Friday, 30 November 2012

Sophie Jamieson #2 - In The Sand


I can't currently get enough of the beautiful voice of Sophie Jamieson but I'm taking a bit of a rest from gigs (that goes for Beautiful Strange events too) until the new year for family reasons (I have too much on to be a completely hardcore gig-goer but average about two a week at peak times), so hearing a new song via a live session is about as good as it gets for me at the minute.

The track "In The Sand" is spellbinding too, Sophie has a way of delivering words that makes you want to listen intently and combined with a voice that is so beautiful it'll stop you in your tracks it makes for a truly stunning experience. My advice, watch/listen below, the increasing number of facebook followers makes me think I'm not the only one doing so...

Mad'zelle - New Music "Introducing"

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Mad'zelle is a singer-songwriter from Barcelona who's recently moved to London (via Paris) and is better known to her friends and family as Martina Borrut. The debut recordings on her bandcamp is a three track EP simply entitled London, the first track "The Time" introduces you to a winsome talent possessed with a soft, bewitching voice that will instantly ease your burden amongst delicate guitar patterns, her simple melodies and breathtaking voice will sooth and beguile in equal measure.

"Words" transports you to summers day lazing idly in a field with a warming, homely atmosphere while "Hug Me Baby" is perhaps my favourite of the three, with a fragile vocal that flutters so gently in parts you feel it could break and acoustic circles creating a plaintive, intimate mood, it's truly gorgeous stuff. You can buy the EP from Mad'zelle's via bandcamp now.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

HUNK! #2 - Dupe


HUNK! impressed me back in May when I posted an introducing feature on two soundcloud demos that gave an insight to a fast-paced, reverb-soaked garage pop trio from Dublin, they clearly impressed our friends at Soft Power too, as Scotland's finest little indie label has recently announced the bands first release, a super limited cassette single. Released on December 17th - just right for Santa to deliver in time to play to your Grandma on Christmas Day - it contains two new tracks that fulfil the initial promise and will blow away any frostbite you may be suffering from as the cold weather fully kicks in...

The title-track "Dupe" blasts straight out of the gates, exploding drums and super-charged punky guitar riffs make for infectious energy and shambolic rhythms amongst noise-pop vocals. "Hold Out" is even better, it starts restrained with a magnetic psychedelic build-up before switching for a spiky, exhilarating head-rush amongst luscious vocals and dreamy doo-wop backing harmonies. Ace.

Pre-order the tape for a paltry £1.99 via Soft Power now.

Ottilia - New Music "Introducing"

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Here's an introduction lifted directly from Robin at Breaking More Waves who posted about the gorgeous silky vocals and melancholic heartbeat of Ottilia back in September (sorry it's taken me so long to follow), he's completely on the money with his description of the singer-songwriter originally from Uppsala is Sweden but now relocated to the UK too (which is very good news indeed for my chances of catching Ottilia live - gigs appear to have been plentiful over the past few months and hopefully will kick start again in early 2013 when I'll be upping my game again).

"Heartless" introduces a woozy, smooth vocal that backed by a haunted wall of off-beat rhythms and beats is powerful and enchanting, undoubtedly a sound with much in common with the recent Lykke Li album Wounded Rhymes sees Ottilia tugging at your heartstrings with her intimate laments. "I Don't Let Myself Fall In Love" could be even better, a desperately personal ballad where a lone acoustic provides the sole accompaniment to Ottilia's beautiful voice with her repeated refrain of the tracks title and "love has no sympathy, that’s why it will be the death of me" sending chills down your spine.

You can order a limited signed CD of Heartless / I Don't Let Myself Fall In Love now from bandcamp or download for free via Facebook - don't miss out. There's more tracks to stream on Ottilia's soundcloud too with the tender acoustic ballad "Hymn For The Needy" and the fuller, haunting sounds of "The Sonic" definitely worth your attention.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Wolf Alice - New Music "Introducing"


For a couple of weeks from the weekend onwards I'll be concentrating on my albums of the year / tips for next year posts so I'm making a concerted effort to catch up with a few posts that I've had planned for quite some time beforehand...

Another long overdue post is Wolf Alice, a London based band let by Ellie Roswell, who when I had previously drafted to post about in the early summer had a somewhat different sound to that of their latest single "Leaving You" (the older tracks were sparse and beautifully pure - they've gone from their soundcloud now), they've been playing some gigs with buzz bands like Peace recently and have received some glowing press of their own in the past month too...

"Leaving You" starts with wandering guitar and soft, beautiful vocals which might make you wonder what I'm talking about when I say it sounds nothing like their earlier work, after a minute of sparse backing and rich harmonisation the track morphs with sprawling beats and psychedelic guitar like a cross between Yuck and Widowspeak, grunge and alluring vocals combining with potent effect, expect Wolf Alice to be words on many peoples lips in 2013.

