Thursday, 31 March 2011

Fear of Men - New Music "Introducing"

Fear of Men are a newly formed group from Brighton / London who to date have released just four tracks via a demo tape (which unfortunately for rabid collectors like myself is already sold out - see Sex is Disgusting). Thankfully though, we can listen to the songs via the four pieces Bandcamp.

Contrary to the name, rather than put the fear of God into you, their four distinctly home-made lo-fi demos are more than likely to lure you to a fuzz-pop induced dreamy dance. Shimmery and jangly guitar riffs combine blissfully with catchy melodies and beautiful, ethereal vocals. As exhibited perfectly on free give-away "Phantom Limb".

"Church Words" starts as a more melancholy affair, but even here with the lyrics "I've always been afraid to die" the group can't resist bringing an irresistible and catchy chorus guaranteed to make the sombre themes wash over you. I'm sure this won't be the last of Fear of Men on this blog. Listen below:

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Jennifer Left - New Music "Introducing"

Oh Brighton I love thee, not only are you so close on the train line, you have exceptional venues, great people and a brilliant music scene. My latest discovery from the south coast is Jennifer Left, a new artist (as a solo artist that is - she is / was ? in a band too) who states she is "inspired by the songs that raised her", you can only assume that New Order's "Temptation" was one such inspiration given her cover which you can hear below, a Glockenspiel introduction before Jennifer's rich, warm vocals combines with gentle guitar strumming to create a compelling version of the 80's classic.

The other tracks aren't embeddable at the minute, so you'll have to head to Jennifer's Soundcloud page and listen to them yourself. I grabbed on for your ease, though I highly recommend you listen to them all.

Jennifer's vocal has a gorgeous late night quality, her sultry, melodic and beautiful voice might give similarities to Feist, if I was to pick a lazy comparison anyway. My stand-out are the dark-themes on display in the bluesy stomp of the excellent "Dalia" - you can just imagine this going down lovely with a nice glass of bourbon. The folkier sounds of "Paper Trails" are very appealing on the ears too, wistful yet charming. Quite, quite lovely - a very nice introduction indeed.

Temptation - Jennifer Left (New Order Cover)

Jennifer Left - Dalia

Cosmetics - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook / Bandcamp

I actually thought I'd done this post a long time ago, as I appear not to have I'm making that right. Cosmetics are a duo from Vancouver and have to date released two wonderful 7"'s via Captured Tracks (though the first is sold out and the second is close to) with an album coming soon.

Minimal, icy-cold synths with sleek and synthetic rhythmatic beats made perfect by Aja's airy, ethereal vocals floating seductively over them, "Soft Skin" is a chill-wave disco hit guaranteed to have you tapping your feet and bobbing your head. "Sleepwalking" slightly less dark but equally infectious.

Cosmetics - Sleepwalking

Cosmetics - Soft Skin by morrisday

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Night School Records - Appeal Cassette

Obviously this is a music blog, but one can't help but be affected by the recent events in Japan. Friends at Night School Records have just launched an appeal cassette release, all artists donated their music for free and all proceeds will be donated to Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal.

The compilation features a broad selection of artists (see below) and is released May 1st with a digital version available for a contribution very soon.

Head over to the Night School Appeal Page for more information to pre-order the cassette and to donate.

Artists involved include:


A taster of what you can expect:

Monday, 28 March 2011

The Palpitations - Milk It

So the next release to tempt you from your hard-earned is another by a London band, this time The Palpitations who release "Milk It" on digital after a limited vinyl release last month. You can get it here and if you'd prefer a chuck of wax here.

Growing up as a indie-rock boy I've neglected those roots a bit recently in favour of doom-laden electro pop so it's nice to find something that properly grabs my attention from the genre which as a whole (and if you'd believe the nme) seems to be relying on Libertines reunions and reliving Oasis (other than The Joy Formidable that is); "Milk It" does just that, grab your attention, a ferocious and aggressive number of crunching bass-line and crashing drums, the tempo starts fast and gets faster, it literally doesn't let you go until it's finished - and then you'll probably be pressing repeat and going through the same emotions for the next three minutes.

Debut single "Tears in the Rain" is another triumphant hit, dark melodies searing through chiming guitars and the exceptional vocal of Danielle Quinn who shrieks and purrs in equal measures to a thunderous adrenalin rush peak.

The band have two London dates planned for April - see their website for full details.
Watch / listen below:

Milk It from The Palpitations on Vimeo.

