Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tracklist: Tom Vek - A Chore

The last time anyone else heard anything from Tom Vek we'd only just found out about the Arctic Monkeys, only people with a very keen ear to the ground knew Burial and we didn't yet know Kate Nash or Klaxons. How much the world changes in half a decade. Still, he's clearly got a sense of humour about it, as you'll see at the start of this clip. As for the rest of it, it's easy to forget his first flush ran roughly parallel with rather than as a reaction alongside the UK post-punk revival, and his way of developing out is to slow down the tense, choppy beats and rhythms underpinning his committed drawl.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tracklist: The Indelicates - I Am Koresh

David Koresh Superstar has been talked about by Simon and Julia for so long - before Songs For Swinging Lovers, indeed - that we were beginning to think it was an elaborate in-joke. But no, recordings have been made and the "concept album telling the story of the Waco siege in a bitter cocktail of rebel country, luau, disco and rock opera" is out on 16th May. The first track is everything you want from it, namely folk-scarred theatrics and Simon Indelicate absolutely committed to someone else's divine discourse. The album launch is at St Aloysius Social Club, NW1, on 20th May, with visits to spread the word to Leicester, Glasgow, Cambridge, Brighton, Milton Keynes, Leeds and Sheffield in the following weeks.

And now who'd like to hear their own dubstep remix?

David Koresh Superstar Preview Track by simonindelicate

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tracklist: Dananananaykroyd - Muscle Memory

Oh, we're back to this already. Well, there's catching up to do with some high quality new material, starting with the return of the First Glasgow Volunteers Fight-Pop regiment. Second album There Is A Way is out on 13th June through their own Pizza College imprint, produced by that fulcrum of light hearted banter and twee floatiness Ross Robinson. If it's not as chaotic as Hey Everyone! got it may be because the second drumkit has been abandoned and a proper earworm of a chorus implanted, but don't worry, there's still a bit where everyone shouts and flails off in several different directions while still somehow keeping it all together. Coming soon to the floor in front of a stage near you.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sweeping The Nation presents... We Make Our Own Mythologies

This album is no longer available

Released to coincide with STN's sixth birthday on Friday - we're organising a gathering of fans along the Mall in central London to mark the day - We Make Our Own Mythologies (click through the picture, which is Alex Hale's singular handiwork) is our first proper compilation of the sort of British bands we've expended far too much effort on promoting for no other reason than we think you, the discerning audience, should be listening to them. We're selling it through Bandcamp on a pay-what-you-like basis with a set minimum of £3 (or each track is 50p). All the money made after Bandcamp and PayPal take their cuts will go direct to Macmillan Cancer Support, providing care to improve the lives of people affected by cancer, an organisation that provided invaluable help to my family in the last couple of months of last year.

Twenty tracks therein, including a number of exclusives, demos and rarities, very generously donated by artists and labels concerned upon our request, and we publicly and graciously thank them all. We didn't ask for any sort of umbrella theme or stylistic levelling off, so this is a bit wayward and idiosyncratic as far as charity compilations go, but you'd expect nothing less from us after so long. Let's have a quick rundown.

Johnny Foreigner - Who Needs Comment Boxes When You've Got Knives
One of the bands we've been proud to say we've sometimes over-keenly followed from early on, and we know they know about us too. Taken from You Thought You Saw A Shooting Star etc., their EP from the end of 2011 on Alcopop! Records.

Ace Bushy Striptease - EchoeseChoesecHoesechOesechoEsechoeS
Birmingham's excitably wonky lo-fi kids offer an exclusive track from their third album, The Words That You Said Are Still Wet In My Head, to be released some time in late summer/autumn. They're currently touring with The Middle Ones and will be playing Indietracks.

Well Wisher - Babe Issues
Well Wisher are from Manchester and are reminiscent of that Kinsella-aided wave of math-post-hardcore bands Chicago spewed out over the mid-90s, all spidery guitars, collapsible rhythms, strident vocals and emotive self-regard. This comes from a forthcoming split 7" with Canadian fellow travellers Polina.

