Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Staves #3 - Motherlode EP / I Try (Video)

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Just down the road from me is a town called Watford, if you've been there a few times you'll know it's not exactly going to win many prizes for the best kept town award, though head outside of its concrete centre and there are some lovely, picturesque areas and it's from these that I'd like to think The Staves dwell, three Hertfordshire sisters with an uncanny knack of interweaving intricate guitar arrangements, subdued percussion and to die for vocals with breathtaking results.

The Staves' second EP 'Motherlode' is released April 2nd and will feature three new tracks, the first, the title-track can be streamed below, another flawless track which sees their genteel melodies slowly and luxuriously linger in your brain while their heavenly harmonies sooth your soul. Equally worth your time is the simply gorgeous live performance of "I Try", recorded on their recent US tour you can't help but fall in love with the plaintive, seemingly simplistic, finger-picked ballad, just beautiful.

The girls tour the UK from mid April including a date at London's Tabernacle on May 1st (full dates / tickets).

The Staves - I Try (Sofar - Dallas/Fort Worth) from Sofar - Dallas / Fort Worth on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

iamamiwhoami #5 - drops

The incredible iamamiwhoami normally keep us waiting for months in-between tracks, this time it's been just two weeks since her last track "Sever" and today's release of "Drops" and of course its accompanying video. Today's arrival is a direct continuation from where "Sever" left off, Jonna Lee dancing in her underwear in a room with the honey monster until she crashes through the floor to a car park and has a face-off with not one but six honey monsters. Oh, and the Volvo's back too! As symbolic, artistic and bizarre as ever, I'm sure they'll be some college's offering courses on the meaning of her videos soon!

The music of "drops" is more anthemic than "Sever", an adrenaline pulsing beat could easily be the soundtrack to your gym session but it's just as melodic, beautiful and spine-chilling as ever, I'm yet to be disappointed by this ever-evolving project, I don't think it's going to happen any time soon...

Even better is that news about an actual release of iamamiwhoami's material has been annouced by her (apparent) label, the audiovisual album 'Kin' will be released June 11th, apparently 'Kin' will consist of chapters (songs to you and I) of which "Sever" was the first chapter and "Drops" is the second. One thing for certain is that it'll be amongst the hottest releases of the year.

Shinies #2 - Spent Youth / Shola Single

Two pieces of news for the price of one today from buzz-worthy Manchester trio Shinies. Firstly a track I've posted before but this re-recorded version is much cleaner and worthy of a repost, "Spent Youth's" melodious shoegaze influenced noise pop caused quite a stir around Christmas time and version 2.0 is likely to do no harm either, beautiful hazy guitars swirl around pummelling drums and swooning vocals, play it repeatedly and play it loud.

Today also saw the arrival of a new track "Shola" (taken from the debut 7" and available to pre-order now via the ever excellent Dirty Bingo), a similarly searing vein of blissful racquet; fuzzed-up guitars drive the grunged-up onslaught of shimmering noise and frenetic drum rhythms, it's big and it's going to make Shinies even hotter property. No live dates outside of Manchester are currently announced, that will change...

Monday, 27 February 2012

Ellie Rumbold - New Music "Introducing"

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Ellie Rumbold is a young (sixteen) year old singer-songwriter from London, I've been following her for a while on twitter and thought she was a writer (she is for the wonderful For Folks Sake) but a few weeks back she linked to a gig she'd just played and being the curious kind I took a sneak peek, listened to her soundcloud (where you can currently download five free demo tracks) and was blown away by her intelligent blend of introspective, mellow folk.

Appearing to draw inspiration from an earlier generation of folk singers (Mitchell / Drake) as well more recent contemporaries (yes, it's time to throw out the Laura Marling comparisons), Ellie's gentle acoustic pluckings float gracefully over her hauntingly beautiful vocals and exceptional lyrics, her reflective, wounded storytelling simply belie her youthful age.

Stream three of her tracks below (they are all so good I was tempted to include them all) "To The Sea" is perhaps the closest to Ms Marling, where her captivating use of strummed chords, powerful yet soft voice and unfolding narrative make repeated listens compelling, and "Puppet's Ballad", a dark, melancholic tale equally commands your attention and nurtures the soul, stark and delicate throughout. These are only live recorded demos... That's what you call natural talent!

