Weekend Wonders: Daniel Land - Columbo - Felin - Silent Riders - Sonïtus

Daniel Land - New York Boogie-Woogie.

Background - After a three year hiatus, Daniel Land has announced the forthcoming release of his 'In Love With a Ghost' LP, undoubtedly his most complicated and textured record to date. This album follows albums 'Love Songs For The Chemical Generation' and 'The Space Between Us' by Daniel Land & The Modern Painters. It was recorded over the three years following that group's disbanding, at a time when he seriously considered giving up making music. The first single from this release is 'New York Boogie-Woogie', along with a video based on footage Daniel Land himself filmed in New York.

Daniel Land explains, "This is an album about cities. It is an album about reinvention, and starting your life over. It is an album about growing up, finding love, and settling down. And to a lesser degree, it is about the damage that can be done to a person, or a family, by falling in love with the wrong person. With 'In Love With A Ghost', I came full circle for a while by incorporating a whole bunch of influences that pre-date my love of dream-pop and shoegaze. I really wanted to make a colourful, widescreen, detailed record. When I started the album, I didn't have a live band, and most of the tracks were written on the piano, for my own amusement, rather than for a group with three guitarists." 

Daniel suffered a series of health issues midway through making the album, including a chronic inner-ear infection that left him partially deaf for over a year and also prone to bouts of dizziness.

"Unable to make music, and living in a new city made me feel, at times, powerfully depressed. This became a crisis of confidence that went very deep and it did seem, for a while, that I would never find my way back to making music again. Finishing the album was a process that involved re-evaluating my life and overhauling my relationship to music, and coming out of the other side more healthy, more humble, and more grateful. It's good to be back again," says Daniel.

Daniel Land has been releasing dream-pop and ambient music for nearly a decade, having developed a unique blend of dreamgaze and confessional song writing. Drowned in Sound said that the first album 'Love Songs For The Chemical Generation' is "one of the finest records of its time", while NME says the single "Within The Boundaries" was "like Slowdive reimagined by Phil Spector".

Daniel Land's 'In Love With a Ghost' LP was released on November 25 via Bandcamp and the usual online retailers. Website here, Facebook here, Bandcamp here.

'New York Boogie-Woogie' is a very appealing dream pop song. Daniel Land's vocals and the musical production are equally melodic, and the song builds beautifully.


Columbo - Made In The UK & Rockabilly Bob.

Background - Great tunes sparkle no matter how long they've been buried. And in a remarkable turn of events, a never-released album has been unearthed and is finally about to receive the acclaim the cognoscenti originally felt it deserved.

In 1999, indie surf-pop-meets-bigbeat duo Columbo were ready to roll. An unlikely mashup between sought-after dance remixer Trailermen and the bass player of UK ska and dub crowd-pleasers Maroon Town, Columbo were snapped up by Richard Branson’s V2 label on the basis of their quirky single, "Rockabilly Bob”.

The reaction was instantaneous, the broad popular appeal obvious. “British surf-pop mavericks” (Sunday Express), “irresistible idiocy” (Melody Maker). What’s On said “this is the song the Beach Boys would’ve made if they knew Quentin Tarantino”.

But then things went South. Promotion stalled. Critical distributors choked- perhaps unsettled by the eccentricity of “Rockabilly Bob”. The track still charted, but the duo were disillusioned, feeling they and the label were no longer on the same page. The planned second single was pulled at the last minute.  Rather than release material without the support they deserved, Columbo walked out on V2.  An unreleased treasure trove of pop genius was left to gather dust…

In 2016, Stuart, the boss of indie label Banoffeesound (a longtime Columbo obsessive), decided to do a bit of sleuthing and find out what happened. Like an episode of the TV show the band mischievously named themselves after, there was a mystery- “Whatever Happened To Columbo?” With some Google-fu and joining of dots, Stuart managed to track down Jules from Columbo, now a sought-after composer for film and TV. Sure enough, there was an unreleased collection of Columbo material - it existed. The lost treasure was found, and eventually the other half of the duo - now a well-known broadcaster - was back in the fray too. This wild and unpredictable laboratory of song-writing was bubbling again.

And it’s remarkably fresh. It’s from the ‘slice of life’ school of British song-writing The Kinks, Madness and Blur so cleverly express, albeit in different genres. "Strawberry Ice Cream" is a rollercoaster collision of Lou Reed and perfect pop confection. The eponymous "Columbo" is a gorgeous slab of sleaze, "Bad Behaviour" a searing lament on modern morality.  And there's “Local Boy” - the catchiest pop song you haven’t heard yet. The album was released on November 18th 2016 - seventeen years late, but just in time! More here.

'Made In The UK' and 'Rockabilly Bob' are two very contrasting songs, which suggest the album really has got something special going on. Having been gathering dust for practically two decades, based on these two songs, Stuart at Banoffeesound is to be thanked for digging out some hidden gems.

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Felin - Gossip.

