Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Fontaines D.C. ‎– Dogrel (2019)

Style: Indie Rock, Post-Punk
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Partisan Records

01.   Big
02.   Sha Sha Sha
03.   Too Real
04.   Television Screens
05.   Hurricane Laughter
06.   Roy's Tune
07.   The Lotts
08.   Chequeless Reckless
09.   Liberty Belle
10.   Boys In The Better Land
11.   Dublin City Sky

Band, Bass Guitar – Conor Deegan
Band, Drums – Tom Coll
Band, Guitar – Carlos O'Connell, Conor Curley
Band, Vocals, Tambourine – Grian Chatten
Producer, Mixed By – Dan Carey

The most versatile instrument known to us surely must be the human voice. Whether the voice is in singing or speaking mode -- or somewhere on the spectrum between those two modes -- it can mimic the sounds of animals, of instruments, and of course, those of other human voices. 
Rock music, of course, has an eternally elastic policy about vocals. (Some musicians, like Mark E. Smith of the Fall, would say that rock is not technically even music. I would say that rock is a captivating degradation of music -- but it's still music.) In rock music, of crucial importance is how seamlessly the vocals weave into the sonic textures. If the music is solid but the vocals don't carry it, the song risks polarizing audiences. 
Fontaines D.C. might be one of those bands that can cause such schisms with audiences. The vocals on their debut album, Dogrel, are so loomingly loud that they practically eclipse the other instruments. Furthermore, the vocals are megaphonic, more shouty than croony. Indeed, Fontaines D.C. is spoken-word, white-boy rap at its most vociferous and off-kilter. 
Fontaines D.C. has been described by some music critics and listeners as a melding of Joy Division and The Fall -- the former for its aggressive energy and sharp musical contours and the latter for the baritone bellow that erupts from the lungs of its dreamy singer, though Chatten's vocal delivery is not quite as bitingly deadpan as Mark E. Smith's. Still, a sardonic atmosphere suffuses Chatten's singing, which is also tinged with a bitter urgency. 
Once you acclimate to the prominence of the brogue-soaked vocals on this album, you begin to notice the cyclonic guitars, thick thumping bass lines that call to mind The Cure's early ponderous tunes and booming marching band drums. The music veers between the rustic crunch of garage rock and spikily buoyant post-punk, with doses of that perky '90s "strummy indie" vibe for good measure. 
Lyrically, Fontaines D.C. offer Beatnik flows flavored with traditional Irish poetry overtones, encapsulating themes of disenchantment with the modern world. The juggernaut forces of gentrification have run rampant over every major city on the planet, and how that venomously affects Dublin is a particular focus with this band. Indeed, Dublin and its landmarks and environs are name-checked at nearly every turn of phrase. Dogrel may be the most Dublin-centric album in popular rock history. 
Not infrequently, the thick Dublin accent potently delivered by Chatten can further obscure already hard-to-penetrate lyrics for some ears, but this also renders them more cryptically interesting. A meticulous reading of the lyrics becomes mandatory, and worth your time. 
In general, the album does not waver from its mercurial momentum, but there are three interludes that showcase the more melodic mode of Fontaines D.C. These songs are awkwardly out of place on first exposure, but repeated listens reveals them to be poignant respites from the "hurricane laughter" attitude pervading the album. 
When Johnny Rotten shuffled off his '70s primal punk persona and embraced a loftier approach to music, he used his vocals to staggering effect, stretching them toward an all-encompassing banshee shriek. His voice became the domineering instrument in the tumult of noise emanating from Public Image Ltd. 
Much like Public Image Ltd with Johnny Rotten, Fontaines D.C. exploitation of Chatten's commanding vocals is a clever move. His voice mesmerizes in a way that enables us to appreciate the deeper dimension of the sounds and themes. 
Post-punk has new blood coursing through its veins, transcendently authentic, and boisterously good. You'll want to give Dogrel a listen.
Alison Ross / popMATTERS

