Monday, 31 January 2011

January 2011 in Summary

It's been a great start to 2011 if you ask me. Rather than trawl through some of my older posts and read my inane drivel, here is a summary of the best of what I've heard and discovered this month through, what matters, videos and audio from the artists themselves.

The Best Five Things Released in January 2011.

1. The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar
Joy Formidable - The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade by The Drift Record Shop

2. Esben and the witch - Violet Cries
Esben and The Witch - Marine Fields Glow by The Drift Record Shop

3. Braids - Native Speaker
BRAIDS 'Lemonade' by kaninerecords

4. Tennis - Cape Dory
Tennis - Marathon by Vicente P

5. The Soft Moon - The Soft Moon
The Soft Moon - Out of Time by Insound

The Five Best Just Music That I Like Discoveries of January:

1. Softspot
SoftSpot - Bones by morrisday



2. Echo Lake
In Dreams by Echo Lake

3. Clytem Scanning


4. Camille Delean
Camille Delean - Rivers (Demo) by morrisday

5. Birds of Passage
you wore blue by birds of passage

scarlet monkeys by birds of passage

Five Things You Need to Order in Feb

1. Caitlin Rose - Own Side (Single out 21st Feb)


2. Let's Buy Happiness - Fast Fast (Single released 28th Feb)
Let's Buy Happiness - Fast Fast by Jonathan Six07 Press

3. Terror Bird - Outside / When I Woke UP (Single Released 21st Feb) + Human Culture LP (out feb)
TERROR BIRD - Outside.mp3 by NightSchool

4. The Boxer Rebellion - The Cold Still (Album Released 7th Feb)


5. She Keeps Bees - Live in the UK, 24th Feb at London Windmill - http://www.wegottickets.com/event/107650
She Keeps Bees - Gimme by morrisday

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Creep - New Music "Introducing"

Creep is the female duo of Lauren Dillard and Lauren Flax, from Brooklyn NY, like so much of the music finding its way onto the blog recently, their sound is a dark menacing electro, with some serious gothic undertones.

Their first single features The xx’s Romy Madley Croft providing her trademark dreamy vocal which will no doubt bring a much wider audience to the duos music.

The xx link doesn't end their, their debut release is through Young Turks, The xx's label, a marketeer's dream one could say. There are a few other tracks on their Myspace which hint at future gems too.

You can purchase 'Days' on 12" Picture disc from Young Turks shop.

CREEP / Days by Young Turks

CREEP / Intro by Young Turks

Nicole Atkins - New Video / Album

http://soundcloud.com/nicole-atkins
http://www.nicoleatkins.com/

I'd not heard of Nicole Atkins until this past week but judging by the number of plays on her MySpace account I'm in the minority. I did some further investigation and came across her 2007 album 'Neptune', which is rather lovely.

I'm really into the single for her upcoming album 'Mondo Amore', "Vultures" exhibits a dark and dusky soulful voice.

You can get the album in an array of packages and support the band raising money for a tour van via Kickstarter.

Vultures by Nicole Atkins

The Way It Is by Nicole Atkins

Friday, 28 January 2011

Lidwine - New Music "Introducing"

http://www.lidwine.com/

Below is an excerpt about Lidwine from her Myspace page, which perked up my interest enough to give her EP a listen:

'Influences: Prince, Björk, Kate Bush,Joanna Newsom, Gonjasufi
Sounds Like: A strong wind blowing on an unpredictable sea'

Now I'm going to have a hard time improving on the comparisons that those two simple lines draw because they are wholly accurate. There is no hiding the fact that Lidwine delivers a very similar quirky, elongated vocal to that of Iceland's favourite export. Lidwine does though manage to draw you to her music rather than just make you reach for 'Vespertine'.

Lidwine released her debut EP 'Lw' in October 2010, it's a twenty minute journey of bewitching yet beautiful slow-burning electro-folk with a sound that could soundtrack a Tim Burton movie or an eerie children's fairy tale by Grimm Brothers. There is a natural, forest like, breathy sound to the music.

