Tuesday, 31 January 2012

BOY - This is The Beginning


Month-end is pretty much guaranteed to be my least favourite day of the month, it (along with the first) is always my busiest day of the calendar month, today the systems were down for half of the working day too which meant even more headaches than normal. Add in the cold, cold weather (we can't complain, we got to mid-January without much in the way of cold) and it means I've returned home in need of something to cheer me up. Today it's a girl, girl duo (not like that you dirty minded individual!) called BOY...

Hailing from Zurich & Munich I doubt Valeska Steiner & Sonja Glass will be completely new to many of you, last year's "Little Numbers" has amassed an incredible 2.2m plays on YouTube in exactly six months, I let someone that isn't me do the maths. It's the perfect pick me up too, a lively, summery beat, smile-inducing hand claps and upbeat melody will have you dancing around the living room whilst the pretty as a flower vocal harmonies are simply beautiful.

You can help yourself to a free download of another album track, "This is the Beginning" below, showcasing  a calmer, mellow sound that is utterly gorgeous, genteel glockenspiel sooth away the worries and its hopeful chorus of "This is the beginning of anything you want" is perfectly bright and optimistic, just what the doctor ordered after a long day at work.

The UK release of their album 'Mutual Friends' is set for April 23rd (pre-order) with BOY playing their first London show next week at the Jazz Café on Feb 7th - tickets. The girls embark on an extensive Euro tour in March (dates on the link above).

Monday, 30 January 2012

Emily and the Woods #2 - Eye to Eye / WLT Session


For no reason other than a lack of hours in the day I've not mentioned Emily and The Woods since she melted my heart at Glastonbury last June. Her second EP 'Eye to Eye' was released in the middle of last year and its four tracks will soften even the hardest of souls, Emily's acoustic folk songs can be simply surmised as from the heavens. With her soft, beautiful voice, introspective lyrics and delicately delivered instrumentation it's almost impossible not to fall in love with her and her music.

The range of her talents can be heard via three tracks from the EP below, "Handwriting" produces all sorts of goosebumps, her vocal floors me every time; pure, honest, the very definition of gorgeous. The reflective track brings back memories of how she turned a large crowd at Worthy Farm into an enthralled silence, her exceptional song-craft and voice, coupled with a quirky, humorous presence made her come across as instantly likeable and (for want of a better word) nice - though there's not enough 'nice' is the world is there?. These attributes exhibited on the exquisite "Steal His Heart", a sweet, endearing lullaby that's simply delicious.

You can order the 'Eye to Eye' EP direct from Emily and also get a lovely signed poster here.

Watch Listen Tell have recently released a live session for a new track called "It Was Right There", as you'd expect it's pretty stunning. Emily is definitely in the same bracket as Rachel Sermanni, Daughter, Lucy Rose and Camille Delean as my favourite independent female singer-songwriters and I'm looking forward to hearing and seeing much more of her in 2012.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Lissy Trullie - Madeleine

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I don't think I'm particularly the first to post about Lissy Trullie's most recent track "Madeleine" but I post things as I discover them and the slow-burning "Madeleine" definitely warrants its posting, even three months late. Produced by Dave Sitek and featuring Holly Miranda on backing vocals it's actually not too dissimilar to some of the tracks on Miranda's debut. The woozy track is effortlessly sexy with a distinctive, distorted guitar buzz and languid percussive beat complimenting Lissy's haunting vocals perfectly (I've read Nico comparisons at least five times already) "Madeleline" is a fine entry point for those of you, like me, who are new to her.

Those in the know (Guardian in this case) tell me Lissy released an EP 'Self-Taught Learner' back in February 2009 (I've included a video for the title-track below), her debut LP is scheduled for April 10th on Downtown Records, a three year wait then, though I've not had to endure it myself, if the rest of the album is of this quality I'm sure it'll be worth it.

Finally, if you were wondering what the track would sound like if it was re-recording for the Drive soundtrack, Selebrities are here to help, with a retro and stylish, neon filled remix of the track filled with shiny, twinkling synths that ooze cool, listen to both below:

Lissy Trullie - "Self Taught Learner" from Downtown Music on Vimeo.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Lockets - New Music "Introducing"


I'm finally starting to get my way towards the back end of the Christmas back-log, in and amongst the deluge was a little gem from a dream-pop duo from Philadelphia (with a second track since added). Lockets have released their debut tracks "Camera Shy" and "Catch Me" for free via the (now) usual methods of soundcloud / bandcamp and available below.

"Camera Shy" is utterly gorgeous, Dani's soft and dreamy vocals warm the heartstrings whilst Todd's synths and effects add hazy, woozy layers of sumptuous noise before at the three minute mark screeching guitar transform the soothing melody into something slightly more sinister. The track though still retains the sort of blissful slow-motion ambience which will lead it to be the soundtrack for many a young lover this winter.

Their second track "Catch Me", with its more upbeat, jaunty rhythm sees their sweet pop songs develop a level, where "Camera Shy" is the equivalent of a loved-up start to a new relationship "Catch Me" is the chase beforehand, with layers of swirling synths and a purposeful beat it's certainly slicker, catchier and urgent yet nevertheless retains the same silky, ethereal vocals and beautiful melody that's enough to make this new, young band another to be pretty excited about.

