Friday, 30 September 2011

Feathers - New Music "Introducing"

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Picking up on new music is often a random one, my main introductions to bands are often recommendations from people I know, bands that I like 'similar artists', support bands at gigs I check out, random listening sessions and sometimes through the odd cold-call email. I came to discover Feathers on the back of a post I did about a month ago on Australian band New War, Feathers are on the same bill as New War for their 12" launch (and Feathers LP launch too) - it's on October 7th - full details for any Brisbane folk who may happen to be lurking here.

That release, their second full-length is entitled 'Hunter's Moon' and is set for release October 7th via Bon Voyage, it will be available on limited edition 12" vinyl release (only 100 copies - less one - so you best act quickly - you can get it right here). I've only heard the two preview tracks (so far) but I'm smitten with their part psychedelic part surf, garage / dream-pop, check out "Early Morning" below for proof, a glorious hazy vocal whilst laid-back guitar grooves and this infectious bass-line repeat in your head. "Darklands", with guitars cloaked in reverb is equally great, built around a simple yet charming structure and lovely harmonies, the 60's inspired pop song's repeated lines of "I really want to take your hand and lead you through this dark, dark land" is both strangely romantic and uplifting.

Listen:
"Darklands" - Feathers (Hunter's Moon LP)
"Early Morning" - Feathers (Hunter's Moon LP)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Unison - New Music "Introducing"

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French duo Unison released their first full-length a few weeks ago (via Lentonia - which you can order on vinyl / CD here), I came to investigate them after hearing "Brothers & Sisters", a track which perfectly introduces their heavy, 80's industrial influenced soundscapes. Waves of pulsating beats, electronic glitches and samples create a brooding atmosphere with vocalists Melanie Moran soft, ghostly vocal whispers looping bewitchingly amongst the darkness and noise.

"Outside" maintains the violent premise, similarly drenched in menacing, mechanised beats and thick electro throbs, yet the haunting, dream-like vocals are nothing short of beautiful. Of the five or so sample tracks I've heard my favourite is "Darkness", as the title might give away, it's not wedding day music. Otherworldly layered sounds which find the perfect contrast between light and dark, heavy slabs of uncompromising, relentless death-trance which is equally capable of melting your heart with this siren-like voice, a compelling listen.

The vinyl is limited to 300 copies, one will shortly be on the way to the UK.

Listen:
Unison - Brothers & Sisters by fanaticpro
Unison - Darkness by Lentonia
Unison - Outside by Lentonia

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Joy Formidable #13 - Anemone / The Big More

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I've not posted about my favourite band for a while, I've not really had the need, what with Dave Grohl plugging them at every opportune moment (leading to a November Foo Fighters tour support slot in the US), massive radio exposure and now a track on the forthcoming Twilight movie soundtrack (no comment on the films shall be made here). There is no stopping The Joy Formidable on their rise to commercial as well as critical success. The last bit there is actually quite exciting for the track that will feature on the soundtrack is "Endtapes", a song that The Joy Formidable played live as long ago as 2008 and have been previously thought dead and buried, I'm certainly looking forward to hearing it (though probably not the film).

That wasn't the reason for this posting, the reason was the emergence (finally) of a studio version of one of the hardcore fans favourite TJF tracks, 'Anemone', which is due to be released as part of a new EP entitled 'The Big More' (released digitally October 17th with a limited physical pressing available on tour - UK October tickets / dates here). TJF have given "Anemone" a recording the track deserves, it is simply stunning, Ritzy's soft vocals are simply breathtaking, ethereal and delicate in keeping with the instrumentation which remains beautiful and calm (unlike most of what some fans will be used to the band from 'The Big Roar') until just before the three minute mark it explodes with a maelstrom of crashing crescendos, thumping drums, passionate and noisy - amazing - it should have been on the album, not that there is any question that 'The Big Roar' is my favourite of 2011 anyway (oops, should be saving that snippet for my year end reviews!).

The other stand-out is a cover of a Roy Orbison track "It's Over", I'm biased but TJF have done what so few artists manage in a cover, they've maintained a clear appreciation to the original artist but have made the track their own. Following a similar calm before the storm approach as "Anemone", the live track is so beautifully put together, from the gorgeous, peaceful opening, to its gentle build up and Ritzy's repeated cries of "It's Over" and the emotional charge of the final chorus.