Using many traditional instruments with beautiful results, harp and harmonium especially creating some delicate and delightful moments, like on this track off the EP, "Animosity":



"In The Half-Light" is another perfect example, the haunting, delicate vocals, luscious soundscapes with beautifully arranged harmonium melodies and a glorious choir. You can watch the video of the track here:


In The Half-Light - Lidwine from Lidwine on Vimeo.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Sleigh Bells #5 - Rill Rill Video



Yeah, I am completely in love with Alexis. Sleigh Bells are in the UK at the moment, their show is crazy - go and see it. Their album still blows the socks off you.
Tickets: http://www.seetickets.com/Tour/SLEIGH-BELLS.

Sleigh Bells - Tell 'Em

Lousy post, busy today with budget meeting (fun). I've spoiled you recently though with Camille Delean, Clytem Scanning, SoftSpot, Birds of Passage etc. So I'll forgive myself!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

She Keeps Bees #4 - European Tour 2011

http://www.shekeepsbees.com

Exciting news here, the much awaited return of one of my favourite acts of 2010; She Keeps Bees are back in the UK and Europe at the end of next month, the dates annouced so far are;

February 
24 London, UK - Windmill
26 Oxford, UK - Bullingdon
27 Leeds, UK - Brudenell
28 Glasgow, UK - Captain's Rest

March 
3 Berlin, GER - Deutsche Theater
4 Brussels, BEL - Homeplugged
5 Paris, FRANCE - L'International
6 Lille, FRANCE - La Peniche
7 Oslo, NORWAY - Mono
MORE SHOWS TBA


Hopefully they'll be touring a new single / ep / album, I'll bring news of that if it happens. I highly, highly recommend getting tickets asap for the shoes. Last time in London they sold out The Lexington, Brixton Windmall is a lot more intimate than that and Jess and Andy's show is exceptional.

WEAR RED / She Keeps Bees by gangrenadiario
She Keeps Bees - Gimme by morrisday

Clytem Scanning - New Music "Introducing"

http://clytemscanning.com/

I stumbled across a video last week by Clytem Scanning and was instantly hooked. A one women project hailing from Paris who has been recording for a few years now, Clytem Scanning produce a brooding electronic sound that's made for a post 'Judgement Day Terminator'; a dark terrifying world where machines rule.

The song that I heard first "Massue" and it is absolutely massive. Akin to 'The Knife' with a 'Bjork'-esque vocal, it's a got an atmospheric pulsating beat with piercing vocals. If you check back on my posts you'll see that I'm a bit of a sucker for "dark, gothic electro" but Clytem Scanning have managed to get me all excited after just a week of listening to a handful of tracks. The creative process and visual elements seem great too, you can explore that in some wonderful videos on YouTube. Her website talks about a busy 2011, I'm excited to see what is in the pipeline.

You can download an EP for free and purchase a physical CD of the latest Clytem Scanning release right here.

Listen:
Clytem Scanning - Massue by clytemscanning

Clytem Scanning - Lions and Montgolfiers by Bedroom Research

Here is the video for the songs I mentioned above, I really like the home made video too:


The following video is a snippet of a live concert and it sounds intense. I want to see / hear this complete concert!! If anyone knows where I can see more of it, please let me know.
On top of the Terminator / Knife references, some bits remind of Bowie era Earthing, which is great because I think it's an underrated masterpiece. The beat and performance comes across as demented and wonderful. London needs a show!


CLYTEM SCANNING LIVE oct 2010 from Miss Lois Iron on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Birds of Passage - New Music "Introducing"

http://soundcloud.com/birdsofpassagemusic / Facebook

I've got Sophie from Her Name is Calla to thank for the discovery of Birds of Passage after she posted the above SoundCloud link on the bands twitter page. The two will be on tour together in April (hopefully - see below) in what could be that will be rather a special tour.

Birds of Passage is Alicia Merz from New Zealand, who like the aforementioned Calla produces some of the most stunning and beautiful music you'll ever hear. An introspective, minimalist approach throughout creating a hazy, dreamlike mood through Alicia's perfect hushed yet ethereal vocals.


