Saturday, 31 March 2012

I Like Trains #7 - The Shallows / Mnemosyne

I Like Trains have announced their much awaited come back, third album 'The Shallows' is due for release May 7th via the bands own I Like Records label and is available for pre-order now, lead track "Mnemosyne" is due for release the same day and highlights something of a departure in the brooding post-rock (once again) five pieces' sound (seemingly Ian Jarrold previously of Redjetson has made the jump from live member to full-time addition to the iLT line-up).

For want of a better word "Mnemosyne" sees Leeds finest go disco, if like me, you've spent the last six years or so following the band, right from their excellent debut BEFORETHECURTAiNSCLOSE (when iLT's liked the caps lock key) to 2010's equally excellent 'He Who Saw The Deep' one word that wouldn't have been on your mind is 'funky', yet "Mnemosyne" is most definitely funky. Sparse synth lines combine with a bass-line Hot Space era Queen would have been proud of, don't let it scare you off, the signature I Like Trains dynamic is similarly evident, Dave's impeccable baritone vocals, intelligent beautiful thought out lyrics, shimmering guitars and Simon Fogal's commanding drums.

An exciting track from one of the UK's most consistently over-looked bands, hopefully 'The Shallows' will finally give them the rewards they deserve. I Like Trains play a few UK shows in early May including a headlining gig at London's Borderline on May 7th - tickets.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Smoke Fairies - The Three Of Us

The last time I saw the Smoke Fairies they were donning Halloween masks and dressed in black at their Camden Barfly show, so it's nice to be listening to them without worrying my head could be chopped off at any point, I'm surprised (again) to find this is the first post featured specifically (I mentioned Smoke Fairies in both my Great Escape and Primavera reviews last year) about the duo from West Sussex, I'm going to say it's purely a timing basis and their stunning last album 'Through Low Light And Trees' pre-dates the sort of blog I find myself writing now...

The lead single to the girls forthcoming second album 'Blood Speaks' (due May 21st) "The Three of Us" will also be available in its own right as a special four track 9" vinyl on Record Store Day, both releases should be added to your 'want list' if this preview is anything to go by. Combining everything you've grown to love about Smoke Fairies, a unique blend of grungy, dark folk-rock perfectly in keeping with both traditional and bluesy roots with a obvious sign of development, there is a fuller sound from the outset. As ever, the girls excel with their guitar playing, without doubt some of the finest players I've seen live in recent times, "The Three of Us" captures some of their live magic, a stomping full band dynamic and of course, Katherine and Jessica's beautiful vocal harmonies.

You can pre-order the album via Smoke Fairies shop here, though I'd probably wait a little while if you're a collector of all things nice like me as an email gives details of an unspecified 'deluxe edition' of the album to come 'very soon'. The girls also play a 'one-off' album release show at London's Tabernacle on May 28th - tickets.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Aggi Doom - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook / aggidoom.bandcamp

Aggi Doom are the first discovery through my new favourite indie label Soft Power Records (some more are to follow), a label who've already put out a tape by Trogons and have releases by Big Wave and September Girls in the pipeline, definitely enough to meet with this blogs approval, back on the track of this particular blog post, the Glasgow four piece will release their debut 7" 'Bring Me The Head b/w Cakewalk' on May 21st - limited to just 300 7" and will be available to pre-order here...

The raw and infectious "Bring Me The Head" is a harsh blend of trippy psychedelia and 60s garage stomp with a fair share of moody, post-punk angst thrown in for good measure, bouncing bass-lines, ramshackle drums and a catchy as fuck choruses cause you to lose your British inhibitions, it's distinctive, raw and energetic. Basically what I'm saying is it makes you want to get on the dance-floor and jump up and down like crazy, the sloppy playing of instruments and aggressive primal shouts just add to the charm.

You'd be forgiven for thinking "Cakewalk" was a different band, the urgency and power in the vocals disappear completely, instead there is this intoxicating blend of smooth guitar and space synth (I don't know, it sounds like something from an Amiga 500 sci-fi game!) that's in no hurry to go anywhere before Claudia's ethereal vocals grab you for a reason a world apart from what I just said, soft and intoxicating, then by the time the vocal harmonies reach full flow and cowbells signal the start of the songs end, you're completely smitten.

A compelling debut from surely one of Glasgow's finest new bands, who's in for sharing the bus fare for Aggi Doom and Palms to get down to London soon? Listen to both sides below:

Pure Bathing Culture - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook / purebathingculture.bandcamp

It's been a while since I've heard anything from the Father / Daughter camp so I was happy to see an email pop into my mailbox yesterday with details of their next release, the debut 12" EP from Pure Bathing Culture, a duo who've recently moved to Portland from Brooklyn, previously unknown to me, their sweetly, soft dream-pop has instantly melted my heart.

The lead track from the EP (due May 22nd and available to pre-order now from the FD Big Cartel) "Ivory Coast", is simply gorgeous. Over a gentle, relaxed melody wistful beats, ringing guitar and hushed vocal harmonies heal your aching limbs, like a hazy dream that's too beautiful to wake up from.

