Akala – ‘Lose Myself’ feat. Josh Osho

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London MC, Akala has been without doubt one of the finest voices to emerge in UK hip hop over the past number of years.

Always honest, challenging and thought provoking, Akala makes a welcome return with the release of a brand new video for his single ‘Lose Myself’ featuring Josh Osho. Akala is in indomitable form once again, dropping rhymes with help of Josh Osho against a rocking backdrop.  The single is out on May 20, a week before the release of his forthcoming fourth album, The Thieves Banquet, which is out on 27th of May. Akala has consistently proven his talent over the years, consequently it is worth checking out his previous three albums – It’s Not A Rumour (2006) and Freedom Lasso (2007) & DoubleThink (2010) – if you haven’t done so already that is.

You can check out  ‘Lose Myself’ feat. Josh Osho below & maybe, just maybe, this time we might see Akala grace our shores with his presence. Finger crossed.

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Guest Post: Johnny Feeney Picks 3 Albums (Foals, Eels & Foxygen)

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The blog has been rather lacking in album reviews and picks over the past month or so, all down to my lazy neglect I’m afraid. So, it’s a pretty opportune time for the ever reliable Johnny Feeney to step in and fill a void with another guest post. On this occasion, as before, he’s here with three albums that have caught his attention. With that I leave you in the capable hands of Johnny.

Foals – ‘Holy Fire’

Foals continue to develop for a fuller, more expansive sound on this their third album, moving further away from the angled indie-rock of their earlier work. It feels like it’s been designed perhaps for bigger live venues than where they currently find themselves playing. Having a bona fide radio hit in ‘My Number’ will certainly help them reach the wider audience they seem to be targeting.

With tropical rhythms providing the backbone throughout, there’s a real swagger to tracks such as the funky ‘Late Night’, the colossal ‘Inhaler’ and ‘Milk & Black Spiders’, with its brilliant use of steel drums. The slower songs have never been their strongest suit, and the closing pair of ‘Stepson’ and ‘Moon’ do nothing to reverse that trend, leaving the album peter out somewhat tamely. However, don’t let that take away from what is otherwise a highly accomplished and assured album.

Eels – ‘Wonderful, Glorious’

LA alt-rockers Eels’ tenth studio album sees front man and creative force Mark ‘E’ Everett in a cheerier mood than usual. Everett’s distinctive, gristled vocals are ever present with a gritty defiance on show in songs such as ‘Bombs Away’, the excellent ‘Stick Together’ and on the gentler ‘On the Ropes’ – (“I’m hurting bad, and fighting mad, I’m not knocked out, but I’m on the ropes”).

The smouldering ‘Peach Blossom’ is an album highlight with its scuzzy guitars and clattering drums. Everett allows himself a brief lapse into more familiar, lovelorn territory with the morose ‘True Original’ but quickly returns to a more upbeat outlook, closing proceedings with the beautiful ’I’m Building a Shrine’ followed by the joyous title track. Wonderful indeed.

Foxygen – ‘We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic’

The second album from Californian duo Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century… is tightly packed full of breezy, catchy psychedelic pop songs, perfect for a bit of easy summer listening. There’s a real lo-fi, ramshackle feel to some of the production on here with various instruments popping up intermittently (Richard Swift of the Shins produces). The sound is reminiscent in places of early MGMT, especially when vocalist Sam France goes into falsetto mode.

The chorus on the rousing ‘On Blue Mountain’ bears an uncanny resemblance to Elvis’ ‘Suspicious Minds’, which may be one of the reasons why it’s so catchy but it’s also a fantastic rock song. There are directional changes occurring throughout which always leaves the listener guessing – ‘Shuggie’ varies wildly in the course of three minutes and the title track starts off as good time rock’n’roll before evolving into a sort of hands-in-the-air funereal wail. A highly enjoyable listen that flies by in under 37 minutes.

Drenge – ‘Necromance Is Dead’

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Sheffield based duo Drenge have supplied us with another boneshaker of a tune today, in the shape of the ‘delightfully’ titled ‘Necromance Is Dead’. 

It is the first slice of new music from the Loveless brothers since their superb debut single, ‘Bloodsports’. Constructed along the same punk-blues-rock formula that made their debut single so good, ‘Necromance Is Dead’ is a visceral, snarling, thrilling and menacing squall of noise. In other Drenge related news, the duo have been announced as support for Miles Kane on his upcoming UK tour but you can catch them closer to home when they play Longitude Festival, Dublin on July 21st.

‘Necromance Is Dead’ is available as a free download below.

The Statics – ‘Hidden Pigeon’ EP

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The Statics have been in receipt of much praise in the past for their utterly lovable, infectious and heartwarming indie sounds. Early demos promised much, while debut single ‘Holiday’, and now their debut EP, Hidden Pigeon delivers on that early promise. 

Yes they are a bit of a throwback, with echoes of the likes of The La’s, John Power & The Coral remaining a key part of the Dublin quartets’ sound, but their identity and character is injected through the lyrics. Set to a back drop of stomping drums, bright upbeat melodies and twangy rhythmic guitars the lyrics are personal, honest and depict grittier, bittersweet tales. The Statics could draw criticism from certain quarters for flagrantly embracing their influences but who cares? What they do, they do ever so well. From the opener ‘Hidden Pigeon’ through to ‘As I see It’, the EP is a four track feast of tight and well honed ear-worm indie pop songs, worthy of inclusion in any record collection. 

Hidden Pigeon is released on Saturday, April 20th and will be launched in The Thomas House on Saturday night (all the details are here). 

Swall – Bright//Moon//Light (CL Moons Remix)

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If you’re a regular on this blog, you will probably already know SertOne is held in rather high esteem around this neck of the woods.

Well, not just content with knocking our sock off with his hip-hop influenced electronics, the ever prolific Liverpool based Irish producer has an equally impressive body of work under his other pseudonym CL MoonsCL Moons is his a footwork/juke sideline and as an introduction to this alter-alter ego, is his reworking of Swall’s ‘Bright//Moon//Light’. It sees Swall’s soft wandering pop recast in a different light, with Moons kicking in with sharp, snappy beats at a BPM up there with the national debt (that’s high in case you were wondering). 

This tune has been on constant rotation along with CL Moons’ edit of DJ Fresh ‘Gatekeeper’ for the past month. You can listen to them both below. See also, Sweekers Vol. 1 & Vol. 2, where by Mr. Moons has teamed up with fellow Irish producer Lemonada.