Kidnapper Bell - Falling And Laughing
Three spikily intricate Birmingham-based bands in the first four! Kidnapper Bell have been around for three or four years now developing their sturdily livewire, almost poppy explosive powderkegs of jumping post-post-punk. This is taken from their recent limited edition double A-side.

Codex Leicester - Hey Hey Hot Legs
Across the Midlands to... well... Leicester, and a band whose demos, all tightly wound post-hardcore guitar abuse with a restless art-metal twist, have been exciting many a cutting edge radio DJ.

Stagecoach - Ice Age
From 2009's We Got Tazers! EP, an example of the much touted London-via-Surrey outfit's knowledge of the best route through dishevelled, compact power-pop.

Honour Before Glory - A Beautiful Reminder
Exclusive track from recent sessions by the new project of Whiskas, who you'll know best from ¡Forward Russia! and who now trades in reverberating, fractured atmospheric soundscapes with heartfelt songwriting at its core.

Her Name Is Calla - Pour More Oil
From last year's stunning debut album proper The Quiet Lamb, a stately, unhurried march towards the flames building from delicacy to a bloodletting of strings, brass and cathartic cries.

Rumour Cubes - At Sea
An EP out last October in small physical quantities, from which this comes, proved a tantalising enough introduction to a soaringly cinematic six-piece who deal in ebbing and flowing textures, led by strings, undertowed by electronics.

Under Alien Skies - Slew
We've been banging on about the Prestatyn duo for a while now, because every release fascinates with the way it perambulates around hazy washes of harmonies, effects and hovering beats. This previously unreleased track layers their usual blissed out vocals on more distorted terrain to unnerving effect.

Stairs To Korea - Josiah's A Writer Now (demo)
Having just released everything he's put out so far on Little Fractures EP, Will Vaughan's newest material starts off like a fight between a ragged rock band and a wall of amateur electronics and only gets less explicable, and thus more good, from there.

Moscow Youth Cult - Sakura Sakura
The Nottingham-based duo play live alongside cut-up video of bizarre sci-fi films and their music is a bit like that too, skew-wiff electro beats and loops producing a kind of 8-bit electropop the charts wouldn't recognise.

The Japanese War Effort - Pool Attendant
From an EP called Surrender To Summer that had an almost only rumoured about release last summer but will be reissued properly by Song, By Toad soon enough, Jamie Scott feeds hazy summer melodies into a broken electronic forcefield and attempts to form a strain of oblique storytelling out of the remnants.

King Post Kitsch - Walking On Eggshells
Another recent addition to Song, By Toad's splendid stable, a mysterious Glaswegian only publicly known as Charlie attempts to carve a path between lyrically astute classic melodicism and hotwrired electronics on this from last year's Monomaniac EP.

Japanese Sleepers - Whistler's Breath
From last month's Little Victories EP, released by Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation, Japanese Sleepers are equally from Nottingham and, yeah, Sheffield and merge folk-tinged, tenderly reflective indie - Bobby Wratten should be jealous - with just off-centre melodies and electronic rhythms.

My First Tooth - Silent Spring
Another Alcopop! product, Northampton's My First Tooth specialise in melancholy, almost summery folk-pop with a heartaching undercurrent. There is banjo plucking. There are uplifting wordless chorales. This is taken from last year's album Territories.

Ralegh Long and the Primary 3 - The Trees of The Field
Taken from sessions for an EP to be released later in the year, an example of the directly expressed ideas and enigmatic melodic reconstruction that's seen Long compared to Robyn Hitchcock and Darren Hayman.

The Sound Of The Ladies - The Only Girl Who Would Ever Break My Heart
In his downtime Martin Austwick is Martin The Sound Man, resident third wheel on the award-winning Answer Me This! podcast. He's also an actual qualified quantum physicist. And as you can hear here he's also a lyrically wry and expansive singer-songwriter.

Daughter - Run (demo)
Daughter is Elena Tonra, a 19 year old from north London with an acoustic guitar, a sweetly acidic, vulnerable yet commanding voice and a poetic bent, deeply resigned to vicissitudes of love and caring. The Communion people are already behind her and she's just released the His Young Heart EP.