Bandcamp hints at further greatness, the slightly tropical flavours of "Lucky One" perfectly complements an un-complex day, rich, intoxicating and beyond lovely while "Silver Shore's Lake" treads the same vein of luscious pop instrumentation and sensually warm melodies that's made Beach House household names. Feeling a bit grotty or overworked? Then may I recommend Pure Bathing Culture as the perfect listen to help you to wind down and leave you feeling blissful. I started off with this word and I'll finish with it too, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Allo Darlin' - Capricornia

Allo Darlin' are one of those bands that I always assume I've covered but find I haven't, the demand to appear (probably self manifested) to be constantly finding 'new bands' sometimes means 'established' acts get ignored, when I tend to average time to post about a blog a day and there are 100's of bands I could post about obviously some have to get missed, but now this London based indie-pop quartet have created such a perfect, summers day gem that I can't help but post about it.

"Capricornia" actually came out in the height of winter this year, mid February was about the only time we needed our winter costs, fast forward six weeks and we are, of course, experiencing something of an early summer here in London and this, as the title might have told you, is a joyous, uplifting slice of pure pop about vocalist Elizabeth Morris' home country, it will definitely steal your heart with its fun-filled guitars jangles, colourful drum slapshes and pitch perfect vocals, good mood inducing and just lovely. I had my first ice cream of the year this lunchtime, I should have been listening to this at the same time.

Allo Darlin's second album 'Europe' is due for release next month via Fortuna Pop! and if you pre-order from Rough Trade you'll get a bonus CD that feature six covers including AC/DC and Bruce Springsteen! Sounds like even more fun times are ahead. The band also headline Indietracks which is already jam packed full of acts covered here. A festival that should be on your shortlist this year.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Mary Epworth - New Music "Introducing"

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I had to miss Mary Epworth (or Mary Epworth & The Jubilee Band, both seem to be used) playing with blog favourites Hella Better Dancer a few weeks back which (obviously) was a really shame, since falling for the mesmerising "Black Doe" I've been meaning to get a blog post down, belatedly, here we are...

As I just insinuated, the first track I discovered of Mary's is her latest single "Black Doe", which has amassed some fantastic radio play (you may or may not be surprised to find I've not listened to the radio by my own doing for about six years) on radio one, xfm and so one, enough to mean a delay to Mary's debut album 'Dream Life' (originally due this month but now unconfirmed via Hand Of Glory), whilst presumably a few pr guru's shape a more (presumably) thorough release campaign, if the current tasters are any an indication the wait will be worth the while.

"Black Doe" is pretty difficult to pigeon-hole, its drenched in dark, haunted synth fuzz while a meandering folk rock banjo repeats then after thirty of seconds or so military drums explode, Mary's vocals are equally spellbinding throughout, moving with the melody from ethereal and eerie to demonic and powerful during the chaotic chorus where the sheer weight of the distortion and pounding beats should come with a warning sign for your speakers, then it drops and its all beautiful again.

My description makes the whole thing sound like a mess, it's not, it's going to knock you off your feet, listen / watch below.

White Hex - New Music "Introducing"


White Hex are Jimi Kritzler and Tara Green originally from Australia but now residing in Berlin, a location much more fitting for their dark, downbeat post-punk influenced sounds. There are two tracks online for now, both excite me greatly (if that's the right word), fitting someone between the icy chill of Be Forest and more contempory minimalist gothic peers (yes, Bauhaus et al) the duos sound is one that instantly grabs you.

"Holiday" has this incredible drum and bass rhythm that you'd be forgiven to think was Joy Division's, the vocals remain gloriously languid throughout as Jimi coaxes all sorts of delightful noise from his guitar, the brooding melody twirls around your brain as the echoey riffs repeat, transfixing your attention and demanding further listens. That isn't to say "Stranger Love" is any less impressive, with its gloomy bass lead, sinister guitar rumbles and Tara's nonchalant vocals it belongs on a soundtrack to something fittingly bleak and disturbing, yet its propulsive groove is so deep and sexy it'll make you want to get down and dirty at your nearest new wave club, hypnotic,intimidating yet definitely quite gorgeous too.

White Hex are due to release their debut 12" via Avant in June - put it on your pre-order list.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Ren Harvieu #3 - Open Up Your Arms / Covers

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This is the first time I've featured Ren Harvieu since her deserved spot in the (besides Niki & The Dove not particularly to my taste) BBC Sound of 2012 Poll, the reason for the delay simple, it took until last week to hear new material from her (released in the form of her new single "Open Up Your Arms"). Perhaps the poppiest track we've heard from Ren thus far, there is certainly less of the smooth, soul grove that sheens on "Through the Night" or restrained beauty that is "Forever In Blue".

Nevertheless "Open Up Your Arms" is a gorgeous, melodramatic ballad that peaks with soaring orchestrated arrangements, backing choir and saxophone, her voice is (of course) what shines through, delivering where few have recently, I'd go so far to say she's got the strongest voice in pop today (I'm sure some Adele fans might disagree). Whether Ren's music is a little too nostalgic jazz club for the mainstream is yet to be seen but I can't help but think super stardom beckons (though I did say that 11 months ago now)...