WALL - New Music "Introducing"

WALL is the debut signing to the label set up by the wonderful Black Cab Sessions, her (Lyla Foy's) first release is the delicious "Magazine" (which came out a few months ago but I'm a little slow to the game), a delicate, simplistic little beauty (this live version perhaps highlighting her calming vocals even more) that's not much more than soft bass and ambient synth, it doesn't need to be as through Lyla's intimate vocals it immediately appeals, drenching you in a mood that's all hazy and gorgeous, unless you're made of stone, "Magazine" will leave you weak at the knees.

It's flip side "Over My Head" is even more beautiful, with stripped back frosty soundscapes creating a gentle backdrop for Lyla's ethereal whispers to take centre stage, it sounds better than anything Bat for Lashes tried on their latest record, gradually Wall allow the tracks electronic heartbeat to take over as the track climaxes in tribal drums and harsh synths.

A more recently released cover provided the catalyst to this post though, a version of Karen Dalton's "Something On Your Mind" which Wall instantly make their own with sparse, haunting wonder, it's a real muted beauty and an almost perfect cover.

You can order the Magazine 7" from BCS here and download "Something on Your Mind" below.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Gum - New Music "Introducing"


Time for more shoegaze now with Gum, a London based quartet (and a band I've had saved in my draft folder since June) who like to bathe in swathes of feedback drenched guitars with unforgiving drums and dreamy, melodic vocals which recall all those obvious contemporaries that I won't bother to mention, they released their debut EP Seventeen via North East label Tiny Lights earlier this month and if you've not switched off yet, it's highly likely you're going to lap up its five tracks of fuzzy, distorted bliss.

"Fast" signals the intent from about 0.002 seconds, waves of reverb-soaked dissonance blend pure chaotic noise with sweet backing harmonies, something which is perhaps done with more success on the poppier, upbeat "Anna Sang & Alison", an instant highlight with sweet/hazy vocal whispers and chiming guitar riffs creating gorgeous, swirling aural soundscapes. "Silver" is arguably the pick of the EP, propelled by urgent drums and glacial guitars it's an ear friendly pop nugget with lovely, melodic brightness throughout.

Seventeen is an EP that's made to be played loud, you can purchase it on download/limited CD here.

Velveteens - New Music "Introducing"

I had a simple but increasingly regular introduction to the band I'm blogging about today, a twitter follow, Velveteens are from Connecticut and are led by classically trained sisters' Anna and Catherine Wolk, with Devon Fontaine providing the electronic beats and guitar on a couple of lo-fi bedroom demos which serve as my introduction to the band (they are available to stream below or download on a pay what you like basis from bandcamp)...

"I Don't Even Know", with haunting string plucks and electronic machine beats wrapped up in smooth, warm vocals is pretty difficult to pigeonhole to a genre, minimalistic and nostalgic pop will do for now, "Do You Remember?" whilst still obviously a rough demo offers a more expansive spectrum of sounds, dominating drums, glistening synth and strings that sound like they could be from Planningtorock, all-in-all, two completely gorgeous tracks that for now at least, we'll have to imagine how good they'll sound coming out of a proper recording studio.

Monday, 26 November 2012

She's So Rad #3 - Time

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A quick update today as I've been ill all weekend and am struggling still (man-flu - fear not, it'll soon pass!), New Zealand's She's So Rad return with the second track taken from their second full length due in 2013, "Time" (which you can download on a pay what you like basis from bandcamp).

A glorious continuation of the bands light, poppy electronic soundscapes where shimmering guitar and fizzing drum machine beats meet with Jeremy and Anji's complimenting dual vocals, soft and nostalgically beautiful throughout. With the hazy gorgeousness of "Confetti" and now "Time" She's So Rad could soon be your new favourite shoegaze band...

Friday, 23 November 2012

Prince - Rock and Roll Love Affair

Even though this is a predominately new music blog I don't spend (quite) all my time listening to new music (although it may feel like it sometimes!), my favourite ever artists are long established ones, top of the pile (and a few of you may know this) is Prince and even though in the past five or so years I've a love/hate affair with him his new single "Rock and Roll Love Affair" might just start a new one of that.

I'll not ramble too much about Prince, I doubt many of you are too interested and I could go on for a very long time. If you take every one of his releases since the exceptional Rainbow Children album back in 2002 I probably like a dozen or so songs, that number has definitely increased by one with "Rock and Roll Love Affair", I think it has a very 'revolution' era sound with smooth guitars, keys and a cool as f- vocal lines. Looking half his 54 years in the accompanying live performance video, Prince has pulled out his best song for years...

The single is out now via Purple Music on CD / Vinyl and Picture Disc Vinyl. Watch the video below:

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Embers #3 - Hollow Cage

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Manchester's Embers returned yesterday to remind everyone just why they sent so many blogs into hyperbole overdrive after the release of their initial demo tracks a year or so ago, new track "Hollow Cage" is without doubt their best yet and will blow anything else you've heard this week out of the water, recorded live in a dimly lit Manchester Monastery (full marks to the director for final video quality) "Hollow Cage" is groundbreaking, a seven minute journey beyond comprehension that is truly, truly stunning.

