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PROLE JAZZ

Songs of January 2020

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The relentlessly prolific musicians of Sheffield have been working overtime this January, seemingly determined to top the creative magic of 2019 with wild and inventive sounds to kick off the new decade.

This month the releases span bucolic folk to noise-pop to surf jive. It's a festival of the eclecticism that makes this town such a vibrant musical citadel. Enjoy!

Mzylkypop - I Was a Teenage Brexit Thwarter

Taiko-ed tom thumps and distorted bass roll into your earholes like a post-punk salute before the vocals appear as if emanating from a subterranean club. This is another triumph for the Mzylkpop gang, revealing a patchwork of influences. It's a dance through all kinds of genre-bending loveliness, but what'll bring you back isn't the clever way this is tapestried together or even the fantastic 60s garage-rock flavoured chorus, but the beautifully menacing bassline and the timeliness of this dark political tune in these dark political times. [CJA]

Frank Birtwhistle - Decades

This is the sound of the mountains of northern Spain, a fingerpicked sojourn beneath wide open skies and across boulder-strewn landscapes. Frank Birtwhistle is one of the most gifted classical guitarists in Sheffield and if 'Decades' is anything to go by he has an ear for melody and he's dynamic too. It's a tour-de-force of technique and emotion, a bird-flight of movement and feeling, a meditative musical ecosystem to be explored and marveled at. [OPF]

Copiusbeats Ft. Souldeep & Bert Rogers - Love Shy

The ever-prolific Copius does not disappoint this month, kicking off 2020 with new EP The Machine Vol. 5. 'Love Shy' is a soulful drum 'n' bass gem and the strongest track on the collection. It's a powerful vocal track with staccato snare, wub-wub synth and an earworm chorus, and features NoFi labelmates Souldeep and Bert Rogers. Check it out! [HE]

Precious Metals - Katrina

This is music from some crazy chase scene in a B-movie - Godzilla rampaging through 1950s Tokyo, giant ants in a black-and-white desert, alien saucers landing on Tabletop Mountain. 'Katrina' is a swirl of relentless energy, a merry-go-round of dum-cha-cha garage drums, fuzz guitar, earworm vocals and incredible organ sounds. Plucked from the quite wonderful Herpetology EP, this track has been on repeat all month at PROLE JAZZ HQ. Top tune! [CJA]

Oxymoron & Jackson Swaby - Tinder

Swaby, electronic king, provides an ambient, rolling backdrop to Oxymoron's description of Tinder swiping. This is an interesting collaboration. Whether you've ever tried the whole internet dating thing or not, you'll know there are infinite stories to mine from that material. There's a rich psychological tapestry of hopes and fears embedded in those endless profiles, but lyrically, this is a little too blunt. Swipe left! [CB]

R. Loomes - The Barren Mind (Demo)

R. Loomes weaves a fragile web of haunted voice and guitar in this forlorn folk lament. It's an atmospheric and heavy weave of pensively finger-picked chords and resonant vocals, a plea for warmth and sunshine amid the midwinter gloom, a yearning to feel the heat-burn of open flames on bare skin, to feel the electricity of living. 'The Barren Mind' is beautifully dour. If doom-folk is your cup of tea this will hit up your sweet spot a treat. [OPF]

Potpourri - Eisenhower

Potpourri play florally-scented indie with Belle and Sebastian-esque qualities. Their debut single 'Eisenhower' is high caliber twee-pop with handclaps, cowbells aplenty and a sax solo to boot. It feels like they've only been on the scene for a couple of months and already they've been feted by 6Music. We predict this petalled mob will be making big musical waves this coming year. [HE]

Duck - C/Rage

Duck's new single 'C/Rage' is a behemoth of cathartic and industrial fuzz-rock. It's a Ginsbergian noise-howl, a pummel of drum, a grunge-bath of power chord noise, a wooze-synth banger, and possibly our favourite Duck song yet here at the PROLE JAZZ HQ. Cut from their forthcoming album, There Are No Normal Conversations Anymore, it's a fantastically powerful tune, a frothing song-beast. World domination looks inevitable. Go Duck! [CJA]

UK Rogue State - Anticipation

A track from the album Work Related Ninjary (a surprisingly accessible 67 minutes of speed garage), 'Anticipation' stands out with its interesting and intelligent complexities. This track is much more housey than the rest of the album, and Rachel E's growling echoed vocals aren't shiny, they're raw and they bring depth to the repetitive beats and bassline. This is workout music. Smash your PB with Rachel E. [CB]

Jackson Swaby & Andrew Bisset - You Know What To Do

More collaborations from Swaby. 'You Know What To Do' is finger-clicking good. Minimal vocals subsampled to frame a hypnotic beat while Bisset builds a fine showcase for Swaby's talent on the guitar. Two bonus tracks similarly frame the guitar work, intricately woven through a tropical birdhouse of electronica and whispered intent. [CB]

Next article in issue 143

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