Monday, 31 December 2012

Dark Times - Girl Hate EP



One band that I totally forgot to include on the 2012 list is Dark Times, from Norway. They were introduced to me on a final night in Berlin by my friend Maren, who gave me their Dark Times Tape recordings to accompany my flight back to the UK, and it's continued to follow me on travels ever since.

It's the kind of music that is either still being largely overlooked, or has slowly diminished since the late 80's/early 90's heyday, I'm not sure which I'd plump for. But it's certainly been missed in every sense. Forceful, heavy, raw and loud, and with a frontwoman who you wouldn't wanna mess with, Dark Times aren't concerned with any kind of vacuous postering or blind messages of blurred ideals. The lyrical content drives forward alongside the chugging bass and guitars; titles like 'He's A Slut', 'Dead Meat', 'Worlds Away' and 'Talk Too Much' give hints at the unease and anger that focusses the music. Like Sauna Youth's Dreamlands, Dark Times see the world for what it is, rather than conjuring up nostalgic or fanciful imagery ("Every conversation turns out the same/Waste of breath and time, slowly driving me insane").

Their new EP, Girl Hate, sees their sound and structure sharpened, the tempo upped and the fury heightened (and Maren did the artwork!). There's something about the delivery and the sound that makes me feel like a wide-eyed, pissed off teen again, and not in any kind of patronising sense; it's stirring and fearless, and after being swamped with the mainstream stylised or clichéd 'punx', hearing something a little bit more genuine (and from a woman's POV) is welcomed.





The tape is available for FREE here and you can buy the 'Girl Hate' EP here.


Thursday, 27 December 2012

2012 : Personal Best



Cutting the past 365 days of music down into the highlights has been a tough one, not only because there has been a wealth to pick from, but because despite hearing hundreds upon hundreds of new releases, I've tried to cut it down to a small amount of records that kept me coming back again and again. Some I was lucky enough to work on and so got fully immersed in, and others just found their way onto my record player month after month and will always hold memories of special times.

Usually I have trouble picking a number one, but this year it's been easy. I kind of glossed over them back at the beginning of the summer as I couldn't spare the time to give them the write-up they deserve, but Pond win it fair and square. The Great Escape was a feast of new music (as usual), but catching them by chance for a spectacularly warm midday set in the Republic Of Music courtyard was the luckiest find. I hadn't gotten around to checking the record out, but as soon as they launched into their opening song, it was like seeing a favourite band for the first time; totally uninhibited, loose and loud, blasting away the hangovers of the bleary onlookers as though it was a headline set, rather than a matinee performance to a crowd of twenty. We all caught them again in the evening, and ended up catching them in London the week after, too, and Beard, Wives, Denim and their earlier record Frond were my go-to records for the rest of the year. 

As always, this list will be a bit patchy as memories fade in and out of view, but here's a quick rundown...


Noteworthy Albums:

Pond - Beard, Wives, Denim
Grass Widow - Internal Logic 
Sauna Youth - Dreamlands 
Cold Pumas - Persistent Malaise
Talk Normal - Sunshine
Disappears - Pre Language
The Soft Pack - Strapped
Chain And The Gang - In Cool Blood
Prinzhorn Dance School - Clay Class
Lotus Plaza - Spooky Action at a Distance
Martha Wainwright - Come Home To Mama
Bos Angeles - Taking Out The Trash
Grimes - Visions
Tame Impala - Lonerism
Melody's Echo Chamber - Melody's Echo Chamber
The Men - Open Your Heart
Dinosaur Jr - I Bet On Sky
John Talabot - fIN
Tamaryn - Tender New Signs
Moon Duo - Circles
Slowcoaches - We're So Heavy EP
Stealing Sheep - Into The Diamond Sun
Kindness - World, You Need A Change Of Mind


Noteworthy Songs:

Corin Tucker - Groundhog Day
Novella - Mary's Gun
Mazes - Bodies
Tamaryn - I'm Gone
Deptford Goth - Life After Defo
Areca Grove - Colour Test
MYSTYRYS - Sea-Ice
Keel Her - Riot Grrrl
Lana Del Rey - Video Games
TOY - Left Myself Behind


New Finds:

Pond
Keel Her
Vision Fortune
Throne
Dark Times
Sealings
Milk Music
Parlour
The Soft Walls
Ceremony
Edible Arrangements
Royal Limp


The Best of 2012:

Setting up One Beat Digital PR
The (kind of) return of Bikini Kill, with Bikini Kill Records
John Talabot, The Men, Mudhoney, Bleached, Wild Beasts & more at Primavera Sound
Wanda Jackson at Latitude
Chain And The Gang at the Blind Tiger, Brighton in November
Trip to Berlin to see Maren
Getting FEATURE off the ground
The Sauna Youth & Cold Pumas' tour
Mission of Burma at Birthdays
Psychedelic Psyblings' blog
Patti Schemel at the ICA
Day out in Whitby
Visits to the Daytrotter studio
FINALLY finding Live Through This on vinyl for cheap!


