Monday, June 30, 2014

Multi-pack: Cloud Boat, TRAAMS, Andrew Montgomery, Field Mouse, Candy Darling

Cloud Boat - Hallow

At this rate we won't need to buy Model Of You because Cloud Boat will have put all its tracks up for streaming well in advance. This one is a delicate concoction of reliable materials: a delicately chiming guitar part, skittering microbeats and soulful appeals of yearning, all building to a huge emotive ending of big breaks. Dates for their intimate live show have just been announced for October, taking in Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and Glasgow.

TRAAMS - Selma

When an email arrives claiming a band's new EP has been produced by both Rory Attwell and MJ, the temptation is to think they're trying just a touch too hard to get straight on to STN. Well, they've succeeded with their forceful college rock hooks and old fashioned guileless charge. The video is based on fake VHS, as approximately 83% of videos we now receive are. EP Cissa is out July 14th.

Andrew Montgomery - After The Storm

Here's unexpected - the return of Montgomery, previously skyscraping vocalist with post-Britpop mid-table underachievers Geneva, is the yearning spare piano ballad with multitracked vocals and a brass section carrying it towards a sunset ending you kind of imagined he would come back with. Montgomery's debut solo album Ruled By Dreams is out 5th October.

Field Mouse - Everyone But You

Only a week after we first heard from them, a second track from new album Hold Still Life which suggests a yen with the synth decoration and FM radio charge gone fuzz-jangle of the second Pains Of Being Pure At Heart album, with a side order of woozy shoegaze guitar pedals.

Candy Darling - Money

A new band! Wonders will never cease. Candy Darling are a trio based in Bristol named after the Warhol/Reed muse and sound like a female-fronted (in a Jennifer Herrema fashion) garage band who've replaced their drummer with second hand drum machines and their pedal board with Suicide's electronics set-up.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Christian Fitness, Comet Gain, Wild Smiles

Christian Fitness - Teeth

Second track from Falco's album, for which see details earlier in the week, is less rough-hewn, more hook-heavy, again not a million miles away from Future Of The Left here when they're in a state of contained angst/implied threat rather than going all-out.

Comet Gain - Sad Love And Other Short Stories

Another track from Paperback Ghosts, out 7th July, nods at a lot of the musical touchstones David Feck has mined over the last two decades - Felt, soul, the Go-Betweens, Dexys, kitchen sink unrequitedness in general - delivered in a sun-dappled, almost folk-poppy harmonic cousin to that striped sunlight sound. They've always been romantics, but here it's made more explicit.

Wild Smiles - Never Wanted This

We've spent a day or two trying to work out who this roaring quiet-loud garagey single by the Winchester trio reminds us of, our current favourite being the early singles and demos of revolving door grunge revivalists Dinosaur Pile-Up. This is not a bad thing.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

AUTOBAHN, Esben and the Witch

AUTOBAHN - Unhinged

Pushing at the Birthday Party/Cramps lunatic core to match their flickknife approach to post-punk elements, another track from 2, the EP out 7th July, channels the wild-eyed aggression of Eagulls, which isn't that big a leap given it was written on one of their guitars.

Esben and the Witch - Blood Teachings

Third album A New Nature, out 1st September, was recorded by Steve Albini in Electrical Audio, so presumably they've got really good at poker. They've also got really good at shifting their sound sideways after a couple of patchy albums, this pushing many of the trio's gothic sensibilities into the mid-range in favour of a swelling, anxious primalcy pushing against the red that channels early PJ Harvey by way of early 90s Sonic Youth's uncomfortable approachability. They certainly make you wait quite some time for the thing to explode into an upper gear.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Christian Fitness, Burning Alms, Blessa

Christian Fitness - Aghast, Anew, Anon

As you know by now, anything featuring Andrew Falkous goes directly to blog without passing Go. Though Christian Fitness is almost entirely recorded by him Falco specifies album I Am Scared Of Everything That Isn't Me, out some time soon, isn't a solo project ("all songs created by imagined multiple personalities, some of which are shy") It sounds like a rougher version of much what you'd expect - caustic, loud, serrated - which is some distance from being a bad thing.

Burning Alms - Mid-Storm/Still Ending

Yeah, another of those duos you hear so much about, but hear this one out. Having been part of four-piece Distophia and then three-piece Calories, John Biggs and Tom Whitfield are now two-piece Burning Alms, heading straight for the molten core with streamlined distorto-garage pop which settles down only to burn back up again. Debut album In Sequence is out on Smalltown America... soon.

