Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Anna Lena & The Orchids #3 - View of My Sanity

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I've been posting quite a few acts I've got an affinity for recently, I like that, I find it a lot easier to write about things that I know (though it does often end up with my waffling so apologies in advance!).

Anna Lena & The Orchids first came up on this little blog as long as last April and have played for three of my Beautiful Strange nights (as good enough indication as any I'd say) since she settled in London from Liverpool early this year and now after teasing us for almost all of the summer we've finally got to hear the first track from her forthcoming EP (coming early next year), it's a stunner too...

"View of my Sanity" is utterly gorgeous from the outset, from hushed beginnings the track blossoms amongst rich instrumentation and beautifully plaintive vocals, Douglas Dare's backing harmonies in perfect contrast to Anna's ethereal lead, clearly from the soul, it's an irresistible journey of emotion that you'll want to press repeat on pretty much straight away.

Anna is playing shows in Norway next week (along with Like Spinning) with more dates to follow I am sure.

Esben and the Witch #6 - Deathwaltz

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It's Halloween so what better than a themed post by a band called Esben and the Witch, who this week have announced their welcome return with the first track from their forthcoming second LP entitled Wash The Sins Not Only The Face (due for released January 21st 2013 via Matador). With their debut Violet Cries being one of my favourite albums of 2011 I'm obviously excited to hear this one in full and "Deathwaltz" has certainly done its job and peaked up my curiosity...

Esben and the Witch have always dealt in dramatic atmospherics and "Deathwaltz" is no exception, though not quite the grim death-march the name indicates, shimmering guitarscapes offer a kaleidoscopic tapestry not heard from the band before, but it wouldn't be the same Esben if the track didn't creep along with a mysterious intensity, with sonically unsettling swirls and Rachel Davies ethereal vocals at the fore "Deathwaltz" retains the haunting, creatures of the night air for which I, and so many others, have come accustomed to from the Brighton trio - they'll be more to come next year for sure.

The band have announced a UK/Euro tour for early next year (dates) and you can pre-order the LP direct from the band here (it comes with a limited 7" containing two exclusive tracks thrown in too) then make sure you grab the free Mp3 of the track here too.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Sophie Jamieson - New Music "Introducing"


I've a lot of posts that I've been meaning to post for ages but not many of them have been waiting quite as long as this one for a write up, I've known about Sophie Jamieson for a while, I'm not quite sure where I first heard about her, I think it was through one of my gig attending friends who passes on some recommendations to me, if it was, and I know he really loves Sophie's music, he was right, Sophie has this beautiful soft voice and melt-your heart way with words...

I had Sophie down to play at one of my Beautiful Strange nights earlier this year but circumstances changed and that show never materialised, fingers crossed that once I get another folk night sorted we'll be able to make good on the promise of making the show happen... The catalyst to finally get this post written in full was yesterdays release of a compilation album from the good people at Folkroom Records (on a pay-what-you-like basis), to which Sophie has given them her incredible track "Dinah". Amongst the album there are plenty of other artists who deserve a write up including Worry Dolls and Ellie Rumbold who've both previously wowed me at BS nights, I'll leave this post to be about Sophie though.

"Dinah" is unbelievable, the subtle guitar plucks are intricate and provide a spellbinding simplicity to her hushed and fragile vocals, haunting and impeccably played it's simply a beguiling and timeless track that leave you with a warm, evocative feeling.

"Catch You Cry" is featured on Sophie's soundcloud (you can download it free too) and offers a similar level of purity and sincerity in its lyrics around a circling acoustic waltz, just gorgeous. There's a whole host of further tracks up on Sophie's youtube account, wrap yourself up warm (it's got chilly quickly!) and immerse yourself in the talent of this wonderful singer/songwriter. Sophie regularly plays around London and her current dates can be found here.

September Girls #5 - Man Chats


Dublin's September Girls are amongst an exclusive bunch of acts for me, I live in (near) London and I'm spoilt in so much that I really don't have to travel around the country to see artists that I want to see, instead I reserve that for gigs I feel I can't miss, one instance was earlier this month when the girls were playing a Saturday night show with Pins in Manchester. I decided to take the plunge and book advance trains, a decision I don't regret (although my head didn't like me much the following morning), after being treated to electric sets by two of the finest new acts around.

