Friday, 28 September 2012

Tamaryn #2 - Heavenly Bodies

With just a couple to go until I finally get to see Tamaryn perform live (at the Lexington on October 15th - full tour dates here) the second preview from their forthcoming LP Tender New Signs (due October 15th via Mexican Summer) continues to tease body and mind, wrapped in the San Fran duo's (although they now reside in California) signature haze of dark, reverberating maelstroms of noise, "Heavenly Bodies" is equal parts intoxicating, spaced-out guitar soundscapes and beautifully hushed vocals. Heavenly indeed.

The vinyl full length is available to pre-order now, I'm hoping they've got some at the show, £20 for a single slab of wax (it does come with a CD version to be fair) is over priced in my opinion and at least, if you buy direct from the band, you can hope the money is going towards paying for touring costs... Either way Tender New Signs is one of the essential releases still to come in 2012.

The Joy Fomidable #16 - This Ladder is Ours

It's fair to say that since The Joy Formidable returned to the UK at the end of August to play the Reading and Leeds festivals and a small Lexington show that they've been spoiling us. After treating us to the incredible slow-burn piano led "Wolf's Law" my favourite rock trio followed with "Cholla", an altogether meatier beast with punishing beats and distorted guitars, it exemplified the stratospheric arena-filling noise that has defined the bands rise, and now for the third time in a month they return with a new track, "This Ladder is Ours". Similarly rip-roaring it combines Ritzy's identifiable vocals with skyscraping guitars and frenetic drums, The Joy Formidable are soon to be as massive as the sound they produce, just as the recently announced tour dates supporting Muse on a handful of UK dates at the end of October suggests.

You're a better person that I if you can work out any of the forthcoming releasing riddle though, I've read both news of a Cholla EP (originally thought to be released October 14th) and a Wolf's Law album (which I've seen slated for January 22nd in the US), perhaps "This Ladder Is Ours" serves nothing more than to leave you wanting more and that, it certainly does.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Still Corners #7 - Fireflies

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Here's something that I wasn't expecting just yet, the return of Still Corners, who today announced their new single "Fireflies", released as a tour-only 7" with limited copies available via their Big Cartel store 'soon'.

The follow up to last years gorgeous Creatures of an Hour, "Fireflies" retains the emotional, cinematic approach that has been a signature of the band right since their debut Remember Pepper EP, it's wonderfully atmospheric with Tessa Murray's alluring backing coo's and soft, dreamy vocals but the slow-motion shimmering synth pulses and pitter-patter beats which dowse you in a heavenly haze more Drive soundtrack than film-noir, fear not though guitar lovers, if recent shows at End of the Road and Scala are replicated with further new material, I'll be a very happy boy.

Speaking of shows, the aforementioned tour begins at the end of October and hits London's Lexington on November 12th - full dates. See you there.

Woodpecker Wooliams #2 - Live at The Gallery Cafe

I hope you don't mind a plug post, it involves great music so you shouldn't. Beautiful Strange returns from a little two month break next Tuesday October 2nd to present the spectacular Woodpecker Wooliams at The Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green. EDIT: Unfortunately this show has been cancelled due to an injury to WW. Further details on tumblr. Still read this post, the rest of it still stands.

A couple of recent live videos will highlight just how much of a treat the audience will be in for, from her recent album the incredible The Bird School Of Being Human, "Dove" (recorded at a recent bandstand busking session) is spine-tingling, the very definition of beauty. Clean harp plucks provide a delicate meandering base for Gemma's heartfelt outpouring of emotions while "Magpie" (recorded at the Brighton album launch show) sees a lone acoustic take the place of harp with eerie strings adding a haunting ambience, mysterious and beguiling Gemma's pure voice and unconventional renditions of songs weave a unique and compelling spell.

That's without even mentioning the sensational hysteria of "Sparrow", Woodpecker Wooliams promises to be a show not to be missed.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Alice Jemima #8 - By Your Side / EP Release

In a couple of my previous Alice Jemima posts I've mentioned my desire to have some of Alice's music as a physical product to play to my hearts content. Soundcloud / youtube are great but you can't play them in the car / train / anywhere without 3G... thankfully that wait is now over. Though not quite a slab of gorgeous wax (to follow please!) Alice has self-released her debut EP All The Boyfriends as a limited CD which you can buy now via Big Cartel (for just £3.00).

To make that purchase go from must-have to essential Alice has treated us to a stream of one of the new tracks "By Your Side", with the addition of programmed beats, heavenly backing coo's and ambient, slow-motion guitar "By Your Side" melts your heart just as quickly as anything I've heard from Alice before. Her gorgeous, delicate vocals and the seemingly effortless way she keeps producing these understated, melodious beauties within the four walls of her home (the EP was written, produced and recorded at home) really must be turning a few big-wigs heads by now, Alice though, to date has controlled her material and decisions impeccably and long may that continue. Equal parts charm, talent and beauty, Alice Jemima is most definitely one of 2012's shining lights.