Looking forward to in 2013:

Playing a show with Verity Susman
Mazes' album
The Julie Ruin
Dinosaur Jr live in London
Deerhunter ATP (and seeing The Breeders for the first time!)
More travelling

x



Monday, 17 December 2012

Sauna Youth - False Jesii Pt II / Oh Joel



Way back in the early months of 2011, a single Soundcloud link was mysteriously shared by a band calling themselves 'Distractions'. The track was a cover of Pissed Jeans' 'False Jesii Pt II'; a totally sweetened version with the shouts swapped for harmonies, bathed in the soft distortion of C86 and lightened melodies. I listened to it so often than I almost ended up forgetting it was a cover, as it grew to be a brilliant pop song in its own right.

And now, the mystery is no more - Distractions was a side project of two Sauna Youths, and now the band are releasing it as their very own via Static Shock Records on Jan 21st. The 7" will be backed with 'Oh Joel', an entirely new song that continues to delve into the Slumberland sound.

Stream 'em both here...
 

And come to the Garage in Islington on Wednesday 19th December for the record release show! Human Hair, Vision Fortune and Edible Arrangements support.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Deptford Goth - Union

Though little is still known about the mysterious figure that manifests as Deptford Goth, Daniel Woodhouse certainly has the uncanny ability to of writing music that is at once emotionally tugging and gloriously uplifting. With his pure voice and use of space in sound, he forms music that is a whole world of its own; intimate, involving and able to light up even the darkest December day.

Though recent song 'Life After Defo' was regarded as the peak of his output so far, the new video for 'Union' shows that there is plenty more to be heard, with a delicate delivery and softly building hooks.



His debut full-length is due for release by Merok Records in early 2013.


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Unwound - Live Leaves



Take a deep breath, close your eyes and set the speakers to the limit - Unwound's live set is now ready to be fed into your ears. Recordings from the band's 2001 tour of the US are soon to be released to the public for the first time as 'Live Leaves'; a last document from a band that imploded during their live run in 2001.

Though always brittle and menacing in sound, these recordings capture a darker feeling - the tour ended up being wrapped around 9/11, and the world's paranoia and fear is deep seated in the tense and relentless delivery of each song.

Justin Trosper has said, "Prior to [9/11], we had good energy, but we were still working out how to play the songs as a five-piece. Then, for whatever reason, we rocked hard for like a week in the south. Survival instincts kept us alive for a bit afterward, but during the California leg of the tour we self-destructed, and eventually we decided to cancel our European and Japanese tours."

And as well as holding a tension, the recordings also act as a sonic time machine - you can hear the clinking of beer glasses being thrown away behind the bar, the applause and whistles from the crowd and the introductions from the stage. All that's missing is the sticky floor.

Unwound have always been one of the greats of the 90's post-hardcore scene, and though they may sometimes be overlooked, they are one of the most essential bands on the Kill Rock Stars roster. In the words of Trosper, "if you're an old friend, welcome back. If you're new -- here's to you. Thanks for finding us." May their legacy continue to inspire and to reign.

Stream 'Live Leaves' over at Pitchfork.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Veronica Falls - Teenage

The first glimpse of Veronica Falls' second album comes in the shape of 'Teenage' - another perfect 3 minute pop song from one of my favourite local London bands. Straying from the graveyards and dangerous cliffs of previous offerings into a less treacherous territory, 'Teenage'  is all about driving around and listening to music late in the evening, which is bound to flicker up a few memories for those who managed to access a car before hitting the big 2-0. Watch the video below, shot by Nichola Probert.

 



Thursday, 22 November 2012

Pissed Jeans - Bathroom Laughter


The return of Pissed Jeans was never going to be a quiet one. After a four year gap following the release of 'King Of Jeans', the band return with the mighty 'Bathroom Laughter', a tension-release of spit and anger, charging through the somewhat meek musical landscape and throttling anyone who stands in the way.

Get it here:



Their new album, Honey's, will be released in February 2013 via Sub Pop.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Listen : dressuptomessup mix #2


Tracklist:
Cold Pumas - Rayon Gris
Dinosaur Jr - Stick A Toe In
Melody's Echo Chamber - I Follow You
Omi Palone - A Reason
Parlour - My Love
The Proper Ornaments - Shining Bright
The Soft Pack - Bound To Fall
Sonic Youth - Disconnection Notice
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Gardenia
Tame Impala - Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
Temples - Shelter Song
Wendy Rene - After Laughter (Comes Tears)

*These are in alphabetical order because Spotify made me. But it still sounds great.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Tame Impala - Feels Like We Only Go Backwards


When I first heard this song, I got butterflies. It was a dull day, nothing was quite going right and then this came on and everything felt okay again. Oh so cheesy, but true. I know they are the band - and this is the song - du jour, but regardless, it's getting a post. Although Innerspeaker was a tough act to follow, Lonerism has matched up to it, and grown up and out of its roots to create something quite spectacular.


