Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Niki & The Dove #3 - Last Night / The Fox

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I'm way behind on Niki & The Dove, the Swedish duo have been one of the most blogged artists of 2011, seemingly finding solidarity with bloggers with their anthemic blend of 80's pop. It's not hard to understand why, their upbeat blend of light and dark synth-pop is almost impossible not to like.

The title track from their previous EP 'The Fox' displays their formula on its sleeve; epic choruses, strong afro-rhythmic drums and dirty, throbbing synth beats which flutter between 80's UK chart pop (that reminds me of Prince, especially on "Winterheart" off the debut EP - that's high praise from me) and Euro dance with its party floor energy. Vocalist Malin Dahlstrom's voice is powerful and stunning, it transcends and really grabs your attention.

Newest track "Last Night" deviates from the grandiose, flamboyant soundscapes a little, with more sombre and sparse programming, propulsive beats, metallic sounds and random noises. It sounds odd, it probably is, but it works. The production is, as ever, impeccable. Their debut album is as yet unannounced but is due via Sub Pop.

Niki & The Dove return to the UK in October on the rather weirdly blended NME Radar Tour (alongside Wolf Gang and S.C.U.M - who I can't see sharing too many fans) as well as supporting Hurts on a few dates in early November. See Songkick for more.

Listen:
Last Night by Niki & The Dove
The Fox by Niki & The Dove

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Help Stamp Out Loneliness - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook /  helpstampoutloneliness.bandcamp.com/

Manchester sextet Help Stamp Out Loneliness really should have been discovered earlier than late August because their self-titled debut LP could have been the perfect summers soundtrack.

Containing 12 tracks of joyful indie-pop gems that remind me of something in-between Camera Obscura and Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Delightfully waltzing along with shimmering keyboards, jangly guitars and infectious swirling tunes.

The themes are not in your ordinary indie-pop territory, playful melodies often hiding bitter-sweet lyrics such as rock star stalking on "Record Shop" and the romances of Nico on opener "Cottonopolis And Promises" but it's just as accessible and alluring all the same. Vocalist D. Lucille's cool, nonchalant vocals sound in contrast to the instrumentation but it works perfectly, HSOL are simply glorious.

They came to my attention due to their upcoming London gig with promoters Librarians Wanted (one day I'll be able to make one of their gigs) this Saturday, 3rd September. HSOL headline this rather delightful looking night at Kentish Town's Bull & Gate.

Their album came out in May and is a wonderful listen, even for prunes like myself there is nothing to make you resist the urge to start bopping along. Highlights include the wonderfully titled "The Ghost With A Hammer In His Hand", "Cottonopolis And Promises" and best of all, album closure "Split Infinitives". Though if you like what you hear below your are going to love the entire album, it's consistency brilliant. Get it here.

Listen to a couple of tracks below, the entire thing streams on Bandcamp, do buy it too:

Dum Dum Girls #2 - Bedroom Eyes

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Dum Dum Girls have today treated us to another track from their forthcoming album 'Only in Dreams'. While new single "Bedroom Eyes" doesn't make me go wow quite as much as earlier preview "Coming Down" (easily one of the best tracks of the year for me), it's a more up-tempo, breezy track that's sure to do them no harm. A lovely chorus, Dee Dee's vocals are gorgeous as ever, it's sure to be a highlight of any live show.

Catch the Girls in the UK in November, it's especially worth going because the support is bloody excellent too. Not only favourites Veronica Falls but also Novella who are signed up to play some dates and when they aren't, the excellent Retriever play - it's almost as if I picked 'em! Get tickets here.

The album is out September 26th via Sub Pop.

Listen:
Dum Dum Girls - Bedroom Eyes
Dum Dum Girls - Coming Down

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Sunday August 28th - Round-up

A new feature that may last or it may not, a weekly / bi-weekly round-up of things that I've possibly already mentioned or artists that I've previously featured that I think need a quick re-visit for various reasons, such as a new video to a song I've posted or a new show / record release impending etc. Without further wittering on any longer:

Echo Lake's 'Another Day' 7" single was released part way through last month and  a couple of weeks ago they shared a psychedelic 3am club video and free downloadable stream of b-side "Breathe Deep", a languid and hazy track which more suits the come down than the ecstasy induced intensity seen in the video. Get the vinyl at Rough Trade now. One of my favourite UK bands, can't wait to see where they go next.


Echo Lake - Breathe Deep from ///NO PAIN IN POP\\\ on Vimeo.

Breathe Deep by Echo Lake


I reviewed Gazelle Twin's sensational debut 'The Entire City' last month here, I won't repeat that, this update is to simply let you know that you can now order it on CD and Vinyl by going here or at Rough Trade if you so prefer. Do so, if you are lucky enough to be in Berlin, you can see Gazelle Twin supporting Planningtorock on 13th October, further dates here. There is an album launch show this Thursday at London's Electrowerkz (details).