Joined by an orchestra and backing choir who add sweeping strings and ethereal harmonies to the bands cinematic soundscapes the track creeps along majestically from quiet, ambient beginnings to reach a conclusion as grandiose on scale as anything you'll hear, murky keys and shimmering guitars become more and more saturated until they explode upon a cataclysm of shattering emotions, turning the beauty conveyed before into a deafening cacophony as instruments and voices merge under the crashing of colossal drums and skyscraper sized guitars.

I'll say it again, truly, truly stunning. Come down south soon please lads.

The Pressure Cell - New Music "Introducing"

What's this, Just Music That I Like writing a band with shimmering ambient guitars and beautiful female vocals, the shock! Though I can't take too much discovery credit here, The Pressure Cell landed in my mailbox the other week and sat there for a little while (as most things tend to) before I listened to them late one night (again perfectly normal). It was instant love when I clicked on play with their opening track (which isn't all that normal with a bloggers mailbox), the title track from the London quartet's second EP, "Fragile Things" immediately breaking my heart...

With haunting slow textures creating a dark, brooding mood and Nicola Jackson's silky smooth vocals effortlessly alluring and heartbreaking in equal measure "Fragile Things" is intoxicating and intimate, taking the listening on a beautiful, wistful journey.

Though the title track maybe the EP highlight "Obsessions" is a worthy listen and follows in a similar vein, creeping guitars and purposeful down-tempo beats wrapped around Nicola's luscious whispers before gradually raising in tempo and closing with a soaring emotive finale while "Horizons" shimmering, eerie chorus is memorable and balances well against the rest of the tracks. The band are due to follow up with an album next year, I'll be interested to hear how it develops.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Rachel Zeffira #3 - Here On In


Rachel Zeffira returns with the first official single (I'm not sure what that makes the tracks we've previously heard!) from her forthcoming album The Deserters, entitled "Here On In" (no news of a single release but the album is due for release December 10th and when ordered from Rough Trade comes with an exciting bonus EP of Christmas songs - I've already ordered mine)...

Where "Break the Spell" was dripped in striking string arrangements and "The Deserters" was a graceful piano led beauty "Here On In" will fit more comfortably with fans of Rachel's band Cat's Eyes, with a soft tapestry of swirling guitar psychedelic textures blending with Rachel's hypnotic, gauzy vocals, a half-way house between the two styles, the result is hazy and overwhelmingly gorgeous, it might just be the best of the three...

Monday, 19 November 2012

The Boxer Rebellion #4 - B-Sides & Rarities Release

A band I've seen close to ten times over the years since I moved south (I used to use Songkick to track such geekery but it's stopped telling you how many times you've seen a band for some silly reason) are The Boxer Rebellion, I remember the first gig I saw of there's at the ICA in 2005, with two great bands in support (both sadly no more, Pure Reason Revolution and Redjetson) it was shortly after their debut full-length Exits had seen its release and their label had gone bump, it was a great, great show. I picked up a copy of their earlier self-titled EP and a few single too, at the time it was the only way to get some pretty incredible tracks...

I say at the time because if you fast forward seven and a half years (plus in brief synopsis; a serious illness to lead vocalist Nathan Nicholson, various support slots including with Editors - a band who had previously supported them, US tours, HMV exclusives and two further albums releases ) the band have put them (and more) all together on two handy volumes of wonder.

Released via iTunes only (hopefully for now - though iTunes are possibly to thank for giving the band their second wind after picking up on "Evacuate" in 2008/9) are two ten track compendiums of all things Boxers, for me Volume One is like a trip down memory line with various golden oldies hitting you with their ferocious power. "In Pursuit" is Boxers at their best, one minute soft and haunting the next explosive and awe-inspiring. "In the Empire" similarly brilliant, Nathan's vocals perfectly mellow and the lyrics dark and meaningful, the chilling acoustic opening brings tingles to the spine in perfect contrast with the hard rock of "Watermelon" (this is the single version) which is probably the definitive Boxer Rebellion track.

Volume Two brings together a few tracks that were once upon a time available from the bands Myspace site, "Broken Glass" is one of the bands best ever tracks and one I wondered why was left off the bands second album Union, ethereal guitar soundscapes and a richly glowing melody, emotive and wonderful, almost identical words could be said for another track from the same period, the incandescent "Murder Ballad". For a band I've not listened to much in the past eighteen months these releases have reminded me just what a diverse, exciting and wonderful band The Boxer Rebellion are.

Stream two of the tracks from Volume One below and grab a free track called "The Rescue" with an email address here.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Jade Hopcroft - New Music "Introducing"

Hi Sunday, nice to have you here, after blowing away a few cobwebs (and the odd ale) with a brisk ten mile run earlier I've spent most of the late afternoon relaxing with a handful of artists perfect for the chillier months, with a voice that brings instant warmth and haunting song-writing ability this introducing post lets you into one of the treats I've been spoiling myself with today before I head off to watch the Muppets Christmas Carol for the first of many times before the end of the year...

Jade Hopcroft is the latest name to join local live event promoter / label Laissez Faire Club and with her debut single "Saint" (released digitally tomorrow) Jade fulfills the promise shes showed on numerous youtube videos over 2012, with predominetly sublte acousitc backing it's left to Jade's richly toned vocal to steal the show, oozing commanding presence and power, it's little wonder she's being hand-picked to support a who's who list of artists in recent times.