Lockets - Catch Me from Lockets on Vimeo.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Anika #3 - In The City / Daytrotter Session

Facebook /anika.bandcamp.com/

Anika brings her unique blend of 60's dub and early 80's post-punk to my attention once more with a previously unavailable track, a cover of Chromatics "In The City", which the now Berlin based chanteuse contributed to the 'Invada Sampler 2012', a collection of tracks selected by Geoff Barrow [Portishead/BEAK>] and founder of the Bristol label (stream the rest of the collection free here - I might be revisiting it soon!).

Anika twists the synthetic overtures of the original "In The City", gone is the late night glistening optimism and in it's place we've Anika's nonchalant, detached vocal drawl but with its funk-laden beats it's at the same time, strangely danceable.

If that wasn't enough for you, on Tuesday the ever wonderful Daytrotter released a live session which you can download for free here, consisting of four tracks from 2010's wonderful self titled debut, from the unhinged paranoia of "Officer Officer" to organ led lifeless beauty of "I Go To Sleep" these new snippets of material have certainly wet my appetite for more.

Anika - No One's There from Mintonfilm on Vimeo.

Spotlight Kid #2- Don't You Forget About Me


Spotlight Kid celebrate a new tour announcement with the release of a free download cover of the Simple Minds classic "Don't You Forget About Me", if you ever wondered what The Breakfast Club's signature tune would sound like if it was a shoegaze song, wonder no more, the Nottingham sextet have done a wonderful job too, the pace slowed down emphasising a heavenly melody which puts the focus onto the soft, ethereal harmonies of Katty Heath and Rob McCleary which cloaked around glistening guitars build to a sumptuous finale. Utterly gorgeous. Listen / download below.

If you haven't already, do check out last years fantastic album 'Disaster Tourist', one of my albums of the year, available from the bands website now.

Spotlight Kid tour the UK late February / early March including a London date at the Macbeth on 7th March (full dates here), go and see them live, you'll be blown away.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Blood Red Shoes #2 - Cold / Album News & Tour

Facebook / bloodredshoes.co.uk

The exciting music news of last night was the return of Blood Red Shoes who debuted their new track "Cold" on the Zane Lowe show on Radio One before unleashing it online, unleashing is definitely the right word because it's an absolute monster, a torrential whirlwind of relentless drum and fuzzed up guitar sludge, it's going to blow your socks off, listen to it below.

The Brighton duo also announced their third album on the same show, 'In Time To Voices', the follow-up to 2010's brilliant 'Fire Like This'  is due for a March 16th release with tickets for a UK tour also going on sale today (dates in the picture and on pre-sale here). I saw the band about five times in 2010 and their show was always incredible, a maelstrom of adrenaline and noise. Looking forward to the Heaven date for sure.

You can order a limited signed 7" single for Cold and a signed CD / T-shirt combo via Recordstore. Expect BRS to feature prolifically throughout the year then!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Perfume Genius #4 - Hood


The two of you that were maybe left wondering who I meant in my last post can now be put out of your (no doubt) suspenseful misery! Mike Hadreas, aka Perfume Genius shared the second track to emerge from his forthcoming second LP 'Put Your Back N 2 It' (released 20th February via Turnstile and available to pre-order here) "Hood", a gorgeous piano led ballad that is direct, powerful and beguilingly beautiful, Hadreas' bruised vocal stars throughout, hauntingly plaintive, his lyrics honest and open.

The video will no doubt cause some controversy by those who choose to be far less open about equality as they are about complaining and being prudish but after some dozen or so plays the only thing to dislike about this track is that much like the previous preview "All Waters", "Hood" is over far too soon, perhaps though its brevity adds to its impact, just sublime.

Soap&Skin #4 - Wonder


The next two posts are for, in my humble opinion, two of the most extraordinary artists in music today in terms of artistic creativity and raw, genuine talent. Perhaps surprisingly both use piano and voice as their primary instruments, firstly Anja Plaschg aka Soap&Skin who has already shared one track from her forthcoming EP / Mini LP 'Narrow' (due in the UK March 19th - pre-order here) and now follows it with the second...

"Wonder", which is perhaps one of the simpler tracks on the EP is lead by a serenely restrained piano and orchestral choruses where Anja's inimitable ghostly vocals echo with the melancholy key strokes, subdued, heartfelt and genuinely beautiful. Similarly her lyrics intimate and emotive, Soap&skin continues to be one of the most compelling and  rewarding listens. Make sure you don't miss her live return when Soap&Skin play London's Scala on April 11th - tickets (full Euro tour dates on Songkick).

Soap&Skin - Boat turns toward the port from Soap&Skin on Vimeo.

via. Drownedinsound

Monday, 23 January 2012

Lucille - New Music "Introducing"


Lucille is the new music project from the artist formerly known as Lucy & the Caterpillar, she hails from Manchester and came to my attention due to her billing on the same bill as Projectionists at their EP launch last week, shame (for me) that it was one gig that wasn't in the capital. Lucille appears to still be in her infancy (the project) with the website link on her facebook page heading to a registered but dead page and besides a couple of youtube clips little else in the way of promotion.

I wasn't familiar with Lucy & the Caterpillar but a quick Google search leads me to a Guardian new band of the day profile from 2008 (the day before a certain band called Mumford & Sons!) and a musical style that appears much more cutesy / kitsch than the one I'm posting about today. What instantly won me over are two sepia-tinged amateur videos of  her rough demos, the footage of a countryside walk, animals and repeated lyric writing seem to fit the music better than a grand budget could.