 

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Mazes - Bodies



Mazes have returned! But rather than presenting another record of instant slacker punk hits straight from Pavement's backpocket, their second album 'Ores and Minerals' is a different sort of trip - a further exploration into pace and sound, and if we continue down the Malkmus' route, more is owed to the Jicks' outlandish, stretched-out meanderings than a lightheaded wander down Shady Lane. Jack Cooper has given a nod to the influence of Arthur Russell, and with Matt from Hookworms at the recording desk, the record is a multi-layered, focussed and incredibly complete listen, and (I think) their best yet.

'Bodies' is the first introduction to the new Mazes sound - leading with high vocals that soon cease to let the instrumental take over the pace. Have a listen...

 

'Ores and Minerals' will be released on FatCat Records on February 18th next year.

https://www.facebook.com/mazesmazesmazes

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Cold Pumas - Sherry Island

After the quite intensely thorough and extremely informative Cold Pumas' food interview with Belly Kids a few months ago, I've since found that listening to the band has started to conjure up thoughts of picnics and hunger pangs. Whether it was because I consumed (if you will) the entire interview over a particularly tasty curry lunch (don't judge me), or just always seem to watch their sets at a time in the evening when the beery cheesy-chips temptations are starting to develop, I can't really say. Either way, their new video for Sherry Island does nothing to distance these two entities, as the band are surrounded with the kind of delicacies that would be welcomes at Abigail's Party, resulting in quivering jelly dribbles and green cocktail spittle.


 

They take to the road THIS WEEK with fellow Faux Discx/Gringo Records' faves Sauna Youth and are joined by more swell bands than can be counted on both hands, including Playlounge, Sealings, Hookworms, Vision Fortune, Fair Ohs, Collider, Mazes and Weird Menace. Tasty.



Wednesday, 17 October 2012

FEATURE - Memory EP




The 'Memory' EP from FEATURE is now streaming in full on Bandcamp:




Make sure you wait it out to the end - Glands is my favourite.

The EP will be released in plastic form by Cazenove Tapes very soon. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Novella - Mary's Gun


After taking some time out over the summer to hone their sound, fully incorporate influences and play with new equipment, Novella have returned with one of their best tracks yet - the compelling, and slightly creepy, 'Mary's Gun'.

The song was written about The Shangri-La's lead singer Mary Weiss, who started carrying a gun after her hotel room was broken into and got into hot water with the FBI. The beat gradually quickens over the course of the song, triggering the image of Mary's racing heart and shocked nerves, as the chorus' sinister demand of 'Hold me in your tiny hand' seems to take over. Listen below...



Mary's Gun is release on 7" single via Italian Beach Babes on November 26th.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Sew Twee


J M for J L
(weird pink marks are from the fabric below)

THIS is what keeps me from being one of those very committed bloggers that update at least once a week. 

More to follow soon...

Thursday, 11 October 2012

METZ - Wet Blanket

So METZ are sounding pretty great...


Even with a banging headache after a day spent screen-staring, 'Wet Blanket' blasts through everything and throttles my migraine into oblivion. I only really started paying attention to them when The Quietus put Cold Pumas and METZ on the bill together in a few weeks' time for a London show, and judging by both bands' recent output, it looks set to leave everyone staggering away with minds (and eardrums) in pieces.

Info on the show can be found here.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

R. Ring - Fallout & Fire



I spent Thursday night re-watching that Pixies documentary loudQUIETloud and as well as stoking my obsession with the Deal sisters all over again, it reminded me to post up a song I found last month - R. Ring's 'Fallout & Fire'.

R.Ring is the new band of Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery of Amplines, and although they've previously released homemade CDs, their first 'official' release will be a 7" on Mista Records.

The song has the familiar Breeders' tenderness, all soft vocals, acoustic slides and faded background guitar.

R. RING - Fallout & Fire by misrarecords

The 'Fallout & Fire' b/w 'See' &" is out on October 30th.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Keel Her - Riot Grrrl


Usually any song referencing riot grrrl sets me a little on edge (remember this atrocity anyone?) BUT all is well when placed in the hands of the wonderful Keel Her.

While the lyrics might be a little hard to make out at times, the chorus hook of 'F*ck me, in the backseat...' is a smash - think Bratmobile jamming with Jay Reatard, just crazy fun and under three minutes, so you're going to find yourself skipping back again and again and again until your throat's sore.