Following swiftly from the wonderful Green Eyed 7" via one of my favourite independent labels Soft Power Vinyl September Girls have announced another slab of wax for release via US label Matinée Recordings in November. A three track 7" coming out on milky clear vinyl, it features two tracks I'm already familiar with and I've talked about on here before, the infectious, rough around the edges, garage pop of "Wanting More" and "Hells Bells", so I'll concentrate on the third, a new track, "Man Chats", a short, sharp burst of driving paranoia, full of psychedelic distortion and echoey harmonies it offers the perfect compliment to the catchy power pop of the other tracks, darker and mysterious it sees swirling key, chiming guitar and energetic drums gallop around your brain. Ace.

The girls promised me they'll be back in the UK early next year, I can't wait. I stole the attached picture from their facebook, fingers crossed for an 'I Want to Break Free' inspired video to follow!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Bird #3 - Shadows


Here's a post I should have done ages ago but it took seeing Bird live twice in the space of ten days (supporting Tamaryn and Pins) to kick my arse into the gear and write a blog, Bird have changed their line-up since I introduced them here as long ago as July 2011, now a three piece (still) led by the celestial voice of songwriter/bassist Adele Emmas their atmospheric doom-folk has taken on a whole new level of ethereality thanks to the stunning guitar-scapes and complimenting harmonies of Sian Williams, with Alexis Samata providing the haunting beats.

Their recent EP Shadows portrays this dynamic with heavenly results, the title track flows with a dark, moody magic that highlights the bands sound perfectly, part spiritual beauty, part otherworldly and dramatic, with rolling beats and pure vocals "Shadows" intoxicates and sends you into a world of dimly lit cathedrals and Gothic wonder. "Monsters" is equally praiseworthy, intricate guitar plucks weave around repeating kick drums to create the chilly mood in which Adele's vocals soar and entrance, ghostly harmonies and textured arrangement that beguile in their beauty. Shadows is available via Jack to Phono on CD (at shows) or iTunes.

The live show deserves even more praise, swirling guitars and deep drums beats abound it was completed with a stunning version of Bauhaus' "Bella Lugosi Is Dead" which, while retaining its dark, sinister atmosphere metamorphosises into a dark fairytale with the siren-like harmonies of the Liverpool trio, so spine-tingling gorgeous are their voices, they could probably make a song about the apocalypse sound like a dreamy lullaby. By the magic of the 21st century you can see the version from one of the shows via youtube below, get ready for your knees to go a little wobbly.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Natasha Haws #2 - Stranger

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When I did an 'Introducing' post on Natasha Haws back in April I talked about her sparse, intimate folk songs with finger-plucked guitar melodies carried by beautiful, fragile vocals, six months later and my has she grown, on the title-track from her latest release Stranger there a strong, defiant edge that breathes through the dark, powerful track.

It starts bare enough but soon grows in strength when propelled by pummelling kettle drum beats and moody atmospheric glitches with Natasha's vocal soon possessing the sort of intensity you'd expect from a Bat for Lashes or Zola Jesus, not a 'finger-plucking folky singer-songwriter'. Quite stunning.

Stranger can be pre-ordered now via Tiny Light's bandcamp and is released on November 12th.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Slow Skies - New Music "Introducing"

Slow Skies is the musical project of Karen Sheridan from Dublin (with the help of Conal Herron), her debut EP Silhouettes came out in Ireland back in June and is utterly gorgeous, her restrained dream-folk possess the perfect combination of delicate craft and haunting beauty that after a handful of on repeat listens during this overcast Sunday afternoon (I know it's now Thursday!) has made me lose all my senses and drifted me off to some-place much calmer and peaceful.

There are four tracks on the EP but they melt into one perfect listen, gentle guitar led melodies are complimented by the odd bit of warm strings which provide the backdrop for Karen's soft, intimate voice. It is her voice that stays with you with the longest, as soft and tender as anything you'll hear. "Across the Sea" flutters with an xx like ambience, subtle guitar chimes provide the rhythms around glacier-like nuances, it's somewhere between dreamland and fairytale beauty.

Though everything about the EP is pretty and relaxed "Oscar" is perhaps its defining moment, closing the EP with a truly beautiful track, sweetly hushed whispers and meandering acoustic dripped in string flourishes, it's going to take you to the same place it took me...

I can already Imagine Slow Skies playing to a hushed Union Chapel crowd, you'd hear a pin drop. Let's hope it happen soon. Immerse yourself in Silhouettes below and buy via bandcamp

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Honeyslide #2 - Sugar Routine

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Honeyslide return with new track "Sugar Routine", a softer, poppier track than I'd heard from the London based quartet previously (their debut, self-titled EP I mentioned back in April introduced a noisy, grunge style), I'm all for the change because "Sugar Routine" lives up to the sweetness in the name with jangling guitars, rat-a-tat drums and soft, airy vocals. With an irresistibly fuzzed up melody this is a gorgeous, reverb-filled haze that I guarantee will brighten up any mood.