I Can't help but think about when I first heard the Daughter demo EP, and if you've been following her progress for the past 15 months or so you'll know what incredible releases she's produced since. Ellie has an EP due mid way through the year, keep an eye out for that.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Savages - New Music "Introducing"


Fledgling London based four piece Savages have some predigree behind them, with vocalist Jehn and guitarist Gemma also being members of the wonderful John & Jehn and were hand-picked by British Sea Power to play their inaugural gig back in January, that might go a little way to explain that despite, to date, having played less than a handful of gigs and having no recorded material online they have been lauded by The Quietus and NME already. The main reason though is because (I'm yet to see them live, that will change soon) from the live video taken from their debut London show they sound absolutely fucking incredible.

The song you can watch below is called "City's Full", it's intense and totally entrancing. Dark rumbling bass lines, menacing drum rhythms and Jehn's venomous vocal hits you like a ton of bricks and just makes you want to play it louder and louder, again and again.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Tripwires - Emerald

It's been a while since we've heard from Tripwires, the Reading four-piece spent much of 2011 behind the scenes readying their debut album and follow-up to debut single "Cinnamon", finally they let the cat out the bag this week with the release of "Emerald", an equally intoxicating mélange of big / soft pop noise.

It bristles with excitement throughout, an adrenaline pumping rush of deliciously fuzzed-up guitar brutality soars over hazy, shimmering melody, relentless drums and echoed vocals. It's been a long wait, but my, has it been worth it.

Tripwires headline (disclosure, my night) The Old Queen's Head on 13th March, also playing are the amazing Sheen and Neuliebe (who aren't a new band you've never heard of, they are a new band you might very well of heard of but I can't tell you who they are, the only hint I'll give you is they've been featured here more than once...). It's going to be a great night, come! Full details / tickets.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Evans The Death #2 - Telling Lies


Evans The Death have found a perfect home both sides of the Atlantic, being picked up by Fortuna POP! in the UK and Slumberland in the US, their signing to such key underground rock / indie-pop labels should give newcomers a clear signal of the London five-piece's sound and their latest, infectious single "Telling Lies" does not disappoint.

Managing to pack quite the punch during its relatively short duration "Telling Lies" sees thunderous drums and urgent, scuzzy guitars compliment the pitch-perfect, indelible vocals of Katherine Whitaker to a tee, elegant and intelligent, Evans the Death aren't your usual pop act. B-side is an acoustic version of "Morning Voice", a track due to be on their forthcoming debut LP, where Whitaker's Morrisey-esque croon shines even brighter, beautiful delivered on top of cleaner, folkier guitar strums.

I've also included their last single "Threads", a ramshackle juggernaut that I'd previously omitted to mention here, released as a double a-side with the wonderful "I'm So Unclean", both releases are available on wax via Norman Records now.

2:54 #6 - You're Early

I sometimes debate whether to repeatedly feature artists but as this blog is for all intent and purpose a somewhat rambling online journal of my musical life I figure why the hell not, at the end of the day, if you've read about an artist before and decide they aren't for you it's not exactly tricky to stop reading...

I've been following 2:54 from almost day one of their online inception and while new single "You're Early" (released April 9th via ;Fiction) features much of the Thurlow sister's trademark mood and grit, it's a little bit of a departure too. Colette's vocals softer and dreamier than we've heard before, beautiful and soothing though, of course, it wouldn't be 2:54 without rumbling bass lines, duelling guitar and sprawling drums emitting a dark, hypnotic tension. Another fine addition to the growing 2:54 discography and one that is only going to earn them new fans.

I've previously mentioned their April tour with the incredible Chelsea Wolfe (no London date) but 2:54 have since annouced a show at London's Scala (without CW) on June 7th (tickets).

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Summer Twins #2 - I Will Love You / Album Release

It's been a few months since I mentioned the undeniably retro, sweet charms of California's Summer Twins, the lead single to their wonderful debut LP "I Don't Care" brightened up a cold, pre-Christmas London weekend and given today (Thursday) was the first day this year I was able to bin the jacket and roll up my shirt sleeves I thought it was an apt time to revisit them...

"I Will Love You" is the second taster of the record and it's (of course) all kinds of sugar and spice and all things nice, syrupy 60's girl group harmonies gloriously play over sun-kissed melodies and hand-claps that could keep you warm in any weather. While the girls are obviously at home with the dreamy, summers day vibe (and why not when it works so well) there are some welcome changes in pace. The exceptional "Pickin' Daisies" has a funky, psychedelic guitar riff and stomping drum beat while the more bluesy / western guitar twangs of "Teardrops on my Pillow" create another highlight and I challenge even the hardiest of sourpusses not to be raise a smile on the blissful closure "Worryhead".

Summer Twins have created a lovely record that will bring pleasure to many, whatever the weather. The LP is perfectly presented too, a cute as a button inlay, a lollipop sticker and it arrived in the UK in perfect condition - what more could you want (available now via bandcamp / burger records).

