Sparky Deathcap is a one man creation by Robert Taylor. He's just released a beaut EP called 'Tear Jerky'. The release emalgamates a few different sounds, which bodes well. The track below features Brian Wilson vocal harmonies, mixed with Final Fantasy. The Mancunian has also made some awesome tracks, including a Microphones-esque acoustic beauty called 'Berlin Syndrome'. The best track is 'Send It To Oslo' which sounds like Polyphonic Spree mixed with TV on The Radio or something. All in all, this is a fucking great EP and well worth the five or six quid it's on sale for. I can't wait to hear more from this fella. He's got a couple of UK dates which I've listed below too, so you should go see him.
10th Dec - Proud Galleries, London
11th Dec - Instore @ Pure Groove
16th Dec - The Hop, Wakefield
Sparky Deathcap – Glasgow Is A Punk Rock Town
Summery sounds for wintry days. Neon Indian is touring around Europe right now promoting his debut album 'Psychic Chasms'. The album is a Washed Out style treat of late seventies french pop influenced synth. A lot of this sort of stuff around at the moment, it's a good job I like it. Everyone's raving about the remixes Alan Palomo has done of Grizzly Bear's 'Cheerleader'. Although they are rather lovely, I just wanted to draw people's attention back to the great album he's created (out now) and his tour, which will make it's way back to New York before he hits down under in the new year. If you like this track, check out Washed Out, Tickley Feather, Nite Jewel and Ariel Pink too.
Neon Indian – Deadbeat Summer
Thee Oh Sees. Great great band. I've only just cottoned onto their last album 'Dog Poison' which was released on Captured Tracks back in October. If you like dark grimey feedback, Velvet Underground tambourine shakes, and lazy drawl style harmonies, you're going to fucking love this album. So many good tracks in one place. They've chucked out loads of material this year, including another LP 'Help' and some demos. Great stuff. Their touring Australia all December too. Psych!
Thee Oh Sees - Dead Energy
I had a weird dream last night and it should've been accompanied by the soundtrack of Tickley Feather. The talented female that is Annie Sachs has just released a 12" filled with aquatic, echoey, tones and warped vocals called 'Hors D'oeuvres' on Paw Tracks. There are a few acts around deeming a similar guise, stemming from Ariel Pinks' offerings, but Tickley Feather holds her heads above the rest. The album sways you around in a euphoric fug from start to end, highlights are 'Don't Call, Marilyn' and 'Trashy Boys'. You can grab her self titled debut album too.
Tickley Feather – Trashy Boys
I saw Brazos support the mighty White Denim last week. They eased us into the night nicely. The three-piece also come from Austin, Texas, but their sound however, is quite different to the Denim's. It's much softer, and less Hendrix, but their musical ability is definately on par. Their sound drifts between southern country music, through spanish guitar, between upbeat and melancholy, and wanders Grizzly Bear style through different arrangements. They've just released a wonderful album entitled 'Phosphorescent Blues'. It's a treat from start to end, you can almost feel the Texan sun stream onto your face when you listen to it. Here's a couple of tracks off it to get you going. They play a couple more dates with the Denim and you can download the album from the iTunes link below.
Brazos – Day Glo
Brazos – Tell
/buy Phosphorescent Blues
Le Tetsuo are about to release a belting new single on the 23rd November. 'Sometimes I'm walking around I feel like I'm going to open up and crack' is minimal, stripped back post punk with Delta 5 style vocals on it. I love the strong bass line and angular guitars. You can hear the single on their myspace page, and put yourself on pre-order for the limited edition 7" and download from the Parlour Records shop below. Well worth the pittance of £3. the London 3-piece will be celebrating the launch of the single at The Wilmington Arms on the 25th November too, so get yourself down there to hear more of their work, including stuff from their previous release 'Your Elbow'.
The Hornblower Brothers have possible made one of the best Christmas songs in the past ten years, which they're set to release as a single in December. I think I'm going to create a campaign to get it to number one. It basically verbalises what we all experience in the rapidly approaching shitstorm that prevails before Christmas itself (which is ace). The Brighton based Yorkshire lads have also graced an EP with the same upbeat twee flavour, again with refreshingly well written lyrics. I really like this band. Their EP 'Adventures In The National Geographic' is up for grabs now from decent record shops and iTunes. It's four solidly great songs for your ears. They're playing a couple of live shows around December too. The dates are on their Myspace. Other good news is that they've got loads more songs up their sleeves, so let's hope to hear more of the brothers in the new year. Here's the Christmas song and my favourite off the EP...
