Sunday, 31 July 2011

Carousels - New Music "Introducing"

http://selscarou.tumblr.com/ / Facebook

Carousels are Nick Benton and Lucy Wilson, a new duo based in Guildford. I keep reading that they're 'mysterious' and following the never ending list of bands who are hiding their identity from the musical world. I'm not sure why, perhaps because they aren't banging on everyone's door to introduce themselves, they have pictures on their facebook account and a contact email, I'm sure they'll happily respond to you.

Perhaps it suits blogs if bands are mysterious and it helps to create a buzz, anyway, I don't really care who is / isn't in a band, I care about the music and the three tracks we've got at our disposal Carousels are delicious.

"Here to Me" is arguably my favourite, buzzing chain-saw guitar riffs, layers of feedback and a gorgeous flowing melody, there is even room for some hand-claps, what isn't there to like?!. "Sleep" is a stomping, droney shoegaze wonder that sounds like it was made in the 90's, walls of energetic guitar noise, hard-hitting drum-loops and Lucy's soft butter wouldn't melt vocals. Fantastic.

The band will be making their live debut at The Old Blue Last in October, one to watch.

Listen:
HERE TO ME by Carousels
SLEEP by Carousels

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Holly Miranda #7 - Pelican Rapids

http://www.hollymiranda.com/ / Facebook

The best news from Friday came from Holly Miranda, with a post on her website, in which she states "Hey guys I want to share this version of ‘Pelican Rapids’ that I recorded in a poolhouse in Beverly Hills, CA a couple of months ago.... I’ll be making some exciting announcements about my new album next week".

Consider me excited, as well as a free download of "Pelican Rapids", new of a new album?! Amazing news, I was familiar with "Pelican Rapids" through listening to some live recordings of Holly endlessly in the middle of last year and this mix sees it follow a similar form, although slightly more stripped back, from the breathtaking build-up of Holly's beautiful, goose-bump inducing vocals and the choral harmonies to the second half which sees the introduction of a metronomic drum beat, keys and finally an echoey guitar.

Utterly, utterly gorgeous. Album news awaited with bated breath!

Listen:
Holly Miranda - Pelican Rapids(poolhouse mix) by holly miranda
and download with an email below:

Friday, 29 July 2011

Ume #2 - Captive

http://umemusic.bandcamp.com/ / Facebook

Ume have announced the long awaited (by me at least) follow up to their outstanding 'Sunshower EP', the Austin trio (who seemed to have a new drummer) release their second album 'Phantoms' on August 30 via Modern Outsider Records available to pre-order on CD and sexy pink vinyl here.

We've been treated to a free download of a new track "Captive", which sees Ume perfect their exhilarating blend of heavy-hitting drumming, accelerated grunge riffs and delicious pop hooks. Punchy crescendos blast through shredding guitar as lead singer Lauren Larson's breathy vocal leaves you pulverised by a powerful wall of sound. "Captive" is huge. Here's hoping the album is this relentless.

Their are obvious similarities with The Joy Formidable (musically and otherwise - both bands have a pint-sized blonde bombshell taking care of lead guitar and vocals,whilst their partner / husband adds bass), and with my favourite trio on a one way ticket to stardom, it's not hard to see Ume following suit. I know that I'm in an increasingly large number of people who are itching to see them in Europe.

Listen:
UME - Captive

Here's one of my favourites from their EP, which is now available to get on limited edition vinyl here. I've got the CD already but when my Paypal account is looking healthy, this might have to be mine. Get their debut album 'Urgent Sea' too.

Ume, “The Conductor”

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Jezabels #2 - Endless Summer

http://www.thejezabels.com/ / Facebook

After a trio of self-released EP's, Australian four piece The Jezabels have announced the first single off their forthcoming debut album (well it's not due until Spring 2012, so not that forthcoming), "Endless Summer" will be released in the UK on September 5th, the first release via their new label, Play It Again Sam Recordings (PIAS).

The Jezabels have trademarked their own anthemic sound and "Endless Summer" follows suit perfectly. Built around a thunderous, menacing momentum, sweeping keys, crescendos of intense percussion and swirling guitar create a sound that is euphoric, emotional and for want of a better word, epic.

It's impossible to mention The Jezabels and not talk of the incredible power wielded by Hayley Mary with her voice, capable of blaring powerhouse fury and a delicate sweet falsetto, flickering between the two at will, her voice is simply incredible.

The Jezabels will make their second appearance in the UK (after their May dates) in September, ending with a date at XOYO, London on September 13th. Full European tour dates here. I'm looking forward to seeing them again, I commented in May that the sound was a little overbearing at times in an afternoon show in a little Brighton venue, I'm expecting to be blown away, perhaps literally, at XOYO.

Listen:
The Jezabels - Endless Summer by thejezabels

Two of my favourite tracks from their earlier, EP's:
The Jezabels - Sahara Mahala
Hurt Me by thejezabels

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Erika Spring - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook

Erika Spring maybe familiar to some of you as the keyboardist in the heavenly New York band Au Revoir Simone, her debut solo release is the stunning "6 More Weeks", which comes out via Friendly Fire Records as part of a 'Violens / Erika Spring' 7" split. Available August 2nd.

