Artist: The Cheek
Release: Lover’s Quarrel
Label: The Lost Music Club
The Cheek (formerly Cheeky Cheeky and The Nosebleeds) are Woodbridge’s finest indie export. With a frantic live reputation and a rabid cult following, their debut album was due in 2010 but never surfaced. The bloated major label machine that picked up the teen five-piece for a six-figure sum seemed to be spluttering to the end of its overblown life, and promptly dropped them. Not heard since, It’s finally available from The Lost Music Club, and it remains as fresh and vital as it did back then.
Artist: Alice Russell
Release: I’m the Man, That Will Find You
Label: Tru Thoughts
This digital double A-side single lifts the lid on a new recording – a beautiful cover of Connan Mockasin’s “I’m The Man, That Will Find You” – alongside an original album track, “Citizens”, which tapped into hearts and minds all over the world when it featured prominently on hit TV show The Blacklist. An equally heavyweight bonus cut comes in the shape of “Breakdown feat. Darondo (D-Felic Refix)”.
Amassing support from the likes of Lauren Laverne (BBC 6Music), Huey Morgan (BBC R2 & 6Music), Shaun Keaveny (BBC 6Music), Jamie Cullum (BBC R2) and right across the US tastemaker stations KCRW, KEXP, and WNYC to name just a few, Alice Russell’s ‘To Dust’ album has entranced discerning fans and tastemakers. Its fresh yet timeless sound, developed with long-term co-writer/producer TM Juke, heralded a new level of renown for this much loved artist, with achievements including BBC 6Music Album of the Day; sell-out tours across the UK, Europe and North America; and radio sessions including Jamie Cullum (BBC Radio 2) and 6Music Live At Maida Vale. Highlights also included her commanding set on Glastonbury’s West Holts Stage being recorded by the BBC for high billing on TV, radio and online, and Russell’s triumphant US Network TV live debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Amidst the whirlwind, spring 2014 saw Russell taking a brief break in order to embrace and devote herself to the new adventure of becoming a mother. Demonstrating the superhero powers that many have long suspected of her, Russell ventured back out onstage just six weeks after the birth of her daughter to delight the crowds at Love Supreme, WOMAD and other festivals around Europe, as well as packing four shows into two nights at Ronnie Scotts later in the summer. Having already tasted the festival life (and even made an unplanned appearance in the background on the studio recording of this single – listen up), the cherished Little Miss Russell will also be right by her magnificent mum’s side on the upcoming US tour.
Russell and TM Juke have proven time and again their ability to infuse a powerful soul sound with diverse influences, and on “I’m The Man, That Will Find You” those inimitable vocal harmonies sparkle as the pair pay homage to one of their favourite current artists, having had Connan Mockasin’s “Caramel” album on repeat for the last year. This fresh, spacious and psych-tinged sound also hints at a new direction that they are exploring on the way to developing Alice Russell’s next album.
The other new material here is a high energy, funky house-infused rework of “Breakdown feat. Darondo”, the original having been hugely feted last year when it was used to soundtrack the US Mad Men Season 7 trailer. The remixer is unmistakably D-Felic, the Netherlands-based producer and DJ whose growing reputation has led to recent collaborations with the likes of Om’mas Keith, Erykah Badu & Shafiq Husayn.
Label: One Little Indian
The huge new single from atomic drum & guitar duo God Damn who hail from the heart of the Black Country and fuse ‘Bleach’ era Nirvana, Jesus Lizard, Pixies and At The Drive In influences while swearing allegiance to the “seven J’s” of their holy bible: Hendrix, Homme, Cash, White ,Page, Bonham and Jesse Hughes (Eagles Of Death Metal). Released via One Little Indian (Asgeir, Bjork), Horus follows 2014 single Shoe Prints in the Dust and is a heavy hitting taster of their 2015 debut album.
Release: The Opening of the Cerebral Gate
Label: Tresor Records
In between the re-releases of the two legendary Drexciya albums released on Tresor in ’99 and ’01, the Berlin techno institute is proud to re-present Transllusion’s “The Opening Of The Cerebral Gate”.
Produced by the late James Marcel Stinson and released in 2001 via Supremat, a short-lived sub-label Tresor dedicated to a more abstract and experimental electro sound, “The Opening Of The Cerebral Gate” was conceived as the second part of the so-called Drexciyan Storms – a whopping stack of seven albums by the Detroit pair released under different monikers within a single year (the Tresor album “Harnessed The Storm” being the first).
This phase marks a groundbreaking time for the duo, their cosmos breaking wide open, right at the dawn of a new technological era in electronic music production. All this is deeply reflected in Transllusion’s first album.
Thematically, “The Opening Of The Cerebral Gate” saw Stinson shift away from the grand narrative of the Drexciyan saga, instead exploring a sub-plot of esoteric concepts revolving around internal, mental and psychedelic tropes. Musically, it presents the electro genius at the height of his game.
The album is chock full of hypercharged arpeggios and driving pulse patterns, morse-like tones and chord stabs, huge, über-booming tympanic kicks and grainy snares, (see openers “Transmission of Life” and “War of the Clones”). On the other end of the stylistic spectrum it features sweeter tones and moments of sheer, staggering beauty (“Dimensional Glide” or the CD’s centerpieces “Look Within” and “Unordinary Realities”). In between, all kinds of alien electro funk shadings are to be found, every single track so well-executed making it impossible to pick a highlight.
“The Opening Of The Cerebral Gate” showcases one of the great artistic minds of techno’s second generation on the brink of a new creative chapter in his life – a chapter which, tragically, would end way too soon.