 

The song will be released on 7" via Critical Heights soon

Monday, 24 September 2012

Cold Pumas - Persistent Malaise



With what is quite frankly the best promotional 'photo' ever conjured (all thanks to the incredible talents of Flo Brooks), today Brighton cyclical enthusiasts Cold Pumas have announced the release of their debut longplayer, titled Persistent Malaise, on the 5th November (remember, remember). The album follows years of honing loops and pedals into a gripping musical mass, and forms a cathartic and devouring escapist panorama; an interval from the rush of life, a chance to lift above and beyond and onto an alternate expanse. Well, that's how their songs always make me feel, at least. Fortunately, their ceaseless live stamina has been committed to a recording without dilution - it's still very much a perennial structure, but a the pace occasionally calms, as vocals reach through the instrumentals and catch on the tips of the interwearving guitar lines. I don't want to give too much away by breaking it all down, as this record will force itself upon your turntable and stay put for many months to come, with intricacies becoming exposed with every listen. 

The vinyl is an edition of 500 on 180g black vinyl, reverse-board printed sleeve with spine and printed inner-sleeve. Includes digital download. The CD is an edition of 1000, housed in a reverse-board printed gatefold digifile sleeve. As Faux Discx note, the digital version is hovering just outside the Earth’s atmosphere and gets beamed down via satellites to your computer. This is certainly not any kind of mindless conveyor-belt production.

Persistent Malaise will be released on the 5th November between Faux Discx, Gringo Records and Italian Beach Babes. For starters, click below to get a free download of album cut 'Fog Cutter'.



Friday, 21 September 2012

Areca Grove - Colour Test





As well as being an awesome band in their own right, it's no secret that the men of Omi Palone have pretty great taste when it comes to music. Just listen to their Winter Mixtape (complete with cassette artwork) from last year.

And now, spurred on by a group of teenagers who now call themselves Areca Grove, in a move not unlike that found in the script of High Fidelity, Philip Zavier Serfaty, deep-voiced crooner of the 'Palone's, has started up a cassette label called Good Oscillations, to put out Areca Grove's first EP.

The EP will be released on a very limited number of cassettes (only 50 will be made, and no doubt will fly out within hours) and there'll also be a launch party in London on the 6th October to celebrate, where Jack Black may or may not be in attendance to take on Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On' in a cheesy yet loveable manner as everyone falls in love with each other. Or something.

Phil's description of Areca Grove sounding like "a surf 45 being played at 33 revolutions" is pretty damn spot on, as the song 'Colour Test' demonstrates, with warped, submerged vocals echoing around the melodic jangles. I've been coming back to the song every day this week, and I'm still not tired of the rumbling, far-off pop these guys have created.

Areca Grove - Colour Test by Good Oscillations

Areca Grove on Facebook

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Martha Wainwright - Proserpina


I have the absolute privilege of working on the new Martha Wainwright record, and as a big fan already, I've been happily savouring every spin of 'Come Home To Mama' on my way to work in the mornings. 'Proserpina' was one song that particularly caught my ear. Piano-led and emotionally raw, its lyrics fraught with anguish, Martha's delicate and moving delivery over accompanying strings was enough to send shivers.

As the title suggests, the narrative is based on the myth of Proserpina (named Persephone in Greek mythology); the goddess who was taken to the underworld and whose mother, Ceres, ceased the growth of fruits while she searched the earth for her missing daughter. Mercury was sent to retrieve her from the depths, but as Proserpina had eaten the food of the dead before leaving, she had to be returned to the Underworld for three months every year, symbolising the harsh winter months.

Written from Ceres' perspective, the song very much carries the weight of a loss, searching and tiring from grief and the unknown. It's particularly poignant that 'Proserpina' was the final song to be written by Martha's late mother, the wonderful Kate McGarrigle, before her passing in early 2010. Martha has said of her mother and brother, Rufus, “We wrote songs together, ever since we were children. As we sing her songs, I think her voice can be heard in ours, literally through our pipes.”

 Despite the shivers on the bus, I was fully unprepared for the unequivocal sadness and candor that the video would bring to the music. It's a stark and deeply personal performance, devoid of any big budget effects or gimmicks, with only the gradual changing of the seasons as a background, depicted from light scatterings of autumn leaves or snowflakes, as the light bursts and fades. Watching it feels almost like an intrusion, or even an uncomfortable confrontation of the viewer's emotions, too. It's so simple and stunningly beautiful.


 
Martha Wainwright: Proserpina on Nowness.com.
Dir. by Matthu Placek.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Watch: Last Shop Standing

I can only apologise for slacking off so much in the past few months. Blame it on this and this.



I'm breaking the silence to share news about a new documentary DVD that looks pretty great. As anyone who might have followed this blog a bit over the past year of so might have picked up on, record shops hold a very dear place in my heart. They were almost solely responsible for my musical education as a teenager - Stand Out Records (RIP) in Salisbury, my taste is all down to you and your wonderful and precise recommendations that you'd kindly put aside under the counter for me to collect after school. They were a place to bump into friends, to make new friends, have employed me throughout the post-Uni years and have reaffirmed my belief that the independent music sector is still as passionate and hardworking as ever before, especially given the current climate of music purchasing, constantly caught under an intimidating shadow that threatens the worth of music as a physical object; an object that deserves parting with cash for, rather than just clicking and taking for free.

