Souleance - Monolith Cocktail Round Up

Strap in, we have a lot to get through this week; so less chat and more music as we speed through a polygenesis array of our favourite recent and upcoming singles and miscellaneous tracks.


In no particular order we have jilted blue-eyed funk, epic Gravity movie meets lit up glittery psych, Dancehall cacophonies, and a rediscovered space elegy  from our roll call of Batsch, Hooray For Earth, Tara, Wild Smiles, Souleance, Kalbata & Mixmonster, Film, Andy Votel, Henri-Pierre Noel, Terminal Gods and  NehruvianDOOM.

Batsch  ‘Celina’  (Tin Angel Records)  taken from the Collar EP, 14th July 2014.

Amorphously slinking between genres and grooves, the Batsch gravitate towards a form of 80s inspired blue-eyed funk; a more pop, math rock version of A Certain Ratio mixed with the jerk-new wave of Talking Heads and a slew of late 60s progressive psych bands, as fronted by Glenn Tilbrook – though the band themselves cite Chic and Fela Kuti amongst their influences, the first of those a given, the second I suppose in the stumbled quasi-Afrobeat and Highlife alluded rhythms and timing. Despite the noodling references, these boys can sure turn their hand to a good groove, and though we’re not exactly on the dancefloor killing it, they do tread a similar experimental path to The Rapture.

It all amounts to a very interesting and promising mix, the antithesis of say, the equally shining beacons of progressive indie, world music and electronica, Ninetails.

We’ve picked ‘Celina’ from the Midland quartets latest EP, Collar, the follow up to their, now signature ‘dark-disco’ sound, debut Tiles, as a taster. A difficult task on what is, a near-perfect 5-track jilted glitter-ball suite of innovative wonders.

Hooray For Earth  ‘Keys’  (Dovecote)  Happening Now.

MGMT, when they wrote some at least melodic acid-coated psych pop anthems, trailblazing through a revolving flash lighted highway with Oh No Ono, the languorous acid washed but no less highly ambitious full-on Cinerama, Hooray For Earth, unveil the latest video for their recent single ‘Keys’.

Here’s the lowdown on the dreams of a future past gleaming video:

“Keys” was directed by Beau Burrows who said, “Hooray for Earth has a wonderful ear – and, unsurprisingly, eye – for the foreign-yet-familiar and seductively strange, so when they came to us with the prospect of working on a video for their new album, we got excited….we developed and programmed a computer-controlled system of lights and motion control rigs that would flash and move in sync with the song.  This allowed us the freedom to shoot different objects and at different locations while keeping the perspective and lighting consistent; It’s motion and light control, all in one.  Noel and everyone in Hooray for Earth brought a lot to the table during these exploratory shoots, which made collaborating closely with the band an integral part of the creative process. We certainly had a blast shooting it, so we hope everyone enjoys watching!

Souleance  ‘Jogar EP’  (First Word)  14th July 2014.

As the First Word label head off on a sabbatical, taking a couple months leave to soak up the festival season, they leave us with a timely breezy, sumptuous salsa and samba funk soundtrack from the French producer duo, Souleance.  The party maybe over and celebrations left decidedly limp for Brazil, after their less than impressive cave-n to the never-rule-out-the-Germans, but the World Cup and indeed Summer must go on.

Dipping into the extensive Brazilian music collection of Alice Duffy, the lady behind all of Souleance’s artwork, the duo at least add a spring and pleasurable hop and skip to what’s left of the summer, creating a sauntering carnival mix of esoteric synth electronica, staple South American classics, and giddy Latin soul.

Tara  ‘Beast’   28th July 2014.

Oozing with the lamentable sophistication of a pop bewailed siren, singer/songwriter Tara follows up her last dry-ice atmospheric pained trance rocker, ‘Stars’ with this equally progressive requiem, ‘Beast’.

Vocally channeling the hushed chanteuse trilogy of Siobhán Donaghy, Delilah and Sia, Tara’s welled-up travail over stunted beats and occasional rock guitar flares, evokes a less Gothic, dreary but sparkly dream-noir version of Shakespeare’s Sister: classy!

Kalbata & Mixmonster  ‘Congo Beat The Drum 12”’ (Freestyle Records)    28th July 2014.

Welcome to the cacophony of cheetah calls, rollicking tribal beats, roots reggae gnarly vocals and echo-y dub dynamics that is ‘Congo Beat The Drum’; the speaker rattling, primal gut-vibrating collaboration of Kalbata & Mixmonster.

Taken from the upcoming LP of the same name, the 12” version, which also features the roaring prowess of Jamaican dancehall veteran Marshall Mackerel, includes a remix by Bristol-based producer Kahn.