Go buy the EP and tell your friends.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Shrag #2 - Devastating Bones / Unseasonal Thoughts

A double-whammy of Shrag news/music in one post, I can't think of a much better way to improve a rather grey and wet start to the week. Firstly, an overdue catch up with the latest single to be taken from on of my contender's for LP of the year Canines, "Devastating Bones" is out now on limited 7" (order from Norman Records) and to put it succinctly, is all kinds of awesome, with swaggering bass and a stomping drum beat the track is easily the best biology lesson you'll ever have, raw and exuberant "Devastating Bones", much like the album it is taken from, sizzles with melodious delight from start to finish.

Not content with one album in 2012, Shrag have contributed three exclusive tracks to their co-labels wiaiwya 7777777 singles club. A rather intriguing club with seven releases over 2012 including one by Standard Fare and later this year with Allo' Darlin',as well as a few new bands to me that instantly tick my boxes, namely The Werewandas and Eux Autres. Subscriptions come in at just £4 per 7" including postage and should definitely appeal to indie-pop collectors - or you can order individually too.

Shrag's 7" is available on the 7th October and you can stream the lead track "Unseasonal Thoughts" below, from the scuzzy basslines and skittling drums to the call and response boy/girl vocals and shimmering keys the track is every bit as good anything from Canines, though perhaps not quite the dance-floor filler of some of the bands earlier singles, the luscious layers of glossy synths makes for a mystical and wonderful single all them same. You can pre-order the 7" or digital single, and you'll want to do that, now via bandcamp.

Shrag play a handful of shows in early November, including a trip to London's Buffalo Bar on the 10th, you should go - dates.

Olympic Swimmers - Knots

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And so another week begins, the blog slowed down over the weekend - sorry about that - I watched the entire Walking Dead series one and two over the space of four nights (I got a little bit obsessed - though I did wane of Season Two in the middle if I'm being honest), anyway all that TV meant I didn't have much time for music but one discovery I made near the beginning of September who I've belatedly done my little write up on (around watching football, so sorry for the poor grammar!) are Olympic Swimmers, a Glasgow five-piece who release "Knots", the new single from their debut full length No Flags Will Fly on October 8th via their own Green White Violet label (the album came out in June and is available to stream/buy via bandcamp).

Concentrating on the single "Knots", an infectious and exhilarating blend of fuzzed-up power pop, drenched in shoegazey reverb and expansive melodies the track buzzes with rhythmic energy and bass line bounce with the powerful, confident vocal choruses hitting home equally hard, a perfect choice for a single, "Knots" certainly leaves you wanting more.

I'm veering away from full album reviews, introducing new music is what I think this blog does better than being a critical source of review, there are people way, way better than me out there who do that already but from my initial couple of listens I can't help but compare Susie Smillie vocals to Liz Morris'. Musically though, I guess Olympic Swimmers come quite closer to Fortuna Pop label-mates Evans The Death (there's a certain similarity with Katherine's vocal mannerisms too), with a strong emphasis on song-writing and the scuzzed up melodic energy that drives much of the album, never displayed finer than on the pure pop of "Apples and Pears". There are though equally rewarding moments which are heartfelt and vulnerable, the wonderful "Game of the Century" builds from delicate ethereal grace to triumphant defiance with the melancholic beauty "Rung Down The Curtain" just as memorable.

I've ordered a copy of the physical album from big cartel and I'm looking forward to getting that onto my iPod for full listening pleasure - I only tend to stream at home in small doses but my iPod soundtracks my work and walks to and from - but I think it's safe to say No Flags Will Fly has jumped straight onto my shortlist for albums of 2012.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Parlour - New Music "Introducing"

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Parlour is the new solo project of Angela Won-Yin Mak, whom I know better as the guitarist in Carousels, her debut track "My Love" (produced by Rory Atwell - who also provides the drums) is due out on 24th September as part of the Marshall Teller Records Two Year Compilation (available as a 2 x 7" set from Rough Trade) and is absolutely, extraordinarily wonderful...

Amongst drones and hypnotic psyche guitar circles Angela's light, ethereal whispers create a perfect mix of dreamy gorgeousness and fuzzy noisy, "My Love" is some introduction and demands to be played loud and hopefully seen live sometime, the start of something much more I hope.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Silkies - New Music "Introducing"

I'm not sure if I've ever posted two bands that are basically the same people back-to-back before, after the exquisitely soft Mini Dresses comes Silkies, where the former's day-dreamy pop is replaced by raucous, scuzzy garage rock perfection. Lira Mondal and Caufield Schnug are Silkies (and half of Mini Dresses) and their only track so far, "Like One" has already received praise from a few (primarily UK based) blogs with MFM and CITR both picking up on it early last month...

It's easy to see why, with a fast and unkempt melody "Like One" is unadulterated good time fun, seemingly (and probably) written in half an hour or so, its simple, breathless and effective. I'll try not to get too excited (there's just one Silkies track to go on so far) but fellow fans of fuzzed up, girl pop beware, "Like One" is going to hit you like a thunderbolt and have you running all the way to the nearest dance-floor...

Mini Dresses - New Music "Introducing"

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Another new band found through my mailbox are new Austin four-piece Mini Dresses who had me intrigued with a submission stating this about one of their singles; "recorded and written while watching Picnic at Hanging Rock on repeat". If you listen to "Hot Sun" you could possibly tell too, layers of hazy reverb create a day-dreamy melody where the barely-there wispy vocal harmonies, soft and ethereal, only add to the mystical atmosphere of the track, light and delicate "Hot Sun" is one of those rare beauties that will keep the end of summer going for just a little bit longer.