I've also included two 'new' covers, Ren first caught the attention of many with her cover of a legendary song, "Cryin'" by Roy Orbison and since she's tackled two more, "Something" by The Beatles and "Sister Morphine" by The Rolling Stones, both bold choices. On the former you get to hear a bit of her (typical) Northern accent before with seeming effortless ease she tackles the track, her rich and smooth (and not so typical) vocals backed by gentle acoustic guitar melodies and restrained double bass plucks, its beautiful, understated nature brings out everything I've grown to love about the Lancashire lass. The best though is the latter, a poignant song for Ren given her own battles with a serious spinal injury and subsequent recovery, her version of "Sister Morphine" is nothing short of stunning, stopping you dead in your tracks with her emotional delivery, her voice is simply from the heavens.

'Through The Night' is finally released on April 23rd and can be pre-ordered here. Ren is on tour in early April, the London show is already sold-out (full dates).

Saturday, 24 March 2012

TOY - New Music "Introducing"

This blog has been a long time coming, a lot of people have labelled TOY their 'new favourite band' and over the past few months the London five piece have been on the end of all manner of glowing praise from beings and pages far more glossy and prestigious than these. For that reason this posting has been on the back-burner but I decided it was time to finally put something down, after all these pages serve as a journal of music taste and slowly but surely TOY have become one of 2012's essential new bands.

Most of you will probably know this information already, three of the members were previous in much hyped Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong who failed to deliver anything of merit a few years back, one of those is Tom Dougall who now finds himself as front-man and is the brother of ex-Pipette Rose Elinor Dougall. TOY have been regular tour partners of The Horrors for sometime, their slow development seems to have paid dividends, their first single "Left Myself Behind" summed up the buzz, an eight minute runaway rollercoaster that combines the best bits of psyche, krautrock and shoegaze in one glorious track, gorgeous shimmering guitars duel with the korg keys and the consistent drum beats, to keep it simple, it's one of the essential tracks of the last six months.

Their second single "Motoring" is due April 16th (on 7″ and download via Heavenly Recordings) and confirms TOY as one of the UK's hottest new properties, aptly titled overloading fuzz-filled guitars and gaudy keyboards make for a slick, infectious ride. Truly superb, hard, dense, melodic, brilliant.

TOY head out on their first headlining UK tour in April including a stop at XOYO on April 11th - full dates/tickets here. Expect lots of hair and if you are quick and head here you can help yourself to a free download of "Left Myself Behind / Clock Chime"

Friday, 23 March 2012

Beach Day - New Music "Introducing"


It maybe March but it felt like May or June in my office today, I spent the whole afternoon wistfully looking outside my window wishing I could have been anywhere else than at work, ideally it would have been an a beer garden, a few beers followed by a nap in the sun, that would have been perfect. As it turned out I stayed in office until the sun had all but disappeared, so to make up for it I came home and listened to some utterly gorgeous music from across the pond.

Beach Day sound just as you'd imagine a trio from Florida named Beach Day would, sugar-sweet surf-pop tunes inspired by the Shangri-La's and the 60's, the simple, care-free sort of music that lets your mind aimlessly float to simple, stress-free times, a bit like a Friday afternoon in the sun.

"Beach Day" and "Walking On The Streets" make you feel like you've been transported into your Instagram application, nostalgic and breezy melodies see cowbells, languid beats and hazy, dreamy shoegaze guitars combine with the effortlessly beautiful vocals to sumptuous effect. I'd like this on a cassette please.

Listen below and download three demos for free via bandcamp now.


Cold Specks #2 - Winter Solstice

The spring solstice might have been just a few days ago but that doesn't stop one of my 'Tips for 2012' Al Spx better known as Cold Specks from stopping me in my tracks with her latest unseasonally named track "Winter Solstice".

Earlier taster "Holland" started restrained and peaceful allowing Al's incredible soulful voice to floor you before blossoming to a strong, defiant number and "Winter Solstice" is similar in that effect, its flow is beautiful and elegant, managing to be both lyrically dark and rousing at the same time, flourishes of thumping drum beats and twinkling piano give the back drop for Al's deep, smoky vocals to stir up long lost emotions. Simply put "Winter Solstice" is another flawless song that will render you speechless and send shivers down your spine, Cold Specks is definitely here to stay.

The debut album 'I Predict A Graceful Expulsion' is due May 21st via Mute with an as yet unaired single "Blank Maps" released the previous week. You should not miss Cold Specks live, your next chances are 19th/20th June at Hoxton Hall - tickets

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Creakies - New Music "Introducing"

While Seattle duo The Creakies (Lily Kerson and Tori Wolffe) may not be treading too much new ground with their recently released four track debut EP 'Redwood' (available on a pay-what-you-like basis via bandcamp) I can't help but find something about their lo-fi noise-pop highly endearing, four simple tracks that take up less than nine minutes over of your life but almost beg you to press the repeat button on conclusion

Mixing the aforementioned fuzz-pop with shoegaze elements the guitar melodies are buried amongst murky fuzz while punchy drum beats and sweet, upbeat vocals swirl around your head, diy garage pop for sure but it's also extremely effective and catchy and has me crying out to open up a beer and wish it was summer. The EP, highlighted best on the brisk "Arnold's Song" and the glorious ramshackle that is "Because You're Young", apparently (an unknown to me) Cock Sparrer cover, has certainly managed to capture my heart, fast, short and noisy, let it grab yours too.