Shy And The Fight - Living
Finally, an exclusive track from a forthcoming EP, Written about a band family member's fight against cancer, from Chester's heartfelt hookworthy hoedown folk-country septet, recently heard on the Jack Wills advert of Daily Mail fame.

We Make Our Own Mythologies - buy now for at least £3

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tracklist: Niva - The Boy From The Sun

Much as the continued world domination of 80s synth sound steals has long passed the point of no qualitative return, there are still a good few people who can drag out some post-Royksopp airy keyboards and embed them within slick pop without resorting to Vince Clarke's waste paper bin. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of them are Swedish. Christian Niva recalls the feel of electro-house, dialing down its overbearing attitude in favour of dreamy filtered languidness, while simultaneously taking on the twitching corpse of chillwave at its own game, dragging the body away from the hazy Ibiza beachfront and letting it simmer.

Niva - The Boy From The Sun by NIVA

NIVA // the boy from the sun from Joseph Rodrigues Marsh on Vimeo.

Tracklist now has a few days off as we have something important to impart to you musically tomorrow.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tracklist: Is Tropical - The Greeks

What are we going to do with Is Tropical? Boasting, if that's the right word, emigres from the south London shambles squat scene of 2008, their first single served notice that this was a band set to take up the places where Klaxons had forgotten, then they signed to Kitsune and put out an electropop single that sounded like everyone else's electropop singles. The third single restores equilibrium, a chiming, bassy probing synth-pop gem, a radio-ready melody binding distorted, driving keyboards decorated with guitar figures that reach for something beyond.

Is Tropical - The Greeks by Kitsune Maison

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tracklist Extra: Wake The President - Elaine

As you may have seen, and you can add yourself on Facebook here, Sweeping The Nation Presents... is coming out of mothballs on Wednesday 6th July, when Wake The President will be playing for us, supported by Red Shoe Diaries and LookiMakeMusic. The Sandberg twins and co are doing the rounds to promote their second album, details imminent, and this fine first single stakes out its post sketching a confused standing in love life over Orange Juice playing Motown to the power of the Clash's Hitsville UK.

Elaine (1st 7" single from the new album) by Wake the President

Tracklist: Rubik - Laws Of Gravity

The Eighties Thing, as we must call it, is perhaps the most inexplicable of all beasts. Technically it will soon have been going on for longer than the Eighties, and when that happens we'll all have to turn around and realise we haven't learnt a thing. In the meantime we must continue to dig for the songs that sound both like John Hughes soundtracks and 2011 pop gold, and Finland's Rubik seem as good competitors as any. Teardrop synths, spirited falsetto, at least two choruses and the sound of an 80s that didn't actually sound that like anywhere outside maybe Glenn Gregory's head.

Rubik: Laws Of Gravity by Fullsteam

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tracklist: Emmy The Great - A Woman, A Woman, A Century Of Sleep

Emmy Emmy Emmy!* Second album Virtue, financed through the Pledgemusic system (which means we legally own about three bars of it, we think), is out on June 13th and is produced by Gareth Jones, perhaps the only man to put forward a CV which contains regular work with both Einstürzende Neubauten and Erasure. Thematically it takes yet another of Emma-Lee's personal crises, this time a break-up with her fiance (does make you wonder what she'd have drawn inspiration from were she married, mind you), and stirs in classical mythology and fairy stories from the female perspective. With talk of growing rosemary and big houses apparently out in the wilds there sounds like a faerie queen in trouble vibe to it, and a slowly fanning out sonic palette featuring hysterically cooing backing vocals, distorted bass and staccato piano adds to the impression that something is going very wrong.

A Woman, A Woman, A Century of Sleep by Emmy The Great

(* Oi oi oi!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tracklist: Niteflights - Ask Me Anything

When we first wrote about Kilburn via Lancashire's Niteflights last July we noted they "sound more like contemporaries of Orange Juice, or maybe the Subway Sect, then of whoever the schmindie band du jour are... capable of crafting a pop hook as they are of upending expectations, unassuming and careful but ready to surprise and to lace the pot with lyrical cyanide." Two things: no, we never were very good at describing a band's specific sound, and they still sound like their own people even when affecting the broad sound of contemporaries (think Mitchell Museum, STN regulars). From their newest songs Ask Me Anything is a restless shake, drums sounding like they're on the verge of collapsing the song in on itself, organ vainly trying to keep hold, generally coming at things from the other angle trying to offload all their current emotional baggage as they speed on, and it's all over in 140 seconds.

