Pretty Lights announces new album, release date and host of pre-order options [News]

Pretty Lights

Derek Vincent Smith, otherwise known as Pretty Lights returns on the 2nd of July 2013 with A Color Map of the Sun, his first full length since 2009’s Passing By Behind Your Eyes. The first single Around the Block is already available as a free download from Pretty Lights’ website and is much in the trend of recent Pretty Lights tracks with glitchy electronic flourishes, deep bass and big beats; however it also returns to a slower more hip-hop focused sound with vocals from Talib Kweli. Continue reading

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Emancipator – Minor Cause [News/Listen]

Here’s a nice midweek surprise, Emancipator will be releasing his new album Dusk to Dawn on the 29th January. Yes it really is that close!

Emancipator Dusk to Dawn announcement

The record drops on Doug Appling’s new imprint Loci Records (which had it’s debut release last month with the rather superb TorDrum Therapy).  It’s been a while now since 2010’s Safe in the Steep Cliffs and after the extensive touring that followed the album it’ll be nice to hear some brand new tracks starting with the first single Minor Cause. The track is a free download over on the Loci Records bandcamp page and it’s a gorgeous slice of lush downtempo with beautiful instrumentation including the trademark strings, trip hop elements and electronics bubbling around in the background. It’s beautiful and if this is anything to go by January 29th will be an exciting release for Loci Records.

Check out Minor Cause below and head over to bandcamp to grab yourself a copy.

The Universal Wax Top 12 of ’12 – Part One

It’s that time of the year again when music blogs worldwide take a few paragraphs to discuss their favourite albums of the year and make a comprehensive list out of it; who are we to break the trend, so without further ado I present to you the Universal Wax Top 12 of ’12. In no particular order and over the course of three parts, each of us will be taking four of the albums released this year that we are particularly fond of and devoting a few sentences to why you should check it out. If you are already familiar with them let us know what you think, why not take the time to let us know your top 12 albums of 2012?  – Sam

Top 12 of 12 Covers-Part One

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Dirtwire – DIRTWIRE [Review]

While American blues and North African music, in particular the ‘Desert blues’ that has come out of Mali – probably best represented by the late legend Ali Farka Touré, are no stranger to each other it still sounds incredibly fresh to hear two continents influences collide with such graceful results. What Dirtwire, the duo David Satori (Beats Antique) and Evan Fraser (Hamsa Lila), have accomplished on their debut full length is not only beautifully composed but incredibly well executed with wide instrumentation and carefully considered orchestration. It’s not simply a mash up of music from across the world but a subtle and most importantly genuine sounding blend.

Western beats sit side by side with African live instrumentation, Banjo, harmonica, piano and even hints of dub basslines all come together but where Dirtwire excel here is not seeming to lean toward any one influence. What can begin as a very rough, Americana sound can soon be filled with North African vibes and flow effortlessly together. We’ve seen it before with other musicians but Dirtwire make it relevant to fans of western beat music and with an entirely instrumental take, if I didn’t know better I’d never have guessed their country of origin; which it turns out the pair met at the California Institute of the Arts where they studied World Music and Composition together. Skilled individuals no doubt but together they’ve really come up with something wonderful, lets hope to hear more from them in the future. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this album to someone who wanted an introduction to Desert Blues or North African blues generally.

DIRTWIRE is available to buy on bandcamp. It’s name your price so if you enjoy it, think about supporting the guys.

Bandcamp Find of the Week – Pickwick

So I suppose my Bandcamp Find of the Week series should technically be renamed Bandcamp Find of the Season. We’ll gloss over the lack of follow ups since that January article, here’s the latest one. I present to you Pickwick.

There’s scant information across the internet on these guys so this is what I do know; there’s six of them, they’re from Seattle, they have a penchant for vintage gear and they love vinyl (men after my own heart there). But what I can tell you from listening to their debut record Myths, interestingly split into three EP’s and released over a period of months, is that they are a great blend of Soul, R&B and Indie rock with shades of blues and the songwriting skills to boot. It’s raw stuff, don’t expect lavish production here. That’s not to say it’s badly produced however, far from it, there’s perfect clarity and it does nothing but accentuate the bands sound, giving each member’s instrument room to breathe and stand out – there are some infectiously catchy melodies here. Most importantly however, it sounds like the band are having fun and this bleeds into their sound freely at all opportunities. Across the record (or three EP’s depending on how you buy it) Pickwick display great skill in creating meaningful songs full of soul. It’s also worth mentioning the interesting presentation and method of releasing three EPs as a full length. The band clearly have a vision and it’s great to see them experimenting with the way they release their music. Each EP comes with it’s own artwork, all stylistically created to compliment each other, it’s a nice idea well executed.

Have a listen over on the Pickwick bandcamp. Note if you want to grab Myths as a complete piece rather than the three EPs via bandcamp, you can purchase it digitally for $8 (USD) or physically for $10 (USD) on their kungfustore here. Highlights include the superb Hacienda Motel (live version below, well worth the watch!) and The Round.

Tracklisting as follows:

Volume 1
1) Hacienda Motel
2) When Rosa Speaks

Volume 2
1) The Round
2) Staged Names

Volume 3
1) Limelight
2) Blackout