The Palpitations - Milk It

 The Palpitations - Tears In The Rain

Paper Crows #5 - Fingertips / F.T.L. Single Release

A short-ish post as I have mentioned the songs before (to read my  spiel go here), a reminder that the Paper Crows double-A side single Fingertips / Follow The Leader is available today as part of a special EP featuring both songs alongside a package of remixes. You can pick that up on iTunes here.

You can also watch a simple but effective short film to accompany "Fingertips" below; I've been told this isn't the official video, so a teaser video featuring the faces of Keith Allen and more, it does fit the aching beauty of the song perfectly.

Listen beneath this text and a reminder that you can still pick up a free download of the majestic acoustic version of "Fingertips" with a click on the arrow of the link below.

Paper Crows - Fingertips (Acoustic) by Sainted PR

Paper Crows - Fingertips (Acoustic) by Sainted PR

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Alpines - New Music "Introducing"

I don't do a single of the week feature but If I were to I'd have a hard time this week (March 28th) because there are quite a few wonderful releases coming out.
Starting off with South London duo Alpines who remind me of one of my new band favourites Paper Crows (see next post!) with their beautiful glacial synth-pop comprising of powerful female vocals, almost Nordic in nature and brooding, ambient electronic beats.

The songs are enormous, even sitting here on my computer speakers, I can just imagine how fantastic these would sound out of a good pa. "Ice & Arrows" sounds fresh and is frankly immense, natural Portishead comparisons come to light. They’ve self classified their sound as 'Night-Pop' which is quite an apt turn for their music, and quite a lot of my taste too, I might use that again!

Alpines play The Great Escape in May. You can buy the debut EP 'Night Drive' right now via iTunes or on swanky 10" vinyl.

Listen / watch below:

Ice & Arrows by Alpines

Drive by Alpines

Alex Winston - New Music "Introducing"


It has taken me more plays than normal to decide if I like Alex Winston or not, I've decided that I do. I'm not sure what it was that made me take so long (I started this post in January), probably the poppy, girlie charm her songs naturally possess, or, more likely that whilst she is certainly on the borderline between independent and commercial, I do fear that a 'Marina' could happen. By that I don't mean becoming popular, I mean following up her original versions of  "Obsession" and "I am Not a Robot" with such dross as "Shampain".

For now I'll stick with the material I've available and say that she has definitely won me over with her distinctive voice and EP which is full of saccharine sweet and catchy pop numbers. Stand-outs for me are the stripped down acoustic "Don't Care About Anything" and the infectious "Choice Notes", uplifting in melody and kooky in vocal, a combination on display throughout most of the EP.

Alex is in the UK in May, dates below:

May 10, King Tuts, Glasgow
May 12, The Cooler, Bristol
May 13, The Great Escape - Horatios, Brighton
May 14, Futuresonic Festival - Gorilla, Manchester
May 15, The Sugar Club, Dublin
May 18, XOYO, London

Sister Wife by Alex Winston

Choice Notes by Alex Winston

You can hear more, along with a handful of covers at Alex's soundcloud page.

Friday, 25 March 2011

The Sorry Kisses - Keep Smiling

I'd not heard of The Sorry Kisses until the release of 'Keep Smiling', the duo's third album which jumped right out of the proverbial page from the very first listen. I'm yet to hear those first two releases so I'll keep my comments purely on the latest release (I'll be correcting that once I get chance) though this is apparently the heaviest thing they've released to date.
For me at least, it's been a pretty wonderful starting point...

Comprising of singer Hayley Hutchinson and guitarist Sam Forrest (formerly of Nine Blacks Alps) The Sorry Kisses have created an aural treat with 'Keep Smiling'. Kicking off with the frenzied punk rock of "Drifting in the Dark", maxed-out reverb heavy guitars treat the listener to an utterly beautiful racket. The rough-edged rock continues with "Sunstorms" and "Love But Left Behind", both explosive yet introspective numbers with the sludge like crushing guitars complemented wonderfully by Hayley's exceptionally charged vocals.

Wisely the fuzzed up rock numbers are interspersed with a more tranquil, melodic side; an obvious highlight is sunny day reminiscent "Blue Skies", the shimmering and youthful melodies are a world apart from (the most obvious Nine Black Alps cross-over) grunge-derived mudslide "What's The Big Deal". Its ferocious, feedback drenched guitar riffs won't be to everyone's taste - certainly not my Mum who'd be saying "ah this is nice, I could listen to whilst I'm in the garden" about "Blue Skies" whereas "... Big Deal" would get a "what the hell is this noise"... Mum's hey.