There are sixteen tracks on her soundcloud page so we really have been spoiled. I'll pick just a few below to help you to fall for her just as I did:

"The Monster Inside You" highlights Alicia's ability to create ambient soundscapes with just her voice and the gentle instrumentation:
the monster inside you (demo) by birds of passage

This one is truly stunning, using a guitar and a breathless vocal to stunning affect:
silence in sound (demo) by birds of passage

One more, otherwise I'll be posting about them all and running out of adjectives! "I have My Heart" a little darker than the others above with an eerie, brooding atmosphere, equally sublime:
i have my heart (demo) by birds of passage

In a project similar to Pledge Music which some UK artists have recently used Alicia is fundraising via Indie Go Go: http://www.indiegogo.com/birdsofpassagetour - Birds of Passage are trying to raise $3,000 to fund the European tour I mentioned. Listen, enjoy and then give whatever is in your means on the link above. 

I've put my money where my mouth is and donated already and I'll encourage you and your friends to do the same. I was already looking forward to the Calla London date (well it's TBA at the minute), the chance for Birds of Passage as well truly is icing on the cake.  I hope some of the tracks on the SoundCloud are involved with this project - would love them on my mp3 player. 

An album is also due on the Denovali label - I'll be keeping an eye out for that!

The Soft Moon #2 - The Soft Moon

http://www.myspace.com/thesoftmoon 

Luis Vasquez the creative force behind The Soft Moon released his debut self-titled LP towards the end of last year in the States but I think it can count as an early 2011 release over here, out via Captured Tracks.

It's an obvious and lazy thing to say but the overwhelming feeling you get when listening to The Soft Moon is an intoxicating Joy Division / Bauhaus vibe, yet Vasquez has managed to successfully create his own distinct sound whilst being clearly stamped with those trademarks of late 80's post-punk. If that's not too much of a contradiction.

The mood is desolate, washed completely in gloom. This is music to listen to with the lights dimmed low, preferably alone. "Breathe The Fire" sets the mood perfectly with repetitive, rhythmatic percussion and a mesmeric pulse. "Out of Time" snarls along visualising industrial landscapes with it's aggressive and tense mood, guitars are icy yet hypnotic with a pulsating riffs and synths recall those from a low budget sci-fi film.

Vocals are hidden deep in the mix and distorted whilst some tracks are nearly instrumental besides the odd yelp or eerie chant. Vasquez has concentrated on creating an isolated, post-apocalyptic atmosphere highlighted wonderfully on single "Parallels" and "Circles".

Highly recommended, The Soft Moon have been listed today amongst in the initial acts for The Great Escape festival in May, one to check out if you are spending your weekend by the seaside.

8.0 / 10

Listen to a few tracks from the album below:
breathe the fire by thesoftmoon

dead love by thesoftmoon

Monday, 24 January 2011

Austra - New Music "Introducing"

http://www.austramusic.com

My first musical error of 2011 was deciding to have a peaceful evening in last Monday when I could have taken a trip to Brixton to see Daughter and Austra.

Austra are Domino's latest signing, the work of Katie Stelmanis whose debut release "Beat & The Pulse" is dominated by a powerful, pounding dance-floor filling electro beat that I like it a lot.

Fitting in nicely with some Knife / Zola Jesus / Iamamiwhoami female led electronic music with added does of dark, gothic musings. The single is due for release in the UK on Feb 21, listen below:

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Joy Formidable #11 - Radio Sessions + The Big Roar

http://www.thejoyformidable.com/

The last post until next week Monday as I'm off galavanting this weekend and I'm using the advantage of writing my own blog to post about my favourite band again... Why not when they are this good...

The Joy Formidable have stepped up the PR campaign in anticipation of 'The Big Roar' which finally hits the shops next week!

You can watch the band perform "Austere" for Zane Lowe here. I'll be honest and say I don't like his show too much, he seems over positive about everything and does like the sound of his own voice but it is great publicity.

They also performed an acoustic session and chat for Huey Morgan on 6 Music which you can listen again to the show in it's entirety here. Below is a sublime acoustic version of the song that got me hooked on TJF some two years ago; "The Greatest Light is The Greatest Shade":

The Joy Formidable - The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade (acoustic BBC 6 Music session) by morrisday

If you want to listen to a new track off the album, "Chapter Two" you can by going here and skipping until about 1.43.00. Myself, I'm going to wait until I've got the full CD in my hands.