Be Forest #2 - Hanged Man


Be Forest first entered my ear-drums as the long, dark nights and cold, misty air of autumn started to take a stranglehold of the weather system, the perfect setting for the Pesaro trio's echoey guitar screeches and crystalline vocals to shine, equal parts brood and malice it was instant love and I promptly placed their LP 'Cold' in my top albums of 2011...

Fast forward to February and today, The 405 showcased their new single "Hanged Man", which comes from the same icy plains as last years glorious debut, propelled by driving bass, rumbling drum beats and glorious guitar noise, the whispering vocals swirl around the mix like a hallucinogenic haze of seductive, atmospheric beautifullness. Stream the single below and download via label's We Were Never Being Boring Bandcamp.

A whole host of Italian dates can be found here, hopefully a UK show isn't too far away...

Be Forest - Hanged Man from lorenzo musto on Vimeo.

The Birthday Kiss #2 - Choking

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When I first posted about The Birthday Kiss just before Christmas I promised I'd re-visit the newly formed Leeds band made up of past loves The Lodger and The Research, something called time has meant two months have elapsed since that declaration and a new single has arrived, "Choking", their most polished, thrilling recording yet.

The glittering indie-pop beauty succeeds because through its buzzing analog synths, catchy choruses and jangling guitar it leaves an indelible mark on heart and mind. Whether it's the prettiness of Sarah vocals or the way the hook gets in your head it orchestrates the key features of The Birthday Kiss' sound, it's simple, honest and human, disposable pop it is not.

The band are currently recording their debut and the early demos hint at something special. Ben who takes principal song-writing duties certainly knows how to compose melody and chorus, the lovely "Black and White" manages to encapsulate hopelessness and youthful optimism over the course of just two minutes and "Starting to Come Back to Life" recalls wistful memories of yesteryear over summery, shimmering melody, both instantly set me a flutter. The Birthday Kiss look set to appeal to a generation of dreamers.

Download "Choking" via bandcamp for free. Listen:

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

SoftSpot #4 - The Cleansing Hour

You know the old proverbial of London buses... well I've been waiting for what seems like forever (in fact it's only been about five months - I'm impatient) for news on SoftSpot and now I've had two new items to share in the matter of weeks, following from the incredible live video for "Holy Father" is a brand spanking new song entitled "The Cleansing Hour".

It's an absolutely beauty too, slowly building upon mournful shades of melancholic guitar and a metronomic drum beat "The Cleansing Hour" entwines gently around Sarah's softening vocals and bells until at the three minute point light is finally allowed to win and the track blossoms with Softspot's signature cataclysm of sumptuous, shimmering sounds which manage to induce just about every spine-tingling sensation possible in me before parting and finishing as it begun, with its stark backbeat outro.

I've said it before, I'll say it again, I love this band. Listen to the track below, I'm sure I'll be bringing you news of Brooklyn's most underrated band again very soon.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Throwing Up #2 - Big Love

I have an abysmal short-term memory, tell me something without my undivided attention and there is no doubt I'll have forgotten it pretty much instantly, though I acutely remember when I first posted about Throwing Up... I was suffering with something uncommonly known as 'Joy Formidable lurgy', a man-flu and hangover rolled into one which is an all to common consequence (for me at least) of seeing your favourite band up and down the country. So much so that I cancelled a trip to Cardiff to see them again and instead I posted about the London pop/punk trios storming single "Mother Knows Best"

Fast forward to Valentine's Day for the debut of their next track, though of course, I'm slow on the uptake... There is a real sense of fun to the brash aural assault of "Big Love" (officially released March 12 as a double a-side single with the lead-track available for free download below),  its raw, blistering energy propelled by distorted, chugging guitar, deep bass-lines and urgent skittish drums which provide an almighty thump during the playful chorus. Sod Adele's weary, cumbersome nonsense, what better way to say you love someone than a good old fashioned beer-drenched mosh to some loud, crashing noise.

Throwing Up play their last UK show with current drummer Ben Rayner this Thursday, 23rd Feb at The Marquis of Lansdowne (free entry / details) before heading to New York / SXSW in March.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Mirel Wagner - No Death


I've been meaning to post about Mirel Wagner for a while now but what better time for a introduction to the Finnish (via Ethiopia) singer-songwriter than on a tired Sunday Afternoon, Wagner released her self-titled debut last year (March in UK/US) but somehow managed to completely miss my ears, an overdue meeting was very welcome...