Available on a pay what you like basis on a compilation album as part of One For The People's 3rd birthday celebrations, you can download the track via their bandcamp.

Thrillionaire - New Music "Introducing"


New music is new music whenever you discover it right? Least that's what I think, I'm not one of these blogs that if they aren't the first to post something won't bother with it, 'fad' blogs or 'buzz' blogs aren't really my thing, I like to add my own personal touch to posts and invest some time and thought into a post, it seems only fair to me. I mention that because although LA Based Thrillionaire are a relatively new band they've recently been championed by The Cribs Ryan Jarman and featured in the NME no less, with "Wie Gehts?" it's not hard to see why he's fallen for their late 70's Krautrock influenced psychedelia, I've instantly done the same....

"Wie Gehts?" hypnotises with an alluring combination of seductive vocals and swirling soundscapes, Jarman was pretty much spot on with his 'late-night' description, you can imagine the track sound-tracking an early hours movie on television, swooning with shimmering guitar and synthesised strings, the trance-inducing vocals immerse you fully and leave you breathless wanting more. The single is due for release 'soon' with the band currently working on a debut full length. One more to keep an eye on.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Woman's Hour #2 - Our Love Has No Rhythm

Returning after an extended period in the recording studio are Woman's Hour with new song "Our Love Has No Rhythm", those of you who lapped up their excellent debut 7" 'Human / Jenni' (on the ever reliable Dirty Bingo label) will not be disappointed by the smooth, late-night tempo where sparse synths and alluring guitars combine with Fiona Burgess' smouldering vocals to potent effect, understated and restrained "Our Love Has No Rhythm" punctures emotions all the same.

The band are due to release a new single next year but for now you can download this beauty free from the bands new website. Woman's Hour and another band blogged here multiple times this year, TOPS have been added to the bill with the wonderful Still Corners at The Lexington on November 12th, an unmissable line-up - details.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Lockets #4 - Camera Shy LP

A Beautiful Strange update coming up, I hope you don't mind too much but this (for me, at least) is exciting news that I think a few readers of this blog will enjoy it too....

A band who started as nothing more than a act whom I enjoyed listening to (and featured multiple times here), I now find myself releasing via my little independent label. Lockets, whose debut LP Camera Shy was self-released digitally over the summer has now been remastered especially for a limited vinyl release due later this year via Beautiful Strange. All of the details are below, as I now fit firmly in the biased realm I'll let others do the reviewing (you should, it's bloody wonderful)...

BS006 - Lockets - Camera Shy

A 12" vinyl issue of the stunning debut LP Camera Shy by Philadelphia duo Lockets.


1. Bitter Teeth
2. Catch Me
3. Violet
4. Treasures You Lost
5. Camera Shy
6. Crush
7. Winter Light
8. Run

Limited to 500 copies and released on December 3rd (US December 4th via Lockets bandcamp) with 250 on Black Grape and 250 on Frosted Clear vinyl.

Available to pre-order now via Beautiful Strange Bandcamp or Big Cartel.

Snøskred #2 - Come Closer


On my 'Introducing' blog post about Snøskred back in June I talked about the Norwegian quintet's dense walls of noise and layered soundscapes, with their second single "Come Closer" they take that definition and some, with five vocalists, surging drums and dense guitars it's an understatement to say Snøskred live up to their names translation, 'Avalanche'.

With screeching guitar and synth combining to loud, exhilarating and attention turning results - it's probably not one your neighbours will enjoy! I hope that when the band plays live, the venue has a good PA system...

Snøskred's debut album Whiteout is released on Friday, 26th of October and is one to look out for.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Blessa - New Music "Introducing"


Sheffield quintet Blessa are a new find who've been receiving some nice UK blog attention this week with their debut "Open Fields" (I think there were some previously available demos), a beautifully expansive track with bright, calypso melodies and echoey rhythmic grooves, where chiming guitars perfectly compliement the strong, irresistible vocals, equally praise worthy is the production, basically, in every way "Open Fields" is quite flawless.

I don't know too much else about the band, they've a gig tomorrow in their home-town, earlier in the year supported Spector and they've received a rather complementarity live review from The Fly. It appears, as it does many times, that I've been slow on the up take. Consider that changed...