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

Gazelle Twin - I Am Shell I Am Bone by rocketpr


We've been spoilt by two albums within just eight months by Pendu recording artist Chelsea Wolfe, the second 'Ἀποκάλυψις' / 'Apokalypsis' came out last week and is breathtaking, compelling thunderous rhythms and beautifully sinister sounds. Check out one of the stand-out's "Mer" below, with its hypnotic, percussive beat and creepy guitar lines it (like much of the album) is unnerving yet retains a dreamy softness that soothes and howl in equal measures. I cannot recommend this album (and Chelsea's debut) enough. UK shows are demanded. Order.

Chelsea Wolfe - Mer by P 3 N D V ◊ N Y C



Another album update, Tasseomancy release their debut full length 'Ulalume' next week via a rather unique method - a candle and matchbook package with digital download - you can purchase one here. To celebrate there are a whole host of offerings. Firstly an album release show at Camp Basement on Tuesday, 30th August - full details can be found here. We've also been treated to a beautiful spectral video that's a perfect companion for the otherworldly dark-folk produced by the Lightman twins for the gorgeous single "Soft Feet" and you can also help yourself to a free download from the band of album track "Healthy Hands" below.

If you prefer the more convention media of CD or LP, Out of this Spark release the album in the US on the 30th - order.



Tasseomancy - Healthy Hands (Will Mourn You) by tasseomancy


Last but by no means least, the debut release of one of the UK's most exciting new bands Fear of Men is tomorrow, 'Ritual Confession' comes out via limited 7" via Italian Beach Babes - order - 'Proper' indie pop guitar based music, with gorgeous swirling guitar melodies and attractive vocal harmonies, utterly luscious. Only 300 of these pressed, future collector's item.

Watch the new video, an edited version of the lead track below:

RITUAL CONFESSION from FEAR OF MEN on Vimeo.

Fear of Men- Ritual Confession by italianbeachbabes

Friday, 26 August 2011

Lanterns on the Lake #6 - Keep On Trying

lanternsonthelake.com / Facebook

I've been really, really spoilt these past few days with new music. I've had St. Vincent burying herself alive in her new fantastic video, New War making hairs on my neck stand on end with a stunning debut track and I Break Horses wowing me with the first glimpse of their live show. You could be forgiven for thinking it would lead to a quiet bank holiday weekend. Think again.

Lanterns on the Lake have done it again on their new track 'Keep on Trying', taken from their debut LP 'Gracious Tide, Take Me Home' due on Bella Union (label of the year?) September 19th "Keep On Trying" defies superlatives, it's absolutely fucking spellbinding. Robin at Breaking Move Waves says it better than anyone else here.

Twinkling guitars, luscious instrumentation, Hazel's beautiful, delicate vocals. Yes, "Keep On Trying" sounds like a Lanterns on the Lake song alright. Simply one of the best bands you'll hear this year. Cannot wait to hear the album, get it from Rough Trade and you'll also get a bonus EP free - link. One complaint - Where's the London headlining show guys?!

You can buy the single now on iTunes, an accompanying video to a new track "Keep Trying" was released today and you can watch it below:


Lanterns On The Lake - "Keep On Trying" from stereogum on Vimeo.

Listen / Download "Keep on Trying - (taken from Stereogum)

Lanterns On The Lake - You're Almost There

I Break Horses #4 - Winter Beats Live in Session / Album Release

breakhorses.se / Facebook

I Break Horses released their debut full length 'Hearts' this week via Bella Union, the LP looks stunning (mine has been ordered and is being awaited with baited breath). We've previously been treated to a couple of the magnificent tracks from the album, "Hearts and "Winter Beats", both placing the Stockholm synth duo amongst the fine purveyors of dream-like loveliness, the album gifts us seven more.

I Break Horses have crafted a beautiful album of pulsating beats and glistening soundscapes, frozen electronica shrouded in layers of ghostly guitars and subtle, atmospheric sythns. Maria's vocals barely more than a whisper, celestial, beautiful.

Further stand-outs are the final version of "Wired", the sumptuous wonder of the slow building "I Kill Love, Baby" and "No Way Outro" which closes the album with dramatic effect, fast-paced drumming and Maria's gorgeous sighs. I could have just as easily said "Cancer" and "Empty Bottles", the entire album is simply exquisite.

Maria is yet to perform live, a live show is certainly highly anticipated by me (amongst many others). Today however did see the release of a video that gives the first indication of a 'live performance', a stripped back rendition of 'Winter Beats', it's great. Delicate drums, Maria's ethereal vocals and frozen, echoey beats. Glorious, exquisite and whichever other superlative you can find in the dictionary. Watch:


I BREAK HORSES - BEDROOM SESSIONS 1/3 - WINTER BEATS from oof video on Vimeo

Do yourself a favour and get hold of the album for yourself here. Listen to "Hearts" below (again, you've probably heard it by now but alas!)... and expect to see IBH back on the blog soon.