Its b-side (available to download on a pay what you want basis from bandcamp) "Post Office Girl" is similarly tender and airy through a more traditional shoegaze-pop structure it exudes the same sort of sweet bubblegum charm under cavernous guitars, prominent bass and skittling beats with Lira Mondal's pretty as a flower vocals melting your heart.

Five Summer Demos are also available on do what you like with on bandcamp, recorded in various bedrooms as the title may suggest, other the summer they give you a familiar sense of warm, fuzziness with "Just Go" perhaps my favourite, wrapped in bare but blissful arrangements Mini Dresses are the sort of discovery that keeps the love of new music eternally strong.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Disraeli Gears - New Music "Introducing"

I've neglected my inbox recently, I've been away a fair bit, am running around 40 miles a week during marathon training and have written enough posts to keep me busy (I'll bore you by reminding you this is a hobby blog) from following up on recommendations, bands I already like, social networking and the half dozen or so new blogs that I read.

I did however last night try to catch-up with my mail box and discovered a few wonderful new bands whilst I was at it, as I always tend to. The inbox though is an irksome thing. Potentially hundreds of mails with hours of listening to find the odd jewel, sometimes the reward doesn't quite seem to add up to the investment, especially when time is sparse, though for reasons about to be shared last nights delving was one that ignites that fickle motivation....

The first new discovery, London/Leeds four-piece The Disraeli Gears have just released the video / stream of their debut single "Skeleton" after forming towards the end of last year, a brief search on their facebook indicates a handful of live shows with minimal print to date, "Skeleton" should change that. The six minute track is guided along beautifully by textured guitars and sparing beats which carry the listener with soft, atmospheric bliss as the velvet smooth, melt your heart vocals of Teia Fregona captivates your attention until the focus is completely reversed at the four minute mark and the track explodes with an crashing instrumental ending of swirling guitars and swelling drums.

A purposeful and exciting debut for sure, you can download "Skeleton" free below, an EP is expected to follow shortly.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Young Unknowns #2 - Far Enough

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Sticking in Brooklyn and with another band I don't need to write a long, waffling prose about as I featured Young Unknowns a couple of months back and as with Field Mouse, who I've just written about, have since been looking forward to more music from...

That wait is over with the second track to be shared from Young Unknown's debut EP Are You A Young Unknown, "Far Enough" which caused some blog hype towards the end of last week with its mystical melody, alluring backing harmonies and smooth, relaxed rhythms. It runs for almost six minutes but feel half that with Meredith's irresistible vocals melting hearts wrapped around a woozy blend of melodic guitar and ambient sweetness. Heavenly.

Field Mouse #2 - How Do You Know

I fell for Field Mouse in a big way with the glistening shoegaze melodies of the wonderful "You Guys Are Gonna Wake Up My Mom" so naturally I've been keen to see what the Brooklyn band came up with next, thankfully the wait for their next single hasn't been too long with their second single "How Do You Know" premiering via Brooklyn Vegan late last week, it's equally luscious too...

With Rachel's spectral-like vocals seductively floating over hazy, melodic guitars "How Do You Know", delicate and rich, the track shimmers with such effortless ease and beauty that you can't help but find yourself lost in its hypnotic textures. Due for release on October 16th you can pre-order now direct from the Lefse shop.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Rachel Zeffira - Break The Spell


Whilst new as a solo act Rachel Zeffira won't need too much of an introduction to many after her previous work with Cat’s Eyes. Anyway, last week she released the first single to be taken from her forthcoming album The Deserters (due December 10th via RAF records, set up by Rachel and the other half of Cat's Eyes, Faris Badwan) as a free download (via soundcloud, link below) with the song, the aptly titled "Break The Spell" being a magical introduction to a dramatic orchestral sound that promises much.

Around striking string arrangements the song flourishes with Rachel's pure vocals at the fore, to put it succinctly "Break The Spell" is a real thing of beauty. The Deserters  promises help from friends Toy and S.C.U.M's drummer Melissa Rigby amongst others but after this grandiose, ethereal introduction it appears those expecting gothic, pysche rock could be disappointed, myself, I'll gladly take the ride.

Tickets for Rachel's debut live show at St Andrew's Church in Holborn on October 18th are available here.

The Casket Girls - New Music "Introducing"

Another brand new American band now, The Casket Girls are a trio made up of Ryan Graveface and Phaedra & Elsa Greene whose debut track, the hazy, daydream "Sleepwalking" has amassed over two and a half thousand plays in just a couple of days.

It's not hard to see why when you listen to it, self described as 'eerie pop' The Casket Girls bring an unforced sort of melancholy with sparse, fragile melodies, ghostly electronic keyboard drones and unsettling beats swirling over gorgeous, glacial vocals. The moonlit "Sleepwalking" is soft, light and overwhelmingly beautiful.

Their debut album is due November 6th, after the title track, it's certainly one to check out.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

F.U.R.S. - New Music "Introducing"

Here's a band I had recommened to me last week and when I finally got around to listening to them late one last night I wondered why it had taken me so long to follow up on the tip (long enough to miss a few gigs the band have played in town this week). London brother and sister duo Elle and Liam Wade have (to date) just the one track online but on it F.U.R.S take a care-free, lovestruck approach to creating a warm, reverb-soaked nostalgic-pop sound that is sure to earn them increasing number of admirers .