I still find it strange to think that people now expect to be given the gift of music for free, to download and listen to badly compressed, filtered down sounds through crappy speakers and to honestly believe that they are owed it and deserve it without even considering that maybe, just maybe they should donate a bit of money to the creators that have given them such joy. I know there are legal downloading sites that many frequent, but personally, nothing beats a bit of human interaction, flicking through the racks so enthusiastically that your fingers start to catch and bleed, finding that forgotten record or pouring over the liner notes. John Waters says that if you go to prospective lover's and they don't have any books in the house, you shouldn't sleep with them. Without sounding too much like High Fidelity's protagonist, I say if you go to someone's house and there are no signs of records on their shelves, you should maybe just stick to being friends.

'Last Shop Standing' looks like a much-needed nostalgia fest-cum-kick up the arse. The trailer depicts many generations of music fans looking backwards, looking at the present and assessing the future of the beloved record shop, along with some 'Spot The Shop' shots of the UK's leading (and far too few) record stores. It's also a reminder that the diminishing numbers are getting even smaller, as the footage from Rounder Records in Brighton now carries a weight of sadness, given that the shop was forced to close its doors a few months ago, after 46 years of service to the community. Johnny Marr describes them as 'a library for the ears and the mind'; a statement that really does sum up what makes the lowly record shop such a special experience. Long may they continue to educate.



'Last Shop Standing' is out 10th September. And you don't need me to tell you where to pick up a copy from...

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Sauna Youth - Dreamlands [Stream]


IT'S FINALLY HERE. Feast yr ears...

Still obsessing over this record. Preorder right now to get an immediate digital download and the vinyl sent to your house one whole week before the release...


http://fauxdiscx.bandcamp.com/album/dreamlands

Proper updates to follow soon.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Chelsea Light Moving: Frank O'Hara Hit / Burroughs


I'm about a week late with this, but wanted to share not one but TWO songs from Thurston Moore's new musical project, Chelsea Light Moving. The line-up of the new band consists of Keith Wood (Hush Arbors), Samara Lubelski (Jackie-O Motherfucker) and John Moloney (Sunburned Hand Of The Man) and Thurston, channelling a heart that is, in his own words, "broken and blessed at the moment". After string-led subdued solo outings last summer, the introspective evaluations have morphed into crashing bolts of bright electricity; voices raised, heads in the sky, summoning the past, present and future, calling out, "We are the third eye of rock 'n' roll".

Download new song 'Frank O’Hara Hit' here (and read Thurston's introductory letter about the influences that led to it), and stream 'Burroughs', the first offering from the band, below.



Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Soft Pack - Saratoga



My reigning memory of The Soft Pack was that they were my Valentine's date two years ago. With no romantic prospects on the horizon, and after many weeks of playing the band's self-titled second album on heavy rotation at the record shop we worked in, two friends and myself snapped up tickets and dodged the rose-toting couples along the North Laines to the safety of The Freebutt.

Arriving at the venue, suspicions that Brighton is, indeed, for lovers, were confirmed. For a band that everyone had been talking about for months before, and who were the cause of way too many bag clashes - they were giving them away free with the album, and the logo could probably be seen radiating across the ocean to the beaches of France - the place was almost dead with only a few fellow single folk propping up the bar. But when The Soft Pack took to the stage, any ounce of self-pitying was immediately forgotten. They tore through their set with energy and force, gathering the small crowd at the edges of the stage, delivering the probing lyrics in a more ferocious and challenging manner than when they were embedded among the pop riffs on record. I remember the whole show racing past until it was time for the curfew, and I walked back home never happier to have been date-less on February 14th.

After the show we didn't hear a lot from them again, but this month they have returned with a new song, 'Saratoga', taken from the upcoming album Strapped. I'm lucky enough to have heard the whole record thanks to work, and this track is only a small sample of what's to come - there are definite adventures into the world of Ariel Pink-style songwriting and some funkier stuff that works surprisingly well. But for now, I give you 'Saratoga'. It's good to have them back.



http://thesoftpack.tumblr.com/

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

SAUNA YOUTH - PSI GIRLS



An evolving band of young future humans making truly irregular punk not quite comparable to anything else; the always excellent Sauna Youth will FINALLY release their debut long-player, DREAMLANDS on 3rd September, as a joint release between Gringo Records and Faux Discx. The band, attracted to the possibilities apparent within a DIY philosophy, have been self-recording and self-releasing their own music since 2010, creating a number of seven inches, splits and cassettes. DREAMLANDS will be the band's first long-player, marking the mutation of their sound and a new line-up.

Listen to the first song to come from within - 'PSI GIRLS'; an eloquent reflection of the lost ability to communicate, blunt of pace and with a brain-burrowing chorus that might just be the poppiest thing they've written to date. It's also a free download if you want to listen away from the computer screen...