Edit: Here are the radio session to download: Mp2 Radio One LINK and BBC Six Music LINK

It's getting universal praise from the reviews, buy 'The Big Roar' now: http://joyformidable.warnerartists.com/store.htm and tickets for next months tour: http://www.musicglue.com/thejoyformidable

Esben & The Witch #4 - Warpath


http://esbenandthewitch.co.uk/

One of my favourites Esben & The Witch, who after their BBC Sound of 2011 inclusion will be in the spotlight of a vast number of people return with the enchantingly creepy, atmospheric and frankly disturbing video for a track we've already heard of "Warpath". I do love a slice of dark, gothic pie it seems.

Watch below:


The groups debut album is released on 31st Jan, from the promo I can tell you it's stunning. A full review will come around that release date. Pre-Order it from Recordstore and get a bonus four-track EP.

Here is the equally brilliant "Marching Song" from the album and also available on 12" with two excellent B-sides and well worth the purchase.
Esben and The Witch - Marching Song by The Drift Record Shop

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Dark Dark Dark - Daydreaming

http://brightbrightbright.com/

Minneapolis based Dark Dark Dark aren't too well known this side of the pond yet though that will change around April time when their second album 'Wild Go' is released over here. It was released in the states last year generating a considerable amount of praise and buzz.

The lead track "Daydreaming" is a really treat, vivid landscapes created by the beautifuly complex yet delicate and well-crafted instrumentation, soulful vocals and soaring melodies.

Another piano led track and title track "Wild Go" is a hauntingly gorgeous closure. Opening track "In Your Dreams" shows a off the array of musical styles and complexities that combine together wonderfully. It's certainly an album I plan to spend some more time with, but for now I find myself going back, again and again to "Daydreaming".

Listen:
Dark Dark Dark - Daydreaming by Melodic Records

This is a track entitled "Bright, Bright, Bright" from a previous EP, it's wonderfully poignant and atmospheric:


Dark Dark Dark from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Silver Swans - The National Cover

http://www.facebook.com/silverswans

I love 'High Violet' - I put it at number four in my albums of 2010, The National were my second most played artist in 2010 (thanks last.fm!). Generally when that happens I don't like the material being messed with too much however, I really quite like this unique take on "Anyone's Ghost" by Silver Swans:



It's a dramatic, haunting, slower paced synth based version which completely changes the atmosphere of the song with beautiful, delicate vocals alongside a dreamy electro-pop sound. It is really quite lovely. Although, I do get the feeling it will go down a bit like Marmite with The National fans.

I'm not sure if Silver Swans is a side project, but vocalist Anna Yu is also lead singer in LoveLikeFire whose sound is more indie-guitar based (but also pretty good), I'll leave them for another time and concentrate on Silver Swans; Below you can listen to an original song by Silver Swans entitled "Holidays" which shows off that slow-disco chilled and quite gorgeous sound I was talking about:

Silver Swans - Holidays by silverswans

The post wouldn't be right without this, a sublime video of "Anyone's Ghost":

Beast Make Bomb #2 - New Video and EP on the Way


http://beastmakebomb.bandcamp.com/

My last post of 2010 was an introducing piece on Beast Make Bomb where I pointed out that they'd recorded a second EP. We can now see some of the results of that with the release of a new track "Rough It Out" below:


Rough It Out from Beast Make Bomb on Vimeo.

That's more clothes changes than I make in a month! Great song though, a nice continuation of the punk-grunge sound that I liked so much on their debut EP 'Skinny Legs'. The follow up is released on January 29, entitled 'Sourpuss'. I can only imagine it will be available on the groups Bandcamp above.

In other news, the band were recently selected out of thousands of bands to be a top 10 finalist for the "Get out of the Garage" competition run by Converse. The eventual winner will receive $10,000 worth of new gear from Guitar Center and a six city national tour. The winner will be chosen by daily online voting through until January 20th (that's tomorrow).

The band is currently in third spot. If you want to vote for Beast Make Bomb then go here. I listened to the band currently in the lead and they sound like Avril Lavigne. I also listened to the group in second place and the less said about that the better. Therefore, please share the link around if you can over the next 24 hours and help BMB kick start their tour.