"6 More Weeks" is a fragile and irresistibly beautiful pop number, Erika's soft and airy vocals float over mesmerizing keys and a precise drum-beat, it's intoxicating and is just what I want to be listening to right now, on my first night in the house in a week. Tranquil  mellow, slightly melancholic and totally gorgeous.

Listen:
Erika Spring, "6 More Weeks" by The FADER

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Laura Marling #8 - Sophia

Facebookhttp://www.lauramarling.com/

Laura Marling returns with her third album, 'A Creature I Don't Know' on September 12th, yesterday the first single had it's debut on Radio One and you can now listen to it below.

"Sophia" bears all Marling's trademarks, aching vocals instantly take to centre stage. The track starts slowly but gently and surely the tone of her voice and finger-plucking increases, driving acoustic propulsion gradually raising the tempo before her band enter taking the track to its climax with a rousing and beautiful crescendo.

The arrangement is amazing throughout, her voice from tender gorgeous to powerful certainty over the course of a few lines, it's certainly enough to wet the appetite. Listen:

Laura Marling - Sophia by ListenBeforeYouBuy

You can pre-order the album now and get ‘Sophia’ straight away from iTunes (with exclusive bonus track), alternatively order the CD here.

Laura has also annouced a Cathedral tour of the UK in November, dates can be found here.

Here's the accompanying live-drawn video for "Sophia":


We were previously treated to this preview of "A Creature I Don't Know", beautiful, I'm hoping the album version is of which ever track this is (on the tracklisting there is no title-track), is longer:

Monday, 25 July 2011

Gazelle Twin #3 - The Entire City

http://gazelletwin.com/ / Facebook

I decided I wasn't going to review Gazelle Twin's debut 'The Entire City', it has already received some fine reviews from reviewers (The Guardian 5/5, dis 8/10, FT 8/10 and even NME 8/10) far more capable and articulate than myself, instead I'll just do a piece highlighting why you should buy it. I'm crap at reviews anyway.

I first fell for the mysterious charm of Elizabeth Walling after hearing her debut single "Changelings" and a cover of Prince's "I Wonder U" late last year, its eerie atmospherics created a beautiful, mysterious experience.
Hazy synths glide over Elizabeth's ethereal vocals, electronic processing shifts her voice to a ghostly whisper. Magnetic, immersive and stunning.

The follow up "I am Shell I Am Bone" was even better, undulating rhythms and pulsing drum-beat drive the track, equal parts dream and nightmare. Now with her debut full length Gazelle Twin has constructed her own otherworldly universe, to be consumed as one, 'The Entire City'. Dark and weird, stark and disturbing, bold and fascinating. For those with even a passing interest for surrealist, gothic artistry 'The Entire City' is a transfixing experience.

Third single "Men Like Gods" confirms her rite of passage, ominous and edgy. Then there are the harmonies on interlude "Far From Home" and "Bell Tower" and "Obelisk", one of the stand-outs, with a soul shivering chill that I can just picture sound-tracking a monochrome sci-fi film.

It's not difficult to put Gazelle Twin in the same left-field visionary status as Fever Ray and Planningtorock. Add choral harmonies as beautiful as Dirty Projectors' and military percussion as precise as These New Puritans and the unique mind of Gazelle Twin and you've just created one of 2011's essential albums.

I think that non-review turned into a bit of a review, still, the point I'm making is the same - buy the fucking album. Self-funded throughout, it's the least Elizabeth deserves.

An album launch show is being held at London's Electrowerks on Thursday, September 1st (all the details can be found here) ahead of Gazelle Twin's debut European tour in November, the only date announced so far is the first, a home-town show at Brighton's Green Door Store on the 18th (details). They promise to be artistically and visually spectacular and I'm extremely looking forward to them, so much so that I've put off going to End of the Road until Friday morning so I don't miss the London show.

If you've not heard of GT and want to sample, a few tracks can be heard below and you can stream an online version of 'The Entire City' in full over at the Gazelle Twin website. Pre-order a CD version of the album here (LP to follow).

Gazelle Twin - Changelings
Gazelle Twin - I Am Shell I Am Bone
Gazelle Twin - Men Like Gods

Check out the accompanying video for "Men Like Gods too"

Men Like Gods (official video) - Gazelle Twin from Gazelle Twin on Vimeo.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

St Vincent #4 - Surgeon

Facebookhttp://ilovestvincent.com/

Yipee! After teasing us with the whole tweet #strangemercy thing for a couple of days, we've now finally been treated to the first glimpse into St Vincent's third album, 'Strange Mercy'.

You can get the track "Surgeon" with a trip to strangemercy.com and listen below. Needless to say, I absolutely love it. Annie's voice is just beautiful, I literally get goosebumps every time I hear it.