The Hornblower Brothers – Christmas Song
The Hornblower Brothers – Shooting Star
Buy Adventures In The National Geographic EP
Back to some electronic sound with London's Entrepreneurs (AKA The Super-ego). Into the hip-hop style bass, fucked up glitches and warped beats. The track below is awesome. Well into the dirt fuzzed bass line. The solitary man of talent according to Last.fm has the real name of Adam Crisp. He is also responsible for a numerous amount of great remixes and other material, some of which you can hear on the soundcloud link below. He's just done a sweet remix for a great new act by the name of Al Cool and the Stranger Wines. You can check out the original track below. The remix is to be released soon. Double whammy!
Entrepreneurs – Good Things 2
Al Cool and the Stranger Wines – Celine
To ease you in to a Monday in the right fashion, you should listen to Ólöf Arnalds. The beautifully talented Icelandic songstress has a new album out entitled 'Við og Við' (translated as 'With and With'). Her previous musical style in the band Mùm is relatively unnoticed, as she strips back to an album of Charango (a small guitar made out of an Armadillo) and her beautiful voice, to create some traditional folk music. It's really beautiful, and I wish I could understand the lyrics, but nevertheless it's a lovely listen for a fragile day. If you're lucky enough to be in New York tonight, she is playing at the Rockwood Music Hall, and she also has a show in Copenhagen in a couple of days. 'Við og Við' is out on One Little Indian records now and is available on iTunes.
Ólöf Arnalds – Klara
The Light Rays infectious fuzzed fifties style surfer rock will cut through all the crap and wake you up. The brain child of the band is Jeff Kile from Costa Mesa, California. He creates more accessible stuff than the like of Wavves, and has a bit more of an sci-fi electronic affectation at times which I'm into. The band are sadly unsigned, but the cracking concoctions on the demo tape that I recieved will hopefully mean that the wait won't be too long. You can catch the band in their homestead at a couple of live shows in November. The dates and more good tracks are on their Myspace. Get on it.
The Light Rays – Surf Song
London based band La Shark have made an ace lazy day track called 'Bones'. Lo-fi decadent dandy rock is how I would describe their sound. Their releasing a great free single called '1958' which you can download by clicking the link below. The band are also releasing another single in January 2010 too! You can catch them playing a few dates around the South East through November. Rumor has it that they're a sight to be seen... in a good way. Enjoy...
La Shark – Bones
Free single download
Followed By Static are about to release a new single 'Lullaby' in the UK through Rough Trade Records. The Austin, Texas boys create fuzzed up noise version of Girls-esque songs, without some of the prettiness. This band are more raw. Check out the b-side to the single below. The a-side is a better listen too... but you should buy it to listen to that. It's well worth £1.58. It's out now and available on iTunes. Link is below for your clicking ability. The band are slso doing a few dates around Austin. Dates are on the Myspace...
Followed By Static – AADC
Buy on iTunes
I had the delight of seeing Clare And The Reasons last week. The Brooklyn based ensemble created a warmth of french jazz orchestrations with the whistful laments of Clare Manchon's sweetly sung songs. If Grizzly Bear were French, more pop, and got one of the Coco Rosie girls to sing, you'd roughly have the sound of Clare And The Reasons. The band have just released their second album 'Arrow' in the US which is due for European release on November 4th. I like the more electronically lead songs off the album. including this one below. I'm also a big fan of the track 'Pluto' off their previous release 'The Movie'. It sounds like music a mermaid would make. The band are doing a few dates around the states to celebrate the album, so get yourself down to one of the shows for some Parisien allure.
Clare And the Reasons – You Got Time
Clare And The Reasons – Pluto
Atlas Sound's latest album 'Logos' is as beautiful an ethereal listen as his previous album 'Let The Blind Lead...'. Washing through echoed guitars, glitchy electronic drones and softly sung melancholic melodies you're brain will become numb to any problems. Completely encapsulating. A couple of people make an appearance on the record, including Animal Collective/Panda Bear's Noah Lennox on a decidedly upbeat track 'Walkabout' and Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier. All together 'Logos' is a highly recommended purchase. So wrap your ears around these and go and buy it...
Atlas Sound – Sheila
Atlas Sound – Walkabout
So, now I'm in NYC, I may as well start telling you about some of the homegrown acts that I've had my ears on. First up is Darlings. The upbeat garage four-piece lit up the dreary downstairs of Cake Shop at Terrorbird's CMJ showcase yesterday. They belted out a few tracks, all equally as catchy as the others. They have an album out right now for you to buy called 'Yeah I Know' on Famous Class Records. These are two tracks off it so you know what you're in for.
Darlings – Eviction Party
Darlings – If This Is Love
Here's three good bands all in one hit. My internet has been down all week so I can only tell you now about some of this week's highlights. Ready? OK.