Here's a couple of the highlights from the first EP to help you decide that the thirty seconds the above takes is a necessary contribution to this fine Wednesday.
Zombie Song by Beast Make Bomb

Rewind by Beast Make Bomb

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Acrylics - New Music "Introducing"

http://www.myspace.com/acrylicsnyc

Acrylics are from NYC like so many of the bands that tend to crop up here. I seem to be enjoying music from NYC, Canada and North-East England the most at the moment, no idea why!

On their smouldering new track "Nightwatch" Acrylics exhibit a smooth 80's synth vibe combined with a Fleetwood Mac esque 70's mellow, chilled-out rock. It's effortlessly cool with it's seductive vocal.
The same can be said for "Molly's Vertigo", the retro feel is carried over to the video too.

It works better than I've made it sound. See for yourself:
Acrylics - Nightwatch by infinityyeah

Both tracks are from the duos debut album 'Lives and Treasures' is released on Jan 25th via http://hotsandrecs.com/livesandtreasure.html - looking forward to listening to that.

Live recording enthusiasts can get a full recording courtesy of nyctaper here.

Camille Delean - New Music "Introducing"

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Camille-Delean/164608026912442?v=wall

I have Anna from Flying with Anna to thank for this one. Her introductory paragraph was this:

"This is maybe my favourite thing on this list, Camille Delean’s beautiful voice and gentle melodies are a treat for the ears..."

That was enough for me to investigate Camille's music further, I'm glad I did. Although I don't know a great deal about Camille just yet, you can hear three songs on her Myspace. To date, Camille has no release (I'd put out a 7" for you tomorrow!) nor is there ability to download any track other than the demo below. That has to change too!

Camille has a strikingly beautiful voice, of that there can be no doubt, it will instantly grab you and demands attention. There is a country twang throughout but I'd certainly file Camille as a folk artist instantly on par with so many of the modern folk artists. The gentle, reflective "Tomorrow I Will Leave" is a heart-achingly gorgeous track carried by her wonderful voice and wistful lyrics. "So it Goes" is equally impressive, built around a melodic, gentle guitar and steel-pedal, it's simply stunning.

The same praise could be directed towards "Rivers" which has a more traditional  melancholic folk and less of the 'Nashville' sound. I personally am I love with all of these tracks. If you like your folk too then I think we might have just found your new favourite artist.

If you are at a loose end on Wednesday (19th Jan) Camille is one of the acts playing at The Queen's Head. Wednesday gigs are a non-starter for me so I'll have to wait for a return, they'll be many.

Here's that demo to grab quick and then brag to your friends that you've discovered the next big country-folk singer before them...
Rivers by camilledelean

A Stunning cover of Neil Young's "Homefires:

Monday, 17 January 2011

Wye Oak - Civilian

www.wyeoakmusic.com/  

Approximately six weeks after every other blog mentioned Wye Oak's new song "Civilian" I'm doing it - it's the first song and title track from the duo's forthcoming third album due this March.

What starts as gentle folk rock changes at around the half-way point when we are treated to a blistering melee attack of Jenn Wasner’s fuzzy, shoegaze guitar and Andy Stack’s percussion and organ. Wasner's sultry, bluesy voice is a perfect match for the sombre yet multi layered rhythmatic tones - it's one of the best tracks I've heard this year to date. See for yourself:

Wye Oak - Civilian by cityslang

The couple's first two albums (and last years EP) missed my radar but the Baltimore duo have changed that instantly here and I've now got those previous albums on order as I type - I don't think I'm going to be dissapointed:


Wye Oak - That I Do - Luxury Wafers Sessions from Luxury Wafers on Vimeo.

Wye Oak - I Hope You Die by Bmore Musically Informed

Tennis #2 - Cape Dory Review

http://www.facebook.com/tennisinc
I've not done an album review for a while, I'm not sure how many I'll do going forward. By the very nature of this blog if I'm posting it then I like it, so it's not so much a review section as a continual praise section... Nevertheless, this is my short two pence on the debut album from Denver based husband and wife duo Tennis. (Buy the LP from Insound and get the above poster above free. Lovely).