I Break Horses - Hearts

Thursday, 25 August 2011

New War - New Music "Introducing"


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The Quietus get the scoop on this, the debut single by Melbourne based trio New War is the incredible 'Ghostwalking'. One of those rare tracks that on first listen will be blow you away. It made the hairs on my neck stand on end with its intense, rhythmatic bass-line, menacing keys and military drum beat. Just wow.

'Ghostwalking' will be released on 12" via Fast Weapons September 27th.

Watch now:


This is even better, the full version. Coming in an nearly nine minutes in length. I love the extension on the track, it doesn't feel as long as it duration at all. It's rare to have a track of this length that just flies by, it reminds me of "The Past is a Grotesque Animal" in that respect, clearly different musically but the repetition and driving momentum. Anyway, I'll stop there and just tell you to listen:

New War - Ghostwalking

St. Vincent #5 - Cruel

You guys are going to have to hang in there over the next month or so because there is definietly going to be a bit of an Annie Clark thing going on here. The Huffington Post today premièred St. Vincent's brand new video "Cruel", the second track we've heard from the soon to be released third album 'Strange Mercy' (due September 12th). What can I say, it's effortlessly brilliant, my appetite is more than ready for the full LP!

I'm not too sure I'd want to bury Annie alive, but it happens in the rather creepy video all the same. Watch:

If you've been on Mars and missed the earlier track "Surgeon", here it is below:
St Vincent - Surgeon

St. Vincent play a handful of dates in the UK in November, they are all listed nicely together here. I'm very tempted with a trip out of London too. Can't wait.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Georgia Ruth Williams #2 - Old Blue / Bones

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It's exactly a year and one day since I first featured Georgia Ruth Williams, in those twelve months I saw her perform with Lucy Rose where she was pretty magnificent, highlighting a stunning live performance with her exceptional voice and exhibiting a quirky, fun personality too. There hadn't been any news to speak of until yesterday when we were treated to a stream of two tracks from a forthcoming vinyl EP, due Winter this year.

"Bones" showcases Georgia's vocal talents perfectly, an incredibly pretty and beautifully soft voice. Using more traditional instrumentation than on her debut EP, which primarily featured her backed by harp, "Bones'"piano and gentle drum beat is a stunning melancholic tinged folk track.

I remember the other track from her live show and it's available as a free download below, "Old Blue" starts with a slow-burning woozy organ before gentle harp plucks and her vocal take over, completely gorgeous and soothing. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

You can get her debut EP from iTunes here. I've also included my favourite song to stream below, "Anna", a beautifully written track played one a beautiful instrument by a beautiful voice, you can guess the result.

Old Blue by georgiaruth
Bones by georgiaruth
Georgia Ruth Williams - Anna

Whilst I'm here, another lovely track from the debut EP, the video is perfectly shot too:

Karin Park - Tiger Dreams

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I'd never heard of Karin Park before this track, though according to the pr that came with this release she was a pop star in her native Sweden as far back as 2004. Fast forward seven years and 2011 sees Karin reincarnated as an electro artist, after you've listened to the first track from her forthcoming 'Tiger Dream EP' (due September 19th) it's no surprise to find out she's been working with the same producer as Fever Ray / The Knife.

The lead track, the title track "Tiger Dreams" is a moody synthpop track, with warbled dubstep beats and industrial processing it undeniably sits in the same dark and experimental realm as her producers predecessors'. Karin's vocals stand-out magnificently, a beautiful Scandinavian accent to her unique voice. I'll be checking out the rest of this EP and her long play, set for an early 2012 release with interest.

Listen:
Karin Park - Tiger Dreams

I did have a little chuckle at one of the youtube comments from the video below, "Sinéad O'Connor with Bjorks voice". It's definitely meant as a compliment:

Stone Darling - New Music "Introducing"


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Los Angeles all-girl band Stone Darling released their first 7" single 'Stone Darling 7"' via Analog Edition Records a few weeks back on limited white vinyl and it's well worth a listen too.

A-Side "I Stopped Missing You Today" is a lovely retro sounding garage folk-rock track which is simply put together but works wonderfully with its fuzzed-up guitars, a splash of discrete drums and bitter-sweet wrapped around a delicious melody.

B-Side "Angeline" is more of a slow-burner, a woozy country-tinged soulful ballad where luscious syrupy vocal harmonies sooth you blissfully. It's pretty gorgeous this one. Stream below:

Stone Darling 7" by Analog Edition Records

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Zola Jesus #11 - Avalanche

Facebook / zolajesus.com

There are five or six albums due in September that I'm excited to hear, right at the top of that list is the return of Zola Jesus. Her 'Conatus' LP is due on the same day she plays London (26th September at Toynbee Studios). It promises to be a very special day indeed.

