Mar 9, 2012

It's the awkward ones you've got to look out for. Matthew Walker is a kid from Bristol whose consistent delivery of edgy bass-meets-house tracks and mixes has rightly made him a darling of the British underground.

His story is nothing special - influenced by his older brother's Daft Punk records in his teens, he started messing about with his sibling's decks and soon enough started making his own music. What's intriguing is the stuff going on in his head that has helped him create a subtle signature style all of his own.

So many artists seem to deny themselves the pleasure of mixing underground sounds with a hint of crowd-pleasing commerciality - all in the the pursuit of being respected by their peers. This vinyl release from late 2011 encapsulates the delicate balance that Walker has nailed, sampling a vocal abstract from Scouse disco exponents The Real Thing's 'You To Me Are Everything'.

Hats off to the excellent Hype Machine podcast for spreading the good word about this beaut.

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Mar 8, 2012

Never mind all that guff about guitar music being so limited in scope it has to revisit its past every few years. 'Crystal Caverns 1991' goes back to the first British wave of techno. It's a familiar place to people of a certain age who struggle to deal with the fact that Ryan Giggs is now a veteran footballer.

I was no raver, but two of the most exciting musical memories of that era are techno-related. One is going to a Thursday night techno club at The Fridge in Brixton around 1988. I'm guessing that Energy Flash author Simon Reynolds was one of the 30 or so punters who got to hear this mad new music in a club for the first time. Perhaps he even remembers the name of the night.

My abiding memory is watching K-Klass play their first EP, 'Wildlife' live. Four blokes from Wrexham hunched over keyboards and mixers, playing a cover of the John Barry theme tune for BBC nature programme Wildtrack. They sounded great, but I didn't imagine for a minute that it would ever catch on.

Hearing the subterranean rumble of 'Cubik' by 808 State was the highlight of a crushing day at Spike Island in 1989, when The Stone Roses confronted us with the harsh truth that they were just another rock band. The track played as I walked from the bus to the site. It sounded phenomenal, like nothing else around.

Of course, you don't need all this misty-eyed reminiscing to recognise Matt Cutler has got something special going on. But just you try and stop me.

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Mar 7, 2012

There's nothing like a proper blogging frenzy to get the blood flowing. If you ever thought the likes of Burial and Four Tet were nothing more than darlings of the underground, have a look at the numbers on the Soundcloud page hosting this collaboration. Nearly 300,000 listeners in four days is not bad going by anyone's standards...

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Mar 6, 2012

Grimes & Misdemeanors

Not only is this a good track with a really entertaining video, this Canadian waif with a look of danger in her eyes is a veritable quote machine. It's the sort of combination that's tailor made for the music press, so it's no wonder she's the artist to look out for this year, according to NME.

If you're intrigued to find out more, check out Hermione Hoby's interview with Grimes in The Observer: "In my dream world, I would just write music for Rihanna and sit in pyjamas and have really dirty hair."

Wouldn't we all...

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Mar 5, 2012

The Shins: Simple Song

Good band. Fantastic video. That's all you need to know. Except that their fourth album Port Of Morrow album is being previewed on The Shins website.

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