SAUNA YOUTH – PSI Girls by Faux Discx


Disclaimer: I would NEVER usually crib the press release, but it was co-written with the band (with an extract from a recent gig event, which I can't seem to find), so I can be a bit lazy, just for tonight. Sorry.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Thee Ludds - Crumhorn

So you've had a big weekend, feeling out of sorts, maybe even a little queasy? Looking for something to ease the pain? You'd best look away. Thee Ludds' delightfully disjointed garage is 2.5mins of incessant organ and garish guitars, delivered with the demented persistence of a man alarmingly on the edge. The accompanying video contains some stomach-shocking imagery - raw cuts of meat on conveyor belts; pink offcuts sliding down industrial drops; frankfurters journeying over shiny steel; slabs of red flesh being stabbed at by knives. This ain't for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. You have been warned.




Available on 7" from SixSixSixties Records.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Cheatahs - Coared

I'd heard some good people saying some good things about Cheatahs and so had a little listen today to 'Coared'. AND COR INDEED. Perhaps if Evan Dando had stayed on the straight and narrow and didn't write tracks to nod out to, this would have been the driving pop sound of The Lemonheads (who I love dearly, but it's fun to play the parallel universe game). I have a feeling this will be getting some more play tomorrow, and the next day, and the next...




The song is the title track from their new EP, which is being put out by Marshall Teller Records.
You can stream it in full here.

http://cheatahs.tumblr.com/

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Blog: Sasquatch Nation

I have a confession, and I'm not proud to share it. Until recently, I found the world of guitar gear to be an overwhelming and intimidating one. It's certainly not a honourable thing to admit to, but I relied heavily on the Sniffin' Glue school of power chords and just plugging straight in, and any attempt to talk pedals in a music shop always left me feeling like even more of an amateur than I already feared. I had the ill-advised belief that this was a realm that belonged to my Dad and (sometimes slightly patronising) ex-boyfriends, and that after playing guitar (questionably) for ten years, it was too late to start joining in now.

But the past few months, something changed. I found myself staying up late watching YouTube videos of pedal demonstrations, researching on message boards and having long phone calls home to discuss the benefits of loop pedals. The fog started to lift and my nerding out began to takeover. And I really, really enjoyed it.

So, when my friend Jen told me about this new blog, Sasquatch Nation, I was intrigued. The blog is a self-defined "Internet place about gear and bands, but mostly gear", where musicians are encouraged to completely nerd out and to talk about nothing but their set-up for as long as they wish. No overt plugging of records or shows, or discussing 'influences' for the zillionth time, but unabashed geekery, detailing equipment must-haves and throwing around names like 'Moogerfooger' and 'Holy Stain'.

The interviews (with the likes of  James from Keel Her / Bhurgeist, Oli from Cold Pumas & Lindsay from Sauna Youth) are light-hearted  and informative, and never get all serious and insular and self-involved, which is something these conversations can sometimes lead to if you're asking the wrong kind of person. Even if you know sod-all about gear it doesn't really matter as each interview is a great read.

I imagine for those fully informed it's a chance to nod knowingly/theatrically disagree with choices, but for newcomers into this techy realm it's a total goldmine of information that can usually only be gleaned from plucking up the courage to ask directly in person, which is sometimes hard to do.

Go and have a ganders, and don't blame me when your Paypal account takes a beating and this becomes your future:


Friday, 29 June 2012

Cold Pumas - Fog Cutter

After hints of a long-awaited album coming soon, Cold Pumas have shared a new recording in the form of 'Fog Cutter'. A less frenzied affair than past releases, the track is a minimal and gently building listen, but with the band's signature loops and pacing rhythm left unscathed.

Expect more to follow over the summer...



Read Patrick's interview with Mint Magazine here for all manner of culinary tip-offs, and visit http://coldpumas.tumblr.com/ for more.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Vision Fortune - Night Jukes



Played out under shards of intense flashing black and white light, a Vision Fortune show can be an endurance test for the senses. But it's always worth battling through the migraine-inducing bright bursts; with eyes half closed it's a guarantee that everything is focussed on the phonics, with no room for distraction. Galvanizing and devouring, their ambiguous drones borrow from psych, jazz, kraut and all manner of rhythmic dalliance, and conjure up images of mysticism and voodoo.

After an EP and 7" single release, we finally get to look into the void of their own creation, with visuals in the form of 'Night Jukes', described as "Visual expressions of three songs", the songs being 'Heavy Saddles', 'Natural Faze' and 'Black Ocean Glow'.



The Vision Fortune EP is highly recommended, available on cassette through Italian Beach Babes.

http://www.visionfortune.org

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Event: Pap-il-lon


After a weird and wonderful debut last year which included a guest set from the mind-blowing Awesome Tapes From Africa, Pap-il-lon is set to return to London THIS Saturday for another dose of far out sounds from across the globe.

