Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Weekly Sweep

  • Au Revoir Simone - Shadows [Myspace]
  • Blue Roses – I Am Leaving [Myspace]
  • The Dead Weather - Hang You From The Heavens [YouTube]
  • Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is The Move [live YouTube]
  • The Duckworth Lewis Method - The Age Of Revolution [Myspace]
  • Future Of The Left - You Need Satan More Than He Needs You [Myspace]
  • Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks [YouTube]
  • The Horrors - Who Can Say [YouTube]
  • Johnny Foreigner - Feels Like Summer [Myspace]
  • Julian Plenti - Fun That We Have [mp3 from Matablog] (Paul Banks of Interpol grows tache, buys sequencer)
  • Kill It Kid - Send Me An Angel Down [YouTube]
  • The Lodger - I Think I Need You [YouTube]
  • Mew - Introducing Palace Players [Myspace]
  • Rose Elinor Dougall - Start/Stop/Synchro [Myspace]
  • Slow Club – It Doesn't Have To Be Beautiful [Myspace]
  • Tigers That Talked - Black Heart, Blue Eyes [YouTube]
  • TV On The Radio - Crying [live YouTube]
  • The Voluntary Butler Scheme – Tabasco Sole [YouTube]
  • Withered Hand - R U Courageous (Tiger Saw) [Myspace]
  • Wild Beasts - Hooting & Howling [Myspace]
  • Friday, May 29, 2009

    Going Live!

    Hello. We have an announcement to make, and it's an exciting one so let's get straight to it.

    Sweeping The Nation is putting on a gig as part of the Summer Sundae Fringe Festival.

    It's on Thursday August 6th at Firebug, Leicester, doors 8pm, £5 entry on the door (18+ only, sorry), and we've invited three two people we've gone on about in the past to display their wares:

    Love Ends Disaster!
    Wiry, smart post-postpunkrevivalists from Nottingham, readying their debut album of purest unpredictable fuzzy pop goodness.

    "This band will be massive. We've not been wrong before." (Rough Trade)
    "That pleasantly exhausted feeling you get when you come off an Alton Towers ride is how you'll feel after listening to LED!" (Sandman)
    "Sounds like nothing else we can think of!" (Rock Sound)

    Ladders, at Nottingham Royal Concert Hall supporting a post-Hutchence INXS. Somehow.

    Pagan Wanderer Lu
    Cardiff-based, Green Man-headed Andy Regan brings his boxes of tricks, way with a sociopolitically impassioned lyric and hotwired melodies.

    "In the world of big bland bands and groups trying so hard to sound like each other, artists like Pagan Wanderer Lu are a breath of fresh air" (Huw Stephens)
    "Pagan Wanderer Lu again astounds us with his vision, promise and sonic ability - never has something so miserable sounded so vital" (Subba Cultcha)

    The Gentleman's Game, with full band

    So, that's what we're doing. What are you doing?

    Overlarge poster, including our good friends Twesta's own Fringe gig

    Facebook event page
    Songkick page

    Thursday, May 28, 2009

    Squad rotation

    So Veckatimest is a baroque, intricate, microscopically detailed and nuanced wonder, somewhere between avant-collegiate alternative and jazz-folk. But you already knew that, and besides we've got to save some words for the top end of the end of year list.

    So let's talk about some rough recordings of one bloke and an acoustic guitar recording eleven tracks in a single day (24th April, unofficial biographers) instead. Ben Parker has a new Superman Revenge Squad album out, the awkwardly linguistic We're Here For Duration... We Hope! and, well, it's as lyrically special as This Is My Own Personal Way Of Dealing With It All was. Like his occasional comparison point Jeffrey Lewis he seems more bitter about love and his own failings this time around, but eventually turns even that into industrial strength self-deprecation. He still has too many words and ideas to fit the tune, he still namechecks American rock touchstones of the 1990s, and he's still a darkly compelling presence, and borderline unmissable in doing so. The album's just three of your English from this link.

    When Everyone's Dead, which was on an earlier single, is invited into the long form fold on here, so here's that done live.

    And here he is covering Cher.

    (Previously on STN: The Music That Made... Superman Revenge Squad)

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    The Music That Made... Projekt A-Ko

    Given we've now written about them three times, you're probably aware by now that Projekt A-Ko are 75% of Urusei Yatsura. What we do keep needing to stress is their new album Yoyodyne is just as poppily dissonant Sonic Youth/Pavement-ish as that earlier band's heights. Singer/guitarist Fergus Lawrie answers our questions:

    First single bought: I have a terrible memory and honestly can't remember buying a single until maybe a Galaxie 500 Blue Thunder 10" Dad was a bit of a hi-fi buff so the record player was off limits for a lot of my childhood. I got by listening to bootleg cassettes recorded by my music industry killing friends. There was a 7" of I'd Like to Teach the World To Sing knocking around the house, the B-Side of which Morning Town Ride is an absolutely terrifying tale of parents abandoning their sleeping infants aboard a train that carries them through the night, possibly to some kind of experimental baby farm, I could never listen to the end...
    First album bought: I had a big blues phase in my early teens, it would be Ten Years After or Jimi Hendrix.
    First gig voluntarily attended: Ha ha! Either Humphrey Lyttleton or BB King, can't remember which was first.
    The record that most made you want to get into music: JAMC's Psychocandy and MBV's Isn't Anything both sounded so amazing and alien to my ears the first time I heard them. I remember I couldn't even hear the songs in Psychocandy for the first few listens. I'd really only heard classic rock and blues before that so my ear just wasn't educated to those sounds.
    The three headliners at a festival you were curating: Ouch! So hard to choose...give me Astrud Gilberto, Velvet Underground and Merzbow.
    A song not enough people know about but everyone should hear: Winona by Drop Nineteens, something about it is utterly beguiling to me, but I'm always going on about it so lets say Hand by Radial Spangle.
    A song you'd play to get people dancing: My two year old daughter won't dance to anything except Jimmy by MIA at the moment.
    The last great thing you heard: Wow, how great is great? There's very very few albums that would rate as truly indispensable. The last great rock record for me was the debut album Is This It by a band called The Strokes which I don't think many people picked up on when it came out a few years ago. The poise and elegance of the arrangements and the overall band dynamic are phenomenal.
    (a little while later)
    Can I add... Kylie Minoise and Wounded Knee are both incredible solo artists who deserve wider recognition.
    Your key non-musical influences: Mainly my friends and people I've known. Travel. A lot of cinema, recently been enjoying (if that's the right word!) Takashi Miike. Also 'Tirez sur le Pianiste' by Truffaut.
    Your favourite new artist: I've been quite obsessed with that Big Pink song Velvet but I can't decide if its genius or just Goth Moby...

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009


    Watch this.

