By Jon Milton
It’s certainly been a quiet week on the new releases front. Up until Friday I thought the only new release I would be writing about this week would the splendid Modern Nature mini-album’, which is no bad thing of course, but fortunately a few more good tunes managed to present themselves.
The seven tracks on Modern Nature’s ‘Annual’ are a requiem to the four seasons, beginning in the winter, passing through the Spring, joining before Autumn and winter reappears. Naturally the mood and tone of the record changes as the seasons unfurl, the beautiful Flourish ruefully considering how the world will unfurl in the coming months, Halo basking in the light of summer and Harvest ushering in the Autumn before the album concludes back in the season it started with Wynter.
Anyone familiar with Modern Nature’s debut ‘How to Live’ will appreciate how beautiful their music is, although the considerable folk influence on their debut and Krautrock touches are superseded by far jazzier tones on Annual. Jack Cooper’s hushed, considered vocals will naturally draw comparison with Nick Drake, but the laid-back guitar and brass recall Miles Davis from his ‘Kind of Blue’ era and Wes Montgomery. You can listen to the full album here, and we’ll be talking with Jack about his musical influences later this week in a new series of interviews called ‘Pin Ups’.
Staying with yer Jazz, John Dwyer of Oh Sees has teamed up with some friends and formed a band called Bent Arcana who released a single this week. ‘The Gate’ is ‘the first interstellar transmission from five days of electrified & improvised sessions recorded at Stu-Stu-Studio, edited down to 40 minutes’. Dwyer describes the project as ‘very much on the ECM / 70s hard fusion / prog-kraut tip’ and this track reminds me of Miles Davis around the time of ‘On the Corner’ and Big Fun’. Anyway, the full album is coming out in August, ‘The Gate’ is cool and it all sounds very intriguing, so I pre-ordered the album and you can do the same at www.johndwyer.bandcamp.com.
Also of note last week were singles from JW Paris, Lice and Lumer. JW Paris ‘That’s Why’ follows on from Royalty earlier this year, and is another catchy indie rock tune from the band. You can listen to it here. Bristol’s Lice have released two new tracks - Arbiter which like its predecessor Conveyor is an enjoyably noisy beast, and Folla which takes in a different direction, with layered voices combining wonderfully over an eerie organ and pounding drum backing. Last but certainly not least, Lumer released the first track from their new EP ‘ By Her Touch’. As you’d expect from the band it’s a top-quality tune, that starts at a measured pace and then explodes into a tribal post punk frenzy at its conclusion. ‘By Her Touch’ also displays a growing maturity from the band, and you can hear it here.