Friday, 27 November 2020

Tom Waits ‎– The Heart Of Saturday Night (1974)

Genre: Jazz, Blues, Pop
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Elektra, Asylum Records

A1.   New Coat Of Paint
A2.   San Diego Serenade
A3.   Semi Suite
A4.   Shiver Me Timbers
A5.   Diamonds On My Windshield
A6.   (Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night
B1.   Fumblin' With The Blues
B2.   Please Call Me, Baby
B3.   Depot, Depot
B4.   Drunk On The Moon
B5.   The Ghosts Of Saturday Night (After Hours At Napoleone's Pizza House)

Producer – Bones Howe

If Closing Time, Tom Waits' debut album, consisted of love songs set in a late-night world of bars and neon signs, its follow-up, The Heart of Saturday Night, largely dispenses with the romance in favor of poetic depictions of the same setting. On "Diamonds on My Windshield" and "The Ghosts of Saturday Night," Waits doesn't even sing, instead reciting his verse rhythmically against bass and drums like a Beat hipster. Musically, the album contains the same mixture of folk, blues, and jazz as its predecessor, with producer Bones Howe occasionally bringing in an orchestra to underscore the loping melodies. Waits' songs are sometimes sketchier in addition to being more impersonal, but "(Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night" and "Semi Suite" are the equal of anything on Closing Time. Still, with lines such as "...the clouds are like headlines/Upon a new front page sky" and references to "a 24-hour moon" and "champagne stars," Waits' imagery is beginning to get florid, and in material this stylized, the danger of self-parody is always present.
William Ruhlmann / AllMusic

Yazmin Lacey ‎– When The Sun Dips 90 Degrees (2018)

Genre: Hip Hop, Funk / Soul
Format: Vinyl, FLAC
Label: First Word Records

A1.   90 Degrees
A2.   Something My Heart Trusts
A3.   Burn & Rise
B1.   Heaven
B2.   Body Needs Healing

Bass – George French
Drums – Tom Towle
Guitar – Charlie Bone
Keyboards – Peter Beardsworth
Percussion – Owen Campbel
Lyrics By, Written-By – Yazmin Lacey
Producer – Peter Beardsworth, Tom Towle

This EP follows on from her two recent singles, ‘90 Degrees‘ and ‘Something My Heart Trusts‘, both of which are included here, along with three previously unreleased tracks, ‘Heaven‘, ‘Body Needs Healing‘ and ‘Burn & Rise‘. This set illustrates again Yazmin’s candid songwriting delivered in her uniquely laidback soulful style, whilst a glorious fusion of neo-soul and jazz performed by Pete Beardsworth and her trusty band rides throughout.

In recent times, Yazmin has made live appearances on Jazz FM, BBC Radio 4, 1Xtra and NTS, & received widespread acclaim across the airwaves, including BBC Radio 2, BBC 6 Music, Worldwide FM and Mi-Soul, plus Spotify love from the likes of The Independent and heavy support from DJs such as Gilles Peterson, Jamz Supernova, Tom Ravenscroft, Huey Morgan and Jamie Cullum. Yazmin appeared heavily in The Guardian / The Observer’s recent extensive feature on the UK’s new Jazz movement too.

Initially a Brownswood ‘Future Bubbler’ graduate, Yazmin self-released her debut EP, ‘Black Moon‘, last year. This lead to a Maida Vale session late 2017 with Jordan Rakei, Moses Boyd, Oscar Jerome and now label-mates, Children of Zeus. She kicked off the year with a performance at the Worldwide Awards with Skinny Pelembe, and has recently done shows with artists such as Ezra Collective, Tall Black Guy and Fatima. Yazmin has a UK tour scheduled for later in the year, as well as several festival appearances across Europe locked in. There’s a lot more to come from this Notts-based Londoner yet.

In Yazmin’s words: “‘90 Degrees‘ is about that time of the day / night when there’s a shift in pace and energy. When you decide to lock off from the ‘outside’ world and create your own atmosphere, take some time to give thanks for what’s breathing love into your life and smoke off the fuckeries. Everyone needs a little routine for self preservation.”