    Three year old Olivia North, with the aid of her father Matthew, with Two Of The Beatles Have Died, her self-penned tribute to the passing of John and George. As a proper net-wide meme it's hardly Keyboard Cat, with roughly 2,750 views in 22 months at the time of writing, but the mysterious entity known as The Thomas Ferguson Band was so taken by it he commissioned 21 artists to cover, remix or respond to it. The line-up includes The Cuban Boys, MJ Hibbett, Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences, Applicants, Alan MX and Keith Top Of The Pops And His Minor UK Indie Celebrity Allstar Backing Band, the latter of which incorporates Eddie Argos, Mikey also from Art Brut, Simon and Julia Indelicate, The Vessel from David Devant And His Spirit Wife, Sue Denim off of Robots In Disguise and some other people from some other bands. Released on Helen Llewelyn Product Nineteen Recordings, via the oft reliable Brainlove, it's available from their Myspace for £7, all proceeds going to the British Lung Foundation.

    Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences - Two Of The Beatles Have Died
    Warren Myles - Two Of The Beatles Have Died

    Sunday, May 24, 2009

    Baiting McAfee

    Given informed opinion on Spotify at the moment is a) it's merely the acceptable public face of an IPFI/DMCA plot to undermine The Pirate Bay and b) it's going to go under soon anyway because it can't sustain its business model, it's probably best you share in its myriad wonders while you still can. To that end, here's another four oddities we dredged up from the back of its operations.

    The Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band - Movie Brass
    You could not get a colliery band anywhere else in the world, we suspect. Admittedly we doubt proper collieries exist any more elsewhere in the world, nor brass bands in the Johnny Briggs style as opposed to the US college football ra-ra style. Anyway, the Grimethorpe lot are Britain's longest lasting and most famous, having soundtracked and been the basis of love-in-the-time-of-Heseltine sleeper post-Full Monty comedy hit Brassed Off, and alongside many explorations into traditional brass band music came this Pop Goes The Classics shot at widening the audience. Some tracks fare much better than others, largely due to the inherent heroic fanfare nature and dialling down of the cliched tuba, but a shot at the Rocky theme seems to be affected by an outbreak of professional pride, Colonel Bogey is trampled underfoot and the Star Wars theme, however dramatic its arrangement, can't quite carry off bringing a little bit of Hollywood to South Yorkshire.

    Dirty Fan Male (NSFW)
    "Were I alive you wouldn't have to be doing this..." Followers of film and library music and general semi-kitsch ephemera will know of Trunk Records, Jonny Trunk's excavationary life's work mostly and justly famed for putting back into print the soundtracks to the likes of The Wicker Man, Dawn Of The Dead and The Clangers. Jonny's sister is glamour model and forthcoming lonely Googler bait Eve Vorley, and he ended up running her fan club. Amused by the specific and odd nature of some of the correspondence she received, he put some of the letters to his actor friend Duncan Wisbey, resulting in an Edinburgh Fringe stage show that ended up as a book and this CD. The Ladies' Bras, later of Scott Mills propelled top 40 fame, is here, but get past that for all sorts of highly guilty pleasures. My special message: penis. (By the way, somehow the track titles have been reversed)

    America's Bugle Calls
    The whole world's bugle calls, we like to think. That's pretty much what it is, in truth, the key of G bugle repertoire you'd find in an army outpost or passing-out ceremony, so there's no solo bugle versions of the theme from Live And Let Die or covers of Whiter Shade Of Pale or anything like that. The likes of Adjutants Call and Sick Call are quite lively, though, and Roast Beef Of Old England somehow finds a midpoint between merrie albion and Vietnam military call.

    Mike Sammes & The Mike Sammes Singers - Music For Biscuits
    Not an avant-garde concept piece. It's a less disturbed/disturbing element from the Trunk catalogue, and one with a backstory that's pure cultural age England. Sammes' ensemble worked for the best part of four decades recording backing vocals and jingles - that's them backing up on Delilah and Green Green Grass of Home, leading on the strident theme to Stingray, even providing the "oompah, oompah, stick it up your jumper" on I Am The Walrus. They worked with Crosby, Sinatra, Streisand and Garland, Bacharach, George Martin and Andrew Loog Oldham. They occasionally did the voices for Pinky & Perky. After Sammes died in 2001 Trunk helped rescue a cache of master tapes found in his back room, from which this is a cross-section of radio advertising spots for the likes of Ariel, Timex, Fairy, Heineken, Dulux, Westminster Banks and, yes, biscuits. The skill of the complex close harmonies against easy listening instrumentation is almost unworthy of throwing away on adverts for International Harvester agricultural equipment, but that's how things were in the 60s advertising game. "Secombe, Sellers and Spike... Aldrin, Collins and Armstrong, a super three!"

    Saturday, May 23, 2009

    The Weekly Sweep taking a rest this week, as we've found so little new stuff to add to the list it didn't seem worth the effort.

    So instead, here's a Spotify playlist including most of the stuff on there that we've featured in the Sweep so far this year.

    Actually, look what appeared yesterday evening:

    Two Weeks

    Friday, May 22, 2009

    You've always been searching for something

    Hard not to feel that, for all the Death Of The Printed Music Press (Overall) discourse it’ll bring about, the announcement yesterday that next month’s issue will be all she wrote for Plan B magazine leaves a very specific gap in the market. Not that the criticisms that it was often more keen to impress a very particular writing style of some of its contributors than press the bands they were writing about weren’t valid, but against their enthusiasm and pushing things forward Artrocker is too full of itself, Bearded is still working out where it belongs, Under The Radar isn’t printed often enough and keeps you guessing as to where it’s actually based, Clash doesn’t know what it is, Mojo knows exactly what it is, Uncut would like to think it knows what it is, The Word knows what it was but thinks it still is, Stool Pigeon is only fitfully available, Q is only fitfully all-encompassing, the specialist rock magazines are and will remain specialist rock magazines with all that entails...

    Everett True shut his first magazine Careless Talk Costs Lives after a set period as that was the deadline by which it had to achieve all it set out to do. With Plan B it feels like whatever battles were won were done so without the ongoing support of the ranks.

    (EDIT: Everett's valediction)

    The creative arts

    Ever since there became such a thing as an Album Artist round about the early 1970s, we've known how the drill works. Release an album, tour it all over the world for 12-18 months, have three months' recuperation, start writing, record, find upon release that your audience has moved on. An album every other year was fine.

    Some souls, of course, need longer. From our top 20 albums of 2006 six follow-ups have yet to surface. (For the record: Final Fantasy, Scritti Politti, Cat Power, the Pipettes, The Victorian English Gentlemens Club, Mission Of Burma. Two were talking about releasing albums last year, two have been in the studio for ages, one has said they almost have an album's worth of songs ready to work on and one... well, who knows what Green Gartside is ever up to) In fact, from our 2005 list two haven't properly resurfaced yet, Mew doing so in August, Sufjan news expected shortly-ish.