"Postcards" brings back some of the beautiful day, breezy sugar-pop feeling but contains bite just when you think the band have ran out of 50p's to feed the electric meter. "City Light City Nights" is a perfect closure for the album, woozy and dreamy. Keep Smiling has (for me - not my mum) a great balance of gorgeous poppy songs yet inter-weaved with viciously rocking parts. Lovely.
8.0 / 10

Buy it here //

Doing some research into The Sorry Kisses had me chuckling (I'm easily pleased) for a couple of reasons; firstly was this (frankly odd) review where the band are tossed-in with The Joy Formidable, personally I'm not getting much too similarity bar the obvious guitars and female singer, perhaps a greater one could be found in their previous incarnation The Sidecar Kisses, not just the name.
Then also this too; The Sorry Kisses been on tour recently with Benjamin Francis Leftwich, this review states Hayley's vocals on the stripped back acoustic set are "initially reminiscent of a British Caitlin Rose" - so two pages - my two favourite artists - consider me more than curious!

The Sorry Kisses - Sunstorms

The Sorry Kisses - Blue Skies

Edit: So I did some digging (well Google searching the band + acoustic) and found this, I'll not comment on the Caitlin reference, but it is rather lovely:

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Tashaki Miyaki - New Music "Introducing"

Tashaki Miyaki is an artist I'd not heard of until Monday, though judging by the blog posts I've read before posting this it did the rounds about three or four weeks ago, so another behind the times post from me... They (I'm not sure if it's a they) apparently (I've no idea) hail from California (no conclusive evidence other than this blog post) and fit into the lo-fi // dream-pop // nostalgia-pop // surf-pop (whatever you want to call it) vibe that's pretty popular at the moment (as I'm on a roll with the brackets - understatement!).

So far there are only two tracks to judge on but both are pretty impressive. Firstly "Somethin is Better than Nothin" with it's slow paced, fuzzed up jangly 60's girl group feelings - you know the drill  by now - it's a real belter of a tune with it's gorgeous "Whoa, yeah, its gonna be alright" repetitive cries until its ending, sure to brighten your moo. The other, a beautiful cover of "All I Have To Do Is Dream", the Everly Brothers classic which would be a perfect track to hear coming out of beach-side bar on a hazy, dreamy sunny day with a nice cold beer or pina colada if you'd rather. Download for free from bandcamp / listen below:

Tashaki Miyaki - Somethin Is better Than Nothin

Tashaki Miyaki - All I Have to Do Is Dream

Tennis #3 - Live Sessions and Recording

It's been like summer the past few days so it's maybe been time to ditch (a little) of the doom-pop in favour of something more suitable of the weather (whilst it lasts). In 2010 that meant reaching for the nearest Beach House CD, this year might belong to husband and wife duo Tennis, whose LP 'Cape Dory' is on my short-list of favourite releases this year (although it's only out in the States thus far, with a UK release to follow on the pair's newly setup label Carmen San Diego planned in May).

It's perfect music for a bit of sun, a cute collection of lo-fi and dreamy tracks. I gave it 8.0 / 10 back in January, with the sun in your eyes and wind in your sails it's probably even better than that.

Here we have a couple of lovely videos of the band doing a couple of sessions, firstly Soundcheck, you can listen to the full fifteen minute session / interview here.

This one is the title track (and name of their boat) "Cape Dory" from a wonderful KEXP session, this is one of the three videos, find the others here, amazing quality and look nice in full screen too!

I'm not done yet, if like me you are a live music nut, head over to the best site on the Internet for live recordings nyctaper for a full 45 minute set from Tennis which is quite wonderful containing most of the tracks on the album and more.

Tennis - Bimini Bay

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Friends - New Music "Introducing"

Here's a tip for you budding musical trend-setters - follow the Norman Records single and album of the week religiously as it often digs out some real gems. I was introduced to Zaize Von Einem Stern exactly this way; next up is this weeks current single of the week, Friends with their release Friend Crush. Released on Lucky Numbers (the same label as Darwin Deez whom the band have recently been on tour).

Thankfully there is absolutely no connection with the US sitcom that ran about eight years past its due date but a new band from Brooklyn, maybe they've taken their name from the suburb they practised or something. I've no idea but I don't really care, their sound is pretty cool. "Friend Crush" is a slight twist on the typical infectious tropical guitar pop doing the rounds at the moment, with a luscious and charming vocal delivery that sounds like it could be straight from Scandinavia. B-Side "Feeling Dank" has some gorgeous harmonies and hand-clapping too. Nice.