Never ones to do things by halves, Mireia and Belle have enlisted Alexandra Mochrie to create a teaser vid to get everyone in the mood...


Saturday 16th June @ Moustache Bar, London 
FREE ENTRY

Friday, 8 June 2012

Martyr Privates - Martyr Privates 7"


Martyr Privates are a total new find for me, but the debut 7" from the Brisbane-based garage three piece caught my ear and promised good things. Their simplistic take on psych rock is a straight-up listen, with thick guitars and cloudy vocals draped over sedate drum beats, but the relentlessness of the sprawling tracks holds a strong sense of purpose, summoning an altogether more powerful and ominous feel to their sound.




Have a listen to more over on the Bon Voyage Bandcamp and pick up the new 7" while you're at it.



Thursday, 7 June 2012

YRRS - Mob Life


... As you might have guessed from my last post, my disco nap went on for rather longer than expected, and four days later I'm still feeling like an extra in a zombie movie.

HOWEVER, this little ditty has gone some way to waking me up - 'Mob Rules' by YRRS, a two-piece from Bournemouth that somehow capture all that was wonderful about The Cribs' first record in just over 2 short minutes. I know every band and their brother get Cribs' comparisons thrown their way, but this is the first time I've heard a similar spirit and sound put to record, and it's a welcomed introduction...



The song will be released on a split with Honeyslide on June 25th, via Keep It Yours Records.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Round Up - Primavera Sound 2012 (Part One)

I have returned from my first Primavera experience with the new found ability to climb a usually panic-inducing hill of stairs without breaking a sweat, possibly heightened tinnitus, a stomach pained with a diet of hotdogs and beer and still with an ever-present moon tan that is now only marginally more bronzed than during the snowy months. BUT what a helluva fun time it was, spent walking the many concrete miles to watch a neatly picked round-up of reformed fore-fathers (Refused, Mudhoney, The Cure, Yo La Tengo...) and the offspring that their past sonic exploits helped birth.

Thanks to the ever-flowing 1EURO beers and sun-scorched hangovers I won't even try to write a walk-though of every artist I had the pleasure of catching (or even write-up events in chronological order), but here's a run-down of some of the bands that made the 4 hour delay eating dry bacon butties at Gatwick worth all the while...

The entire Refused performance was incredible; now over twenty years on from their initial inception, the propulsive power of their sound and the voice that they provide is phenomenal to comprehend in a live setting. With 'Free Pussy Riot' emblazoned on their drum kit, we are reminded that their catalogue of music is ever-present and defiant and certainly not just a nostalgia trip. Though I never thought I'd be watching Refused dressed in a pink summer dress and strappy sandals. The 14 year-old me would have been ashamed.



White Denim continued to prove themselves to be the relentless masters of the entire guitar music spectrum, which was followed with a hair-raising trip to see Mudhoney plough their way through seminal grunge masterpieces, with howls of 'TOUCH ME I'M SICKKK' echoing up the walls of the auditorium and out into the open sky.

John Talabot was a complete mystery to me before the festival (I'd heard his name but had never taken the opportunity to properly research), but his set was certainly a highlight. As a hometown show for the Barcelona-based producer, the building beats, high-reaching vocals, menagerie of samples and woozy soundscapes produced couldn't have had a better backdrop than next to the slowly waving sea, bathed in moonlight in front of the post-3am party crowd. His new album is now at the top of my record-buying list.



After seeing him in a packed-to-the-rafters XOYO a few months ago, it was difficult to tell how Kindness' disco meets 90s boyband soul sensibilities would fare on a large stage. Thankfully Adam Bainbridge looked right at home skipping and shaking his way through 'World, You Need A Change of Mind', all limbs a-go-go and wearing an impeccably kitsch pineapple-patterned shirt (a nod to the Hawaiian, but - like most of Bainbrige's references - replicated with a greater sense of style than the trashier original outing).


- Part Two will follow, after a disco nap -

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Pond - Fantastic Explosion Of Time

No time to write tonight (or ever, really) but I have one word for you: Pond. Best find of The Great Escape by a long stretch...




Monday, 7 May 2012

Omi Palone - First Cassette


Omi Palone's first cassette isn't a new release by any stretch (they had the launch party in early Autumn last year, and the cassette has been kicking around for quite some time on Bandcamp) but I keep forgetting to mention just how purely excellent this tape/band is. With artwork by the wonderful Katie Scott, the purple pineapple design on a pleasingly turquoise cassette is enough to win me over anyway, but the fact the tracks embedded underneath sound like Beat Happening if they were to really get their shit together, makes it all the more special. My favourite song changes all the time, but today the dour despondency of 'Under The Water' seems to fit this depressing weather nicely. And yet, despite the often dismal subject matter, their unhurried melodies and sincere words are oddly uplifting and comforting.