Listen:
Anemone by thejoyformidable
It's Over by thejoyformidable

If you didn't already know that TJF are the best live band around listen to this below, "Whirring" from the recent sold out Koko gig, they opened with this! Words are not required other than, un-fucking-believable:

Whirring (Live) by thejoyformidable

And as I'm on a roll, here is a jaw-dropping video of that Roy Orbison cover:

Monday, 26 September 2011

Be Forest - New Music "Introducing"

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Italian post-punk / cold-wave trio Be Forest could be the perfect soundtrack as the nights start to draw in (even if the weather forecast is for London to experience an Indian summer this week), the three piece create dark and chilly guitar based soundscapes that sound like they were made in the 80's, conjugating atmospheres float between threatening rhythms and luscious melodies.

Their debut album 'Cold' came out in March via We Were Never Being Boring (also available digitally at bandcamp), a listen to the track that introduced me to the band, "Florence" possibly sums up their sound better than any words from me could; thumping dark drums nestle amongst waves of prominent bass and echoey guitar sparkles. The ethereal lead vocals and celestial harmonies contrasting, otherworldy, gorgeous.

Another stand-out is "Dust", a brooding mood maintained with a hint of malice in the drums and bass-line, the vocals, whispered soft and dreamy are beautiful glistening amongst icy guitar howls. "Wild Brain's" catchy riffs have single written through them and closing track "Screaming Prayers" is possibly the most powerful and compelling of all, gone is the shining breeze of the guitars. Here the reverberating whirlpool of guitar noise is dark and threatening.

Nine tracks that leave you more than satisfied and one that promises much for the future of Be Forest. Wrap up warm and listen below:
Be Forest - Florence
Be Forest - Dust

Friday, 23 September 2011

Witch Gardens #2 - Rain Delay

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Seattle's Witch Gardens return with a new limited (to 300 copies) 7" "Rain Delay" which is released October 25th via Highfives and Handshakes.

"Rain Delay" is murky and raw, a tornado of fuzzed up noise which is also possibly their best track. Guitar thrashing sludge, thunderbolt drumming and sweetly sung harmonies combine to perfection for a short, sharp blast of immensely fun DIY indie pop.

"Goodbye Ball" drops the tempo and some of the reverb allowing the guitars to jangle amongst languid vocals, shimmering and beautiful melodies, delicious.

They also have a new 7" on the ever excellent Japanese label Sixteen Tambourines, a split release with Tan Dollar Side, the WG side contains two new tracks, "Dime Eyes" is yet more delightful lo-fi pop - order.

You can download their debut EP "Alice, Agatha, Branch, & Christ" (which I mentioned here) from the band direct (bandcamp link), the limited tape run has long been sold-out.

Listen:
Witch Gardens - Rain Delay
Witch Gardens - Dime Eyes

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Great Wilderness - New Music "Introducing"

thegreatwilderness.bandcamp.com/ / Facebook

I found The Great Wilderness a little too late for my liking, the Costa Rican group (who share their bassist, Monserrat Vargas with Las Robertas) played a handful of UK dates just a few weeks ago, unfortunately for me I discovered them after that, lets hope they return to our shores again soon.

They've three releases to date (all their releases can be downloaded for free from their bandcamp - too kind). Their debut EP 'Afterimages of Glowing Visions' signalled their intent, a relentless hurricane of raw, rocking noise. The assault begins with "1956" which drowns guitars in healthy washes of reverb, "Ada" kicks you in the gut straight away with its ferocious wall of sound crescendos, before soothing with irresistible ethereal vocals then resuming the onslaught, unleashing another wave of bashing drums and buzzing guitar. "Sandbox" is equally praise worthy, a brilliant debut EP, download it whilst you can.

Their second release 'Tiny Monster' came out towards the end of 2010 and is more expressive and ambient, full of psychedelic melodies and swirling textures perhaps best portrayed on the stunning "When in June", languid guitar soundscapes and hazy, delicate vocals, it's simply beautiful. Other stand-out's include opener "On Smoke", which floats between dream-like melody and exploding rhythms with aggressive snarling vocals and "Nicholas Cage", which certainly packs more bite into its four minutes than its namesake has in any of his recent movies.

Their most recent (and best) release is the spellbinding "Dark Horse", a sprawling nine minute epic, seamlessly flowing from luscious, dreamy melodies, shimmering guitar rhythms sewn together by vocalist Paola's haunting voice to a shattering cataclysm of pummelling drums and frenetic guitar riffs played with such searing intensity you'll be left gobsmacked, then you'll want to press repeat, again and again.

Listen below, be prepared to be blown away:

Dark Horse (Part I and II) by The Great Wilderness
The Great Wilderness - When in June
The Great Wilderness - Nicholas Cage
Ada by The Great Wilderness

Spotlight Kid - New Music "Introducing"

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I've flirted with Spotlight Kid for a while before I finally caught up with them with two gigs in July / August, I was left suitably impressed by the dynamic sound of the Nottingham six-piece. Shimmering guitars, beautiful boy/girl harmonies, a perfect combination of shoegaze noise and melody.