Friends - Friend Crush by LuckyNumberMusic

Friends - Feelin Dank by LuckyNumberMusic

Austra #5 - Two SXSW Videos

So I've waxed lyrical about Austra at just about every possible moment recently and I'm not missing the chance to do so again for a couple of reasons; these two videos are too good not to be shared, and there are now London shows in pen.

Firstly, a rather wonderful a cappella version of new track "The Choke" (backed by Tasseomancy no less) for NPR and the latter a pulsating live performance of "Beat and the Pulse". Now all that seductive dancing has got me in a bit of a fluster!

Austra's return to the UK has been announced, taking part in Dazed Live in London on Saturday 9th April then a Manchester show on the 10th and a further London show on the 12th at Corsica Studios. Can't find tickets link yet, hopefully they'll be put here when I do. Maybe further dates will crop up at too.

Austra - Young & Gay by DominoRecordCo

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Saint Saviour #3 - Amazing Session + New Video

So I covered Saint Saviour just a couple of days ago so I'll keep this one relatively superlative free, but since last Thursdays these two things dropped and you really should be listening / watching them;

Firstly, we have a four track radio session called 'The Amazing Sessions' (who have featured some brilliant artists in the including Let's Buy Happiness and more) and it's quite an apt title really, because it is just that:

You can also watch an exquisite acoustic version of "Fallen Trees" on the amazing tunes website and stream audio for a further two songs too. Without doubt you should check out the outstandingly beautiful version of "Hurricanes" here, I said it was my favourite of the four tracks off her debut EP, this spellbinding piano version only magnifies the exceptional wonder of Becky's voice, and may just be even better.

Today also saw the release of the official video for "Reasons" a fragile and achingly sad piano ballad now with a video to match, shot in black and white in Becky's home town of Stockton-on-Tees it's tells a grim tale of a man beating up another before returning to the scene to help his victim:

You'll be able to see Saint Saviour for yourself on her upcoming UK tour - initial dates on her website here - I'm sure a London show will be added, Saint Saviour will be at The Great Escape and is 100% must see.

Here is an alternative acoustic version of Hurricanes to enjoy:
Saint Saviour - Hurricanes

Some Things Change by Saint Saviour

Ana Lola Roman - New Music "Introducing"

Ana Lola Roman is a Multi-Instrumentalist, Singer/Songwriter based in Brooklyn who came in my attention through a quick post on artrocker the other week. She is about to release her debut single Jigsaw / Klutch on April 11th (although I've read 18th as well).

"Jigsaw" is an intense blend of rhythmic percussion with a looping-pulsating beat that uses rickety electronic samples and classical piano to compelling effect with a wonderfully confident vocal that when all put into the musical mixing pot comes out as a distinctive dance-floor friendly electro-pop sound akin to 90's Madonna.

The more industrial and mysterious tones of "Klutch" create an other-worldly, brooding trip of warped synths and tribal drum beats, the vocal delivery here exquisitely breathy and seductive.

Looking forward to hearing what comes next!

Pic: © seymour templar 2011

Ana Lola Roman - Jigsaw

Ana Lola Roman - Klutch

Monday, 21 March 2011

Mushy - Faded Heart

Self proclaimed (well by her PR) as the Italian answer to the magnificent Zola Jesus release ʻThe Spoilsʼ, gothic enchantress Mushy has recently released her album 'Faded Heart'. It's certainly not one for the faint hearted, an album so depressingly gloomy and sinister that it would not be advised to be on your iPod outside after dark, unless you get your kicks out of walking home feeling like your life will end at any moment.

Drenched in a nightmarish haze of darkness and melancholic ambiance 'Faded Heart' is a ghostly combination of the aforementioned early ZJ material and the recent stand-out LP by The Soft Moon with heavy emphasis on looping-repetitive synth beats and an icy, desolate drone.

The entire album seamlessly flows into one menacing and stark atmospheric experience, one I could see playing out on a low budget Film Noir / horror soundtrack (in fact Mushy has created a series of macabre visuals on her youtube channel to accompany them already). The lyrics delivered with droning spectral vocals take you beyond the grave; from "Burn Me", "Burn me // I want to escape // Don’t be afraid // I’ll be gone”.