[via] crack in the road.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Haim #2 - Don't Save Me

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There's been a whole load of radio linked streams of this single doing the rounds so I'm sure it's hardly 'new' news to many of you but the wonderful Haim are back with new track "Don't Save Me" which confirms everything the Forever EP had already. Here are three sister's who've perfected an seemingly effortless knack at writing solid pop tunes with such smoove grooves and way with melody that they can win over even the grouchiest of people (that'll be this ol' Scrooge me).

Sure to be on everyone's 'tips for 2013' lists Haim are back in London next month at KCLSU on November 14th (sold out but Brighton isn't yet - tickets) in what will arguably be the last time they place an 'intimate' venue before the sure-fire mainstream cross-over takes them to wherever they decide, with such an exceptional live show, killer hooks and gorgeous harmonies it could be anywhere. I'll be watching.

Io Echo #2 - Ministry of Love


IO Echo are I band I've been looking forward to hearing more of since the uplifting pomp flurry of "When The Lillies Die" first entered my horizon and it's no surprise to see it form the backbone of the LA duo's first, self-titled EP, which also features the equally magnificent "Shanghai Girls", another track I briefly mentioned in my 'Introducing' post in July.

The EP is due for release through Luv Luv Luv (who also put out the last release by the wonderful Tashaki Miyaki) in November (available now in the US via iTunes) who, to get the adrenaline pumping all that more have released another track from it, "Ministry of Love", which fizzes with 80's synth soundscapes amongst thumping industrial rhythms and Cure-esque bass lines, with Ioanna Gika's gorgeous, sultry-smooth vocals equally as beautiful as the slightly dark, ethereal melody.

IO Echo play four dates in the UK next week, for FREE tickets sign up to the guest-list here (London/Manchester/Nottingham/Brighton).

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Sweater Girls - Were Here


I try and find my own (often somewhat rambling) words to say when I post blogs about bands but sometimes I find an acts bio so fitting that I can't help but quote it, Los Angeles fuzz-poppers Sweater Girls is one such occassion, this introduction is lifted direct from their facebook and is in one short, concise paragraph exactly what I think about the songs I've heard so far from the band.

"We are an indie pop band, influenced by jangly guitars, friendships, loneliness, and laughter. Sweater Girls aim to melt hearts with songs that remind us of our best friends, happiest and saddest moments and our favorite songs".

I can't actually believe I've not discovered the quintet earlier with a 7" dating back a couple of years but with their debut full length Sweater Girls Were Here... released via  the wonderfully named Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records in the States last month there is plenty of time to rectify that. (US orders advised directly from the label with UK customers not getting crippled for postage by the good folk at Norman Records).

"Infatuation Street" is exactly that, with its good-times, nostalgia inducing vibe, fast paced beats and jangle guitars provide a simple yet delightfully pleasant melody for the gorgeously sweet vocals, similarly "Fred" is just as immediate and warm, you would have to try very, very hard not to feel good with these tracks playing out as the sun beats down on you.

"Fingers Crossed" is the third and final teaser for the album online and slows things up a little, though the themes of young love remain at the helm and the track remains the perfect combination of beautiful vocals and joyously breezy tune. If you love indie-pop like me and have never heard of Sweater Girls, Happy Christmas. The albums already in my shopping bag.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

PINS #4 - Say To Me / Live at the Soup Kitchen

It's always the live arena that changes a band from a band I like to a band I really like and it's normally at the first attempt where I get all puppy-eyed and then spend the next few weeks praising said band to anyone who'll listen (or not in some cases), with Manchester quartet PINS however, it was actually the second time. Sure I lapped up their stunning debut track "Eleventh Hour" just as quickly as anyone else when it was released back in April which was quickly followed by "Shoot You" and the subsequent lead track to their debut EP "LuvU4Lyf" which hinted at fulfilling the buzz and seemingly endless reams of superlatives thrown at the band almost since day one. Yet it was in a small, dimly lit basement in their home-town that the word promising was firmly crossed out in favour of the some a little more accurate, 'fucking amazing'.

My first live encounter with PINS was back in May at The Great Escape, it was an awkward audience seemingly mainly full of industry types and my annoyance with a particularly inebriated punter got the better of me (though I'm hardly one to talk, having being 'primed' on the ale on offer in Manchester for hours before my second viewing of the band last Saturday), it changed that TGE gig from potentially great to just good, but after a couple of songs of their set in the cellar of a Soup Kitchen it was instantly clear that this is a band that have grown, their dark, echoey guitars and throbbing bass-lines penetrated the air with spellbinding power; raw and explosive Faith Holgate is a compelling front woman, commanding your attention whilst the rhythmic backbone of their tracks exhilarate a keen Saturday night crowd.