With minimal backing throughout, being mostly her own playing of an acoustic guitar intricately plucked the album sees Mirel relive tortured tales of loss and misery with her haunting, world-weary voice and graveyard lyrics. Best of all is the incredible "No Death", the sort of dark tale that given its release in a another time would have made it a sure fire candidate to end up on Johnny Cash's 'American Recordings', for its melancholic revelations of death and woe are emotive, stark and deeply moving.

There are no glad tidings, "The Road" weaves its moody spell with downbeat guitar and Mirel's ghostly whispers singing of death while the frailty of "To The Bone", a dusty, bleak and cold tale brings shivers to your spine, bare boned it may be, but it's also some of the most powerful and intense music to pass through my ears in recent times. Breathtaking.

You can order the CD now. Listen:

Mirel Wagner - No Death from Friendly Fire Recordings on Vimeo.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Selebrities #2 - Night Heat


Stylish 80's disco-noir has undoubtedly been experiencing a renaissance of late, with labels such as Italians Do It Better and Captured Tracks and acts like Chromatic, Glass Candy and Cosmetics gaining (fittingly) glowing praise with crictics and music fans alike, last year saw the genre propelled to the mainstream with it's use on the exceptional sountrack to one of the best films of recent years, Drive. One of the acts hoping to use the growing popularity to their advantage are Brooklyn trio Selebrities, with the release of their new track "Night Heat" that should be a formality, its brooding ambience is cool and slick and the band about to embark on a month long European tour I'm sure more fans will soon follow.

Their debut album 'Delusions' was a sleeper hit last year, with its more sinister twist of post-punk and dark disco and while "Night Heat" loses a little bit of the industrial feel, it will appeal to the early adopters too. Kaleidoscopic guitars swirl around the seductive synthetic beats with the alluring vocals of Maria Usbeck wrapping itself around you. Gorgeously addictive, let it be the soundtrack to your Friday night 2012, not 1984.

"Night Heat" is released March 20th on 7" vinyl via Cascine.

Selebrities - Night Heat from Selebrities on Vimeo.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Novella #2 - Don't Believe Ayn Rand / EP

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Exciting news from one of my tips for 2012, Novella, who earlier announced details of a new EP to be released via Italian Beach Babes on March 19th, (the five track self-titled EP can be pre-ordered the EP here). As a taster, one of the tracks "Don't Believe Ayn Rand" has been made available for free download (below).

Hinting at their explosive live show, the track is a sumptuous cocktail of part dreamy psychedelia and luscious vocal harmonies mixed with a whole lot of sprawling noise, trademark grungy guitar fuzz and big pounding beats. Consider the EP a must buy.

Novella support the incredible Veronica Falls on their March tour including a date at London's Scala on March 14th (full dates) - can't wait!

Alice Jemima - New Music "Introducing"

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As primarily a new music blog, I, like many other bloggers spend quite a few hours each week listening to new artists, some acts manage to take your breathe away for the right reasons and some for not quite the same. In the 18 months or so that this blog has been running (at various stages of development) I've discovered numerous acts that now make up most of my favourite artists, that's part of the joy and reason for spending (too) much of your spare time doing what is for quite a few people a job (this blog has no source of revenue, nor will it ever, that's not the point).

Each blogger has their own methods for new music discovery, sure you organically discover some acts at gigs etc but to keep up with the (self-inflicted) demand of almost a daily post you have to have your own trusted sources, there isn't the time in a day to listen to every email / blog so instead I've a network of friends, blogs (most listed in my blog roll on the right), email contacts that I read. Two of the avenues near the top for me are fellow blogs Breaking More Waves and Flying With Anna, both who were way, way ahead of me in posting about today's post, Alice Jemima.

There is (an already) strong collection of material on Alice's soundcloud for you to stream, I've included my favourites below. Her most recent additions "Take My Hand" and "Far From Here" both highlight a soft and intimate vocal that is overwhelmingly beautiful and fragile, backed by delicate guitar melodies the result is deceptively simple, through her charming voice and heartfelt lyrics display a level of prettiness and innocence that will touch even darkest the souls. Her videos are equally delicious, offering a wistful compliment to her gorgeous, soothing output.

 I know Valentine's day was a few days ago but it's never too late to fall in love, listen below and do just that...

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

We Walk on Ice #2 - One Fine Day Part II


I came across the luscious "Sea Sick" and "The Beast" by London based We Walk on Ice nearly a year ago now, I'm always partial to dreamy melodies and soft, ethereal vocals so really it wasn't difficult for me to fall for their gorgeous music. Since the band have stayed firmly on my radar and were amongst the first acts I asked to play at my recently started live music night (shameless plug: We Walk on Ice play my night at The Old Queen's Head next Tuesday, 21st February - full details / £3 tickets).

