New Music Roundup/Dominic Valvona

The Perusal is my regular one-stop chance to catch up with the mounting pile of singles, EPs, mini-LPs, tracks, videos and oddities that threaten to overload the Monolith Cocktail’s inboxes each month. A right old mishmash of previews, reviews and informative inquiry, this weeks assortment includes shout outs to The Bundy Bunch, CURRENTMOODGIRL, Double Françoise, Telemachus, We Jazz Records live serious of jazz recordings, and Sounds And Colours 10th Anniversary compilation special.

Telemachus ‘Greed ft. Jerome Thomas’
(High Focus)  Video track taken from the upcoming LP Boring And Weird Historical Music/22nd May 2020

Floating untethered once more, UK producer and artist David L.G. Webb traverses another amorphous musical geography on his latest album under the Greek mythology inspired Telemachus pseudonym. An outlet for explorations that take in an eclectic range of sounds, musics and soundtracks, from West Africa to the Caribbean, the Earthly and cosmic, Telemachus dreamily and longingly encompasses spells of jazz, the spiritual, hip-hop, trip-hop, neo-soul, ambient, electronica and down tempo. A break from Webb’s pioneering work, under the Chemo moniker, on the UK hip-hop scene – producing and working with luminaries and stalwarts Verb T, Kyza, Kashmere, Manage, Jehst, Triple Darkness, Jam Baxter and Onoe Caponoe – this flight of fantasy incarnation is a loose and free travelogue of the spiritual and imaginative that has so far delivered a trio of albums since 2011.

Released ahead of the latest yearning but, mostly, peaceable opus Boring And Weird Historical Music, the soulfully laced, softly tripped jazzy and vaporous video track ‘Greed’ features the achingly blessed sweeping vocals of neo-soul artist Jerome Thomas; just one of many guests, alongside RHI, Chris Belson, Killa P and Penelope Oddity, that feature on this polygenesis, blossoming album.

Keep your eyes peeled for a full review of that album in the next two weeks.

OK:KO/Alder Ego/Timo Lassy & Teppo Mäkynen ‘Ateneum 2019 (We Jazz Live Plates VOL. 2)’
(We Jazz)  LP/May 22

A favorite label hub of mine, contemporary jazz specialists We Jazz Records have released an enviable catalogue of avant-garde, experimental, electrifying records over the years. A showcase for artists from the label’s city home of Helsinki, but also branching out with suites from fellow Scandinavians across the border and beyond, they’ve recently announced news of a series of live performance compilations.

Featuring a rich array of that roster, each volume is split between a trio of acts and ensembles, the performances all taken from various concerts in and around the Finnish capital in 2019. Today’s featured preview, Volume 2, was recorded in the Spring of last year at the historic Ateneum Art Museum in the city. Label mates Timo Lassy & Teppo Mäkynen, OK:KO and Alder Ego each get two tracks on this magical, energetic and exploratory live compilation.

Led by drummer Okko Saastamoinen, the Helsinki quartet OK:KO open the album with a sophisticated, slinky splash of Savoy meets European avant-garde jazz. Group pianist Toomas Keski-Säntti changes from piano to Fender Rhodes, which the accompanying burb suggests, is ‘a little touch that opens up new avenues in their sound.’ Versions of tracks from the group’s 2019 debut Syrti are given a new lease of energy, with the rolling, contorted title-track from that album and the looping splashed ‘Piik’ taken on free-falling excursion.

Another drummer led combo, Joonas Leppänen’s Alder Ego quartet of Finnish talent transcends and go deep with a double-bass heavy version of ‘Cubism’ – which featured on their 2018 LP for the label, II – and offer up a new peregrination of scintillating, slinking, vaulting and New York skyline marauding sax appeal, ‘Mystery Room Nr. 6’.

The Helsinki duo of Timo Lassy & Teppo Mäkynen meanwhile, turn in mesmerizing, Don Cherry meets Dizzy and Calloway swing like visions of ‘Fallow’ and ‘Goldenrod’; a duo of tracks taken from their eponymous 2019 LP.

Finland is proving a hothouse for emerging and already established talent, and this second volume in the live series offers insight and enjoyment (let’s not forget that) of that contemporary jazz blossoming. We Jazz is proving a reliable name of quality and discovery in the form. Take a punt, you won’t be disappointed.

Various ‘Sounds And Colours: 10 Years Anniversary Compilation’
(Sounds And Colours)   Album/Available Now

A gateway to everything worth celebrating about Latin American, the Sound And Colours platform, which includes one of the most in-depth of reference and news sites, guide books and events, has proved a rich essential source for me over the years. Whether it’s through the site’s cultural, political and historical published purview style series of accessible guides to Peru, Brazil and Colombia, or their considered catalogue of music projects, I’m kept up-to-speed and introduced to some of the continent’s most interesting artists and scenes. This includes the panoramic escapist electronica, progressive traversing music of Santiago Córdoba; the futuristic Rio de Janeiro leftfield bossa transmogrifications of João Carvalho (better known as leading experimental Brazilian light Sentidor); and the Costa Rican musical ethnologist Nillo (Johnny Gutierrez). All three of which appear alongside Sergio Mendoza’s Arizona-Mexican fusion Orkesta Mendoza (appearing in a triangle with Mexican Institute of Sound and Calexico) and the leading Rio talent (responsible for at least a 100 recordings) Alexandre Kassin on this generous tenth anniversary fundraiser.

