Record Label: True Panther Sounds
As King Krule, 18 year old south-east London based singer/producer/songwriter Archy Marshall has quietly and stealthily crafted a reputation for himself as one of the most raw and startling voices of a new generation. With his unexpectedly deep and mournful baritone tracing fissures of disappointment and social disorientation to devastating effect, Marshall has harnessed the inchoate frustration and fury of youth and translated it into a series of brilliant singles released on the likes of True Panther Sounds and Rinse over the past few years.
Now comes 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, his first full-length on True Panther Sounds, and with it, the much anticipated unveiling of the full scope and scale of Marshall’s vision. Over the course of 14 tracks, Marshall’s passions and confusions are rubbed raw and laid bare, the only connective tissue throughout it all being one of searing lyrical clarity paired with a confounding musical deftness which utterly belies his tender years.
From the opening clarion call of “Easy, Easy” it is abundantly clear that this is a breathtakingly bold and arresting sonic worldview, as his songs, produced by Marshall along with Rodaidh McDonald (The XX, Savages), open up to become a loose knit meditation on regret and discontent, loss of faith and renewal of hope, and optimism in the face of desperation.
Eschewing much of his previously released material, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon firmly yet soundly rejects any notion of contemporary trends or peers to occupy its very own unique place on the music landscape, oscillating gently between the classic 50’s soul of Gene Vincent and Elvis Presley to the minimal, avant-garde experimentation of Penguin Café Orchestra, to even the electronic smog and dub textures of Marshall’s beloved Rinse FM.
This is a record where the nakedly bluesy stomp of the likes of “A Lizard State” and “Easy, Easy” sit effortlessly next to the low-end frequency and shimmering beats of “Neptune Estate” and “Will I Come,” after all. It is reflective as much of Marshall’s own eclectic tastes as it is of the frenetic pulse and rhythm of the city around him, particularly the rapidly changing south-east areas in which he grew up. There is a genuine grittiness and world weariness ingrained. All these esoteric textures and fidgety, off-kilter rhythms make perfect sense as an album however, especially when you consider that incredible voice.
Taken as a whole, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon is the sound of a young man growing up - not for nothing is this album being released, unconventionally enough, on a Saturday, which also marks Marshall’s 19th birthday - and attempting to grapple with the realities of the world he inhabits, an unsparing dissection of the social decay that has begun to set in around him - and a fascinating, brutal journey it is too.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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