Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Set lists

As is traditional, tomorrow STN enters its end of year phase with the long count towards our album of the year. That also means, with the festive season fast approaching, A Very Sweeping Christmas is back online, and for the first time all four volumes are compressed into one downloadable file. Last year's Spotify companion, Sweeping The Pine Needles, is back too.

What we'd also like to draw your attention to is a set of Spotify collaborative playlist versions of our old Covermount downloads, which you are free to add related tracks to as you see fit:

  • List songs

  • Songs that use the Be My Baby drumbeat

  • Songs about a love of music

  • Songs about hatred of music

  • Songs about famous people

  • Songs about other musicians

  • Songs about sport

  • Songs based on talking

  • Songs about London
  • Monday, November 28, 2011

    Rumour Cubes - The Gove Curve

    The slow motion cinematography of Rumour Cubes is coming in album form on 27th February under the name The Narrow State. This is a highly intriguing example of what they're about and where they're developing, as delicately sighing violins eventually get swept into a riptide of guitar and electronics noise before ebbing into something more ragged with added oblique spoken word.

    The Gove Curve by Rumour Cubes

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Post War Years - All Eyes

    It feels like a while since Post War Years last crossed the radar, having been somewhat lost in the great synthpop morass of 2009. This first single from a new James Rutledge-produced album due next year takes a trip down a long, dark rabbit hole and ends up sounding like it's fighting against some force field with only malfunctioning analogue synths as their guide. And just when you least expect it, their guitarist decides he wanted to be in Minus The Bear all along.

    All Eyes by Post War Years

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Red Kite - Montreal

    Since chancing across Daniel Fisher's demos in April we've been eager to see what became of the "nervy composure" shown therein. In fact the first single is more filled out (not unreasonably, there's a full band now) and faster than those tracks suggested but still feels like it could have a mental collapse at any moment. Huge hooks and an enormous rush are willing hallmarks of a band who are far more considered and ungainly patterned in the detail while retaining the radio-happy pace of any number of hyped New Guitar Bands For 2012. (NB. if it all goes horribly wrong and they turn into a Vaccines manque, pretend this never existed)

    Red Kite - Montreal by Red Kite_Band

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Boy Friend - Egyptian Wrinkle

    What the rest of the music blogosphere is to minimalist R&B we are to keyboard drone and ethereal Liz Fraser-inspired vocals. So here's another one. Boy Friend are a duo from Austin, Texas whose floating in space is thick with aereated synths, wordless coos to the heavens and woozily reverberating production atop, while the vocal occasionally makes like a mid-80s emoter trapped in aspic and thrust into an alien environment. An album of the same name is due out 6th February.

    BOY FRIEND "Egyptian Wrinkle" by HellYes

    Totem Terrors - Empty Parties

    Longtime readers may already know of Cardiff duo Totem Terrors from when they were called Joy Of Sex. The name may have changed for tactical reasons but the spitting out of jagged, chipped riffs a la Wire and acutely awkward male/female crosshatched vocals remains. They've currently got four tracks for free download.

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Knickers - My Baby's Just A Baby (But I Love Him So)

    Perhaps understandably, information about Knickers is immediately hard to come by, though again a little poking around the online recesses reveals it to be the new project of a longstanding indiepop auteur/scion/stray/man about town. The band are a slight return to 2005's glory days when every other band took its lead from 1960s girl group tropes, this one more cleaving to source material than most but like those bands its source aim is towards the feet as much as the synapses.

    Athletes - Fall Apart

    Information on Athletes is sparse, mostly due to the Googleability of that name - even the knowledge that it's mostly a Dane called Mathias Andersen doesn't help given the number of sportsmen called Mathias Andersen thrown up. In fact a little poking around finds it's the same person as behind the lighter while duskier Georgiaa, as mentioned here back in July. What isn't hidden is the quality of this as a piece of nervy dreampop, like early Radio Dept in the way trembling tremelo guitars and hazy synths open up around heavily reverbed vocals. Free download if you want one.

    Fall Apart by Athletes

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Fashoda Crisis - The Berry Brown Face Of Robert Kilroy Silk

    We really thought we'd blogged this, or something from this album, in August/September as we were listening to it a lot at the time, but it turns out we didn't and release got held back until December 12th anyway. We could have been ahead of the pack for once there! That's not to suggest hanging on has diluted in any way this splenetic, vitriolic post-Falkous (and they've played with FOTL) magnificence from the Southend trio's second album Him Make They Learn Read, driving a steamroller through the youth's popular culture until it splits into millions of unidentifiable pieces, which they then pick up and rearrange into acerbically angry splintered post-hardcore that is entirely dedicated to blasting down the walls.

    Fashoda Crisis - The Berry Brown Face Of Robert Kilroy Silk by CogDissRecords

    Tell you what, have another track from the album. This is Animals.