The set-list is a potent combination, from the sharp urgency of "Shoot Me" to the slower, sprawling menace of "You Don't Need To Be" while the EP's title track "LuvU4Lyf" equally stands out, as does "Say to Me", which after a couple of false starts swaggers with a convincing moody, aggression. Though it's the new material which is getting me most excited (sorry no titles), showing growth, experimentation and improvement the 45 minute set is most definitely not the last time I'll be seeing Pins. In fact, I've already booked up two more gigs, at London's Sebright Arms next week (24th - tickets) and in Brighton on November 8th, supporting the equally amazing Savages (tickets).

To accompany the release of their LuvU4Lyf EP the band have released a sultry, flour play-fighting led video to the wonderful "Say to Me" which comes with a warning to those of you who aren't too fond of flashing imagery.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Lisa/Liza - New Music "Introducing"

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I've been looking for something new to enrich those plaintive, late-night melancholic moments for a little while now and I think I've fount it in the shape of Lisa/Liza, a 23 year old singer / songwriter from Portland, Maine whose home-recorded lo-fi mini-album Ancient Edge is a wholly emotive and absorbing journey, full of tender, beautiful moments that pierce your heart and soul.

Opener "Black Out's" shadowy, dark tone is set off by sombre drum beats and echoey guitar, cavernous and fractured it's stronger and more defiant than the rest of the album which follows with "Grief Wave", where Liza's stark finger plucked melodies and poignant lyrics bare all to the listener, such soft, introspective emotion that sends shivers down your spine.

The rest of Ancient Edge is similarly minimal and sparse, the gorgeous "There in the Water" and "Song to Another Self" are perhaps easiest on the ear letting in slightly more light with Liza's lovely, soft voice blossoming around her simple compositions.

Beautiful and heart-wrenching, fans of minimal acoustic folk should find much to treasure here, wrap yourself in a warm blanket and immerse yourself in Lisa/Liza below, available to download on a pay-what-you-like basis from bandcamp now..

Monday, 15 October 2012

Novella #3 - Mary's Gun


I'm trying something I've never done before and blogging on the move but it's releases like this that keeps the passion for music blogging going, so you'll have to excuse the grammar and spelling errors...

Not content with releasing one of the years stand out EP's Novella are back with the first song of their new single, "Mary's Gun", a ferocious cocktail of hazy, pysch ambience with moody percussion and off-kilter grungy guitar fuzz, sure to get the adrenaline pumping, play it loud and play it often.

Released November 26th via Italian Beach Babes it coincides with the girls return to live circuit at the same time, already electric another killer song such as this is only compounding my already sky-high opinion of the band. Order it here / Listen below.

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Sundowners #2 - Hummingbird


Liverpool quintet The Sundowners stole my heart at the start of the summer with two exquisite tracks ("No Goin' Back" and "Gone Into The Sun" which I covered here) so I'm glad to say that the 60's inspired psyche-pop lovelies are back with their honey-toned harmonies, perfectly placed locks and jangling guitars on new single "Hummingbird"

The self-released track is released December 3rd on limited 7" vinyl (order) and will provide a welcome antidote to the no doubt endless streams of Christmas songs which will be filling the airwaves then (though, I do love a good Christmas song!), a listen to "Hummingbird" will take St Nick and far, far away from your mind; bright and beautiful with tight instrumentation and harmonies from the heavens, The Sundowners exude a timeless quality and have a big, big future ahead of them.

Hills - New Music "Introducing"

It's Friday and I'm away for the weekend (again!), what better to bring in the last few hours of work before heading up to Manchester than some sweet, sweet indie/surf pop from LA, Hills are a new, young four-piece who according to their own bio 'spent one summer writing songs at a beach house in California', the results are well worth your investigation for their debut self-titled LP (available for FREE via bandcamp) is a beautiful, I-wish-it-still-sunny listen....

Sure, sun-kissed dream-pop is a saturated market at the moment and there's a lot akin to the likes of Tennis or Seapony here but this debut doesn't aim to reinvent the genre, it offers nine simple, breezy numbers that let you drift off to a much simpler, lighter world, full of warm romanticism and endearing nostalgia without a worry in the world

Highlights are aplenty but "Let's Swim" has the sort of melody that you want to hear over and over again, with sweet and endearing jangle guitars and restrained percussion while similarly instant is the beautiful "It's Okay", a pure toe-tapper with vocalist Alisa Cacho-Sousa's soft purr taking you straight to dreamland around catchy keys and guitar shimmers. Luscious and bright old school pop textures that can do nothing but raise a smile and mood.