    But something interesting is happening now. Let's run through last year's top ten's current plans:

    The Wave Pictures: just released a fine acoustic follow-up with, according to our interview with Dave Tattersall, the probability of a proper electric LP later in the year
    The Acorn: still building up UK steam for Glory Hope Mountain but have since that came out issued two EPs for free
    Why?: new album in October, London and Brighton dates in July announced today
    Okkervil River: still touring into July
    Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: new Grinderman talked about for this year
    Wild Beasts: planning to release second album within a year of their first
    Elbow: still high on the Mercury hog
    Johnny Foreigner: have recently been in the studio in NYC
    Los Campesinos!: having already released a second album further record, have recently been in the studio in Connecticut
    TV On The Radio: Tunde Adebimpe making a joint album with Mike Patton and Doseone

    So what's causing this sudden burst of proactive creativity? Well, we're in the broadband age, which means you can't step off the gas for a second without losing your place in the Hype Machine charts, but that's not always been a spur to creativity in itself. Maybe it's more the availability of rehearsal time and live slogging, meaning more time to perfect the art. Or maybe young bands are more and more reluctant to keep to the strict album-tour-album cycle. Any further ideas?

    Thursday, May 21, 2009

    Support systems

    Thanks for your contributions. We think we have the measure of you now. Now, we will tell you about a couple of bands we've seen recently in non-headlining situations.

    So last Friday night we went to see Johnny Foreigner for the sixth time. Just when you think you've got the measure of this band, they go and tweak it up a notch - some brutal new songs and some brutalisations of the old ones - "turn on the real drums" is not so much a lyric as a catalyst for localised humanity to explode in a ball of positive slamming energy these days. Assuming you're not reading this on your futuristic mobile equipment in York tonight you've got two more chances to see them on this tour, given the Northampton date - which we were going to, damn Roadmender - has been postponed to 3rd July. They're doing a few festivals, but only Hop Farm and Y Not are confirmed so far.

    But let us look aside from JoFo for one post and talk about one of their supports. Although we've mentioned them in the Sweep before, Kingston-upon-Thames trio Tubelord always seemed to fly just below our radar, but twenty minutes of an opening set put paid to that semi-ignorance. Skilful, hyper-kinetic, impassioned, everything we like in a modern British guitar band, and a plastic pig head to boot. As well as said night's headliners they take inspiration from Minus The Bear and the Kinsella lot in the tricksy time sigs and athletic guitar intricacies via a early Biffy Clyro-style power rock trio dynamic, crescendos, hooks and plaintive moments scattered liberally around. They're going to go places. They may even already be there.

    A couple of nights later The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart popped by and made all sorts of sense of their album. Let's get this straight - while there's little point denying that the Wedding Present, Ecstacy & Strawberry Wine era MBV and the Shop Assistants don't figure highly in this sound, they're as "twee" as Slayer. Live they're a band with a narrow focused desire to bring the pop kids the fuzzbomb hooks, as much Bandwagonesque as C86, getting the job done and the pedals stuck on high.

    So it's not really surprising that their support are a band who also like their distortion pedals and three minute sense of purpose. The Manhattan Love Suicides have too been mentioned on here before at shorter length, but their purpose is worth expanding on as much as it's to the point - take proper pop melodies, apply a gloss of similar fuzzy dynamic, then slap a ton of effects on top and get it all done in, here, seventeen minutes. Older readers will remember the Jesus & Mary Chain at this point, but their faux-disaffected stance somehow makes old tricks new. We swear, the guitar level started at fairly punishing levels and was being turned up after every song. That, despite looking like the Velvets and Nico gone even more to seed in the CD booklet, they're from Leeds and not Brooklyn means you've heard of the similar but inferior A Place To Bury Strangers and Crystal Stilts more than you know the MLS, but that's fashion vagaries for you.

    The Manhattan Love Suicides - Kick It Back
    From Burnt Out Landscapes

    And as a further line of enquiry Caroline and Darren used to be in this band, who had this song on a Fierce Panda compilation (which for full marks also includes Hofman, who turned inexorably into the Broken Family Band, and post-Kenickie outfit Rosita) that at the time we were obsessed by for quite a little while:

    Pop Threat - Fallen Spike

    Wednesday, May 20, 2009

    Hello, readers

    What's your favourite song of the year so far, then?

    (NB. Because of a couple of recent spam attacks comments are currently on moderation, which for a post aimed at fostering low scale community spirit through interactivity is a bit of a bind, but there you go)

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    The Music That Made... Broken Records

    The big sound of Broken Records has long been a favourite of us over here on STN, the Balkanised orchestral gravitas throwdown on Montreal's patch, crescendoing and forcing its path as and when necessary to bulk its swirling nature. Their album Until The Earth Begins To Part is out on 4AD on 1st June; we'll give it a proper write-up nearer the time, but for now bassist David Fothergill shares his formative influences:

    First single bought: I won a signed 7” of Gazza’s Fog On The Tyne for doing an Emlyn Hughes (of football and Question Of Sport fame) impression.
    First album bought: Get A Grip by Aerosmith
    First gig voluntarily attended: The Charlatans at The Almondvale Centre, Livingstone.
    The record that most made you want to get into music: I have an extremely vivid memory of my older brother playing a tape of Nirvana’s Nevermind and being utterly captivated by the sound they were making. Immediately I wanted to play the guitar and make those same noises, and shortly after that I was spending the majority of my time learning how to do so.
    The three headliners at a festival you were curating: Silver Jews, Fugazi, Tom Waits
    A song not enough people know about but everyone should hear: Silver Jews - Tennessee. They are one of those bands that you either just click with or you don’t. This was the one that hooked me in for good.
    A song you'd play to get people dancing: Going through a bit of a Prince phase at the moment, so When Doves Cry would probably be the one I’d use to try and get peoples feet moving (Although Safety Dance by Men Without Hats is a sure-fire floor filler when Rory and myself are allowed to DJ on the odd occasion)
    The last great thing you heard: Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters by The Twilight Sad
    Your key non-musical influences: Do books & films about music/musicians count?
    Your favourite new artist: I’m getting a lot of energetic, new-wave pop enjoyment from the Vivian Girls album.

    Monday, May 18, 2009

    Still around

    No, this isn't another reader testing blank week, we just didn't have time to get anything prepared for earlier. While we do, a quick heads up for an album out this week.

    One of the things you always find in Au Revoir Simone reviews is a comparison to the vision of auteur-type film directors - Lynch, Coppolla, Gondry. Yet theirs isn't so much a filmic vision as the illuminatory background score trying to take over on its own terms. Williamsburg girls who, while admired by the cognescenti, are too aloof to be hipsterish. Still Night Still Light, their third album, is their twinkliest and ethereal yet, the tri-part harmonies this time more often playing off blissful textures than The Bird Of Music's pulses and pitches, almost Postal Servician at times. The use as such of tonal keyboards against pre-programmed drum machines makes it come on like Beach House have formed an army or a gossamer Broadcast. There's still vocally charged pop melodies under the layered electronics, darker and more melancholic than before and less likely to drift away. As with Camera Obscura, this is an album that might not feature the outstanding moments of its predecessor but as a whole collection is more focused, more capable of marking out its individual turf and as a result more of a success in demonstrating who they are and what they do. Sometimes from artificial means comes natural beauty.

