Over the last couple of months of stultifying ennui we've built up quite a backlog of Myspaces to write up and/or check out, so this week we'll get a lot of new bands out of the way that we think you might just like.
We'll start with one that was directly recommended to us by Jon from Love Ends Disaster! in a beer garden. The East Midlands does post-rock coated ephemeral anti-pop really well, and the typographically challenging SWIMMInG, while by no means another droning outfit, certainly know how to attach broken melodies, textures and soaring pedal work to a loosely pop frame. Featuring an ex-member of Amusement Parks On Fire and having played Glastonbury's Park stage at Emily Eavis' personal invitation last year, they're somewhat M83, a little Flaming Lips or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, there's certainly a sense that they know their Anticon and their Boards Of Canada, but they're all in all a band who don't really want to be pinned down. They play Isle Of Wight and Lovebox festivals, they have it in them to paint the sky with their vibrant technicolours. Or something.
Southampton's Haunted Stereo aren't that easy to classify either, the area they work their wonders in being trapped between the nu-folk and the properly (ie not The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, broadsheets) twee-facing. Boasting a toybox full of instruments and able to arrange them in a way that suits the shifting sands of the tempos and structures while not overcrowding the sound or work by crescendos alone. We're reminded a little of The Boy Least Likely To, not with the faux-naivety but in the way these folky, expansive gems know the value of simple melodies about not yet putting away childhood things but are far too in love with the stylistic and kitchen sink dramatic possibilities to be easily written off.
There's something quite understated in an overstatement way about Stairs To Korea. Another pretend band name, it's the work of Will Vaughan, once of erstwhile Magic Numbers support Horsebox, recent Pagan Wanderer Lu one-off backing band member and special British rep of the celebrated Rock Paparazzi Andersen Ben-Hilliens. What he does is add lo-fi electronica backgrounds to textured, skilful guitar (plus synth pedals), over which he lays wry, socially cynical lyrics. Essentially it's just great, cracked, heartfelt interesting English guitar pop, bedroom XTC/Super Furries-like, with a mass of potential.
Also one person claiming to be many, Awesome Wells is Jonathan Palmer, sometime accomplice of The Voluntary Butler Scheme and man who spends a lot of time out and about recording stuff which he then works into his found sound symphonies. It's all quite Panda Bear or Banjo Or Freakout-like, mixing all sorts of dialled down beats and odd off-kilter instrumentation into pieces which seem more sonic exploration in the approachable sense, shimmeringly hypnotic at times, than proper songs. We're guessing Palmer owns quite a few BBC Radiophonic Workshop records, such is the evident painstaking joy in construction. (NB. It'd be quite dangerous to get this Awesome Wells mixed up with this Awesome Wells, who sound like the sort of youthful glitter-pop-punk explosion of a band who in Kenickie's wake made upstairs at The Garage their own in the late 90s. Which is no bad thing of itself, obviously)
The Woe Betides are Grundy le Zimbra and The Late Simon Mastrantone. Mmm. They have Jeremy Warmsley connections. Of course they do. What they do is mildly folky dark pop that could have come from Andy Partridge's shed, rich in lively acoustics, harmonies and roughed up around the edges charm. Quite Sixties in approach, but just as modern in the joy of it all.