Listen below:

Ellen and The Escapades #2 - All The Crooked Scenes


Leeds alt-folk quartet Ellen and the Escapades are back with a couple tasters for their forthcoming debut album 'All The Crooked Scenes', due for release on April 16th (the same day the band headline London's Lexington with support from the equally lovely Paper Aeroplanes - tickets).

The title track instantly pulls you in, its meandering melody is infectiously catchy as it roars on along like a steam train journey through the countryside, Ellen's husky vocals complement perfectly, though hidden amongst the up-tempo joyous rhythms the lyrics are deceptively dark, the highlight for me is the ending verse, the pacing slows down and the instrumentation subsides to allow the gorgeous vocals to blossom in defiant strength. Compelling and addictive, it cries out for repeat listens.

Then, as if that wasn't enough, the equally well crafted album track "This Ace I've Burned" has also mean made available for your listening pleasure, a slower and melancholic number, its warming, intimate and completely gorgeous. Listen below:

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Silver Fox - New Music "Introducing"

Silver Fox are an all-female noise pop quartet from Newcastle who dropped onto my radar thanks to their upcoming debut 7", due for release April 24th via one of the finest indie labels from over the pond, M'lady's. The lead track to the 'Waves On In/ Marble World' single highlights the girls' softer side, a languid pace, gentle instrumentation and gorgeous hushed vocals make for a track that is overwhelmingly intoxicating and beautiful.

Somewhat of a departure from the melancholic air of "Waves On In" are early demos "Arosa" and "Capital Kiss", dominated by hard-hitting drums and deep bass guitar fuzz the formers singing / chanting vocal harmonies are typically lo-fi and remind me of Explode Into Colors or La La Vasquez, while the latter "Capital Kiss" showcases a harder edge, a punky racquet saturates the intro before stumbling, slap-hazard beats make for an uneven flow but through the erratic bursts of sugar-covered venom this is lovely, lovely stuff.

Come down South girls, we might not dance in the Capital but we like to have a good time, honest.

Pre-order 'Waves On In' via Rough Trade here and listen below:

Monday, 19 March 2012

Father Sculptor - New Music "Introducing" /

Father Sculptor are currently keeping their 'details' cards close to their chests, a brief biography on their soundcloud page reveal their location to be Glasgow coupled with cryptic details of their beings, either way, it hardly matters to me, this blog isn't entitled 'Just Band Members Details I Like', all I care about the music and it is safe to say that Father Sculptors' early showings are quite something..

Their debut release "Ember" is due to be released on April 16th via bandcamp coupled with an as yet unheard track "Blue", simply put it induces all kinds of goosebumps.

Patiently building around moody soundscapes, shimmering guitars and metronomic rat-a-tat beats it takes over a minute for the vocals to finally enter and once they do, they utterly floor you. Soft and poetic, 'Mr As-yet-unknown' has this wonderfully smooth vocal style and powerful lyrical prowess that gives a few nods towards some 80's indie acts and even though it's a bit presumptuous to say already, "Ember" could just be the birth of a word-smith to give Morrissey a run for his money, there is something overwhelmingly beautiful about the track as it struggles to be set free, let it take you too.

Earlier track "Velvet Falls" is equally impressive, though wholly different, strong and dramatic instrumentation sweeps the track along in almost euphoric, anthemic way (sorry to use 'that' word, this isn't Coldplay). Whatever it is, however you want to describe it, it is absolutely fucking brilliant.

Father Sculptor played their first gig supporting Spector in February, more shows are surely to follow, come play in (London's) Capital.

The School - Never Thought I'd See The Day


It's a Monday and not your normal Monday either, the weekend after half the nation were happy being plastic Paddy's celebrating St Patrick's Day on Saturday and then wearily treating their Mum's to Mother's Day lunch on Sunday. I can therefore imagine there are a few aching limbs in the workplace today, so what better medicine than to spend three minutes of your afternoon with a gorgeous, uplifting track that will add some real zest to the rest of your day...

'Never Thought I'd See The Day' is the newest single by Cardiff eight piece (that's got to lead to some rather interesting stage arrangements) The School, the lead track from their forthcoming double a side release (expanded to an EP with two covers) due March 26th via Elefant Records and it's absolutely glorious too, a beautiful bright melody that's nothing but addictive driven by whirring keys, uplifting drums and Liz Hunt's lovely, pure vocals. There's something for fans of Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura et al for sure, with 60's girl group references through its joyously British indie-pop core, 'Never Thought I'd See The Day'  is a catchy, sunshine number that will have you make you want to tap your feet and wish you were sitting in a beer garden with friends.

If you're still here you'll be happy to hear that The School's second album 'Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything' is due (according to their label) imminently and is a collection of songs even more impeccable than 2010's debut 'Loveless Unbeliever'. Exciting news then...