The duo release their debut 7" single "One Fine Day Part II" on March 19th (stream / watch below), a beautiful continuation of their cinematic soundscapes, Ida's compelling vocals combine with breezy guitar, focused drum beats and glistening xylophone(?) to create a soaring, energetic anthem that will surely sound even better live (hint!).

No pre-order details yet, so follow the band on facebook to keep up to date with the latest.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

iamamiwhoami #4 - Sever (video)

If like me you've been waiting and waiting (I'm not the most patient of person and six months is a long time!) for new iamamiwhoami, you can go to sleep a happy individual tonight, for today has given us just that.

We last saw Jonna Lee suggestively 'bopping' up and down on a bed of toilet rolls and walking naked through a overgrown field on "Clump" (if you've not seen the video, I promise I'm not making this shit up), today's track and accompanying video is a much 'simpler' affair, most of the artistic affects and pulsating synth ambience is gone, instead "Sever" is a clean, cold and haunting affair, downcast beats and mystical synth loops provide the soundtrack for a beautiful vocal performance for Jonna, like nothing released before it's an instant favourite with me.

As always with iamamiwhoami the video is equally interesting, I've absolutely no idea what is going on (I never do) but at least we now know what the honey monster gets up to in his spare time! A visual and aural treat, "Sever" will compel and hypnotise fans all over the world. Now about those UK shows....

Tiny Fireflies - New Music "Introducing"


It's Valentine's Day, a day to spend highly inflated sums of money on things for your loved one that they probably don't need or want (how many grown women / men want a teddy bear / balloon / key ring with a heart on it?!). I'm far too much of a miserable git to enjoy such 'events' so instead I'll post about a band that you'll instantly want to cosy up against and fall in love with, Chicago duo Tiny Fireflies, who released their debut single in 2010 and an EP last year and came to my attention through the powers of the old internet a while back (code for I can't remember the source, sorry).

Their four track EP 'Change' is sheer dream-pop bliss from start to finish, built around gentle, melancholic melodies lead track "Your Love" is genuinely beautiful, soft synth-based swirls and metronomic drum machine beats provide a suitable backdrop for the ethereal, sweet vocals of Kristine Capua to melt your heart. The title track and my favourite "So Sad to Say Goodbye" are slightly more urgent, glistening synth sparkles and Kristine's delicate vocal combine to create catchy pop tracks that are simply too lovely for words.

I've also included a stream / download link for their debut track, the luscious "Don't Wait Until I Fall Asleep". So now, instead of paying £24.99 for 12 red roses that will be dead by Sunday why not buy something that will last forever for just $4 (via bandcamp), put it onto your docking station / CD player, settle down on the sofa (loved one optional) with a warm blanket and dream about happy times. Thank me after.

Monday, 13 February 2012

TOPS - New Music "Introducing"

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Montreal four piece TOPS were just what I needed today, a lethargic weekend with a few too many beers on Saturday night followed by (typical) Monday morning blues at the office and real-life difficulties meant I was pretty downcast as I returned home, a couple of listens to the wonderful "Turn Your Love Around" and my mood was a little better, luscious and chilled, the track swirls around with sumptuous guitar / synth based melodies and relaxed vocal harmonies, the lyrics catchy and the music, for what of a better word, super cool. Expect to hear the song being played in student halls and drinking bars all over the world, for it's cozy, inviting and damn-right gorgeous.

A soundcloud search later discovers "Diamond Look", where flickering midnight synths, 80's guitar riffs and gentle percussion combine with the unusual vocals (I've read Twin Sister similarities a couple of times already) to an equally smooth (and a bit alluring) listen.

TOPS' debut album "Tender Opposites"  is due in two weeks, Feb 28th on very limited cassette (80 copies) in Euro / UK release via Atelier Ciseaux here and Tape / CD via Arbutus ROTW. Definitely worthy of further investigation.

[via Music Fans Mic]

Bow to Each Other - New Music "Introducing"

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I can count the number of times someone following me on twitter has led to a blog posting on one hand, possibly on one finger, but that is exactly how Bow to Each Other came to my attention a few weeks back.

According to a bio on their soundcloud page the Oslo based duo spent several years in Liverpool and performed with Stealing Sheep amongst others, location is not where the similarities end either, the wonderful trio (one of this blogs tips for 2012) are a good starting point to describe their sound, a mystical melange of melancholic, haunting melodies and gorgeous vocal harmonies that combine classic pop sensibilities with a modern, experimental twist.