The Track "Modern Lovers" is effortlessly charming from the first listen, soaked in bright, good-time memories from twinkling xylophone and jangling guitar with sweet, perfect for summer melody is a sure fire mood raiser with Elle's sweet vocals equally endearing, as an introduction "Modern Lovers" is gorgeously infectious and more than anything lush.

Luckily for fellow late-comers, the band have more shows already lined up in the Capital at the end of the month (they only played their first dates in August), with more, no doubt, to follow - dates.

Photo by Wild Blanket

Friday, 14 September 2012

Fear of Men #5 - Mosaic

Staying in Brighton and following on from the last post (I mentioned it's single launch) blog regulars and prolific releases Fear of Men return with their latest single "Mosaic", which is released October 15th on blue 7" via the Too Pure Singles Club and available to order pre-order now from Rough Trade.

Musically "Mosaic" encapsulates Fear of Men as perfectly as possible within two and a half minutes of pure, bright pop music. Having long progressed from the lo-fi, bedroom demos which I first fell for some eighteen months ago the slick coat of production gloss added to the bands signature jangle guitars and purposeful percussion creates a bright wholesome sound though through interlaced samples and wistful lyrics Jess's gorgeously sweet vocals carry an added sense of longing with the repeated line of "Break me into pieces to feel safe like it's normal" sticking with me long after listening.

I've included a wonderful live video of the bands last single "Green Sea" too, wrapped around a chugging bass-line and gorgeous guitar chimes it's as the Youtube commentator so rightly quotes "possibly the best three minutes of my day. Thanks"

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Hundredth Anniversary #2 - Slip

On my 'introducing' post just over a fortnight ago I said I was looking forward to hearing the next The Hundredth Anniversary release. Thankfully I didn't have to wait too long with one side of their forthcoming (digital only) double a-side single release being made available to stream below (with the full download following on October 1st via Tiny Lights).

After a good dozen listens of "Slip" I can safetly say my excitement surrounding the band hasn't dropped at all, "Slip" is soft and gorgeous with sparse, slow-motion drums and fuzzy guitar textures wrapping themselves over a blanket of warm, sepia-tinged vocals, when at the two minute mark there's a flurry of frenetic percussive energy you'd be mistaken for thinking the track was about to awake from its slumber as soon enough the plaintive tones takes over again on this gorgeous melancholic waltz.

The Hundredth Anniversary play with the rather ace Fear of Men in Brighton on October 20th.

The Rosy Crucifixion - New Music "Introducing"


Here's a band I don't know too much about, The Rosy Crucifixion are from Glasgow and contain four human beings (that's from a live video I found on youtube). That's about it so far, but an unofficial bio sums up their sounds wonderfully so I'm going to copy and paste it here as my introduction "Amidst a tsunami of dischordant guitars and thundering toms, The Rosy Crucifixion conjure up the ghosts of Tammy Wynette and Link Wray fighting over the last bottle of tequila in the roadhouse at Twin Peaks".

The Rosy Crucifixion have played with and fit nicely within the same musical palette as fellow Glaswegian bands featured here, Palms and Aggi Doom (who coincidently have a split tape out via Winning Sperm Party that I'm planning on writing about soon...), with a handful of demos on Soundcloud to fall in love with, their part dark, moody / part playful psychedelic soundscapes blend shambolic garage rock with post punk rhythms to delicious effect.

My favourite is "Sunshine Fuck Off" which is absolutely ace with spindly guitar noise, galloping drums and a catchy as hell jumping bass rhythm which is sure to imprint itself in your brain just as much as the "woo woo" harmonies, with the skittish "Winners" equally brilliant too, while the menacing side of the band is seen on "Curses", dominated by tense guitar and languid drums, moody and echoey the spacious air penetrates like an early Joy Division demo. Two different sides, one equally great set of demos. Listen below.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hot Feet - New Music "Introducing"

My evening plans (at The Wilmington Arms) led me to finish this post which I'd had in my 'drafts' since May where I discovered Hot Feet at The Great Escape... My introduction to the band was perfect, a beautiful, haunting acoustic show in the lovely, little pub The Fishbowl mere yards from the seafront. It lead me to say this in my TGE review: 'I instantly fall in love and Hot Feet are without doubt the new band discovery of the weekend for me, an act that will most definitely be featured here again in more detail soon enough'. Hmm, is four months soon?..

The video of "Pine Needle Blues" brings back memories of the show, with its stripped back nature, bewitching guitar circles from exceptional finger-plucking give the platform for vocalist Marianne's beautiful voice, delicate and enchanting there is an undoubted feeling of romanticism just listening to her sing, a traditional, tender sound that is equally intimate and warm and results in that old fuzzy feeling of pure, spine-tingling bliss.

The band are currently recording an EP which is due for release 'later this year', so current recordings are a little thin on the ground but an old demo "Oliver" introduces the band sound well, a haunting, progressive folkish melody with luscious instrumentation which gradually builds upon gracious layers and vocals from the heavens. I said it in May, I'll say it again in September, I love.