Flip side "Habit" is possibly even stronger (that maybe because I'm easily hooked towards intimate, folk leaning beauties), a delicate, finger-plucking guitar waltz guides the compelling track, softer than the title track but utterly gorgeous. Jade recently joined the increasing stellar line-up of acts to record a Daytrotter session, follow the link to hear/download that... You can download the single via the buy button below.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Ellie Rumbold #2 - These Ghosts


When I posted up my Introducing post on Sophie Jamieson a couple of weeks back I promised I'd revisit the Folkroom Anthology (the compilation both tracks featured are from) and here I am somewhat belatedly making good on that, Ellie Rumbold is someone I've featured here before in February, when I talked at length about her beguiling soundcloud demos (still there for you to listen)...

The track the young singer/songwriter has given to the Folkroom collection "These Ghosts" is possibly her first 'properly' produced track and the crisp, professional sheen makes her intricate finger-plucking acoustic sound delicious, with the occasional piano twinkling only adding to the carefully assured melody.

Ellie has one of those unfailingly lovely voices and here her soft, fragile phrasings hit all the right heartstrings, her strong guitar playing and graceful vocals are genuienly gorgeous, a simply beautiful track. You can download it (and the anthology) from Folkroom for FREE via bandcamp.

Friday, 16 November 2012

The Staves #4 - Dead & Born & Grown

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A common complaint about new band blogs (although this blog is a journal of my musical taste, I tend to favour new bands so I guess that description applies) is that they are fickle things, proclaiming a band to be the "saviour of the world" and "the best thing since sliced bread" off two fuzzy demos recorded in their bedroom and then promptly disregarded them before they've even released an album. Positivity and praise is all good in my opinion (a few people I know wouldn't believe that, I'm a right miserable so and so most of the time!) so I'm not adverse to the odd superlative or twenty myself and in this post I'll give a few to a band local to me, who released their debut album this week, Watford's (or a suburb of) very own The Staves.

Since I last talked about the Staveley-Taylor sisters in February they've toured (again) with Bon Iver, gained a shed-load more plaudits and fans and appeared on Jools Holland, not bad from three sisters from old Hertfordshire indeed, 2013 promises to bring even bigger things and festival performances a plenty, from the one I saw this year at Latitude I'll say they've going to be a huge success, what better than delicate instrumentation and being sung to by three heavenly voices to nurse any festival-inflicted wounds.

The album Dead & Born & Grown is a perfect summation of the girls journey so far, with older tracks "Mexico" and "Facing West" as exquisite as ever, sitting perfectly alongside tracks from the Motherlode EP and newer songs too, much will be said about the sisters rich harmonies and genteel melodies (with good reason), which slowly and luxuriously linger in your brain like a Sunday afternoon with a glass of fine malt whisky. Highlights are throughout, the a cappella "Wise and slowly" is hymnal perfection, the tender "Pay Us No Mind", like so much of the album, is just beautiful while "Tongue Behind My Teeth" sees the sister take some Americana influences with a kick-drum beat propelling jangling guitar and dusty melodies which sweep and stomp like the outlaw video that accompanies the track.

The Staves blend their harmonies together as well as any I've previously heard and Dead & Born & Grown is the perfect Winter months album, irresistible, don't miss out. Available on CD/LP now.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Carousels #3 - Pop EP

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I'll be re-visiting my 'tips for 2012' in a couple of weeks, I already know I'm going to be using the phrases 'a year too soon' and 'maybe next year' a lot, one act I tipped to produce the goods this year was Carousels (my tips aren't bands I expect to win the Mercury Prize, just release some of the best music of the year in my opinion). In reality a band who'd only just formed as a five piece needed some time to find their feet, so aside from a handful of gigs and the appearance of "Stay With Me" in June (now removed from the bands soundcloud page), it has been quiet from the band until the past few weeks when a tour with Peace propelled them to the attention of many, now the Cambridge/London quintet have streamed their debut EP, perfectly titled POP for us to hear in its entirety, over the course of a brisk nine minute duration it's brimmed full of the sort of noisy, shoegaze wonder that hooked me to the band some eighteen months ago.

"Over Me" bursts out of the gates with a whirl of screeching guitar dissonance weaving with fast-paced drums and Nick and Lucy's dual vocals, seemingly pulverising their instruments it's loud, savage and exhilarating, "Sweet Honey" is even better, the perfect juxtaposition of fuzzy carnage and dreamy, drifting vocals wrapped up within three minutes of pop bliss while closing track "All I Could Do" slows things down with a hazy, dream-inducing wash of utterly irresistible melodies and whispers. Such pretty, pretty noise, Carousels will be off on their own headlining tour in 2013, of that there is no doubt.

Grab "Sweet Honey" for the price of an email address via Deadly People - there were some CD copies on sale during the recent tour and hopefully they'll be a few hanging around for online sale soon...