Bow to Each Other's debut EP 'I Don’t Hear All The Noise' was released digitally in December last year and is available via iTunes, two of the tracks can be streamed below, my favourite is probably "Red Scarves" where complicated off-kilter melodies, spiralling strings and layers of bubbling synths create a hypnotic and beautiful listen. "Bigger and Stronger" is similarly impressive, atmospheric synth and electronic beats give a dramatic, downbeat air while the beautiful vocals intertwine with twinkling keys to let in some sunshine amongst the simmering tension.

Is social networking is the future of music discovery? Probably.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Maribel #2 - You Bring The Sadness


Oslo four piece Maribel caught me under their spell when I caught them supporting Lanterns on the Lake last month, now in anticipation of the release of their album 'Reveries' (due next week Feb 13th via Splendour and available here), the band have shared a suitably Lynchian (and definitely not one for your office based lunch break) video for new track "You Bring The Sadness", with its surreal and slightly sinister film-noir dreamscapes it's the perfect folly for the soft and eerie track.

The ambience weaves beautifully between light and dark as Rebekka Markstein sweet, dreamy vocals float delicately over the harsher, foreboding washes of ghostly guitar twangs and deadbeat drums, haunting and gorgeous. Two tracks in and 'Reveries' promises to be 2012's 'Creatures of an Hour', aesthetically beautiful and completely intoxicating, (hopefully) an album to fall in with.

Maribel- You Bring the Sadness from Splendour on Vimeo.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

SoftSpot #3 - Holy Father (live video)

Every now and then you come across a band who really strike a chord with you, a band you think are so ridiculously incredible that you wonder how the hell they aren't household names, or at the very least independently acclaimed by crictics who (claim to) matter. One such instance for me is Brooklyn's SoftSpot, a band I've covered with overwhelming superlatives a few times since I discovered the duo-now-trio just over a year ago (check out my 'Introducing' post from last Jan here), geographical boundaries mean (to date) I've not seen them play live, believe me if I'm ever stateside I'll be demanding a gig and if Softspot ever come to Old Blighty, I'll be there with bells on.

A sign of what to expect can be seen on the official live video to one of their tracks, the jaw-dropping "Holy Father", exceptionally shot in a beautifully mirrored room dimly lit by candlelight and decorated by dreamcatchers. It's the perfect setting for these three incredible musicians to display their talents, the slow-burning start is haunting and Sarah's vocals, as ever, beautiful, instantly it catches your attention as it weaves its way through, the glistening melody simmering at boiling point until at three minutes it finally erupts with a euphoric blast of energy, blistering guitar and heavy-hitting drums combine with Sarah's ethereal coo's to a heavenly conclusion.

Now, can I have the same treatment for (an extended version of) "Bones" please guys?!

Tell your friends. Get the 'NOUS' EP via bandcamp now.

Holy Father from SoftSpot on Vimeo

Deaf Club #2 - Sunday


Deaf Club came to the attention of quite a few UK blogs with an excellent free EP in the second half of 2011 (still available via bandcamp), the 'Lull' EP highlighted a beautifully expansive sound which saw soaring, shimmering guitars interwoven with melancholic, forlorn melodies supplying more than a hint of menace and brooding atmosphere over five brilliant tracks, my favourite "Postcard" can be streamed below.

Fast forward to 2012 and the band have released "Sunday", the lead track from a limited cassette release via Club Kissability (due 20th Feb), which is similarly 'epic' in it's production and similarly good too, glistening guitar soundscapes sumptuously swirl around precise drum echoes while the beautiful, rich vocals of Polly Mackey soften all your woes, the thick, melodramatic air equally alluring. It certainly whets the appetite for the remainder of the release.

I should be able to break by Deaf Club live virginity when the band play White Heat on 6th March - details / tickets.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Veronica Falls #8 - My Heart Beats


Veronica Falls have wasted no time resting on their laurels since the release of their excellent debut album, UK / US tours towards the end of 2011 saw them showcase new tracks "Last Conversation" and "Bury Me Alive" (you can watch both via links in a previous VF blog posting here) and now ahead of a US tour (starting today) and a UK tour next month, they've spoiled us even further with the release of a brand spanking new track, "My Heart Beats".

All of the Veronica Falls blueprints are there for all to hear, the wonderful upbeat melody, the propulsive beat, the heavenly harmonies and, of course, the smothering of darker melancholic atmosphere, as with last years debut, it makes you again reach for the play button as soon as it finishes, utterly compulsive. Three tracks in and the follow-up could potentially be even better than the debut, an exciting thought indeed.

Veronica Falls play their largest show to date at London's Scala on March 14th with support from the wonderful Novella (tickets), the full list of shows can be found on their website.