We've already had the first preview, the stunning "Vessel", that followed last week with a daytrotter session, you can download the brief two song set for free here. You can stream their exclusive take of a new track, "Avalanche" below, it sounds great on this live cut. Vast, dark depth and driven atmosphere and of course Nika's voice which. as ever is incredible, powerful and compelling. The version of "Trust Me" is great too, military drums add real menace to one of the more calm tracks from 'Stridulum'.

Stereogum have a nice interview with Nika here, I robbed the picture from their spread. Lovely it is too.

Zola Jesus - "Trust Me" (Daytrotter Session)
Zola Jesus - Avalanche (Daytrotter Session)

Monday, 22 August 2011

Retriever - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook / retriever.bandcamp.com/

Retriever are a Newcastle band (seriously, what do you feed your musicians up there?!) who really should have come to my attention before the weekend just gone. Their dark, fuzzed-up frenzy of screeching guitar noise, pummelling drum machine beats and gnarling vocals is right up my street. The shoegaze / post-punk side of my street anyway. For those who appreciate only my folkier side won't find much joy here.

Retrievers' forthcoming release is a split 7" with fellow Newcastle band Cult Image via Splash One Records on 19th September, their lead track on it 'Arms Out Wide' highlights their sound well. A raw and moody monochrome assault, with dark and vicious vocals, angry scratching guitars and a prominent bass-line throughout. It's doing wonders for my ears that's for sure.

I do wonder how this lot escaped my attention until now, especially when I read that earlier EP 'The Rattle and the Hiss' was released via Desire Records earlier this year. Without mentioning every excellent track (which is quite tempting) the title track and "The Engine" stand out. "The Engine" is a relentless juggernaut of loud and distorted guitar-driven choruses, as drum-machine beat drives the unforgiving howls hisses of brooding vocalist Jackie. It's been on repeat all day, well alongside their older release, 'Murder'.

"Murder" backed with "Lion" was their first single released last September and it's fucking wonderful too. An intense wall of discordant fuzz leads to an intoxicating headrush of feedback and menace, you can order that here. I've done so and recommend you do the same.

Listen:
Arms Out Wide by RETRIEVER
Murder by RETRIEVER
Lion by RETRIEVER
The Engine by RETRIEVER

Alaska in Winter - Suicide Prevention Hotline EP

alaskainwinter.bandcamp.com/ / Facebook

I wasn't familiar with Alaska in Winter (aka Brandon Bethancourt) before this, his latest release 'Suicide Prevention Hotline' and I feel that I've been missing out. I've been trying to think of someone to compare this release to and I've fallen flat, for me at least, it evokes similar feelings to that of Sebastien Tellier's masterpiece La Ritournelle, the EP is for want of a better word, amazing.

Each of the five tracks are cinematic soundtracks, beautifully composed pieces of work. Symphonic electronica with sweeping orchestration and subtle rhythms. With its title the tone of the EP might be obvious, though this is not simply the monologue of a trouble man, it's haunting melancholic ambience is delightfully unhurried and simply stunning. The best might be "Demons", Brandon is clearly a man whose been fighting his own demons, the track is enchanting, exquisite. Despite the dark mood the strings and vocals are somewhat uplifting, it demands your attention from the start and doesn't let you go until it's over.

Brandon's shop is here but is temporarily closed whilst he recovers from health problems which are mentioned on his facebook page. Wishing him the speediest of recoveries.

Listen:
Alaska in Winter - Demons

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Staves - New Music "Introducing"

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Today I'm ill so I apologise in advance for this pretty short and quick blog, especially when the band deserve so much more, I have a severe dose of man-flu (man-flu comes in no other form but severe) and I've been listening to The Staves and their beautiful blend of acoustic folk-pop whilst lying in bed watching the cricket (let's face it the gorgeous vocals of three lovely ladies is far more appealing than hearing the voice of David Gower).

It's accurate to say that they've been soothing my painful bones and aching head, this three piece from London / Watford (read local band for me) is a perfect remedy, With lovely vocals and gorgeous harmonies "Mexico" is simply wonderful. The girls vocals complement each other perfect. Genteel meandering melodies, intricate acoustic guitar strumming and piano. Beautiful. Similar adjectives can be said about "Facing West" too.

The girls have been playing quite a few summer festivals ending at End of the Road in a few weeks time. You can order a physical copy of their 'Facing West EP' via their facebook, listen below:

Facing West by The Staves
Mexico by The Staves

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Replicas - New Music "Introducing"

http://replicasreplicas.co.uk/  / Facebook

I was out with some friends the other night and a bi-yearly conversation came up, favourite movies. After some deliberation I said that my favourite English language film (my top five are all non-English) is, at this moment in time, Blade Runner. It was pretty weird then a couple of days later to run into Replicas.