Ask Me Anything - Niteflights by niteflightsmusic

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tracklist: Mammal Club - Hang

It's not unreasonable or unsurprising that a million tracks are going to emerge this year taking the path cut through by Everything Everything, of complex guitar shapes trading blows with explosive, partly electronic layers and fronted by a barely hinged sounding singer dealing in cryptic lyrical meaning. Wilson Astley, singer of Newcastle's Mammal Club, even throws in bits of falsetto to go with the obtusely singalong choruses and bitsofversesthathavetoomanywordsforthemusicsohehastosingtheminonebreath. They've even supported that band. Yet, quite apart from it far from being the easiest course of stylistic action to even consider apeing, mere impersonation does not make the goodness and this track from the Au EP, out before the sun explodes on Everybody's Stalking records, is built on skittering beats, math guitars (some by Adam Hiles, ex-yourcodenameis:milo) and undulating restlessness.

Mammal Club - Hang by everybodysstalking

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tracklist: She's Hit - Shimmer Shimmer

Gentlemen, start your engines. Glasgow's She's Hit take their name from a Birthday Party song and sound like they've been marinaded in engine oil, dirty drugs and Lux Interior's guitar case. Only the finest, most bottled up to explode psychobilly here, plus a wodge of Pere Ubu's approaching menace. With 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster having recently called it a day, their spiritual cousins have an album ready to go in June which could see them fill the claustrophobic gap.

Shimmer Shimmer by She's Hit

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tracklist: Japanese Sleepers - These Are Our End Times

A kind of collective pop melancholia is what the Nottingham/Sheffield relative newbies and Thee SPC signings Japanese Sleepers indulge in, layering group shouts, violin-led swayalongs and burbling synths atop each other without crowding any of the central faux-joy out. These Are Our End Times, from their current debut EP Little Victories (which has been out for a few weeks but, well, stuff's happened), is as expansive and emotive as they get thus far, nagglingly familiar melodies and builds-to-breakdowns lovingly arranged.

These Are Our End Times by JapaneseSleepers

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tracklist: Help Stamp Out Loneliness - Record Shop

Makes sense, posting this on Record Store Day. Manchester sextet HSOL have been around for a little while but a forthcoming, as in May 9th, debut album could, say whispers, take them into indiepop's big league, the level at which even monthlies start giving them reviews. In the past they've not always chimed right on, the classically swoonsome guitars sometimes at odds with D Lucille Campbell's Nico-with-glitter frontwomanship, but this single finds a happy medium between the mightily melodic pop light touch vaguely reminiscent of Lush or the Primitives, the keyboard drone and the indie dancefloor filling insistence. It's the chorus where it really turns up, Campbell barely needing to extend an extra scintilla of effort but still keeping abreast of everything shifting up a notch around her fantasy star stalker narrative.

Help Stamp Out Loneliness - Record Shop by wiaiwya

Friday, April 15, 2011

Clearing the table

For our latest old chart, we turn to week beginning 18th May 1986 for the chart height of a song that defined a sport whose world championships start tomorrow and accidentally stumble across one of the oddest top tens of all:

40 Mantronix - Bassline
No, not like Man 2 Man Featuring Man Parrish, that was something different. A week earlier and we'd have had Samantha Fox and the Grange Hill Cast to write about; a few sales less for this and we'd be saying a big how you're doing to We've Got A Fuzzbox And We're Gonna Use It's mighty Rules And Regulations EP. In fact, let's all listen to and watch that now.

1986, then.

39 Freddie Mercury - Time
Sounds exactly like a Queen song. So what was the point of holding it back for the solo record?

38 Miami Sound Machine - Bad Boy
It didn't become Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine until 1988, with the Machine stopped shortly afterwards despite pretty much still being her backing band. Here they're caught in another awkward transition, between Latino and synths with big keys.

