If we pretend the Pigeon Detectives were an anomaly tax writeoff, Leeds' Dance To The Radio label is proving a pretty good testing ground for interesting and eclectic new music. Grammatics are their second biggest hitters, and they've also put out work in various forms by the likes of ¡Forward, Russia! (Whiskas co-founded the label, although he hasn't been directly involved for a while), Sky Larkin, Napoelon IIIrd, iLiKETRAiNS, This Et Al, The Lodger, Shut Your Eyes And You'll Burst Into Flames and so on and so forth.
The label turned five this month, and celebrates by putting out a special 12" for Record Store Day on April 17th. Still Occupied Though You Forget features thirteen friends, labelmates and countymen, and £2 of every purchase through the DTTR store goes to UNICEF.
We're telling you all this stuff you could read elsewhere were you arsed at all because they've also stuck the whole thing on Bandcamp for full streaming. There's quite a few new names, but some we know too. The very much southern Rose Elinor Dougall, for one. No, still no sign of her album despite nearly a year of promised imminent release - did she give it to the Avalanches to mix? - but she's putting out the latest in a long line of preview singles through DTTR in May and offers a 'version' of one of her other defiant slices of sophistipop. Whiskas' own Honour Before Glory offers up the wracked digital reverberations of Lions, still as intriguing as it was when we first wrote about him/it a couple of months ago. I Like Trains, as we must boringly refer to them now, are in the studio, When We Were Kings suggesting a less post-rock, more Chameleons-ish swirl of wiriness. The Sunshine Underground exist. Three Trapped Tigers name all their songs in numerical order, and this one goes up to 11:
Some fascinating new names to us, and hopefully you, too. Heavy on the electro keys as the collection is, we see things especially ahead for Club Smith, who do the sort of dark, nearly anthemic synth-laden Editors failed to pull off last year. NY's Bear In Heaven got an 8.4 for their album off you know who if it's an 8.4 mark we're quoting. This splashy, far reaching power-psych deserves further investigation. Just Handshakes (We're British) issue a playfully New Wave-derived indie-pop with a singer who is nearly the vocal spit of Young Marble Giants' Alison Statton and an air of Sky Larkin gone Labrador Records. Of the new names our standout is Paul Thomas Saunders, based in Leeds but seemingly originally from a Leicestershire village and recently supporting Blue Roses on tour. The Death Of A Sports Personality finds a desolate spot in the obtuse singer-songwriter category full of reverberating wrackedness, edging close to post-rock soundscapes in the backing.
Which is all very well, and shows that there'll always be someone to do the A&R legwork for you if this is the sort of thing they're still locating and facilitating half a decade down the line. Five more years! Five more years!