Wild Smiles  ‘Never Wanted This’  (Sunday Best Recordings)   18th August 2014.

Returning to the Tickling Our Fancy round up for a second time (also appearing in our playlist of 2014), Winchester’s Wild Smiles barely conceal their penchant for the dirty alternative, isolated teen rage sound of early Dinosaur Jnr, Nirvana and the Pixies with their upcoming single, ‘Never Wanted This’.

It must be said; they do this sort of revitalised nostalgia for the once defining grunge sound of a generation, really well and it seems to be a diversion from their more post punk pop experiments – their last single, ‘Fool For You’, had a touch of The Ramones about it, albeit with a warmer less aggressive glow.

Film  ‘Ping Pong With Angels’  (Inner Ear)  taken from forthcoming Eclipse LP, September 2014.

From the Greek label that recently brought us the drone-morose of A Victim Of Society, the latest single/video from Inner Ear signing, Film.

Formed in 2003 the Athenian avant-garde pop trio have irked and transformed their sound into a dark, mysterious mix of Moroder, Vangelis’s film soundtracks and 80s laser-shooting dystopia noir. Their latest trope, ‘Ping Pong With Angels’, is no exception; with its cascading neon synth vortex of moody nebula soul-searching and Space imbued Blade Runner fixated despondency.

Ping Pong will appear on the upcoming album, Eclipse, released this September.

ZED  ‘Visions Of Dune’  (Andy Votel Minimix)  Happening Now.

Condensing and outlining the overall feel and atmosphere of the Gallic electronic pioneer Bernard Szajner’s epic homage to Frank Herbert’s original Dune trilogy, the panoply-feverish excavator of lost and obscure musical curiosities and Finders Keepers label stalwart, Andy Votel, magic’s up a ten-minute teaser.

Released the end of next month under the nom de plume of ZED, Szajner’s original dystopia mind-bending trip will be granted the full honours of a review on the Monolith Cocktail. Until then, if you haven’t already come across this mix, assimilate yourself with this chilling desert requiem tribute.

Henri-Pierre Noel  ‘Funky Spider Dance’  (Wah Wah 45s)  taken from the forthcoming One More Step LP, 21st July 2014.

Wow! Just when you feel jaded enough to believe you’ve more or less heard every great obscure funk/Latin/jazz and disco record ever made, along comes another shock to the motherboard, as one of those selfless music archeologist labels – in this case the Wah Wah 45s label – rereleases some lost treasure.

I can’t pertain to know much if anything about the Haitian music polymath pianist Henri-Pierre Noel, other than he took his native Kompa Funk licks and rhythms with him when upping sticks to Canada.

His tropical version of Latin, disco and jazz can be heard running riot over his 1979 LP, Piano – re-released by Wah Wah in 2012 – but his follow-up, One More Step was set for the dance floor.  Enjoy the feverish conga and sonorous piano funk of ‘Funky Spider Dance for starters’; a full review is imminent.

Terminal Gods  ‘Cold Life’  (Heavy Leather Records)  14th July 2014.

Bit of snake-hipped Depeche Mode-esque drone, fuzz pedal morose garage for you now from the Terminal Gods. Laying it on in thick pouted spades, the Gods, bedecked in chic dirty biker fetishism, settle into a rather melodic, semi-electro pulsing, swagger that betrays an ear for a catch-y tune.

Yeah, you won’t be humming it, but despite the gloom and strobe light flickered black and white bunker footage of the accompanying video, this anvil-bashed tune is highly accessible, falling between caustic metal and shoegaze, with touches of The Birthday Party and Jesus And Mary Chain.

And finally…

NehruvianDOOM   ‘Darkness’  (HBU)  Happening Now.

Couldn’t resist sharing this, the latest peak at the upcoming collaborative album from the rising apostle of Hip Hop, Bishop Nehru, and the inimitable, exiled in in the UK (a long story) DOOM, ‘Darkness’. Directed by the Bishop himself, the golden age imbued New York poetic – think Action, Kool G Rapp, Intelligent Hoodlum, A Tribe Called Quest – rich rap video is taken from the NehruvianDOOM project; release date still unknown.

This first morsel from the much tantalising pairing – the burgeoning relaxed, eloquent Bishop a congruous sparring partner to the legendary, highly adroit lyrical master and beat producer, MF Doom – may or may not suggest that DOOM will take a backstage role; he is missing from this particular track vocally, though he did produce it.

Bound to be, as usual with nearly all DOOM projects, at least interesting if not illuminating.


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