Saturday, April 28, 2012

MJ Hibbett - The Stores Of Not To Be

What with Dinosaur Planet (now on CD and off to Green Man!) and Moon Horse (now on podcast and CD!) it's been a while since we've heard anything new from Hibbett that's not formed part of an overarching story concept. A bittersweet tale of things never experienced and what could have been brilliant careers, it's out on pay-what-you-want on Monday.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Just Handshakes (We're British) - Double Vision

There's something not quite right, in a genre rather than qualitative sense, about this Leeds band who have done a Marc Riley session and played our Alldayer last month's approach to chimingly shambling indiepop, all shady guitar textures and inscrutable female vocals aided by the cassette recording quality. If you're quick you can get this on Tapes, a run of 150 cassettes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Wind-Up Birds - Cross Country

The new Northern white crap that talks back, a further single out on Monday on pay-what-you-like basis of phlegmatic sardonicism abandon from the sarcastically vituperative pen/larynx of Paul Ackroyd, throwing comparatives and similes at the listener over a very Leeds-like direct old-school indie guitar attack. Debut album The Land is out May 14th with a free launch at Brudenell Social Club on the 11th.

Stagecoach - 56k Dial-Up

This was Stagecoach's, and thus Alcopop!'s, contribution to Record Store Day, so sorry about the late notice. It still exists, though, the first sighting of material from the irrepressible power-pop outfit's debut album proper (produced by Dom James, who did Johnny Foreigner vs Everything), calmer than usual at least for as long as they can contain themselves without thrusting and wigging out, a lovely melody never quite learning to take itself seriously.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spectral Park - Pale Glistens

Although it technically came out in the penultimate week of 2011 - but really, who's looking for new music right them? - Spectral Park's Factory Peeled EP was our first great discovery of the year (written up here), lo-fi bedroom psychedelia being pulled inside out. While he constructs its follow-up he's let out this slice of summer carnival joy, clearly styled after the British Invasion beat boom candidates with more than a hint of Nuggets too but messing about with its fidelity and legibility. Having a video cut to early 80s time-slicing experiments by Ryoichiro Debuchi seems about right.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Leg - Bake Yourself Silly

Loons! Excellent. The Leg are a trio from Edinburgh, one of whom used to lead Khaya, who myself and perhaps four other people remember. Their third album An Eagle To Saturn is out next week on Song, By Toad, on behalf of which Matthew's description begins "I still can't decide if I think this album is an amazing pop record or just plain fucking mental. Like most of the best albums I reckon it’s a bit of both." That they've collaborated with Paul Vickers of Dawn Of The Replicants is a hefty shove in the right direction, this being about as approachable as the album gets as it gaily switches between moods, genres and levels of downright oddness, usually backed by weeping strings that in their almost normality make it sound even more acute.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Coming attractions: Live At Leeds

WHAT: Bands. Loads of 'em. Right across the city.
WHY: We're launching into multi-venue event season around the two bank holiday weekends and this one, taking up fifteen rooms, is much loved by bands and punters alike for its pulling power.
WHEN: 5th May for the bulk of the music, plus day-long seminar The Unconference (Tom Robinson and Sean Adams being the main participants) and Alkaline Trio and King Charles gigs on the 4th, a Hangover gig on the 6th headlined by Dan Sartain, and on the 7th a five-a-side tournament (!) and another Brudenell Hangover gig with Male Bonding.
WHERE: Brudenell Social Club, Cockpit, Faversham, Holy Trinity Church, Leeds Met, Nation of Shopkeepers, O2 Academy, The Wardrobe, The Well and Milos
WHO: Los Campesinos!, Friends, Niki and the Dove , Ghostpoet, This Many Boyfriends, Sam Airey, I Like Trains or however it's spelt now, Toy, Dan Mangan, Just Handshakes (We're British), Jamie N Commons, Dog Is Dead, We Are Augustines, Lianne Le Havas, Alt-J, Deaf Club, Fanzine, The Enemy, Marina and the Diamonds, Dot Rotten, Ladyhawke, The Subways
HOW: £20 via Luna Tickets, £22 via Crash Records and Jumbo Records

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fever Fever - The Chair

Norwich's post-riot grrrl Tasmanian devils of female-fronted art-rock high wire tricks have been around and about for a while but this latest release from Kissability's cassette production line on May 7th might be the best thing we've heard of them. It's certainly the most restrained and poised, buzzing bass alternating with charging riffs coming on somewhere between Shrag without the keyboards or shoutiness and Blood Red Shoes playing on a turntable the revs per minute on which has a mind of its own.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jesca Hoop - Born To

Jesca's third album The House That Jack Built, out at the end of June, seems to suggest a development from the faerie dream-folk of yore. The chorus may be driven by mandolin but around it there's greater purpose, dense layers of driving, hook-derived chamber folk-pop, a more FM radio quality - check that ending - to her losing herself in thoughtful reverie.

