Swindle Calls Upon Stars of UK Jazz and Rap
Multi-instrumentalist and producer Swindle released his new album No More Normal with Brownswood Recordings last week. With its high production values and collaborative spirit immediately apparent, we were glad to see a follow up documentary premiered by Bull Music & Culture this week.
The short film explores Swindle’s upbringing and the goals he set himself for this new release, working between several London studios and Real World Studios (established by Peter Gabriel and situated North East of Bath), to achieve such high musical standards.
Amongst the album’s feature artists and contributors are vocalists Etta Bond and Kojey Radical, saxophonist Nubya Garcia and guitarist Andrew Ashong. Bond speaks about Swindle’s musical fulfilment in the documentary while other collaborators comment on his drive, enthusiasm and unique sound.
Stream the full record here and watch the full documentary below. Swindle collaborators Nubya Garcia and Etta Bond head to Band on the Wall on 3rd March and April respectively.
The Repeat Listen: Girlpool – What Chaos is Imaginary
Tasting Notes: Snail Mail – Lush, Beach House – 7, Galaxie 500 – Today, Jesus and Mary Chain – Darklands, Kurt Vile & Courtney Barnett – Lotta Sea Lice
With each of their three characterful studio albums, Girlpool have made emotional and sonic progressions. Their debut full length, Before the World Was Big, was a pure and simplistic work, its lyrics and arrangements reflecting Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad’s late adolescent outlook and developing command of their electric bass and guitar. When its success drew them out of their native Los Angeles, placed them on the road and gave them their first experience of prolonged periods away from home, the developments it stirred informed the sound of their subsequent LP, Powerplant. Their palette broadened, their writing and arrangement became more daring, and unfamiliarity played upon its lyrical themes.
In keeping with this trend, What Chaos is Imaginary is a third significant sonic stride, but this time, it’s the tones and timbres of the album that mark the greatest change.
Cleo Tucker — who between Powerplant and What Chaos is Imaginary, came out as trans and underwent testosterone therapy — now sings in the tenor register, with a clear, worn-in timbre that blends gorgeously with the jangly and rich indie-rock arrangement of Hire, or the grungy guitar wall of opening cut Lucy’s.
The distance between Tucker and Tividad’s voices is now apparent in arrangement as well as pitch. More so than ever before, they have written and arranged songs independently, resulting in fewer instances of harmony or unison singing. However, those instances now feel altogether more special, as exemplified in the final verse of Minute In Your Mind, where their harmonies reveal a pleasing and unique vocal blend.
The song also represents the expansion of tone present throughout the record: guitars featuring only as distant prickly feedback, as swirling pads and springy eighties tom fills guide the somber yet gripping cut to an all-too-early conclusion.
A palpable musical rapport has always been a hallmark of Girlpool’s music, and while their independent growth might pose a threat to that, a wonderful intimacy remains. Some of the album’s material predates Powerplant too, meaning that while their development in sound isn’t too sharp or swift, they have definitely taken more risks with arrangement: as is an artists tendency with a piece of music they have played and known for a long time.
Their gently maturing sound retains the charm, honesty and edginess that it has had since the beginning, but their broadening sonic palette — drawing from 80s shoegaze and post-punk to contemporary indie-rock, folk and pop — is another endearing extension of their personal growth.
Manchester-based electronic music maker Walton announced his new EP on Pinch’s Tectonic recordings label this week, sharing the pulverising title track Inside. As Hyponik perfectly put it in their premiere piece, the record sees Walton ‘continue to flourish on a raw grime template, this time building on source material of pirate radio background talk from MC’s and snippets of bars from OG’s like Wiley’.
Ruby Rushton, the contemporary jazz outfit fronted by producer and multi-instrumentalist Tenderlonious, released new single Eleven Grapes this week. Beginning with afrobeat-esque keyboard cycle, the track hears Tenderlonious’ flute playing and Nick Walters’ well-wrought trumpet lines take centre stage, with each man’s musicianship.
One year on from their exceptional LP Welcome To This World, South African outfit Mabuta have shared a collection of gripping, genre-hopping, afro-fusion based remixes by artists including Brainfeeder mainstay Daedelus and Johannesburg producer Kid Fonque in collaboration with D Malice aka rkls. Slugabed’s vibrant, wonky remix of Log Out Shut Down is streaming now.
Having recently thanked an all-star cast including Jamie Woon, Kwabs, Jordan Rakei and Jamie Lidell for making up the choir audible on Birdsong, Rosie Lowe this week shared the full accompanying visual for the track. With executive production from Katie Lambert and Martha McGuirk, the cinematic visual presents a contemporary take rural, Victorian-era existence with a troupe of minors taking the rolls of Lowe’s choir.
DRS’ new video for Serial Escapist, lifted from his brand new album released today, sees the Manchester MC getting tatted and falling back on perilous behaviour, documenting dealing with the loss of two close friends. As he told Complex earlier this week, the video explores, “the snowball effect of problems and vices that came with me running away from dealing with this series of unfortunate events”. It’s a hard-hitting visual, expertly crafted by Tarnish Vision.