I've labelled this as an "Introducing" post but Spotlight Kid aren't a band that will need introducing to everyone, they released an album 'Departure' in 2006 and after a hiatus followed it with releases in 2009 and 2010. Forward to 2011 and they've found some momentum, a support slot with The Joy Formidable at Koko in May and a Guardian New Band of the Day feature a couple of weeks back, there's a new album imminent too, it's called 'Disaster Tourist' and will be released through Tri-Tone/PIAS on Oct 17th (Digital) and Nov 14th (Physical).

Lead-single "Forget Yourself In Me" is fantastic, delivered at blistering pace it offers a euphoric headrush of driving drums, angry guitars and ethereal vocals, it, like every Spotlight Kid track I've heard so far, commands to be played loud, very fucking loud. The album version of "All Is Real" cloaks Katty Heath's tender vocal harmonies in fuzzy layers of overdriven guitar, my favourite though is "Haunting Me", at six minutes in length it never feels over long, dual vocals, pounding drums and wall of sound guitars progress to a celestial combination of glistening soundscapes and sweeping melodies. The album promises to be something special.

Spotlight Kid head out on a UK tour in October including a date at Hoxton's Underbelly on October 21st - full dates can be found here. You can purchase their previous album and EP via bandcamp now.

 Spotlight Kid - Forget Yourself In Me
Spotlight Kid - Haunting Me
Spotlight Kid - All is Real

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

CoverGirl - New Music "Introducing"

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CoverGirl are a newly formed UK band made up of members from Peepholes, Wetdog and Trash Kit, a DIY Super Group you could say. They've certainly made some noise in the right places and their debut release 'Paris Burns' is about to be released by Captured Tracks no-less (on limited 7" 3rd October 2011).

"Paris Burns" snarling duel vocal attack crosses the boundaries of post-punk, garage rock and dance with its experimental rhythms, propulsive drums and tribal flavoured melodies it maintains a wonderful flow combined with dance floor friendly beats.

"Chemicals" is more indie garage, maintaining the unusual rattling drum rhythms ably backed by fuzzed guitars, a strong bass-line and nonchalant vocals. A debut release bursting with energy, spiky songs that demand attention, CT seem to have another winner on their hands.

The record release show takes place on October 28 at Power Lunches, London and features four fantastic acts including Trogons and Palms - details.

Listen:
Chemicals by CoverGirl
Paris Burns by CoverGirl

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

EMA #3 - Marked Single + Daytrotter

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I posted a blog on EMA last week to highlight her exceptional debut album 'Past Life Martyred Saints' and her intense live show (which saw her win over London's Cargo despite a static crowd and the venues persistence to have r&b music bleeding into the room from outside), today I return to Erika to give news of two updates .

First, the release of the exceptional 'Marked' as a single, on limited 7" 21st November with an exclusive b-side "Angelo" featuring rapper Mz’Gorjis. I'm not sure if I'm excited or not by that prospect, I'll wait till I hear it... Watch "Marked" below, the single edit has been tweaked slightly sounded more raw and intimate, highlighting the scornful hiss of Erika's vocals.

Secondly, and perhaps more exciting, today also saw the release of Erika's Daytrotter session, it's simply one of the best sessions I've heard in sometime. Three tracks from the album, "California", "Marked" and "Butterfly Knife" are the perfect choices, sharp, frenetic and fuzzed to fuck - this session is what the word kick-ass was invented for. Just check out "Butterfly Knife" - utterly awesome. There's also a new track entitled "Fuckin' Around", the title probably speaks for itself, a candid, fragile ballad.

The Daytrotter session can be streamed / downloaded in full for free here, a couple of samples can be heard below.
EMA - Fuckin' around (Daytrotter session)
EMA - Butterfly Knife (Daytrotter session)



Die-hard Nirvana fans look away now, here is a spectacular cover of "Endless Nameless":


EMA are back in Europe in November, my advice is simple: Go.

The Echo Vamper - New Music "Introducing"

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The Echo Vamper are a Danish new-wave / rock & roll duo who came to my attention through their latest release "Lover", the single combines the alluring vocal of Iza Mortag Freund with a Rolling Stones style guitar riff,  hard-hitting drum machine and synth beats. Freund's vocals steal the show, her energetic banshee-like screams exude a real fuck-you attitude, "Lover" is basically one cool, dance-floor ready hit.