Hot Feet have me won over and I can't wait to hear more from this wonderful band with their forthcoming release.

Night Fruit #3 - Human Touch

One of the great things about promoting gigs is that you get to pick the music everyone listens to that night (within reason, I don't think you'd have many people will continue to be there if you make them listen to Meat Loaf all night) and one track which often makes my playlist is the wonderful "Dark Horse" by Boston (US) trio Night Fruit, a Christmas release last year might have led to it missing your ears, so do catch up with that here...

As much as I love a good old reminisce, this post looks forward to Night Fruit's debut full length which should be due early 2013, with its first preview released in the form of the rather lovely "Human Touch" via free download (from soundcloud, link below), with a bright, chiming guitar melody interlaced with shimmering keys and rat-a-tat drums it beautifully swirls around your head like a gentle walk through dewy green. Dreamy and delicious, there's one of your albums to check out in 2013 sorted...

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Ren Harvieu #4 - Do Right By Me

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The stunning voice of Ren Harvieu hasn't been blogged here since we had a mini falling out in May when Ren was scheduled to play at Brighton's The Great Escape, I even turned up at the venue but Ren did not, I don't know the reason but it was apparent before her slot time that Ren's performance had been removed from the schedule. It happened to be the same week she had played Jools Holland and I can imagine going from that to a grotty first floor pub in Brighton within a few days of each other didn't quite fit with her management teams 'vision'.

Anyway enough wild accusations, I jest about our 'falling out', the simple reason for the drought was I completely missed the third single to be taken from Ren's debut full-length Through The Night "Tonight", which came out back in July. I'm not quite as slow on the uptake on her next though, the equally sublime "Do Right By Me"...

With Ren's distinctive, haunting voice at the helm it's nostalgic wrapped grandiose pop of the finest order, sure there is major label backing and a team of people guiding Ren's career but I don't give two hoots about that when the her personality blossoms through regardless. I personally believe her one of the best voices to emerge in recent times. Elegant, powerfully chilling and gorgeous. Watch the video to "Do Right By Me" below.

If that wasn't enough, check out a couple of goose-bump inducing live video's here and here and see the real thing when Ren tour's the UK in October - dates.

Monday, 10 September 2012

PINS #3 - LuvU4Lyf

This past week has seen lots of incredible new music coming out as labels and artists gear up to take the best possible advantage of post festival buzz and students being back at University. Most major sources of 'new bands' were quick to jump on this particular piece of news so I doubt this post will come as 'new' to many but, good music is good music no matter when you come across it, and this from one of 2012's finest new discoveries PINS (who have streamed the lead track from their forthcoming debut EP LuvU4Lyf) is stunning.

Howling like a pack of wolves with doom-laden drums and eerie guitars “LuvU4Lyf” hits you right in the gut. Slow burning powerful menace, the throbbing bass lines create an uneasy nightmarish atmosphere splintered by fractured high frequency guitars, the continual looping of the tribal drums and mysterious vocals adding to the suspense. Raw and electric, the only negative thing I can find to say about “LuvU4Lyf” is the spelling!

You can pre-order the limited 10" (on lovely gold glitter vinyl too) via the Bella Union shop, due for release on October 1st and if you're eager to see the girls in live action you're in luck with PINS heading out on an October tour. Full dates and ticket links can be found on my last PINS post here.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Throwing Up #3 - Snake

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Throwing Up are back with their new single "Snake" (which I can't find a link to buy as a single itself but I did come across an album pledge I'll mention shortly). If you've heard the London based trio's earlier work and then read the title track you'd naturally assume that the track followed suit, a heavy, snarly punk pop track with a bucket load of distorted guitar, juggernaut riffs and an explosion of rough-and-ready drums. "Snake" though, isn't quite like that.

Closer to Brit-pop than grunge, it's still upbeat, raw and full of guitars but "Snake" actually comes across as sweet, Camille's vocals remain clear and smooth and despite calling someone a 'fake' and 'snake never bitter', the track is more catchy than angry and that's a good thing. A very good thing. "Snake" might well be Throwing Up's best one yet.

I came across this Pledge Music page on searching for the single, where you can pre-order a copy of bands album Only You, written and ready to go, you're pledge will help the band put of the record and in return you can get a 'zine, a t-shirt or a guitar, what ever your budget can afford. It doesn't seem to have been advertised too much at the minute so tell your friends too!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Sea Lion - New Music "Introducing"


I've mentioned on numerous occasions the main problem trying to maintain a regularly updated blog alongside a full-time job, family and active social life (as well as training to run a Marathon at the start of October and all my Beautiful Strange involvement) is finding time. Of course, everyone no matter what they do, doesn't seem to find enough hours in the day to do everything they'd like to but the ever increasing number of emails, highlighted posts and draft blogs is a growing indication that I'm not quite finding the time to post about probably as much as half of the acts I'd like to, will my drafts on the likes of Felix, Tiny Ruins or The Paper Shades (to name but three) get written up soon? I hope so, but balance between maintain some aspect of new music, following acts I love and talking about what I'm up to takes much of my spare time already.