    Chapter 24 - Spindle

    The latest stage of Chapter 24's attempt to sound like a psychedelic UFO-surf Raincoats covering every no wave band at once while on a rollercoaster like some spectral messthetic version of that Jim'll Fix It clip. Slashing away at half a chord while skipping drums vainly attempt to keep up, Claire Smith speaks in tongues as everything spirals inwards on itself until the tightly wound wire gives way. This is half of a double A sided 7" on Odd Box on the 28th.

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    The Kick Inside - Ever The Optimist

    Nothing big or cle...well, no, that's wrong, in construction it's quite clever, but Bristol's The Kick Inside are a connection through the Swedish indiepop machine back to a golden age of guitar-pop swooning, purest Marr-like chiming guitar while the lovelorn poetry nods at Roddy Frame and the like.

    Ever the Optimist by The Kick Inside

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Bastardgeist - Shift

    If you're prepared to sit through thirty introductory sections of African percussion something oddly hypnotic happens in this latest Brainlove-spawned single, half of a double A out on Monday, from Chicago's Joel Midden. Although the synth sounds are dialled further back there's something of last year's Twin Shadow about it as hypnagogic glissandos dance and wash around the falsetto. It's not a song that stays in one place for too long, though, as drones fade in and out and splashes of percussion raise the roof against something that sounds entirely composed even as it switches from minimalist to everything crashing around at once. The other half of the single, Winter Fog, can be found here.

    Bastardgeist - Shift by brainlove

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Sharks Took The Rest - Rename The Planets

    The Newcastle septet we first featured back in January come from a classically English folk background projected into a chamber pop setting. This first proper single pushes that combination further and ends up at the flighty mean point between Thea Gilmore and Beth Jeans Houghton. Beccy Owen's sighingly charismatic voice is front and centre but allows itself to be pushed by the violin patterns and brief outbreak of rock drumming. Despite its internal grandiosity it's all done in around about 2:20.

    Butcher The Bar - Alpha Street West

    Those who remember MTV2's 120 Minutes will remember the steady influx around 2002-04 of acoustic singer-songwriters who backed themselves up with sympathetic electronic touches. Butcher The Bar is not Tunng. Joel Nicholson, originally of Rotherham, now of Manchester, takes an upbeat Elliott Smith as his starting point and feeds in bits of electric guitar, piano and little bits in the background to heighten the deceptively bouncy mood. Nicholson is supporting Death Cab For Cutie at four UK dates this week, which makes sense.

    Butcher The Bar - 05 Alpha Steet West by broken horse

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Saturday's Kids - Grey On White

    From Cardiff (yeah, another one), having recently supported Future Of The Left, comes some woofer-rattlingly monstrous big hardcore riffage bringing Black Flag aggression and Kyuss sludge together as one, out on 7" in late January. They have their more Fugazi-like splintered moments and Sonic Youth noise-freakage but this is as good a demonstration of their determination to smash down such easy noisenik comparatives.

    Saturday's Kids - Grey On White by basementfever

    The Lovely Eggs - Allergies

    So what happens if you pitch Holly and David in with Gruff Rhys as producer? A song apparently about Bob Markley of The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band that seems more streamlined (multitracked harmonies!) and less self-consciously oddball than usual, it's a four minute buzzsaw art-pop cut featuring sitar and mixed in sampled voices that keeps on keepin' completely off somewhere other. It's part of the Too Pure Singles Club, out on December 5th.

    The Lovely Eggs - Allergies by Too Pure Singles Club

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Dananananaykroyd - I'm Innocent

    So. Farewell then

    There Is A Way
    That was your album title
    But it seems
    There isn't
    A way of continuing

    In your honour
    The indie-rock angels
    Shall form
    A wall of cuddles.

    They posted this to Twitter yesterday afternoon with no historical context but regardless it's definitely them, not to mention great.

    Wednesday, November 09, 2011

    Abi Wade - Stability

    Part of an EP (And Blood and Air, out November 28th) that will be the first release on a new label, Love They Neighbour Records, co-run by Daniel Copeman from Esben & The Witch, Wade is an engagingly intriguing prospect if only for how her only accompaniment is cello, a little piano and foot operated tambourine. The former, played pizzicato, sketches a restless undertow as Wade coos darkly over. For once, there's not a loop pedal in sight.

    Abi Wade - Stability by WorkItMedia

    Tuesday, November 08, 2011

    Golden Fable - The Chill Pt. 2

    Shorn of the vocal histrionics that too often follow skittish, melodic electronic pop these days, Golden Fable, a new more manageably named project by two of Tim And Sam's Tim And The Sam Band With Tim And Sam, come on like what would happen if Karin Dreijer Andersson decided to take Fever Ray in the pastoral direction Goldfrapp briefly touched base with. Rebecca Palin's vocals float across the crystalline airspace as keyboard hums amenably criss-cross under insistent programmed percussiveness.

