Crackin Tan

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
/download EPs


Fragile Friday

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


Forever friends

Saw Girls on Monday and what a lovely evening it was. They're massively hyped at the moment, but try and ignore all the blurb (including this) and just get their album 'Album'. It full of surfy, lazy day loveliness. Great melodies, great lyrics, great music. Quality little band. Do catch up with them at one of their live shows and get absorbed. They translate their recorded stuff beautifully. Dates on myspace.

(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


London Bombing

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
/pre-order 'Doom'

Eugene McGuinness and the Lizards – Fonz



Five, Ten, Fifteen, Twenny

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


Clues Play UK

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


Bee's knees

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



Up the North

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


Autumn warmth

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


On his way...

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.

'On My Way' is released on September 28th on Stolen Recordings

//Pre-order here

Tap Tap – 100,000 Thoughts



Dark dark night...

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