Not because the girls look like replicants but the intro to one of their tracks, "Hearts Beat" instantly made me think of Blade Runner. Beautifully dark and ambient soundscapes, perfect for bleak dystopia setting of the 80's sci-fi classic, subtle nuances shining through the purposeful drum rumbles.

Replicas are Ashiya Eastwood and Helena Gee who are now based in London and their first single "In The City" is due for release in September, exuding a moody, brooding synth and drum machine beat it sits perfectly amongst Terminal Twilight / Chromatics with its blend of intimate, after-hours synth-pop. Cool, down-tempo and irresistibly melancholic beats, matched perfectly by screeching guitar flourishes that shimmer as the vocals ooze sumptuous sexuality.

"Open Arms" continues with the woozy, hazy dreamy quality but is lighter, sweeter with graceful melodies and soft vocals over a bubbling synth undercurrent. I'm impressed. Replicas have a few dates lined up for September - all here.

Unfortunately "Hearts Beat" seems to have been removed from Soundcloud since I started this post, so you'll have to take my word for it and listen to these lovelies below:
The City by Replicas
Open Arms by Replicas

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Chairlift - Amanaemonesia

Facebook / chairlifted.com/

A band I feel I probably should have heard of before last week, but I hadn't (there are after all far too many bands in the world to be familiar with even 10%, and in my opinion it's never too late to discover some new / old good music). Chairlift came to my attention through this track, the first single from their forthcoming second album, entitled 'Amanaemonesia' (which I'll let you try and pronounce and decide its meaning).

Thankfully the track is nothing like has hard to like as its tongue twister name, starting with an hypnotic bass-guitar riff that continues throughout, then comes the vocals that are quite literally nuts (in a good way), they might be up and down more times than a lady of the nights' knickers but boy, they are great. Lyrically catchy and with some 80's synth hooks thrown in for good measure. Wonderful fun. I'll certainly be listening to the album when it drops.

'Amanaemonesia' is available to order on 7" b/w "Peculiar Paradise" now - link.

They play a one-off London gig 7th September (can't make, sad face) at Dalston's Shacklewell Arms - details.

Listen:
Amanaemonesia by Chairlift

The Moor - New Music "Introducing"

http://themoorband.com/ / Facebook

The Moor consists of Los Angeles based duo Erica Daking and Josiah Steinbrick, they release their debut album next week via Dilettante and have made the lead single 'Warm Winter' available for free download.

"Warm Winter" is a lovely introduction too, a floating, dreamy track where ambient soundscapes evoke pure aural bliss via the luscious instrumentation, delicious melodies and rich warming vocals.

There are three further tracks to stream on their labels site above, all exuding a similar easy to listen to style of nostalgic 60's psychedelia / folk. More piano / guitar based melancholia, underpinned by Erica's soothing vocals and subdued instrumentation than say Warpaint's jam based hypnotic, ghostly harmonies but at the same time, easily likeable for fans of their fellow LA residents.

Listen / Download:
Warm Winter by themoor

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Let's Buy Happiness #7 - Dirty Lakes

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I feel like I've been waiting for this one for a while, a new Let's Buy Happiness release. The follow up to February's excellent 'Fast Fast' single 'Dirty Lakes', the bands third single will be released on 26th September via their own Ghost Arc Records label. Pre-order soon via the links above.

"Dirty Lakes" stuck out in my mind from the last time I saw LBH live (twice at The Great Escape in May) even if I incorrectly thought it was called "Dirty Legs" - damn that indecipherable Geordie twang! I've just listened to it five times in a row and didn't get bored one bit - it's great.

Managing to pack quiet a punch into its two minutes fourty-five seconds duration. It's definitely more urgent than the previous LBH tracks to date. Though retains everything I love about the band, "Dirty Lakes" is another carefree, kaleidoscopic indie-pop beauty with shimmering guitars, Sarah's delicate, angelic vocals and tight percussion. News that the debut album is due in early 2012 is music to my ears.

The band are back on the live circuit soon, dates here but of main interest for me is a headlining date at 93ft East in London on October 13th. Tickets can be purchased here for just £4.

Listen:
Let's Buy Happiness - Dirty Lakes

Veronica Falls #5 - Bad Feeling

Facebook / veronicafalls.com/

It wasn't that long ago that we were treated to a new Veronica Falls track with "Come on Over", we've got another one to indulge ourselves with now. 'Bad Feeling' is the first proper single to be taken off their self-titled debut LP out via Bella Union on 17th October (buy link from Rough Trade with a free bonus cover versions EP) and is released the week before on limited 7" with exclusive b-side "Back Page" (buy).

"Bad Feeling" bares all the Veronica Falls hallmarks, urgent pacing, distinctive ramshackle guitars, driving drums, tuneful and catchy melodies with a dark undercurrent. It's great. I can't see the Veronica Falls juggernaut stopping any time soon.