37 Real Thing - Can't Get By Without You (The Second Decade Remix)
That's something they should have continued with into 1996 at least.

36 Atlantic Starr - Secret Lovers
Tinkling slow jam of the sort that gave Arista a bad name throughout the decade.

35 Nu Shooz - I Can't Wait
What a poor, poor name. Something of a sealed deal as far as jazz-funk goes, with the sort of break that one of those sampler keyboards was made for.

34 Rod Stewart - Love Touch
33 Big Country - Look Away
32 Dire Straits - Your Latest Trick
Arena rock singles that nobody really cares about triple whammy! We could get through this much quicker if it were all like this, it's the top ten where the bulk of this week's action was.

31 The Bangles - If She Knew What She Wants
As above, apart from the arena bit despite their best efforts. Hurry back, Prince/Rameses III!

30 Cashflow - Mine All Mine
Workaday funk like a Netto Cameo.

29 Force MDs - Tender Love
Is this Michael Jackson's fault?

28 Pete Wylie - Sinful
Scouse braggard and alleged inventor of word 'rockist' attempts to make all in path shudder at the forcefulness of his convictions.

27 AC/DC - Who Made Who
From the soundtrack of Maximum Overdrive, Stephen King's sole attempt at film directing. Because you kind of imagined AC/DC would record the soundtrack to a film called Maximum Overdrive directed by Stephen King sooner or later, wouldn't you?

26 Queen - A Kind Of Magic
Some of you may spot there's a small handful of records in this list that were in the chart from two months earlier we commented on not one month ago. Well, there's enough not to have to repeat too much, and we're sticking to that line. So here again is Freddie in his 1920s stage magician cloak summoning up the kind of instantly dated line-and-fill cartoons that blighted the late 80s.

25 The Cure - Boys Don't Cry
That's not really them in the video. Popular mopers preen.

24 Princess - I'll Keep On Loving You
Second and last top 20 single from royal flush completing early SAW also-ran soulstress, a template that would be refined many times over the following eight years or so.

23 ZZ Top - Rough Boy
The other video from their MTV girls and blues fantasia sequence, Eliminator (this time as a sub-Starbug space vehicle), lingering looks at legs, the lot. At least Billy, Dusty and Frank as disembodied mounted heads overshadows balladic notion.

22 Aurra - You And Me Tonight
Funk bassline blogs would go mad about today dissolves into talky overshiny soul vocals that those same bloggers just seem to have forgotten about.

21 George Michael - A Different Corner
It'd been number one three weeks before, and so the great Wham! schism was set with a song George wrote, played, produced, engineered, arranged, designed, built the studio by hand and carved the instruments from wood and plastic all by himself. The next time he did all that was for I Want Your Sex, and therein lies a world of extra-curricular issues.

20 Jaki Graham - Set Me Free
Dance diva dance diva-ises.

19 Simply Red - Holding Back The Years
An old Frantic Elevators song gets a major label budget and, at the second time of asking, sends Hucknall, still sporting hair less like that of an international jet-setter and more Alannah from the Thompson Twins, towards the sphere where he can call upon all the women and teeth he wants.

18 Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through The Grapevine
The first big hit from a Levis advert (though it actually used a soundalike), the Nick Kamen kit off in launderette business which turned the company right around by invoking the then youth cool market of imagined 1950s Americana. Nick Kamen as James Dean. It was very late 1985 onwards, a simpler time.

17 Joyce Sims - All And All
You'd be surprised how far you can get as a disco/soul singer with the name Joyce.

16 Robert Palmer - Addicted To Love
It was supposed to be a duet with Chaka Khan, wherever her vocals would have come; Noddy Holder calls it the perfect pop song. And yet all you know about it is the strangely robot-sex video. The women were based on the look of those in Patrick Nagel paintings, apparently. And it was the first video shown on the Chart Show (and the last, come to it). STOP EJECT

15 Janet Jackson - What Have You Done For Me Lately?
Janet's first solo hit on the back of an impeccable Jam & Lewis swing production turning soul, funk and disco strands into a new thing we would all come to call R&B, here actually inventing a bass tone extensively later used on house and techno tracks.