That long, rambling paragraph leads me to Sea Lion (aka singer/songwriter Linn Osterberg from Gothenburg) who was one such act sitting in my draft folder for a little while now, I've forgotten my introduction so apologies to them but on what is the second Sea Lion album Guns of Alaska (I've only found it available on iTunes to date) Linn exhibits the sort of fairy tale beauty that is too good for my drawn out words (though I'm about to use some)...

Ten tracks of mainly naked, stripped back arrangements where the instrumentation is often little more than delicate guitar circles and atmospheric echoes which in turn means that much of the musical landscape is created by Linn's exquisite song-poetry and her pretty, pure voice. Delicate and haunting, her sublime whispers are uniquely endearing and captivating throughout. I could pretty much pick any track from the album but the romantic chimes of "Elias" or the devastatingly beautiful "The Loneliest Boy In New York" are amongst my highlights with "Without Brackets" sumptuous fragility another worth mentioning. Sea Lion's beguiling way with wordsand ethereal vocals could probably make the saddest of songs song like a love letter, such is her power.

There's many more treasures to be found on Sea Lion's Soundcloud page, most of her first LP Mercy Land and some covers (I've picked my favourite, a serenely beautiful version of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire")to stream below. My advice, clear your next hour, go grab a nice drink, press play and immerse yourself in the magical world of Sea Lion.

Friday, 7 September 2012

September Girls #3 - Green Eyed

Welcome news from my favourite fuzz pop girls September Girls who today released the stream to "Green Eyed", the title track from their forthcoming vinyl release via the wonderful Soft Power Records, coming some time in October on limited 7" the track takes pretty much everything I've come to love about the Dublin five-piece and wraps it up within three minutes of pounding drums, colliding keys, chiming guitars and dirty bass.

Their majestic lo-fi garage pop rhythms and heavenly harmonies are always highly melodic, often ferocious and on "Green Eyed" there's a hypnotic, swirling, scuffling melody which has imprinted itself in my brain after the half dozen listens I've give the track so far. Slightly dark, sinister and creepy, as I suppose a track about jealousy should be, "Green Eyed" takes the fuzzy 60's soundscapes the Girls first hit us with (on the wonderful "Hells Bells") and mixes in spacey korg / rumbling guitars goodness whilst still managing to be as catchy as anything.

I've included a couple of new videos too, taken around the time when I last saw September Girls play during their last UK tour at the start of July... One from Indie Tracks festival "Kevin" is sugar sweet sunshine pop perfection and the latter, another new track "Talking" (recorded on their return to Dublin after a night time ferry home) is a brisk psychedelic wonder that will leave you breathless and (pun time) wanting more.

September Girls are back in the UK in October playing a few shows (but not the Capital this time around), to make up for that I'm heading to Manchester to catch them play with PINS on October 13th at The Soup Kitchen (tickets). It's going to be amazing.

South Pole - New Music "Introducing"

Here's another new band very much worth the admission fee and in 2012 that means free right, for sure a pint of cat's piss (Carling, Carlsberg and fuck me even Tuborg) at around £4 a go is standard and sinking a half dozen of them is just a normal night out before paying £8-10 to hear a DJ 'spin' an iTunes playlist of 80's pop hits and Lady Ga Ga in a shitty night club is all good because it stays open till late.. but paying bands, normally three or four of them, with real people in who've had to somehow transport themselves (and their instruments) to the venue is definitely not worth the £4 you've just been asked for at the door... oh no, I'd much rather go next door and spend the same amount of money on half a Red Bull and vodka and Jesus wept it gets worse, you wanted me to buy a record as well?! I can download that for nought at home mate...

I jest and exaggerate but it is of course a serious problem for the music industry in 2012. The Internet is an amazing thing and it brings all sorts of music to people who would never of heard it otherwise, who then go and see that band at shows and buy t-shirts and all sorts of things but what happens when that band isn't U2 or Muse with an army of fans? The band make fuck all and spend all day working with the rest of us (not that there is anything particularly wrong with 'working')... I don't like Spotify for the reason it makes people think they have 'purchased' something when in fact they've paid a company a membership fee who in return will give a royalty of about 0.000002 pence for your listens - that's about a banana a decade. That's not really a business model for a musician is it?

Why should music be free? You pay to have a piss in a train station these days. Streaming is great but it has its negative consequences too and while I can understand in 2012 the idea of changing a record every three minutes is a bit far fetched, without spending any money on the records of that band you've been listening to all month, that band aren't going to exist much longer...

Anyway, all that in some vague round about way leads me to South Pole, a band who aren't actually asking you to part with any hard earned (or student loan cheque) yet. A new five piece from Southampton who recently shared their first two demos on Soundcloud for us all to hear, and you'll definietly want to do that, the first and my favourite "Skua" instantly illuminates the mind with vocalist Emily Bacon's warm, soothing voice, wrapping itself around you like a blanket in the cold whilst powerful ambient electronics and drifting guitar textures equally grab your attention, with such luscious, carefully woven instrumentation and heavenly vocals you can't do anything but full for the beautiful, atmospheric gem.

