Things without words #27: neon-lit, almost-noir post-jazz

“Mount Ninja” by Me&Mobi | I was supposed to post this last week, but somehow I forgot – busy schedules, as always. But I listened to half of Agglo, the new album from Swiss-German jazz trio Me&Mobi, and I remember it being more accessible that it was sold as. It might be difficult, I was told, but actually, it isn’t. Am I showing off supposed jazz chops? I can’t play any instrument, and whatever jazz I grew up with is strictly smooth, the stuff purists might scoff at. But this, I immediately got into. It made an impression, the organized cacophony, that I knew how to write the review – but then, I forgot to. But impressions have been made, and now I’ve listened to Agglo in its entirety, and while there are bursts of weirdness some might find off-putting, there is a beauty in the cacophony – the patterns you don’t spot so easily, the permutations you don’t get on the first try. Perhaps you’re bombarded until it makes sense; perhaps you’ll find something to latch on quickly. It’s a swarming, buzzing, neon-lit, almost-noir, past-midnight trip. It’s a bit of escapism. It’s fun. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)


“Even in the clearest skies, you’re nowhere to see.”

“Valentine” by Diā | “Great, there’s an accent under the letter A,” I first thought. “That’s a lot of copying and pasting.” Her actual name is Danielle Birrittella; the press release talks about an eclectic upbringing and a ukulele, but ultimately what’s important is the song, and “Valentine” captures that biography better. It sounds vintage of the scratchy vinyl kind. And then it sounds vintage of the polished Lana del Rey kind. And then it sounds modern and new. It’s that jumping that keeps you wanting more, and even as it settles down you’re still kind of hooked to it. Diā – I’ll happily copy and paste that name for more of that tasty baroque folk. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)

“You can’t stop her now.”

“Her” by Seawaves | Last week I was wondering if I should write something to mark International Women’s Day. I dithered about it, solely because I am not a woman, and therefore me writing about it will be perceived as lip service, and I will be called an idiot, and that sort of thing. Toxic environment and all that, on both sides (and I am sorry to echo Trump on this). If this song came on the inbox earlier, I would not have had to go through that trouble, but, well, better late than never. Seawaves’ “Her” has an obvious female empowerment streak – but vague enough that you can put whatever kind of empowerment you’re in the mood for. Regardless of what that is, you get it wrapped in a comfortably modern sound that’s both dreamy and throbbing, like you’re running through a mix of pastel and neon. That sounds like I’m bashing whatever looks cool these days together, but the Manchester duo – Si Van Brussel on vocals and Daniel Benjamin everywhere else, I think – make it all sound natural, and we should hear more of that later this year when they release their debut, The Soundtrack. I actually like that title, for some reason. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)

“The love inside your heart ain’t real.”

“Run” by Francois Klark | We’ve written about Francois a few months ago, and I remember – all right, I looked it up; I have the search function for that – using “slinky” a lot in my write-up of his last single “Spaceman”. Well, here’s another one from his, as that new album of his gets closer. “Run” is, well, also slinky. Is that me being lazy? Maybe? But both songs contain that effortless feel-good quality, that makes what I’ve heard from him so far an easy, undemanding, still rewarding listen. This Torontonian certainly does not have to preen too hard to get the effect he wants. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)

“If that’s what you want, I’ll give you what you want.”

“Porcelain” by Avalanche Party | I may have abandoned the inbox a bit these past couple of weeks, so now, we have a backlog. Hooray! This one dropped last Friday, and as I find myself recently in the mood for some good old loud rowdy rock, well, this works. Avalanche Party is a band from Yorkshire, and their sound is pretty… alluring? Do I use that adjective? The reverb (not too much – can still understand the words) on new single “Porcelain” means there are no obvious hooks, but still, it draws you in with a hard-to-explain crunch that, well, works. They’ll be touring the UK this year, including supporting the Feeling (now that’s… surprising) This Feeling, a band I clearly mistook for that pop band, and it’s safe to say there’s more stuff on the way soon. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)