The result is an intoxicating cocktail of dark romance and death, one which takes key elements of the 80's dark-wave scene and transforms it to a brilliant lo-fi experimental success. One of my favourite releases of the year. 8.5 / 10

Mushy - Losing Days by Mannequin Label

Mushy - Faded Heart CD/LP MIX by Mannequin Label

I may have just found my new favourite record label in Mannequin, the next two artists I listened to have been amazing too - that's for another time - order from them here.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Jezabels - New Music "Introducing"

So I've started doing some research for The Great Escape and will naturally be passing on some recommendations, the first are Australia's The Jezabels who judging by their facebook likes (17000) and play count on (almost half a million) are already pretty established in their homeland... but to be honest I've not really heard of them in a UK sense before, that will no doubt be changing in May when they hit our shores.

The five tracks on their third EP 'Dark Storm' (aptly titled!) contain some pretty epic and confident indie-pop anthems built upon layer upon layer of beautiful sweeping soundscapes, melodramatic soaring guitars and pianos. Driven by galloping drums, though the real jewel in the crown has to be the absolute powerhouse vocal of lead singer Hayley Mary, her falsetto throughout is insanely grandiose, ranging from haunting beauty to delicate sweet in a matter of seconds, it is a true highlight throughout.

"Sahara Mahala" the centrepiece track on the EP is a perfect starting point with it's reverb heavy guitar solo and powerful piano building up to a breathtaking crashing crescendo of emotion, truly wonderful. As are the rich arrangements and lyrical imagery on title track "Dark Storm" and "Mace Spray", a sinister pop chart hit if you've ever heard one.

Now I don't generally like bands who are made for stadiums but I can honestly see this music being played into some huge arenas, the sound is absolutely massive. And amazingly impressive. Listen below, then you can stream all three EP's from the bands Soundcloud:

The Jezabels - Mace Spray

The Jezabels - Sahara Mahala

Friday, 18 March 2011

Perfume Genius #2 - May UK Tour Presents: Perfume Genius "Dreeem" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Perfume Genius released one of the most fragile and painstakingly gorgeous albums I've ever heard last year, I put 'Learning' at number 14 in my favourite albums of 2010, I'm sure if I were to do that again now it would be higher.

I'm yet to see Perfume Genius live, I've been told it's a sublime experience, one I can't wait to encounter and luckily for me Mike Hadreas has announced a string of UK and European dates for the spring, tickets in the normal places, I'll be at two of these:

14 – Sheffield, City Hall (Grand Ballroom)
15 – Nottingham, Bodega
16 – London, Bush Hall
17 – Manchester, The Kings Arms
18 – Dublin, The Sugar Club
20 – Brussels, Les Nuits Botanique
21 – Amsterdam, De Duif Church
28 – Barcelona, Primavera Sound Festival

Perfume Genius - Mr Petersen by TheArtOf...

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Saint Saviour #2 - A Proper Introduction

I posted about Saint Saviour one busy weekend with the promise to fill in the post properly; now two weeks have passed so I thought it best to do a proper thread otherwise you might just miss out on this, and believe me, you don't want to.

I didn't know it until recently but I have come across Saint Saviour (real name Becky Jones) before in electro-dance trio The RGB's, I saw them late one night in 2008 at The Great Escape and if memory serves me correctly they were a wild, energetic group whose show was spunky and damn-right fun.

Saint Saviour is a different proposition, a solo project with a genre difficult to pigeon-hole, synth heavy chamber pop is what I'll go with. What is clear though is that Becky possesses an astonishing voice that unlike so many of the more recent chart dominating big-lunged ladies really does strike a chord with a spine-tingling emotive vocal, beautifully produced songs and dark-tinged lyrics of love, death and loss.

After a vinyl single entitled 'Woman Scored' release last October, Saint Saviour's debut EP has recently seen the light of day, the four track 'Anatomy EP' transfixes you on first play with it's grandiose and impassioned approach, opening with the evocative "This Ain't No Hymn' with electro bass-lines pulsing through it's beat combined with a dramatic choir styled vocal it's a perfect showcase for Becky's extraordinary talents. There is a brooding and mechanised synth-heavy beat through "Birdsong" which makes you think of (and I must have used this analogy for about six of the last ten posts, sorry!) Fever Ray with Kate Bush on vocals.

The second half of the EP slows the pace, "Reasons" starts off as a achingly sad piano-led ballad building to a euphoric closing crescendo while last track (and probably my favourite) "Hurricanes" is a heartbreaking track sung by a siren. Fuzzy organ and gentle percussion cumulates to one of the most beautiful and well-crafted tracks I've heard for some time, the only downside I've managed to come up with after a whole morning spent with this EP is that it's all over in 17 minutes.

You can purchase the 'Anatomy EP' from the Saint Saviour shop here, ltd to 200 CD's I'd advise you to move quickly.

