The Swedish songstress, Anna Öberg, returns with a pop number for the delayed summer. “Njut en minut” [EN: “Enjoy a Minute”] bounces with energy and verve just as the Sun starts to reappear.
Track of the Day
Machinista are back with a new track. “Stranger” finds the Swedish trio in fine form; making use of Italo-influenced electronics, fiery guitars, and a growling vocal line. It is the kind of material that Machinista excel in producing, and their hiatus can be forgiven.
Machinista play the WGT festival on Monday, 29 May 2023, on the Moritzbastei stage.
Malcolm X was born in Nebraska on 19 May 1925. He was murdered in 1965. In 1983, Keith LeBlanc (Sugarhill Gang, Tackhead, Fats Comet) and Reggie Griffin recorded this song with Marshall Chess producing. In the studio, they cut up parts of X’s speeches with hip hop beats programmed on drum machines from Emu and Oberheim, while layering synth parts played on a Voyetra and a Mini Moog.
The result was a funky, rhythm-driven tribute to the great revolutionary figure. Using the avant-garde cut-up techniques of industrial artists like Cabaret Voltaire, but assuming the stylings of street-savvy hip hop, they restored X’s voice and changed the way that political music was being made.
What followed included a lawsuit, with Tommy Boy and Sugarhill Records arguing over the rights to the track. They settled it by having a dual release. That’s all in the past now; and, on X’s 98th birthday, LeBlanc has reissued “No Sell Out” as part of a compilation, together with the Stop the Confusion album released in 1993 by his own label. LeBlanc was working then with DJ and producer, Tim Simenon, who would tap the legendary drummer on the shoulder to help make Depeche Mode’s Ultra album just a few years later.
It still stands the test of time, and will get you moving…by any means necessary.
Dave Baker’s Lonelyklown project takes its name from a line in The Carpenters’ song, “Rainy Days and Mondays.” Fitting, then, that the latest release is a version of “Like Karen Carpenter.”
As one-half of I Start Counting, Fortran 5 and Komputer, Baker has shared responsibility for some of the best songs to emerge from the Mute label. With Lonelyklown, he takes a solo journey through the 1970s, exploring soft rock with the benefit of hindsight and a set of modern synthesizers. It’s futuristic nostalgia, but don’t colour it beige: as this track shows, Lonelyklown’s take is as colourful as a Bob Ross landscape.
From Spain, but living in Brexit Britain, comes Fox Gunn. We caught her performing with Sweden’s Agnes Hustler in London recently, and she impressed with her self-assured vocals and melodies. This song is about a break-up she went through, but it is not a sad thing; it is about the level of insight she has into her former partner’s experience. It is a great introduction to the former Lulalong singer, who will be going places with bangers like this.
Filmed within walking distance of Cold War Night Life Towers, in Highgate Cemetary, this video from Melaina Chole features a soundtrack based on waves of endless feedback. It marks a change for the Aux Animaux songstress, Godze Duzer; leaning into territory otherwise occupied by acts like Sun O))) and Anna von Hauswolff – both inspirations for the debut EP from the project.
The witch pin of the title is the thorn of the Blackthorn tree, which was believed to have been used by the Devil to take pricks of blood from His followers. There is an air of pain, longing, and despair in the track’s dark ambience. The delerium of angst finds a way through the Nordic melancholy. The Groke is among us.
What goes through the minds of dictators, oppressors, and authoritarians? We will never know, but we can wonder. Lithuania’s Alanas Chosnau and Manchester’s Cultural Ambassador to Germany, Mark Reeder, raise the question that is impossible to answer but vital to ask.
Claes Bang will be immediately familiar to television viewers from his role in the series, Bad Sisters. In that context, he played an abusive douche who managed to insult everyone around him. The Danish actor also starred in The Square, Ruben Östlund’s Oscar-nominated film about a thoughtless curator. The problem-ridden characters played by Bang might not generate much sympathy, but his musical side-line is more endearing.
This Is Not America is Bang’s studio project. He has recorded a number of tracks together with Marina Schiptjenko (Page, BWO, Vacuum), with whom he worked on The Square. A real-life gallerist at Stockholm’s prestigious Andrehn-Schiptjenko, she also has some musical side-projects, including the Riviera-tronica duo, Julian & Marina. The two clicked, and Schiptjenko joined Bang to record several tracks in a Danish studio.
The latest EP from This Is Not America includes one solo track from Bang and two together with Schiptjenko. This one is not a million miles from the Pet Shop Boys; particularly in the chorus.
The latest album from Kanga, You and I Will Never Die, comes out on 26 March 2023. Until then, we have this to dance to: a charged, sleek-but-dirty electronic instrumental and vocals that remind one of Curve at their best.
Mistaken as an instruction manual by governments from America to Zimbabwe, George Orwell’s 1984 has a lot to say about the import of words. Music gets less of a look-in, but Orwell’s reflections on the power of propaganda raise important questions about control. The tools of the trade keep getting refined – facial recognition, Big Data surveillance, targeted political disinformation – without regard to ideology. Although written as a caricature of the Soviet Union, in order to discredit the socialists in Britain, 1984 has come to life in countries governed by social-democrats and conservatives alike.
Vaughty’s latest EP, named for the book, follows its story closely with a warning for our times. The title track is a nicely-constructed slice of pop, which brings to mind the Frankie remixes with their apocalyptic voice-overs. It’s a reminder that Big Brother isn’t just a game show in a house with a pool.