    Au Revoir Simone - All Or Nothing

    Saturday, May 16, 2009

    The Weekly Sweep

  • Au Revoir Simone - Shadows [Myspace] (As streamable is the rest of their fine album, which we may expand on soon)
  • Blue Roses – I Am Leaving [Myspace]
  • The Chapman Family - Kids [YouTube]
  • The Duckworth Lewis Method - The Age Of Revolution [Myspace] (Neil Hannon and friend's cricket concept album, as you may recall)
  • Future Of The Left - Arming Eritrea [Myspace]
  • Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks [live YouTube]
  • The Horrors - Who Can Say [YouTube] (Yeah, yeah, alright, yes we did/are)
  • Johnny Foreigner - Feels Like Summer [Myspace or here for a couple more days only]
  • Kill It Kid - Send Me An Angel Down [YouTube]
  • The Maccabees - Young Lions [live YouTube]
  • Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Buriedfed [YouTube]
  • Peggy Sue - Lover Gone [Myspace]
  • The Phantom Band – The Howling
  • Pocketbooks - Footsteps [YouTube]
  • Rose Elinor Dougall - Start/Stop/Synchro [Myspace]
  • Sky Larkin - Antibodies [YouTube]
  • Slow Club – It Doesn't Have To Be Beautiful [Myspace]
  • Tigers That Talked - Black Heart, Blue Eyes [Myspace]
  • TV On The Radio - Crying [live YouTube]
  • The Voluntary Butler Scheme – Tabasco Sole [Myspace]
  • Friday, May 15, 2009

    Ground level

    So much for any idea we have of being constantly on the pulse of new music, as we'd never heard Underground Railroad before this EP and it turns out to be offcuts from their second album for One Little Indian - indeed, they were previously most noted for being caught in the crossfire of disgruntled Foo Fighters fans last Reading Festival. Produced by John Goodmanson, currently shaping a new Los Campesinos! album/record (delete as eventually appropriate), Pick The Ghost... EP sound like they should be in the college rock encyclopedia next to Sonic Youth, Death Cab For Cutie, Pixies, the Breeders, Sleater-Kinney and even the Dandy Warhols at their least cloying. In fact, they're about to support Cold War Kids on a handful of European dates.

    Underground Railroad - Lots Of Cars

    Thursday, May 14, 2009

    Lighting up

    Lots of plangent strings this week, which is all very well but where's the alt-rock'n'roll going to come from? San Francisco, if Photons are any indication. An octet, if people are arguing that the new Maccabees album, not especially heavy on violins or death-set marches, is Arcade Fire-like then this definitely is with its tunnel vision, instrumental expansion play (there's a bassoon player!) and New Wave injections among the chiming guitars, declamatory vocals and echoes of Modest Mouse, pre-Bernard Butler Black Kids and the Smiths. There's definite potential here for them to follow the not too dissimilar We Are Scientists into the hearts of the indie kid hoi polloi.

    Photons - Cease and Desist

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009

    Tooth or dare

    Northampton is the home of My First Tooth, and they're not the first band we've heard attempting to escape suburban large town ennui through the medium of Americana. Their emotional alt-folk/country takes the Wilco expansive route, lushly decorated with pedal steel, harmonica, horns and strings, fitting in just as well with the post-Neutral Milk Hotel party (Decemberists, Okkervil River) and topped by Ross Witt's yearning vocals. My First Tooth And The Rubies EP came out last month on Alcopop Records.

    My First Tooth - Typewriters

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    Greet Foxes

    Something lighter after the density of yesterday's musical selection is called for. We featured Foxes! two and a half years ago back when we did one of these a week if you were lucky. Since then they've moved from Oxford to Brighton, picked up a stray Restlesslist-er and come on in leaps and bounds, refining their odd take on lo-fi power indiepop - a cheap studio female fronted Apples In Stereo, perhaps, or Amelia Fletcher playing the Unicorns' back catalogue to Pocketbooks. What we're trying to say is sweet melodies with heavy twists. This is from the Who Killed Rob? EP, which came out last week on CatCutter Records.

    Foxes! - Albania

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Stop what you're doing

    Johnny Foreigner - Feels Like Summer

    This and two other tracks will be available free from their website from June 22nd. In a higher quality, obviously. Here's some tour dates:

    11th Bristol Cooler (support: Tubelord/Oxygen Thief)
    12th Southampton Joiners (Calories/Copy Haho)
    13th Birmingham Victoria (Calories/Copy Haho)
    14th Kingston New Slang (Super Tennis/Youves)
    15th Leicester Sumo (Tubelord/Copy Haho)*
    16th The Great Escape
    17th Manchester Deaf Institute (Calories/Copy Haho)
    18th London Flowerpot (some sort of free thing)
    20th Liverpool Barfly (Hot Club De Paris/Tubelord/Calories)
    21st York Fibbers (Calories/Copy Haho)
    22nd Wakefield Escobar (Copy Haho/TBC)
    23rd Newport Meze Lounge (Calories/Copy Haho)
    24th Northampton Roadmenders 3 (Calories/Copy Haho)

    * Christ, not even we want to do five gigs in Leicester in fourteen months. Not that we're complaining, obviously.

    There may be further JoFo activity on STN soon. Watch this space. Well, not this one, it'll hurt your eyes staring at blank pixels for too long.

    In bloom

    Going back to what we were referring to last week with the interesting ways instrumental music is developing, Flowers Of Hell are that most ill starred of ventures, the classical/rock crossover. You think of John Williams' Sky, and Metallica's S&M, and innumerable Pop Classics albums, and Rick Wakeman's assorted ventures, and gulps. However there's proper experimental streaks behind this all - this project is centrally the work of Toronto Greg Jarvis, who going on promo photos maintains an excellent Frank Zappa moustache, accompanied by up to thirty musicians of a transatlantic hue with varied but mostly sonically expansive backgrounds, including people who's worked with Spacemen 3, Spiritualised, the Patti Smith Group, British Sea Power, Bat For Lashes, Death In Vegas, Broken Social Scene, the Earlies, Hidden Cameras and Tindersticks. Pete 'Sonic Boom' Kember and Owen 'Final Fantasy' Pallett have also joined them live in the past and they've opened for My Bloody Valentine, Dean & Britta (to all intents and purposes Luna) and Asobi Seksu.

    Obviously the fact the album Come Hell Or High Water is partly an experiment in shaping music to synaesthesic visions might put some casual observers off, but stick with it. It's post-rock/space-rock/shoegaze territory with an orchestral bent, but insomuch as the string section phrases are repetitive and hypnotic like John Cale experiments, the percussion is strident and the arrangements throw up something new every time. It even features a Jesus & Mary Chain cover. Like mid-90s Spiritualized meets Stravinsky, it sounds at home even on Scottish electronica label Benbecula, who put it out last month.