Elsewhere "With You" is all catchy guitar riffs and tender vocals while "Take You There" has chunky, fuzzed-up guitars and rat-a-tat drums that change things up a bit, their added grit is welcome and perhaps another 'meatier' track in the album would have add some more bite to the release but saying that, the slow-tempo "Back Again", probably the most melancholic moment on the record is also one of the loveliest.

A lovely, blissful debut that you'd be a fool not to pick it up on, especially for free. Let's hope Hills head off for another summer trip away next year, though remember to support any future release, bands aren't making much of a living on 'free'.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Rachel Zeffira #2 - The Deserters (Video)


The nights may be drawing in and the number of weeks until Christmas will soon be into single figures but that doesn't mean there's any slow down in the number of albums to look forward to. With Tamaryn and Bat for Lashes both releasing LP's in the forthcoming weeks there are plenty of chances that those who draw up their year end lists early will miss some of the years finest, another contender for that list is definitely Rachel Zeffira who yesterday released the video to the title-track from her solo debut, The Deserters which is due as late as December 10th (and when ordered from Rough Trade comes with an enticing bonus EP of Christmas songs).

"The Deserters" contains where "Break The Spell" left off, enchanting you with it's beautiful spell, Rachel's ethereal vocals combine magically with graceful piano-led instrumentation, stunning and gorgeous, the album will be a must listen.

Rachel's debut live show take place next week at St Andrew's Church in Holborn, tickets are available here.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Sheen #2 - Hey

I was glad to see something new from Sheen pop into my Facebook timeline yesterday, though not a new song or release announcement, a video for their track "Hey" pleasingly bridges the gap before the London based sextet return to the live arena at The Bull & Gate on October 23rd (details) with new recordings promised for the non-to-distant future too.

"Hey" highlights the creative power that is Sheen, with its seductive and languid melody the track blossoms from a beautiful lullaby, happy in restraint with intricate and fascinating edges, Aneta's ethereal vocal coos and guitar echoes create a spacious, hypnotic mood for cool beats and shimmering soundscapes, icy yet wholly dreamy, "Hey" is gracious, pure and simply gorgeous.

Watch the video by Bruna Volpi below. Those new tracks can't come soon enough...

Fever Dream #2 - EP

I've mentioned the awesomeness of Fever Dream here previously and when they played at Fountains 7" single launch back at the start of July I realised just why, 1/3 of band comes from the best town in the UK - Stafford. Home of Stafford Rangers and err me (though I did choose to leave as soon as I could after University!), awesome is the word I'd use to describe their debut EP too (though perhaps long enough to be described as a mini-album), released last month via Underused Records with six tracks of addictive riffs and fuzzy charm it sits firmly amongst 2012's finest.

The lackadaisical haze of the opening track "Glue" sets the tone, where raw and rambling rhythms hypnotise, spiralling in tempo around Adrian's vocals before exploding in a whirlwind of beats and guitar abuse.

Earlier single "This Waste" remains wonderful with its feedback-drenched, shimmering guitars and slightly ominous sense while newer tracks equally impress, from the pure noise thrill of the energetic "Suspense" to the beautiful closure "Alchemy", a melancholy pop song. The highlight though is "Poyekhali!", with bumpy bass line and explosive, murky guitar, I'll come back to that awesome word again, this is awesome.

Buy the EP for £5.00 here and see the band play with September Girls' this Friday in London.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Daughter #4 - Run

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An ironic song title to be writing about today, "Run", for that's exactly what I did too much of yesterday, after running Chester Marathon yesterday I don't think I could run right now, if my life depended on it, my stiff and aching thighs and calfs are as tight as can be...

"Run" the song was actually talked about here as long ago as November 10th 2010 when it was a demo track for a solo artist called Elena Tonra who'd recently changed her recording name to Daughter, it was the start of a two year long love affair that's had me eager for more, a couple of exquisite EP's have since followed with an album promised next year. I've only caught Daughter perform twice so far to my pity, their show next January at Hackney Empire being almost sold out is a testament to the power and beauty of the band, far more than any words I can use could be.

The new version of "Run", released today as the b-side to the previous blogged (and quite exceptional) "Smother" sees Elena's intimate demo revamped with atmospheric echoes and kick drums propulsions adding to her finger plucking acoustic while Elena's vocals too are changed, her tender vocal lament replaced with a fuller, richer delivery. For better or worse, I'm yet to decide but one thing is for sure, "Run" is a fantastically written beauty. Listen to the updated version below:

Norman Records is as good as place as any to buy the sure to be soon sold-out 7" vinyl.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Beautiful Strange Presents: Big Wave 'Only You':

A quick plug, arguably the best line-up I've ever put together if I don't say so myself! Details below. It would be great to see you there...