The songs "Roads" and "This War of Love" both highlight an old fashioned song-craft that is serene and romantic that, for me at least, is a world ahead of the upbeat, folk-pop I heard on her old project. The woozy acoustic guitar is simple but intimate, similarly the heartfelt tales of love display clear signs of songwriting development and Lucy's soft voice is breathtakingly beautiful. Rough demos they may be but you can't help but be excited by the potential of them, listen / watch below and let your heart melt away:

Retriever #2 - Happiness Falls


Retriever first showed up on this blog when they got the "Introducing" treatment last summer, this track, "Happiness Falls" (the first of 3 tracks recorded for a Spring single is available free via soundcloud or bandcamp) follows the same dark, punishing style that made their malevolent, brooding sounds so appealing on the part of my ears that wish they were permanently stuck somewhere in a dark, smoky 80's club basement.

"Happiness Falls" is uncompromising with its intent,  purposeful drum machine beats, a chunky, rumbling bass-line and circling guitar howls create a moody, eerie atmosphere in which Jackie venomous vocals intimidate and intoxicate, equally unnerving and arousing and absolutely wonderful to boot. To repeat, yours for free (even without trying to find an alternative download to that broken megaupload / filesonic link) below:

Retriever play London's Queen of Hoxton on March 20th alongside The Neat - details.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Frankie Rose #2 - Night Swim


Yesterday I had friends visiting and today was 'Super Sunday' so I apologise for the lack of posts this weekend, it wasn't all that super for me in all honesty! I never want Utd to win and Spurs did enough to get a result I think, Real Madrid weren't exactly as good as a 4-1 score line suggests. Anyway, you didn't end up here to talk football or read me chit-chatting with myself so I'll stop waffling and change subject for a more familiar one...

Two weekends back I brought the first track from the forthcoming Frankie Rose LP 'Interstellar' (due Feb 21st via Slumberland) "Know Me", a highly polished, 80's reminiscent track full of dreamy, bright and upbeat textures, it's been quickly followed by another new track "Night Swim" and very much the same thing sound be said about it too.

Kaleidoscopic guitars swirl with a purposefully drum march and sparkling clean keys with Frankie's vocals pretty as a flower. So two tracks that promise much for Rose's album, one to keep an eye out for.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Delta/Alaska - New Music "Introducing"


Delta/Alaska are a five piece hailing from North London, located not too far away from me in fact.  Their self released, self-titled debut EP came out (digitally at least) on New Years Day and is available for just $2 via bandcamp with a handful of hard copies left priced £2 here, it's a compelling listen and arguably the most rounded, impact making EP I've heard in a while.

Four tracks which represent the most quintessential of loud-quiet noise, seamlessly combining a monstrous wall of sound produced through relentless wailing guitars and big, big drums with intricate shimmering textures, blissfully pretty melodies and beautiful vocals.

"Vancouver" a perfect example, hard-hitting tribal, rhythmic trance drums and dual male / female vocals conjure up a wholesome noise that's thunderous, pacey and delightful. "Palm Springs" shimmers with lighter optimism, chiming guitars circle around as the drum beat gradually intensifies to a clattering charged finale and closing track "All Our Friends By The Sea" combines both and is possibly my favourite of the four, Michelle's ethereal vocals lead you beautifully to a barrage of sonic abuse. The four tracks are over in under 13 minutes and the one thing you are left with wanting is more, much more. Hopefully 2012 will bring just that.

Listen below:

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Maribel - Jezebel Jive / Reveries


Making it a hat-trick of Norwegian act posts are Maribel, I didn't know anything about the Oslo based four piece before I walked into Cargo last Thursday and caught them play a rather lovely support set for blog favourite Lanterns on the Lake, who themselves were utterly spellbinding...

Start of off topic rant: Taking nothing away from the bands who play there I'm going to have a moan (I do try not to on here too often!). Cargo is without doubt one of the worst places in London to see live music as a paying punter, firstly you have ID checks and be searched just to enter the place, then you have to pay £4.50 (four pounds and fifty pence) for a singular can (read can not pint) of San Miguel and then you have to contend with the R&B / House / Dance 'music' that they play in the main room spilling through the curtain that separates it to the area where the bands are playing... and did I mention you can hear the noise every-time a train passes by? Please, please, bands / promoters pick one of the other, countless venues in London. There are plenty that do actually care about the people walking through the door. Rant over.

Maribel aren't anything like the past two posts, where Team Me could soundtrack your teenage, lustful moments and Like Spinning the plaintive, melancholic times, Maribel are the late night come down, their dark shimmering guitars, sinister drum beat and the breathy siren-like vocals of singer Rebekka Von Markstein create an intoxicating and beautiful atmosphere to keep the demons at bay.

You can stream / download "Jezebel Jive" below, it's the first track to be taken from their second album  (though the first with the current line-up and vocalist), 'Reveries' and is due 13th February via Splendour and available to order in the UK here. I'm somewhat addicted to it's dreamy melody and Rebekka's soft, seductive purr and I'm definitely looking forward to hearing more.

Like Spinning - New Music "Introducing"


I could pretend that through my extensive blog research I organically came across Like Spinning but in reality late last night I begrudgingly (it seems to cause me nothing but problems!) logged into my facebook and top of the page their was an update by The Staves which simply said 'Check this out - she is brilliant', so I did and she is...