Last Days Of 1984 - River's Edge

Third Dubliners in a row! Last Days Of 1984 are a duo who look to be plouging a post-AnCo furrow where layers and waves of modified electronics, restrained beats and bloops, chilled out Eno-ambient washes and pastorally inclined slivers of repeated lyrics come together for the express purpose of taking the mood pictures down the jungle river wilds. Album Wake Up To The Waves is out May 4th.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Cast Of Cheers - Animals

The day's second obtuse Irish band are less raucous but more shape-shifting, their "Irish Foals" reputation of yore developing into a taut, Tellison-recalling stop-start propulsiveness that sees an audio brick wall as something to repeatedly bash against, an arpeggiating micro-robo-anthem that can't stop slipping and folding back on itself.

Girl Band - In My Head

Girl Band don't feature any girls. Of course. What the Dublin band, who've just released this single on a label responsible for early Villagers and James Vincent McMorrow, do is buzzing, frenzied post-punk meets post-hardcore roar and thrash with more than a nod to prime Sonic Youth, sounding as if it's done really well to get to two minutes before collapsing violently in on itself.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Admiral Fallow - The Paper Trench

Perhaps having realised reeling chamber folk isn't quite as fascinatingly singular a concept as it was last time they were around, Admiral Fallow have beefed up and are ready to charge. The first single from second album Tree Burst In Snow, out 21st May, channels the Frightened Rabbit/Broken Records spirit of forceful post-Waterboys march to valhalla with a chorus that starts crashing and becomes huger as the song progresses.

T E Morris - Blood Collects

Tom Morris' EPs have been covered here but we've mostly overlooked the album We Were Animals - not deliberately, it should be averred, the full-length from which this comes just as spare and nakedly emotional, just right for both the video's fading spring scenes and for late night contemplation. Morris opens for his band Her Name Is Calla at the Betsey Trotwood on 27th April with Katie Malco in the middle.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Felix - Oh Thee 73

The minimal, spooked disconcertingness of the Nottingham duo Felix made a great impression on us in 2009 with debut album You Are The One I Pick. Beyond the addition of jazzy drumming there's not that much difference in this first taste of follow-up Oh Holy Molar, out a week tomorrow, Lucinda Chua spinning out a finely impressionistic tale of bad Friday nights out and lost connections.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Friends - Mind Control

There's worrying hints of 80s synth retro creeping in around the edges of this third single, plus the dread spectre of Paul Epworth mixing, but Friends keep their skeletal block party space-funk intact by thickening up the carrier from which ESG achieved vertical takeoff, keeping the cooler-than-cliche vocals, gang shouts and flexible bass as intact as possible. And then, a percussion jam. Album Manifest! is out June 4th.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Adamski Kid - Mowgli

You, er, do know there's already been an Ada... forget it. Adam Karayiannis, this is, an east Londoner whose dirty arrythmic patchwork of percussive effects, eastern beats and distorted keyboard sounds bear complex while still relatively pared down textures in a pop melody frame. It's out April 16th.

Mowbird - Auflauden! Auflauden!

It's too easy to say this track from the Wrexham band's forthcoming The Quiet Despair Of The Starship Enterprise EP is infused with the same mini-budget psychedelia as Gorky's Zygotic Mynci just because they're Welsh, but compacted into 94 seconds here is a swirling, off-kilter melody pulled to the edge of its means, dipped in surf and thrust into the lo-fi dark matter.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Echo Lake - Even The Blind

Finally, an Echo Lake album - Wild Peace, out 25th June via No Pain In Pop (Slumberland in the US) This first track clangs, chimes and reverberates in an audio echo chamber resembling a Jenga wall of sound while stretching out what might in lesser hands have seemed far too conventional, five minutes of post-Arcade Fire dynamics compressed into a tin box of luscious, ethereal echo.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Coming attractions: Odd Box Weekender

