Monolith Cocktail

Welcome once again to our odd mix of singles, video tracks and EPs, plucked from the peripherals of the musical sphere. Our latest finds include Retoryka, Radiation City, Dolores Haze and the Nagano City Street Band, whilst the Nimzo-Indian and Bruse Wane both make glorious returns to monolith Cocktail.

Bruse Wane  ‘Yuu’

Rolling in with another hit from the capped crusader’s alter ego, from the real Gotham city, Bronx rapper Bruse Wane drops the new single ‘Yuu’ from his upcoming Earl Manigault Of Rap. Like the troubled gifted basketball player of the LP title, a street legend with huge potential who took a wrong turn and paid a heavy price, Wane’s own talents stay connected to his roots in the projects. As if to emphasis those roots, Wane’s own sound echoes the East Coast’s second golden age of Hip Hop sampled soul beats of the early 90s; a time before rap music grew into a commercial behemoth. Appeasing no one, his latest slick but fiery salvo takes a swipe at the dollar/celebratory-incentivized tastemakers, fakers and industry players currently dragging the music scene into disrepute; smoothly delivered over a beat supplied by the Toronto, Canada-based producer North Villah.

The album is released at the end of the month and features turns from the late Sean Price and Chris Rivers. Be sure to look out for our future review. In the meantime you can pre-order a copy here.

Retoryka    ‘Super Maudlin’   (Everyday Life Recordings)


Sometimes a record can perplex or confound the critic; quite where the four-track EP from Kevin Retoryka fits musically is unclear. But I will persevere nonetheless; fumbling for descriptions, references and the like. Not that I’m any the wiser, this mysterious songwriter was also the vocalist/guitarist for the curios Jacques Caramac & The Sweet Generation and The Be Be See, both bands erring towards kosmiche pop. With his latest Super Maudlin release, Retoryka, as the title suggests, wallows (poetically) and cerebrally in sentimentality, less as an exercise in loss and resignation but more as a meditation on false pity and sentiment.

You can hear why he recently opened for the curmudgeon pop outsider Luke Haines on his British Nuclear Bunker outing, his own almost uneasy emotionless observations striking a chord melodically and lyrically. Offering a bowed rippled quivering Robyn Hitchcock-esque supernatural country lyricism to silver screen metaphors on ‘The Picture’, a red wine swigging Dylan, xylophone twinkled jolly on the absurdities of an online life with ‘The Great Beauty’, a stubbed sonorous piano Babybird final curtain call, on the title track, and a slumped Nilsson, Brian Wilson and Bowie raising despondent glasses to the end of an era as they perform a 70s rock ballad on ‘Dark Entertainment’, Retoryka makes the “uneasy listening” experiences (as he calls them) sound sweetly original.

Dolores Haze   ‘Touch Me’

It makes a change to hear something different emitting from our cousins in Sweden. Affixed with the “Scandi-pop” tag, I’m inundated with synth-laced moodiness and enervated pop at present or, to take it to the other extreme, screaming heavy mental rabid noise. So the rebellious sounds of the Gothic shoe-gaze quartet Dolores Haze make a welcome dirge-y and scuzzy surprise.

Named after the controversial central figure of Nabokov’s most infamous work, the band evokes a brattish style mélange of Sleater-Kinney, The Pixies, Placebo and Dinosaur Jnr. There latest flirtation with morbid curiosity and salacious decadence – completed by the unsettling panoramic camera roll video of debauchery and weirdness – Touch Me oozes with relishing class and sweetened malice: think Lush in the dungeon.

Nagano City Street Band   ‘Escapism’

Coming across the curio recently via our Twitter account, the unsigned UK band, with a penchant for Trip Hop and post-rock, have little to offer information wise. A mysterious group, taking their name from the Japanese city, located on the Island of Honshu, Nagano City Street Band have a few releases already via Bandcamp and some tracks on Soundcloud, other than that they remain an enigma.

Their most recent suite, a three-phase ten-minute cycle entitled Escapism, moves through the guitar fiddling, vista painting of Mogwai and the groove of Adam’s Castle into paused ambient and cooed narration before building to a raging, sawing, gnawing heavy rock fusion climax.

Monolith Cocktail

Nimzo-Indian   ‘Telescope The Moon EP’

Once again indulging the eccentric experiments of the, killer chess move, Nimzo-Indian; the Monolith Cocktail shares the maverick electronic artist’s latest transmission from the space oddities of his garden shed: Telescope The Moon.

Those wobbly, squelching, ferreting and haphazard calculations made on an assortment of homemade instruments – think a Dr. Moreau like concoction of hybrid instruments; hacked and wielded together from record players, guitars and springs – remain truly unique, as the man behind the alter ego, Andrew Spackman, gazes at the stars. Starting with a cosmic voyage of discovery; searching; idling floating through the nebular regions; as with all of his tracks, a sudden lurch interrupts proceedings as a pair of heavy boots land on the dusty lunar surface and set off a goofball lollop through alien vistas. From then on in everything becomes even weirder; burping galvanised zips on the retro-futuristic ‘Red Mini Red’ and ratcheting workshop timepieces synchronized to twitch to a breakbeat jazz backing as some French bloke narrates over the top with ‘Pelina’ await those seeking the strange.

Part silly, part Fluxus’ music department the Nimzo-Indian always manages to pull something out of his bunker of trick noises.

Monolith Cocktail

Radiation City   ‘Juicy’

Emerging with a sophisticated slice of sensual space doo-wop from the implosive environment that almost destroyed them, Portland’s Radiation City have somehow managed to stay together long enough to record a new album, Synesthetica. Well…half and half, with old songs placed alongside their new ‘semi-spontaneous’ material, shaped during the band’s most dire hours.

On the verge of splitting the band, with the founding members Lizzy Ellison and Cameron Spires own relationship on the rocks, a final unlabored attempt at saving Radiation City resulted in an ‘honest and unafraid’ session that summoned the old magic. Turning a once democratic band into – as the PR spill puts it – a monarchy, with the titular Ellison and Spires now firmly back in charge, they brought into the studio the Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Riley Geare to play drums and at first recorded with Spoon and Death Cab For Cutie producer John Vanderslice before returning back to Portland and letting Modest Mouse and Gossip producer Jeremy Sheerer loose on the results.

Based on the condition known as synesthesia whereby a person links one sensual experience to another (for Ellison, who experiences it, that means seeing specific colours when she hears different musical sounds), the band’s third album promises a multi-sensory experience.

The leading single from the upcoming album, ‘Juicy’, sexily drifts and bends through a nebulous region of languid, swooning space; where St Vincent meets Jagwar Ma on a trip around the stars.

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