Upon its release, the critical acclaim for Days are Gone were matched by its sales, reaching #1 in the UK charts. The Quietus commented that “Days Are Gone… is properly great, sounding effortless and breezy in a way that only something worked over like a jewel can”, a sentiment echoed by The Guardian (4/5), who noted “For now, Days Are Gone makes them seem an increasingly rare thing: a guitar band heralded as a sure thing, who still feel like a sure thing once you’ve heard their debut album”, with reviewers from The L.A. Times (8.8/10), Pitchfork (8.0/10), The Observer (8/10), NME (8/10), Mojo (4/5) and many more falling for the record.
Since starting out just before the turn of the millennium, Simon Green – better known as Bonobo – has been renowned as one of the UK’s most brilliantly eclectic and talented producers. His ability to create intricate, complex rhythms from seemingly disparate samples has become one of his many trademarks – one of the many reasons for his fruitful and long standing relationship with seminal label Ninja Tune
Following on from his massively acclaimed 2010 LP Black Sands, it was with the fifth album of his career – The North Borders – that Bonobo finally found the wider audience he has long deserved. Clash Music called it “a triumph–each listen is a revelation; seemingly it’s a breadth of work that marks a new, exciting era of electronic music”, awarding it 9/10 – Mixmag (“an accomplished record”, 8/10), Resident Advisor (“charming, fascinating and a touch mysterious”, 8/10), and CMJ (“real depth and distinction”, 8/10) were among the many others to fall for it. Though working alone on the creation of the album, Bonobo’s live show sees him play with a full ensemble. Encompassing 12 people – including strings and brass – it promises to be a performance that adds an extra dimension to an already wonderfully complex sound.
End of year lists are as much a fixture of the festive season as advent calendars and jolly jumpers. A chance to take stock of the previous twelve months – as well as an opportunity to catch up on records you may have missed out on – Mojo have named Bill Callahan’s majestic Dream River as their album of the year. Of the LP, the magazine said:
Dream River was a complete album in the old style, with a first half, a second half and everything. A droll country-soul delivery, Callahan drew on the positive forces of his Austin, Texas home and – it later transpired – a new romance with filmmaker Hanly Banks, taking his crack musicians on an abstracted supernatural narrative journey Buy the full magazine here
Mojo also picked out Small Planes as their standout track (listen to a specially record NPR Field Recordings session version of the track below). Bill Callahan plays The Ritz on February 3 February. Tickets are £17.50 and are available through SeeTickets
Still only 32 years old, Adam Green has stuffed so much into his years that it already feels as if he’s lived several lives over. At 17, he helped forge the nascent Antifolk scene as part of The Moldy Peaches with fellow pioneer Kimya Dawson. Releasing a handful of lo-fi CDR recordings, the band signed to Rough Trade for their one eponymous studio album – later brought to the attention of the mainstream through the use of their track “Anyone Else But You” on the soundtrack to 2008 movie Juno. By then, Green had long since moved on, crafting a sterling solo career that has thus far spawned 8 albums over the course of just over a decade – all while being an active filmmaker (he shot a movie on an iPhone starring Devendra Banhart, Alia Shawkat, Jeffrey Lewis and Macauley Culkin among others, and plans to retell Aladdin using papier-mache) and a renowned artist.
A creative juggernaut, his Green’s fanbase has been eclectic as his body of work – The Libertines, Hayley Williams and Carla Bruni have recorded covers of his songs. Despite this reluctance to slow down, Green’s work has consistently remained groundbreaking. 2013′s 60′s-love song inspired collaboration with Little Joy’s Bikini Shapiro (simply titled Adam Green & Bikini Shapiro) was labelled by All Music Guide (8/10) as “one of the best duet records of the era”. His last truly ‘solo’ album, Minor Love, as impressive as ever, with Drowned in Sound (8/10), Q (4/5), Clash (8/10) and NME (7/10) being among the many to have fallen for its charms.
Previously snuck out as a free download late last year, PINS have finally given festive favourite Kiss Me Quickly (It’s Christmas) a physical release. Part of the HYMNS compilation on their own HAUS OF PINS label, it fits snugly into the tradition of great songs that just happen to be about Christmas started all those years ago by Phil Spector. Listen to the track below:
PINS play a special homecoming headline show at Deaf Institute on Friday 13 December. Tickets are £8, and are available through Skiddle.
The HYMNS cassette also features Brown Brogues, Shinies and September Girls amongst others. Priced at £5, it is available through the Haus of Pins website, with all profits going to charity.