WHAT: Double headed alldayers from trustworthy DIY label
WHY: The pleasingly eclectic nature, even within indiepop's tightly patrolled boundaries, of Odd Box's output always augurs well for their lineups
WHEN: 5th-6th May
WHERE: Brixton Windmill Saturday, Islington Buffalo Bar Sunday
WHO: Standard Fare, Anguish Sandwich, Pocketbooks, The Blanche Hudson Weekend, Milky Wimpshake, Magoo, The Give It Ups, The Middle Ones, Humousexual, Sock Puppets
HOW: £20 weekend, £10 day

Tender Trap - Love Is Hard Enough

25 years of Amelia Fletcher now - lesser milestones have been subject to major national retrospectives - and still she thrives in the world of breezily semi-troubled daydream indiepop. The first taste (but not first single, going on her comments at our Leicester Indiepop Alldayer the Saturday before last, though that's a stormer too) of Tender Trap's fourth album, the band now featuring Emily Bennett of Betty & The Werewolves where Elizabeth Morris used to be, has the easy descending melody charm of the early days of the genre and the vocal call-and-response girl group influence that's been a hallmark right through Talulah Gosh and so forth. There's even a children's choir at the end that isn't cloying at all.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Coming attractions: Whatever Gets You Through The Night

WHAT: Debuting a major collaborative work of narrative fiction featuring a litany of Scottish talent
WHY: ""Whatever Gets You Through The Night is a compilation of stories happening across Scotland between the hours of midnight and 4am. From a heartfelt goodbye on the shore of Loch Lomond to an encounter in a late night Aberdeen taxi queue, we meet lost souls, party animals and dreamers, in a snapshot of an entire nation at its most vulnerable and revealing. It exists as a multimedia live show, an album, a collection of writing, and a film which will tour after the live dates."
WHEN: 27th-29th June
WHERE: The Arches, Glasgow
WHO: Meursault, Errors, Withered Hand, Emma Pollock, Ricky Ross, Conquering Animal Sound, Rachel Sermanni, RM Hubbert
HOW: £18 including the book and album, £12 just for the show

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Coming attractions: Now We Are Weekender

WHAT: Indiepop-scented frenzies in Sandwell
WHY: In its debut year lots of fun for all the family - workshops too - and an obtuse selection of small scale heroes
WHEN: 7th-8th April
WHERE: The Public, West Bromwich
WHO: Art Brut, The Indelicates, The School, The Lovely Eggs, Misty's Big Adventure, Red Shoe Diaries, Keith TOTP, Abdoujaparov
HOW: £15 via The Ticket Sellers

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Andrew Paul Regan - John Frum Will Return

You should know Andrew Paul Regan if you're a regular STN reader, it's an anagram of his real name Pagan Wanderer Lu (subs pls check). The Signal And The Noise is his new album, out June 4th on home of the hits Brainlove, and he writes a bit about it over yonder. Using the tale of Vanuatuan folk hero John Frum and the belief in mythology and belief against reality, it's a very fine return to his broken toy electronic anti-pop roots which heads from summery oddness to a circuit bending disco frenzy.

Coming attractions: Long Division

WHAT: The centre of Wakefield turns into a multi-venue showcase of greatness
WHY: Because we went last year and had a fun day out, the promoters Rhubarb Bomb punching above their weight, not to mention that of the local venues' capacities (oxygen or Wave Pictures? Tough call)
WHEN: 1st-3rd June, the bulk of the big bands on the 2nd
WHERE: Eight venues across one area of Wakefield
WHO: The Vaselines, Art Brut, Aidan Moffatt & Bill Wells, Napoleon IIIrd, Standard Fare, Runaround Kids, This Many Boyfriends, The Twilight Sad, Evans The Death, Herman Dune, Let's Wrestle, Withered Hand, White Town, Sam Airey, Dutch Uncles, Young British Artists, Dan Michaelson, The Longcut, Francois & The Atlas Mountains, Kid Canaveral
HOW: £15 plus booking fee from
Jumbo Records and Crash Records

Monday, April 02, 2012

Coming attractions: Brainlove Festival

WHAT: Fifth annual shindig of the much loved (on here) label
WHY: Because they know how to throw an eclectic underground fare type of party, and because the label is often a sign of quality in itself. Two stages featuring 20 bands plus a spoken word stage and independent label market
WHEN: 26th May
WHERE: Brixton Windmill
WHO: Napoleon IIIrd, Andrew Paul Regan (nee Pagan Wanderer Lu), Mat Riviere, Dad Rocks!, Tall Stories, Bleeding Heart Narrative, Crushed Beaks, Octagon Court, more to come
HOW: £12 via MusicGlue