Archives for category: Song Reviews

Some of the Wonky family saw this band last Friday at Thekla. I love their songs but it was really refreshing to see two females kick it harder and better than I’ve witnessed any boys do in a long time!

Great guitar music with a fresh riot girrl attitude.

For anyone who paid close attention to either Gossip‘s ‘Music For Men’ or Beth Ditto’s collaboration with Simian Mobile Disco, ‘Cruel Intentions’, you’ll already be aware of how brilliantly the big lunged frontwoman’s vocals sit alongside an electronic instrumental.  So for her new EP, Ditto handed over production duties entirely to the aforementioned SMD and the results are nothing short of remarkable.

‘Do You Need Someone’ is 6 minutes of heavily synthesised disco with a sighing and desperate but also beautiful vocal from Beth.  ‘Goodnight, Good Morning’ is a similar beast about drunken evenings that go on longer than intended, but is slightly cheerier and bigger on melody. ‘I Wrote The Book’ is probably the best thing on the EP, which sounds like a long lost Inner City track paying plenty of homage to their seminal ‘Good Life’.  ‘Open Heart Surgery’ closes the EP which once again is fairly bright, housey and filled with a big arpeggiated top line makes us very happy indeed.  Brilliant stuff – here’s hoping for a whole album’s worth of it…

Beth Ditto – Do You Need Someone

Beth Ditto – I Wrote The Book

Here’s some brand spanking new and hotly tipped dark lezzy electronica for you.  Within the is-it-real-or-is-it-a-joke genre of ‘witch house’, Creep hail from (where else?) Brooklyn.  A talented duo of trendestting DJs Lauren Flax and Lauren Dillard, the former is responsible for the mixing of Casey Spooner’s records during Fischerspooner DJ slots.  Their debut single ‘Days’ features Romy Madley Croft of The xx on vocals and sounds to us like the logical progression of their Mercury winning sound taken to more heavily electronic territory.  It’s suitably spooky, with dark synths and insistent, industrial sounding percussion that also seems to borrow a little from UK funky.  Topped off with Romy’s vocals however, there’s a definite pop edge to their sound.

The release comes backed with a future garage re-work courtesy of Deadboy alongside a groovy, stripped-down house effort by industrious Toronto collective Azari & III.  Both give the original a good run for its money and also worth a listen is the group’s recent Fact Magazine Mix which shows that whilst their sound might be brooding, they’ve always got at least two of their four ears on the dancefloor.

Creep – Days

Creep – Days (Azari & III remix)

M.I.A – Born Free

Yes, the song you are currently listening to really is the work of M.I.A. As an artist renowned for her mashing of genres and eclectic back catalogue, this track still stands out as one hell of a wildcard. Born Free is straight up punk – musically and in its message – and whilst suiting M.I.A’s ethos as an artist, may not suit many of her fans.

With a sample taken from Suicide’s Ghost Riders, the song chugs along through four minutes of scuzzed-out distorted riffs and unrelenting drums, all tied together with M.I.A’s extended battle cry against repressive governments. It’s a difficult listen, make no mistake, but the track’s raw power should be commended. In a live context too I imagine it’ll sound pretty spectacular.

The intense video for the song is directed by Romain Gavras, also responsible for that of Justice’s Stress (horrid ASBO teens run around terrorising or destroying everyone and everything in sight). Similarly, it plays on social fears, this time of oppression based on race or ethnicity. I won’t give too much away, but let’s just say in this reality, Mick Hucknall would be in trouble. A heads up too, definitely NSFW.


Scissor Sisters – Invisible Light

The Scissor Sisters are back then! I’ve never been the biggest fan but they they seem to have come back all grown up and I like it. This sneak preview track from their new album Night Work released June 28th gets better and better with every listen. It sounds as if the vocals are by Tiga and the Pet Shop Boys’ love child and the arse shaking disco groove that runs through it could be the work of the brilliant Cut Copy or a Hercules & Love Affair touch. But it’s not, it’s the Scissor Sisters and it’s really really good. Expect Wonky plays. A lot.


Kelis – Acapella

Kelis has always been known for her pop trickery, where Milkshake married together r&b and electric vibes for sickly sweet bliss. Acapella is without doubt though, or at least in my own music scoresheet opinion, her finest and most daring song to date. The titanic heartbeat that starts and veins throughout is an injection you cant resist, illustrating the collaboration with Ibiza heavyweight David Guetta. Thankfully Kelis’s avant garde pop  keeps a commercial label at bay though. Her voice is as creamy as ever, sounding like a soulful M.I.A . I cant quite conclude whether the song is a guilty pleasure or not, but it brings out a dancing addiction in me, and that most definately is a good thing.

Yeasayer – O.N.E

MGMT and Vampire Weekend’s second albums didn’t quite fulfil my expectations. But being a must slut of sorts, I quickly moved on and fell in love with a band that offers a refreshing psychadelic sound. Yeasayer sound like a Carribean drug trip; or electro music with reggae undertones to put it in less surreal terms. Even the slow stripped down moments in ‘One’ carry a beat that is hard to resist; like an intoxicating juxtaposition of ambience and loud beats. Expect this song early on in the Wonky night to introduce some reggae flavour.