Like Spinning is the brainchild of London based (via Liverpool) but Oslo bred Kari Kamrud Jahnsen, by chance exactly like my other Norwegian crush Anna Lena and The Orchids, who are actually a good basis for comparison (and I think they're friends too). On Monday she digitally released a double a-side single "Forces / My Window", both are genuinely gorgeous, Kari has a truly beautiful voice, her ethereal vocals compliment the wistful melodies of her music perfectly, interweaving beautiful guitar arrangements with subdued percussion and dreamy harmonies to create a wonderful hazy, languid atmosphere that will ease your worries away.

You can purchase the new single now via Bandcamp and also down a free (pay what you like) five track EP from the same place, the accompanying video is fittingly celestial too, listen / watch below:

Like Spinning - Forces from Like Spinning on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Team Me - Show Me / To The Treetops!


I first encountered Team Me at last year's Great Escape festival and had this to say about the show "...Norwegian troop Team Me who were pleasing enough, a rich typically Scandinavian guitar based indie-pop sound laced with sparkling keys and an abundance of percussion played by six multi-instrumentalists who put their all into the show, the venue was packed and I didn't see many leave which speaks for itself"... despite the positive impact their performance at TGE obviously left on me it's taken me some seven months to actually listen to the band on record... I definitely should have sooner.

My memory was jogged by an email informing me that the Oslo sextet are about to release their debut album 'To The Treetops!' on UK shores (on March 5th via Propeller Recordings - you can also help yourself to a few free downloads from the record below). Latest single "Show Me" is great entry point, with soaring harmonies and contagious, punchy melodies it's fair to say the band are more than adept at creating delicious indie-pop filled with luscious soundscapes, dreamy instrumentation and an energy that is undeniably fun and uplifting. Similarly the Jim Steinman-esque titled "With My Hands Covering Both Of My Eyes I Am Too Scared To Have A Look At You Now" is a surging, jubilant anthem that I can see going down rather well during festival season.

As well as the album release, Team Me play London's Lexington on March 7th and also embark on a full UK / German / Norwegian tour, the dates of which can be found here.

Team Me - Show Me from APPARATET on Vimeo.

Team Me - Dear Sister from APPARATET on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Chelsea Wolfe #6 - UK Shows + Movie Screen


The second week of April is already shaping up to be an incredible week for live music in London. I've previously mentioned the first Soap&Skin show since 2009's Union Chapel spectacular on April 11th (tickets) and the largest headlining show (to date) for one of my favourite new talents Daughter on the 12th (tickets). Now add to that the first UK dates for arguably number one on my 'never seen but want to' list Chelsea Wolfe (unless someone manages to resurrect Freddie Mercury from the dead) who plays a week long support tour (and some headline shows) with fellow blog favourites and tips for 2012 2:54 before hitting mainland Europe for a month long tour.

There are two London dates, first on Saturday 7th April supporting Pelican at The Garage (tickets) and on Monday 9th a headlining show at the Old Blue Last (tickets), they promise to be something quite spectacular. See below for proof.

This newly released live video for "Movie Screen" (part one of a session for incase with further videos to be released Jan 24 / 31), the closing track from Chelsea's latest incredible album 'Apokalypsis', this spine-tingling version enhances the bone-chilling beauty of the track, Chelsea's raw and impassioned vocals cloaked around a haunting, mysterious ambience, otherworldly and genuinely stunning. Stop what you are doing and watch now:

Via incase who incidentally I'd never heard of before this.. I shall certainly be checking out the site now, though with previous sessions by The Soft Moon (which I just watched and is truly stunning too!), Austra, La Sera and more it promises to take up my entire day.

If you missed Chelsea Wolfe in 2011, don't make the same mistake in 2012, easily one of the most unique and gifted artists in music today.

Colours - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook / coloursmusic.tumblr.com/

London's Colours gathered quite a bit of blog hype towards the back end of last year, unsurprisingly it passed me by and it wasn't until the press release for their forthcoming single that they hypnotised my ears. The four piece are set to release their debut 7" via Marshall Teller Records on February 27th, limited to just 250 copies the three track vinyl (with an additional digital track) is available to pre-order here.

Lead track "Drip Haze" runs at just over six minutes and is quite spectacular, meandering guitars and crashing drums create a kaleidoscopic rush of hazy, psychedelic indie that pays tribute to 70's prog rock with its surging melody with murky vocals. Definitely worth a listen below:

Sleigh Bells #7 - Reign of Terror


Now here's a new track from an artist I'm sure you've not heard of before (sarcasm alert), Sleigh Bells yesterday offered up the second track from their forthcoming second album 'Reign of Terror' (due 20th Feb)...

"Comeback Kid" and last months preview "Born to Lose" aren't a world apart from anything heard on my second favourite album of 2010 'Treats', combining pop hooks with harsh metal screeches to a riotous and genuinely brilliant result. There is slightly more in the way of a classic pop melody here, through a frenzy of throbbing distorted synths and the rifftastic guitars of Derek Miller is Alexis Krauss' beautiful candy sweet vocals and pure pop lyrics, the choruses are instantly catchy and the overwhelming feeling is that despite the all loud, abrasive noise, Sleigh Bells just want to make you dance.

The duo play a now sold-out show at London's Electric Ballroom on March 1st, a lot more dates can be found on their website with more dates in the capital surely to follow.


Monday, 16 January 2012

Liechtenstein - Fast Forward


I'm pretty sure you've not managed to go onto any website today without reading about Blue Monday, apparently 'researchers' have somehow worked out that the third Monday in January is the 'most depressing day of the year'. Bollocks to that is all I have to say, to celebrate the most miserable day of the calendar I'm bringing you Liechtenstein, an all-girl indie pop band from Göteborg, Sweden whose sunny, optimistic infusion of bright indie pop and funky 80's melodies will have you bopping along before you can say 'still two weeks till payday'...