The track starts slowly, with a haunting yet soothing melody before completely changing direction with some glorious guitar shredding and some psychedelic keyboards that adds to a rather sumptuous climax.

Can't wait for the album Strange Mercy, which is set to be released September 12th.

Download / Listen
St Vincent - Surgeon

Friday, 22 July 2011

Summer Camp #5 - Better Off Without You

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Summer Camp have certainly been busier than your local seaside ice cream vans this summer, hot on the heels of the stalker anthem "I Want You" and the fuzzy synth pulses of "Nobody Knows You" the London based duo release another teaser track, again a song about You, "Better Off Without You" will be their new single released September 12th via their own Apricot Recording label.

"Better Off Without You" brings back the up-tempo, sweet pop hooks that made their 'Young EP' so delightful, a wonderful sing-along hit in the making.

If you haven't already, go and pledge for their album, one of the free updates is a full audio-book of the first Adrian Mole book read by Elizabeth. I remember reading all the Adrian Mole books when I was about 12, brings back some good childhood memories.

Listen:

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Lizard Kisses - New Music "Introducing"

lizardkisses.tumblr.com/lizardkisses.bandcamp.com/

Whilst I was searching for a nice video to accompany the Seapony post of a few days back I came across the vimeo site for Future Sweden, it seems we share similar taste in music because I was taken aback by a few of the bands I'd not heard before. Starting with Lizard Kisses, a Brooklyn based acoustic duo (Cory Siegler and Marc Merza) whose lo-fi music is laid-back, calming and utterly, utterly beautiful.

There a couple of EP's worth of tracks to digest, I'll start with "Slow Bones", which seems as  good an introduction as any, a dreamy lullaby that would be perfect for snuggling up on the sofa with whatever (or whoever) takes your fancy. Cory's gorgeously soft vocal evokes a strong sense of calm as it gently soothes your tired bones, backed by Marc's equally delightful whisper and acoustic guitar plucking. Heavenly.

"Waywards" is equally simple and delightful too, a hazy melancholy washes over me but it's blissful all the same, a nostalgic feel throughout like you've stepped inside your Instagram app and are viewing life through some vintage filter. "Day Taker" is off their debut 'Sleeping In' EP, quite aptly titled too, for I'd certainly like to spend a day snuggled down with this as my only accompaniment (aside from some coffee and a good book that is).

You can download their music on a pay what you like basis at bandcamp, physical products seem to be sold out which is a shame for collectors like myself! Another band firmly added to my 'follow' list.



Watch those initial videos below, quite wonderful they are too:

lizard kisses - runoff from Future Sweden on Vimeo.

Lizard Kisses - Waywards from Future Sweden on Vimeo.

Ms Mr - New Music "Introducing"

http://msmr.bandcamp.com/ / Facebook

Here we have another act shrouded in anonymity which makes the finer details sketchy at best, let's just say that Ms Mr are a new, New York based electro-pop duo who've recently unleashed their debut offering, the quite breathtaking EP 'Ghost City USA'.

Lead track "Bones" has been gathering some fine support too, Marina Diamandis linked to the video from her twitter account stating she 'adored' the track, it's easy to see why, unfortunately there's no visual aid to help recognition in said video, it uses scenes from Labyrinth throughout, so for now at least we are left with simply the music:

"Bones" is every bit as wonderful as the intro I've given it suggests, coming from the same soaring, brooding soundscapes of Alpines 'night-pop' genre with polished, heavy atmospherics. Piano and strings drive "Bones" with dramatic elegance until the ignition of some hard-hitting percussion. The vocals carry the same ethereal and hypnotic strength as Florence and the Machine. It's every bit as striking as anything off 'Lungs'.

"Time of my Life", a Patrick Wolf cover, is wonderful too. Sparked by energetic and passionate beats and vocals (the Florence similarities come back again), it's just as strong and powerful, whereas the third track "Strings" is achingly gorgeous, after telling off Alpines (a little) for a lack of variety, it's great to see Ms Mr come up with such a moving, beautiful ballad on their debut EP.

The fourth track "Ash Tree Lane" is just as good but I'm sure you've got the picture, Mike at The Recommender has done a better introduction that this anyway, so I'll keep this one there but suffice to say this won't be the last we hear of Ms Mr.

You can download the EP for free now via bandcamp, live shows and album in the works. Listen below:

Ms Mr - Bones
Ms Mr - Time of My Life (Cover)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Dum Dum Girls - Coming Down

Facebookhttp://wearedumdumgirls.com/

Dum Dum Girls have offered up the first track off their upcoming Sub Pop release, 'Only In Dreams' (due for release September 27th), "Coming Down" is a real step up in class too, a slow-burning opus that clocks in at six and a half minutes that's a world apart from the stellar garage-rock that marked their debut 'I Will Be' and I for one, completely love it. Signs were good from after their EP 'He Gets Me High' and boy have the girls delivered on this teaser track.