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Widowspeak #3 - Ballad of the Golden Hour / New Album


Seriously, what is it with November and artists announcing new singles / albums and more! I cannot keep up with the news at present (which is definitely a good thing), Widowspeak are the latest candidate to throw their hat into the ring of early album of the year potentials with the first track from their upcoming album Almanac (due January 22nd, on Captured Tracks).

Entitled "Ballad of the Golden Hour" it's a perfect continuation from the newly stripped-back Brooklyn two piece, a wandering, strumming waltz sees shiny guitars race away with each other amongst melodic drums and the heavenly purr of vocalist Molly Hamilton, overwhelming easy on the ear it builds gradually to a Spaghetti Western soundtrack fitting crescendo of pummelling beats and dusty guitar spirals. I've only seen Widowspeak live once to date, a dreamy show at The Underbelly last year where sultry Molly's vocals and the wonderful guitar work had me all weak at the knees, I wasn't the only one... more UK dates please!

Caitlin Rose #23 - No One To Call + Feb Album/Tour

On Monday I mentioned a chat I had with my friend last week where we were talking about albums that must be close to being ready for 2013, we came up with a pretty exciting list (The Joy Formidable, Esben & The Witch and more), then acts we hoped would be releasing something (The National, EMA, Austra, Lanterns on the Lake). Naturally the discussion headed to one album I'm looking forward to probably more than any other, the second by Caitlin Rose; her debut Own Side Now was my album of 2010, my most played album in 2011 (and possibly 2012 too). I said something along the lines of "I'm not expecting it in the first half of the year", what do I know... Yesterday saw the announcement of Caitlin's second album, The Stand-In due February 25th via Names Records.

To celebrate we've been treated to a stream of the albums opening track "No One to Call" which immediately finds Caitlin in grander scope with a kicking full band introduction before her gorgeous, soulful voice resonates and disarms, the strength is in the detail and "No One to Call" highlights a real progression from the introspective Own Side Now (though I'm hoping there are more heart-felt, beguiling moments to come). Retaining freshness throughout, with fantastic hooks, punchy kick drum and a real sense of fun, Caitlin again proves herself to be an exemplary, emotive songwriter amongst the tracks rich and varied instrumentation - luscious. Consider me a little bit excited.

Even more good news; four UK dates at the time of the album have also been announced, Caitlin plays the following shows: Tues, 26 February - Bristol, Fleece; Wed, 27 February - London, Dingwalls; Thurs, 28 February - Leeds, Brudenell; Fri, 1 March - Manchester, Ruby Lounge.

Tickets on sale Friday morning from Seetickets - what a week to look forward to at the end of February, new Caitlin, Caitlin shows and The Joy Formidable on tour too! The full track-listing for The Stand-In can be found here.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Metric #3 - Breathing Underwater

I've previously talked about my failures to see Metric live, so for those of you losing sleep about it, I'm glad to let you know that I know have seen the band perform at a storming Shepherd's Bush back in July. Since however, I've not really listened to the bands latest album Synthetica, the announcement of its latest single (and one of my most despised things in music today, a 'deluxe edition' of the album) "Breathing Underwater" has led to me discovering its gems...

"Breathing Underwater" finds the band at their powerful, euphoric best driven by glammy and pompish grit and heavenly vocal sighs, it's backed by an acoustic version of the song which breathes an all new side to the track, gone are the bright synth overtures and instead we're left with slowly plucked acoustic and strong piano keys, the focus completely switches to Emilys vocals', which as you can imagine are near on perfection.

The acoustic track finds itself on the deluxe version of the album which I think contains five similarly stripped-back tracks from the album along with "Gimmie Sympathy" from Fantasies and a Tom Waits cover, something to definitely check out but does it add enough value to those like me who got the CD when it came out? I doubt it. Please stop this "deluxe" farce, ripping off existing customers is not the way to solve the problems music is suffering as a consumer product in 2012. Rant over, enjoy the track, that's what I'm here for.

Haim #3 - Send Me Down

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On the eve of my third live encounter with the band, the Haim sisters have shared the b-side to their upcoming single Don't Save Me (posted a few weeks ago and due on December 3rd), the track "Send Me Down" combines abrasive sounds and percussion not heard from the trio before with their trademark vocal-play, sumptuous harmonies and big production, killer.

"Send Me Down" is another track that's going to sounds great live, which is where I think Haim really come into their own, their two shows I've seen to date (at The Great Escape back in May and Dingwalls over the summer) are amongst my favourite of the year, I've said it before (and I'll say it again at least one more time before the year is out), 2013 is there for the taking...

Wild Balbina - New Music "Introducing"

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Wild Balbina hail from the Spanish city of Vigo, not somewhere I know too much about in all honesty so I'll save you a geography trip and focus on the music, a trio, though recently expanded to a quartet by the looks of their facebook, they recently released their debut EP entitled simply Single, it offers four short, sharp bursts of ramshackle garage pop (you know the sort, add a dash of 60's girl group syrup upon layers of distortion), which instantly meets with my approval...