A thankless task at the best of times, with countless sites and blogs closing down at a fair old rate for both a lack of support financially – proving hard enough just to cover costs, let alone make money or a wage from it – and indifference, Sounds And Colours is like many of us also now caught in the effects of lockdown. Wishing to retain that status as ‘a vital platform for Latin American musicians, filmmakers, artists, writers and other creative souls to find an appreciative audience’, the site is looking to its audience for help in keeping it going. And so marking ten years in serving that community, this 25-track compilation that stretches a musical geography, includes everything from electronica to psych to avant-garde to pop is both a celebration and vital way to support them. And as opposed to so many lockdown specials, fundraisers, this is indeed a rich and brilliant collection of new, rare and previously unreleased music.

You can visit the site bandcamp page here to find out how you can help keep this platform afloat.

The Bundy Bunch ‘POS’
(In Black Records) Single/Available Now

Creating a squall of attention for themselves with their slackened brand of lo fi hostility wrapped around jangled surf garage punk mischief, Norway’s knockabout serial killer pun Bundy Bunch follow up on their debut single with another mix of half time slumber and quickened American yoof twanged sulky hysteria. Despite that rough exterior and the eventual “piece of shit” breakdown at the end of this, the band’s second single, the Kopervik trio keeps things melodic and, even, fun. It’s a sound that could be described as a brash barreling Drums meets The Hunches.

Following up the band’s inaugural ‘BELUSHI SPEEDBALL’, ‘POS’ once more has a message about drugs misuse and hijinks. Guitarist/vocalist Ole Marius Saltvik explains: “the lyrics are the social effects certain drugs have on people, and how stupid it can make them act.” Basically, quitting being a dick. Infectious, free-spirited, The Bundy Bunch are a thrill and tonic to the pensive seriousness of lockdown. Take a hit for yourselves.

(Self-Release)  Single/Available Now

A skulk of coiled and shutter clicking machinery and synthesized percussion, Greta Edith’s (who you may know from both Bernard + Edith and Pearl City) disturbing but strangely alluring new visionary alter ego, CURRENTMOODGIRL is as foreboding as it is playful. Some of this is down to the playground like warped innocence of Edith’s childish but knowing vocals.

Today’s featured track, the inaugural release of this new incarnation, is the self-released track ‘The Letter L’. Described as, “A playground clap game that got out of hand”, the paddled and flickered sonic project debut is accompanied by an equally unnerving homemade music video, described as: ‘An alliterative fever dream of monochrome-on-red before a tangled & disheveled ballerina, Dancing like no one is watching.’

Posing as many questions, queries as postulating answers, the CURRENTMOODGIRL alter ego leads the listener ‘down the primrose path’ with a ‘study of the emotional life’s mercurial swings and the female self’. A transmogrification of Manchester’s industrial past, a love of film scores and the local GASH rave scene, Greta’s newest project occupies a strange dream reality. This first offering signifies a most enticing if daunting introduction to that world.

Double Françoise ‘Les Bijoux’
(Freaksville Music) LP/5th June 2020

As the moniker suggests, Double Françoise are about as French as it can get. The Gauloise smoky perfumed Chanteuse pop duo, couplet of Maxence and Elisabeth Jutel seem to have the providence and effortless cool élan to pull off the melodic melancholy and resigned love of such sirens and doyens of the form as Alice Dona, François Hardy, Sylvie Vartan and of course, Serge Gainsbourg and his retinue of femme muses. But this reminiscing musical couple actually derive their name from both the playwright, novelist Sagan Françoise – famous for her disillusioned bourgeois protagonist driven diorama romantic themed works – and the fatalistic actress Dorléac Françoise – the 1960s international starlet on the verge of great things who died at the age of 26 in a car accident.

The debut album, Les Bijoux, is said to be ‘a culmination of years of living together’; an album that ‘beautifully juxtaposes effortless, diaphanous pop with existential subject matter.’ Using an apparatus of Italian keyboards, tape recorders and Atari computers, the duo encompass everything from the French New Wave to the breezy, violin serenaded reminisces of the pastoral provinces. Though they also manage to evoke a Gallic vision of Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra, and on the shakers groove ‘Alcool Fort’, Jean-Luc Godard captured Rolling Stones – with also a hint of Chrissie Hynde. By the time we get to the ‘Loin De Toi’ we’ve heard Gilberto bossa, discothèque new wave, ye ye, gypsy jazz and dreamy electronic pop.

Sensual, breezy, giddy, waning, resigned, breathless and love-pained, everything you want from French pop music with depth and an edge.

Ahead of the album’s release in June, the Monolith Cocktail is sharing the duo’s title-track teaser/video.

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

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