NYC singer/songwriter Yuzima has dropped the first single from his upcoming LP The Machine. “The song is a combustion of post punk and hard rock energy and a gigantic chorus” which Yuzima says was inspired by Nirvana, punk and hard rock bands.
Yuzima’s ‘Anarchy’ is out now
I’ve mentioned New Yorker Yuzima here a couple of times before, notably in this interview and this review of 2012’s Sound Opera: Project One. New single ‘Anarchy’ is aptly titled, more lo-fi, gritty and angry than anything he has produced before.
Yuzima has a steadily rising profile, with features in a number of gay lifestyle webzines and plugs by, er, me, in some of those proper magazines I writer for such as Under the Radar Magazine and John Robb’s Louder Than War. Despite this, ‘Anarchy’ is a bravely difficult track; for someone with pop sensibilities to make something so impenetrable, raucous and yes, anarchic, is a bold artistic risk.
The track opens with a riff that sounds a little like a post metal take on ‘Satisfaction’. After this it takes a hard listen, but there are some lovely U2-esque guitar sounds underneath all that distortion, whilst Yuzima’s vocals convey real anguish despite the difficulty in understanding the actual lyrics. The song devolves into utter chaos, but if a sense of anarchy is what its writer is looking to achieve then he’s hit the nail on the head.
‘Anarchy’ is out now on Yuzima’s own UZEE label. Full album The Machine is set to be released in the fall/autumn.
Old Man Diode & Rick Holland
The King Krill
2011 was a strange year for Brian Eno. Coldplay re-hired him as producer on the confusingly-named Mylo Xyloto, but rather than innovate and subsequently invigorate as he has with so many artists, the record was by-the-numbers and instantly forgettable, clinging to the coattails of 2010’s pop darlings with brightly lit neon claws. Meanwhile Eno also collaborated with poet Rick Holland on the LP Drums Between the Bells and Panic of Looking EP; a record described as having ”all the spirit of Microsoft Excel.
The King Krill
Perhaps surprisingly, the split from Eno appears to have reinvigorated Holland. Now he has teamed up with grizzly electronic scientist Old Man Diode
on The King Krill
, a hyperactive dance record a million miles from his earlier, more space-gazing affairs. Drum machines throb and buzz relentlessly, interwoven with synths with enough space afforded for breath that the album treads a neat line between gorgeous trance and smart drum & bass. Meanwhile the numerous collaborators are vocalists such as Chris James and Beth Rowley, whose soulful singing offers a neat counterpoint to music that drips of artificial intelligence.
Also King Krill
There is a wealth of ideas on offer here, numerous avenues explored with modulated vocals, chopped up drums and the aforementioned synths coming together to create fraught and threatening soundscapes. Nonetheless, at just eight tracks and 37 minutes long there’s never any danger of The King Krill
tipping over into proggy self-indulgence as OMD (no, not them) and Holland expand on their numerous ideas.
Gaggle - From the Mouth of the Cave
A game of word association may not be the most obvious way to open a review of every East London hipster’s next favourite band, but if I say “21-strong all-female choir” then I fear I might struggle to convince you not to think “£2.99 in the supermarket.”
From the Mouth of the Cave, the debut album from 21-strong all-female choir Gaggle will not be selling for £2.99 in the supermarket. With a sound described as both R&B and electronic rock and compared to Animal Collective, The Flaming Lips and Aphex Twin (although “The lovechild of Bananarama and Björk” might be my favourite), it’s actually difficult to see what the commercial appeal of this record is to a market that currently sees The Voice trending on Twitter every weekend. None of the above descriptions are in any sense wrong, but nor are they remotely helpful in describing Gaggle’s sound; indeed the real worry is that something that can be described so enigmatically runs the risk of being dismissed as a frothy novelty by the reader.
Devin - Romancing
Sometimes it’s nice to have our expectations confounded. After all, who could have foretold that Radiohead’s first post-‘Pop is Dead’ extended release would be the glorious My Iron Lung EP? That Game of Thrones would be a show more akin to The Wire than Lord of the Rings? Or that Robson and Jerome’s Jerome would be such a brilliant badass in it?
Brooklynite Devin does not confound our expectations.
With the confidently monikered singer slouched on the front cover replete with quiff like an aptly monochrome James Dean, his debut album Romancing is one that cannot quite be judged by its cover. Hyperactive power pop punk guitar riffs and soulful blues-tinged vocals are the overwhelming hallmarks of a record that’s rock returned to its pre-counter culture movement days; it’s as if Can, Pink Floyd and Bowie never happened.
