This is my last week in the UK. Not sure how long Ill be away for. Im back to Australia to finish my Masters, and spread the Word of Sonic Masala Down Under. So how have I spent the week? Being still as broke as a leper's behind, Ive managed to eke out some highlights (saw Roald Dahl's Twisted Tales at Hammersmith Lyric Theatre - amazing sound and stage design, rubbish everywhere else; the High Society exhibition over at Wellcome Collection; Belgian beers and mussels), but mostly I sat around and ate pesto on toast. Its amazing. Oh, and write the fourth edition of Hits From The Box, of course!
Hippo Campus is the moniker for solo artist Makan Negahban, a Californian that dabbles in forlorn warbled acid soundscapes. His second LP Nausea/Cherries is an interesting beast, a little unwieldy at times even when a track is 90 seconds long, but when he gets it right like 'Keep Hot And Cold In Mind' or 'Montelegro', its an inspired listen.
Hippo Campus - Montelegro
KYNAN is another solo artist, this time out of San Diego, that loves playing with electronica and musical form. He is also quite prolific, with an aim to put out a release every month starting from now! The fact that Lil Wayne and Prince are influences might tell you something...or, maybe not...
His first effort on display is Try Harder, which 'Elbows Out' opens. The sounds evoke the sunniness of some of his contemporaries (Secret Knives, Sweet Lights) but incorporates some RnB and dreampop to sampled children and echoing vocals that create a drifting in the ether kind of candy-coated drug. I wasnt sure at first, but this stuff impresses. And the kid is only 18! Whether the quality will hold up over time, or indeed improve, remains to be seen, but KYNAN's initial statement is a strong one.
KYNAN - Elbows Out
Quivers have put out a cassette,
Quivers - Kick You In The Stomach
Michael Marwood used to play for post rock band Sona Di up in Newcastle; he is currently in another act called Cauls. But he has also been doing solo stuff on his own time for five or so years, and has recently endeavoured to air it with the world. Pneu Leaf is his first effort, and although the songs have been gestating for all that time some of them are quite impressive, especially opener 'Coquet Pot'. He supported Geoff Farina (Karate) and Chris Brokaw (Codeine) at the end of last year, and aims to put out some more free stuff by summer before clearing his plate to attack a full length release in its proper intended form. A talent worth keeping an eye on.
Michael Marwood - Coquet Pot
It really is a solo artist Sunday! Elias Krantz is from Stockholm and has just had a groovy track put out on Swedish label Airwaves Music's Fur Immer compilation, 'Watussi', a Harmonia cover as a homage to Michael Rother and Neu! infused shows he did as HalloGallo last year. I wish I had more to go on, but all I can say is that Krantz has an amazing sound here, and I am therefore waiting with bated breath to see how his second LP turns out when it hits the shelves in April. His first, Island Rock, is out on Hockey Rawk, and although I havent heard anyting off it it would be a good thing to hunt down.
Elias Krantz - Watussi
Now this next one is a little different, as we werent contacted by the band or any PR to do with the band per se, but a local fan who wanted his fave band to get some coverage. So kudos to you Arno Gabory for getting Mars Red Sky to make their debut here on Planet Masala. Mars Red Sky are a solid band too - a three piece out of Bordeaux France who delve into a stoner rock vein that is more dream oriented in its scope. They have just released a single, 'Curse', but even though it has a rad video for old 70s skateboarding manoeuvres, Im more of a fan of 'Strong Reflection', so check that one out below. They are said to be releasing an album in March on Emergence Records, so the recorded version of Strong Reflection will be beefier and altogether more visceral...
Finally is Clownfacee, or Mike Quigley as he's known to his friends, and his debut EP Winter. The New York based Clownfacee fuses folk and electronica to work on experimentation with structure and form, and there are some beautiful pieces here, such as the vocoder rendered 'In Your Head', which reminds me of the Barry Burns led compositions of vocals-filled Mogwai, or the more straightforward 'Feel It More'. Check out Winter at Clownfacee's Bandcamp here. My pick of the Hits this week too...