'Cape Dory' (the name of the couple’s sailing boat) is a concept album which in simple essence re-creates the story of their eight-month long sailing exploration in the form of lo-fi minimalist pop. Alaina Moore's candy-sweet vocals help bring out the romantic feel good factor on the tracks, from cutesy doo-wop sha-la-la's to puppy-love swooning complemented by Patrick Riley's minimalist guitar riffs jangling along nicely with consummate ease.

The indie-surf vibe might be a bit last year to some but in my ears it's not been bettered than on album standout "Marathon" which was rightfully the couple biggest blog hit last summer, here it's reworked with a much cleaner vocal, guaranteed to have you snapping your fingers along with the melodic harmonies.

The hazy vibe of "Bimini Bay", its laid back "ooh-woo-oohs" and sparking chimes bring the album close to 'Teen Dream' territory, "South Carolina" slightly more up-tempo, is another favourite and the saccharine sweet "Pigeon" which brings the romantic vibe to the front and allows the delicate vocals of Moore to really shine. "Seafarer" is another easy going slice of surf-pop which like the other tracks compliments each other perfectly.

I've read a few negative reviews of 'Cape Dory' and I think they are missing the point. The album is at 10 tracks long and run for just half an hour in length one that doesn't intend to outstay its welcome. It is a cute and happy collection of catchy songs that are not trying to be ground-breaking, ‘Cape Dory's’ concise album is meant to be enjoyed as one and fits beautifully together within its central theme.

I'm not sure on the January release date, although like Teen Dream last year, Tennis with 'Cape Dory' might just bring a little bit of summer out in the middle of this cold, miserable winter…Although, the less said about the cover the better.

8.0 / 10


Tennis - Pigeon from Scott Laidlaw on Vimeo.

Tennis - Marathon by morrisday

Tennis: "Bimini Bay" (Live - Acoustic) by Speaker Snacks

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Tasseomancy - New Music "Introducing"

http://www.myspace.com/ghostbees

Not a new band, formerly Ghost Bees, Tasseomancy are twin sisters Romi and Sari based in Toronto. They've been on my radar for ages but it's taken until today for me to actual sit down and properly listen to them, which is my own foolish mistake.

There sound is certainly folk but not traditional, Tasseomancy create something that is experimental, dark and Gothic. The newer material especially sounds like its been created in a witches cove, though definitely a captivating, unique and wonderful one. "Healthy Hands" is an ambient, creepy number which is also delightful and beautiful. Listen below:



You can order it on their debut 7" Here. Limited to 500 copies on rose coloured vinyl with digital download included.

There are so many exception videos from the girls on Vimeo / YouTube. Here are a couple of my favourites:



Tasseomancy | A Take Away Show | Night from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

The Joy Formidable #10 - Austere Release

If you are here then you'll probably already know this but it's nearly The Joy Formidable season. Monday sees the release of their new (old) single "Austere", the version is slightly different to the Balloon original.

Buy. Here is the promo:



'The Big Roar' is out the week after - cannot wait.
TJF also did a lovely Fly Courtyard Session last week with performance of "Austere" and last single "I Don't Want To See You Like This" in acoustic form:



Thursday, 13 January 2011

Ghost Society - New Music "Introducing"

http://www.myspace.com/ghostsocietyofficialsite

These first two weeks in January I seem to be revisiting artists that released material in 2010 that I missed completely or by on large did. I've already given Effi Briest, Modern Superstitions and SoftSpot a positive write-up and now I'm doing the same with Ghost Society.
Although, I'm not sure if their album has even seen a proper release yet, aside from in Japan, I certainly couldn't see it listen in my usual places to look (Rough Trade / Norman / Amazon) yet the tracks I've heard certainly have perked up my interest for more.
Ghost Society are from Denmark, based in Brooklyn and produce a shimmering, textured sound that fits between dream-pop and shoegaze, with beautiful melodies and swirling guitars they'll soon be massive too.

