B4 have been around in different forms for over two decades but now comprise the duo of David Freudl and Tomáš Procházka. The outfit are self-proclaimed adherents of krautrock and their online profile refers to such names as Can, Nurse with Wound, Einstuerzende Neubauten and Money Mark, though they also bring to mind Warp acts such as Plone. Their latest release Plastová okna (Plastic Windows) placed third in Radio Wave’s top 10 Czech LPs of 2019.
The music project Zvíře jménem Podzim (An Animal Named Autumn) is the brainchild of Jakub König, who also goes by the name Kittchen. However, on Září, their recently released second LP, Zvíře jménem Podzim have expanded to become a veritable orchestra and now include such players as Terezie Kovalová, Tomáš Neuwerth, Marie Puttnerová, Ondřej Mataj, Ondřej Zátka and Veronika Linhartová. Ably abetted by producers Aid Kid and Pjoni, the collective’s second LP is a triumph.
Sundays on Clarendon Road are a highly impressive Prague-based electronic pop duo comprising Jonáš Zbořil and Jan Tůma. After a hiatus they have returned with their second LP, Solid State, reportedly partly inspired by their rediscovery of the classic Burial record Untrue. The new album is not out on any physical formats whatever, though the tracksuit-clad pair have promised to provide instant soup to buyers who attend live shows planned for the coming months!
Olomouc-based independent band Nylon Jail display their ability to rock out to the full on their latest LP, Irreversible Changes. On the record core members Jiřin Jirák and Roman Vičík (who split up a few years ago, only to reform) are joined musicians from the groups OTK, Priessnitz and Muff, as well as a girls’ choir. Nylon Jail were due to play on the Radio Wave stage at Prague’s Metronome music festival on Saturday as one of the contenders in this year’s edition of the Czeching competition.
Lazer Viking are very much the brainchild of Jakub Kaifosz, who also records with Wild Tides and is a Radio Wave DJ. Following Radical Karaoke (2015) and Flesh Cadillac (2016, in collaboration with Sabreheart), Lazer Viking have just released their wonderful third LP, Drag, on which Kaifosz is now backed by a band. The new collection again showcases the Prague musician’s topnotch songwriting, excellent vocals and guitar-playing and – with song titles such as Hum and Rattle and The Last Waltz – deep immersion in pop culture.
The album Stínítko by Čáry života, a solo project by multi-instrumentalist Jan Boroš, has won the Apollo Critics’ Choice Award for Best LP of 2017. The award was presented at a ceremony in Prague’s Meetfactory on Wednesday evening. The debut album, mixing lo-fi electronics and acoustic instruments, was released on label Bumbum Satori and was also nominated for this year’s Vinyla Award. Among other contenders for the Apollo award were Floex & Tom Hodge, Manon Meurt or Povodí Ohře.
Houpací koně, who have been determinedly doing their own thing in the north Bohemian town of Ústí nad Labem for over a quarter of a century now, recently released their eighth LP of expansive guitar-based rock. Though title track Desolation Peak and other tracks have English titles, the record again features finely-honed Czech lyrics from group leader Jiří Imlauf.
Shoegaze, the musical genre marked by washes of effects-driven guitar and ethereal vocals, was born in the UK three decades ago. Among those keeping it alive and well today are Manon Meurt, a young band from the Central Bohemian town of Rakovník. Though indebted to My Bloody Valentine and others, the indie outfit’s recently released debut LP MMXVIII (produced by The Ecstasy of St. Theresa founder Jan P. Muchow) more than stands comparison to much of the shoegaze canon.
Infinite Dance is the fifth and most fully realised LP yet from the Prague guitar-based group Please the Trees. The new record, which was part recorded in San Francisco, features no less a guest than US singer-songwriter John Grant on one song, while ex-Swans man Thor Harris plays marimba on a couple of tracks.