Listen:
Veronica Falls - Bad Feeling by Bella Union

The band are on a US tour at the end of September where the album comes out a little earlier (September 20th). UK dates coincide with the release this side of the pond including one at The Lexington on October 20 (tickets) and a support tour with Dum Dum Girls in November.

For old times sake here is the first track I fell for:
Found Love In A Graveyard by Veronica Falls

Shura - New Music "Introducing"


http://www.weareshura.com/ / Facebook

This one is via one of my favourite blogs Flying With Anna, Shura is Aleksandra Denton from London and together with electronic producer Hiatus she's crafted an absolutely stunning track entitled "River". Her sound is self-described as night-folk and I can go with that for its blissful ambiance is undeniably calming and would suit the late hours perfectly.

Aleksandra's voice is soothing, soft and dreamy, matching the laid-back atmospherics of the backing beats and instrumentation perfectly. Listen below:

River [Hiatus + Shura] by shura

Their first single will be "Fortune's Fool" released via Akira Records and the video is below, the track is equally mellow and tranquil but perhaps more melodic, though the best word that can be used to describe the track is simply beautiful.

 Hiatus and Shura: Fortune's Fool by Hiatus

To date they've played a small handful of dates together, the next one booked is the 'Fortune's Fool' single launch on September 24th at Cargo (Full Details).

Monday, 15 August 2011

Tes Elations - New Music "Introducing"

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I've quite a few bands from Los Angeles upcoming on the blog (who knows how long it'll take for them to see the light of day, but I've plans to post them), starting with Tes Elations who came to my attention with their latest track "Autumn" and struck a chord thanks to the smoky vocals of lead singer Barrie Rose and the atmospheric soundscapes which match the beautiful imagery used throughout its video.

Soothing, melodic strings, gently plucked guitar and drum beat interweave with sporadic outbursts of urgency throughout the delicious track, but above all it's those dreamy vocals that are making me purr, sensual and utterly gorgeous.

I couldn't find any info on current / future releases after a quick Google search / look on the bands facebook, the band only started in late 2010 so I'll take it that they've yet to release anything officially, for now I'll add them to my 'to watch' pile.

Listen:
Tes Elations - Autumn by Tes Elations

Here is the video:

Tes Elations - Autumn from the Indie Workforce on Vimeo.

Electrelane - Black Cab Session

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I didn't review Field Day, after giving a comprehensive preview of who I planned to see it didn't make much sense to repeat myself a few days after. There were naturally a few changes on the day (I missed Zola Jesus in her entirety :( and didn't catch Factory Floor) but I did pretty much what I planned. Overall summation is that it was a good day, a potentially great day with some minor and major teething problems. The main one being it was too damn busy after three o'clock in the afternoon. Everywhere was rammed. There certainly needs to be some scaling back if the day is to stay in the same park, there were probably too many stages, the positioning of a couple led to further bottlenecks (the one where Anika - who was great - played for example) and typically with festivals the sound was iffy at best - the red tent where Still Corners played suffered more than most, to be fair where I was positioned for Anika and Warpaint the sound was good. So yes, some changes and the day could rival the line-up which was undoubtedly brilliant this year.

The best band of the day were without doubt Electrelane, I enjoyed their set so much when I returned home I got a ticket to see them at XOYO (which is tomorrow), a show I'm looking forward to. A small sweaty basement is much more my thing than a heaving field. Verity was particularly mesmerising throughout their set, switching between synths and guitar, it was a dazzling lead.

XOYO however, won't be quite as cramped as the back of a taxi... Here is a video of an acoustic version of "Power Out" done for the always wonderful Black Cab Sessions:

Electrelane from Black Cab Sessions on Vimeo.

Rumours are that the Electrelane union is just for this summers' European series of gigs, that will be a shame if true though on a personal note I'm glad to have been able to see the girls play at least two shows in that time after really being the gig-whore that I now am now ten years ago.

Electrelane - Bells

Friday, 12 August 2011

Trailer Trash Tracys #2 - Dies in 55

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I'd actually given up hope of seeing the return of Trailer Trash Tracys, since their 2009 single 'Candy Girl' the London based act have been mysteriously quiet, although that all changed over the past week which the news that their debut album will be out via Domino Records next Spring.

To celebrate, they've made available a free download of "Dies In 55", continuing with their gorgeous, languid soundscapes, the track sees swirling melodies, a funfair organ and marching drum beat combine to delicious effect.

I've included the beautiful, hazy, reverb-drenched number that is "Candy Girl" for you to listen to, too.

Trailer Trash Tracys - Dies In 55
Trailer Trash Tracys - Candy Girl

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Chalk and Numbers #2 - Summer Nights


chalkandnumbers.bandcamp.com/ / Facebook

When I first posted about Chalk and Numbers last December I described them like this; "...with the same charming vibe that works so well for She & Him, pretty as a flower lyrics, lovely vocals and happy melodies...". On August 22nd the Brooklyn duo return with their new single 'Summer Nights', a bonus track on a re-issue of their 'He Knew EP', and guess what? I could say pretty much exactly the same thing again.