Flotation Toy Warning ‎– Bluffer's Guide To The Flight Dec (2004)

Style: Psychedelic Rock, Brit Pop, Downtempo
Format: CD, Vinyl, FLAC
Label: Talitres Records, Poinyt, Misra

01.   Happy 13
02.   Popstar Researching Oblivion
03.   Losing Carolina; For Drusky
04.   Made From Tiny Boxes
05.   Donald Pleasance
06.   Fire Engine On Fire Part I
07.   Fire Engine On Fire Part II
08.   Even Fantastica
09.   Happiness Is On The Outside
10.   How The Plains Left Me Flat

Written-By – Flotation Toy Warning
Cello – Sarah Kaldor
Drums, Electronic Drums – Colin Coxall
Guitar, Bass, Vocals – Nainesh Shah
Guitar, Bass, Written-By – Ben Clay 
Viola – John Greswell
Violin – Anne Marie Kirby, Gwen Cheeseman
Keyboards, Sampler, Vocals, Arranged By – Vicky West
Lead Vocals, Sampler, Programmed By, Written-By, Lyrics By – Paul Carter
Producer – Flotation Toy Warning, Steve Swindon

If Flotation Toy Warning is out to lull listeners with sheer melodic excess, perhaps it's working a little too well. Over the course of the band's elegant avant-pop debut, it subjugates effect to ambition, inflating concise pop sound-bites to epic proportions (10 songs in a daunting 72 minutes). Sitting at the digi-pastoral nexus of Scott Walker's overstated vocals, the Flaming Lips' neon popscapes, Brian Eno's ambient experiments, and Neutral Milk Hotel's found-sound dalliance, FTW engages in much repetition that seems unnecessary-- many of these ideas could have been winningly discharged in half the time. Instead, they intricately bloat and dawdle, and you might feel "over" a song before it breathes its admittedly gorgeous last.

In its first minute alone, "Happy 13" gathers up sloshing water samples, wheezy electronics evoking everything from keyboards to bagpipes, crashing drums, acoustic strumming, and a request to "please leave all shiny objects behind." Gradually adding spectral harmonies and twinkling detuned piano to this mind-cramming dream travelogue, it shuffles through dizzying permutations. "Popstar Researching Oblivion" introduces some common FTW motifs: Chuffing, vaguely martial percussion; wavering organ gasps; ripe, elegiac brass; spangled sheets of reverb; and angelic choruses intoning fat, fallow syllables. The multitude of instrumental parts is so similarly colored and oft-repeated that it sometimes blurs into obscurity, but the band can also be glorious in this state of resonant disarticulation. When Paul Carter hunkers down to tell stories, it's less interesting.

Musical standouts "Donald Pleasance" and "Losing Carolina; For Drusky" broaden the sonic palette further, with trad-indie guitar arpeggios contorting though starry expanses of limpid strings and icy chimelets. Lyrically, the former revolves around Carter's steadfast, suitably despondent eulogy at the funeral of "our love." It's a great concept, but as on many of the tracks, the band's sonic accouterments prove more moving than the vague libretto. In the latter, a nightingale song flits around the fairly incomprehensible tale of Drusky, who wanted "God to return his youth" while "resurrecting his mother and his pet pigeon."

The most memorable track might also be the shortest and simplest, "Happiness Is on the Outside", which finds Carter casting distant "hellos" into an amorphous blizzard of melodic interference. Beating within the chilly precipitation of his a.m.-wire salutation is Carter's most pressing query (even if he sometimes asks it indirectly): "Can you tell me why you left me here all on my own?" At song's end he promises, almost threatens, to eventually open the page of his diary that rejoices in solitude, and relates "how [he] took your throne as the meanest bastard in the all Albuquerque." But hey, why's the Brit in Albuquerque, and who left him there? Often, the intangibles of his downer vocal timbre denote felt emotion, but Carter would also do well to let loose some colorfully site-specific sentiments, giving his syllables a chance to catch up with the magical Victorian tapestries looping around them.
Brian Howe & Brandon Stosuy / Pitchfork