Thursday, August 21, 2014

Joanna Gruesome, Interpol, Tyrannosaurus Dead, Broken Arm

Joanna Gruesome - Psykick Espionage

Starting to suspect JoGru aren't going to release any more albums, just loads of new tracks on split singles. This one is with Perfect Pussy, and while no release date has yet been confirmed it'll feature a new track and cover by each on 7" plus a 24 page comic book. It's another reliving of their sweetness in the melee crossed with bug-eyed anger with subtlety, beginning like a runaway freight train with Alanna clinging on like here and now it means everything to her, and it probably does.

Interpol - Ancient Ways

Haven't heard them in this form for a while ahead of new album El Pintor, out 8th September. Paul Banks' lyrics are as inscrutable as ever, the noise around him focused, vaguely throbbing and pleasingly itchy driven by a rolling bassline gathering plenty of moss.

Tyrannosaurus Dead - Local Bullies

T-Dead have already been down the JoGru split route and have progressed onto an album, Flying Ant Day, out 3rd November via Odd Box. Produced by the usually reliable Rory Attwell, this switches from quiet wistful verses borrowing from the early 90s US underground to huge loud messy chorus, all while retaining misleadingly sweetened boy-girl harmonies. And it namechecks the RSPB.

Broken Arm - Guilty Conscience

Speaking of much-admired knob twiddlers, seriously, can MJ* consider putting us on commission at least if we're going to write about so many records he's recorded? From Leeds - the city they're all calling "the new Cardiff, at least as far as the number of new bands from there STN are featuring goes" - Broken Arm's debut album Life Is Short is coming out on 15th September via natural home of noisy dissonance Gringo Records, lashing on the power chord riff and then after a Mudhoney fashion slathering it in sludge, distortion, outbreaks of noise and short temperament.

(* Who of course also produced Joanna Gruesome's Weird Sister. See, everything's connected. Except Interpol. Bastards.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Before it's too late: Post War Glamour Girls, Heavy Petting Zoo

Post War Glamour Girls - Lolong

The other half of a double A side for the Too Pure Singles Club - we covered Gustave back here - finds PWGG going full goth, or at least a point somewhere between Bauhaus and the Gun Club. Billy Mason-Wood of Blacklisters takes up co-vocals, the band explaining the concept of the 7" thus: "Billy plays the part of 'Lolong' who is the largest crocodile in captivity and he's having a conversation through the bars of his cage/prison cell with 'Gustave' who is the suspected largest crocodile in the wild and trying to convince him that he should help him escape and they should work as a team." Right you are, then. PWGG are touring in mid-September, including on the 23rd a date for our promotional arm at Leicester Firebug.

Heavy Petting Zoo - Inherent Vice

Their Too Pure Singles Club 7" has been out for weeks but we've just realised we never wrote about the B-side, and given Nemone played it on 6 Music today and we've just seen them slay at Green Man ahead of a BBC Introducing stage slot at Reading (Sunday) and Leeds (Friday) - says here they clash with You Me At Six, The Kooks and Boys Noize, so it's not like you'd be missing anything - better late than never. Waltz tempo, spy guitars, Amy coming on with menaces, a cocksure swagger with a sharpened switchblade behind the back.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Allo Darlin', David Thomas Broughton, The School, DELS

Allo Darlin' - Romance And Adventure

The first single from third album We Come From The Same Place, out 3rd October, shares a title with a Josie Long show, which may not be a coincidence, not just because of a mutual admiration but Elizabeth Morris' lyrical worldview sharing a certain faux-naive belief in the restorative power of companionship through adventure. The song chimes effervescently like something assured in its essential indiepop timelessness, just like their songs tend to.

David Thomas Broughton & Juice Vocal Ensemble - In Service

The second taster for Sliding The Same Way, out 22nd September, the collaboration between Otley's sonorously beauteous surrealist and the experimental acapella trio is as uneasy, in a good way, as you might expect as Broughton gets involved in a tragic pub brawl and Juice dissonantly ululate.

The School - Just Let Me Be Here

The B-side, actually, of the Cardiff post-retro octet's contribution to WIAIWYA's 7777777 singles club, but it's the side we prefer so there, as there's something that suits the season about their not actually girl group but melodically inclined that way sweetness and light that isn't that sweet or light.


Man the lifeboats, STN's going to write about some rap! Kieren Gallear has been trading as DELS since 2010; second album Petals Have Fallen, out 3rd November, showcases his peculiarly urgent yet laidback style and headspinning lyrical Mobius strips. Michacu and Kwes are at the production desk for this track which essentially means the beat stops, starts and turns off into a different road type and the bassline sounds like a malfunctioning carburettor.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Worth the wait: Maybeshewill, Slum Of Legs, Wyldest, Flowers

Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

The title track of their fourth album out August 28th finds them in less brooding, almost bouncy mood by their usual standards. There's still the gradual post-rock build, twinkly breakdowns and big anthemic explosions, but in between come brass fanfares, stuttering electronics and politi-folkie who we don't think we've somehow ever mentioned on here before Grace Petrie on the very un-Grace Petrie-seeming instrument of accordion. They're touring China next month. Stitch that, Wham!