Things start rather haphazard on the wild and playful "Eat Tacos" while "Spit Your Love" is a glorious mix of all things fuzzy, where extended guitar hooks and bitter-sweet vocals combine with the catchy, repetitive refrain of "all my love is gone tonight" (though I'm a little scared after watching its accompanying video) and "So Kind" is a wonderful jangle pop tune, all rip-roaring guitar distortion and galloping beats. The bands approach to lyrics is straightforward and nonchalant throughout, what is more important are the infectious, danceable melodies and reverb-heavy harmonies.

I won't be shocking to many of you when I say "Surfing" adds a laid-back, surf-pop groove on top of the guitar scuzz, it makes for a sweet closure on a fine introductory EP. Single is available to buy via Elefant Records on vinyl + download now.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Veronica Falls #9 - Teenage

Just last week I was discussing albums that must be due soon with a friend, one of those we mentioned was Veronica Falls and today, as if by magic, we go and get some exciting news... a stream of "Teenage", the first official track to be lifted from the quartet's forthcoming album Waiting For Something To Happen (due via Bella Union in the uk February 4th).

Part of the bands magic is that they have perfected an effortless sound that makes every one of their tracks sound like something you're already familiar with, on my first listen to the track I'm put straight at ease and fall instantly in love with its glistening guitars and pure vocal harmonies, Veronica Falls know their way with melody and "Teenage" passes that test with sumptuous ease, a cute and unadulterated pop tune that's as bright and catchy as anything we've heard from them before, it's nice to be singing along to the wistful remembrance of youth, rather than suicide hot-spots too!

I've already listened to this about ten times, wrap yourselves up in the infectious "Teenage" below.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Fauns - The Fauns

A little prelude to a band I'm expecting to be covering plenty of times in 2013, The Fauns debut album pre-dates this blog and as such I've not mentioned the Bristolian five piece before (I rarely do retrospective posts). I was due to see them play in London last night but unfortunately for me (and I'm sure many others) their tour with Ringo Deathstarr got cancelled before it had started (though they are playing Water Rats on November 23rd - details) but with their second album one of my most anticipated releases of the forthcoming year, I thought it good timing for a heads-up...

Picking on the two tracks from their self-titled 2009 debut which you can grab for free via The Fauns bandcamp as an introduction if's safe to say you'll soon be hooked by the freshly-woven tapestry of emotive, atmospheric bliss, "Lovestruck" stays on the softer side of shoegaze with swirling guitars, synths and Alison's tender vocals melting together to transport you to a state of sheer beauty and "Fragile", which continues with the aurally perfect soundscapes with soft vocal harmonies and effects laden guitars colliding to showcase a seriously dreamy edge, which along with their perfect melodies make for a band for you to instantly fall in love with.

The new album is yet to be announced, stay tuned...

Friday, 9 November 2012

Clytem Scanning #4 - Carnival

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If you have read this blog for a while now you might remember be going all gooey for Parisian electro Goddess Clytem Scanning at the start of last year, my introduction was the stunning "Massue" which I originally called "a brooding, electronic sound that's made for a post 'Judgement Day Terminator', a dark terrifying world where machines rule", I think that pretty much summed it up.

The debut full-length Armada followed later and dazzled with a combination of propulsive, edgy experimentation and giant dance-electro songs. I've been waiting for more music from Clytem Scanning to come my way since and today that happened, when I was fortunate enough to be one of the (approx) 15% of 'fans' that get to see a facebook update from Marianne...

It announced "Carnival", taken from her forthcoming second album Mirada Fuerte (due 13th November and self-described as a mixture of Blood, Eroticism, Witchcraft and Ankoku Dance…), if anything it's even more terrifying and sinister than "Massue" with video footage to match "Carnival" is here to give you nightmares, full of crunching beats and crashing metallic samples with the doom-laden chanting of Marianne punishing the listener to submission, Clytem Scanning is back and darker than ever...

A trip to Marianne's website tells me I've been slow with finding news of the second album with some earlier videos also posted, "Dawn Be Gone" is the icy aftermath of the apocalypse, exuding a haunting ambiance with Marianne lying on the floor covered in blood on its video seemingly singing painful words amongst raw, repetitive pulses it chills the soul while "I Am Gold" hits equally hard with its penetrative warbles, brutal and minimalist, it's safe to say that I'm looking forward to hearing more soon.

The Joy Formidable #17 - Wolf's Law / UK Tour

Remember that band I go on about a lot The Joy Formidable? Well they've just officially announced their second album and a UK tour which, for me at least, is pretty exciting news and given this blog is a vehicle for me to discuss the music I like, it means you're hearing about it too!

The Joy Formidable's second (official - though it could really be the fourth if you include A Balloon Called Moaning and the live album First You Have to Get Mad) album Wolf's Law has been dated for 21st January with a limited edition vinyl set (a super, bumper set has already sold out, even I was too slow for that) and standard editions available to pre-order now via their website, naturally I've already ordered mine, there are eleven tracks on the album in total (twelve if you include "Wolf's Law" on a separate 12" etched vinyl - tracklisting is here) of which I've heard almost half live already, definitely excited to hear the rest...