Their second album 'Fast Forward' is due next week via Fraction Discs (order link) and three tasters can be heard below, "Ambitions" weaves their Spector-esque vocal delivery with repetitive driven drumming and a bouncy bass line which can do nothing but get inside your head. Even better though are the hand claps that propel the jaunty, tropical rhythm of "Meantime", the arrangements are tight, the production is clean and its melody is as catchy as hell. Another marvellous piece of simple, delightful pop is "Strange Ideas" which further highlights their charmingly retro, lo-fi sound, with sweet harmonies and jangling guitars. A hat-trick of fun, infectious and simply delicious tracks from an album that will definitely be worth searching out.

Some of Liechtenstein's older releases can be ordered from Norman Records now. Listen:

Sunday, 15 January 2012

First Aid Kit #4 - Emmylou


I got pretty excited about the forthcoming second First Aid Kit album 'The Lion's Roar' (released January 23rd) off the back of the incredible title track, the giddiness level went up a couple more notches a couple of weeks back when the Stockholm siblings released the beautiful video that accompanies new single "Emmylou", combining a classic contemporary country sound with the sister's heavenly vocal harmonies, it's simply gorgeous.

One listen and it's obvious that the track is a tribute to a whole number of legendary country artists, Carter, Cash, Harris and Parsons are all name checked in the chorus and the sisters managed to earn rare praise from Johnny Cash's daughter along the way. It's not hard to realise why, their music is so majestic, their voices so beautiful, First Aid Kit are about to win over the vast majority of country / folk music fans too.

Listen / watch below:

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Trust in Love - New Music "Introducing"


Sorry, I don't know where this one came from, I only had the song link saved in my draft folder so I'm unsure of its origin (my memory is that good). I'm going to guess via Music Fan's Mic as his post is the only listing a Google search came up with, "Transversal" is what I think is the debut track from Brooklyn artist Trust in Love. I've not got any further info either because I could find no further information besides the MFM post, God knows where he found this but well done to him anyway! I won't jump to any secret identify claims, it could simply be the artist is has nothing is set up yet....

What I care about, the music, is pretty spectacular, "Transversal", if it is the debut track, is one hell of an introduction, an hypnotic bass-line combines with rumbling beats and layers of icy synths that equally shimmer with optimism and seduce with enchanting beauty. The tender, soft female vocals are completely and genuinely gorgeous, one to listen to on those cold, lonely nights, a bit like right now then.

This irresistible introduction can be downloaded for free below:

Friday, 13 January 2012

Pamela - New Music "Introducing"


When I started this post I didn't know Pamela is a side project from two members from a band I actually have a 7" by, the SF duo (I think there is another member in Pamela too but I can't find anything conclusive) are also members of The Splinters (their excellent 7" 'Blood on my Hands' can be found here) and their debut slab of wax as Pamela is due January 31st via the same label, South Paw Records (available to order here limited to 300 with the first 100 on coloured vinyl).

Once January pay arrives I'll be doing just that because lead track "Desert" is all kinds of good, despite its title Pamela appear not to follow the same dusty twang and drawl of The Splinters work, instead you can hear 90's inspired grunge punk with fuzzed-up guitars colliding with a rollicking beat, utterly explosive, it certainly doesn't outstay it's welcome at just two minutes in length, yet for the short running time it certainly pack grabs your attention and demands you to press play again (and again).

Pamela's debut EP is a tape via Whoa Whoa Records, (the last few copies are available here), 'Pamela is Hungover' displays a similar scuzzy discordance with harsh, clattering beats and destructive, murky guitars over raging yet equally lovely vocals. It's as cheap as chips too at just $3.00. Sorry I sounded like David Dickinson then, that's something you don't want when you log into a music blog, don't worry, I'm not orange, listen below and get hooked:

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Au Palais - New Music "Introducing"


I managed to miss the substantial buzz about Au Palais first time around, the London based / Toronto origin brother and sister duo received the prestigious 'Best New Track' title from Pitchfork for their debut release "Tender Night", it's not hard to see why, the six and a half minute dark disco beauty effortlessly combines foreboding, icy synth pulse, additive, deep bass-line, seductive late night dance-floor beats and gorgeous, ethereal vocals. Similarly on "Pathos", light and dark textures shine, Elise's vocal here stronger and more defiant, swooning around layers of textured, shimmering synth noise, both delicious and enchanting.

I've read a few comparisons with Austra, presumably because of the Toronto thing and Zola Jesus, presumably because both vocalists are female and Nika appears to be the modern day Kate Bush as a comparison base, yet I'm not too sure, besides the obvious fact that both acts are producing dark-ish electronic music, I'm hearing more of the pop-noir stylings of fellow Canadians Cosmetics or Gold Zebra, Au Palais are equally restrained, atmospheric keys cascade gorgeously around Elise's cool and sexy vocals and rumbling beat to intoxicating and beautiful results.

The four track 'Tender Mercy' EP was released December 5th via The Sweet Sounds of Nothing, a relatively new London label but one that's already got an impressive list of releases with prior EP's by Tashaki Miyaki and Whirr.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Cut Ribbons - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook / cutribbons.tumblr.com/

Llanelli (South Wales) based five piece Cut Ribbons released their debut release 'White Horse' over the Christmas period, it probably led to it being missed by the majority of the blog hype machine but it was through their BBC Radio connections that I picked up on them, the single was released via Club Kissability (ran by Jen Long) and they've also been tipped by fellow DJ Bethan Elfyn, a good enough pedigree to guarantee a listen then, I'm glad I did.