"Coming Down" is a real heart on sleeve lament. Dee Dee's smoky vocals recall more Hope Sandoval than the lo-fi fuzzed-out Shangri-La's of the debut. Languid, echoey guitars shimmer with emotion and longing, complementing the woozy and wistful lyrics perfectly, everything about this track is mellow, luscious, amazing.

"Coming Down" is for those late night, alcohol soaked melancholic moments. Undeniably vulnerable and beautiful, if the album hits me like this track then it's going to be something special.

Dum Dum Girls are on tour throughout October and November, hitting London's ULU, 17th November.

Listen:
Dum Dum Girls - Coming Down

Download:

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Happy New Year #2 - Gold Medallion

www.happynewyearmusic.com/ / happynewyear.bandcamp.com/

Eleanor Logan returns with her second Happy New Year release next month, "Gold Medallion" b/w "And... Begin!" is released August 3rd via Crikey! Records (limited to 500, pre-orders with hand-written lyrics - buy here).

Following where her last release"Twins / Hotel" left off, "Gold Medallion's" sound is enormous for what is basically a solo project (although she is accompanied by some musicians for live performances). Propulsive programming, clattering percussion, atmospheric drones and Eleanor's silky soft vocal. Utterly transfixing.

Listen below:

Gold Medallion by HAPPY NEW YEAR

I mentioned her debut release here, the tracks are below in case you missed them the first time around, fans of fuzzed-up, experimental noise-pop would be silly to ignore:

Hotel by HAPPY NEW YEAR

Twins by HAPPY NEW YEAR

Eleanor is back in the UK in October, something to look out for then. This looks a bit good, yeah?


HAPPY NEW YEAR- HOTEL from rob heppell on Vimeo.

Update: Here's the video, it's lovely too.

Happy New Year - "Gold Medallion" from One Line Creative on Vimeo.

Monday, 18 July 2011

St Vincent #3 - Strange Mercy


Facebookhttp://www.ilovestvincent.com/

I've been obsessed with Annie Clark for ages, one of my many geek habits is to compile lists (in my head) of bands / artists that I've not seen, that I want to. St Vincent are top of that list (joint with Holly Miranda - someone I've mentioned here a few times), I've been listening to her albums ad infinitum, I simply cannot get enough.

When I'm being properly obsessive I head to youtube to search for some live / acoustic performances (there's enough on St Vincent to make a rather stunning DVD) that then make me further and further in love. Things such as this acoustic track of "The Strangers":



Unbelievable. A voice to melt you and simply an extraordinary talent - backed by a full band Annie is capable of things like this:



That's a bit fucking good yes? Need to see live. Thankfully (hopefully) that's not going to be too far away as St Vincent's third album has been announced, 'Strange Mercy' will be released September 12th, full track-listing and an extensive US tour can be found here. Track preview and European dates please Annie!

EDIT - Head over to http://strangemercy.com/ and follow the details and a free mp3 is the reward (well once enough has done it - it's got 50% of the way in about 20 hours).

A third and final video from one of the best live sessions people out there, La Blogotheque, delightful:



St. Vincent - Paris is Burning
St. Vincent - The Strangers

Seapony #4 - Go With Me

http://seapony.bandcamp.com/ / Facebook

Need an album to help you remember that it's actually Summer? Look no further than Seapony’s debut, 'Go With Me'.

We've listened to some of the Seattle trio's album previously on their wonderful debut EP and the formula is understandably the same with the album. A simple approach based around catchy lyrics, nonchalant vocals and jangly guitars, it's surely going to have scores of nostalgic folk like myself swooning all summer long.

“Dreaming”, the album’s opening track reminds me of Best Coast’s summer-friendly single “When I’m With You.”. It was of course the track that first brought Seapony to many peoples attention, it's still brilliant now saccharine sweet (and unashamedly so), repetitive (there must be only about six lines of lyrics) and utterly, utterly infectious.

Another returning track "With You" is deserving of it's place on the album too while "Blue Star's" melancholic haze is equally delicious. Though, perhaps my highlight is "Where We Go", Jen Weidl’s vocals are airy and dreamy whilst breezy melodies float beautifully over a wash of drum machine beats and reverb. It's based around the same chord patterns throughout and the sameness could but a few people off, me, well I'm sitting down looking out at grey clouds today and this album is making me forget that:

Here are a few wonderful video's, firstly the official video for "Where We Go":


Here's a live performance of "I Never Would":

Seapony - I never would from Future Sweden on Vimeo.

Seapony - Blue Star by hardlyartrecords
With You by Seapony

'Go With Me' is released August 1st and you can get it here.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Steffaloo - New Music "Introducing"

http://steffaloo.bandcamp.com/ / Facebook

Steffaloo aka Steph Thompson featured on the blog last month with her collaboration Toy Camera, she returns in her own right thanks to her upcoming 7″ 'On Fire', which comes out August 16th via JAXART Records. Limited to 300 copies on marbled 7" vinyl, it's available to pre-order here.