Emil & Friends
Great French pop/disco influenced pop outfit from Massachusetts. They've got a cracking single out with two excellent songs on it, out on Transparent. 'Josephine' which is actually the B-side is the happiest relaxed electro disco track ever. Love it. It's like when Elton John was good, fused with YACHT or something. The other track is a bit more MGMT in it's nature but still a great little number. Well worth a purchase of the limited edition from Pure Groove.
Emil & Friends – Josephine
The Fiery Furnaces
Saw them last night. Amazing. They stripped their sound right back with simply a guitar, drums, bass and and enigmatic Eleanor Friedberger on vocals. Many of the (can I call them) classics were played in a monster set. A few new ones of the latest album 'I'm Going Away' were played too. Matt Friedberger, what a man. Definatey get yourself down to see them on the rest of the tour as they travel across Europe and the US.
The Fiery Furnaces – I'm Going Away
The Sweet Serenades
The band from Stockholm have just released their album 'Balcony Cigarettes'. It's a mix of sick and sweet surf rock in the form of 'Mona Lee' and more indie stuff. Mix Good Shoes, Peter Bjorn and John and put some echo on it and you've got the The Sweet Serenades. There are some good little songs on there, all of which you can listen to on their myspace page. Favourite of mine is the track 'On My Way'. Link to the myspace is below, so click it to listen to all the rest.
The Sweet Serenades – On My Way
The decadent rumbustious music of The Brute Chorus is about to fill your ears in a big way. The four London lads are releasing their debut album 'The Brute Chorus' on the 19th October and to celebrate are having a single launch for the track 'Send Me A Message' on the 7th October at London's Old Blue Last. Not only that but their heading up a tour too! Busy boys. The album is a great concoction of theatrical tales, fifties garage rockabilly and folk. Highlights off the album are the aforementioned 'Send Me A Message which you can hear below, 'The Cuckoo and The Stolen Heart' which features Tigs from Chew Lips gets some great Ukulele action on it. There's an ace vid of the practice sessions below. It shows how good the band are live. I saw them a few months back and was blown away. The best live track for me was another highlight off the album, 'The Ransom', which sounds like an amazing pirate sea shanty or something. A great diverse debut. So get your grubby mits on a copy when it comes out.
The Brute Chorus – Send Me A Message
So Say So have thankfully been back in the recording studio and have kindly sent me the lovely song 'Nowhere Near The Heart'. If you like Fanfarlo and indie music with a tinge of twee, then you'll love So Say So. The London 5-piece have been on the live circuit for a little while and are getting better and better. This song is a beautiful one indeed. Now that they have access to studio space we can expect to hear more delights. They said that they are planning to work on their debut album as of 2010. Check out their myspace for a couple of other great tracks. I really like the track 'The Slow Game' that's up there. Also check them out a couple of live dates listed below, I saw they a couple of months back and you get totally enraptured with the atmosphere they create.
08th October – London, Hoxton Bar & Grill w/ La Shark, Clock Opera and Gaggle
27th October – London, @ Catch
So Say So – Nowhere Near The Heart
Tan Dollar from Tustin/Irvine, California have just released six great tracks in the form of their EP 'Pink Sky'. If Braids covered some Matt n Kim tracks, you could be around the spot where their sound lies. Tan Dollar sounds different from a lot of the other stuff coming out of California right now. None of the shoegaze or rockabilly influence, this is refreshing and interesting. Sunlit keys, fuzzy drums and subtle vocals. Looking forward to hearing more from these three. They're doing a few tour dates around California and you can download their latest and previous EP for free from their site linked below. I'm a fan of the instrumentals on the release. Here are a couple of good ones...
Tan Dollar – New
Tan Dollar – Untitled
I've recently picked up on a wave of adoration for Washed Out. Ernest Greene's solitary made music falls between Empire Of The Sun and Nite Jewel. Synthy, dreamy, warped and wonderful. His debut 'Life Of Leisure' is available now, and it's a little treasure. Sometimes the hype is warranted.
Washed Out – Feel It All Around
(Photography by Anna-Maria Weber)
Girls – Laura
Well busy at the mo, but here's a quick electro dancer from Sensual Harassment to keep you going if you're having a busy day like mine. I know little about the band, apart from they could do with a new name and they're from New York, but I do like this song. You can download it for free and another single off their website. Link below.