    Flowers Of Hell - Opus 66 (Part 1)
    Flowers Of Hell - Past Tense

    And this is them recorded live in Aberdeen in February, and this is just the seven of them:

    Sunday, May 10, 2009

    The Music That Made... Lucky Soul

    Our seventh favourite album of 2007 was one that found a new way to tread old ground. Lucky Soul's The Great Unwanted channelled Dusty, Stax, girl groups and big old melodrama of a Sixties hue but did it in a way that was entirely believable and quite apart from most of the revivalist hucksters before and since. It certainly didn't sound self-financed. Their first new material since, Whoa Billy!, which came out on download last week, advanced further into the realms of Motown emotion and threw in slabs of glam and disco too. The band are currently recording their second album (see their blog), but singer Ali Howard took a moment out to inform and explain:

    First single bought: I really can’t remember, but no doubt it was something deeply embarrassing like Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice.
    First album bought: Five Star’s Silk and Steel on vinyl. I was really proud of it. Stedman was going to marry me when I grew up, but as it turns out, I’m not his type.
    First gig voluntarily attended: I made my brother take me to Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour in 1990. He lost me in the crowd and I stood at the back of Wembley Stadium, scowling.
    The record that most made you want to get into music: It’s a cliché, but Smells Like Teen Spirit was this massive awakening. I remember watching the video on MTV after school at a mate’s house. I didn’t know what the hell I was witnessing, but I knew I liked it. It wasn’t long before everyone in school joined a band.
    The three headliners at a festival you were curating: Ooh fantasy festival… The Smiths (reformed) The Stone Roses (reformed) The Jam (reformed)
    A song not enough people know about but everyone should hear: There’s a Dusty track called Summer Is Over, which unbelievably was the b-side of Losing You. It has this dark, brooding horn riff. It’s quite brilliant.
    A song you'd play to get people dancing: I’m a rubbish DJ, and it’s usually the track I least expect that will get them up, but Dizzy Miss Lizzie seemed to do the trick last time.
    The last great thing you heard: Nina Simone’s piano version of You’ll Never Walk Alone. It’s not just great, it’s sublime.
    Your key non-musical influences: Quadrophenia, Under the Skin by Michel Faber, Julie Christie, vintage fashion, traveling the world, Stevie G, speaking Spanish (muy poco) and girly cocktails with my ladies (to counter all the boy-ness in my life).
    Your favourite new artist: Theoretical Girl. She’s played with us a couple of times and she’s doing Glastonbury this year, which I’m super excited about. Really looking forward to her debut album.

    Saturday, May 09, 2009

    The Weekly Sweep

  • Au Revoir Simone - Shadows [live YouTube]
  • The Chapman Family - Kids [YouTube]
  • Fanfarlo - Drowning Men [live YouTube]
  • Future Of The Left - Arming Eritrea [Myspace]
  • Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks [live YouTube]
  • Internet Forever - Cover The Walls [Myspace]
  • Jeffrey Lewis And The Junkyard - Roll Bus Roll [live YouTube, a different clip to the last one]
  • Johnny Foreigner - Feels Like Summer [Myspace]
  • The Kiara Elles - Odio [YouTube]
  • Kill It Kid - Send Me An Angel Down [YouTube]
  • The Low Anthem - Ticket Taker [Myspace]
  • Lucky Soul - Whoa Billy! [Myspace]
  • Micachu & The Shapes - Golden Phone [Myspace]
  • Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Buriedfed [YouTube]
  • MJ Hibbett and the Validators - Do More, Eat Less
  • Rose Elinor Dougall - Start/Stop/Synchro [Myspace]
  • The Scaramanga Six - Misadventure [YouTube]
  • Sky Larkin - Antibodies [YouTube]
  • TV On The Radio - Crying [live YouTube]
  • The Wave Pictures - If You Leave It Alone [YouTube]
  • Friday, May 08, 2009

    Tonsure thing

    Just because we've never mentioned them before on here and their sole album's just been reissued, The Monks freak out the well dressed dancing Beat Club kids of Germany in 1966:

    Kill the sound

    Quick one today. We really thought that, with a label behind them and a big potential ahead, Kill It Kid would have attracted more attention than they have for their John Parish produced Deep South death blues with Anthony Hegarty-like vocals. Everything's right there on a plate for gorging critics. Ah well. Here's the B-side of their debut single proper Send Me An Angel Down, out on 18th May through One Little Indian, which you can hear and see underneath.

    Kill It Kid - Date It The Day

    Thursday, May 07, 2009

    Penny drops

    Hard to really pin Penny Broadhurst down to one thing. At one point you think the Leeds lyrically charged singer-songwriter, and where appropriate her band The Maffickers, are the purest of simple pop entities, then she and they will throw in a dark storyline or stylistic left turn to complement her cut glass English vocals. All of these are well demonstrated on this new bedroom demo, far from her often laptop electro impulses and feelgood imagery.

    Penny Broadhurst & The Maffickers - Dancing Days

    Wednesday, May 06, 2009

    Go Team

    News reaches us of a split EP out next Monday through newish CDR label Team Strike Force, which is exciting because a) it's Daniel from Smalltown America's side project, if a label can have a side project, and b) it's six tracks of low budget/high quality threshold goodness operating under the excellent title Life! Death! Prizes! (order here) On the first half is Mat Riviere, whom you may have seen bigged up by one of Internet Forever on here not too long ago and is that pleasing rarity, someone who can make pop and electronic loops work for him. His songs are full of choruses and ideas built up around droning keyboards and loops and is very exciting.

    Mat Riviere - Castroreale

    On the second half, Jam On Bread is one bloke called Steve from Grimsby, who declares his talents as "basic ukulele, rubbish voice, amateurish recording". Well, yeah. Or: homespun brittle self-deprecating charm about the wish to become a manatee, the benefits of staying indoors, the glory of Labrador Records and...

    Jam On Bread - The Pros And Cons Of Having A Beard

    The pair of them are planning out a tour in mid-July - check Myspaces for details.

    Alright now

    Alright The Captain are an instrumental band. And round here, you know what being an instrumental bands - intricate intertwining math-y guitar lines, punishing drumming, the odd lapse into sludge metal riffage. Well... yes, all that, but there's something in the way they do it which includes more than just knowing their way round post-rock dynamics, with knowledge of surf, post-hardcore and glitch all coming to the fore. With And So I Watch You From Afar making waves with the right people, a new album from Maybeshewill, just across the county border from the trio's Derby base, in June and 65daysofstatic making a renewed attack on the senses across the festivals with an album imminent maybe there's even a scene in it all.

    Alright The Captain - Bad Teeth

    Tuesday, May 05, 2009

    Picture post

    Think we've used that one before. Never mind, because this is too exciting - Team Love, Conor Oberst's fancy label - is giving away a gratis album's worth of Wave Pictures songs, including all three singles from Instant Coffee Baby and both sides of its preceding double A side. And seven others.

    Nothing from the excellent new album If You Leave It Alone, but they've made a video for the title track:

    Can anyone passing this way from Moshi Moshi explain why their singles and album, while we know they've been added, are blocked from Spotify in the UK?

    Strip show

    So we used the bank holiday to get through pretty much all our backlog of promos, taster mp3s and stuff sent on the off-chance, and in among all the half-baked rock posing and unexciting electropop (because it's the in thing) we found quite a few little gems, which we'll be bringing you over the next few days. Mostly bands we've already written about, in truth.