Background - Out on Friday 25th November 2016 Felin New Self-Titled EP. The Swedish act Felin consists of songwriter/ artist Elin Blom and photographer/ director Fredrik Etoall (the "F" in Felin who provides all the visuals for the band).

Having worked with the likes of Icona Pop, Tove Lo, The Rolling Stones and Adam Lambert, Felin are all about the highest quality of sound as well as image. Are they worth looking at and listening to? For sure!

Website here, Facebook here.

From the new self titled  EP 'Gossip' is one of six tracks. The music video is imaginative and the song very impressive. The EP has some very feisty pop punk tracks along with the occasional gentler moment, it's one very catchy collection of songs.


Silent Riders - I See You.

Background - This Copenhagen-based trio seem to have sprung from some murky unknown world, if we are to believe the statements of the band themselves. Little is known about Lu, Gee and C who comprise the group, or what is behind the masks they wear during their performances. They might have materialised from shadows in the woods, lurking in the dark until they were ready to share their sounds with the world. This mythical sphere that they have created for themselves is accessible through their music, which is a vision of electronic music that is organic and alive with both warmth and danger.

Led by the sultry voice of Lu, we are taken into the dark woods of the Silent Riders with almost cinematic brilliance as Gee and C mans the machines that weaves the atmospheric dronings of this world. A world that could be easily mistaken for one created by David Lynch or Tim Burton. The rhythms that form the path to this domain have been tried and tested by previous travellers, known to us by names like Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire or Tolouse Lowtrax.

With debut single "I See You" they offer up a brilliant pop diamond of all the elements of their sound palette. With Lu in her most soulful voice, bouncing off of an almost funky drum machine, all drenched in layers of dark analog ambience. On the lush "Copenhagen Dream" we hear Lu channeling a sense of brit-pop nonchalance into a rather political song about the current state of her city. "Being Afraid" on the other hand, sees the band pull out their hardest and grittiest song. With Lu sounding like PJ Harvey at her most moody, the slow groove behind her sounds like a factory machine steadily beating away and releasing steam.  Other highlights on their forthcoming album include the chilling "Static" and the ethereal beauty of closing track "Falling" which sees the Riders in their most relaxed and dreamy state, and echoes the works of Portishead and Massive Attack. With debut single "I See You" (coming out Jan 6th) they offer up a brilliant diamond of all the elements of their sound palette. 

There's a lot of words in the above promo piece we received however 'I See You' pretty much lives up to the introduction. Something of a darker atmospheric piece, the vocals and music are beautifully matched, and the song conjures up mental images, teasing my imagination. Another forthcoming album for the must listen list.


Sonïtus - Kleptocracy.

Background - About ‘Kleptocracy’ The blistering power riff that scythes through the silence to announce Sonitus’ latest release is a prelude to a track that melds the edge of Jane’s Addiction and the invention of Primus with a touch of deep street-soul. ‘Kleptocracy’ soars and swoops in a molten waltz as each band member strains to match the high standards of his fellow musicians, surrounding frontman Russell’s vocal with an electrifying vigour as he opens his lungs to unleash an uber-Ohrwurm of a chorus. What initially seems to be a love story concerning a couple at the margins of society reveals itself as a metaphor for the hopelessly unequal struggle between the masses and the corporations. It charts “a world, an economy, run by thieves,” says guitarist Dein, denoting the biting political intent of ‘Kleptocracy’ that matches its clear ambition to be a bona fide alt-rock classic.

About Sonïtus Hailing from East London’s as yet ungentrified fringes, Sonïtus are a multicultural assemblage of tenacious artists whose powerful neo-rock explores the beautiful, devious and carnal sides of the human psyche. Brought together by a passion for prog, alt-rock and adventurism, counting Radiohead, A Perfect Circle, Incubus and Animals As Leaders among their inspirations, Russell Balogun (vocals), Dein Moore (guitar, vocals), Nathan Chan (guitar), Scott Bacon (bass) and Romulo Heredia (drums) are also bonded by their exceptional musicianship. 

The band’s dexterity endows their songs with a distinctively expressive touch, where intricate passages, dynamic textures and raw power lend the material sensitivity, colour and heft. The quintet’s debut EP, ‘Kleptocracy’ – recorded in part at Urchin Studios in Hackney with Dan Cox and Matt Ingram (Lianne La Havas, Enter Shikari, Denai Moore, Slaves and many more), and produced by Sonïtus’ Nathan – is a seven-song testament to this, showcasing a band unafraid to weave threads of R&B and urban UK sound into their politically driven progressive metal, and, through mastery of their art and radical songcraft, Sonïtus are pushing new boundaries at UK rock’s bleeding edge. Website here, Facebook here.

We are delighted to be able to feature the debut EP 'Kleptocracy' in full. Sonitus certainly know how to mix unbridled power alongside more reflective and detailed musical styles. Overall I guess the alternative rock label is fitting, perhaps it's best to keep in mind that for rock read ROCK and as far as alternative goes, this is a band that explore a wide range of ideas, and put down some really fine sounds.