To wet the appetite we've been treated to a free download of the b-side, the beautiful "The Red Runs Free". Steph's soft vocal whispers are genteel and wistful, it features Pandit, who provides the gently plucked wash of acoustic guitar that simply but delightfully backs the track, it's a perfect soundtrack for those all to fleeting lazy days when you can put to bed the troubles of the office and simply relax.

"On Fire" is equally refined, her soulful purr is intimate, haunting and devastatingly gorgeous. A simple ballad, but an affecting one too. The released follows Steffaloo's album 'Meet Me in Montauk', an album I'm yet to hear (for my sins), believe me when I say I'll be correcting that soon.

I doubt those three hundred vinyl's will hang around too long, so get one ordered quick.

Listen to both sides below:
on fire by steffaloo

Steffaloo - The Red Runs Free (feat. Pandit)

Alpines #2 - Cocoon

Facebook / http://www.alpin.es/


Alpines return with their new single 'Cocoon', to be released on August 22. Whilst not straying far from what we've heard already from the south-London duo, the sophisticated production, sweeping synths and soaring vocals result in another winner.

"Cocoon" is polished and dramatic, its icy ambience dark and edgy, twinkling keys and a driving beat compliment Catherine's beautiful vocals which are haunting and ethereal, it's quite easy to fall for Alpines. If you sense a but coming, you are half right...

As a continuation to their self-penned genre, night-pop, it's a fine track, it's probably even better than that and I'm definitely sitting in the fan category, though it does make me recall what I said about their live set at The Great Escape. I'm hoping their forthcoming album adds a little more variety to the handful of tracks we've heard so far (of which the stand-out "Empire" seems to have disappeared off their soundcloud - a future single for sure). Let's see where the future takes them, for Alpines certainly have one.

Listen / watch below:

Cocoon by Alpines

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Austra #8 - More Videos and Live Dates

Facebookhttp://www.austramusic.com/

I saw Austra for only the second time last week and the first time backed with Sari and Romy Lightman (Tasseomancy), the show was great though perhaps it didn't quite live up-to my incredibly high expectations.

The sound (where I positioned at least) was a bit too quiet until the encore when Katie asked for it to be turned up (the volume had a big impact on the synth sound and bass in my opinion) and secondly due to the atmosphere. For me it wasn't quite as good as at Corsica Studios, let's face it, the majority of Shoreditch is more interested in being cool than dancing to some dark and brooding synth-pop. Let's add a third a negative that is nothing to do with the music. The price of one can of San Miguel - £4.50. Seriously Cargo, that is taking the piss.

Saying that the show was still highly enjoyable, the twins were as entrancing as I was expecting and certainly help the visual element on the show (I'm not sure why they didn't open ahead of the frankly awful band that did) and Katie was equally hypnotising as she showcased her exception vocal range, her hand movements also channelled some pretty awesome energy. Full marks for the light show that would have befitted a dark nightclub much better than the back room of Cargo but still hit the mark, "The Beat and The Pulse's" menacing undertones and last single "Lose It" got the best reception of the night and they sum up what Austra are about,  dark, bewitching and undeniably seductive.

If you can't wait to catch Austra live, as well as playing End of the Road (Whoop) they return for two UK shows in early September:

Sept 5th - DEAF INSTITUTE - Manchester
Sept 6th - SCALA - London

Brilliant. Watch these rather spellbinding new session videos that have shown up online of the past week or so. Firstly a rather pink "Darken Her Horse", the album opener and one of my favourites:


and this rather lovely version of "Lose It" from The Guardian:

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

I Break Horses #3 - Winter Beats

Facebookhttp://www.ibreakhorses.se/

The blog is in danger of being overran by Bella Union acts at the minute, here is the return of one of my favourite new artists, Stockholm duo I Break Horses. "Winter Beats" is the follow up to "Hearts" both taken for I Break Horses’ debut album 'Hearts', due August 15th.

"Winter Beats" glistens like sun over a snowy landscape with gorgeously dreamy synth pulses that gradually builds in rhythmic momentum, reverbing layers of noise and drum combine with Maria's hazy whisper. It's, as expected, beautiful.

Listen:
I Break Horses - Winter Beats by Bella Union

Here is the video for "Hearts", available to pre-order on 12" here.

I Break Horses - Hearts from Bella Union on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Founds - New Music "Introducing"

founds.bandcamp.com/ /

I've been ridiculously poor at going through my mailbox recently, numerous excuses as to why of course, I've been away at festivals, busy at work and going out enjoying myself a bit too much. That however didn't spoke me discovering Brisbane six piece Founds who've been busy recording their debut EP, and have made a brand new single, the title track 'Holograms' available.

Glistening, chiming guitar soundscapes are prominent throughout, meandering melodies and gorgeous ethereal vocals that are more reminiscent of Scandinavian singers than Australian are a signature of "Holograms". As the song progresses the driving percussion becomes increasingly urgent and the aahing harmonies more luscious as it reaches a wonderful climax.