Sensual Harassment – Daddy Long Legs
Swanton Bombs are a potent rock duo from London and are currently supporting Girls on their European Tour. I caught them a couple of weeks when they supported Let's Wrestle. The lads definately made an impression. Heavy drums and amazing guitar riffs. Not in a bad eighties way, but your man Dominic McGuinness is seriously good at hooking out some belters. They're releasing a new single on Young & Lost Club on 26th October entitled 'Doom'. It looks like they're doing a Strokes cover 'New York City Cops' on the b-side too. Dominic also moonlights in his brother's band Eugene McGuinness and the Lizards. They played the same night as Swanton Bombs and were slightly more of a pop persuasion. Eugene's voice and lyrics are really beautiful to listen to. Here's a bit of both bands:
Swanton Bombs – Calm Down
Eugene McGuinness and the Lizards – Fonz
I've been mega slack at listening to new stuff at the moment, so here's an ace old song by Link Wray. All these new Californian bands want to sound as cool as this anyway. If you're sheltered and don't know much about him, Mr Wray basically pioneered the fuzz-tone guitar sound in rock and roll and pretty much influenced any decent guitarist that's ever lived from Pete Townsend to Bob Dylan to The Cramps. So if you're thinking that Wavves is hitting it new with that sound, you might want to slink back in your chair a bit. You can get an ace album of some rare demos of his called 'Link Wray Law of the Jungle: The '64 Swan Demos'. What an amazing man he was. Happy Friday.
Link Wray – 5-10-15-20
I heard an Egyptian Hip Hop song on Loud & Quiet mags page the other week. Then I saw they were playing with the excellent Django Django at an East-end warehouse party thing in October. The Mancunian lads are creating a little stir amongst the 'cool' magazines at the mo, and after hearing a couple of songs, they're justified, if only for their hair. I like the well Eighties synth in 'Heavenly'. Lyrically they're a bit standard, but sung in a Robert Smith kind of way, they can get away with it. The track 'Rad Pitt' takes the Smith vocal trend a bit further, a bit Black Kids too, with a little guitar twiddle on it. See what you think...
Egyptian Hip Hip – Heavenly
Egyptian Hip Hop – Rad Pitt
The amazing Clues are playing a few UK dates next month. If you can get yourself a ticket, you'll hear many of the delights that featured on their self titled debut earlier in March. The founders Alden Penner (formerly of The Unicorns) and Brendan Reed (ex Arcade Fire and other good bands) will no doubt have collected together some of the finest Canadian musicians in order to reinvent their sound scope before your ears. Get yourself down to one of the shows and buy the album if you don't have it, it's a gem.
Oct 19: Manchester, Drowned In Sound Stage @ In The City Festival @ The Deaf Institute
Oct 20: Sheffield, The Harley
Oct 21: Edinburgh, The Electric Circus
Oct 22: Dublin, Whelans
Oct 23: Liverpool, Korova
Oct 24: Bristol, Start The Bus
Oct 25: London, The Lexington
Clues – Perfect Fit
Clues – Remember Severed Head
I went to see She Keeps Bees last night at the Wilmington. What a lovely eve it was too. She Keeps Bees are a duo from Brooklyn, but everyone's on about them at the minute, so I'd like to turn your attention to the two fellow Brooklyn based support acts who were both pretty special. First up was Patrick Bower who sung a good few Jens Leckman style folk stuff. Then followed Twi The Humble Feather, who are pretty leftfield form everything that's going on at the moment. If Here We Go Magic covered some choral folk music, you might be around the right place. Intricate guitar riffs, melded with harmonised chanting is how I can describe them, but beautiful to listen to. They are supporting AU next week at Cafe OTO if you're in London. It'll be an interesting evening.
Patrick Bower – The Last Hurrah, Again
Twi The Humble Feather – Finale
France and the Habsburgs are a refreshingly good band emerging from Sunderland. The four lads make great stripped down songs, minimal bass, interesting arrangements and Ian Curtis style vocals. Some tracks remind me of early The Fall, and of recent Electricity in Our Homes and PLUG. Love the track 'Manual For Life', great little riff in there, with Mark E Smith restricted lyrics and melody. 'Photographic Heart' has echos of Wild Beasts musically, but it's drudging bass-line keeps you hooked in the whole way through. France and the Habsburgs are doing a few gigs around the north (listed below), but sadly there are no plans as yet to release anything. Someone should sign these boys, they're a real talent. Sort it out.
1st October - White Room, Sunderland (w/ Swimming)
9th October - The Cluny, Newcastle (w/ Lord Auch)
6th December - The Cluny 2, Newcastle (w/ Vic Godard & Subway Sect.)
France and the Habsburgs – Photographic Heart
France and the Habsburgs – Manual For Life
Sometimes it's nice to listen to something nice. It Hugs Back are one of those bands you can feel warm and fuzzy about. Although they're from Kent, yes Kent, you'd think they were from some all American place like Alabama or something as their twee style americana music drifts through your ears. If you like bands like Pheonix and Thunder Power then I reckon you'll like these. It hugs back released 'Inside Your Guitar' back in April. I've heard a few tracks and they're all rather good. They're playing Bestival this weekend too.
