STREAM: Barbarossa – Bloodlines –
Barbarossa, (aka James Mathé), releases his new album Bloodlines on August 5th (UK) and August 6th (US). Stream the entire album at KCRW now.
Having recently signed to iconic London label Memphis Industries (Field Music, POLIÇA, The Go! Team, Frankie Rose) Bloodlines draws on everything from soul men Stevie Wonder, D’Angelo and Levon Helm to Dirty Projectors and Sufjan Stevens. Having previously released records with the Fence Collective, Bloodlines sees Mathé’s emotive missives from young adulthood rewired into elegiac electronic anthems, dusted with huge spectral gasps of reverb and soul-wrenching organ melodies.
From the sultry ache of opener Bloodlines – a nod to Massive Attack’s Unfinished Sympathy “about not picking up the bad habits of the generation before you”, says Mathé – to the Pharrell Williams-inspired urban crunch of ‘Turbine‘, all the way to ‘The Load’, written when Mathé was indulging in his love of Jurassic 5 era 90s hip hop, Bloodlines is a brilliantly varied listen that pulls and paws at your heartstrings. If there’s a gloriously loose, tenebrous feel to songs like the blue-eyed electro-soul ‘Pagliacco‘, it might have something to do with the Londoner’s organic approach to song writing. “I just sit down with my dictaphone and make sense of what comes out afterwards. The best stuff usually comes when I’m hungover or not really thinking. The minute I try to be clever with words, it just sounds shit,” Mathé laughs. Instead, the album’s lyrics burn with a simple, poignant immediacy and Mathé sings them with touching, soulful grace.
Tender yet triumphant, Bloodlines marks Mathé as one of Britain’s most versatile and adventurous artists.
Following support slots with Junip (in which Mathé plays live) and label mates POLIÇA, Barbarossa will be performing live across the summer including Bestival. Dates below.
Aug 06 UK, London, The Waiting Room
Sep 08 UK, Newport, Bestival
Sep 09 UK, Manchester, Castle
Sep 11 UK, Brighton, The Green Store Door
Sep 13 UK, London, Sebright Arms
Sep 19 The Netherlands, Amsterdam, Paradiso (upstairs)
Sep 21 France, Paris, Fleche d’or
Sep 22 Belgium, Brussels, Botanique (Witloof Bar)
Sep 24 Germany, Cologne, Studio 672
Sep 25 Germany, Stuttgart, Schocken
Sep 26 Germany, Frankfurt, Zoom
Sep 27 Germany, Hamburg, Reeperbahn Festival
Sep 28 Germany, Berlin, Berlin Independente Night
8. The Load
9. Saviour Self
10. The Endgame