Thursday, February 27, 2014

Three peas in a pod, they are not: Benjamin Shaw/POBPAH/Plantagenet 3

Benjamin Shaw - Goodbye, Kagoul World

Shaw's cracked anti-folk (literally rather than figuratively) drones first came across our radar five years ago, and on this first taste of a second album of the same name, out 21st April through Audio Antihero, it sounds like a highly individual step forward into the void, circling guitar parts getting subsumed in funereal wind instruments, free jazz drop-ins and general oppressiveness before his downcast vocals, exhausted by life, issue likeminded lyrics.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Simple And Sure

It's make your mind up time. Showcasing neither the fuzzbombs of their debut or the sonic bluster of its follow-up POBPAH's third album Days of Abandon, out April 21st, is previewed by big melodic pop shapes and a production that takes them a step nearer wipe-clean classicism. Twenty years ago coming on like this they'd have been Jellyfish. Or Airhead. World Party, possibly.

Plantagenet 3 & A Little Orchestra - Canute (The Irresistible Surf)

Plantagenet 3 are a slowcore spaghetti western instrumental outfit we first wrote about in autumn 2010; A Little Orchestra are the indiepop string section of choice whose work with Haiku Salut, Darren Hayman and Model Village we variously highlighted on here last year. This new 7" out this time next month brings the two together to appropriately dark twangingly cinematic effect.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The journey men: Gruff Rhys/Telegram/FTSE

Gruff Rhys - American Interior

American Interior is a travelogue about John Evans, a young farmhand from Snowdonia who travelled across 18th century America. There'll be a book, documentary film (out the same week as the record - here's the trailer) and app, but primarily for our purposes there's an album out May 5th, the title track of which plays with theme-appropriate ideas of being carried across new worlds and visions while sounding like a wistful, swept across the plains, acid guitar soloing Van Dyke Parks on a budget. Good to have his particular sense of wanderlust back amongst us.

Telegram - Rule Number One

Follow was one of the most exciting debut singles of 2013; for a follow-up the hair-tossing Kraut-glam-psychists continue the bloodied charge to who knows where. That is to say there's wah and distortion pedal abuse, oohing backing vocals, reminders of Eno at his most charged and sounding much like it's falling down an endless technicolour wormhole.

FTSE - Nite Lite

FTSE is Sam Manville, who used to be in post-hardcore oddballs Blakfish* and then thematic garage duo Hymns, and now sounds nothing like either. As FTSE he's developing a reputation for scuffed up bass-heavy production, here melding foreboding early hours beats with artfully crossthreaded vocals from himself and one Femme. The LOVE UN LTD EP is out April 21st.

(* who we once saw supported by Colour, who featured the future second half of AlunaGeorge, whose re-emergence brought out the surprising past favouritism of Discloure. With members of Tubelord and Meet Me In St Louis kicking around in new guises of late as well, clearly the new hotbed of young talent has shifted from the Brit School to Big Scary Monsters' back catalogue. If the next hot anonymous bedroom producer turns out to be a former member of Cats And Cats And Cats we'll become highly suspicious.)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Today's specials: Slow Club, DZ Deathrays, Hamilton Leithauser

Slow Club - Tears Of Joy

There doesn't seem to be an imminent album (although there is a London one-off show in May) but a new track has emerged anyway. There's been a delicate acoustic version of this online since June; the recorded version works in some lovers' R&B influence into a more ornate arrangement than we're used to while still recognisably Charles and Rebecca's brand of positive melancholia.

DZ Deathrays - Gina Works At Hearts

Having stormed out of the southern hemisphere two and a half years ago the duo sounded at first like they didn't know where they were heading next. This track from Black Rat, out 2nd May, succeeds in plotting a route between accessibility - check the handclaps! - and pumped up classic rock riffola. They entirely appropriately tour with Blood Red Shoes in April.

Hamilton Leithauser - Alexandra

So it looks like the Walkmen are done, with singer Leithauser bringing his early warning siren of a voice to a solo album, Black Hours, come May. Featuring and co-penned by Rostam off Vampire Weekend, by comparison to the band's output this feels positively jaunty.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Lucid Dream - Moonstruck/The Emptiest Place

Hailing from lysergic central, Carlisle, The Lucid Dream have already put out an album and played Jodrell Bank - supporting The Australian Pink Floyd and Hawkwind! - and today they've released a double A side 7" via the Too Pure Singles Club (which, we note, have the mighty Heavy Petting Zoo on their slate). Moonstruck sounds like Suicide racing Hookworms to the edge of Beachy Head, The Emptiest Place like Roky Eriksson staging a hostile takeover of Love, together they make quite the impression.

What we've missed

One of those increasingly common sprints through some recent arrivals, we're afraid.

Bis - Rulers And The States

THIRTYSOMETHING-C NATION! Having played the odd gig over the last few years they're back to their electropunk prime with a cut from a sort-of-new album, a compilation of tracks from their mid-00s Data Panik incarnation and recordings for an aborted fourth album entitled data Panik etcetera.

JUNGLE. - Busy Earnin'

The former Jungle are newly signed to XL and come on jam-ready, leavening their London TVOTR reputation with some of those 80s synth grooves you hear so much about these days. How many of the people in this photo are really in the band, do you reckon?

Papercuts - Still Knocking At The Door

Ornate, insistent hazy psych warmth from Jason Quever's project, which releases new album Life Among The Savages in May.

Mega Emotion - City In Shapes

Dark 8-bit electro-disco by the Norwich trio, caught between retro synthpop and upending same with jagged noisy edges, all from the Fake Feelings EP, out April 15th.

Pastel Colours - She Can't Decide

Another one to file alongside the oncoming hordes of woozy garage-psych travellers, the Falmouth outfit's contribution to Art Is Hard's Pizza Club may be for you if you like Telegram but aren't willing to countenance their supporting Miles Kane on tour.