The cassette is now sold out, but you can still get a digital copy here.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Sun Sister - Rich American White Kidz


Tye Die Tapes have sent some more cool shit over, and this time it's the sweetly-spoken lo-fi of 'Sun Sister'; Fitchburg, Massachusetts natives that slur their way through nonchalant tales of bleary-eyed romance that would lounge somewhere between early Ariel Pink, Spectrals, Girls and a large dollop of French yé-yé pop. It's quite a mixture, but it lends itself to so many era's that it's impossible not to get swept up in the murky, bedroom-pop that sounds as though it was recorded on an old 4-track and then chewed up by a faulty tapedeck after a night spent driving around with no real place to go. Welcome in the light evenings with a strong drink, a final cigarette and this on the stereo.

(I think I verged into the total pretentious void for a minute there, apologies). Get the cassette here!



Saturday, 21 April 2012

Grass Widow - Internal Logic

Grass Widow are releasing their new record at the end of next month! Listen to snippets & get excited:


Monday, 16 April 2012

Dawn Golden & Rosy Cross - Blow Remixed EP


Dawn Golden & Rosy Cross is not the ukelele-toting, folky duo you might suspect - it is in fact the brainchild of Dexter Tortoriello, a 24-year old guy who's just released a remix bundle of his 'Blow' EP on Mad Decent. Starting off (as all good things do) in the bedroom, the project is now ready for the stage, and pulling influence from doom metal bands to noise experimentalists such as Xiu Xiu, the overall sounds are initially serene, but shot through the melody with a pressing intensity.

Listen to Dntel's remix of 'Blacks', taken from the EP.

Blacks (Dntel Remix) by Dawn Golden & Rosy Cross

Dawn Golden & Rosy Cross plays White Heat at Madame Jojo's, London on May 8th.

http://dawngolden.tumblr.com/

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Introducing - Just A Crush



I was very happy to hear that more Dance Magic Dance alumni are starting up new projects, to ensure there's absolutely no excuse to stay home on a Friday night. With Mireia and Belle skipping the light fantastic to the world beats of Pap-Il-Lon, Laura's new venture Just a Crush is a new club night and record label based in London, co-run by Claudia with a mission to "capture the same excitement felt listening to a favourite song for the first time, buying a first much-coveted record and sneaking into a first gig and feeling as though the band was playing just for you."

The girls met through a common musical friend and it only took one beer and two gin-tonics to start this new project. Just A Crush will be taking over several London (and later, Spanish) venues on an ad hoc basis, to showcase their favourite British and Spanish music. They will also be releasing their first cassette very soon, so keep an ear out.

And as we all love any excuse to drink beer and party hard, Just A Crush are having a launch party to celebrate their birth into the world! Details below...



Event: Link

Friday May 11th 2012
The Waiting Room (Underneath The Three Crowns)
175 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 0LH London
£4 Advanced (We Got Tickets), £5 On the door
8pm-4am




Over to L&C to give the low-down on this rad line-up...

Nothing we could say about this London trio would do them justice. You have to see them. You have to be there. To know them is to love them. This will be their first proper London gig of 2012 and no matter what the weather’s like that day, they will make the sun shine in The Waiting Room!

One of the best London bands at the moment and responsible for our favourite 2012 7” so far: Drip Haze (out on their own amazing label Marshall Teller http://marshalltellerrecords.com/). Colours have been going on for some time now and they keep getting better and better. We just can’t get enough of them!

We’re super stoked that Barcelona garage rockers Mujeres are jumping on a train to pay London a little visit during their The Great Escape adventure. The band, who just got back from SXSW and are currently playing in Spain with Jacuzzi Boys, will be presenting their new album ‘Soft Gems’ before returning to Spain to play Primavera Sound.




Virginia Wing is our favourite new band in the world. They’re a made out of people from other bands (Let’s Wrestle, The Proper Ornaments, La La Vasquez) and sound like nothing you’ve ever heard before. They have just released a tape on SexBeat and great things are bound to happen to them!


ON THE DECKS

Rory Attwell - London’s number 1 producer will take over the decks between the bands
Diverge - The one and only Johny Chhetri promises to play a punk-rock special that will sure get everyone dancing!
Just A Crush


Sunday, 8 April 2012

Aural Enjoyment for the Patron Saint of Cacao

The soundtrack to yr sugar coma.









Saturday, 7 April 2012

Bleached - Searching Through The Past


Mika Miko splitting up was a dark day indeed, but sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin didn't stay quiet for long, and last year reformed as Bleached. With a sound a little more stretched out and drowsy than MM's pulse-racing punk, they still manage to be as rowdy as ever, and songs like 'Searching Through The Past' and 'Think Of You' are garage punk pop songs at their finest, and shit all over Best Coast's croony attempts at a similar sentiment.

Video time:

#

Their 'Searching Through The Past' 7" is out NOW.
(and sold out)
& they play The Shacklewell Arms, London on May 16th.