Fallen Trees by Saint Saviour

Saint Saviour - Birdsong

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Just a number 05272011 - New Music "Introducing"

This did the blogosphere rounds last week creating quite a stir judging by the play-count of the recently upload track, though I somehow missed it, so I'll post it after everyone else has already covered and probably heard it too;

The oddly titled Just a number 05272011 (27th May 2011?) hail from the Isle of Man, yes the Isle of Man (perhaps) the epicentre of TT racing and err, TT racing...

They (I'm guessing it's a they - like so many of today's new electronic acts the release of the first couple of tracks is shrouded in mystery - to keep people like me on their toes) basically sound like The Knife if they were starting anew and as I'm very much a fan of Karin Dreijer Andersson and varying artists that have cropped up thanks to the influence of the Swedish electro geniuses, I am liking this very much...

"The Pain" would fit seamlessly onto the 'Fever Ray' album, delivered in swathes of brooding ambience, abstract manipulated vocals and eerie tribal beats which basically means it's a wonderfully constructed electro-pop number. Listen to both songs "The Pain" and "He Didn't Want A Love Song" below;

THE PAIN by Just a number 05272011

He Didn't Want A Love Song from just a number 05272011 on Vimeo.

The National - New Song Think You Can Wait

I've been listening to The National a lot the past 24 hours and then spookily a new track turns up, "Think You Can Wait", the bands contribution to the "Win Win" soundtrack, not heard of the film myself but the song is all kinds of goosebumps.

A slow-burning ballad with some achingly beautiful orchestration and an intoxicating backing vocal from Sharon Van Etten. You may guess I'm a bit of a sucker for female vocals but Matt Berninger's is arguable one of the most striking and impressive of his generation, especially with such heart-wrenching emotional songs as this. Listen:

The National - Think You Can Wait

I'm having continual nightmares thinking there is the potential for a The National / Pulp clash at Primavera (hope not!) and there aren't any London shows announced at present although the band have a gig in Edinburgh in August, around Reading time (please Glastonbury!), so perhaps a London show will turn up about then - I hope so!

I think I might have a couple of records I've not posted, if I do I'll do so, check back on previous posts for some quality ones.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Halls - New Music "Introducing"

This release is the prefect match for my tired bones and mind today; London based electronic artist Halls has released 'Solace' a three track EP (available to download here), it's a beautifully crafted blend of minimal understated synths, distorted samples and a haunting, ghostly vocal.

I can 100% testify that the 12 minute journey of sparse ambience is a perfect chill-out choice, even better on repeat. One of the tracks is entitled "Brave New World" which instantly made me think of War of the Worlds (not Aldous Huxley surprisingly) and the aural wasteland it encapsulates would be a perfect soundtrack for the aftermath of an apocalyptic fall-out.


Halls - Solace from Two Tap on Vimeo.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Caitlin Rose #18 - Own Side US Release

Even though I'm London based and post about a lot of London based gigs and goings on I do actually get more of an audience from the States, which is kind of cool, so this post is for you...

The UK has been lucky the past six months because we've had about four or five Caitlin Rose tours and my favourite album of 2010, 'Own Side Now' came out last August, well, it finally gets its US release tomorrow (why is Tuesday release day over the pond?! - makes no sense!). So do yourself a favour and buy, buy, buy! Amazon or from Caitlin's own store which has some pretty cool T-Shirts too. Caitlin is about to set off on an extensive US tour starting at SXSW up to June (including a trip to Australia and back) - full dates - Caitlin is confirmed for a few UK festivals (including Glastonbury) so we'll get our next fix then.

To celebrate the release of 'Own Side Now' her US label are giving a free download of one of the European singles "Shanghai Cigarettes" - click on the arrow and enjoy:

Caitlin Rose - Shanghai Cigarettes by theory 8 records

Here is a criminally unwatched video of Cailtin doing a solo acoustic jaunt for Spanish radio, five tracks including a new one "I Don't Trust Anybody" which I heard for the first time last Monday at the Borderline, then search my older posts for more fun stuff.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Nicole Atkins #2 - An Interview with Nicole Atkins

I've not done an interview for a little while but when I was offered the chance to put a few questions to Nicole Atkins I of course jumped at the chance.

Nicole's second album 'Mondo Amore' is due in the UK next month, four years after her debut 'Neptune', quite a gap and one which sees her return with a new band and label.
'Mondo Amore' is a big, bold and deeply personal album, containing well-crafted and incredibly well-written songs about heartbreak and, though it's subject themes are close to the bone it's never bitter.