14 Five Star - Can't Wait Another Minute
Army manoevure-precise choreography from matching tracksuited siblings. They say they're making a comeback, but they say that every two or three years. And no, that didn't happen until 1989.

13 Billy Ocean - There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)

12 The B-52s - Rock Lobster/Planet Claire
For no apparent reason their debut album was only issued over here in '86 despite Rock Lobster being a minor hit first time around seven years earlier, and at a time the band were in seclusion after Ricky Wilson's death. For all the comedy hairpieces and Fred Schneider taking David Byrne's act and attaching it directly to the mains this is a pretty unbeatable combination of surf sci-fi absurdity. Lennon has said he was inspired to return to music by Rock Lobster, but he's credited with saying that about half the records released in 1979.

And now spot the reused bits:

11 Whitney Houston - The Greatest Love Of All
Somewhat more successful and respectful than Kevin Rowland's version. Source of "children are our future" lols.

10 Madonna - Live To Tell
The first real proof that Madge could do adult orientated, and the first real image makeover of her career as she got a Monroe hairdo and some proper clothes so you couldn't see her belly button.

9 Status Quo - Rollin' Home
Guess what it sounds like.

8 Van Halen - Why Can't This Be Love
Sammy Hagar takes over from prime irritant David Lee Roth and takes the Halen into the top ten for the second time with the sort of guitars with leopardskin straps plus arena keyboards plus shouting that Bon Jovi were on the brink of emerging to refine and ruin for us all.

7 Falco - Rock Me Amadeus
Like Chumbawamba and Little Jimmy Osmond a one hit wonder who wasn't (Vienna Calling reached number ten). There was quite the Mozart revival going on at the time, with the film Amadeus not long out of cinemas. In the version of his backstory offered by the sometime Johann Hölzel - a conservatoire-trained former bassist with both hard rock and disco bands, and not a perpetually angry faux-Welshman - though, an odd future Wolfgang kills them all in polite mid to late 18th century Austrian society as a "punker" who "had flair". For the record, the last verse translated into English reads thus: "It was around 1780 and it was in Vienna/No plastic money any more, the banks against him/From which his debts came it was common knowledge/He was a women's man, women loved his punk". Much more poetic in the bitty German, isn't it?

6 Matchroom Mob With Chas And Dave - Snooker Loopy
So this is why we're all here. At the time, it almost stood to reason - Cup final teams release records, so as snooker was now seen as the number one sport on television (this was during football's bleak years) why not pick up on that as a source of tie-in chart crossover potential? Barry Hearn ("he likes country and western, what chance has he got of recognising a good song?" - Hearn protege and prog fan Steve Davis) put in a call to near-local lads Chas & Dave and wondering if they wouldn't mind writing a song for the members of his Matchroom managerial stable, who virtually ran things at the time. Neither of them knew the game well but worked to the concept of "a song to be sung by the seven dwarfs", hence jaunty Cockney, baffling bits about suits and hairbrushes, Willie Thorne Sings!, all that. Tony Meo's line is "I always pipe me eyeballs", apparently because he always cried after a match. He sings this while sporting a broad grin.

There was a follow-up a year later. There's a reason why you never hear it.

5 Doctor And The Medics - Spirit In The Sky
Merry prankster in kabuki whiteface attempts to restart psychedelia revival through his club night, then goes the direct route about it to surprising success, albeit just for themselves. The guitarist went on to play in Badly Drawn Boy's band, the bassist co-formed acid jazzists Corduroy and the drummer is in Die Toten Hosen. There's eclecticism.

4 Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer
Don't mind saying the video, apparently MTV's most screened ever, frightened the life out of us at the time, all that turning into clay and the essential Gabriel visage being messed about with. If you've not seen Broken Pixel's tribute for Lone Wolf from last year, please do. The song? Lots of ungainly sexual metaphors, as Gabriel was pretty much solely doing at the time.