    Monday, November 07, 2011

    We Three And The Death Rattle - Split Lips

    Yet another demo that's better recorded and more fully formed than most similar bands' proper work, WTATDR continue working that garage-punk oracle of ballsy female wail plus electrifying blues-riff-hurled-at-a-wall guitar, and this time there's a static-like theremin solo on the coda. You don't get that on your hipster lo-fi. Having just supported the Kills on three dates they do likewise for Josh T Pearson in Leicester on the 23rd.

    SPLIT LIPS ( DEMO ) by Wethreeandthedeathrattle

    Islet - This Fortune

    It begins with a lot of frantic percussion, Sister Ray hums and cymbal taps, because that's what Islet do. Then it richochets down the rabbit hole into an endless tunnel of motorik monstrosity where becalmed moments are set adrift in forests of distorted organ and syncopated rimshots. Before we're out the other end there's ghostly, ritualistic vocals, relocation of the offbeat and some severe synapse frazzlement. This is your mighty first taste of Illuminated People, out 23rd January, which can also be downloaded free from here and will also be available on a 7" available on this month's tour, more of which after the embed.

    ISLET // This Fortune by TheArtOf...

    Last we saw they've trimmed down from two drumkits to one plus some standalone toms, but you're still liable to be in grave danger of marauding band members. Dates:

    11th Manchester Deaf Institute
    12th Leeds Constellations Festival*
    13th Nottingham Bodega**
    14th Norwich Arts Centre
    15th Brighton Green Door Store
    16th London Lexington
    17th Cambridge Portland Arms
    23rd Cardiff Buffalo

    * Which looks ace, though it turns out they clash with Summer Camp
    ** Ridiculous night for STN-approved Midlands gigs, that, what with Johnny Foreigner vs Birmingham and Standard Fare in Leicester too

    Sunday, November 06, 2011

    The All Golden - Pink Hearts

    It's solo identity number three (I think) for international man of mystery Pete Gofton, who's just released a set of demos that (bar the folky instrumental) part tighten up the AM psych-pop of George Washington Brown into even tighter wound concentric circles. With its submerged jangle chops and hints of synthy undercoat it's a Drums you can stand.

    Pink Hearts (demo) by The All Golden

    Thursday, November 03, 2011

    Daughter - Medicine

    Another track (after Love) from The Wild Youth EP out on the 21st, the spare piano and ghostly background effects make it sound like a night lost in the woods within Elena's mind well before she starts picking over the debris of a relationship. Her voice is beyond her years; the whispering at the end against the pained howling and the ambience behind is from somewhere else entirely. A reminder of three special 'Daughter & Friends' Christmas shows: 6th December Bristol Cube Cinema, 7th London St Giles In The Fields, 8th Manchester Deaf Institute.

    Daughter - 'Medicine' (Taken from 'The Wild Youth' EP) by ohDaughter

    Cardinal - Love Like Rain

    Eric Matthews and Richard Davies have done some interesting stuff on their own - to name one each, the unimpeachable Fanfare for the former, touring with the Flaming Lips as backing band the latter - but they made their name in 1994 as Cardinal, bringing classic and classy orchestral manoevures to college pop-rock in a way few did back then and really few do now. They've reunited for an album, Hymns, out in January. This first taster is definitely from the Davies songbook with its distorted guitar, big beat and obliquely off-centre singing style.

    Cardinal - Love Like Rain by FIRE RECORDS

    Wednesday, November 02, 2011

    LookiMakeMusic - Lift Yr Emo Fists and Sing

    Birmingham's uncontrollably word-spewing indiepop-emo-crossover kids have a new member on cello and a new demo, one with about seven different sections which extends its self-lacerating gaze over doubting yr worth, by way of straight edge versus social drinking. Then it ends with some woah-ohs seeking a punk-pop anthem as opposed to the nervously shifting semi-acoustic night weariness they've accidentally landed in.

    Tuesday, November 01, 2011

    Field Music - (I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing

    A new Field Music album is a milestone indeed, our biannual meter ensuring there's still an audience for the intelligent hooks market. Plumb is out February 13th; this is typically Brewisian in the Working To Work/Give It Lose It Take It mould.

    Field Music - (I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing by memphisindustries

    The Early Years - Complicity

    In the, ahem, early years of STN The Early Years were one of not all that many keeping the motorik/drone flame heading onwards, but made an underwhelming album and faded out of the picture. But now they're back! Back! Back! With a good home in Sonic Cathedral and their first live show in over three years tomorrow at CAMP Basement, east London, with Echo Lake and Sennen supporting and Andrew Weatherall and Chris Rotter DJing. Taken from a 7" EP this new track is six minutes purest instrumental Krautrock probing, believing in repetition and evolvement as the same beast as its Radiophonic noises head it off into space.

    The Early Years 'Complicity' by Sonic Cathedral