Lead single "Vultures" is a perfect introduction, an imposing, gritty bass-line, beautiful melodies and a dark, sombre theme. "Cry, Cry,Cry" is a mainstream power-pop hit that would take Adele to the top of the charts, certainly the most likely single success on the album.

Varying styles are on display, seductive crooning on "Hotel Plaster" to one of my favourites "You Come to Me" which is fast-paced and distinctly Rock 'n' Roll. Others worthy of mention include the haunting "Heavy Boots" and the exceedingly gorgeous closure "The Tower". Throughout thought the absolute highlight is the knock-out vocal performance of Nicole.

Thank you ever so much for your time, Nicole.

What inspired you to start making music? 

I grew up in the age of MTV. When I was 7 I was constantly watching music videos and listening in to my older brothers Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath records. When my grandmother would watch us I'd listen to all the old Sun Studio recordings of Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. My parents always had Sinatra and Frank Zappa playing in the house. Music is what I most identified with in the world at a young age and 14 years before I wrote my first song, I always knew it was something I would end up doing.

Of your own songs, which are you proudest of and what track is the most fun to play live?

I'm proud of any song I finish but as of right now the song that I enjoy listening to and playing live the most would be "The Tower." Even though its only 6 minutes long it feels like an entire movie. It's filled with drama and heartache and musically it goes from tiny to towering. no pun intended.

Which artists do you feel have influenced your work and continue to do so?

I've always been inspired by Sinatra's phrasing, Lee Hazelwood's writing, Harry Nilsson's singing, Scott Walker's imagery and melodrama, the menace of bands like Love and the Sonics, Nick Cave, Echo and the Bunnymen, Bill Withers, Traffic, Nina Simone, Angelo Badalamente, the HAIR soundtrack, old country music and Louisianna swamp blues. 

Which song do you wish you had written?

Ave Maria and "The Air that I Breathe" from Albert Hammond 

What's the best gig you've attended in recent memory? Or a band that you’ve played with who impressed you? 

We recently did a tour with the Black Keys. I've been seeing them live for about 8 years now and it was really inspiring and amazing to see them now playing in front of thousands of people just owning it. It was also a blast getting to share in that moment with them and open the shows. It re-instilled my theory that hard work and good taste will always prevail. And Pat and Dan can make more noise than most bands with ten more members. They're beasts! Other than that the other best show I saw this year was Tame Impala. I went two nights in a row at Bowery Ballroom. It felt like seeing early Pink Floyd for the first time.

If you were to curate an ATP event, who would you want to invite along?

Oh that would be a trip. If I were to curate ATP I would invite Blind Faith Reunion feat. Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Dungen, Tame Impala, Spiritualized performing "Ladies and Gentlemen we are floating in Space," the Jim Jones Review, Flat Duo Jets, Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Last Shadow Puppets, Black Angels, Dead Meadow, Wanda Jackson and Loretta Lynn with Jack White, Patti Smith performing "Horses," Dan Auerbach with Buddy Guy, Bill Withers, Queens of the Stone Age with Mark Lanegan, PJ Harvey, the London Suede, Bryan Ferry with Angelo Badalamente performing Roxy Music

Recommend an artist that isn’t getting the attention they deserve.
There is a band from Brooklyn called Minerva Lions. I'm obsessed with them. They are like the Beatles meets Howling Wolf, meets Talk Talk. They have a 5 song EP and I listen to it on repeat 10 times in a row and dont get bored. I also think the songwriter Robert Harrison of Austin Texas's Cotton Mather and Future Clouds and Radar is one of the best poets and psychedelic artists of our time. He has a way of making psychedelic pop records that sound completely fresh and modern and in no way retro. 

Thanks again to Nicole.

Although the album is already out in the States, ‘Mondo Amore’ is released in the UK on April 4th through Proper Records. UK Tour Dates to follow. Track-listing and pre-order from amazon.

Whirl - New Music "Introducing"

Whirl are from California, they release their seven track EP 'Distressor' on vinyl 16th April after a download release last year; it is going to appeal to loud but melodic shoegaze lovers around the world.

After the ambience installed by the sample laden  "Preface", "Leave" sets the scene with its wall of gorgeous, fuzzy and glittering guitars, male / female vocals inducing sonic soundscapes in the mind, a truly cinematic experience. My highlight of the record, though this is certainly not saying the way is down from this point on.