Helsinki’s Flow Festival 2009

We couldn’t help but feel slightly embarrassed as we witnessed Lily Allen’s breakdown on stage in Helsinki at new festival, Flow. Playing to a 100,000 strong crowd- she broke down in tears mid-set complaining about a ‘bad back’ (FYI she’d just got back off holiday with Kate Moss so bad back is code for bad comedown) and although we felt a little sorry for her, compared to the good behaviour of the other bands and the inspiring composure of Helsinki’s cool kids, all she did was fly the flag for boozy Britain which isn’t always an appropriate look.

Lil-er’s aside- we caught some amazing sets from the likes of Vampire Weekend, White Lies, Fever Ray, Grace Jones, Kraftwerk and Ladyhawke. We also checked out some good Scandinavian acts that should all be on your musical radar. Jenny Wilson (who has previously laid down vocals for The Knife) is a 30-something singer-song writer with a quirky, soulful sound and Les Corps De Mince Francoise are an all girl trio with a feisty, electro sound that’s headed straight for the UK gig circuit.

So if you’ve already done Sonar and Bennicassim and are in need of a new European festival to check out then consider Flow. It’s clean, cool, and friendly and if you behave as well as the Finn’s you might come back feeling like you’ve actually had a holiday!


Simian Mobile Disco ft. Beth Ditto – Cruel Intentions

Whilst The Gossip’s new album might not have been quite the cultural explosion expected, it contains some undeniably killer tracks. Four Letter Word is my favourite, chugging along to some industrial-sounding electronic beats and bass. Understated but amazing, Beth Ditto’s vocals are complemented perfectly. Simian Mobile Disco’s latest offering to enter the blogosphere is a similar beast, once again featuring Beth on vocals. More of an italo disco track and with a gentler kick, it’s still something of a juggernaught. Check Joker’s superb dubstep rework as well, if you can find it lurking down the back of metaphorical internet sofa.


Vitalic – Terminator Benelux

Vitalic is a man who knows how to look after his fans. It’s been four years since his last album and as the release of his next offering ‘Flashmob’ is still over a month away, he’s treating us to a mini-album first. Okay, so it’s only a two track EP for the album’s first release ‘Your disco song’ but as die hard fans we are beyond excited as we’re sure you’ll be too. Maybe it’s his French way of making smooth sounding techno that we can’t resist or maybe it’s the fact that he’s knocked up a few winning remixes of some our favourite songs but either way ‘Your disco song’ and ‘Terminateur Benelux’ (the original tracks the EP offers) make us want it to be the weekend. For all you artsy types reading this, head to his myspace page to check out the artwork for the new album too. It’s beautiful, cosmic and graphic all at the same time and that’s just how we like things – a little bit dreamy with neon-coloured fumes of smoke jetting out of it. Just like Wonky, then, yeah?


Florence & The Machine – Rabbit Heart (Jamie T remix)

Whilst Rabbit Heart may be nowhere near the strongest song on her album, it’s remixers have turned out some stunners. Jamie T’s effort goes full on nineties with some tough breakbeats, uplifting piano stabs and should be a dancefloor bomb in any settting. Leo Zero takes the track into Balearic disco realms with some stripped down and dubbed out percussion and also puts lots of emphasis on the piano parts. Switch’s is a slightly bizarre fast-paced-electro-dancehall-Baltimore type thing, and whilst odd, is also pretty special.


Fever Ray at the o2 Academy

Fever Ray-Photos Bex Wade 8

Whilst it wasn’t exactly music to bounce around the dance floor to, there’s no denying just how inspiring the Fever Ray live show really was. For those not in the know, Fever Ray is Karin Dreijer, lead singer and one half of Swedish brother /sister duo The Knife. If you’ve spent many a night down at Wonky you’ll be familiar with The Knife (naturally) and although the sounds of Fever Ray are a little darker at times, they are just as beautiful, although we are bias as we adore anything produced by the Dreijers.

Anyway, meanwhile back at the 02 Academy it was lasers, sinister costumes and smoke machines that made for a gig that made us feel as if we were front row at an abstract performance piece and that’s exactly what Fever Ray has to offer. Like early Bjork if you will, this is music that comes complete with its own, warped little world and we couldn’t stop thinking how lucky we were that Bristol had been blessed with such a radical presence. After all, we don’t get to the theatre much so it made a rather delightful change from sweaty, drunken gigs that we seem to frequent.

It wasn’t the busiest gig the academy has seen but that made it even more special. It was all about Fever Ray fans getting intimate for a show they knew they’d never forget and for those who’d been dragged down to the gig on a whim, it was a totally unforgettable experience. Fingers crossed for a second album or a new offering from The Knife soon. We want more.