    Ace Bushy Striptease, for one. The inscrutable Tom Whyman, our brother in The Line Of Best Fit arms, calls the Birmingham sextet-at-the-moment "this generation's Beatles". Well, maybe he's pressing the point a little forcefully, but it's undeniable that now they seem to have a settled line-up and are at least working towards a unified sound they're coming into something really good. They exist in that world where indiepop meets slashing scrap guitars, have a fight in which they nearly lose their place several times, like to think they'd be a pop hook kind of band if they had the mental strength. They sound like the Deirdres (RIP) pretending they're Johnny Foreigner, at other times Beat Happening after being force fed the Thermals or Sky Larkin getting an advertising gig for Fisher Price's My First Mika Miko... yeah, ultimately meaningless descriptive phrases like that. Basically sometimes they're light as a feather, then they decide to be post-hardcore instead, and in a funny, itchy, jumpy way it works. They sent us some demos recently. We've harvested as we saw fit at the time. They do tremendous song titles too.

    Ace Bushy Striptease - "Arrogance Is My Middle Name", Said Will Davies Arrogantly
    Ace Bushy Striptease - And She Smiled (At Me) Across The Void

    Monday, May 04, 2009

    You can have it all but how much do you want it?

    More old chart foraging, and this list is from 23rd April 1994, a fifteenth anniversary just passed of something quite notable in British music history:

    40 Urban Species - Brother
    No idea. Interesting to see an entry at 55 for Get It Up For Love - "oh, he means his cock!" - from Luciana. Now here's someone with a storied history. Luciana Caporaso by name, an associate of acieeed housers D-Mob who alternated Yazz-style between dance diva and soul balladeer to little major label success. Then she went and joined Crush, the band Donna Air was in with Jayni Hoy of Byker Grove, because Jellyhead had become a surprise US club success straight after Hoy had given up on pop semi-fame. After that she did club vocals and joined a band who made it to the Dawson's Creek soundtrack, then showed up as vocalist with Portobella, a post-Republica shouty beats thing who yet again were much touted - the blogs loved them for a little while, we recall - to little comeback. Finally she managed to wangle her way onto a hit two years ago on Bodyrox's Yeah Yeah, then last year provided vocals on a Taio Cruz top five single. Persistence, see, pays off eventually. Even if you, like her, do have that not-exactly-Dickie Davies two-tone blonde/black hair thing going on.

    39 Ice-T - Gotta Lotta Love
    No idea either, but at 42 were the Auteurs with Chinese Bakery, one of their three singles to make the top 50 without ever giving Luke and fiends a top 40 entry. (That said, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci managed five and nobody's rushing to give Euros Childs a book deal) It's revealed in Bad Vibes that this is about Brenda Khan, a Greenwich Village folkie who contrived to annoy Haines, not entirely tricky in fairness, throughout the course of a US tour support. That book is still recommended to all, but we've just received another volume published later in the month about Haines, one with a much looser connection with reality, and we'll be posting about that imminently.

    38 The Proclaimers - What Makes You Cry?
    Indistinguished fare from duo Paula Yates dubbed "something really weird", which judging by her standards is putting Craig and Charlie at a far higher premium than anyone could imagine.

    37 Fluke - Bubble
    Waiting around for big beat to be invented.

    36 Daniel O'Donnell - Singing The Blues
    Been a while since we've heard from every Irish mother's favourite who'd invite anyone passing to his house for tea, or something.

    35 Taylor Dayne - I'll Wait
    Another one from the overflowing pile of early 90s hi-NRG American divas, who didn't even get an invitation to sing on Keep On Jumpin'.

    34 Degrees Of Motion Featuring Biti - Shine On
    33 Driza Bone - Pressure
    32 Urban Cookie Collective - High On A Happy Vibe
    You forget how much of this was around at the time as every other producer rushed to drain the dregs of post-rave dance.

    31 Oasis - Supersonic
    And here we reach the nub. Its only ever week in the top 40 despite all Creation's reissues of the entire single back catalogue but a song with its own mythology (for timeline purposes, Girls And Boys exited the top 40 this very week), the celebrated Wibbling Rivalry interview appearing in the NME this very week. They didn't have to stand around looking nonchalantly hard on a rooftop for much longer.

    30 Roachford - Only To Be With You
    In the preceding minutes to the John Harris observed showdown, he'd witnessed Liam spot Andrew Roachford in the Edinburgh bar in which they were comfortably esconsed and approach the one time soul voice of a nation with the words "Cuddly Toy, man! Tune of the eighties!" We last reprinted that anecdote roughly six weeks ago. Hope you enjoyed it as much this time.

    29 Frances Ruffelle - Lonely Symphony
    Daughter of Sylvia Young and Tony Award winning (for Les Miserables) stage musical actress, but also the UK's Eurovision entry for that year, finishing tenth. In those days we expected nothing and got somewhere.

    28 Garth Brooks - Standing Outside The Fire
    Oleaginous ex-Spurs lengthy sentence proprietor of limited charisma given to giving his opinions while extending the right index finger up the side of his face as if in intellectual mode.

    27 PJ And Duncan - Why Me?
    And here's the start of something else entirely, as the first spin-off hit single from Grove Matrix - Tonight I'm Free was released but only reached number 62 - launches Byker's tragicomic double act to a wider world. Thirteen top 20 singles, they had. Look up how the final episode in 2006 ran, it's a cracker of a storyline.

    26 The Pretenders - I'll Stand By You
    One of a long line of covers Girls Aloud failed to understand, Chrissie and this year's boys have been reduced to putting out their new album with a greatest hits CD added.

    25 Mariah Carey - Without You
    At the time you'd have imagined Carey was unlikely to have a Harry Nilsson-like lost weekend. How little we knew.

    24 Terrorvision - Oblivion
    Hail-fellow-well-met Bradford rockers with no likelihood to turn into Thunder, not as long as Tony Wright was appearing on Never Mind The Buzzcocks. Still playing last ever tours to this day.

    23 Black Machine - How Gee
    A poor man's Us 3.

    22 JX - Son Of A Gun
    Jake Williams, now recording less commercially obvious dance as Rex The Dog, hires the sort of wailing diva that were being given away like Metro is now.

    21 Kate Bush - The Red Shoes
    Title track from what's still her last but one album, accompanied by the video album The Line The Cross And The Curve, which is either a fascinating celebratory attempt at reinforcing that you are still something other than most of the mainstream or, if you're Kate Bush, "a load of bollocks".

    20 Des'ree - You Gotta Be
    Feminine empowerment anthem in waiting, although little Ms Weeks' fault, we argue. That she's only now remembered for the later ghost/toast business, however, is.

    19 Toni Braxton - Another Sad Love Song
    Whatever did happen to Babyface?

    18 Loveland Featuring Rachel McFarlane Vs Darlene Lewis - Let The Music (Lift You Up)
    Dangerous overmanning.

    17 Crystal Waters - 100% Pure Love
    Forever to be the Gypsy Woman, um, woman, and no amount of ladies' night out fare will change that.