The reverb and distortion levels are still on maximum for "Blue" the dreamy vocal track placed firmly towards the back of the mix whilst it packs the punches with some heavy riffs and punching drums, its finale of saturated feedback plays into "Ghost" which takes its title quite literally producing another highlight with a beautiful and lush sleepy track with ethereal vocals.

The tempo is raised for next two tracks on the EP, the furious frequencies of "Meaningless" and "Child" probably providing the most obvious point for the lazy My Bloody Valentine similarities post. Distressor's seven tracks come in under 25 minutes and for that short time, you are in for a rewarding and captivating experience, one you'll reach for again and again.

Buy the 12" for £8.00 here.

Whirl - Leave

Whirl - Child

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Austra #4 - Lose It

Another new Austra song, another winner. "Lose it" has been released as a streamable track ahead of the album 'Feel it Break' on May 16th - I've recently said how much I'm looking forward to this album, so I won't repeat myself, but this new track is another brilliant track, probably a bit poppier than "Beat and the Pulse" but still an enthralling slab of dark electro.

Still no UK dates, although there is a French tour at the end of the month / start of April so fingers crossed they'll be some London dates added at the very least.

Listen below:
Austra - Lose It by DominoRecordCo

If you missed this last time, don't make the same mistake again; A piano rendition of a new track entitled "The Beast" that is truly breathtaking and gorgeous:

Austra "The Beast" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Paper Crows #4 - Fingertips (Acoustic) + Video Teaser

London duo Paper Crows have been mentioned here at a rate of a post per new track, a clear sign that I'm well and truly hooked by their glacial electro-pop noir, there isn't a new track here as such but we do have an exquisite acoustic version of their track "Fingertips".

Backed by a melancholy piano and solitary violin it's a simply stunning version of the track, (probably already by favourite of theirs, although Stand Alight runs it close) this version is possibly even better than the original version, particularly with Emma's heart-achingly tender voice sounding even more beautiful than ever, joined by Duncan's hushed echo in the background, it really is the definition of gorgeous.

Stream / Free download with a click on the arrow:
Paper Crows - Fingertips (Acoustic) by Sainted PR

“Fingertips” is released as a double A side along with “Follow The Leader" on March 28. Listen to the dramatic, pulsating electronica of "Follow The Leader" below, it's brilliantly dark and unsettling:

Paper Crows - Follow The Leader by Sainted PR

The band have a few upcoming gigs in London on March 21st (The Social) and 28th (The Lexington).

We've also been teased with a club for their upcoming promo video for "Fingertips" which is more like a trailer for a big budget Hollywood blockbuster sequel to Cloverfield or 28 Days Later, thus this clip contains mild peril (as they say in the cinemas):

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Gazelle Twin #2 - I Am Shell I Am Bone // Facebook

For the quick pace of the Internet, blogs have been ridiculously slow on giving Brighton's Elizabeth Walling aka Gazelle Twin the attention her work deserves.
I first gave a rave review of her debut single, "Changelings" last November, now we have the follow up "I Am Shell I Am Bone" I'm sure the handful of blog coverage will soon become a snowball of posts...

"I Am Shell I Am Bone" (released as a free download in April via Anti-Ghost Moon Ray Records, a Brighton collective of which Gazelle Twin is involved) continues with the black textured yet immersive and creepy eeriness of "Changelings", with a base of dramatic brooding synths and undulating rhythms layered around the ghostly whisper of Elizabeth's vocal creating hauntingly atmospheric, surreal dreamscapes.

An entire demo album, 'The Entire City' can be streamed via Elizabeth's website, go and listen because it gives the perfect summation of the Gazelle Twin project. Highlights include the chilling foreboding atmosphere on "This Entire City", the choral and Dirty Projector-esque harmonised wailings at the start of "Concrete Mother". "Building The Obelisk's" continual melancholic yet overwhelmingly beautiful vocals and some primitive, incessant drumming on "When I Was Otherwise". You get the idea, this is simply divine and disturbing, the songs take you to a fantastical, otherworldly universe creating an ambience of equal parts beauty and dread.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. This is going to be incredible live, conjuring the same dark magic that has made Karen Dreijer Andersson, Anja Plaschg and Nika Roza Danilova all firm-favourites of the gothic electro world, this incredibly well-constructed, innovative project is going to explode.

Listen to the single below:

The previous single "Changelings"
Gazelle Twin - Changelings by Cannonball_PR

A teaser for what promises to be a visually stunning video for "I Am Shell I Am Bone"

I Am Shell I Am Bone Trailer from Gazelle Twin on Vimeo.