Blessa - Island Minding

Yet another track from the Love Is An Evol Word EP, crisp, clear backing and almost angelic vocals find themselves in a place that is somehow both darker and dreamier. There's definitely DNA of the Cure in here, obviously without the Robert Smith vocals bit.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

David Thomas Broughton, Field Mouse

David Thomas Broughton & Juice - Yorkshire Fog

David Thomas Broughton concept a bit odd = earth revolves around sun, we know, but for Sliding The Same Way, out 12th September through Song By Toad, Otley's straightfaced loopstation folk-extremist is backed by the Juice Vocal Ensemble, a female a capaella trio whose work catapults from classical to modernist to avant-garde and back at lightspeed and have worked with Gavin Bryars, Shlomo and Mica Levi. The album was recorded first take and part-improvised, just to keep Juice on their toes and Broughton on his usual widespread path. This track is more traditionally folkie, the harmonies and acoustic fingerpicking at variable speed and coated in northern pathos.

Field Mouse - Two Ships

You'd be forgiven for thinking it's Wild Beasts in the intro, but once the synths properly arrive the Brooklynites head off in a direction that puts the heat lamps on dreampop, Rachel Browne's gossamer vocal and seasick hooks suggesting lessons from shoegaze but without the facile pedal-aided rush that implies. The album Hold Still Life is out July 22nd.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cosines, Ravioli Me Away, Haley Bonar

Cosines - Out Of The Fire

We've written about the "mathematical pop" of Cosines for their previous two singles, and now they have an album, Oscillations, ahead on 28th July. Its first track has hooks, squelchy/creaky synths, a metronomic beat and a reliably homebrewed feel, just as it should be.

Ravioli Me Away - Cat Call

Coming on like a cross between Delta 5 and Chicks On Speed, or perhaps a nearer comparison would be Leigh Bowery-affiliated mid-90s eclecticists Minty, Ravioli Me Away work through no-wave, post-punk and old, cranky analogue synth bounce in a propulsively arty mood. There's something going on, it's just too slippery to pin down.

Haley Bonar - Kill The Fun

Bonar has friends in high places - the Dakotan's fifth album Last War, picked up by Memphis Industries for UK release on September 29th, was partly recorded at Dave Grohl's studio and features cameos by Justin Vernon and Andrew Bird, neither of which suggests the dark pop of the Cure at their most approachable refracted through a Rilo Kiley-esque perky American pop melody sensibility.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The internationals: Acollective, Fire Island Pines, Adebisi Shank, Tamoios

Acollective - Happiest Of All Memorial Days

When we came across the Israeli collective last month they sounded like a foreboding Flaming Lips; this second taste of second album Pangaea, released by Alcopop! on 7th July, sets off in more of a Sufjan Stevens direction by way of old favourites of ours Anathallo, bleak and lonesome in a crowd. That's complemented by the extraordinary, not a little macabre video, adapted from a short by German animator Gregor Dashuber. Acollective are over for Truck Festival, which looks alright this year, and also Alcopopalooza on July 20th at the Brixton Windmill, alongside Lex and Junior JoFo as Yr Poetry, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Brawlers, Emperor Yes, Katie Malco and so forth. This being Alcopop!, you can buy a ticket T-shirt.

Fire Island Pines - Never Be Me

The Cornwall sophisticates have at last got round to an album, True Grit out August 25th through Firestation Records, and in advance comes this richly jangling slice of bittersweet swooning that isn't as laid back as it might seem, a trumpet solo towards the end giving it even more Jack/Animals That Swim vibes, all coupled with another of those VHS revivalist clips.

Adebisi Shank - Big Unit

If an idea's worth running with it's worth running as far as possible, which is why on August 12th the Irish near-instrumental trio of interlocked firebrands are following up This is the Album of a band called Adebisi Shank and This is the Second Album of a band called Adebisi Shank with their third full-length, This is the Third Album of a ba... oh, you get the picture. From this, its heroic riffola with an electronic undercarriage sounds massive in a panoramic-view-of-mountains-being-bulldozed way.

Tamoios - Alto lá

Well, it seems the day for something Brazilian. Sao Paulo-based Tamoios are singer Luisa Maita, artist Fernando Rischbieter and producer Daniel Hunt, whom you might well suspect isn't a local - in fact you'd know him from Ladytron. The iridescent vocals and the layers of percussion are pure picture postcard Brasilia but the synths seeping and slithering around them take the cumulative effect somewhere else, possibly above the atmosphere itself.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Heavy hitters: Spoon, Summer Camp, The New Pornographers

Spoon - Rent I Pay

Somehow incapable of making a bad record so far taking nearly only the basic indie-rock instrumentation and template to go on, Spoon's eighth album They Want My Soul, out 4th August, is heralded by another chunky slice of charging, stuttering wiriness with big friendly separation in the mix. And, of course, it just stops dead.

Summer Camp - Beyond Clueless

Beyond Clueless is an impressonistic documentary deconstructing the art and psyche of the teen movie, cutting up more than 200 films and featuring narration by Fairuza Balk off The Craft. The only currently scheduled screenings are at Latitude Festival and at the BFI on August 8th, both with a live score by... well, the title of this bit kind of gives that away. Outside the confines of being a soundtrack - twelve new songs, all recorded for release on August 4th - its swaggering title track affects an R&B strut while Elizabeth muses on elf-image and development and fuzzy chords work their way round the edge.