Read the full review here.
Earlier this month one of the most exciting new musicians from one of world’s most exciting cities released his new record; you can read my review of Yuzima’s Sound Opera: Project One here.
Now Yuzima has kindly taken some time to talk to me and answer a few questions about the Sound Opera
project, pop music in general and its, as well as his, future.
Yuzima, an unlikely champion of European industrial rock, straight out of The Bronx
Despite my predilection for 1980s post punk and new wave music, and all their spin offs, I have never been to their spiritual home of New York. Nor have I ever visited hipster techno Mecca Detroit, and I have only briefly touched upon the sprawling west coast melting pot of new musical genres that is Los Angeles. As those who have never spent much time in the north west of England might struggle to find an affinity with the Madchester scene of the early 90s, it leaves me with a slightly ashamed sense of fraudulence when it comes to professing my love for the music born of these wonderful cultural springs; in fact when it comes to writing about the indie scene of bygone epochs my conscience can only really be settled by considering how much time I’ve spent in Berlin.
Isaac's Aircraft - Two is a Crowd
Remember Dylan goes electric? No, you probably don’t and nor do I, given it was 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival, some 21 years before I was born. Still, the legend of the event lives on, as the hostile crowd met him at that and subsequent dates with a wall of vitriol, impassioned cries of “Judas” belying their overwhelming feel of betrayal as Dylan rejected his folk origins. It was however a period launched by the single ‘Like a Rolling Stone’, one of the greatest achievements in song writing in the history of pop music. Who says modern music fans are fickle?
This was another very early one, in which I was a lot more mean than I ever meant to be. In the unlikely event of Natalie McCool (whose name is amazing) reading this, then I apologise profusely for being a bit of an arsehole.
Natalie McCool - Shoot Shoot
Producer Steve Levine has to his credit a plethora of multi-platinum albums, having worked with the likes of Culture Club, China Crisis, Motorhead and Gary Moore. DJ Mark Radcliffe is one of the most recognised and influential broadcasters in the UK and in his time at Radio One helped to break artists such as Pulp and Nick Cave. Singer Chris Martin has 43 major award wins and a further 122 nominations to his name as Coldplay’s front man, to go alongside 50,000,000 album sales. A list of Sir Paul McCartney’s accolades, awards and achievements could fill the remainder of this review by itself, and if you’re reading this to find out whom he is then you’ve probably come to the wrong website.
This is an article I’ve republished a thousand times already. Lauren O’Connell is a kind of alt-country-ish singer from that America they have now; she answered a bunch of my questions by e-mail last year.
In light of the current 
box office success of David Fincher’s latest critically lauded movie, now seems to be as apropos a time as any to discuss the merits of social network media; something whose link to the contemporary music world is nowhere near as tenuous as this glib opening gambit implies.
More “youthful” hyperbole here, writing about folk singer Rosie Doonan. Who is actually quite good.
Rosie Doonan - Pot of Gold
Proverbs are crap. Meaningless patronising nuggets of horseshit, fundamentally proffered by faux-wise ageing middle-Englanders in a desperate attempt to impart some of the world-weary wisdom and lessons in life that they feel they should have attained by their age, but are too proudly stubborn to admit that they have failed to do so. Proverbs are so conceptually rubbish that for the majority of them there is a Newtonian equal and opposite fart of gibberish: “Look before you leap” vs. “He who hesitates is lost”; “Better safe than sorry” vs. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”; “First impressions are the most lasting” vs. “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.
This piece turned out to be a lot more positive than I intended, to the point where my bad review was quoted on the EP’s press release.
50ft Woman - Menage a Trois
London-based post-punk-pop-rock neophytes 50ft Woman
are set to release their EP, the intriguingly titled Ménage á Trois
, on November 1st. Appropriately the title is as simultaneously enticing and yet opaque as the name of the band itself, suggesting unknown pleasures lie within whilst offering no obvious clue as to what they might be.
This is an interview I did with Aaron from The Evil Beat, a now sadly disbanded collective I saw a few times at uni.
The Evil Beat
Once upon a time, in my hazily-remembered days as a student in Lancaster, I took a girl I liked to see a local band I was vaguely familiar with, and whose music was refreshingly and markedly unique from the deluge of guitar-led four-piece student rock bands that are seemingly ubiquitous on every campus. That band was The Evil Beat, a band whose name is apposite for their bass-led, dark, murky sound (even more so when you consider that it was allegedly lifted from a porn website). Date music this is not.