The full UK tour dates place in Jan/Feb/March of next year, the full dates can be found over on the405, it cumulates in the bands biggest ever headlining show at London's The Roundhouse on March 8th - tickets over here for that, I might be going to a few of them!

That's not it though, with a video for "The Ladder is Ours" also being released to mark the album announcement, with a rather Hollywood slow-motion introduction (where are the explosions behind guys?!) it turns into a adrenaline filled rocker with dust puncturing the air almost as much as Rhydian's bass.

My favourite band of the past however long and clearly my most anticipated release of 2013, not long to go now....

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Wanderhouse - New Music "Introducing"

I'd not heard of Wanderhouse until Robin at Breaking More Waves posted up their debut track (and a cover of Ellie Goulding's "Lights") last week, as the track nears 65,000 plays on soundcloud in ten days it's apparent I've been living under a rock...

The duo comprises of singer Marie Moreshead and Doctor Rosen Rosen (I'm guessing that's not what his Mum calls him), the latter who apparently has remixed a whole plethora of acts (thanks Robin), Wanderhouse's debut track "Use Me Up" is where I'll keep my concentration however, it's (as I seem to be saying a lot later) utterly beguiling with haunting, un-hurried synths, shimmering guitars and heavenly vocals wisps painting a emotionally charged journey, or to put it succinctly, fucking gorgeous.

Fear of Men #6 - Your Side / Mosaic (Video)


Fear of Men are a band I find myself posting about a regular basis and no doubt if you're a regular new band blog reader you've come across the Brighton quartet before yourself too, but if not, you should find the time to become smitten with the bands effortlessly wonderful melodies and Jess's beautiful warm voice, their latest single "Mosaic" came out last month via Too Pure (buy via Rough Trade) and has previously been covered here but it has just been given the video treatment, so I'm going to briefly tread over old ground, filmed in a church early one morning it's solemn, slow-motion and beautifully shot, it perfectly matches the heart-felt nostalgia of the track.

B-Side "Your Side" continues the bands exemplary way of producing melt-your heart wondrousness all wrapped up within four minutes, as lovely as can be with chiming guitars, gentle rat-a-tat drums and Jess's gorgeously sweet vocals "Your Side" is completely irresistible.

Fear of Men have a couple of London dates coming up over the next few weeks with a compendium album Early Fragments due in the States next year.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Sinclair Sinclair - New Music "Introducing"

My relationship with Tallinn and Estonia is arguably much like many others, a European city which is on my list of places I'd like to visit, it looks bloody lovely. I can't recall ever listening to an Estonian band, not if you don't count Eurovision anyway (2008's "song" Kreisiraadio sticks particularly to mind - the link is worth a minute of your time I promise), that changed with an email yesterday from duo The Sinclair Sinclair about their gorgeous debut single "Feel"...

A track of adjective-defying beauty where an intoxicating blend of emotive soundscapes cascade around effortlessly sultry whispers, subtle electronics wrap "Feel" in a rich, melancholic atmosphere penetrated by drum machine punctures while ethereal coos enchant, gorgeous and hypnotic, you'll be wanting to press repeat on this one I promise. Even better news is that you can download "Feel" for free from the bands bandcamp page now, I really like the simplicity of the video too, 4AD take note.

Another track on their soundcloud "Wild Man" offers more dreamlike promise, crashing waves and pulsating bass introduce hauntingly soft vocals before crystalline synths drift you off to a better place.

Both these tracks appear to have been around for a while now so hopefully they'll be more to come from The Sinclair Sinclair soon.

Pins #5 - Acoustic

I'm off to see PINS for the third and fourth times in less than a month tonight and tomorrow, they'll join a very small number of bands who I've shown such devotion and seen so many times in quick succession, in fact I can only think of Apartment, Editors, Prince and The Joy Formidable before them. For me at least, it's a rapid rise of popularity for the Manchester quartet, who will hopefully follow up the promise of the earlier electric live shows which have fully hooked me in, 2013 promises to put the band even more in the spotlight with hopefully a debut full-length to follow amongst more and more live dates.

Rather than discuss my diary plans, this blog is to share two acoustic (well semi-acoustic) tracks by the girls, the first time I've seen them strip back some of the distorted energy that bears so much weight to their tracks, "Shoot You" is a track most of you will be familiar with, here the switch to half acoustic guitars and lack of throbbing bass lines removes some of the rawness and instread puts the emphasis on the dominating lead vocals which here, backed by gorgeous ethereal harmonies, past paced beats and chiming chords stand out just strong. New track "To You" maintains the dark, controlled aggression which Pins have established as their own with Faith Holgate's primal vocals unnerving around a galloping attack of relentless drums and percussion.

Sparing instrumentation can be just as intense and atmospheric in the hands of Pins it seems. See my twitter for more gushing praise tonight no doubt!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Mt. Wolf - Life Sized Ghosts

The sheer volume of blogs posting music means there is a natural competitive spirit amongst writers (not that I call myself a writer, this is a hobby) to be 'first' to post something, I try and avoid such trivialities and keep this blog as simply a journal of the music that I like, hence the rather simplistic title of the blog and the few un-written rules of posting, which is basically post what I like, when I like it.