The thicker guitar lines of "Vostok" take some of the attention away from Emily's once-more stunning vocal performance whilst unobtrusive drums guide the melancholic overtures, elegantly subtle and similarly brilliant. I can't wait to hear what's next from this new, impressive quintet.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Joy Formidable #15 - Cholla

Hot on the heels of the breathtaking comeback "Wolf's Law", The Joy Formidable have released a stream of their forthcoming single "Cholla" (due 14th October with the album Wolf’s Law following in January 2013 - aside rumours of an as yet unconfirmed November UK tour). Where the former, a piano ballad played to the bands exquisite loud/quiet aesthetics, slowly building around Ritzy's heart-melting vocals with twinkling keys building in momentum to a devastating crescendo of colliding beauty "Cholla" is a no-nonsense beast with heavy, distorted guitars, punishing beats and ripping vocals.

Exactly what some people think the band do best, aside from a bridge of passing ethereal tranquillity, rock out, a real cacophony of devastating guitar riffs, Rhydian's deep bass and whirlwind drums, the massive "Cholla" (clearly inspired by the bands touring and recording trips across America) gives us a real sign of the Joy Formidable's equally lofty ambitions. You already know I'm fully signed up.

I've pre-empted the bands press release of the single here, hopefully that will fill in a few gaps such as tour and pre-order details. A follow-up to the wonderful box set that was available

Love Like Birds #2 - Sailorboy

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If you're new to Elke De Mey (better known as her recording pseudonym Love Like Birds) you are in for a real, real treat now. I fell for her back in April and if you take a listen to her new single "Sailorboy" below, you're bound to do the same...

Elke possesses a voice so delicate and haunting that it will almost instantly send shivers down your spine, a voice pure, intimate and timeless. On her debut, self titled EP she delivered a collection of vulnerable, exquist tracks, some sad, some jaunty, sung with elegant prettiness and charm. Simple arrangements and mesmerizing vocals, a potent combination highlighted on the recently released White Room Session video of "Heavy Heart", where soft guitar pluckings and backing vocals coos beautiful enough to touch the hardest of souls.

"Sailorboy" continues with Elke's atmospheric melancholia with a backing band swelling the melody with sumptuous arrangements and flourishes, simply gorgeous. A picture on the Love Like Birds facebook page hints at a CD / DVD release of both the Sailorboy single on White Room Session, definitely something to be excited about.

For now, you can get yourself acquainted with the Love Like Birds EP, now available on 10" vinyl direct from Elke at her shop. Love Like Birds support Dark Dark Dark on tour around mainland Europe this autumn. UK please...

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

SoftSpot #7 - Enso Release

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I'm often told I stay loyal to things I really like, repeatedly lavishing them with plaudits and sticking by them through thick and thin (I think the 'thick and thin' part mainly relates to football and Prince!) so in keeping with that trait here's a friendly reminder about one of my favourite releases of the year so far, a guarantee to appear in my end of year lists (which I might have to start thinking about soon rather saying things like that), the proper debut full length album Enso by the incredible SoftSpot.

The Brooklyn based trio, primarily the work of Sarah Kinlaw and Byran Keller released their LP this week on digital / vinyl, I highly recommend you give it a listen and then a purchase, the vinyl is limited to just 250 copies and I'm looking forward to having one of them in the UK. Order / download / stream in full from bandcamp.

The album is a continual ride of superlatives that I can repeat from my past posts on the band "a wonderful layered sound that builds up to a wave of sonic wonder, its atmospheric build-up punctured by precise percussion. It's a sound that seems so carefully crafted yet performed so effortlessly" with "the combination of Sarah's hauntingly gorgeous vocal with momentum building textured guitar riffs", both those from my Introducing piece back in January 2011 when I first fell for the band and then moving forward to September last year (in reference to album track "Slack Tide"); "engrossing layers of melodies, wonderful guitar shredding riffs and to die for vocals." or about an earlier version of album track "Holy Father" " absolute monster. It starts peaceful enough, Sarah's hauntingly beautiful voice hits you straight away, it's unique, stunning. Accompanied by the rat-a-tat of drum sticks, slowly increasing in intensity as Brian's textured guitars glisten on the edge simmering until finally it explodes, cumulating in a euphoric cataclysm of aural pleasure, heavy-hitting drums, guitar buzz and hard bass-line riffs". This is a band whose sounds has it all.

More recently as the album launch came closer words about "The Cleansing Hour". "It's an absolutely beauty, slowly building upon mournful shades of melancholic guitar and a metronomic drum beat gently entwining 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 before parting and finishing as it begun, with its stark backbeat outro" and most recent of all "Disciple Fix" "..building sumptuously with a fusion of fast paced tropical rhythms and eastern influences blending with Sarah's ethereal vocals, as sensual and gorgeous as ever..."

"I've said it before, I'll say it again, I love this band."

Got and get the album and check out the following, sensational live version of "The Cleansing Hour" whilst you're at it.

Love L.U.V. - New Music "Introducing"

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Love L.U.V. (London duo Lucy Doyle and Tom Atkins) formed as recently as July this year and have just shared their first track / video with us in the form of the garage-pop stomp "How It's Meant To Be" with a further single, on vinyl, promised for November.

"How It's Meant To Be" serves as a promising introduction with an intoxicating beat and repetitive guitar hooks that is bound to lead to pure sweaty fun at a live performance. With a bluesy, nostalgic vibe and progressive melody the track is sung brilliantly by Lucy, her strong but sweet vocals instantly alluring while the bands sound is slick and polished for a band so in their infancy.

