Thursday, 28 August 2014

The MOJO CD - September 2014

I subscribe to MOJO, and every month it lands on my doorstep, and every month there is the accompanying themed cover CD. Mostly these get played once - sometimes not even all the way through if I'm being honest - and binned. Occasionally they are keepers, but every time there are a host of bands and artists I've never heard of before, which is always good no matter how iffy the end product.

So, I thought I would start a series of reviews of the ones that are worth playing more than once.

We will start, illogically enough, with next month's offering, which I have not yet decided whether or not to Shelve or Bin, and work backwards until I run out of the keepers, and from then on I will put up a review if I think it's worth the effort.

The September 2014 offering is entitled The Dreamers, and is a loosely bound collection of music inspired by dream pop in general and Ms Kate Bush in particular, she being flavour of the moment.

1. Pinkunoizu - The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Kicking off with what turns out to be the best piece of music on the collection, Danish band Pinkunoizu provide an addictive mix of Krautrock, dream pop and shoegaze - Scandinavia strikes again!

2. Haley Bonar - Last War
Big pop meets Americana. Nicely swoonsome "end of all things" songsmithery.

3. Connan Mockasin - Do I Make You Feel Shy?
Loner bedroom psych-pop with a dark underbelly from NZ. A bit thin on ideas.

4. Caribou - Can't Do Without You
Samples the title ad infinitum and sounds like a treated version of what I like to term "hairdresser music". Pass...

5. The War On Drugs - Red Eyes
Band with daftest name on the compilation and current meeja darlings turn out 80s sounding synth-beat fare mixed with intermittent understated sub-Big Country guitar bluster. Pass...

6. Wye Oak - Shriek
Ah, now this is more like it. Hailing from Maryland rather than Herefordshire, this electronica duo turn out a delightfully pastoral Cocteau-wibble. Derivative but classy.

7. Poliça - You Don't Own Me
Covered by loads of folk from Dusty to Joan Jett, Poliça add electronic darkness to the pot. I prefer Dusty's version.

8. I Break Horses - Denial
Band names ain't what they used to be, are they? A futuristic intro built on backwards sampling leads into average Euro pop. Pass...

9. Lia Ices - Thousand Eyes
The blurb mentions "tripped-out West Coast folk music" and references Syd. Not quite that good, but not bad nonetheless.

10. Julia Holter - Don't Make Me Over
More 60s homage, this time of the Bacharach/David Dionne Warwick tune. Stripped down, it works better than Poliça's effort, and is none too shabby.

11. Anna Von Hausswolff - Mountains Crave
I was hoping for a Marlene/Nico gone shoegaze, but despite the name this chanteuse is apparently Swedish. Still managing to convey a Teutonic air, this is an anthemic little number that could do with a sweeping orchestra behind it instead of the minimalistic backing of organ and electronic percussion.

12. Smoke Fairies - Your Own Silent Movie
A proper band name, at least. Unfortunately this girl duo are obviously in thrall to Ms Bush. Even the melody is naggingly similar to a mixture of Kate tunes.

13. Nite Jewel - in The Dark
90s electronic R&B apparently. That should put me off, but it's actually rather nice.

14. Snowbird - Porcelain
Wisconsin singer-songwriter Stephanie Dosen has sung with Massive Attack and The Chemical Brothers, and the other half of this duo is ex-Cocteau Simon Raymonde no less. They produce a lush romantic piano and electronica ballad that comes over like a less tripped-out Twins record. Nice.

15. Haiku Salut - Sounds Like There's A Pacman Crunching Away At Your Heart
Now there's metaphor I would never have thought of. A trio of Derbyshire lasses end this compilation with a woozy little folksy number that reminds me of North Sea Radio Orchestra.

Best three tracks:
1. Pinkunoizu - The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
15. Haiku Salut - Sounds Like There's A Pacman Crunching Away At Your Heart
2. Haley Bonar - Last War

Shelve or Bin? - Bin, but I'll certainly look into PinkuNoizu and Haiku Salut.

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