Veronica Falls - Last Conversation from Future Sweden on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Hella Better Dancer #2 - Brother


It's funny how it goes sometimes, Hella Better Dancer are a band that have been on my horizon for a while now but it was only recently that I raised the London four piece to the higher echelons of my (mental) list of favourite bands.

The catalyst perhaps was the second time I saw the band, after initially impressing with a show at The Lock Tavern towards the end of last year, the band headlined the first of this blogs very own monthly live music nights at the wonderful Old Queen's Head (read more about forthcoming events on the live page here), in January and were (although perhaps I may be a little biased) pretty bloody special. Still only 19 yet their level of musicianship is incredible, intricate guitar melodies, explosive drumming and heavenly vocal harmonies, without going on, a 35 minute set that was absolutely delightful.

"Brother", the lead song from a four track home-recorded project, 'Living Room' which will be released for free download on Feb 20th 2012 with a limited run of CDs planned is the sound of a band fulfilling their potential, it's fleetingly short at less than two mins but for the entire duration it immerses you in its bittersweet beauty, watch the rather great video for the haunting track below.

The same week Hella Better Dancer play a free show at The Silver Bullet (Thursday 23rd Feb - facebook event). You can also buy their first two EP's on iTunes now.

Monday, 6 February 2012

She's So Rad - New Music "Introducing"

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She's So Rad are Auckland, New Zealand based duo Jeremy Toy & Anji Sami, my apologies to whoever I got the tip from because I've completely forgotten you now, needless to say it was a bloody good call, one listen to the exceptional "Iceblock" and I'm hooked... She's So Rad's debut album 'In Circles' came out last summer and offers a genuinely exquisite combination of shoegaze and electronic music, the release seems to have been overlooked outside NZ so here's hoping more important blogs than myself will also arrive late to the scene.

Opening track "Iceblock" with its swirling shimmering melody is just glorious, Jeremy provides the layers of dreamy and psychedelic guitars, Anji the kaleidoscopic keys with both combining to provide soft, ethereal harmonious vocals. Equally impressive is the next track "Circles", a jangly-guitar driven pop-song which hypnotises you with its more jagged, reverb heavy guitars and upbeat, urgent beat, in a similar vein "Videos" is another highlight, driven by the rhythmic repetition of twinkling processed beats and fuzzed-up guitar while "Georgie's Song" is the most devastating on the album, the calming melody more soothing than battering, the switch in pace for this melancholic beauty works perfectly, simply gorgeous.

Enough superlatives, "In Circles" is available now digitally via bandcamp with a 12" vinyl in the works, add it to your 'missed in 2011' lists.

Fever Dream - New Music "Introducing"


Fever Dream are a relatively new trio based in the Capital whose debut release "This Waste" came out today via Underused Records and is now available on iTunes, which nicely leads to today's advice to check out the psychedelic video for the single after my usual ramblings below.

"This Waste" is intense and hypnotic throughout, Adrian Fleet's guitar equal parts shimmering beauty and fuzzed-up drone while Sarah Lippett's bubbling funk basslines and Cat Loye's rhythmic drum beat provide an energetic backdrop to the wonderful blend of noisy dissonance and dreamy vocal harmonies, a debut that's sure to appeal to fans of new wave post-punk and shoegaze alike.

Their are some equally excellent demo tracks on Fever Dream's soundcloud too, my favourites, the haphazard "Poyekhali!" a brutal concoction of feedback saturated guitar, rumbling bass and punishing drums and "Thin Skin" where a sweet girl-group backing harmonies make way for Adrian's atonal, deep vocals whilst their signature repetitive melodies whirl around in your head.

Fever Dream play Native Tongue this Thursday, 9th Feb, I'm hoping to make it down (timings at Power Lunches dependent). Their debut album is due this summer.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Sea of Bees - Free EP / Broke


Sea of Bees is someone I find myself surprised to see not previously covered on this blog (besides a mention in last years Glastonbury review), her debut LP 'Songs for the Ravens' contained some utterly gorgeous moments highlighted on the beautiful "Gnomes" and "Wizbot", downbeat heartache on "Won't Be Long" and sees Jules let loose on the reverb heavy "Marmalade", it's also worth mentioning that Julie Ann Bee plays every instrument you hear throughout.

In advance of her second album, 'Orangefarben', Jules has released a live EP entitled 'Live At The Hangar - 5.3.11' which can be downloaded for free directly from Jules' soundcloud here. Five tracks from her debut which highlight her stripped down, delicate acoustic live sound, perfectly played guitars complement a heartfelt, woozy ambience that is genuinely heavenly.