Jasmim ‎– Culto Da Brisa (2019)

Style: Indie Pop, Folk, Psychedelic Rock
Format: FLAC
Label: Not On Label

1.   Erosão
2.   Vai Nascer
3.   Dono Da Razão
4.   Inverno
5.   Aqui, Agora
6.   Agosto
7.   Meu Irmão
8.   Mora
9.   Ouro, Prata E Jasmim

Bass, Backing Vocals – Bia Diniz
Drums – Pedro Morrison
Flute, Synthesizer, Backing Vocals – Violeta
Drum Recorded By – Nuno Morão
Synthesizer – Rui Antunes
Tabla – Francisco Cabral
Adufe – Humberto J. Dias
Timpani – João Alves
Violin – Francisco Ramos
Vocals, Guitar, Synthesizer, Percussion, Sitar – Martim Braz Teixeira
Producer, Recorded By, Mixed By – João Alves, Martim Braz Teixeira

Peter Scherer & Arto Lindsay ‎– Pretty Ugly / MTM VOL. 23 (1990)

Style: Experimental, Modern Classical
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Crammed Discs, Made To Measure

1.   Pretty Ugly
2.   Austere And Hungry
3.   Bold Condensed
4.   Sirens
5.   Nature Of Slam
6.   Plastic Surgery

Handclaps, Voice – Nana Vasconçelos
Percussion – Cyro Baptista
Violin, Viola – Jill Jaffe
Music By – Arto Lindsay, Peter Scherer
Recorded By – Martin Bisi
Sampled Voices – David Brisbane, John Walker, Nonni Tryggva

Oliver Lake ‎– NTU: Point From Which Creation Begins (1976)

Style: Free Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Arista, Freedom, Universal Sound

1.   Africa
2.   Tse'lane
3.   Electric Freedom Colors
4.   Eriee
5.   Zip

Congas – Don Moye
Drums – Charles Bobo Shaw
Electric Bass – Don Officer
Electric Piano – Clovis Bordeux
Guitar – Richard Martin
Piano – John Hicks
Producer – John Hicks
Trombone – Joseph Bowie
Trumpet – Baikida E. J. Carroll, Floyd LeFlore
Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Oliver Lake
Instruments – Baikida E. J. Carroll, Floyd LeFlore, Joseph Bowie, Oliver Lakess

NTU: Point from which Creation Begins” was Oliver Lake’s first album and found him mining similar territory that a lot of other young new jazz stars were digging at this time. Equal parts; post bop, fusion, free jazz and psychedelic hippie jam, Lake fit right in with a crowd that included Pharoh Sanders, Donald Byrd and Herbie’s Sextet and its many spin off groups as well. The album opens with “Africa”, an excellent psychedelic groove number that will have many thinking classic Pharoh Sanders. The follow up, “Tse Lane”, is a post bop number that suffers from a slightly out of tune acoustic piano and playing that sounds distracted after the focus of the first number. The band doesn’t really come together on this one. 
Side two opens with “Electric Freedom Colors”, after a lengthy Chicago style pointillist noise section (Joeseph Bowie, Don Moye and other AACM types have a strong presence here), the band hit’s a slow groove and guitar phenom Richard Martin takes over. Martin uses a non-distorted natural jazz tone sound, but also adds variable reverb depth for a slight psychedelic touch and just rips on some of the most fierce outside lines this side of Sonny Sharrock and Pete Cosey. The following “Eiree” is quiet and abstract, yet tense as the band interjects sounds that point to what’s to come. On the album closer, “Zip”, the band goes for the classic avant-garde jugular with an all-out free blowing session and keeps things interesting by passing around the solos before the whole band joins in for the final onslaught. 
Another great album from that classic early 70s era when so many young musicians were taking in everything from Coltrane to Hendrix, and Stockhausen too.
Jazz Music Archives