The songs are written and vocals are shared between Tobias Wilner and Sara Savery. Though, there are no prizes for guessing my favourite moments are when the gorgeous, angelic voice of Sara's takes the lead like on the folk tinged "The Fool".
"Better Days" highlights the above perfectly, see for yourself:



This is a bit good, I'm guessing the live show is something else!

see also;

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Sharon Van Etten #3 - Live on NYCTaper

www.sharonvanetten.com/

The amount of amazing material that nyctaper posts is insane, the latest is a very recent concert from Sharon Van Etten. Go and get it now.

Sharon Van Etten's second album 'Epic' made my best albums of 2010 list. This live recording from the Bowery Ballroom sound quality is amazing and highlights her majestic voice and melancholy beautiful songs perfectly.

It's a perfect appertif for the real thing. Sharon plays a gig in Hoxton on Sunday 13th Februray which I'm looking forward to. Tickets can be found: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/104798

After that she will be on tour with The National throughout Europe, so if you are going to one of those gigs, count yourself very lucky.

Here is one of the (many) highlights from 'Epic'.
Sharon Van Etten - Love More

SoftSpot - New Music "Introducing"

http://softspot.bandcamp.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/withlovesoftspot

One of the reasons I find maintaining this blog rewarding and enjoy waffling on throughout my posts is because of discoveries like SoftSpot. I'd returned from my first outing to the gym of the year where Christmas dinners, lethargy and injury had all taken their toll, had the prospect of starting to cook a very un-exotic chicken pasta ahead but firstly I looked through my mail and discovered the video for "Bones" which you can find at the bottom of this post…

SoftSpot is Sarah Kinlaw and Bryan Keller from Brooklyn. I'd not come across them before and a quick search of Google makes it apparent that not many other bloggers have either, if talent does prevail, this should change.

"Bones" is utterly majestic, the combination of Sarah's hauntingly gorgeous vocal with a momentum building textured guitar riff that only increases with the introduction of percussion. The only downside I can find is that it's over far too soon, a song that I've listened to over and over the past couple of days and can imagine how good an extended live version would sound, a few more minutes of blistering guitar and drumming at the end, yeah, that sounds just perfect.

"Half a House" is equally impressive, a wonderful layered sound that builds up to a wave of sonic wonder, its atmospheric build-up puncturing by percussion. It's a sound that seems so carefully crafted yet performed so effortlessly.

"Irregularly Floating" will lead to Beach House comparisons with it's dreamy, relaxed and beautiful sounds, yet the quirky, uniqueness of Sarah's voice makes the sound of Softspot like no band I've heard recently.

The band released their debut nine track mini album 'Ardour' last summer which and you can get for $7.00 from their Bandcamp. Below is a track from it for you to enjoy and the video for "Bones".
This is great, right?


Softspot "Bones" from Jessica Collins on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Chapman Family #4 - News Galore

More news than you can shake a stick at so I'll start with the excellent news that The Chapman Family have been announced as tour support for most dates on The Joy Formidable tour. They'll play these gigs:

01/02/11 Bournemouth Old Fire Station
02/02/11 Bristol Thekla
03/02/11 Birmingham Academy 2
04/02/11 Manchester Cub Academy
06/02/11 Glasgow King Tuts
07/02/11 Edinburgh Electric Circus
08/02/11 Newcastle Academy 2
09/02/11 Relentless Garage w/Young Knives
11/02/11 Sheffield Plug
12/02/11 Cambridge St. Pauls
13/02/11 Leicester Academy 2

Their next single "Anxiety" comes out digitally on February 28th backed by a non-album track "Remarks". "Anxiety" is a wonderful grim and apocalyptic slab of indie-rock. You can listen / watch the video below:



Then if that wasn't enough The Chapman Family's long awaited debut album 'Burn Your Town' is released on 7th March. You can order it from Play and receive a signed copy.

Tracklisting:
1. A CERTAIN DEGREE
2. ALL FALL
3. ANXIETY
4. THE SOUND OF THE RADIO
5. 1000 LIES
6. SHE DIDN'T KNOW
7. SOMETHING I CAN'T GET OUT
8. KIDS
9. A MILLION DOLLARS
10. VIRGINS

Listen to "All Fall" below:
The Chapman Family - All Fall by morrisday

Holly Miranda #5 - Two New Covers

www.hollymiranda.com/

I'm shocked that this is only my fifth Holly Miranda post, I feel like I go on about her a lot. As well as her own beautifully stunning album 'The Magician's Private Library' Holly is quite fond of doing covers. An EP 'Come To See' has five on it from a wide range of genres covering Lauryn Hill ("Ex-Factor") through to Jeff Buckley ("Lover You Should've Over), if you've not heard them you need to correct that.