SUNDAY 28TH OCTOBER at The Buffalo Bar, Islington



Doors: 19.30. Advance Tickets £5 via wegottickets:

Beautiful Strange is delighted to host the single launch party for the debut vinyl release by Torquay five piece Big Wave, 'Only You'. With all fingers crossed they'll be advanced copies of the single on sale on the night (official release date is November 5th) and they'll be give-aways throughout. The first 20 people through the doors on the night will receive a goody bag with a selection of nice things, vinyl, tapes, badges and more.

"I stumbled across Big Wave at the Buffalo Bar. They were on a bill with Tender Trap and their jangle surf tinged pop was a like a blast of a fresh sea breeze... Big Wave have a sound that crosses a hinterland that has indiepop flirting with the poppy moments of dreampop. Their sound is reminiscent of the finest Swede pop (think Sambassadeur or The Radio Dept. at their most pop). You're all gonna love this band". Trev at Oddbox Records


”..the HBD kids are getting ready to take London, Great Britain and the Universe by storm. With some serene and affecting melodies entwined with crisp riffs & beats and all taking place in a sparse, echo filled expanse..”- Matt Simmonds, SGTMT


"Part of an ongoing girl-band renaissance that takes in everything from the dark post-punk of Savages and Zoëtrøpe to the lo-fi sounds of Woolf and Skinny Girl Diet, The Tuts instead take a refreshingly punked-up pop approach, citing their inspirations as everyone from The Beatles to Bikini Kill, and wielding enough classic-indie influences to make them serious contenders for mainstream appeal should word continue to spread. The icing on the cake? They deliver a guitar-girl-gang pop sass the country hasn’t seen since Kenickie or Shop Assistants." The Girls Are


"A wonderful noisy pop duo - Paolo and Claire are Young Romance. They write about love and doubt and dislocation, wrapping up their words in a layer of fuzz and distortion. They are inseparable. They live together, write together, finish each other’s sentences and second-guess what the other’s going to say next. Sweet, charming, funny, and entirely self contained, they can bicker and joke with each other for hours on end, splendidly isolated as the world rushes on all about them"

Facebook Event // Beautiful Strange on Tumblr // Beautiful Strange on Facebook

Venue: The Buffalo Bar, 259 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 (just outside Highbury & Islington tube station). Map.

Friday, 5 October 2012

SeaWitches #2 - Space Gun


After I came back from The Lexington about a month ago I wrote on my twitter feed something along the lines of 'I've found a band to follow..' and attached the picture used at the header of this blog post. By follow I don't mean to just like, I mean a band to be obsessive about, then tell all your friends (and in my case blog about too) then follow their every development. The band in question are SeaWitches, a band I'd already covered in my usual over-the-top superlatives back in June (then basis on two fantastic demo tracks).

The live show (their first in London) was a perfect vindication and left me and my friends suitably impressed, alongside a stellar line-up of The Hall of Mirrors, Dark Bells (who I posted about yesterday) and We Walk on Ice it was the Liverpool trio who probably impressed us the most. Their dark psychedelia was brimming with this slightly tense, troubling atmosphere, distorted guitar twangs and unsettling vocals, a half hour set flew by and let me wanting more, hopefully just that will follow soon (by that I mean a trip back to the Capital).

To keep me chomping at the bit, SeaWitches have uploaded a new demo to engross myself in and that's just what you should do too, the track "Space Gun" is eight and a half minutes long and almost made up of two parts (please listen to it as a whole) and I'm not just say this, it will literally blow your mind, easily one of the best demos I've heard in forever. It is that good.

Starting with deep, hypnotic bass, hollow drums and swirling guitars the addictive, rocking groove gradually quickens in pace as the song progresses and it takes until a small bridge and bass lead for Jo's vocals to actually start at around the mid point of the song. The captivating, theatrical nature of her vocals is bound to lead to Siouxsie comparisons being made (for it seems everything has to be compared to something else for some reason), I'd rather call it SeaWitches, for this dramatic, slightly disturbing take on pysche-pop is a sound very much their own.

I hope a few more of you will be joining me for the journey.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Dark Bells - New Music "Introducing"


Dark Bells are a band I had planned to post about four or five months ago but just as I had a post almost ready their demos / tracks disappeared from their bandcamp.  I wasn't 100% sure what to make of it, I think it was a simple case of the band taking down some old material in preparation for new releases follow, which it now has, hence my overdue posting...