"White Horses'" mellow introduction belies what is to come, for the blissful pop sensibilities, beautiful boy / girl vocal harmonies and chiming guitars make way for a monstrous maelstrom of noise during the second half of the track, it's enough I'm sure (and I'm just about to mention it) to lead to them being compared to a certain band from North Wales who had a rather good 2011 both sides of the pond. Sure, there are some similarities in their anthemic pop, Anna Griffiths' vocals as pretty as a flower, enchanting and ethereal but from what I've heard there isn't the same bite and aggression of Ms Bryan's and whilst the guitars sound big, effortlessly moving from jangle to a fuzzsome wall of sound, the melodies displayed on both "White Horses" and "Walking on Wires" will want to make you bounce around with joy rather than rock-out with venom.

That's not meant to be a bad thing, Cut Ribbons by their own right have created a sound that is simply magical and they look set to be a major Welsh export during 2012.

You can order the five track tape for £5.00 delivered here. Listen to two of the tracks below:

Monday, 9 January 2012

Projectionists - New Music "Introducing"


Projectionists, the new project of ex-Pipette Rebecca Stephens is likely to excite fans of the Riot Becki of old, whilst the self-titled debut EP from the Manchester based five piece (which also draws in members from a pedigree of Manc acts) is obviously the work of someone who has grown-up somewhat, the more polished and sophisticated sound of Projectionists should still appeal to those who enjoyed the vitriolic, pure pop of The Pipettes back in the mid 2000's, chances are they've grown up too.

Lead single "I Never Wanted Anything" is a fine introduction, a delicious combination of classic and infectious indie-pop, gloriously bright from the outset it sees twinkling keys, guitar and upbeat drums combine with playful melody and Rebecca's gorgeous, pure vocals that hide heartfelt, beautiful lyrics. It's understandably the lead-off track from the EP and a song you're sure to hear more of once your local radio picks up on it, just perfect for your drive home from work.

The EP is launched with a show at Manchester's Castle Hotel on January 18th - details.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Frankie Rose - Know Me


From a current member of the Vivian Girls, to a previous, and one I could say very similar things about. Frankie Rose's "Know Me" is the first single from her second album ('Interstellar' due Feb 21st via Slumberland) and has been doing the rounds of just about every major US blog this past week...

I like it (obviously, hence my post), it's a highly polished, 80's reminiscent track full of dreamy, bright and upbeat textures. The kaleidoscopic guitars swirl atmospherically around a light drum beat with Frankie's ethereal wisps seducing on each listen.

Her debut album was good, "Candy" especially and this first track promises even better things for her second.

Free download below:

La Sera - Please Be My Third Eye


I was sitting watching the football and lost myself in annoyance (once more) at the way the modern game is heading, so I decided to come and listen to some of the backlog of music instead, time is increasingly at a premium at the minute and I'm not making too much headway into the Christmas backlog. When I do go through the mail sometimes I start at the top, sometimes the bottom, this track was at the top.

Chances are if you read some of the larger US blogs you've already come across La Sera, a side project of Vivian Girls' Katy Goodman...

"Please Be My Third Eye" (I'm not sure if the connotations of third eye are the same in the US?!) is the first preview of her second LP 'Sees the Light', due March 27th on Hardly Art, a short but sweet 50's pop throwback track, which with immediate sunshine hooks, direct and scuzzy guitars complimented by fast-paced beats and Katy's beautifully soft and syrupy vocals is infectious and a perfect Sunday afternoon listen. Nothing new that's for sure, but it's a pretty lovely listen (and free download below) just the same:

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Anna Lena & The Orchids #2 - The Orchids Art Gallery Sessions


I've been meaning to post about a couple of wonderful session videos by Anna Lena & The Orchids for a while now, the posting of a new one "Mice Will Run" propelled it to the top of my blogging list, the band (who are now based between London and Liverpool) performed four tracks, two of which you can watch below, all four are pretty special (the rest are on Youtube)...

Showcasing a darker, harder-edged sound than on the introspective, wistful 'Child' "Mice Will Run" is absolutely wonderful. Whilst beautifully textured keys and guitars create a haunting ambience Anna's ethereal vocal glides you towards a cacophonous, discordant crescendo of dense, layered noise; I love it. "Force My Lover" is equally impressive, shadowed in behind gorgeous bubbling bass rhythms, twinkling guitar and steady percussion, Anna's voice endearing, graceful and compellingly beautiful. After these, I am certainly looking forward to the next EP!

I'm double excited because Anna is playing at first attempt at promoting, next Tuesday 10th January, Anna will perform at London's The Old Queen's Head alongside Hella Better Dancer and Model Railway Exhibition (single launch) - full details. Do come along if you are in London, it's free!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Lucy Rose #3 - Red Face


Lucy Rose today announced (and released) her third single "Red Face", Lucy's melt-your-heart voice and intimately beautiful song craft has already won over more than 13 thousand fans on facebook and (perhaps not quite so impressively) a place on the UK bloggers' 'Blog Sound of 2012' poll, this before the release of her debut album (due summer 2012), I've been taking in "Red Face" all afternoon an it's safe to say it's only going to win her more friends...