It Hugs Back – Don't Know
Tap Tap is about to release a new Album at the end of this month entitled ‘On My Way’. The amazing debut album ‘Lanzafame’ was released in 2006 and we’ve all been awaiting a return. The man that is Tap Tap - Thomas Sanders, has not only created another fine set of equable, songs of the everyday ponderings, but was kind enough to answer a few questions too.
Hello Tom, how are you doing today?
Thank you, I'm feeling average to good.
The new album 'On My Way' is out Sept 28, ace news. What can we expect to hear?
Well, 11 songs that are quite good. Compared to Lanzafame it's a bit more concise in its sound and less like it’s about to fall apart but still a little bit all over the place. Just the right amount you might say. They're still basically home recordings but this time round I knew they'd be for an album so I spent a bit more time on them.
It's been a while since Lanzafame came out, what took you so long?
I'm in another band called Pete and the Pirates which is what I spend all my time doing. Lots of shows to play and rehearsals etc. Tap Tap takes up all my little bits of spare time. Also I felt absolutely no sense of urgency, i.e. strike while the iron is hot. It's nice to take your time about things. No real plan.
You write and record everything yourself... how are you going to play your live shows?
I have put together a super band of friends and acquaintances from various bands I love.
How do you balance Pete and the Pirates with Tap Tap? Bit busy releasing one album as your recording another?
PATP always has been and I imagine always will be the priority - it's my friends and my brother and it's amazing to be able to travel around the world and spend so much creative time together. So Tap Tap always has to come second and yeah, it's a bit of a balancing act already we haven't even done the first Tap Tap show or released the album yet!!
When's the next Pirates album out?
Probably in March
Have you read anything inspirational lately?
Yes - 9 short stories by J. D. Salinger. He's a writer that really makes you forget about everything else apart from his stories.
Who's music are you into at the minute?
Mighty Sparrow and Lord Kitchener
What moto do you live life by?
Not by strength, but by guile.
I have to say it’s pretty hard to describe Tap Tap through similarities. Some say there’s a bit of the Kinks in there, I sometimes get whiffs of the Warm Jets if anyone remembers them, but there appears to be a variety of influences that drift through their sound. Musically you drift between plucky fifties guitars with affectations of flamenco clapping and lacksidasical bass. But the reason why the songs feel so familiar when you hear them is down to Sanders’ lyrics - eloquent, whimsical and honest, all at the same time. I strongly recommend that you buy ‘On My Way’ and ‘Lanzafame’ if you don’t already own it. You won’t be disappointed. Tap Tap and the super band will be touring to promote the album, so book up some tickets. Dates are on the myspace.
Here’s a picture of the new album and song from the old one.
I scurried across Black Orphan the other week. They're on UFO Dictator records and I fell in love with this sci-fi lo-fi track below. Love the weirdy organs on it and Bowie-esque vocal. I know nothing about them, I can't find anything valid out either. But aparently there are some of the members of The Spits in the band, which sounds plausible. So all I can say is 'they are good'. Oh, and they had a 7" called Circuits out, that's sold out now. Be sure that I'll be posting more about them if I ever find out anymore.
Black Orphan – Caves Of Ice
The beautiful band that it AU are set to release a new limited edition 10"EP entitled 'Versions'. It should be released in the US in early October, but there are only 500 copies, so you better get in quick. Dana Valatka and Luke Wyland tag team on a few songs, some new and some we know, to re-enact how they reproduce their work on the live circuit. They've just announced a load of tour dates on their myspace too, so you can catch the real thing. After hearing the new track 'Ida Walked Away' it promises to be a great EP. They've kept the epic echoed Grizzly Bear-esque guitars and filled them with light and air. A little beauty. Check out an older post I did to hear the best from their previous release 'Verbs'.
AU – Ida Walked Away
Speak And The Spells are a great new band from old London town. They make ace sixties sci-fi garage rock type stuff, with a bit of seventies punk thrown in from time to time. They're working on new songs right now and hope to have an EP out soon. I'm hopeful about what the three young whippersnappers are going to come out with. I really like the track below. It's slag rock sci-fi charm gets better as it plays through. Reminds me a bit of early Vincent Vincent and The Villains, I think it's your man's voice. There's also a little preview that's just popped up on their myspace which sounds double good too. Check it out. They're playing at Buffalo Bar with Let's Wrestle, so it should be a cracking night out. you can also catch them at Offset Festival next weekend. What a treat.