After a minute of the track comes a kick where the drums explode and the dominant beat quickens pace before at two minutes there's an another gear change which sees the hypnotic guitar lines become darker, dirtier and the vocals become a whole new level of sexy. Here's awaiting that single in November...

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

TOPS #2 - Easy Friends

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Montreal four piece TOPS were one of the first new bands of 2012 that gave me the 'wow factor' on initial impression back at the start of February, their wonderful Tender Opposites LP is now due for a vinyl release this autumn after a successful tape run via Arbutus Records, with European handling done by Atelier Ciseaux whom beforehand are releasing a 7" single containing album track "Diamond Look" alongside an exclusive b-side "Easy Friends".

On the smooth lead track "Diamond Look" flickering midnight synths, 80's guitar riffs and gentle percussive flickers combine with the unusual, luscious vocals of Jane Penny's to a cool (and somewhat alluring) listen while "Easy Friends" is softer and dreamy with Penny's wistful, sweetly voiced harmonies floating around star-bright synth led melodies, pure and clear, TOPS are the sort of band that will have you swooning love a lovestruck puppy all over them

The 7" is released next Monday September 10th and can be ordered here. No news of Euro dates yet...

Ringo Deathstarr - Rip (Video)

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Ringo Deathstarr are a band I was (literally) blown away by last year when I saw them play at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, a real onslaught of brutal guitar noise and distortion that led to a jolly good (and deafening) evening. Since I've picked up their debut Colour Trip and it equally thrashes its way through with disorientating charm, channelling plenty of classic shoegaze influences with big, fuzzy guitars wrapped up in blankets of shuffling beats and sweet, wafer-thin vocal harmonies.

If you read this blog often you'll know I tend to favour the female voice (perhaps the understatement of the year) so it's no surprise that my favourite tracks from the album are the tracks where Alex has lead or where Alex and Elliot sing in tandem, perfectly portrayed on the likes of the hazy "Imagine Hearts" or "Two Girls", so predictably, I'm pretty happy that on "Rip", the first track to be taken from Ringo Deathstarr's forthcoming second album Mauve (due September 24th via Club AC30 records) it's the heavenly purr of Alex Gehring that I hear seducing every fuzzed up bassline, punishing drums and droning guitar, a real short, sharp noise that does exactly what the title promises, rips.

The video is a maze of trippy 3D colours kaleidoscope which makes for slightly uncomfortable viewing. Ringo Deathstarr are now on a worldwide tour which hits London on November 7th at Camden's Dingwalls where they will be supporting by the equally wonderful Fauns - full tour dates

Monday, 3 September 2012

Nightmare Air - New Music "Introducing"

When I first logged in to my Facebook after being offline for a few days I noticed a new band that four or five of my friends had 'liked', it was Nightmare Air who they'd all seen perform at 1234 Festival over the weekend. They were clearly impressed with their performance and with your friends being one of the best way to discover new music I obviously checked out the band and soon found myself adding to their number of followers.

Led by Dave Dupuis of Film School the first Nightmare Air track "Escape" does not leave anything to chance, epic in proportion, slick and polished in production, "Escape" is a stylish, straight in your face beast where Dupuis' shredding guitar buzzes around euphoric, propulsive synths and Swaan Miller's deep, fuzzing bass line. Her gorgeous ethereal vocals beautifully in contrast with the head-spinning, melodic momentum of the track, like Metric on acid, "Escape" is all kinds of wonderful.

The band remain in the UK for a few more dates (London tonight which I cannot make) before hitting main-land Europe for a few dates throughout September - all on the bands website.

Tashaki Miyaki #5 - Covers

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I keep posting about Tashaki Miyaki and with good reason, their debut releases, an EP and 7" single both oozed with gorgeous, languid harmonies, both wistful and sentimental that instantly seduced heart and mind, "Get It Right" the perfect example, relaxed and dreamy, instantly wrapping you in warm, fuzzy goodness.

The band have a habit of turning in amazing cover versions too, I've previously mentioned their beautiful cover of "All I Have To Do Is Dream", the Everly Brothers classic and the thick layers of distorted guitars on Buddy Holly's "Heartbeat", both of those have since been released in one form or another and if you aren't familiar with them are well worth checking out. The reason for this blog though, wasn't a trip down memory lane but to say that one my return from End of the Road yesterday I discovered the band had posted some new covers, most recently a typically hazy, slow-motion beauty, transforming the power pop ballad of Roxette's "It Must Have Been Love" with shimmering soundscapes and pure, sweet vocals.

Known to most of you from the Pretty Woman soundtrack it has a completely different association with me, I'm a Stafford Rangers fan and in the mid 90's the club played the same mix tape at every (and I do mean every) home game, this was one of the tracks alongside the Belinda Carlisle 'classic' "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" and Foreigner's "I Want To Know What Love Is" - with so much sing-a-long potential before the match it's no wonder we were so shit!

That's not all though, a pretty faithful rendition of The Troggs "I Want You" sees searing, droning guitar lines of take the place the original rock & roll 60's and on Father John Misty's "Hollywood Forever Cemetry Sings" there are more of the bands signature sun-drenched grooves oozing from the seams, all portraying the sort of charm and simplicity that's led them to become an act I can very much describe as a blog favourite.