The first thing that popped into my head when I listened to the demo of "Fashionable Girls Are Better Than Us" was early Adam & The Ants, probably due to a combination of things; the tongue in cheek song-title, the vibrant bursts of raw energy and sexual power, the fuzzed-up off beat rhythums and the analog recording methods giving it a definite vintage sound. Whatever it reminds you of, I think it's rather excellent.

"Lover" came out today on iTunes - their debut EP entitled ''It's The Echo Vamper' is due next month. Watch the video below:


The Echo Vamper - Lover from THE ECHO VAMPER on Vimeo.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Veronica Falls #6 - An Interview With

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Today saw the digital release of Veronica Falls debut self-titled LP, the Glasgow / London four-piece have an incredible knack of writing infectious, bittersweet guitar pop songs which on the surface are beautiful, harmony-laden songs but are often deceptively upbeat, laced with lyrics of a macabre, sinister nature.

Unsettling undercurrents run throughout with tracks about one of the UK's 'favourite' suicide spots "Beachy Head", to romancing a ghost on "Found Love in a Graveyard" (the album version is given a gloss of paint and sounds better than ever) and the albums lead-single, "Bad Feeling" with its anti feel-good refrain of "I've got a bad feeling / and it's not going away". Yet Veronica Falls is as irresistibly catchy and strangely uplifting an album as you'll hear this year, closing track "Come on Over" is the most hopeful, a sing-a-long chorus built around a driving drum beat and furiously played chiming guitars. Without doubt it's one of the years finest debuts.

Guitarist / Vocalist Roxanne Clifford has been kind enough to answer a few of my questions below:

What inspired you to start making music?

My dad taught me how to play 'Like a Rolling Stone' by Bob Dylan when I was 9 or 10. I think that opened my eyes to the simplicity and ease of a great pop song. Then as a teenager labels like K Records and Kill Rock Stars made me feel like maybe it was something I could do myself.  

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

Beachy Head and Come on Over because they are immediate and were very easy to write.

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

Beat Happening, The Velvet Underground, Young Marble Giants, Galaxie 500, Roky Erickson, Alex Chilton

Which song do you wish you had written?

Thirteen by Big Star 

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

I saw a girl band in Glasgow recently called Palms, I liked their primal drumming, melodies and lack of pretention.  

If you were to curate an ATP event, who would you want to invite along?
Guided by Voices, Moe Tucker, Stereolab, Roky Erickson, Bert Jansch, Kleenex, The Clean, Let's Wrestle, Male Bonding, Teenage Fanclub, Brilliant Colors...are REM too big to play ATP?  

Recommend an artist that isn’t getting the attention they deserve.

I think Let's Wrestle are writing some of the best indie rock songs since Pavement and deserve to be very famous. (Facebook page)

*****

Many thanks again to Roxanne and Veronica Falls. You can purchase the digital version of their full-length now (iTunes link), the physical version follows on October 17th. I recommend getting it from Rough Trade as it comes with an exclusive six track CD of covers including Eurythmics and The Rolling Stones. If that sounds tasty you can get it on a limited LP pressing (300 copies) via the same shop here.

Do go and see them live too, I've seen them five times and can safely testify they sound even better; The band play a host of US Dates in Sept / Oct and European dates in Oct / Nov. The London headline show is on 20th October at The Lexington (tickets) - for full dates including some support slots go here.

Finally, as always, here is a short playlist of some of the artists / tracks mentioned by Roxanne, followed by the video for their latest single "Bad Feeling".








Veronica Falls - Bad Feeling from Philippa Bloomfield on Vimeo.

She Keeps Bees #6 - Dig On

http://shekeepsbees.com/ / Facebook

I don't think I've mentioned She Keeps Bees for a while (I checked - it was February). It's a difficult thing maintaining this blog sometimes, the continual search for 'new / fresh' music means you forget about some bands who are close to your heart, She Keep Bees are certainly one such band who should have been featured again a lot sooner.

They released their third full length (although 'Minisink Hotel is sometimes ignored) 'Dig On' in July and played quite a few shows / festivals around Europe all summer long. I saw She Keeps Bees twice over the same weekend of August Bank Holiday (my third and fourth time this year) and they re-affirmed themselves as a fantastic live act. Jess and Andy know how to rock, this time around the addition of an additional guitarist adds intense sections of frenetic guitar with Jess's stunning vocals ranging from introspective, soft whisper to howling, fierce powerhouse. Andy holding the whole thing together behind the drum kit. Their last London show was probably their best yet, summed up by new track "All or None/Dark Horse" which reduced The Lexington to silence with its jaw-dropping strength and intensity.

