Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Vaadat Charigim - Hadavar Haamiti

Once in a while, in amongst the latest chart releases and indie EPs, you get sent something to review that is a little special or unusual. Vaadat Charigim are both.

The Israeli trio formed in 2012 and released their first LP with the title The World is Well Lost; on September 25th 2015, they will follow it with the UK release of their second album, Sinking as a Stone, from which Hadavar Haamiti is taken.

Already some readers will be thinking "boo, Israel" and while we're not going to launch a political debate here, it's worth taking a moment to recognise that Vaadat Charigim - consisting of vocalist Yuval Haring, drummer Yuval Guttman and bassist Dan Fabian Bloch - are just three people who happen to be from Israel.

They are not the Israeli government, although the turbulence of their surroundings has a clear place in the tone of their recordings.

Haring says: "Instead of singing about missiles falling on a shopping mall and naming the missile and the shopping mall, I am taking the essence of that, and breaking it down to its basic mechanism. I am dealing with it piece by piece, as fragments."

The politics of a nation should never prevent artistic expression of any kind - although, as is the case here, it can certainly sculpt the tone of a musical work.

Vaadat Charigim have a frankly amazing sound, like an Israeli Stone Roses singing in a cathedral, choral and anthemic, moving and contradictorily uplifting.

I can only imagine the sense of affirmation their music might carry in more optimistic times. I hope we might find out, one day.

Until then, their music carries a quite different message, and one that would be all but impossible to convey in words alone.

Vaadat Charigim's second album, Sinking as a Stone, is due for UK release on September 25th via Burger/Anova records.

Buy Sinking as a Stone on audio CD from Amazon now, download The World is Well Lost as an MP3 album, or see more digital music downloads from Vaadat Charigim.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Cristobal and the Sea confirm debut album Sugar Now for Oct 2nd

One worth looking out for later this year is Cristobal and the Sea's debut album Sugar Now, confirmed for an expected release date of October 2nd on City Slang.

It's good news for anyone who caught the group's EP Peach Bells back in December 2014, and it's great to see the album follow less than a year later.

What should we expect? Plenty of variety, not least thanks to the band's multinational membership: Spain's Ale Romero on vocals and bass, Portugal's Joao Seixas on vocals and guitar, Corsica's Leila Seguin on flute and vocals, and the UK's own Joshua Oldershaw on drums.

In terms of genre, there's an equally eclectic mix, and Joao explains: "We don't ever consciously make our music sound like a genre."

Josh adds: "The Latin element is always there, but it naturally adapts to whatever theme is most prevalent, whether it's psychedelic, or more poppy, or sometimes a bit disco."

Sunset of our Troubles is a summery, almost Caribbean track, so it's good to see this one is available already - no need to wait until October to get your hands on it, just hit play on the SoundCloud player below.

If this is an indication of the album as a whole, Sugar Now will be worth waiting for - and with any luck, there'll be some autumn sunshine to enjoy at the same time. Even if not, it's likely to make the perfect soundtrack for Christmas shopping too - even if the big day is still six months away right now!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Son Lux - Bones

Bones is the latest album from Son Lux, AKA Denver-born musician Ryan Lott. It's his first album on Glassnote, after leaving Joyful Noise Recordings in 2014, but it bears all the hallmarks of an artist whose work is probably more widely known than his name is.

If you're not familiar with Son Lux, take a look back at our review of Lanterns in 2013; you can also hear Lott's work on the soundtrack to the Bruce Willis time-travel movie Looper, and on Ned Benson's 2013 trilogy The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.

Bones is typically dramatic and fast-paced, an energetic and acoustically rich tapestry of music that yet again proves Lott's talent for composition in a genre he has all but made his own.

X Factor 2015 judges/mentors announced

Well, the new judges (or mentors, if you prefer) for The X Factor 2015 have been announced, and they're likely to leave Simon Cowell looking like a dad at a disco.

He and Cheryl Cole Fernandez-Versini are due to be joined for the new series by Rita Ora and everyone's favourite where-the-hell-did-he-come-from DJ, Nick Grimshaw.

Grimmy, Cheryl and Rita are The X Factor mentors 2015

'Grimmy' is a contradiction in terms, in that he's been around for ages yet every time he gets a new job, everyone immediately says he lacks the experience for it - he started out on E4 nearly a decade ago, and has worked on pretty much every channel there is since then.

If you like him, that's great. If not, it's hard to avoid his leering face or just-got-out-of-bed voice, whether on BBC Radio One, hosting his god-awful panel show Sweat The Small Stuff on BBC Three, or popping up like a wasp at a picnic on Children in Need or the recent TFI Friday revival.

Rita Ora is by no means the most popular person in the world, so it's saying something that she seems to be the better received of the two new mentors (at least she's a singer, right??).

Personally I've never found anything much to dislike about her, and she did a decent job as guest judge during her previous one-off appearance on The X Factor, so good luck to her.

In fact I'm more than happy to say good luck to all concerned - I can't bring myself to watch anything Grimmy is involved with, but the presenting duo of Caroline Flack and Olly Murs should see the Saturday night show in safe hands, and it's understandable that some young blood is being pumped into a show whose biggest recent successes have been the just-started-wearing-pullups groupings of Little Mix and One Direction.

For the rest of us, jaded by more than a decade of dodgy decisions from the judges and convenient 'deadlocks' to shift the blame back on to the public vote, it feels like a lifetime since Saturday night telly involved Mrs O calling Steve Brookstein a dickhead on live national TV.

Those were the days.