Dark Bells aren't really a new band either, primarily made up of vocalist/guitarist Teneil Throssell and bassist Ash Moss who moved to London from Sydney last year, the trio are completed by Luke Richardson on drums.

Yet to officially release anything (I think), "Want" (taken from a 'forthcoming' unannounced EP) changes that for the better and is sure to propel the band to the attention of many non-London folk who haven't already been transfixed by the ferocious roar of their live show. For one thing is for certain (and I've seen them twice now), if you see Dark Bells live, you're going to count yourself amongst their fans.

A band with a perfect balance of power and beauty, huge bass-lines and aggressive beats merge with intense vocals and chiming guitars and distortion, at almost six minutes in length "Want" transfers itself well to record from the live version I can recall from their recent Lexington show. With an ear bleeding howl of swirling guitar, throbbing bass and doom laden drums the infectious "Want" instantly penetrates your mind with frenetic vocals and huge, electric sounds, then it slows down with tropical rhythm patterns in a middle, instrumental sections which lulls you into a false sense of security before a deafening finale. Simply incredible.

I've also included a live Youtube version of one of the tracks which was removed from the bands site (presumably for a future release - hopefully anyway), the incredible "Wildflower", an equally incredible whirlwind of epic-sized, wall of sound. Do yourself a favour and listen below.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Deaf Club #4 - Break It Slow

Great music and free, pretty much the expectation for many in 2012 (for right and wrong reasons). Well cheapskates, you won't be disappointed by the latest, cost you nothing, release by the wonderful Deaf Club (click on the 'buy' button to be taken to a dropbox link from which you can download the track).

"Break it Slow" continues the bands exemplary knack of combining darkly mystical atmospheres with spacious, swirling melodies. Cavernous drums and intricate guitar chimes weave around Polly's brooding vocals, restrained and beautiful, with "Break it Slow" Deaf Club have produced their most gorgeous track yet.

The band head out on a full UK tour over the next month - full dates - the most exciting for me comes slightly prior to that, with a date at London's Sebright Arms with the ever exceptional Hella Better Dancer on October 19th - details.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Big Wave #4 - Only You

It's not the first time it's happened but about ten months ago now I posted an "Introducing" blog on a new band from Devon called Big Wave whom I'd not heard more than a couple of songs by at the time and then after falling in love with the band music with their following releases, I find myself about to release their next single via Beautiful Strange with a single launch gig to follow.

I'll avoid my usual superlatives, it feels a bit wrong to praise something close to home, I'll let (hopefully) other sites do that (they should because it is fucking awesome) and instead just give you something new to listen to and enjoy (and then tell your friends about)...

Beautiful Strange is delighted to announce its next release will be the debut vinyl release by Torquay five-piece Big Wave, ‘Only You’ is due for release on Monday November 5th 2012 with another new track "Living Room" on the flip side. The wonderful artwork is by Niamh Tulley.

Limited to 500 copies on ‘beer’ coloured vinyl (with digital download) the single is available to pre-order now via Beautiful Strange Bandcamp: or Big Cartel and will also be stocked in various UK/Euro retailers too.

They'll also be a single launch party at London’s Buffalo Bar on Sunday 28th October headlined by the band with special guests tba. They’ll also be some special give-aways too. Head over to the facebook event page for more details.

Watch the video /stream "Only You" below:

September Girls #4 - Danny Wood

I'm guessing the general mood today is very 50/50, a bunch of people in the office will be as high as a kite after watching Europe win the Ryder Cup last night and the other half won't give a shit (vice-versa if you're reading this in the States) and are miserable because it's grey, wet and October. I fit in the later, it's currently 1am and I can't sleep so I'm doing what I normally do on such occasions, listening to music. To mark the exit of September I picked September Girls (yeah, I know) and as since I last mentioned their excellent new single "Green Eyed", it has been dated for release (22nd October - Pre-order via Soft Power now) and its B-Side "Danny Wood" made available to stream, I think it's a perfect chance for a revisit.

"Danny Wood" is going to get stuck in your head, I make no apologies for that, I hope that when you find yourself singing the choruses repeated refrain you are at least smiling, you should be, propelled by swirling keys, skittish drums and jagged, reverb-filled guitar the Girls' melodious fuzz-pop is here to make a shitty day better.

September Girls have announced a new London show for Friday 12th October at a new venue to me, Tipsy in Dalston with support by the great Fever Dream. I can't make that as I'm in Manchester where I might just happen to be see the girls with PINS the very next day - full dates.