The album only slightly deviates from the formula of 'Nests', 'Dig On' does take a more slow-burning approach to their beautifully stark and melancholic sound. Opener "Saturn Returns" highlights this well, sparse and intimate, the dirty, bluesy sound hits you right in the gut with its raw emotion. "Farmer" and "Found You Out" highlight a heavier, loud and abrasive sound, Andy's pummelling beat, Jess's aggressive chunky guitar and wailing vocals stop you in your tracks with their power and don't let you go.

"Vulture" is a definite stand-out, the guitar is laid down thick and moody, the drum beat is tribal and rhythmic, fast paced, it'll blow your socks off. Tempo changes are part and parcel of the SKB sound, never bettered than on the aforementioned highlight "All or None/Dark Horse". Starting stripped back, just Jess's brooding whispers purring then slowly and gently it builds up to an emotional climax of angry guitar blasts and crashing drum crescendos.

Get the album from Jess and Andy direct here. There may well be an autumn UK tour as they've a date booked in Liverpool 25th October,  I assume more are to follow.

Listen:
Saturn Return by She Keeps Bees
She Keeps Bees - Gimme

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Sunday Reeds - New Music "Introducing"

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The Sunday Reeds are a noise-pop duo from Melbourne formed by Romana Ashton (Vocals) and Drew Jones (Guitar/Noise), they've so far released an album and a more recently an EP on the excellent Leeds based label Squirrel Records (home to some great bands including The Blanche Hudson Weekend and Insect Guide).

The EP, 'Dark Rainbow' is perfect introduction to their dark discordant fuzzed-up pop/rock, the five tracks come in at just fourteen minutes, there is no messing about here. Kicking off with the excellent "Shiver Up My Vein" with its driving bass-line, machine gun drumming and guitars soaked in feedback. The Sunday Reeds conjure up an enthralling cocktail of raw, hook-laden energy and restrained vocals.

Next is possibly my highlight, the dirty guitar riffs of "Kiss Me, Kill Me" are repetitive, reverb drenched and make you want to turn up the track loud and start a mosh-pit in your living room. Romana's vocals velvet smooth, alluring and seductive. "Over" combines buzz saw guitars with a powerful heavy-hitting drum beat for another moody pop monster.

Closing track "Stem-Filled Vase" comes with another killer bass-line, reverberating slabs of noise and a catchy melody, the formula isn't broke and there's no need to change it on this EP, short, intense and most definietly fucking brilliant.

Sure to appeal to anyone who likes fuzz/noise-pop / shoegaze, you know the bands who defined the genre without me needlessly listing/comparing them here. According to their Facebook, The Sunday Reeds have plans to return to the UK in 2012, that would be nice.

You can order the EP on CD for just £4.00 inc delivery (and the debut full-length for a crazy price of £3.00) here.

Listen / Watch below:
The Sunday Reeds - Shiver Up My Vein
The Sunday Reeds - Kiss Me, Kill Me

Saturday, 17 September 2011

News Round Up - September 17th

A short round-up (well I've rambled on a bit so it's not so short in fact), I've plenty of plenty of posts to come but I'm struggling to find the time to write them all up. There is simply so much good music about at the minute!


We've been treated to a new version of one of the (many) stand-out's from disco-electronica genius Janine Rostron aka Planningtorock's second album 'W'. "Living It Out" will be released by DFA via two separate 12" releases on 14th November - this invigorating single version features some frenetic strings and convoluting beats to improve an already stunning track. The video sees Janine mystical and menacing, prancing around the streets of Berlin in a hazy, funky stomp - sensational.

A short UK/Germany tour takes place early next Month, including a date at London's Scala, 11th October. Full dates. Must see. If you don't already get the album from Rough Trade and get a free bonus disc. Watch:


Living It Out from planningtorock on Vimeo.

Compare it to the album version here, I'm usually hard to convince to like 'new' / 'improved' / 're-edited' versions but this is one clear case where PTR have improved the track, evolutionary:
Planningtorock - Living It Out

Let's Buy Happiness have released the accompanying video to the (naturally) excellent single 'Dirty Lakes'. Released digitally next Monday, 19th September and on limited physical release in October, (order the mp3 here), make sure you do that. One of their best yet with chiming guitar soundscapes, a joyous melody and Sarah Hall's beautiful vocals instantly melting your heart. I'm not quite tempted to jump into a Dirty Lake yet, but if a band were to make me, it would be Let's Buy Happiness.