    16 Madonna - I'll Remember
    Anyone? Post-Sex pre-Orbit was very much a lost period in the Madonna discography.

    15 D:Ream - U R The Best Thing
    Piano house placeholding, actually their second biggest hit behind you know what but far too fast for even Mandelson to mime and clap along to.

    14 Pet Shop Boys - Liberation
    From Very, for our money the PSBs' best work, and accompanied by a video which illustrated how they'd often experiment with 3D fractalisation throughout the first half of the decade to the detriment of their visual image. Now that stuff's back they'll be all over it again, we bet.

    13 Doop - Doop
    Wonder if the lyrics were ever in Smash Hits.

    12 Salt-N-Pepa With En Vogue - Whatta Man
    Still to be heard whenever any regional news presenter does a smirking catwalk turn at a local fashion show.

    11 CJ Lewis - Sweets For My Sweet
    1992 to 1994 saw several attempts at breaking pop-ready reggae, and indeed ragga, in the UK, of which shouty covers by chancers like Lewis were near enough the final throw. Chaka Demus presumably knew the jig was up.

    10 Ace Of Base - The Sign
    Nasty feeling that these will be reclaimed as some sort of guilty pleasure cool in the next couple of years. It's Eurodance reggae, for goodness sake!

    9 Haddaway - Rock My Heart
    Pretty much blew his load first time out with What Is Love?, and last seen collaborating with Dr Alban on a single called I Love The 90s. We're not making that up.

    8 Bitty McLean - Dedicated To The One I Love
    1992 to 1994 saw several attempts at breaking pop-ready reggae, and indeed ragga, in the UK, of which McLean was pretty much the final throw. Big Mountain would have to sit by disconsolate.

    7 Reel 2 Real Featuring The Mad Stuntman - I Like To Move It
    Somewhat surprised to learn that Reel 2 Real was Erick Morillo, who like JX eventually went back underground and built himself up again. Not quite Tidy Trax being run by one of Jive Bunny, but not far off.

    6 Bruce Springsteen - Streets Of Philadelphia
    Broooce grows a Robert Pires beard and goes all low-key earnest. Better than it sounds, and actually better than the Hanks vehicle it was written for.

    5 Crash Test Dummies - Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
    Not actually a one hit wonder but less than fondly remembered nonetheless, largely for Brad Roberts' baritone, its setting up permanent camp on Virgin 1215 and its ease of parody use. Produced by Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads and The Modern Lovers.

    4 Erasure - Always
    They'll always shift a certain amount of units but as far as consistently big hits goes this was nearly the end of the run.

    3 Tony Di Bart - The Real Thing
    Although not an official one hit wonder, he and his poor man's Peter Cunnah act never did anything like this good again.

    2 Take That - Everything Changes
    Fifth of six singles from the same titled album, four of which, this included, were number one. Not as lighters aloft as Pray or as ballsy as Relight My Fire, no wonder Gary gave it to Robbie.

    1 The Artist Formerly Known As Prince - The Most Beautiful Girl In The World
    "Upon the seventh day of the sixth month, nineteen hundred and ninety-three, marking the beginning and ending of cycles of creation, Prince, reaching the balance of thirty-five years, put into practice the precepts of perfection: Voicing bliss through the freedom of being one's self; incarnating the New Power Generation into the close of the six periods of involution, giving birth upon himself to regenerate his name as O(+> -- for in the dawn, all will require no speakable name to differentiate the ineffible one that shall remain." To which nations responded "can't we just use TAFKAP?" His first single using what nobody called the Love Symbol, this, the whole 'SLAVE' business coming about as Warners were refusing to release the album this was recorded for as he'd just released two sets of older songs in a year. The UK concurred in terms of market saturation, giving him only one top ten single and four in the top 40 since. What's more, it's the kind of soul ballad that until the year before last's O2 experience made people forget what a musical virtuoso he was. That baritone's quite something, though.

    Sunday, May 03, 2009

    Professional, Competent, Rocking And Tight

    We've maintained on here before that you cannot review Half Man Half Biscuit. They just work on a completely different sphere to everyone else, so while any deviations from musical orthodoxy are so uncommon as to be actively notable it's in the references, the targets, the lyrics, damn, the whole ethos of Nigel Blackwell.

    MJ Hibbett is much the same, which makes a kind of sense given the Peterborough raised, Leicester established, now resident in the not exactly as unique London songsmith formed his backing band in the hope of getting HMHB supports, with some success (and Nigel gets a namecheck herein). Ofen jaunty, occasionally wistful, mildly folky indie as she used to be writ is the default setting, on top of which Hibbett waxes wry about the things that concern a working man gradually ekeing his way through his thirties, full of sardonicness and observational charm. We've seen him and them three times in the last year and a bit in various circumstances and fully enjoyed each and every one of them.

    There's a new album. It's called Regardez, Ecoutez et Repetez, properly released on 11th May on Hibbett's own Artists Against Success. Topics tackled include why men aren't actually all sad/bastards/sad bastards, the ills of being "politically incorrect" and proud, taking responsibility for your own weight, why kids don't understand the lyrics of the Smiths' Ask any more, love in the IT department, social engagements ending too late and, on the seven minute epic closer Leicester's Trying To Tell Me Something, Hibbett lamenting that all his old playing and drinking haunts are being shut down in the name of "progress" - something close to our heart too, evidently - so much so that he had to re-record part of the vocal late on when the Charlotte shut. Also on the album: The Music Of The Future. It's smart, fabulous stuff, perhaps even his best full-length, and confirms Hibbett's position as a unique sort of national treasure. In short: GRATE!

    MJ Hibbett & The Validators - My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once

    A limited run of early CDs feature a booklet explaining all; the normal version merely sticks it on a PDF on the disc alongside a Vlad Facts magazine and an album's worth of demos, including this otherwise unreleased track:

    MJ Hibbett & The Validators - This Is The Soundcheck

    Back in 2003, in fact on This Is Not A Library, they sounded much like this:

    MJ Hibbett & The Validators - Things'll Be Different When I'm In Charge

    Hibbett plus Validators launch the album on 9th May at The Fly, London WC1A with The Kiara Elles supporting, then tour in late May. Mark will be playing on the Indietracks train - we've put in an order for breathing aids in confined spaces already - before heading up to Edinburgh for...well...


    Surely there must be some bands from the 1980s who aren't ripe for having their sound revived? Well, here's the millennial Blow Monkeys. Kind of, anyway - Napoleon (not to be confused with STN favourite Napoleon IIIrd) are a Swedish decet about whose grooves you'll hear a very European pop sensibility in their white soul stylings, by way of everything from Stax to Spector to Morrissey. Such unashamed updating of retro-pop stylings makes sense of the fact they're signed to Lucky Soul's Ruffa Lane label, who are putting out an album on May 25th, the tremendously titled Bohemians Won The Series And The Little Guy Joined The Band.

    Napoleon - Send Me A Woman

    Can someone form a 2000s Pigbag or King Kurt now?

