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Less Fives All of June's Five Heart record reviews in one place

Less Fives

All of June's Five Heart record reviews in one place

by OL House Writer,
first published: July, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

Less love in June!

FIVE HEARTS! The number of 5 Heart records June was 27

That main image is of Elijah Minnelli. The breadcore artist, despite our reduced heart rate, managed to garner 10 of them with two tracks from the new LP Perpetual Musket. It was a month where our reviewers were more parsimonious with the hearts. Fewer of them handed out in June. So here it is then, all of our reviewers Five Heart Favorites in one place. 


ALESSANDRO ALLESANDRONI - Greek Wedding 2024-06-28 (Four Flies)
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by Ancient Champion

Probably the biggest reason I have to get out of sleeping is to listen to the astonishing music of Alessandro Allesandroni. There's not a moment of disappointment in this Greek Wedding. Unlike you guys with your familiesa and friends I am an older person with no one and so I sit deep into the night watching Newsnight repeats with the sound down, listening to Alessandro Allesandroni and wondering how he did it. I did some media recently and was asked who influenced all I do and I didn't know the answer to that because I didn't want you all to know. And know you do. Tony Hatch and Alessandro Allesandroni.


ALEX FOSTER - A Vessel Astray (feat Momoka Tobari) 2024-06-07 (Hopeful Tragedy Records)
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by Toon Traveller

From the massive crossover hit LP Kimiyo, comes this exceptional single featuring Japanese popstar, Momoka Tobari. There's a signature layered, pensive opening, stark sounds of industrial nightmare. Higher in the atmosphere are distant voices, just out of sight, somewhere with their subliminally whispered tones. This is music full of unknown unknowns, in a swirling floating melodrama of ideas. A post impressionist soundscape that would show well in any modern gallery, minimalist in definition, shaded in nuance, it's a magical conception. It's elegiac of course, becoming a murky sepulchuric lament. When is the dark is comforting? When it is here. Mesmerising.


AS FOR THE FUTURE - As For the Future 2024-06-21 (Own label)
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by Sofia Ribeiro Willcox

Sofia Ribeiro Willcox unboxes the Musical Memoirs of As For the Future right over here→


BOBBY OROZA - Goddess 2024-06-14 (Big Crown Records)
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by Lee Paul

Bobby Oroza's new single is a drum and bass driven, but not drum 'n' bass driven, double-a sided 7" if the truth be told, "Queen Of The Barrio" b/w "Goddess". on Bandcamp now. The absolute king of Scandi-retro-soul. If that's in your bag. It's late night material for sure. I like it without even looking at the video. But it is fair to say when I do look at the video, less Goddess, more an excellent interpretative dancer who looks like they are being uncomfortably stalked by the camera dude. I wish I had a little supplety left like that. What do you see?


CLAN OF XYMOX - Exodus 2024-06-07 (Metropolis)
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by Alan Rider

Returning with their 18th studio album, three years after  ‘Limbo’, their account of the pandemic and its consequences, 'Exodus' is Clan of Xymox's "black bouquet of mournful requiems for a sick new world", and, as that description implies, is pretty dark stuff, but not without hope.  The soaring opener 'Save Our Souls' may be a reference the war in Ukraine, but could equally apply to other wars, both current and upcoming. The follower 'Fear of the War' is just that, a potent of what may be to come. I doubt Clan of Xymox mainstay Ronny Moorings sleeps well at night and 'mournful and pessimistic' is the lyrical tone set throughout 'Exodus'.  Goth music tends to that anyway, I know, but by the time the closing track, the surprisingly bouncy 'Once Upon A Time', with its Cure-like guitar line, fires up, I am feeling distinctly depressed.  Having said that, its actually quite an upbeat album, musically at least, the title track being a standout with its driving sequence and almost sing-along chorus. It certainly succeeds in skilfully creating a set of black requiems in no uncertain terms. Clan of Xymox have been around for four decades, have a distinctive sound that simply oozes Goth, and with every step get a little more negative about the world we live in.   In their defence, and on the evidence of our own eyes every day, who can blame them?


DAVID BYRNE AND DEVO - EMPIRE - Empire 2024-06-14 (Bandcamp)
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by David O'Byrne

David O'Byrne on the David Byrne and Devo track Empire from the Noise For Now 2 LP to benefit abortion rights in the USA... read the review of the LP here→

Pre order Noise For Now 2, from Bandcamp here→


DOMINIQUE FILS-AMIE - Moi je t'aime 2024-06-07 (Youtube)
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by Toon Traveller

Dull, dismal, I am wondering whether verbose misdirection at the beginning of a record review works for the reader? I am beginning with weather talk because for us Brits, soon that's all that will be left to be spoken of politely. Meanwhile Dominique Fils-Amie, not from across the channel, but from across the Atlantic, puts me in mind of coffee sips and croissants. Sophisticated urbane chatter, possibly about more than the weather, cafe sounds. Dominique's voice, feather light, delicate, warm and tender. A lovers waltz of whispered promises, wine glass chink, tongues touching. Moi je t'aime kisses the air, ears and listeners hearts. While Rishi, Starmer, and Farage babble about who was lying about lying - as engaging as lweathermen, Dominique is channeling past icons Piaf, infusing her art with her signature vocal layers and countermelodies. It is a hypnotically lush result. A French escape right now into this song, where I don't understand the words, but on repeat, repeat, repeat, weaves the most wonderful magic. 


EL MICHELS AFFAIR - Glorious Game (Instrumentals) 2024-06-28 (Big Crown Records)
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by Ancient Champion

Glorious Game was just one of the great ones when it was released back last year. Black Thought and El Michels... Big Crown Records... So many of my fave ingredients in one place. I can't recommend the Glorious Game - The Instrumentals highly enough. I owe Big Crown their share of the acclaim I get for my incongruously stretchy short fiction I write to their instrumental LPs. They are so magical I get lost and cut off from the outside world. Just ask The Detective Postman, or space alien Meteor Ford, they'll tell you how they wouldn't exist without the sound of this stuff. Thank you, Big Crown.


ELA MINUS - Combat 2024-06-07 (Domino Records)
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by Lee Paul

Colombian artist, producer and singer Ela Minus, switches on the synthesizer, quite possibly one they themselves had built, and after days if dillying around with patch cables, out comes the epic, seismic sound, eschewing what I'd previously known to be humanscale. It takes a voice to reel it all back to a place I can understand. “Los pájaros nacidos en jaula/no le tenemos miedo a nada,” Minus sings at the start, referencing a?popular proverb?about how birds born in a cage grow to consider flying a sickness. And like sickness, like poison, gently damaging and inexorably overwhelming one's internal organs, this begins to feel so good.   


ELIJAH MINNELLI - Wind & The Rain ft. Joe Yorke 2024-06-28 (FatCat)
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by Ancient Champion

We might have to have an internal discussion about our vernacular, I don't know if these are called singles. Wind & The Rain ft. Joe Yorke is another track from Elija Minnelli's Perpetual Musket. Elijah is the incomparable for me really. What not to love about a reggae inflected hit!


ELIJAH MINNELLI - Ploughshare Dub 2024-06-21 (FatCat)
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by Ancient Champion

From the new LP, Perpetual Musket, the totally exceptional Elijah Minnelli. Don't matter what I think I need to listen to, breadcore superstar Elijah Minnelli is really it, for me, right now. Oh wow. Peace out.


GRAPF X 38 SPESH - RIght Now (ft. Talib Kweli & Haile Supreme) 2024-06-28 (T.C.F. Music Group)
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by Lee Paul

Meandering mightily and swaggering all at once. This is a record for sure that belongs after dark, in seriously hot city night. It's imbued and belongs. It's not for the suburbs, county towns or villages. From the album 'God's Timing' out in July. Grapf x 38 Spesh are making it and inviting their friends along. Special.


IAN WILLIAMS - Chronopolis 2024-06-21 (Slaughterback Records)
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by Alan Rider

Drawn from the five heart rated album 'Slow Motion Apocalypse', 'Chronopolis' is one of the standout tracks, filmic and epic in scope, its frenetic sequenced undercurrents, overlaid by sonorous synth tones, expertly evokes the theme here of the surveillance every worker now toils under, thanks to facial recognition software, keystroke logging, AI analysis, and so on.  We poor worker ants are exploited for billions in profit by the already wealthy few, yet at the same time blamed for being greedy should we ask for a pay rate that simply keeps pace with spiralling prices, in some sick modern version of Oliver Twist. As if to prove that point, this month US firm Wells Fargo fired workers it accused of slacking whilst home working, secretly tracking their keystrokes and eye movements, taking screenshots, and logging which websites they visited. They concluded they were not working hard enough.  The trust that should form the heart of any home working contract simply wasn't there. This sinister 'Big Brother' approach, using technology to track and time your every working moment, is rapidly spreading throughout the machine we call 'Work'.  This is the 'Chronopolis'.  Its a scary thing and Ian knows it, using his music as a warning that sadly, few will heed.


ISOBEL CAMPBELL - Why Worry 2024-06-28 (Bella Union)
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by Ancient Champion

Oh this! It's like having the privilege of being in the sixth form and being just, around the one. Not with them. Not yet. But they know you're there too. It's subsumed in promise. What joy, sometimes a record as great as this, with it's Nico type love, just makes me wish I could do it all again and do it all differently. Maybe beginning with Helen, from Loughborough. Back then.


JASON ROBINSON AND MARCUS URANI - Ancestral Dubbers (Dub Remix) 2024-06-21 (Playscape Recordings)
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by David O'Byrne

As the saying goes, some marriages are made in heaven. Free Jazz and Dub Reggae might not be the first such match that springs to mind, but on evidence of this collaboration between jazz saxophonist, composer and band leader Jason Robinson, and reggae-jazz-dub keyboardist and producer Marcus Urani, that may be due for a change. A quintet drawn from Robinson's larger Janus Ensemble provides the jazz, with Urani, delivering the dub remix of the track, "Second House" taken from Robinson's album "Ancestral Numbers I" released last month. The album, and its sequel, cunningly entitled "Ancestral Numbers 2", and due out in October are, to quote Robinson, a meditation on his own genealogy following the passing of his maternal grandmother. Having graduated through the Sacramento Jazz scene and the jazz departments of no less than three Californian universities, and with a discography - as band leader, sideman and contributor, stretching back to the late 90s, Robinson is no newcomer to either experimentation or indeed dub Reggae. He and Urani have been friends and collaborators for over 30 years,  the pair have played together in an early line up of long running US roots reggae band Groundation. Heavy on the jazz and light on the dub, Ancestral Dubbers is to say the least, intoxicating. Employing standard dub techniques, Urani has added an extra ethereal, even ambient twist to a number that was already firmly at the chill end of the free jazz spectrum. If you like music that crosses borders and tends to the edgy and unpredictable, you'll love this. If you haven't yet freed your tastes from the gridlocked high road of traditional song structure, now's your chance to expand your horizons. It's a journey well worth taking. 


KIM GORDON - ECRP 2024-06-28 (Matador Records)
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by Alan Rider

It is rare these days to have a non album single release.  Even rarer is to get a single of the quality that Kim Gordon brings to everything she touches.  Her latest album 'The Collective' is a new high point, as are all the tracks released off that.  We have been keen, nay, desperate, to get her to talk to us, but without success so far.  She is on tour, so maybe when she is done with that we will ask again.  One day she will say yes.  That will be a great day.


MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO/MERZBOW - Extinct 2024-06-14 (Cold Spring)
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by Alan Rider

A collaboration between Industrial rhythm pioneers Meat Beat Manifesto (Jack Dangers) and Japanese noise innovator, Merzbow (Masami Akita), 'Extinct 'is a meeting of minds that has produced something that is really quite hypnotic once you immerse yourself in it.  There is so much that is predictable and safe in music.  Verse, chorus, middle 8, drops, loops, breakbeats.  It's near impossible to innovate with the weight of musical history, including all that is experimental and off-the wall, pressing down on you. This comes close though, with two tracks, each spanning a side of an LP (if you were playing the vinyl) creating a dense mantra of sound that eschews the tired structures we are all too used to, in favour of a swarm of sound that envelops you and the whole room when played at volume. Yes, my neighbours hate me!  A sonic ambuscade, this is not for everyone, but does it very nicely for me.


MERCURY REV - Patterns 2024-06-07 (Bella Union)
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by Toon Traveller

After a day of weed war in the garden, it's a delight to review something inventive. This is probably that song from this week's reviews. Opens with splashes of musical delight, it could be a soundtrack, it could be backing of a 2020s beat poet. There's no singing, just a monologue, delivered in a lilting voice. Intriguing, entrancing, enchanting, this is magic in sounds and words. It's complex memories referencing Jackson Pollock; there's the romance of the stars. Broken hearts, words as images — if Van Morrison recorded with ambient sounds, this what one of his 'talking' reminisces could sound like. It's either audacious and brilliant or unmitigated tosh. You decide for you.


REFUSE 73 - Vast Wildlife Poison 2024-06-07 (Lex Records)
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by Toon Traveller

Every now and again, all too rarely these days, the OL review system throws me a genuine delight. Vast Wildlife Poison is from the forthcoming 'New Strategies for Modern Crime Vol. 2' (out 6/28 on Lex Records) Glitchy beats, discordant sounds, broken patterns. It works. Refuse 73, full of verve, hopped up on ideas and virtuosity. A long flight Eastwards from Toon Traveller land's ears. Huge slabs of 80's industrial electro, echoes of long gone mass production. Rust Belt blues, post industrial hues. Heavy steps, in desolate places, poverty pinched faces. Silicon Valley's downside is reality. There's all too little hope, a litany of broken dreams, forlorn hopes, empty space, dive past places. An inconvenient truth, reflecting on the cost of progress in a Tict oked out,  Amazoned, flooded  A.I, replicated,  sterilised  sanitised  world. Salute the next tech billionaire, their victims have a requiem.  


SCOTT GUILD - Until They're Home 2024-06-07 (North Street Records)
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by Toon Traveller

Until They're Home is part of the companion LP to Scott's novel, 'Plastic'. He is gifted with a luscious voice, just the acceptable side of a self-pitying Nashville whine. It glows over the haunting dark keyboard lines, understated strummed guitar, sombre slow stepping bass. Stark bleak stripped bare hearts, souls and winter brittle voices, you know this is a dark, tortured heart. Americana, country, small town, small lives, it's a raw and visceral reveal. Thing is, it's a fantasy, a paean to loneliness, to a VR world, where there's only emptiness and a peak into the future's dark side. It could easily be so true. Think dark psyco country, with Snakefarm's songs of Opioid lives, truths told that Nashville, Austin, and LA's glitzy, music world, would prefer remain buried in the small town, 'Nowheresville' dust. 


STANDARD MUSIC LIBRARY - Broad Highway 2024-06-07 (Bucks Sound)
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by Ancient Champion

Perfectly evoking a time and a place. It's a painful love all the same.


SUSANNA - Elephant Song 2024-06-21 (SusannaSonata)
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by Toon Traveller

Whispering sax, minor key, low noted piano opening.  Perfectly clear voice, piano underpinned, fluttering, flitting sax, more than accompaniment, a cross cutting juxtaposition. It shouldn't work, but does. The piano keeps melody and rhythm on track, the sax accompaniment weaves a magical web, of sound to a  lost confused, confessional, soul. This is almost Jazz poetry, with the sax singing the pain of the vocals, wailing, crying, disconsolate, Therein lies Susanna's magic, words, piano and sax haven't captivated my so so painfully and beautifully this year. 


WALT DISCO - Jocelyn 2024-06-21 (Lucky Number)
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by Toon Traveller

Hints of fragile Bowie, phrasing, a splash of delicate 80's Crooner. There's a tasteful slide guitar, and softly, softly deft percussion,  all brushed and deadened skins. I suppose it's meant emphasise the soft understated vocals. Works in places. It could remiind more than a few, in a good way, of Scott Walker. There's the pathos, the drama, the tenderness, the pain, raw and exposed, but wrapped in saccharine syrup arrangements. Truly bittersweet.


WILL LAUT - Lost and Found 2024-06-07 (Wavetrap records)
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by Toon Traveller

Wow! Electro-pop with soul and invention, backwards sounds, almost baritone, disjointed, fractured vocals. If Scott Walker was born late 60s this is what he could be doing today. It's underpiined by stark hard as nails industrial patterns, betraying roots far deeper than the obvious Test Department, Throbbing Gristle, and Art of Noise. Sure a krautrock vibe stomps through the piece. This is more, it develops, it steps tentatively into love, hope, and celebration. From the self-titled EP available now, what makes the song is it's delightful marriage of hard sounds, proper singing, mystery, and mastery of the electro wasteland of despair 


WILLIE WATSON - Real Love 2024-06-21 (Youtube)
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by Toon Traveller

Lovely warbling voice and an understated crying slide guitar, a weeping violin, tearing strips outta you're heart. It's all cold coffee, in some run down, out of love and out of hope, unloved, small town mom and pop cafe. Willie Watson vocal vibrato really oozes pain, and draws sincere empathy.  The lyrics, decades out time, trains haven't steamed or whistled Stateside in decades, but that's it's charm, it's romance, it's intimacy, and warmth. 


YISHAI SWEARTZ & MONA MUR - Clouds of War 2024-06-21 (Soleilmoon Recordings)
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by Toon Traveller

Industrial beats, metal bashing sounds, threats. It's all doom heavy, captures a national, widespread mood, war, death waiting, skulking, hiding, ready to attack. The vocal, a polemic delivered in a mid-European voice. Desperate words, underpinned by what is best described as doomy Krautrock. This is music from a dark threatening place. Stark and raw in it's soul, it's intention, and atmosphere. This is the record that Ultravoxshould have recorded in Dresden  instead ofVienna. Take that Video, (chuck in wasted E German smoke stacks) and you've the bleakest if visions, it'd would never have charted, but I'd have loved it. Bleakly beautiful.


YOUNG JESUS - The Fool 2024-06-14 (Saddle Creek)
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by Ancient Champion

Ancient Champion gets all swoony about the permanent impermanence of everything, as they do, and listens to Young Jesus' The Fool too. Right here→


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Main image ELIJAH MINNELLI screengrab from - Wind & The Rain ft. Joe Yorke (FatCat)

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