We've now a couple more, one which Holly shared for New Year a cover of the Sparklehorse track "Hundreds of Sparrows" which she'd performed live a number of times before and the other, "You and I Undercover" a song I'm not familiar with by Steel Train. Listen to them below:

Holly Miranda - You and I undercover (Steel Train Cover) by holly miranda
Holly Miranda - Hundreds Of Sparrows (Sparklehorse Cover) by holly miranda

You can download "Hundreds of Sparrows" with a quick trip to http://www.themagiciansprivatelibrary.com/

Delicate, beautiful, what an extraordinary talent. I could go on... If you are in Australia, Holly is playing four shows over the next week. I'm hoping a return to the UK shores is pending (soon please).


http://vimeo.com/17071764 from holly miranda on Vimeo.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Niki & The Dove - TLOBF Mother Protect Session

http://www.myspace.com/nikiandthedove

I was pretty certain I'd done a post about Sweden's Niki and the Dove before, but I clearly haven't apart from a brief mention in my alternative new bands of 2010 in response to an NME thread.

The trios first double A-Side 12" "DJ, Ease My Mind" / "Under The Bridge" highlighted their potential with a alluring cocktail of anthemic pop, epic choruses and euro dance (that description makes them sound horrendous music you'll hear in a German techno club - they're not!).

Then came along "Mother Project" which leaned more towards a more experimental, almost Fever Ray sound with some gothic soundscapes, a thunderous beat and even a pan-pipe solo. A musical treat for sure. Make sure you give it a spin if you are not familar with it.

The reason behind this post some two months after every other blog wrote about the band is because TLOBF today posted a rather splendid take of "Mother Protect". Watch below:



Steam the tracks we have so far below: You can by the 12" at Rough Trade.
Niki And The Dove: Streaming tracks by Oohbrilliant

Paper Crows #2 - Fingertips

I gave Paper Crows debut release "Stand Alight" a positive little write up back in August. After quietly writing new material in-between playing a few shows they now return with the equally wonderful "Fingertips" which is released in anticipation of the duos second single 'Follow the Leader' which comes out February 21st.

"Fingertips" has a distinct early Portishead feel to it, an atmospheric melancholy pop-noir with a beautiful soulful touch through which allows Emma Panas glorious vocal to shine through in a brooding, mature and ultimately rewarding listening experience.

See for yourself below:

Paper Crows - Fingertips by Sainted PR

Here is the debut single to love. You can get this off iTunes right now.
Stand Alight - Paper Crows by Sainted PR

Another one to watch in 2011 then. They play a HMV show on 4th Feb but it's sold-out so unless you have a ticket you'll have to wait in line for their next gig.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Glasser #4 - Spinner Session, Lindstrom Remix and Shows


Some exciting Glasser news here, this post is a bit of a three pronged attack so straight off with this wonderful remix by Lindstrøm of Mirrorage:


I don't tend to like remixes, I am going to guess that this is the first one I've ever posted to this site, they normally add nothing to the original apart from some horrendous dance beat, this one though is plain and simply a bit mental, in a good way.

The extension of the incessant tribal drumming beat and haunting vocals combined with some distortion and additional emphasis on the moody, witchy feel of the music makes for a wonderful reworking.
It's being released on 12" here.




Glasser performed a great session for Spinner recently, you can watch it all here, sample below. A bit special this lady. Absolutely love "Apply":



After that you're surely wanted to see if for yourself, right?

Good News, UK shows below: See you at XOYO:

19 Feb – Leeds, England – Brudenell Social Club
20 Feb– Glasgow, Scotland – Captains Rest
21 Feb – Manchester, England – Deaf Institute
22 Feb – London, England – XOYO
23 Feb – Brighton, England – The Hope

Order the album and read by album review on my last post here.