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Feathers - New Music "Introducing"


No, I'm not duplicating a post I did last year, this post is in an altogether different act called Feathers (though do check out the previously blogged Australian Feathers here), primarily the work of Anastasia Dimou who currently lives in Austin, Texas (as I can't be in SXSW in a time when hundreds of acts from all over the world embark on a city, why not post about one who lives there!) Feathers' debut track "Land of the Innocent" is a fine introduction to their highly polished and darkly atmospheric electro-pop.

Moody, murky synth warbles and penetrating beats introduce "Land of the Innocent", the rhythms remind me of Austra, dramatic and precise but that thought ends with the introduction of Anastasia's angelic vocals, a soothing antidote to the heavy pulses, quite the debut track. Another track of their soundcloud "Soft" showcases a more dance-friendly hypnotic beat with an distinctly 80's drum-machine beat, upbeat jaunty melody and siren-like harmonies it's another track that impresses, a debut album is due later this year and is definitely one to look out for.

For live shows Feathers appear to be a bit of a super-group and includes Alex from Ringo Deathstarr as well as other musicians from Austin bands, they played ATP last weekend where their name caught my attention and although I might have missed their debut UK shows, I'm sure I'll have chance to catch them soon.

Friday, 16 March 2012

TacocaT - Spring Break-Up

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Seattle's TacocaT are a new find for me but released an album as far back as 2009, I've not found much about it so I'll ignore that for now and concentrate on their latest release, a new 7" four track EP which came out this week via Hardly Art entitled 'Take Me to Your Dealer' and its lead track "Spring Break-Up"...

The title sums track better than the following words do, a bitter-sweet number that packs plenty of spunky, energetic bite into its two minute length, infectious melodies, fuzzed-up guitars and sweet / gritty vocals, a track that shares much in common with with fellow pop / garage-rock mainstays Best Coast, Vivian Girls, both whom TacocaT have shared stages, yeah, you'll know the sort of thing to expect below.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Beautiful Strange Presents

There's no publicity as good as self-publicity, or something like that! I try my best not to make this blog a self-promotion tool but if you read this and live near the London area you might be interested in what I have to tell you, I started a live music night at the gorgeous Old Queen's Head, Angel Islington at the turn of the year and have to date had some wonderful gigs by the likes of Tripwires, Sheen, Hella Better DancerBlindness and We Walk On Ice.

My fourth music night is a little over three weeks away and it's a bloody brilliant one too, after a few 'heavier' shoegaze / alt-rock nights this one is a folkier affair with four acts who've all previously featured here, Emily and the Woods, Like Spinning, Anna Lena & The Orchids and Alice Jemima. A bit good yeah?

Here's the (equally gorgeous) poster made by Jess Marshall.

Tickets are just £4 in advance (more on the door) and available here: Full details can be found (as well as info on all upcoming / previous events) on my events page tumblr Beautiful Strange Presents.

Here's a sample of what to expect, I hope to see a few of you there.

CURXES #2 - Haunted Gold

The unstoppable juggernaut that is Brighton electronic duo Curxes released their newest creation to the world last week, the monstrous "Haunted Gold", an absolute powerhouse of a track where Macaulay Hopwood's relentless industrial rhythms propel pounding drum machine beats, pummelling bass and the dramatic vocals of Roberta Fidora.

Displaying more than its fair share of pomp and aggression it's Curxes most urgent and menacing track to date (and that for duo who've been releasing mutated synth-pop for almost a year now), I know I used these comparisons before but think Depeche Mode on acid or Siouxsie at her most intense, "Haunted Gold" is energetic and entrancing, play it loud and play it proud.

The track will be available on iTunes from the 10th April 2012 with a vinyl release date to follow for Record Store Day. Curxes are surely one the UK's most creative and interesting new electronic acts. Also check out the animated video below, painstakingly created with (a lot of) gold glitter and a scanner (rather them than me!).

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Loveable Tulips - New Music "Introducing"

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It's my lunch-break at work and I'm doing something I rarely do, power-blog. I prefer to post in the comfort of my home surroundings and take my time over my ramblings (you probably wouldn't be able to guess that!) but there's something so instantly warming and dare I say it loveable about "Streets" by Swedish duo The Loveable Tulips that I couldn't resist a post from my desk.

Propelled by a luxurious girl group sheen, the uplifting groovy melody is catchy and fun (if lyrically bittersweet) while the gorgeous dual vocal harmonies are simply divine. "Streets" is pure, blissful pop music, let it warm your cockles on this fine March Tuesday, you won't regret it (though I won't be held responsible when it's spinning around your head all afternoon!).

Monday, 12 March 2012

Lockets #2 - Bitter Teeth

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Philly's Lockets sent many hearts a flutter with their warm and intoxicating debut tracks "Catch Me" and "Camera Shy", last week saw the release of their third, "Bitter Teeth" and honestly, it's their best yet.

"Bitter Teeth" transcends its shoegaze / dream-pop influences to be something that is ultimately original, Todd's production work subtle and incandescent, the illuminating melody, woozy beats and textured guitars shimmer around Dani's gorgeous harmonies, her ethereal vocal every bit as luscious as the melody, it soothes your pains and captures your mind, a magical kind of beauty.