For fans of nostalgic sun-drenched, beautiful day music "Summer Nights" will be perfect. Endearingly sweet vocals, unobtrusive production, it's glorious ode to 60's pop. Unashamedly whimsical and totally, totally lovely.

We all need some bright and fun music in our lives and Chalk and Numbers offer up a delicious slice of that here.

Listen:
Chalk And Numbers - Summer Nights
Chalk And Numbers - Let's Go Away

Steering By Stars - New Music "Introducing"


http://www.steeringbystars.com/index.html / http://steeringbystars.bandcamp.com/

Austrailian four piece Steering By Stars were sitting in my draft folder, I'm not sure how I discovered them (I've some 70 drafts 'ready' to be listened / written up) but on listening to their track "Closer" I decided to finish this post there and then. Their sound veers somewhere near to Sigur Rós, stimulating, atmospheric, symphonic, wonderful.

The track that got me "Closer" encompasses their sound, classically inspired post-rock. After crashing drum crescendos start the track progresses into a slow-burning, emotive number. Building momentum with luscious soundscapes, sweeping melodies and minimal vocals, I could keep using adjectives but one thing that is for certain is that it's pretty darn beautiful.

New track "Collision" continues their grandiose piano led balladry backed by curving guitar and countless effects, the enchanting ambiance is what strikes most of all, slightly wispy and sad but all the more uplifting and spectacular.

Listen below:
Steering By Stars - Collision
Steering By Stars - Closer


Steering By Stars - Collision from SteeringByStars on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

No Ceremony - Hurtlove


http://www.noceremony.com/

This will probably not be the first or the last that you see of this track. There was a cryptic email in my inbox stating I should listen to a track, that's no big surprise I get quite a few of them each day. For some reason this one though did enough to jump ahead of the big, big queue and get listened to almost on arrival.

No Ceremony are an unknown act and this is there first track, "Hurtlove" though is a great introduction. Piano, laid-back electro beats and vocoder altered vocals conjure up rich sonic textures and aural stimulation, we'll see where this act goes next...

Listen:
NO CEREMONY - HURTLOVE
Download:


Marina and the Diamonds #4 - Fear and Loathing

Facebook / http://www.marinaandthediamonds.com/

This is something I never expected to be doing. I'd pretty much written Marina and the Diamonds off as pop music that was no longer for me, from my initial enthusiasm at the end of 2009 after the fantastic singles "Obsessions" and "I am not a Robot",  Marina, in my opinion, veered down the mainstream path of commercial success and shockingly bad songs with her debut album. To my ears at least, "Shampain" and "Oh, No!" are pretty comparable with the sort of thing that's currently lying number one with that Cher girl off that talent(?) show.

So here I am eating my words because Marina has returned with a new track and I like it (I wouldn't be posting it otherwise - I don't really get much satisfaction slagging things off too much) "Fear and Loathing" shows some real progression, a darker body, a moody, mysterious, brooding beat. There is no doubting Marina has a wonderful voice, maintaining wonderful atmosphere as she floats somewhere between Enya and (sorry) Kate Bush. The video is pretty simple but worth a watch - bye, bye hair.

This is the first of two parts from a new 'Electra Heart' concept of which Marina says; "Electra Heart embodies the lies, illusions and death of an American Dream". I'll leave that with you but you can decide on the music below:


Marina & The Diamonds - Fear And Loathing

Memoryhouse #2 - The Years EP

http://memoryhou.se/ / Facebook

Bloggers favourite (and one of my picks for 2011) Memoryhouse have taken their time following up their second 7", the woozy, delicate beauty of "Caregiver" but have now unveiled a new track off the first physical pressing of Memoryhouse’s first EP, 'The Years' which is available September 13th on Sup Pop.

Rather a simple re-issue, the band have re-recorded, "Sleep Patterns", "Lately", and "To the Lighthouse" and have added two new tracks entitled "Modern, Normal" and "Quiet America", the two tracks don't deviate from their ethereal, ambient whispers. The fleeting "Quiet America" is a sad piano ballad of slow-burning, loveliness and "Modern, Normal", with its achingly beautiful dreamscapes and luscious melodies. Gorgeous.

You can pre-order 'The Years' via Sub Pop now.

Memoryhouse - Quiet America
Memoryhouse: Modern Normal


Quiet America from memoryhouse on Vimeo.