I'm looking forward to my next LBH fix, as part of a Spindle introducing night at 93 Feet East, London on October 13th - Tickets. Watch:



Let's Buy Happiness - Dirty Lakes by letsbuyhappiness

Keeping in the North East, my favourite band right now is without doubt Lanterns on the Lake, I'm as excited as a kid in a sweet-shop to say their full-length debut 'Gracious Tide, Take Me Home' is released next week (order it now from Rough Trade with a free and exclusive bonus CD which I'm equally excited to hear), I've previously covered the album preview tracks so search the labels for my thoughts on them, this post however is to tell you two things. Firstly, buy the fucking album, it's superb and these guys deserve it and then secondly, check out this interview / live recording for the wonderful Amazing Radio.

Here is one of the two live recordings from the session, it's an as yet unreleased track too, 'Not Going Back to The Harbour' sees the band at their sensual best, the most expressive, gorgeous melodies you are likely to hear, built around Hazel's soft hushed vocals and beautiful violin it builds up to a cacophonous climax, absolutely breathtaking:


Lanterns on the Lake - Not Going Back to the Harbour from Amazing Radio on Vimeo.

We finally have a London headlining show, November 22nd at The Lexington. Perfect - tickets.
Keep On Trying by Lanterns on the Lake

Finally (and I feel a bit naughty saying Lanterns on the Lake are my favourite band at the minute and then coming onto another of my August / September obsessions, St Vincent) the incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist Annie Clark's third album 'Strange Mercy' (an undoubted candidate for album of the year) came out last week in all good record shops (that doesn't include my local HMV who looked at me like a mad man when I asked whether they had it in stock - and you wonder why they are going bust when you see a new blu-ray release at £22.99 hey).

I'm not going to review it because better writers than I'll ever be have done so in their droves already, I'll instead point you to this wonderful live cover of Tom Waits' "Tango Till They're Sore" and simply remind you to support these fantastic artists, it's all well and good downloading music as you go, but if you don't give them any of your money, they in turn aren't going to have any to record any follow up.



and from the album, the irresistible "Cruel":
St. Vincent - Cruel

Trailer Trash Tracys #3 - Engelhardt’s Arizona

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Hot on the heels of one new track from Trailer Trash Tracys (and their first since 2009), we've been treated to another. 'Engelhardt’s Arizona', will feature on a double-a side 7" with a new version of "You Wish You Were Read" due October 31st via Domino.

"Engelhardt’s Arizona" highlights their psychedelic shoegazing tendencies beautifully, based around a shredding guitar melody that swirls around like some post-drug trip, ample electronic samples and Suzanne Aztoria's light, gorgeous vocals combine with delicious effect.

"You Wish You Were Read" is a more languid  affair and is just wonderful. Slightly fuzzed guitars and bubbling percussion provide the backdrop for dreamy vocals, Trailer Trash Tracys have certainly returned with a bang. They play a Domino night alongside Real Estate and Twin Sister at London's Garage on October 25th, expect more dates to come.

Listen to both sides below:

AA - Trailer Trash Tracys - Engelhardt's Arizona
A - Trailer Trash Tracys - You Wish You Were Red

Friday, 16 September 2011

SoKo - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook / www.s-o-k-o.com

French singer/songwriter SoKo (aka Stéphanie Sokolinski) released her debut EP back in 2007 (which on investigation appears to be quite dissimilar to the recent material featured below, wisely losing some of the elongated accent and witty lyrics, in favour of a poignant, reflective song-writing full of broken-hearted tales of love and loss that showcases her incredible talent).

Soko quit music after that EP but recently announced her return and her debut album, 'I Thought I Was An Alien' which is due for release 6th February 2011. Below you can find a hat-trick of the most serene and delicate videos which will definitely be enough to make you fall in love with this Parisian singer/songwriter.

Firstly "I've Been Alone Too Long" backed by just a gently strummed acoustic touches you with it's deeply intimate lyrics, Soko's vocals soft and breathtakingly beautiful. Equally introspective is the sepia-tinged "No More Home, No More Love" and possibly my favourite is "We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow" where her aching vocal delivery is half tortured soul, half angelic grace. Stunning.

I was prompted to get this post out by the wonderful news that Soko plays London's Borderline next Tuesday, 20th September - tickets. See you there.

Listen / Watch below:






SoKo - No More Home, No More Love

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Paper Crush

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Los Angeles based Letting Up Despite Great Faults are gearing up for the UK release of their third record, 'Paper Crush EP' (due October 24th via Heist Or Hit Records), which contains six tracks of pure, fuzzy indie-pop. A joyous listen throughout its 21 minute length, perfect for a sunny day with its charming, carefree approach.