Speak And The Spells – She's Dead
Saw the Strange Boys do a little acoustic set at Rough Trade East on Sunday. It was alright. I prefer it when they're more electric though. I'm not normally one for covers, but I really like the boys version of Big Joe Williams' 'Baby Please Don't Go'. The four Austin lads are back off Stateside now to finish up the last few of their live dates. They're debut album 'And Girls Club' is out now on In The Red Records. There's a track of it below too.
The Strange Boys – Baby Please Don't Go
The Strange Boys – Poem Party
The ever impressive Parlour Records have run out a great new video for Ill Ease, directed by 'George Wu'. Check out Mr Peg and his efforts to get his dream house. The song is great too, into the creeping bass-line. It's out as a limited edition 7" called 'The Whole Sha-Bang' right now along with the track 'What Makes Your Heart Go Boom' as a double single and is available on iToooons. The one woman Brooklynite is off on tour around some US spots in September too.
Buy 'The Whole Sha-Bang'
Sick of all the niceness? Vinny And The Curse will drag you by your ankles back to where you belong. The duo from Birmingham have risen The Gories garage rockabilly rawness from the relics and thrown out some crackin demos. 'Never Say Never Again' posted below is the more subdue of the selection, but hit up their Myspace for some more. 'The Change In Me' is a belter. They are doing a few live dates in the near future. After seeing them a couple of weeks back, I would definitely say you should get to see them.
Vinny And The Curse – Never Say Never Again
Magic Arm supported the disgustingly brilliant Grizzly Bear last night. The one man Mancunian maestro, looped guitar, organ and beats together that remind me a bit of the Beta Band, with a bit of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci's sweetness and Kid Carpet bass lines. I thought the crowd were pretty poor at recognising his talents, but I walked away impressed. I grabbed a copy of his debut album 'Make Lists Do Something' which was releases earlier this year. It's a great album - a delight of upbeat electro folk from beginning to end. Here's one from the top...
Magic Arm – Widths and Heights
Here's the follow up single from Girls' 'Album'. 'Lust For Life' is released as a single on September 7th, and 'Album' is released on the 22nd. It's going to be rather popular me thinks. Great video, all shot on super-duper-eight. Click the Girls link at the bottom of the post to hear previous songs I've posted. Also there's shed loads of tour dates on their myspace too, so go see them.
Christmas Island from San Diego are cramming some of their lo-fi garage efforts into an LP called 'Blackout Summer' in September. Your man from Wavves was rating 'Doin' Swell' as one of his favourite tracks (also my favourite). Their other stuff on Myspace is just as impressive. On top of the forthcoming album, they've got a 12" entitled Haunted House, a 7" and a split 7" with Meth Teeth on the way too. They've already set off on a west coast tour right now, so if you want to catch the duo on the live circuit, check out their myspace linked below.
Christmas Island – Bed Island
Christmas Island – Doin Swell
Check out this ace new vid from Stages Of Dan for their ace track 'Gary'. The cheek of the lovely London lads indie punk driven pop tunes will be infectiously take over your brain. Go see them play if you're about town, they're a good watch. If you're not about, check out their Myspace for more videos and tracks. The band are working on a self released EP right now, which Gary will be on. So watch this space for more info.
One of the most wonderful stumble upons I've had in recent times was when I discovered Braids. Their experimental arrangements of delicate piano, guitar and singer are quite something else indeed. The closest musicians I could associate their sound with would be AU in terms of their beautiful instrumental sections, and Arcade Fire's Regine Chassagne in terms of vocals. They had an EP 'Set Pieces' out last year which had an undeserved lack of coverage. The great news is that they are currently working on an album due for release around March/April next year. I expect it will a truly spectacular listen. They are embarking on a tour around their native Canada with another talent Knots, who is also worth checking out. Will keep you posted on future developments. Simply beautiful.
Braids – Lemonade
Braids – Liver and Tan
I just bought the new Wild Beasts album 'Two Dancers'. Not as theatrical as it's predecessor 'Limbo Panto' the Kendel four have still created an eerily ethereal listen. Hayden Thorpe's vocals are mesmerising and beautiful, accompanied with a more modest arrangement from the rest of the band. If your expecting more tracks like 'Devils Crayon' and 'Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants' then you might not like the album on first listen, but the less catchy approach is a grower, so give it some time. I think it's a little charmer of an album. Wrap your ears around my two favourites and check out their myspace to see tour dates. 'Two Dancers' is out now in the UK and set for US release on September 8th, including their New York City debut on September 8th at Joe's Pub.