The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers

New Pornos albums can be variable things, but the title track from their sixth album, out August 25th, matches AC Newman's description of it being "a celebration record", at least on the surface, air-punching maxi-pop with hooks and singalong backing vocals to spare. And Neko Case is back amongst them, which is never a bad thing.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Firestations, Young British Artists, The Hundredth Anniversary

Firestations - Never Closer

STN EXCLUSIVE! Yeah, it only took us nine and a bit years but we finally got to premiere something. When we first wrote about Firestations back in March we reckoned their harmonic melodies with subtle electronics would be suited for the summer ahead. Ahead of an album and tour due for late summer this new track murks up those waters a little, still redolent of warmth and serenity but with echoes of fuzz and feedback butting in around a quasi-indiepop confection that's lyrically more conflicted than its hooks and aura of dreaminess lets on.

Young British Artists - Lived In Skin

YBAs were members of our Class Of 2010, thus proving our anti-Midas touch isn't our fault, it's everybody else's. Their debut album Change By Any Other Name is finally out on July 21st, this track a claustrophobic surge that keeps the shoegaze noise in the next room as it explores the northern catalogue of urgent, propulsive post-punk, rushing against itself into a frenzy.

The Hundredth Anniversary - Stretched Lungs

Recorded for a compilation to mark the closure of Brighton cultural magazine Boon, this is a minimalist take on the shimmering distortion of March's Wreckers EP but with something approaching a euphoric chorus even if it's not meant to be one.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Uptown downtempo: Caribou, Cloud Boat

Caribou - Can't Do Without You

Dan Snaith has always circumnavigated the perimeter of warm, melodic electronics, if in a warped sense. The first track from Our Love, out October 3rd - October? We might all be dead by then! - takes dubstep and downtempo as its startoff points, looping pitch-shifted vocals and pads merely the point from which alternately glowing and glowering synth patterns eventually take off. Calvin Harris' synths pop by towards the end, only to be deliberately overheated. The overall effect is of current norms being twisted inside out and turned back on themselves like a post-EDM Mobius strip.

Cloud Boat - Hideaway

Speaking of dragging popular electronica round to someone else's singular right of way, there's a hint of James Blake's pastoralised soundscapes about this latest offering from Model Of You, out July 7th. In their case while there's a moment where the slowly building layers burst into white light it does so with shoegaze influenced surges and drones constantly pressing against the emotive vocals and clattering percussion. Producer Andy Savours has worked with My Bloody Valentine and the Horrors, which might explain part of it.

Heavy Petting Zoo - Crash

We knew them when they were nothing! And now they've become part of the Too Pure Singles Club, which we know and with due respect to a very fine label is hardly Hyde Park but it's better than most of those we pick up on very early on do. Out 7th July and produced by Charlie Francis who we obviously rate as he oversaw the last two Future Of The Left albums, Crash carries an implicit threat in its stabbing surf-Nuggets guitar riff and Amy's keen-eyed desperation that might well see them be taken to the bosom of the more poppy wing of the garage-psych movement, such as Too Pure have been putting out lately. As for live dates: Gwdihw in Cardiff (the venue with the most disturbing toilet we've ever been in at a venue, FWIW) on July 24th, a Swansea hometown gig at Mozarts the following day, Porth Factory August 2nd, then to England and more precisely London's Old Blue Last on August 8th. Note to anyone attending those gigs: yes, he's in the band.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Gulp, Summer Ghost, Ace Bushy Striptease

Gulp - Seasoned Sun

Two years on from Guto Pryce and Lindsey Leven first arriving among us with the still ace single Game Love and they finally have an album ready, Season Sun released July 14th via the fairly unlikely given the sound here offices of Sonic Cathedral. The near-title track really had to be held back for a time when the weather gets warmer, reminding us of a more analogue synth-friendly version of post-Lush duo Sing Sing's Feels Like Summer. It's summer happiness vibes all over.

Summer Ghost - Feel4Ever

Summer Ghost is Alexander Comana, whom some may know from leading Among Brothers, who has on this track from a forthcoming EP on Kissability now not so much cut loose as drifted upstream into layers of shifting, enervated electronic waves that end up hyperventilating while Comana sings like a haunted folkie. False ending too, or it would be had that bloody Soundcloud waveform not given it away. His sole announced date is tomorrow supporting Glasser, which is about the shape of it.

Ace Bushy Striptease - Winning Or Losing

Well, that's spoilt the titular seasonal mood. A little more slow burning and trumpet-aided than we're used to but don't worry, Ace Bushy followers, there's still holding-on-for-dear-life shouty multi-gendered cuddlecore at our collective service once more, from album Slurpt out through Odd Box on June 30th.