"Holograms" is available to download from free from Founds' bandcamp now, the EP release date is as yet unannounced, one to keep an eye out for then.

Listen:
Holograms by Founds

Monday, 11 July 2011

Veronica Falls #4 - Come on Over

veronicafalls.com/ / Facebook

Veronica Falls have followed Lanterns on the Lake and many other excellent new artists in signing to the impeccable Bella Union, to celebrate the announcement of their as yet unnamed debut LP (due October 17th) we've been treated to a new track, what will be the albums final track, "Come on Over".

After a light and airy opening the VF signatures are all there, head-nodding worthy pacing led by driven percussion, ramshackle guitars and dual male/female vocals, then of course, a healthy dose of infectious sing-along lyrics. Can't wait to hear this one live. The band are on the same bill as Vivian Girls at XOYO in a couple of weeks time (tickets), shame I'm at Creatures of Love that evening, both promise to be great nights.

Including both singles, b-sides and free download tracks that's seven Veronica Falls tracks in my library, all seven are perfect. Listen / download 'Come on Over' and my favourite "Starry Eyes" below:

Come On Over by Veronica Falls
Starry Eyes by Veronica Falls

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Gem Club #2 - Breakers

http://iamgemclub.com/ / Facebook

Gem Club have released details of the follow up to their breathtaking self-released EP 'Acid and Everything', 'Breakers' will be the duo's debut full length, out September 27th on Hardly Art.

To preview, we've been treated to a free download of the title track, "Breakers" is a fragile, heartfelt lo-fi ballad that is unquestionably intimate and devastatingly gorgeous, Christopher Barnes' soft, fragile vocals play delicately over melancholy strings and bare piano. Sparse, haunting and blindingly beautiful. Can't wait to hear the full LP.

The track is as wonderful as anything on the Perfume Genius LP, though perhaps less sorrowful and difficult, though equally spellbinding. "Breakers" is definitely one of the years essential tracks.

Listen / download:

Breakers by Gem Club

You can order the debut EP from Bandcamp, since I purchased it an option to buy a pillowcase package has been added, whatever takes your fancy I guess! Here is the title track to fall in love with:

Acid and Everything by Gem Club

Isobel Anderson - New Music "Introducing"

Isobelanderson.bandcamp.com/ / Facebook

I'd not heard of Isobel Anderson until I was at Glastonbury and I didn't even see her there (I'm not sure where I was at the time she played). Another blogger, Robin from Breaking Move Waves did and he passed on the recommendation, I'm glad.

Isobel is a Belfast based singer/songwriter, she released a self titled E.P. in 2008 and her first album 'Cold Water Songs' last year, I've not sourced the EP yet, but I've got my grubby mitts on her album, and it does not disappoint one bit.

Over the course of the album you quickly realise that Isobel exhibits an absolute stunning talent, the focal point is her voice, rich and soulful, beautiful and warm backed by subtle instrumentation of carefully plucked guitar and harp. There is a melancholic atmosphere throughout the album, mainly storytelling songs of love, lost and found, but it's never morose or dull. The songwriting is intimate, introspective and exquisitely beautiful.

Stand outs for me are the devestatingly effective lament "Whitstable Bay", the full-bodied warmth of "Seaside Suicide" which floats along magically. The darker "Morveren's Lullaby" which builds up in urgency to the albums most cacophonic moment and the stunning closing track "Ten of Swords", a cappella, it lays bare instrument and every emotion, simply breathtaking.

'Cold Water Songs' is available for free (or more) from Isobel's bandcamp and also available on very limited CD. A follow up has been sent printers and will hopefully be annouced soon.

There are a whole host of tracks on Isobel's soundcloud, go and listen, you won't regret it. Aside from some support slots on the Belfast scene and that Glastonbury gig it appears Isobel's music hasn't travelled too far yet. Surely that won't be the case for much longer?

Seaside Suicide by isobelanderson
Ten Of Swords by isobelanderson

Saturday, 9 July 2011

New Look - New Music "Introducing"

http://newlookmusic.com/ / Facebook

I'd seen the name New Look come up a few times in the past couple of weeks, after working out it wasn't a few bizarre suggestions to visit the naff retail chain namesake I took up the recommendation to listen to the husband and wife duo and it was not decision I regret.

Since then they've been kicking up a bit of a fuss after a couple of London shows this past week, unfortunately I couldn't make either but I've got their debut single, "The Ballad" to fall in love with.

When a song is called "The Ballad" you aren't expecting to hear anything too heavy and that assumption is right, the track is laid-back, gentle and simply delicious. The chilled, ambient beats melt effortlessly with the heavenly vocal of Sarah Ruba. The accompanying videos visuals match the song better than any in memory, an icy, longing darkness. Instead of my usual waffle I could have taken a leaf out of a few more popular blogs and used one word to describe this track - beautiful.

New Look's style of slow, rumbling synths and gorgeous female vocals, midnight pop / disco-noir, whatever you may call the genre is taking a prominent position on this blog (and many others) recently, after a hard week at work this is just the perfect antidote to relax and recuperate.

Could 2012 be the year of New Look? (though I wouldn't be surprised that once the retailers executives discover the band, a lawsuit will follow). "The Ballad" is available on iTunes now, listen below:

New Look - The Ballad

Friday, 8 July 2011

Summer Camp #4 - Nobody Knows You + Pledge Music Campaign

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Bands can go from one that you like to one that you religiously follow in the space of a weekend, Summer Camp did just that for me at Glastonbury. I purchased their 'Ghost Train' 7" and 'Young EP' on release and would have called myself a fan, however after two wonderful shows in Somerset I changed from a fan to a well and truly besotted fanboy.

I should have posted this earlier as it's really meant to read as a 'Summer Camp have created a pledge music campaign, go and support them quick' but since they've reached their target already (within a week), I'll post this as a go to Pledge Music and support a wonderful band and get your hands a sure to be excellent album. Then perhaps some oddities you hadn't thought you'd want... Some chocolate brownies perhaps, or a handwritten lyrics book, or go to an actual summer camp or just a plain old CD, whatever you want, the good thing is you can pick.

To help motivate you, the band have released a new track to feast your ears on entitled "Nobody Knows You", moving away slightly from the sweet pop hooks of the earlier singles, it's a fuzzy synth track with throbbing pulses and Elizabeth's vocal perhaps the most powerful it's been to date. A darker track for sure but one that's equally compelling. I never mentioned an earlier track made available either so you can also listen to "I Want You" below, similarly synth heavy, washed around a repetitive disco beat and swirling vocal harmonies. The track has become the set closure of their live set and I can safely vouch that it's even better live.

Support Summer Camp's Pledge Music campaign here.

Listen:
Summer Camp - Nobody Knows You
Summer Camp - Was it worth it
I Want You by Summer Camp

Rachel Sermanni #3 - Waltz

http://www.rachelsermanni.net/ / Facebook

A few Scottish shows aside Rachel Sermanni has spent the last few months tucked away working on her debut EP (which is soon to be made available to buy - exciting!), in the meantime Rachel has treated us to a preview track from the resultant sessions entitled "Waltz".

The recorded version is every bit as beautiful as I hoped when I pressed play for the first time. Rachel's voice makes me melt a little every time I hear it, so enchanting and graceful. The instrumentation on the track is equally genteel and mellow. Basically it's the perfect thing to be listening to on a wet summers Friday with a nice hot drink by your side. Today then.

Catch her whilst you can see her at intimate venues, there are some festival appearance planned over the next month or so and a few Scottish dates too - I'm looking forward to hearing the other three tracks on the EP and even more so to seeing her live again - a London show please! Rachel was undoubtedly one of my Great Escape highlights.

Listen:
Waltz - The Bothy Sessions by Rachel Sermanni

Here is one of the things that made me fall for Rachel in the first place, one of her stunning earlier tracks "Song For a Fox", it's incredible to think that she is still a teenager, her song-writing is simply exquisite:


...and here is a live rendition of another new track, the gorgeous "Sleep". There is a comment on the video which made me smile... "Just showed this to my wee Avi, who's only 3 and should be fast asleep. He says your nice!". I agree, very, very nice:

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Gold Zebra #2 - Love, French, Better

goldzebra.bandcamp.com / Facebook

Montreal duo Gold Zebra have released their first track since they came to my attention with their debut EP last September, "Love, French, Better" continues where they left with "The End of This" (a track I liked so much I named it as one of my top tracks of 2010), an effortlessly cool tale of bubbling, sexy, slow beats and chiming guitar.

The seductive, midnight disco-noir intensified by the use of French at the start of the track, before Julie switches to English, I used this quote last year but I'll stick with it, it's xx soundtracking Blade Runner. Atmospheric, minimalist synth that is moody and damn-right gorgeous.

The track will be part of a forthcoming VISAGE MUSIQUE compilation available in the autumn, you can download for free now via bandcamp.

You buy a re-issued CD version of the debut EP here, the tape version has since sold out.



Gold Zebra - Love, French, Better.

Bird - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook  / birdofficial.co.uk/

A great way of discovering plenty of new music is to keep track of Amazing Radio's The Amazing Chart (I'm giving away a house secret here!), that's precisely how I came across Bird, their track 'Phantoms' is currently enjoying its sixth week in their top 40.

Hailing from Liverpool, Bird are a new band fronted by songwriter/vocalist Adele Emmas, with an EP in the works we currently have a handful of tracks on their Soundcloud page to listen to, if you are a fan of atmospheric doom-folk akin to Tasseomancy, Marissa Nadler etc then Bird will be right up your street.

Their best track to date is "Phantoms" an eerie neo-gothic fairytale that's equally evocative and poetic, swirling harmonies combine with a stomping beat, sweeping violin and Adele's ethereal vocal, it's captivating and absolutely delightful.