Slum Of Legs - Begin To Dissolve

We're tempted to think that the Brighton sextet are the Desperate Bicycles of post-riot grrrl or somesuch, DIY righteousness held together by audio string, but inevitably that's the trojan horse under which everything - metronomic drums, violin solos, lo-fi fuzz, lyrics based on curiosity and questioning - gets thrown in until it sounds like the Fall with a female singer deliberately smashed up and pieced back together skew-wiff, at which it collapses in on itself. A fascinating, singular debut single.

Wyldest - Wanders

Known as Wildest Dreams until... well, this upload, the duo recently won the Green Man Rising competition to open the main stage next Friday, following the great Haiku Salut's triumph in the same competition last year. Wyldest deal in tingling dreampop of a Beach House/I Break Horses stripe with a hint of Warpaint, drifting guitar lines and woozy synth effects sustaining a floating vocal in mid-air.

Flowers - Joanna

The first single from the trio's debut album Do What You Want To, It's What You Should Do (out 8th September on Fortuna POP!) sheds the fuzz and feedback of their earlier recordings and gigs - no doubt producer Bernard Butler's doing - to emerge as a more earthbound Sundays, lifted by the emotive upper register of Rachel Kenedy.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

This just in: Joanna Gruesome, Maybeshewill

Joanna Gruesome - Jerome (liar)

We're off to Indietracks this weekend, as you might have reasonably imagined, where one of the big draws is going to be JoGru's increasingly manaically ferocious presence. They and Trust Fund - he/they are there too - are releasing a split 12", three new tracks each, on 22nd September, this first taste of which harks back to their earlier EPs as Alanna and Owen sort of harmonise over elasticated fuzzbomb pop-post-punk which occasionally breaks free and surges like a sudden mini-typhoon.

Maybeshewill - In Amber

Stratospheric post-rockish guitars and stately electronics have served Maybeshewill well enough for three albums, by and large, but the first track to escape from fourth full-length Fair Youth, due 25th August, feels like a further step upwards in ambition, all peaks and troughs, minimal piano and subtly heroic strings and brass aid the slowest of builds to something that in refusing to quite become enormous just for the sake of it might resemble synesthesia of ice floes. Maybeshewill are playing out too this weekend, at Tramlines.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Menace Beach, The Rentals, Martin Carr, Echo Lake

Menace Beach - Lowtalkin'

Ah, where would we be without shouty lo-fi? A fuzzed out 103 seconds half of which seems to be a clanging solo that dissolves into appropriate chaos, it's half of a double A side out 1st September, and that'll be Alanna McArdle off of Joanna Gruesome on backing yelling.

The Rentals - 1000 Seasons

Matt Sharp left Weezer in 1998 but seems destined to be defined by having been in that band rather than the angularity of the band he on-off leads - indeed the story of Blur's post-Britpop transformation neglects how much Damon hung out with Sharp and guested with the band around that time. They're back with third album Lost In Alphaville, out 8th September, from which comes this typically fuzzpop bomb.

Martin Carr - The Santa Fe Skyway

We first wrote about this song nearly three years ago when it was in demo form. Not the most protestant of work ethics, is it? Anyway, here's the version that'll be on album The Breaks come September 26th, now swelled into a huge sunshine pop arrangement with a hint of 1980s US TV theme.

Echo Lake - This Year

Echo Lake emerged with an intriguing dreampop album, Wild Peace, in 2002, though the sudden death of their drummer stymied its promotion and prospects. This first release since then, which will appear on Marshall Teller Records label sampler Broken Record Vol. 1 on 18th August, breezes by with stabs of shoegaze guitar to disrupt the Slowdiveish mood, less droney than before but still liable to plunge down a psychedelically patterned sinkhole.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Spearmint - Tony Wright

Ahead of the festival this weekend, this year's Indietracks compilation is out with its usual remarkable value for money, 56 tracks for a minimum £2 with all proceeds to the Midlands Railway Trust. On there is this track, not one we recognised... until we found out it's from an album, News From Nowhere, that came out in May. There's communication at work - the very band whose song we named the blog after and we didn't know they'd released their first album in eight years until chancing across this two months later. Certainly sounds like a band on their usual form, Shirley Lee's treatise on growing up and leaving behind the certainties of youth through the value of the meaning of music framed through what appears to be a student love of Terrorvision. Each to their own.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Perfume Genius, Shy And The Fight, Sun Machine, You Are Number Six

Perfume Genius - Queen

Mike Hadreas' songs used to be spare things, a lot of the time just his falsetto and minimal piano arrangement, so for this to open with a huge bass synth throb is akin to his hiring a chamber orchestra. It's later joined by Flaming Lips-like effects and drones plus a keyboard figure that recalls Ryuichi Sakamoto's Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence score, yet in Hadreas' delivery and its almost teasing deconstruction of/challenge to gay panic it still manages to seem personal. Third album Too Bright, out 22nd September, is produced by Portishead's Adrian Utley and features John Parish.