The track is taken from the duo's debut full length due later this year, don't miss that (or their previous tracks here if you missed them first time around). They played their first live show last Saturday, it won't be their last...

Lockets - Bitter Teeth from Lockets on Vimeo.

Cheap Curls - New Music "Introducing"

Cheap Curls is a new project from Katie Brouillette-Serbian, her name might not be familiar but chances are you have heard of her former rouse, Bambi of the Dum Dum Girls, I saw what was her final show with the band at ULU last November and her stage presence was hypnotic and eye catching, so it's no great surprise to hear she has decided to 'go solo'.

The first track aired is called "Jackie Oh" and it's blistering garage-pop, punchy beats and jagged guitars give a platform for Katie's vocals to shine alongside sporadic hand claps it's definitely something to turn to on a fun summer's day. Blondie is a comparison I've read a couple of times and I'll go with that, the melody certain fits but add in some power pop grunge too.

The track will come out on a debut three track due for release in the spring and available to pre-order now via Art Fag Recordings.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

French for Rabbits - New Music "Introducing"

My Sundays are often the one and only day in a week that I'll not be attempting to do too much, with no work to think about and (normally) no gigs or events to take me out of my home, it's often my only day in a week to relax, enjoy and saviour. Obviously being a little bit of a muso, on days like today I also like to turn to beautiful music to accompany me, today the perfect fit is French For Rabbits, a dream folk duo from Wellington, New Zealand who've just released their debut EP "Claimed by the Sea" through Home Alone Music.

The woozy video for the title-track highlight the delicate fragility of their songcraft, beautiful and bitter-sweet, bringing memories of romantic dawn walks along the sea-front with those you love (not that I can ever say I've done that, but you get the idea!), the echoey guitar plucks and Brooke's vocals equal parts pretty and calming, if you've had a hard week give this a listen, unwind for a little while and fall slowly but surely in love.

"A Ghosts Broken Heart" is another highlight, a repetitive drum dance and twinkling synths drive a bright indie-pop melody while the storytelling lyrics equally impress but it's the vocals that star again, soft and haunting. Brooke has this beguiling voice that is sure to add French For Rabbits to the list of New Zealand's exports before long, overwhelmingly beautiful. Check out the rest of the EP on bandcamp now, available digitally or on special limited CD with lyrics and notes.

French for Rabbits- Claimed by the Sea from French for Rabbits on Vimeo.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Seapony #6 - Prove to Me


I said on my write up of their debut album 'Go With Me' that I'm an absolutely sucker for the sort of dreamy, blissful tunes that Seapony so effortlessly create and just to prove that point they go and hit me with another one, "Prove to Me" debuted today and is all kinds of wonderful.

It follows the Seattle trios (though judging by the picture expanded for live shows) signature heart-warming indie-pop lines and is one of their most beautiful yet, fluttery drum beats, sparking guitar jangles and Jen's languid, soft vocals combine to simply delicious effect, it makes you all warm inside and reach for a comforting pillow which on a Friday night in nursing a heavy Thursday is just about the perfect combination.

"Prove to Me" is a brand new track which features on a five-year anniversary flexi from Seapony's label Hardly Art and currently only available at their SXSW showcases and anniversary shows. You lucky people. Seapony are definielty one of the bands I'm waiting to see in the UK, please form an orderly queue.

Emily Kokal (Warpaint) - Hymn (Live Video)

The name Emily Kokal will probably be familiar to most of you as guitarist / vocalist / lyricist of just about everyone's favourite band of the past couple of years, Warpaint. I've previously been aware that Emily has some solo material to be heard somewhere on the interweb but I hadn't actually heard any until this recently released video dropped into my lap.

It's just Emily and her guitar in Dilettante Records shop in LA performing a track called "Hymn", no not the same "Hymn" that Beach House released yesterday but a solo track that appears to have been around for a few years. Besides a few different track names on limited plays via her account I've not found much in the way of solid information and to my knowledge there are no plans for a solo venture, so for this short post I'll just leave you with this compelling track...

Her familiar guitar lines remain soft and delicate and her voice beautiful and haunting, just gorgeous.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Everything by Electricity - New Music "Introducing"

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Everything By Electricity are a newly formed London based trio who came to my attention last week, I was unable to make what was only their second ever London gig at the Old Blue Last but I’ve only heard good things about it, which comes as no surprise given the incredible promise portrayed on their three online tracks.

“Lights Down Low” is simply gorgeous, shimmering guitars, sparkling synths and dreamy vocals, it's a combination made in the heavens. I keep thinking about 'Fantasies' era Metric whilst listening, perhaps it's the enchanting vocals, the way they fit so perfectly around the glistening pop melody and the luscious effect it all has on my body.

“Novocaine” is equally impressive, pure pop sensibilities run through ringing guitar chords and crashing, punchy beats, cascading beautifully to a powerful and engaging finale, the best though is perhaps “Hello Nothing”, surely a future signature live track, intelligently composed it gradually builds around waves of rich, textured guitars to reach an almost anthemic wall of sound, noise and beauty so perfectly entwined, this is a band with a great future ahead of them. For three debut tracks, they are quite something. Best of all? These are only demos!