Paper Crush manages to cross a few genre borders with electronic synthesisers and shoe-gazing guitars especially prominent. Opener "Repeating Hearts" is a fine introduction to the bands textured soundscapes, jangly guitars, propelling keys and electronics beats swirl around with Mike Lee's whispered, airy vocals the perfect compliment, languid and delicate. The sweet "Sophia in Gold" is equally propulsive, glistening keys shine through the thinnest veneer of fuzz, though it's all about the catchy, delicious melodies combining with the light and gorgeous vocals.

Probably the strongest track on the EP is the sun-kissed nostalgia of "Teenage Tide", with subtle female backing vocals it can't help remind you of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at their best, hushed and dream-like, a simple but irresistible listen. "Helium" takes a similar approach though not quite as contagious, it certainly closes the EP on a high. Fans of indie-pop take note, here is a band you should listen to.

Listen:
Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Sophia In Gold

Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Teenage Tide

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Still Corners #6 - Into The Trees

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The release date for Still Corners debut full-length 'Creature of an Hour' is slowly but surely approaching (10th of October) and to wet the appetite even further the London based four-piece (though I'm still not sure why they've dropped from being a five piece) have released another new track, "Into The Trees"...

If you've been following Still Corners for a while like me then you'll know they've exquisite quality control and this, their new single, naturally follows suit, it's quite wonderful. Fully utilising their trademark cinematic soundscapes, though the misty haze that cloaks many of their previous tracks is missing, instead glistening 60's psychedelia, precise drum beats and shining guitars combine with Tessa's dream-like whispers creating another track to fall in love with.

Pre-order the CD/LP from Rough Trade and get an exclusive bonus mix-cd, they also perform an instore the day after its release, on  the 11th October as well as a headlining show at Cafe Oto on the 10th - tickets. US folks (and importers) get direct from Sub Pop for a bonus flexi-disc.

Listen:
Still Corners - Into the Trees by subpop

Here is a recently released video for the soft and shimmering beauty that is their last single "Cuckoo":

EMA #2 - Marked + Butterfly Knife in Session

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I see quite a few live gigs and without doubt one of the best acts I've seen in 2011 is EMA (Erika M. Anderson), her third(!) show of the day in a hot and sweaty Jam at Brighton's The Great Escape festival (original review) was one of my highlights of the festival. Delivering an intimate and highly powerful live performance of her 90's influenced noise-grunge debut 'Past Life Martyred Saints', with scuzzed-up guitars, Erika's intense vocal delivery and her compelling stage presence, it was a breathtaking show.

It's fair to say I'm looking forward to her sold-out show at Cargo tonight, I'm sure everyone else going is too... Though the reason for this post wasn't to tell you where I am tonight, it was to show these two stunning live tracks EMA performed for Radio K (watch below), both tracks from her album, "Marked" and "Butterfly Knife".

"Marked" is probably my favourite track on the album (though "The Grey Ship" and it's single b-side "Kind Heart" push it close), raw and bruised with its repetitive cries of "I wish that every time he touched me left a mark". This version of "Butterfly Knife" surpasses the album version, a truly angry dissonance of crashing percussive beats, frenetic riffs and an possessed like vocal, just listen to the Erika's shredding her guitar, amazing:


Live on Radio K: EMA - "Marked" from Radio K on Vimeo.


Live on Radio K: EMA - "Butterfly Knife" from Radio K on Vimeo.

You want a ticket to see her live now right? Luckily for you EMA return to the UK in November for a couple of dates with Zola Jesus (!) including this show at Heaven. More Euro / US dates here.

If you are interested in hearing Erika perform a few Nirvana covers head over to her website.

Here is "California", Erika's preacher like rant about the state that "made her boring" a quite stunning track, its repeated refrain of "I'm just 22 / I don’t mind dying" amongst the sludge like beats it's as bold a statement as you'll hear this year from one of this years best discoveries.

EMA - California

BLOUSE #2 - Videotapes

http://bbblouse.bandcamp.com/ / Facebook

I'm surprised I haven't found space to write about Blouse since their debut track last November, on the back of those early bandcamp demos they were soon snapped up by the excellent Captured Tracks who released the deliciously dreamy 'Into Black' on 7"  earlier this year and will follow with the debut Blouse full-length record on November 7th (US November 1).

We've been treated to a new track from the album, the ideally named "Videotapes" sounds like it could have been recorded for an 80's Commodore game, minimal new-wave, with woozy and nostalgic beats.
Starting with a dark synth ambience that could have been borrowed from label mates The Soft Moon "Videotapes", a more urgent, bass-driven number than we've heard from Blouse previously is one of their finest tracks to date, continuing with the seductive power of Charlie Hilton's beautifully dream-like vocals as the Portland trio intoxicate you with their hazy, wistful gems.

