The Kabeedies - Little Brains [Spotify] [YouTube]
The Kiara Elles - Odio [YouTube]
Laura Marling — Goodbye England (Covered In Snow) [Spotify] [YouTube]
Still has the most unerringly gorgeous folk voice, still writes songs of textural beauty with utmost care and attention. Even if it nearly turns into the mice's song from Bagpuss at one point.
Le Loup - Beach Town [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Left With Pictures - 1, 2, 3, Go! [Myspace stream]
Starts with very nearly the Smoke On The Water riff played on piano, and turns into classic Lucksmiths-recalling summer pop.
Let's Wrestle - My Arms Don't Bend That Way, Damn It! [Spotify] [Myspace stream]
Slacker new wave savant in the scrappy power-pop lineage of Buzzcocks, The Wedding Present and The Cribs. That's what we wrote about the album, and this careers better than most.
Lord Cut-Glass - Even Jesus Couldn't Love You [Spotify] [Myspace stream]
Los Campesinos! - The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Ah, they'd have to get their noses in here somewhere. Continuing down the dark path We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed suggested. Gareth supplies the dark imagery suggesting anorexia, social outcasts and drowning suicide. If Romance Is Boring is all this good... oh, yeah, it is.
The Lovely Eggs - O Death [Spotify]
It's a song about carving insults into lemons that switches from playschool lo-fi sweetness to metal riffing. Who could resist?
Lucky Soul - Woah Billy! [YouTube]
The Maccabees – No Kind Words [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Weird that so many people talked about this album as turning them into Arcade Fire. Maybe it's some minor bit we didn't spot at first. Anyway, this is where they turned the freneticism down and introduced an almost shimmering building up to a classic guitar race for the line.
Madness – The Liberty Of Norton Folgate [YouTube]
Others rated the album higher than us - too in thrall to 80s production to sound as timeless, ironically, as the best of their 80s work - but the ambitious style switches, post-Peter Ackroyd sociology of the captial narrative and obvious joy of the ten minute title track put many a British band of similar vintage to shame on its own.
Magpie Wedding - September Song
From a tremendous six-track EP, Torches, the Bologna-based collective got it right straight out of the gate, and in a way that's difficult to pin down to simple comparisons, in near enough radio silence, which is rare these days. Just on this track they channel an emotionally turmoiled Scout Niblett fronting Modest Mouse on Asthmatic Kitty Records. Or something like that.
Mat Riviere - FYH [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Latest cab off the Brainlove Records rank, Riviere plays around with a wall of knackered electronics and doomy voiced prognoses of unfulfilment a la Why? playing with the second hand keyboards in Cash Converters.
The Medusa Snare - Ixtab [Myspace stream]
It might on the surface sound like the first post-Pains Of Being Pure At Heart band, no bad thing in itself, but two of ver Snare's old lot the Manhattan Love Suicides were POBPAH's support band of choice and they owe as much in their fuzzbomb attack to the Dunedin sound and the Magnetic Fields.
Meursault - William Henry Miller Pt 1 [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
One of two 12"s released in December, a reworking of an old favourite marries banjo to subtle electronics to emotion splitting effect, something Meursault are already learned hands at.
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Buriedfed [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Again qualifying through a first UK release being this year, which rules out Bon Iver comparisons. Does slightly resemble Tunde Adebimpe vocally, though, in this shuffling rage against the world and the human condition. Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor's typically spaciously deep production helps it sound great.
Minnaars - Are Lovers [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Since being bigged up on our Class Of '09 selection, they've comprehensively failed to get a UK label despite being able to release a mini-album in Europe and tour it. BEHOLD OUR INFLUENCE.
The Mountain Goats - Psalms 40:2 [Spotify] [Myspace stream]
Maybe John Darnielle hasn't been the same confessional songwriter since upgrading to the full band, but on this track he really got to bare his teeth as much as his cryptic soul.
Muddy Suzuki - D-Punk/Shimmering [Myspace stream]
Napoleon IIIrd - The Strong Nuclear Force [Spotify] [Myspace stream]
Nat Johnson & the Figureheads — Wonderful Emergency [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Navvy - Disco [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
The Northwestern - What Did I Do [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Sam Herlihy and Simon Jones of Hope Of The States pick themselves up and start again with something less grandiose but, in a kind of Bunnymen dark melodic way, just as earpricking.
The Pastels/Tenniscoats - Vivid Youth [Spotify] [YouTube]
The Scotland/Japan cross-cultural exchange brought us unhurriedly sparkling space age lounge music, dream pop in the literal sense.
Peggy Sue - Lover Gone [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
For a duo (alright, trio now) whose USP is intuitively harmonied simple folk-pop there's a lot going on underneath here, both musically - plucked strings, school percussion - and emotionally, commemorating the death of a long relationship. And it's under two minutes long.
The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut - Hey Dr Beeching [YouTube]
The whistles aren't on the record. What is is a jangly elegy for the lines lost to the Beeching Axe from Sheffield-via-Grimsby's most perturbed songsmith. Download it, why not.
The Phenomenal Handclap Band - 15 To 20 [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Picture Books In Winter - T.T.Y.N. [Myspace stream]
Pulled Apart By Horses - I Punched A Lion In The Throat [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Rock and/or roll! As with Dinosaur Pile-Up lumped in with some sort of semi-mythical grunge revival, theirs is a swivel-eyed Jesus Lizard full-on attack spearheaded by a series of hoary rock riffs being twisted around or just smashed to pieces.