The lead-track to the aforementioned album "Broke" was released a couple of weeks back, a stirring and strong pop song that's more defiant and catchy than anything from the debut,  'Orangefarben' is due April 6th (May 1st in the US) with a UK tour planned for April included a rather appealing date with UK label mates Stealing Sheep at Hoxton Bar & Grill on April 19th (full tour dates and tickets here).

Friday, 3 February 2012

Pair of Arrows - New Music "Introducing"

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A mysterious email dropped into my inbox a few weeks ago (that's how far behind I am with submissions - sorry), other than various networking links it's entire content was 'Feel free to post and link as a free download. Thanks so much! luv p/\ir Of /\rrows'. Not much to go on then, though to be honest, that's a pretty good submission for me. Endless paragraphs of writing with no links (it's incredible how many email submissions have no music stream link and or no website / facebook link) get ignored, belatedly I pressed play on the soundcloud link and allowed myself to be immersed in the San Francisco duo's debut track "Superimposed"

The after-hours electro-beauty takes its lead from The XX with washes of sparse synthetic glitches, haunting atmospherics and soft, soothing vocals that make for a great, relaxed listen, just what you might need if you've had a long week at work. Pair of Arrows are Swan Palermo and R.D. White, we might not know who they are yet, we can hope their next tracks as good as this. Free download below:

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Soko #3 - First Love Never Die

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I read something a few days ago from a pretty recognisable blog where it described itself as a 'buzz blog' which, in all honesty, completely baffled me. The idea of a blog (in my opinion) is to provide an online equivalent of a personal journal where you provide commentary on things you find interesting, clearly in my case that is music. So to describe yourself as a 'buzz blog' is, again subjectively, completely contrary to the whole purpose and principle of blogging.

In layman's terms it's basically saying;  'I'm creating a blog to do nothing other than post what is popular elsewhere'. Why? What does that do? Generate endless hits because you are posting what everyone is searching for which leads to advertising revenue and endless promos? Gain you 'hipster' points and street cred? I don't know, I don't plan to find out. I post (some - I don't have time for all) of the music I like, my music taste is a little obscure and I tend to favour new bands and this is reflected here but every now and then I do post an artist which is capable of almost 50,000 hits on a video in about 72 hours, in this case that's SoKo, I fell in love with her in the second half of last year and then became even more smitten after seeing her play at The Borderline, a steady stream of videos' have tided me over until the release of her debut album (due 20th Feb), the latest is the wonderful "First Love Never Die", a typically sepia-tinged video that fits the natural beauty of Soko's soft, dreamy music perfectly. Beautiful is the key word, simply beautiful. Check out the stunning, tortured version of "We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow" too.

You can pre-order a CD / Double LP of the album 'I Thought I Was An Alien' here. An eight week European tour starts next week with the full list on SoKo's website. I advise you go.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

SNEAKPEEK #2 - Walk All Over Me

Last summer California's SNEAKPEEK sent me into superlative overdrive with three demo tracks that brought together elements of 'dream-pop beauty and grungy, garage-rock sludge', since the four-piece have been busy finalising their debut album release due late this year and I'm very happy to bring the first play of one its tracks "Walk All Over Me".

Set the volume to loud and prepare for this psych-rock beast for "Walk All Over Me" with its maelstrom of distorted buzz-saw guitars, crashing drums and angsty vocal snarls sees the band literately spitting with venom, but amongst the wallowing dirge of noise is a hypnotic riff that's sure to lead to an ocean of nodding heads from devote disciples at future live shows.

If you're eager for more My Old Kentucky Blog previously premièred another track "Through The Looking Glass", which similarly lays its reverb-laden guitars down thick while the hazy, slow motion melody and Dora Hiller's dreamy, nonchalant vocals hint at the sweeter side of SNEAKPEEK.

Listen below, fall in love and get excited about that album. I'll bring you news on that once it's announced.

Hannah Cohen - New Music "Introducing"


When Bella Union announce they've signed someone it's normally wise to pretty much stop what you are doing and listen to that artist, chances are you'll be in for something quite spectacular. Home of numerous of this blogs favourite artists, Lanterns on the Lake, Veronica Falls, Beach House and I Break Horses are all on the London label who last week announced the signing of New York based model turned signer-songwriter Hannah Cohen, a new name to me, alongside details of her debut album 'Child Bride', to be released on April 23rd with a limited pre-release edition on February 6th via UK independent stores, links here.

Taken from 'Child Bride' is Cohen’s first single "The Crying Game" and it's quite the introduction, the background melody richly intoxicating led by melancholic strings and delicate guitar it plucks on the heart strings whilst Hannah's vocals are hauntingly beautiful and moving, her sad and painful delivery certainly leaves an impression and immediately demands a second listen. Consider that preview LP pre-ordered.