Backed impressively by a full band it's Lucy's grandest song yet, taking the melancholic vulnerability displayed on 'Middle of the Bed' and 'Scar' and complimenting it with stirring instrumentation, purposely propelled by wonderful rhythmic percussion and chiming guitar, Lucy's soft, smoky voice equally impressive, fragile and emotive before rising to be more emphatic than I've ever heard it.

Lucy plays two London shows in the forthcoming weeks, firstly January 31st at Camden Barfly and on February 4th at Jazz Cafe - tickets. "Red Face" is available now on iTunes. Stream below:
Photo Credit: Claire Campbell

and here is a more 'stripped back' version of the track recorded towards the end of last summer, Lucy's pure vocals and genteel arrangements which kick on towards the end, so gorgeous:

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Doe Paoro - New Music "Introducing"


The track you can listen to at the end of this post "Can't Leave You" is the debut single by Doe Paoro (the alias of Brooklyn's Sonia Kreitzer), it's, to not beat around the bush, simply exquisite.

Exhibiting an beguiling voice "Can't Leave You" is exactly what I said I was crying out for yesterday whilst sitting talking about new music over a beer or two; a track that on first listen makes me go "holy fucking wow".

Honestly, this track is that good, built around Doe's incredible, soulful voice "Can't Leave You" is too beautiful for words (contradiction as I keep writing them!), backed by cello, violin and piano which rise and fall with the same flow as the vocals, one moment haunting, ethereal and sparse, the next strong and defiant. From just the dozen or so listens I've given the track since I came across it this afternoon, I'm happy to say I'm completely smitten with Doe Paoro.

Her debut album ‘Slow To Love’ is released January 31st and I can't wait to hear it. I very much doubt this is the last you'll read of Doe on this blog.

You can download "Can't Leave You" for free via bandcamp and listen below:

Shinies - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook / shinies.bandcamp.com/

Manchester isn't a place I really categorise with the shoegaze / noisepop genre, I don't know why, probably the age-old stereotypes of the 'baggy' and 'Madchester' scenes, oh and Oasis. New act Shinies are exactly that, reminiscent of an English Crocodiles on their debut track "Spent Youth" which display an already hype-building signal of potential...

With beautiful shades of light and grey, ear-splitting guitars bury a lo-fi melody of fizzing beauty "Spent Youth" is immediately appealing to the ears and with a bit of gratuitous nudity on the cover to please the eyes, your senses should be prepared for an overload.

I don't know much about them, Google search doesn't either, but I'll certainly be listening to what they put online next.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy New Year #3 - High Sea

Facebook / happynewyearmusic.com/

Happy New Year is an aptly titled act for the first real post of the year, Eleanor Logan's previous two singles 'Gold Medallion' and 'Hotel / Twins' have been featured on this blog over the past six months and "High Sea", Eleanor's contribution to a split 7" with Australian post-punk outfit Nite Fields is a worthy addition to her catalogue. The record is released next week January 9th via Lost Race Records - limited to just 150 copies it's available for 8 / 10 AUS dollars with an email to lostracerecords@gmail.com.

"High Sea" is based around a beautiful, atmospheric bass-line with repetitive key strokes and Eleanor's light, ethereal vocal. It's haunting, intoxicating and completely wonderful.

Nite Fields' side is excellent too, the Brisbane four piece are a new band to me but "Come Down" combines deep muffled vocals with dark, edgy guitars and booming drums. Another atmospheric track though, where the HNY side is hypnotic and wistful, Nite Fields' is moody and uneasy - you can find more about them on their facebook page - a compelling release to start your year off with. They play four Australian dates together next week which you can find more about on any of the above links.

You can download 'High Sea' for free at Happy New Year's bandcamp and listen below. According to her website European shows are scheduled for April with an album due before, looking forward to both!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Blog Sound of 2012 - The Top Five

Before Christmas this blog, along with a whole host of other distinguished UK bloggers, ran an alternative to the BBC Sound of 2012 competition, the fifteen acts on the initial long-list are listed here, it's now time to share the top five:

5. Daughter

A firm favourite of this very blog, Elena Tonra's Daughter combined sparse instrumentation, haunting vocals and an incredibly gifted song-writing talent to create two of the best EP's of 2011, with hopefully her full length debut and increasingly larger venues being filled by eager fans, 2012 promises to be something even more special. If beautiful, emotional song-craft is your thing Daughter is most certainly someone you should be following through the year.

4. French Wives

Scottish quintet French Wives combine bright, powerful harmonies and rich instrumentation in a non-dissimilar manner to fellow Scots Broken Records or dare I say it, Arcade Fire, expect pace changes a plenty, guitar jangles, strings and beautiful sunshine vocals.

I can see this young band having a very successful year and their high placing comes in this poll comes as no surprise.

3. Beth Jeans Houghton

Beth Jeans Houghton came to the attention of many through last years wonderful 'Dodecahedron' but she has in fact been around since 2009, with her debut album due early this year, it's probably time for her quirky, rich vocals and cinematic, chamber folk-pop to reach a wider audience.

The signs are the material is going to be good enough to win it over.

2. Theme Park

Theme Park were one of the most blogged UK artists of 2011 since they burst onto the scene six odd months ago with "Milk", writers both sides of the pond have been throwing endless superlatives at the London youngsters including The Guardian's New Band of The Day comparing them to Talking Heads...

Though a little bit on the jolly side foe me, fans of the tropical flavours of Vampire Weekend should lap these four boys; with groovy calypso, rhythmic beats and upbeat vocal harmonies.