Shy And The Fight - Stop Motion

Once again enacting our anti-Midas touch, as they were among our tips for 2013, Chester's driving folk-pop septet have gone the way of all flesh with a valedictory pay-what-you-like EP, First The Bird Fell. Clattering and rousing are both in evidence, this track picked out by us for reminding us of Fanfarlo's early way with subtle primary coloured sunshine pop with dark patches underneath.

Sun Machine - Tamaho Hitman pt. 1

The August (25th) offering from the Too Pure Singles Club is a kaleidoscopically shifting percussive-heavy stew that brings together sunshine psychedelia, washed out tropicalia and the kind of all-in-together post-AnCo melange that leaves the head spinning, with demonic incantation sloganeering to close. "Space Honey Jams destined for Japan" says their Facebook self-description. Well, yeah.

You Are Number Six - Magic

Inevitable someone was going to call their project that eventually. In this case it's one Theo Lefebvre of Montpellier, who on recent EP Weird Tales explores the point at which dark wave's gothic post-punk introspection meets the flamboyance of retro synthpop by way of latter day Patrick Wolf's joy in machinery.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

First mention Thursday: Zola Blood, Grubs, Cast And Crew, Childhood

Zola Blood - Grace

In these pages we've already declared a moritorium on the spread of both anonymous new bands and bands with names punning on famous people's names. So obviously here's a band who are both. Given it's doubtless going to turn out to be someone who was once in a failed major label landfill indie band it had to be special, then, and this has a way of subtly, uncomfortably forcing its way under your skin with pizzicato downtempo beats, subtly refractive guitar parts and falsetto vocals, not too far from Thom Yorke's solo material , especially when a phalanx of whirring synths arrive towards the end, or a more bass-heavy Cloud Boat, making glaciers across the landscape.

Grubs - Dec 15th/Gym Shame

Grubs are Owen from Joanna Gruesome, Roxy from Two White Cranes and Jake from, erm, Twitter. We've kind of covered the first of these tracks before over on Tumblr but they're both together on a new double A-sided flexidisc which comes to a total of 2 minutes 44. Dec 15th is lackadasical in the best way, Gym Shame lo-fi and fuzzy, both clatter with semi-shouty slacker pop cool.

Cast And Crew - Rory

Sometimes you just want to make noise. Cast And Crew are a Birmingham duo, half of whom are Paul from the late Ace Bushy Striptease, whose name-your-price EP is straight-up awkward noisepop, one eye on Distophia and their errant children, nothing at all indebted to that whole blues duo thing. Good.

Childhood - As I Am

Childhood have been much talked about in big brother music press 'new Britpop OMG' terms but, like fellow Midlanders Superfood, that's not entirely helpful when covering what they do. Sure, this single from Dan Carey-produced debut album Lacuna (out August 11th) sounds ready for prime-time with its old-school-pop ambition and stabs of Eighties effect synth, but where the big chorus should be is drifting vocals coated in self-doubt, luminous twinkling guitar sounds and an awkward groove that wouldn't fill the floor at an indie disco but is distinctive enough to demonstrate where a lot of those not dissimilar 2004 records fell down.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Christian Fitness, DFA79, Blonde Redhead, Froth

Christian Fitness - Soft Power Itches

One more time, because people are always joining in - Christian Fitness is Andrew Falkous, and from that you're not too far away from guessing what it'll sound like, and also that it'll be of the highest, most caustic, most abrasive quality. The album is out... soon. Falco note: "when the album is released the button that allows you to pay more than the regular price is just for people who contributed to that potato salad kickstarter. You should also probably apologise to your parents."

Death From Above 1979 - Trainwreck 1979

They're back, just when you didn't really expect it. The Physical World, out over here September 8th, is still only their second album and if it does sometimes drift back towards the dance-punk settings that were around when they first emerged - there's some underlying synths here that Jesse could well have borrowed from the drawer marked 'MSTRKRFT' - they still sound like they ever did, that is to say frustrated vocals, rumbling bass and drums of danceable death.

Blonde Redhead - Dripping

It's about time the multinational, multiskilling New Yorkers put out something new; that new thing is Barragan, out 1st September, and a track that resembles the last Caribou record in the shade on a sweltering day, synths dipping in and out all over the place.

Froth - When We Get In

Still playing at the bottom of hometown four-band bills, which is about where all the underdog bands we really love hang out, maybe it's their shared Glasgow surroundings but the five youths of Froth are reminiscent of the idiosyncratically indiepop world of The Yummy Fur - scrappily endearing in a way that belies their writing, infectious pop-leaning hooks twisted beyond their means, prone to gang shouty vocals, keen on hanging out in the darker corners of the indie disco. There's a whole EP released back in February, The Girl Who Fell To Space. What happens next might be even more interesting.