Here's a genteel and equally beautiful acoustic version of "Lately":

SILVER SERIES // MEMORYHOUSE "Lately" from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Holly Miranda #8 - Pledge for Album Two

I'm a bit pre-occupied with the goings on in London right now so I've not posted much and will possibly be sporadic for a few days, I find it frankly appalling that a potentially serious incident has been turned into random, mindless acts of premeditated violence against people by people of the same community. There is no ideology behind this, some of these "youths" may feel estranged from the mainstream and lack a career, a future, a community, but the majority responsible for these acts of violence are doing it for simple materialistic greed.

Whilst there will be time for a post-mortem after, now is not it, firstly we need to regain the streets and the confidence of the whole community as a whole and from reading twitter the polarisation of both those left-wing and right-wing I find equally sad and pathetic. Now isn't the time for "This is David Cameron's fault, his cuts are to blame" or "This is what you get after 13 years of new-labour and the mess they left office in". Now is the time to see it end and quickly. No one could have predicted what has happened and those who point the finger never seem to offer an alternative suggestion to end the scenes. Keep safe one and all.

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A lighter note, this is not a political blog after all, as I adhered to last week, Holly Miranda nearly has her second album ready, to help launch it she, like so many other artists, have taken to the Pledge Music platform to raise the sufficient funds needed. Those who donate via Pledge Music will receive the album first, updates and more. Head over and see for yourself and support one of the most independent artists in music today, in the world we increasingly find ourselves in, we need the relief that they bring. Looking forward to it and of course the London show, London will not be beaten by the acts of the last few days.

Here's the launch video:


and a few tracks, included the wonderful "Pelican Rapids" that I posted last week:
Holly Miranda - Pelican Rapids(poolhouse mix) by holly miranda
Holly Miranda - "Joints" by holly miranda
Holly Miranda - Goddamn The Sun (Swans Cover) by holly miranda

Sunday, 7 August 2011

SNEAKPEEK - New Music "Introducing"

http://www.sneakpeek.bandcamp.com/ /

SNEAKPEEK hail from Echo Park, California and the four-pieces' sound sits somewhere between dream-pop beauty and grungy, garage-rock sludge.

Singer Dora Hiller quotes My Bloody Valentine and Smashing Pumpkins amongst her main influences and it's certainly apparent on their early demos. "Way Too Much" is a hazy ride swathed in reverb, like a shoegaze number slowed down ten times over. Heavy, fuzzy basslines at the forefront and a gorgeous wash of Dora's languid but gorgeous, melodic vocals.

"Western Sky" plays over distorted, scuzzy guitar riffs, a perfect summers evening track for helping you wash down a few cans of lager whilst having a BBQ with close friends, not the whole town though, they aren't going to appreciate it. The live demo "Walk All Over Me" is equally impressive, droning slabs of maelstrom guitar, it's slightly heavier than the studio stuff and the vocals more aggressive. The signs are all there, SNEAKPEEK are on the verge of something.

Speaking of which, the band are planning on self releasing a seven track EP at the end of the summer. I am waiting!

Listen:
WESTERN SKY (DEMO) by SNEAKPEEK
WAY TOO MUCH (DEMO) by SNEAKPEEK
WALK ALL OVER ME (LIVE) by SNEAKPEEK

Saturday, 6 August 2011

The ABC Club - New Music "Introducing"

http://www.theabcclub.co.uk/ / Facebook

The ABC Club are from Leeds, a five piece who make some rather enjoyable 'proper' indie-pop music, whilst some people think NME might have helped pioneer the downfall of guitar music by heralding fodder such as Brother (Viva) and giving Pete Doherty, Liam Gallagher and co complete support despite them surfing up unlistenable shit time after time. It does however, still have some good reviewers and plenty of people with their ears to the ground capable of find a decent band or two (even ones with guitars).

They (NME) picked up on The ABC Club for their (generally) impressive Radar section in September last year describing them pretty accurately too, "the quintet deal in powdery pouting, angular guitar lines and sprightly hooks". A listen to "Thieving Magpie" sees you greeted by surging pacing from jangly guitars, driven drums and a fantastic vocal from singer Zandra Kleivens, it soars and wails in extraordinary fashion. "Friend of Mine" chimes along in similar vein, gorgeous melodies, if guitar music is to get some of it's popularity back, then The ABC Club will be perfectly placed to take up the mantle of one of the best new guitar bands.

Whilst I'm on the topic I'm going to put my cards on the table and say that I think guitar music is anything but dead anyhow, I'm not the head of EMI so I don't really care about record sales, I care about music quality and The Joy Formidable lead the way for me there are plenty of fantastic bands out there. I've featured numerous already (Let's Buy Happiness, The Strange Death of Liberal England, Echo Lake etc etc.)  and there are an increasing number of bands coming through too who'll be featured again, Spotlight Kid, Hold Kiss Kill, Veronica Falls. I could go on.

Anyway, the point of this was to say listen to The ABC Club, you can below:
The Abc Club - Get Set Go
Thieving Magpie by the abc club
the abc club - Friend of Mine