Listen:

Videotapes by BLOUSE
Into Black by BLOUSE

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Chelsea Wolfe #3 - Live Video / Apokalypsis

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When I come to whittle down the countless releases from 2011 to produce some sort of 'best of' list I can guarantee that Chelsea Wolfe will be in the shortlist not once, but twice, which is why not long after posting about her, I'm doing so again. That's one of the advantages of running your own blog, you can go on about artists you are in love with without fear of annoying your real life friends.  What triggered this was the discovery of a fantastic live video from New York recorded last month (which you can watch below)...

I don't think Chelsea has played in London yet, that has to change, this is just breathtaking:

Chelsea Wolfe | NYC @ St.Vitus | 17 Aug 2011 from (((unartig))) on Vimeo.

Her most recent release 'Ἀποκάλυψις' (pronounced “apokalypsis”) caught the watchful eye of The Guardian amongst many exemplary reviews. Listening to it, it's not hard to see why. Cloaked with mysterious, eerie melodies it's certainly not a party album. The overriding mood is bone-chilling and dark. Though amongst the droning electronics, reverbed ambience and thunderous rhythms are these delightful ethereal moments, for terrifying and harrowing it maybe, it is also soothing and beautiful too.

Chelsea's vocal range is superb, capable of varying from soft and delicate whispers to demented, intense howls. Intense is definitely the right word to describe listening to Chelsea's music, her work is laid for all to see. If I were to pick a few it would have to include the exquisite "Moses" with its doom-laden drums, heavy guitar chords swathed in distortion, the equally slow paced  "Pale on Pale" highlights the sinister foreboding atmosphere that Chelsea creates best and "Mer" with its rumbling beats and fast-paced guitar comes close to letting in sunlight amongst the gloom, but then I'm neglecting to mention "Demons" and "Tracks (Tall Bodies)".

Get the limited edition vinyl from Pendu now. The debut LP 'The Grime and The Glow' is now sold-out (although a CD repress is due) so don't dilly-dally for too long.

Listen:


Another live version, this time an intense, moving version of "Halfsleeper" from the debut:

Russian Red #3 - It's A Heartache

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If told me this morning that I'd be posting a cover of a Bonnie Tyler track I'd have probably laughed in your face, but here I am doing exactly that. The reason is the utterly delicious version by Russian Red, which you can watch below. Lourdes Hernández has the most haunting, devastatingly pretty voice and here backed only by a simple, repetitive guitar strum it shines like diamond in a sea of coal.

Beautiful.

I've also included the video for her latest single, the upbeat pop track "The Sun, The Trees", effortlessly playful it's bright and breezy from the outset, showing a side Lourdes away from the melancholic balladry that made me fall for her. It's the second single off her excellent second album 'Fuerteventura', you can download the title track for free from her site above.



5 minutos en Herzio con Russian Red from Herzio on Vimeo.

Russian Red - The Sun, The Trees from Video Exclusives // Playground on Vimeo.

For some mystifying reason she is still little heard of outside of Spain, here are a couple of my favourite tracks to convince you to fall under her spell:

Russian Red - I Hate You But I Love You
Russian Red - Just Like a Wall

Monday, 12 September 2011

Lucy Rose #2 - Scar

lucyrosemusic.co.uk/ / Facebook

Lucy Rose has one of those beautiful voices that hits you every-time you hear it. Soft and delicate with a slight husk, it melts your heart with every note.

She returns with her second single 'Scar, released next Monday, 19th September on iTunes. I probably don't need to tell you this if you are familiar with Lucy, but it's absolutely gorgeous. 'Scar' is a gentle, acoustic track which wears its heart on the sleeve, deftly backed by some calming instrumentation, its intimate and melancholic vulnerability is displayed for all to see, stunning.

Expect to see Lucy on endless 'tips for 2012' lists, she'll deserve all the success that comes her way.

Listen:
Lucy Rose - Scar by Lucy Rose

Here is a delightful live rendition of the track:



Edit - the official video, equally beautiful:

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Pocketbooks - New Music "Introducing"

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Pocketbooks are a delightful five-piece indie-pop band from London who popped up on my horizon with the release of their latest track "Promises, Promises", a joyous slice of uplifting, summer-tinged charm.

It's playful and fun, with swirling melodies, bright harmonies and fast pacing set by the sweeping violins and singer Emma Halls' lovely shining vocals. It's simple yet utterly delicious, play this at your party and even the cool kids will be up and dancing.

Their second album 'Carousel' is released this month via OddBox Records, to celebrate there is an album launch gig next Friday (16th September) at the lovely Wilmington Arms - full details.

Listen / Download:
Promises, Promises by pocketbooks