1. Friends

Friends are another band who've been blogger favourites throughout 2011, "Friends Crush" was a luscious track, completely infectious and charming pop, it made the Brooklyn group one of the most hyped artists of the year and earned them a nomination in the official BBC Sound of list.

"I'm His Girl" doesn't really do it for me in all honesty, blending R&B, tropical rhythms and pure pop it is, no doubt, going to send them high up in the charts in 2012.

There you have it, as with all polls, a few choices I'd have differently myself but overall the fifteen acts represented in the inaugural blog sound show the strength and depth of new music at the minute. I for one am looking forward to seeing what they and all the other new acts I've mentioned here come up with in 2012...

Here again, is the list of bloggers that took part…
A Tidal Wave Of Indifference , Breaking More Waves, My Band Is Better Than Your Band,God Is In the TV, Sweeping The Nation, The Von Pip Musical Express, The Recommender, Faded Glamour, Drunken Werewolf, Flying With Anna, Not Many Experts, Under-classed Idle Ideas, Sonic Masala, Mudkiss, The Ring Master, Both Bars On, Music From A Green Window, Dots And Dashes, The Daily Growl,And Everyone’s A DJ, Kowalskiy! Just Music I Like, Cruel Rhythms, The Blue Walrus, Music Fans Mic, 17 Seconds, Eaten By Monsters,Seven Sevens, Unpeeled, NuRave Brain Wave, Peenko, Music Liberation, Song, By Toad.

Sweeping the Nation Complies the UK Blogger Albums Of 2011

So before I get cracking with posts for 2012 two final summation posts, this first one is a blogger poll of the albums of 2011 just like I started last year with, ran by Simon over at Sweeping The Nation. He asks UK music blogs (full list at the end of the post) for their favourite ten albums of the year and then compiles an aggregated list of the top 75 (you can see the full list at STN here). The top ten were:

10 EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints
9 ST VINCENT - Strange Mercy
8 NOAH AND THE WHALE - Last Night On Earth
7 JAMES BLAKE - James Blake
6 FLEET FOXES - Helplessness Blues
5 RADIOHEAD - The King Of Limbs
4 WILD BEASTS - Smother
3 tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l
2 BON IVER - Bon Iver
1 PJ HARVEY - Let England Shake

An altogether impressive list of 'definitive albums of 2011' from UK Music Bloggers (generally people doing what they are doing for nothing and for the love of music) and if we compare it with HMV's 'Poll of Polls' which draws together '35 media outlets surveyed, including ‘album of the year’ selections from the likes of NME, Mojo, Uncut, The Sunday Times and BBC music writers.' (i.e. those actually getting paid for it) you can see an incredible similarity:

10. Horrors / Skying (Number 15)
9. Tom Waits / Bad As Me (Number 46)
8. James Blake / James Blake (Number 7)
7. Kurt Vile / Smoke Ring For My Halo (Number 11)
6. Wild Beasts / Smother (Number 4)
5. tUnE-yArDs / Whokill (Number 3)
4. Radiohead / King of Limbs (Number 5)
3. Fleet Foxes / Helplessness Blues (Number 6)
2. Bon Iver / Bon Iver (Number 2)
1. PJ Harvey / Let England Shake (Number 1)

As you can see the top six were the same in both polls, albeit slightly different ordering and besides the 'qualified critics' favouring of Kurt Vile (edit: must still be suffering from NYE and missed Kurt at 11!) you could pretty much come to the conclusion that these albums are (critically at least) the best 2011 has to offer. As this blog is about my taste in music, here are my top ten albums again and their placing in the STN poll:

10. Esben and the Witch - Violet Cries (Did Not Chart)
9.Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes (Number 25)
8. Zola Jesus - Conatus (Did Not Chart)
7. Still Corners - Creatures of an Hour (Number 24)
6. Veronica Falls - Veronica Falls (Number 48)
5. Austra - Feel It Break (Number 18)
4. EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints (Number 10)
3. Lanterns on the Lake - Gracious Tide, Take Me Home (Number 44)
2. Josh T. Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen (Number 13)
1. The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar (Number 12)

So my personal list is pretty different at the business end of the poll but most of my top twenty five do feature in the list at some point. I don't think I can draw any conclusions from all of that other than the sheer volume of quality music we've got on offer currently. I hope you've found something somewhere in 2011 to fully lose yourself in, it not, then perhaps some of these lists are a good place. Here is a track from the universally excepted album of 2011:

The blogs that took part in the UK Blogger Albums Of 2011 Poll were:

17 Seconds, Alphabet Bands, And Everyone's A DJ, The Auditorium, Aye Tunes, Both Bars On, Bowlegs, Breaking More Waves, The Daily Growl, Dots & Dashes, Drunken Werewolf, Eaten By Monsters, Echoes And Dust, Flying With Anna, Folly Of Youth, Give Pop A Chance!, God Is In The TV, GoldFlakePaint, Hotcakes, I Prefer Their Older Stuff, In League With Paton, It's All Indie, Just Music That I Like, Just Played, Keep Pop Loud, The Metaphorical Boat, Monobrow, Mudkiss, Music Fans Mic, Music Liberation, Muso's Guide, Nu Rave Brain Wave, Parallax View, Peenko, Pinglewood, The Pigeon Post, Ragged Glories, The Recommender, Song By Toad, themilkfactory, The Pop Cop, The Sound Of The Overground, There Goes The Fear, This Music Wins, This Must Be Pop, Useless Chamber, The Von Pip Musical Express, Wait For The Click.