Thursday, July 02, 2015

Trust Fund - Dreams

A MJ-produced standalone single ahead of a prospective second album this year from Ellis and co, a slightly more streamlined and early-Weezer-in-a-cellar indebted sound sees Alanna McArdle sharing the vocal duties on a fun-sized charging summery pop belter laced with requisite undercurrent of self-doubt.

Haiku Salut - Hearts Not Parts

Derbyshire's rustic instrumental exploratory unit's second album Etch And Etch Deep, out 31st July, sounds like it's expanding their palette into more pastoral, mistier territory while still sounding like a runaway folk junkshop on wheels crashed into an electronics display. Setting off at a fair accordion-led lick it eventually settles into minimalist Mum-like territory where the interesting things going on around the edges make up for the airiness in the middle, before a refuelled charge that the press release fairly accurately describes as "drum'n'bass being played on an army of glockenspiels". There's even vocals, albeit ghostly background wails. The album's London launch, at the Lexington on 9th August with support from Owl & Mouse and Two White Cranes, seems like a bill and a half.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Recommended listening: 2000-2004

It's halfway through 2015, a time when other blogs are slinging together lists of the best stuff they've heard so far this year. So quickly, here's a non-comprehensive selection of artists whose albums of the last six months we've really enjoyed and admired. Girlpool, Grawl!x, Ralegh Long, Panda Bear, Lone Wolf, Trust Fund, Landshapes, Algiers, the Mountain Goats, Courtney Barnett, Marika Hackman, Summer Camp, SOAK, Lonelady, Nadine Shah, Tigercats.

That's that done. Now, do you remember back in April we celebrated STN's tenth anniversary with ten year-by-year 20-track Spotify playlists? Well, we enjoyed doing those, so we decided to carry on right back to the start of the century. So here for the half-year hell of it are selections for 2000-2004, two separate collections for 2000 as we couldn't bare to lose more than forty tracks from what was a bountiful year for such goodness. And yes, doubtless we'll do more of these for 20th century years in time. We're like that.

2000 part one
2000 part two

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Swahili Blonde - Discover Aurora

LA's Nicole Turley's previous albums have included input from Viv Albertine, John Frusciante, Duran Duran's John Taylor and Devo's Alan Myers, which suggests a certain eclectic sense of adventure, but the Deities In Decline EP out July 21st is entirely performed by herself. Written as a song of personal inspiration for her goddaughter, it plants its flag initially in the world of early 80s processed electro-disco while wandering around picking up weeping strings, plaintive piano, occasional surging guitars and Afrobeat rhythms, eventually sounding not unlike Warpaint were they on Ze Records.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Two White Cranes - So Much Water, So Close To Home

Roxy Brennan's spare up close and honest to a fault style made an itching, immediate impact on last year's sort of self-titled debut album proper. Since then she's been involved with what seems like endless guest appearances and sideperson recruitments - in fact she's just joined Joanna Gruesome - but a second solo album is on its way, Radisson Blue out 1st August. Its opening track is loosely inspired by a Raymond Carver short story of the same name and features a slightly scrappy fuller band backing seeming not unlike previous collaborator(s) Trust Fund to fill out a song about the power of words in fiction but beneath the surface also is about more personal longings.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Slum Of Legs - Doll Like

Not every band affecting the sort of DIY sound that sounds like a faux-mess that's going to fall apart with the slightest distraction pulls it off in a way that makes you want to listen to them more than once. Brighton post-post-feminist indie-noiseniks Slum Of Legs very much can, spending their second single, described as "a call to action... a fight for gender identity and acceptance", throwing everything from triumphant hollering chorales to wandering Velvetsy violin via twiddly messed up electronics at a wall of fuzz and pulling it off through absolute conviction and righteous defiance to an end. A full throttle live act, their next gig is with potential spirit animals, supporting the reformed Prolapse - note to any professional writers looking in, why aren't you covering the Prolapse reformation dates? - in Brighton on the 23rd.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Outblinker - Pink

When the "radio edit" is nearly five and a half minutes long you're on to something, and for once that thing is good in this case. Outblinker, made up from assorted Glaswegian noise, art-rock and DIY outfits, are presently working with Benjamin John Power of Fuck Buttons, and it's their sculpted fried electronic noise that comes to mind alongside spiralling kosmiche and the striding analogue keyboard armies of Holy Fuck. A very promising starting point.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Totem Terrors - Big E/Lies

Max and Rosie's second album of wiry (and sometimes Wire-y) distorto-post-punk Hard Science is out 29th June, picking up pretty much where their spare sonics left off, namely in a ditch - chanted duelling vocals, sinuous riffs that turn chaotic every so often, throbbing guttural basslines, industrial drum machine, nodding at Steve Albini, Swans, Pere Ubu and the Fall's three R's (repetition, repetition, repetition)

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Girls Names - Reticence

Belfast's Girls Names have always been inclined towards the psychedelic and the damaged garage bands, but here they've veered towards what John Robb termed the Death To Trad Rock movement of the mid-80s, the movement that ran alongside C86 in indie circles of awkward, dirty post-post-punk noisemakers. While there's something of post-punk and pre-goth European iciness here too, it's all in the slashing, discordant guitar sounds over agitated rhythms, and it bodes very well for third album Arms Around A Vision when it's released in... October! The year's going too quickly.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

C Duncan - Garden

Christopher Duncan's multitracked acoustic lushness continues to evolve and take on a full spectrum of pastel colours on this new single, which explodes into psychedelic life like few properly manage to pull off, replete with a guitar solo journeying into space at the end, while the harmonic Duncans underneath remain able to convey the emotions in simple fashion. Intricate without overcomplicating matters, it's brighter than most of what we've heard from him so far while conveying an undertow of doubt, a sunshine pop Mark Hollis in waiting. Recorded in his bedroom, it'll be fascinating to see how this works live supporting Admiral Fallow in June and then Belle & Sebastian at Somerset House come July, the month (17th) in which album Architect is released.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Man Of Moon - The Road

Teenage Edinburgh duo Man Of Moon have been touring with The Phantom Band recently, which is as good an entree as you'll have into their boldly standing-out statement of a debut single, a strutting, lightly shimmering, slowly enveloping slab of dark kosmiche produced by Frightened Rabbit keyboardist Andy Monaghan that strides forward where others get stuck in repetition.