 Everything by Electricity play Hoxton Bar & Kitchen on March 20th - details.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Parakeet - New Music "Introducing"

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Take 1/4 of Yuck and 1/5 of The History of Apple Pie, throw them into a grunge mixing pot and you'll come up newly formed duo Parakeet. From the former, Mariko Doi takes responsibility of bass and vocals while (probably unsurprisingly given he also drums for THoAP) James Thomas drums, last week they shared the video for their debut track (and first single) "Tomorrow", which came out this week and you can order (on limited self-released 7" vinyl) via the bands shop here and also download for free via bandcamp.

It's a great start too, uncompromising and full of relentless energy, Mariko's snarling cries combine with her thudding bass-lines and crashing beats to make for a distortion drenched noise fest, the lyrics simple and romantic but for me, this track is all about how hard the fuzzbox hits you in the gut. There's no news of live dates or further tracks (besides the b-side not currently online) so for now I'll just say Parakeet are definitely one to keep an eye on...

Beach House #4 - Myth

How do you follow up an album as universally well received as 'Teen Dream'? Do you change direction and risk alienating the fans who enjoyed your last album or do you try and progress your sound yet placify those fans who discovered you on what was actually your third album? I'm sure that was part of a dilemma that faced Beach House, after 'Teen Dream' saw the Baltimore duo catapult to almost mainstream heights of exposure and play venues such as Shepherds Bush alongside prime festival slots around the world, the answer, quite sensibly in my opinion, is the latter.

New track "Myth", shared with the world today follows the same magisterial, melodic dream-pop sensibilities that brought swooning reviews from all quarters but seems more dramatic and larger in scale, perhaps learning from their live shows where they are joined by live drummers. The twinkling keys and shimmering guitars wrap around Victoria's trademark vocal, much like 'Take Care', "Zebra", "Walk in the Park" etc etc, "Myth" is simply luscious and will bring all sorts of goosebumps to lovers and dreamers all over the world.

Their forth album has yet to be officially announced, hopefully due spring / early summer. Edit - it's now been announced and is due via (as ever) Bella Union in Europe on May 14th (details). Cannot wait. Beach House are also amongst the initial line-up of End of the Road and also play two UK shows at the end of May, double excitement.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Alice Jemima #2 - All The Boyfriends

I'm pretty sure I mentioned falling in love when I first featured Alice Jemima here last month, it's safe to say I have, consider me well and truly smitten. To compound those inner butterflies Alice has released a new track "All The Boyfriends", delicate guitar twangs give the platform for Alice's soft, heart-warming vocals and pretty as a flower lyrics. It's undeniably sweet and innocent and gorgeous enough to make grown men quite giddy.

A re-working of one of Alice's older tracks "Red Coat" has also been released, this studio recording is clean and crisper and allows the upbeat melody to shimmer and shine on what is perhaps Alice's future hit single, for surely Radio Two listeners would surely stop their household chores for a listen to this charming slice of pure, beautiful pop.

I'm delighted to say that Alice has agreed to play my forthcoming live music night at The Old Queen's Head on April 10th, the full line-up is pretty incredible if I do say so myself (and I do and will repeatedly), also playing are Emily and the Woods, Like Spinning and Anna Lena & The Orchids. Four incredible acts all who've previously featured here on the same evening... I can't wait! For more details / tickets head to my events tumblr here.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Pipers - New Music "Introducing"


The Pipers are an indie pop band from Southampton led by Aaron Piper who will be the perfect soundtrack to welcome you to a new week, a gorgeous blend of soft, swirling melodies for the hopeless romantics amongst us.

Their sound perfectly highlighted on their latest EP, ‘Sunless Sea’, three tracks of shimmering, jangling goodness which blend lo-fi shoegaze aesthetics with dream-like vocals (you know, the sort of thing which quite often fills these pages), "Keep Me in Mind" and "Cold Winds" both sooth and comfort in equal measures, simple and beautiful throughout, unobtrusive drum machine beats and sparkling guitars give the platform for dual-vocal harmonies to delicately ease your troubles away. "Sunless Sea" on the other hand, much like it's title, uses jagged, distorted guitars to make waves of fuzzed-up aural abuse, in summary, quite a wonderful EP. Listen / download at bandcamp:

The Pipers - Cold Winds from Robin Pailler on Vimeo.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Le Sera #2 - Break My Heart


A quick Sunday update, Katy Goodman's solo project La Sera first featured here with "Please Be My Third Eye", a delicious slice of bright and breezy surf-pop perfection, it might be horrific weather wise in London today but watching the since released (and similarly bubblegum pop) video alongside new track "Break My Heart" will surely brighten your mood, however miserable it may be outside.

"Break My Heart" is an equally wonderful blast of urgent, upbeat sun-splattered indie pop perfection, fuzzy guitar drives Katy's beautiful vocals whose bittersweet lyrics might be simple but make for an effective and catchy song that's a fine way to spend two minutes of your day.