    Saturday, May 02, 2009

    The Weekly Sweep

  • A Classic Education - Best Regards [Myspace]
  • Au Revoir Simone - Shadows [live YouTube]
  • Brakes - Don't Take Me To Space (Man) [YouTube]
  • The Chapman Family - Kids [YouTube]
  • Eels - Fresh Blood [YouTube]
  • Future Of The Left - Arming Eritrea [Myspace]
  • Golden Silvers - True Romance (True No.9 Blues) [YouTube]
  • Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks [live YouTube]
  • Internet Forever - Cover The Walls [Myspace]
  • Jeffrey Lewis And The Junkyard - Roll Bus Roll [live YouTube]
  • Kill It Kid - Send Me An Angel Down [YouTube]
  • Lucky Soul - Whoa Billy! [Myspace]
  • Micachu & The Shapes - Golden Phone [Myspace]
  • Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Buriedfed [YouTube]
  • The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Young Adult Friction [YouTube]
  • Rose Elinor Dougall - Start/Stop/Synchro [Myspace]
  • Sky Larkin - Antibodies [Vimeo]
  • TV On The Radio - Crying [live YouTube]
  • The Wave Pictures - Tiny Craters In The Sand [live YouTube]
  • The XX - Crystalised [YouTube]
  • Friday, May 01, 2009

    The Music That Made... Internet Forever

    Sometimes the best things come out of the smallest confined spaces. Internet Forever is essentially a supergroup of Laura Wolf, Heartbeeps and Christopher Alcxxk, who on their own make no-fi bedroom anti-pop in various flavours but together make, erm, no-fi front room anti-pop. They fall somewhere between Casiotone For The Painfully Alone and Times New Viking, which means deceptively unsimple open hearted songs plus a shitload of fuzz. Their debut 7", very limited in the UK (and quite limited in the US where Art Fag are releasing it, in fact), is imminent and they've since been working with, if you don't mind, Pete Gofton AKA Johnny X AKA J Xaverre AKA George Washington Brown. In the meantime they're taking off round the capital and taking part in Q&As like this (EDITED since earlier):

    First single bought
    Heartbeeps: I think it was something like When Will I Be Famous by Bros, on seven inch vinyl. I remember being well into Bros when I first got into music, and I really wanted to win a competition once on Going Live to get Matt and Luke round for lunch at my house. Eventually I realised that Bros weren't all that great and I moved on to more serious chart bothering stuff, like 2 Unlimited and Shaggy.
    Alcxxk: Feathers Furs and Fins, an Australian folk song. Dunno who recorded it :(
    Laura: I literally cannot remember this because my mum and brother bought
    me 7 inch singles from a really super young age. I remember owning a lot of Kylie and Michael Jackson, though. The Wrestlemania single was also a favourite.

    First album bought
    Heartbeeps: Push by Bros, on cassette. My parents joined the Britannia Music Club (remember that? You used to get leaflets in the newspaper for them and could join and get so many albums per year for a subscription). First one I actually went to a shop to buy was the 2 Unlimited album, on cassette, from Woolworths. It was £7.
    Alcxxk: Space - Spiders and the Simpsons album Songs In The Key Of Springfield
    Laura: Again, same as the singles thing. I loved the Queen Greatest Hits
    and I remember owning Big Fun's album on tape and I had a Bros album too. Basically loads of crappy boy bands.

    First gig voluntarily attended
    Heartbeeps: When I was 15 I went to see Stereophonics at Town & Country Club in Leeds. I thought I was way cool. The Crocketts were supporting. I loved The Crocketts.
    Alcxxk: Interpol playing an XFM night at the Barfly, 2000
    Laura: I went to see Take That when I was 10 at Wembley Arena and it blew
    my mind. I was sure Robbie waved at me during the Beatles medley.

    The record that most made you want to get into music
    Heartbeeps: Word Gets Around by Stereophonics. I think I was in Year 10 or something and it was the first album that made me think 'WOW. I want to do that'.
    Then I saw their Live At Cardiff Castle DVD and formed a band with my friends during a residential trip in the Yorkshire Dales. It wasn't until three years later that I actually bought my first guitar. It's worth pointing out at this point that I didn't actually find my feet musically until I was at university where I met people who were far more knowledgeable about music than I was.
    Alcxxk: Probably Whippin' Piccadilly by Gomez :s
    Laura: I'm not sure what to take 'get into' as meaning. All the Britpop bands that were around when I was about 11 or 12 made me begin to want to find out more about music and its history. But all the pop music I listened to as a kid started me off writing songs and singing and playing piano and stuff! It took getting into riot grrl when I was 15 or 16 to make me really think I could 'do it' though.

    The three headliners at a festival you were curating
    Heartbeeps: A reformed Pavement, a reformed The Unicorns, a reanimated The Beatles.
    Alcxxk: Fugazi, Bowie, Radiohead
    Laura: Dead or alive? If dead is allowed then I'll have Beat Happening,
    Hymie's Basement and The Postal Service.

    A song not enough people know about but everyone should hear
    Heartbeeps: Dreamscaper by Ye Olde Maids. Such an aptly named song. Reminds me of playing the Industrial level on Sonic The Hedgehog 2.
    Alcxxk: Proud By Looking Around by The Love Of Everything
    Laura: 24 by Best Friends Forever

    A song you'd play to get people dancing
    Heartbeeps: I REALLY hate dancing, but if I had to choose one, it'd be Schizophrenia by Sonic Youth. Remember that crowd scene from 1991: The Year Punk Broke when the riff starts? Wow.
    Alcxxk: I used to DJ at a student indie club. The correct answer is "something by the Kaiser Chiefs lol"
    Laura: Depends how drunk people were, but Justin Timberlake or Beyonce usually does the trick for me.

    The last great thing you heard
    Heartbeeps: Too many to chose from, so for overall experience, I'll plump for Future Islands at the Old Blue Last. Intense.
    Alcxxk: I just wrote a demo that sounds great to me, not so great to my gf
    Laura: The sirens on a police car coming to arrest this man that was
    screaming crazy shit outside my house.

    Your key non-musical influences
    Heartbeeps: Photography, travel and people. Also, the internet.
    Alcxxk: I'm really not a very well rounded person, so this isn't easy. um. Chris Morris?
    Laura: I like cycling around London, exploring new places and people watching.

    Your favourite new artist:
    Heartbeeps: Dead Gaze. This guy added us on Myspace a few weeks ago when his profile was about four days old. He made an album and put it online for free and I've been hooked ever since. I saw him described as 'a tropical Wavves', which is pretty accurate. A special mention also goes to Ye Olde Maids, whose album is out soon through Art Fag Recordings (the same guys who are putting out our first seven inch) and Best Coast, who are also putting something out on Art Fag I think. Art Fag is great.
    Alcxxk: I love The Cardboard Band. Lovely folk fun.
    Laura: Mat Riviere

    Internet Forever next play the Brainlove Festival on 30th May at the Brixton Windmill with Napoleon IIIrd, Pagan Wanderer Lu, Kid Carpet, Ace Bushy Striptease, The Duloks, Jam On Bread etc. and they're all doing solo sets too. This is the self-made version of Break Bones plus expensively commissioned video: