of the converted, are purely spiritual , personal, chaotic random and deep as thought can be in the moment of the music, so critical detachment, a cold clear look or listen is not what happens here. But maybe like this collection, it is something more, more true to the ambition inside the rhythms

This is all oiled machine flirting though with the rust of hard use, it is all friction versus the fluid, the darkest sigh against the pounding hammer. It’s Stax era funk, folded smooth into white boy need, jittering and jerking, animated clown, loose limbed new wave under the mirrorball at 4 am in the morning.

It’s disco with abrasive guitars, it’s the Bass as half robot half panther, these songs never stop prowling, disturbing, they are electro shock without terror, but embracing the fear as a wicked jive partner.

These songs are songs of hope from a cynic’s point of view, where defeat is ever on the edge of its seat, grinning with excitement only to be surprised by the magic and love, the ultimate daring of what comes next.

My job is to listen to those that call themselves ‘’Independent’’ and I have noticed how few earn that title.

TERRANOVACAIN wear it with pride.

Find out more:

http://www.reverbnation.com/terranovacain#!

You can hear this band’s music ALL over the 24 Hour stream that is the NBTMusicRadio

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
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Stream thru yr media player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

The NBT Review 133

Published January 12, 2012 by nbtmusic

Kara McGraw – Kara McGraw (independent release)
Older reviews (1 – 123) can be found here
The story song is a difficult creature to tame; the writer has just a few minutes to show a lifetime, just a few verses to illuminate adventures and journeys. In many ways it is a skill that comic book writers share, they must distil the story down to its essential essence, move it along with graceful speed even while taking care to keep important details intact and hinting at others.

The story song is a beautiful thing because it allows the listener, (just as well crafted comic books do) to explore the spaces and add their own imaginative constructions, while still reaching the destination the creator wishes. So it is fitting that this collection opens with a song called ‘’ Comic Books and Flashlights’’ A track that has shape shifting magic designed into its DNA.

This set is a complicated undertaking, in which the artist strives to marry the multilayered strands of the show tune to the sensually skinny format of the folk pop missive. (As a side note, I have been listening to Tori Amos’s album ‘Night Of Hunters’ in which she attempts to achieve many of the things McGraw does here, and while finding many delightful parallels, I think Kara gets it right more often!)

The incredibly rich arrangements and orchestration never overwhelm the melodic drive, never move us too far from the girl and her piano, so we sit and listen and are not afraid to get emotionally involved, never feel that this is just music for Broadway aficionados, or Stephen Merritt fans.

McGraw has fashioned a pop album that feels timeless, it could have been dreamed up when ‘Singing In The Rain’ was huge, or selections from this could drive the latest episode of Glee with ease.

You can hear trax from this album spread all over the 24 hour stream that is the NBTMusicRadio, but specially during the hours of  9 PM New York Time and for the European Listeners 3 PM (Berlin Time) which is 9 AM New York Time.
http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
iTunes/TuneIn (for blackberry and android):NBTMusicRadio
Stream thru yr media player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u
Find out more here:
http://www.karamcgraw.com/