Sparse instrumentation and the graceful long notes of Adele's vocals on the beautiful "Amelia" add up to more aural bliss and "Hey Hey Moonshine" is delicious too, portraying a hauntingly elegant form of melancholic folk, melodic guitar and subdued percussion carry the song to a finale of brooding strings. Exquisite.

I'll certainly be keeping my eye out for that EP in the near future.

Bird - Phantoms
Hey Hey Moonshine by Birdofficial
Bones by Birdofficial

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

La La Vasquez - New Music "Introducing"

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I've had a couple of random emails recently asking me why I never post anything with male vocals, I replied with a simple message stating that I post whatever I like at any given time. Five years ago this blog would have looked totally different to now and if it is still going, who knows what it will look like five years from now. What that basically means is I've another all female group to blog about...

La La Vasquez are a three piece band from Brighton/London consisting of Freya Watson, Merida Richards and Rachael Finney. I'd heard of the name before but never got around to listening to them until they supported Las Robertas at Brighton's Green Door Store last month, their sound fits in nicely with the diy / lo-fi garage rock which has given rise to some rather splendid bands recently.

They've released two 7"s to date both on trendy US labels, Captured Tracks and M'Lady Records. I've embedded some samples from them below, "Janice, I Hate You", "Buoy" and "Ain't Home" give a fine introduction to the girls music. Trademarked by discordant rhythms, scratchy, stumbling soundscapes and fuzzy guitar jangles. The vocals are fun, mixing punky attitude, shouty choruses with swirling harmonies. Needless to say La La Vasquez are fun, spunky and well worth a listen.

Their is a new release due on Sex is Disgusting soon. The old 7" can be ordered in the UK for just £3.00 each here.

Ain't Home by lalavasquezband
Buoy by lalavasquezband

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Soda Shop - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook / http://sodashop.bandcamp.com/

I'm continuing my recent trend of nostalgic, luscious indie-pop with the new band of Maria Usbeck, known to me as the lead singer in previously blogged Selebrities Maria's side-project Soda Shop moves away from the synth based disco-noir and into instantly listenable, classic pop territory.

Alongside Drew Driver (of Horse Shoes a group I'm not yet familiar with) Soda Shop have a few tracks to listen to on their bandcamp / soundcloud page and following up a vinyl release in January they are soon to release their as yet unannounced debut EP.

The preview track is the perfect introduction to the duo, "Longing" is a playfully melodic, saccharine-sweet pop song that's just about as dreamy and easy going as possible. It Sparkles and shines with a beautiful bubbling guitar melody, a care-free number that'd be perfect for a little boogie on the dance-floor to. Probably with the girl you quite like but haven't had the guts to ask out, perhaps.

Previous single "Farewell" similarly pays homage to the 50's / 60's girl pop sound with gorgeous guitar melodies jangling, tambourine taps and glockenspiel twangs, effortlessly cool and delicious. 'Farewell' is available to order on 7" here.

Listen below:

Longing by sodashop
Farewell by sodashop


soda shop - longing from Future Sweden on Vimeo.

Cold Specks - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook / http://www.coldspecks.com/

Chances are you've already come across this stunning new talent as I'm posting some weeks after my initial discovery, it's still worth going ahead with this post though. A Google search leads me to learn that Cold Specks is Al Spx, a 23-year-old Canadian now residing in London.

She's been causing a bit of a stir through blogs the past few weeks with her debut track "Holland". Even the Guardian got hold of her off just one track and their blog post reveals a little bit more into her past projects.

One listen and it's easy to see why the hyperbole is in overdrive, her voice is extraordinary. Her soulful, smoky purr will hit you like a freight train and "Holland" uses its strength and beauty perfectly. A dark, gospel track, it starts melancholic and graceful as it develops around her voice whilst delicate guitar plucks, sweeping strings and a repetitive drum beat build up to reach an empowering finale. Haunting, spiritual, beautiful.

She's currently working on an album with PJ Harvey collaborator Rob Ellis, something to look forward to then.



Monday, 4 July 2011

Widowspeak #2 - Gun Shy

Facebook / http://widowspeak.bandcamp.com/

Brooklyn-based trio Widowspeak returned last week with their second 7" on Captured Tracks, entitled 'Gun Shy' it's released ahead of their debut self-titled LP which follows on August 9.

"Gun Shy" continues where previous single "Harsh Realm" left off,  nostalgic 60's psychedelia that's just lovely on the ears. Mellow, wistful guitar jangles meander around whilst the deliciously beautiful vocal of Molly Hamilton lulls you with effortless grace. Soft, dreamy, blissful. I said this on my last Widowspeak most but it still rings true for me, 'perfect for the hazy and sleepy summer's afternoon'.

It's backed with a cover of "Wicked Game", the song fits perfectly with their hazy, gorgeous sound. It's quite faithful rendition and the sultry drool of Hamilton is sure to win over a few Chris Isaak fans in the process. Poor a glass of malt whisky, turn up your stereo and simply enjoy some aural pleasure for four minutes