Tag Archives: reggae

Mr. Twin Sister Unleash the Post-Punk Dub of “Poor Relations”, Donate Proceeds to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Mr. Twin Sister, “Poor Relations”

New York quintet Mr. Twin Sister returns with “Poor Relations”.  Eschewing the smoothed out, continental r&b and squelchy indie electronica of 2014’s self-titled album (which, btw, is fantastic) “Poor Relations” fires up a downtown, post-punk dub party.  The band’s rhythmic sensibility, so strong through all of the prior releases I’ve heard, is more aggressive – more ESG than Sweetback.  The lyrics, also, are more forceful, seeming to rail against the dangers of the acceptance of an abusive relationship.  In the band’s own words: “[T]his song meant something else when we first wrote it years ago; recent events have made us hear it differently.  We believe in compassion, empathy, and tolerance, and hope that you will join us in speaking out against the erosion of their importance in our world”.

In that spirit, Mr. Twin Sister will donate all proceeds from the download of “Poor Relations” to standingrock.org – do it at their Bandcamp page (linger, and browse through their catalogue).  You know what to do…and, while you’re at it, keep up with all things Mr. Twin Sister on fbook and the twit.

Album Review: Higher Authorities, Neptune

Higher Authorities, Neptune (Domino, 4/20/2016)

Higher Authorities is a side project of Ade Blackburn and Jonathan Hartley, founders of Liverpool paranoid psych-rockers, Clinic.  Joined by ace dub producer Adrian Sherwood, the three have created a fantastic dub/psych meltdown in Neptune.

To put the paraphernalia on the table, then:  yes, the use of “higher” in the moniker is likely not a coincidence and, yes, the album was purposely released on 4/20.  Waiting to exhale, apparently, was rejected as an album title.

The link up with Sherwood as a production partner is inspired, with him raiding the Black Ark and adding his trademark foreboding atmospherics to every track, from skittery echo chaymbah vocal samples, squelchy keys, and burbling bong water (er, “found sounds”).  While dub and psych, while both constant reference points (see “Colours”, with it’s killer dub drum and bass rhythm), are not the only influences on show here.  Cheesy, lo-tech synth tones abound, with shuffling rhythms and typically mumbled vocalizations from Blackburn.  Tracks like “…and why not” are hazily dreamlike and pastoral, recalling not so much “Black Gun” as a tripped out take on gloriously cheesy 70s AM gold staple, “Loving You” – and it absolutely works.  “Monocle Man” strides along like some kind of demented cabaret number; “Abracadabra”, a lascivious, lost disco deep cut.  “Neptune” oozes, at around the 2:15 mark, into a middle tiptoe through the elysian fields; lovely stuff.

Overall, the album seems a bit less structured than the recent output of Blackburn’s and Harley’s main gig.  Highlights abound here, the overall sense being of musicians having a really freaking good time making music together.

Neptune is available now, on Domino.   While their internet presence is elusive, you can check out the band on fbook and their website.

Highlights include: “and why not”, “Colours”, “Neptune”, “Twilight (In the Luminous Lodge)”, “If”.

Review: Domenique Dumont, Comme Ça

Domenique Dumont, Comme Ça (Antinote, 6/22/2015)

Long ago, there existed a world in which people shared “mix tapes” (look it up on the interwebs, children).  A collection of songs, some grouped by a theme, some not.  Many would trade these tapes – demos, random mixes, live bootlegs – as a way to both discover and pass on new sounds to others.  The production was often somewhat murky – what’s euphemistically called “lo-fi” in current parlance – but there were gems to be mined if one took the time to listen.

Comme Ça, from Domenique Dumont, has the feel of something buried deep on one of these tapes – maybe towards the end of the first side, or the middle of the second, probably uncredited on the cover – that bears repeated rewinding and listening.  Furthering this sense, the artist appears a bit of a mystery even to Antinote, the Paris-based label that released these six tracks (though this could certainly be part of the plan), who admit they “don’t know much” about the artist.  The sole ‘tweet’ says merely “hi”; the soundcloud page provides little in the way of background, though seems to indicate Latvian origins by reference to a “Riga-Paris express” .  It’s fun to have something with a little intrigue, n’est pas?

Whatever the case, the songs themselves are fantastic; wistful, precocious, charming bedroom pop.  Spun-sugar light, yet containing so many parts that it begs repeated listens to extract the nectar.

Afro-caribbean influences take center stage, employed in ways similar to everyone from Serge Gainsbourg in his work with Sly and Robbie, on to Damon Albarn both with Blur, Gorillaz, & etc.:  the cuíca drum sound in “La Basse et Les Shakers”, the calliope dub rock of “La Bataille de Neige”, the samba rhythm of the title track.  Often, these rhythmic impulses are aligned with a nod and wink to 60s lounge vibe, particularly on the title track and dream lounge cut “Le Chateau Corail”, which carries a Dmitri from Paris vibe.  Adding to this cheekiness, many of the beats and synthesized sounds appear to be played on a Casio keyboard from the 80s.

Comme Ça is available for download from the Antinote Bancamp page.

Woman?  Man?  One of each?  Yeti?  Decide for yourself by checking Soundcloud and Twitter; or, visit the “official story” (tinfoil hat not included) on the Antinote website or Facebook page.

Highlights:  “Comme Ça”, “L’Esprit de L’Escalier”, “Le Chateau Corail”.