It's that which brings me to Mt. Wolf, an act I've been aware of for probably six months but haven't written about yet, they're currently flying high in the hype machine chart (though I'm not quite sure it carries the weight it did pre-spotify - a service I still can't bring myself to use) and have amassed some 40,000 plays with the beautiful song I'm writing about today. It's a strange one, in 'buzz blogging' terms that makes Mt. Wolf old hat (Faded Glamour wrote about a demo of the song in February) but in reality the band are very much still in their infancy, with their debut EP Life Size Ghosts released on 12" vinyl via Two Sisters Records and their debut video just released (a perfect compliment it is too, check it out below).

"Life Size Ghosts" transcends beauty almost from the second it starts, flooring you with its dreamlike beauty, the haunting vocals of Kate Sproule are spine-tingling while perfectly punctuated electronic arrangements bring subtle, well thought out atmospherics throughout, the glacial beats and fluttering guitars simply defy beauty. Edging away from the ethereal melancholia is "Cry Wolf", powerful and upbeat with edgier nuances and dramatic beats on an EP of icy night-pop which blends electronica and dub with folk and hints of classical, overall Life Size Ghosts is heavenly dark, perfectly produced and just wonderful.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Binoculers - New Music "Introducing"

Binoculers is Nadja Rüdebusch from Hamburg who today releases her second album There Is Not Enough Space In The Dark, I've not had chance to fully digest the fifteen track album yet, so I'm going to concentrate on the two tracks which have been made available to sample for free via her label Insular Music, with an LP/CD to follow the stream available on her bandcamp page.

Both weave potent spells with simple compositions, mainly delicate acoustic guitar and subtle atmospherics with Nadja's soft, sweetly hushed vocals and her lyrics, introvert and full of imagery, "Monsters" is a dark lullaby with equally tender male co-vocals, gentle drums and twinkling keys while "The Place You Come From" similarly enchants with deliberate, pored-over word craft, both haunting and infinitely pretty, let Binoculers bring some warmth to your day below.

Weird Menace - New Music "Introducing"

I don't know too much about Weird Menace (not even a picture) other than they've played a few gigs around London town and appear to have a member of La La Vasquez in their line-up (I read that on the Internet with no supporting evidence so I won't vouch for it), they've got three tracks on a soundcloud page which are great and that is what I care about, the music...

With wistful female harmonies and distorion pedals a-plenty it's safe to say Weird Menace's noisy guitar fuzz get me in all the right places with their scuzzy deliciousness and thunderous rhythms, take the track of the same name for a perfect example, energetic and raw, slamming drums, heavy riffage and soft harmonies. "Beyond Belief" takes a similar formula but hits even harder, instant infatuation.

Here's hoping some information, online presence, shows etc come soon...

Friday, 2 November 2012

Emily and The Woods #4 - Small Song

It's all been a bit quiet on the Emily and the Woods front this year, aside from the odd gig in London and a tour with Newton Faulkner earlier in Spring it seems Emily has been happy to spend 2012 writing and recording new material. Fingers crossed it's a sign of things to come next year, with an album release and some tours across Europe 2013 could be the year Emily makes the cross-over to universal acclaim...

Her "silence" ended this week with the release of a new track for us to share and download for free (which you can do below), "Small Song" is exactly that, a short but eternally sweet track in which intricate guitar circles and Emily's melt-your-heart vocals combine to fill you in an air of calmness and beauty that's sure to make your day that little bit better.

Download below and see you on my tips for 2013 list, Emily!

Caviare Days - The Awakening

It's Friday, a week to pass over for me after spending most of it with a bad head (and not a self-inflicted one at that), three hours at the dentist yesterday summed it up nicely. Anyway, you're not here to read about me, thankfully, the music keeps coming at me quicker than I can keep up and I have my inbox to find for this latest blog post...

A band that, if picked up by the right people (that doesn't really include me unfortunately!), could be primed for success next year are Swedish sisters Lina and Maja Westin who lead the psychedelic folk-rock group Caviare Days, they appear to have been around in their native country for a while now with the video to the title-track from their UK debut EP The Awakening (released November 26th) dating back a year or so, nevertheless I can't help but be pulled in by the combination of slightly sinister late 60's psychedelia and alluring vocals...

The title-track "The Awakening" is arguably the finest track, with dark, powerful vocals swamped in foggy guitar spirals and percussive beats, its powerful verse swirls into a chorus filled with emotion and melody, the airy and tense atmosphere continues on "You'll Qualify", a rush of raw,energetic garage rock, its accompanying video of the girls dancing laden in 60's clothes amongst psychedelic patterns a perfect summation of the EP's sound.

While "When the Light is Breaking" is another highlight, it brings a slightly different sound to the table, with the sisters almost Abba-esque vocals harmonies swirling around repetitive bass and percussive shakes which gradually builds with nostalgic guitars to a crescendo of exuberant joy, rock 'n' roll isn't dead just yet.