Wild Beasts – All The King's Men
Wild Beasts – Empty Nest
I've recently been enlightened by the wonderfully weird world of R Stevie Moore. A strong influence and friend of Ariel Pink, his early recordings in the seventies are quite amazing. Humorous, sensitive, strange, perceptive, naive and more. You can read what you like into his work, deranged could be noted at points, but amazing none-the-less. Some stuff is post punk, some sounds like it could be on the Bugsy malone soundtrack. No musical tag seems suitable than that of 'special'. I rate him. If you haven't got his stuff already, you should treat yourself.
R. Stevie Moore – I Want You In My Life
Wolf Gang is Max McElligott and he makes fine alternative popular songs. The bit Irish, bit German works out of East London. If David Byrne sung on some Band of Horses songs, you're around the sort of sound that he makes. He released 'Pieces of You' a couple of weeks back, which is a good track. I like the one below more, and there are a couple on his myspace that I hope are going to be on the forthcoming album that he's working on currently.
Wolf Gang – Night Flying
I went to an awesome Northern Soul/Funk night on a visit to Bristol this weekend. I heard a couple of little treasures played by (we think) John Stapleton. The biggest surprise being that my favourite song from the evening was sung by Paul Nicholson. Yep!, if you remember the curly haired blonde from those horrific eighties sitcoms you'd be thinking of the right chap. He covered the Richie Havens song 'Run Shaker Life' as a B-side of the single 'Freedon City' in 1970. Amazing! Other highlights by CAN and White Denim along with this track are posted below.
Paul Nicholas – Run Shaker Life
CAN – I Want More
White Denim – I Start To Run
The Drums are a duo from Brooklyn. Their surf rock, eighties twangley guitar music comped with catchy melodies is awesome. Everyone is talking about them and deservedly so. I reckon they're going to be a big name over the next year. No releases as yet from what I can ascertain and are working on a debut album right now. So get your flip-flops slapping to this...
The Drums – Let's Go Surfing
The Drums – Me And The Moon
Electro pop is on the menu today with Polychromatic. The home made beeps and beats are created by Robert J Lake from La Porte, Indiana. Musically Polychromatic could be comparable to the likes of Passion Pit, with lovely punchy upbeat electronic offerings, minus the whiney voice. Mr Lake has a softer vocal approach. I love the mix of old school rave style beats on the track posted below. His music makes you want to bounce around your bedroom dreaming about Unicorns and rainbows (if you're into that). There is an album in the pipeline, which is to be released at an undisclosed date later in the year named 'Dreams'. By checking out the rest of his tracks on his myspace it promises to be a delight.
Polychromatic – Good Enough
The wonderful Sleeping States is not only about to delight our earbuds with a new album, but Markland Starkie was also kind enough to have a little chat about what's to come...
Hello Markland. How are you today?
I am very well thank you. Enjoying the sunshine pouring in through my bedroom window with Silver Apples on the stereo.
So, exciting times! The new album coming out 'In the Gardens of the North' on August 17th. What can we expect to hear?
Guitars, a boiling kettle, quite a few birds, a bit of residual tape hiss. I think it sounds a bit like a big brother to the last album? Or something, ha.
Is there a theme or story behind the album?
Well, there's no overarching story arc in the album, but there are definitely a number of connecting themes running through; I spent more time with the lyrics on this album than I've done before, so I guess the results are more considered. Having moved west from London to a smaller place, I really wanted to make a set of songs that reflected this more pastoral environment - not that I actually live in the countryside, but I feel a lot closer to it. And so yes, I guess there's some recurring imagery, scenes of the British landscape, and such.
You're releasing the single 'Gardens of the South' on cassette. How come?
Ha well it's just a bit of fun, on the basis that people can just download the song for free as an mp3 anyway (or soon will be able if they can't already), and that the single will appear on the album too, I thought that it would be nice for those people who would like to have something physical, to have an object as weird as a tape. Although, I say 'weird', there are loads of bands doing cassette releases at the moment, and mini cassette labels and stuff. Total resurgence. This is actually the third Sleeping States release on cassette, I did two EPs a few years ago that were both cassette-only releases. Also there's a nice duality thing with cassettes - on the Gardens tape there's the single and another poppy song called Final Island (that's not on the album) on one side, and the other side has one longer piece constructed from field recordings I made one time I was working as a sound recordist on a short film in South London.
Do you have any major influences? What makes you create your work?
Recently influences have tended to be literary ones more than musical ones I guess. There's a lot of authors in this album, in various places. The first track is a kind of response to WG Sebald and his novel 'The Rings of Saturn' (and is named for the novel), there's another loosely based on a short story by Jorge Luis Borges. Though it's all background stuff, it's easy to get overly pretentious about these things, ha ha. Musically speaking, the single Gardens of the South is certainly influenced by old doo-wop, early AM Radio rock'n'roll, bands like the Flamingos and things. This style of music was my first music crush growing up... after Queen at least. When I was around 11 or 12 I saw the film American Graffiti and I fell in love with the soundtrack, and it's always stayed with me. Elsewhere, the usual brand of sloppy, early-90s influenced indierock shines through, ha. Though I'd say it's possibly more vocal-heavy, and certainly more rhythmic, than the last album.