La Sera release 'Sees The Light' on March 26th - pre-order.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Taffy - New Music "Introducing"

I love lots of things about Japan, its culture, its fascinating history, its cinema, though I must confess, I've never really got into its music (that is if you ignore the seminal London band Japan). That could be about to change with the arrival of Tokyo's Taffy on these shores (signed by the wonderful ClubAC30)... Their UK debut "So Long" will be released 21st April on speckled 7" clear vinyl with an album to follow in May, two preview tracks can be heard below and offer a good indication to their vein of fuzzed-up power pop.

Gorgeous, ringing electric guitars match gorgeous, saccharine sweet vocals on the soaring "So Long" where the heavenly cascade of guitar melody and delicately soft vocal harmonies bring together the best elements of 90's shoegaze and sugar-coated brit-pop, energetic, infectious and definitely the soundtrack to a good time. While "M23-7-8" slows things down a little, Iris' beautiful, heart bursting vocal gently builds to a distorted climax of buzzing grunge guitars, if the sweet Taffy is as delicious as the band then can we have them in the UK too please.

Listen below:

Friday, 2 March 2012

Modern Charms - New Music "Introducing" /

I can't tell you much about Modern Charms, besides their own blogger site and bandcamp I was unable to find anything on the San Francisco trio. To date they've got two tracks streaming and appear to be searching for a label to release a 12" (I know a volunteer!), both tracks are bloody wonderful, their sound a luscious combination of shoegaze, dream-pop and garage rock.

"When We Get There" takes layers of swirling fuzzed-out guitar melodies adds some heavy-hitting drums and combines them with a soft, delicate female vocal to make a blissful and dream-like concoction, "Someday" equally excels, upping the grunge notch a level, sprawling drums and punishing guitar noise awash in clouds of distortion which give the platform for the etheral vocals to graceful glide upon, another intoxicating combination of hard and soft. I don't know who they are, I don't really care, what I do want is to here some more. Stream below:


Jodie Goffe - New Music "Introducing"

Label Website

From one incredible London based sixteen year old musician to another, a couple of days after I introduced Ellie Rumbold on these pages here's another folk songstress whose beautiful, heart-warming songs and poetic song-craft are far beyond her years, the latest discovery to have me swooning is Jodie Goffe. There's not much to go on thus far, no webpage, no facebook, no twitter just a handful of live videos and her debut six track EP 'The Day The Moon Left' (Released a few weeks ago via Smugglers Records and can be ordered for £5.00 here), it's more than enough to fall completely in love...

Watch / listen to the sample videos below and you'll understand what I mean, Jodie's blissfully understated guitar playing caresses and soothes and her gorgeous voice fills you with warmth, there is a richness to Jodie's vocals that commands your attention while her delicately plucked melodies calm the mind, sparse, relaxing and overwhelmingly beautiful. Listen to "Light of Day" below for proof. The EP contains a male backing singer who I can't identify at the moment so apologies to him. The studio version of "Searching To Be Lost" equally graceful and pretty, Jodie is sixteen years old and already writing music that will melt your heart, don't feel too bitter now!

"We Many Few" isn't on the EP but I've included it because it's 9 weeks old, has 44 views and is absolutely stunning, you don't have to share this blog post, I don't operate on blog hits but if you like this (and if you like the softer side of my music tastes you will), please share her music on your facebook / twitter. Who knows, a couple of the million people who are buying Adele records can perhaps be introduced to a grassroots singer-songwriter who hasn't got an army of marketeers behind her. Her label are a not-for-profit organisation (an increasingly common theme for independent labels, some not buy choice!) and equally worth supporting.

[thanks for the discovery must go to flying with anna]

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Fountains - New Music "Introducing"

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Fountains are a new London based five piece who only played their first show a couple of weeks back and came to my attention as the support band for Evans The Deaths' forthcoming London show next week (details).

They've just released their debut release, a limited cassette produced by Rory Atwell (who's also produced countless tracks blogged here by the likes of Veronica Falls, Novella, Fear of Men etc.), entitled 'No Sleep', a three track EP which takes late 70's / early 80's new-wave / post-punk influences and compliments them with flashes of shoegaze / psychedelic brilliance much akin to recent success stories The Horrors and Toy, pointless references aside, it's a pretty impressive debut that seems thus far to have been overlooked by many...

Kicking off with the excellent title-track "No Sleep", an ominous intro of dark cavernous drums and screeching guitar introduces you to the baritone vocal of chief vocalist Jonathan (surname unknown) and his deep, edgy voice compliments the erratic drum rhythms perfectly, creating an uncomfortable atmosphere that eats away at your subconscious, all three tracks are rather doom-laden, the few signs of light come from backing vocalist Bex ethereal coo's and some shimmering guitars on the perfectly titled "Insecure" driven by rumbling bass-lines echoes it's equally impressive; desolate lyrics and repetitive riffs lead to a raw, frenetic conclusion. The best though is saved for last, the wonderful "You're Not Welcome", another extended intro, more claustrophobic vocals and more majestic guitar and drum melodies. Best of all? You can download the EP right now for FREE via bandcamp and grab a future collectors item while you're at it, one of those fifty tapes.