How do you go about recording your work? Do you work with other musicians or is that just to rein-act your music live?
Well it's all pretty homemade, and I definitely prefer writing and recording at home. Most songs are usually built out of improvising with the record button on, and then restructuring and layering and so on. Most of it's just done on my lonesome, although for this album I wrote specifically with drums in mind and worked with a drummer called Rose Clark (who also drums in the live band) - I wrote, or half-wrote, melodic parts, then de-camped to her house in these woods outside Bristol and tested out and recorded rhythms, and then went away again and continued writing, etc. It was a new experience for me as I hadn't really worked with another person so early in the writing of a song or set of songs before. Was fun.
Live-wise I have constructed more of a band, though taking the songs to the band ends up being more than just a simple process of reinacting the recordings, it's more a case of reinterpretation I suppose.
What are you listening to at the moment?
At the moment, 'Silver Apples' by Silver Apples. Recently I've been playing the most recent album by this band Pontiak, called 'Maker' pretty often. It's kinda stoner-y, with nice weird flourishes. Good vibe. That and 'Ladies of the Canyon' by Joni Mitchell, coz it's nice and summery.
What's the best thing about Bristol?
Are you touring soon?
Yup, going on tour at the end of the August around the UK - 24th onwards. Dates will be posted next week I reckon.
'In The Gardens of The North' will be released
on August 17th on Bella Union label.
If you like beautifully sung melodies that layer up over insightful concoctions of beats, keys, and samples that leave you feeling elegantly happy, then you should plan to pop to the record shop in time for the albums release. Bella Union kindly gave us a sneak listen of the first release. It's being released on a limited edition cassette (yes) this very month. Do enjoy and thanks to the lovely Markland for his lovely words and music.
Sleeping States – Gardens Of The South
Electricity In Our Homes are about to release an amazing 12" on Monday 27th July called 'We Agree Completely'. It's going to have 6 tracks on it, two of which are on their myspace at the moment. The post punk/art rock tracks are really something else. I can understand why the likes of Rough Trade hail them as a really influential band for the future. EIOH's sound is infectiously intelligent. Minimal but rich. I'm really into the track 'Don't You Want To' it hooks into you in all the right places. Cool, classic, great bass, great vocals, great sound. You need to check them out. The limited edition 12" (500 copies only) is available on pre-order from Parlour Records (link below). Their also playing down at Rough Trade East on Saturday 25th July to celebrate the release. Get involved.
Pre-order 'Electricity In Our Homes - We Agree Completely'
This time the band are called Girls. They're from San Francisco and make lovely Beach Boy-esque surf pop melodies which have a darker side. The first release 'Hellhole Ratrace' which came out last week with the b-side 'Solitude' really demonstrate the more sensitive side to the band. Christopher Owen's softly sung laments remind me a bit of Elvis Costello in places. Where as I've heard another side to the band that is more uptempo and fifties rock influenced mixed with a bit of shoe-gaze to appease the current scene. The tracks 'Lust For Life' (not an Iggy Pop cover) and 'Mourning Light' are the side to the band that I actually prefer, but all of their talent will be encompassed in their debut album 'Album' which is due to be released on Septmeber 22nd. A big US and European tour is planned around that time to promote it, so check their myspace for the dates.
Girls – Solitude
Girls – Hellhole Ratrace
A friend sent me this ace track and it's got an ace video too. Mika Miko from LA are a great punk/noise band. They have a lot in common with the grrl riot band Huggy Bear, punch drums, punk riffs and girls yelling over the top. But these lasses have a bit more melody and humour to them. I bought 'We Be Xuxa' at the weekend and I suggest you do the same. Great album packed with plenty of punk nuances. Enjoy a couple here...
Mika Miko – I Got A Lot (New New New)
Mika Miko – Wild Bore
Crocodiles are about to swim ashore our fair British isle this weekend with their debut UK gig at the Old Blue Last in London. They're promoting their LP 'Summer of Hate' which hit the shelves back in April. If you haven't heard the San Diego duo's efforts yet, you might like their indie electro take on a Jesus and Mary Chain sound. Their cool raspy lyrics over slow slaggy sun style guitars makes a great listen for a not so happy summer day. Angsty. The LP 'Summer of Hate' is out for your claws in a record shop near you and a large tour list is up on the Crocs' myspace.
Crocodiles – Summer of Hate
Crocodiles – I Wanna Kill