3 Level 42 - Lessons In Love
Slap bass-led jazz-funk - but popular! What a time.

2 Patti LaBelle And Michael McDonald - On My Own
Earnest AOR peddlers bellow at each other long distance over some of the flattest drum sounds ever recorded. Produced by Burt Bacharach, perhaps over a couple of sandwiches in a pre-meeting rush.

1 Spitting Image - The Chicken Song
Good god, how did this happen? Actually it's unlikely the latex lampooners (thank you, every newspaper TV column) knew themselves. Uncrowned genius of satirical pop parody Philip Pope on music and production, future smegverlords Rob Grant and Doug Naylor on deliberately nonsensical words, target "those two wet gits with the girly curly hair", only for the same people who bought the precision targeted post-holiday summer hits to go for this one too in large numbers. B-sides I've Never Met A Nice South African ("except for Breyten Breytenbach!"; somewhat overtaken by future events apartheid satire written by inventor of all comedy John Lloyd and eclectic composer Peter 'not the Field Music one' Brewis), Hello You Must Be Going and We're Scared Of Bob restored acidic comedic equilibrium, the 12" mix with random repetition and a locked groove ending added a certain something.

Tracklist: Clowns - Idiot Bouncing

It must be weeks since Thomas White was last involved in a musical project, so now he's pitched up as bassist in a thematic band that pry on the sort of balls-out psych-garage rock his last solo album had a couple of fine examples of, and not actually ending up that far from Brakes (new album being written, we hear) either. Big dumb riffage, faux-dumb lyrical concerns and a bellyful of rock and roll drive heading straight for a ditch. It's out on the 25th.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tracklist: We Are Trees - Afraid Of Love

We all hear bands who veer very towards another artist's style of music, but how acceptable is it with a view to career development really when it's a more complicated body of work they're taking on? By which we mean Brother can make themselves like Oasis and get brickbats for it because everyone can sound like Oasis, but audibly taking on something which prides itself on its tiniest detail... well, that's something more interesting and likely to be a good pointer of better things to evolve. We Are Trees' EP late last year was pretty much writing and recording songs that sound like Daniel Rossen's work for Grizzly Bear because they weren't at the time, but that it's one bloke from Virginia in his bedroom meant it could still provoke excitement of its own. That thread carries on into this new track, full of multi-tracked harmonies in an airsealed space, reverberating acoustic and ambient scene-setting washes. What's also prevalent is a certain folky open heartedness and a willigness to build around the spacious moodiness - check that wash of noise towards the end.

We Are Trees - Afraid Of Love by ListenBeforeYouBuy

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tracklist: Fixers - Crystals

Somehow Fixers have landed themselves a major label deal. Perhaps Vertigo thought they're an electropop band because they have keyboards front and centre on stage. This certainly doesn't come across as radio friendly unit shifting if by any band without MGMT's early self-created populist mystique. At the start it briefly imagines it's going to be Clinic, then headlong dives right into a psychedelia stew of whirling colours, bouncy rhythms, fizzing freak-pop microclimate melodies and the same kind of west coast harmonies that's made their work to date stand a little even further out. The EP this is on, the unpromisingly titled Here Comes 2001 So Lets Head For The Sun, is out 9th May.

Crystals by Fixers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tracklist: Muddy Suzuki - Gearstick Cabaret

Damo Waters, sometime drummer for Field Music, Electric Soft Parade, Thomas White, Restlesslist, Clowns and endless others, is giving away free downloads of his entire back catalogue, including Head In The Sand, his third album only released in January. Wilfully eclectic, from orchestrated munificence to rock'n'roll and power-pop to weird semi-ambient instrumental carry-ons, we've picked out a track that Waters describes as "flipping from an obscure personal tale to a quick moan about modern record making, with a song structure that makes perfect sense as far as i'm concerned." It starts with bar-room piano, then turns into distorted guitar crunch not that far from his co-conspirator Thomas White's last album.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tracklist: Spring Offensive - A Stutter And A Start

Here's a band that like to keep florid bloggers like ourselves on our toes. Their last single was 14 minutes long and inspired by Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' theory of the Grief Cycle, and before that was an EP bound in rope that contained songs about Alan Turing and eating the contents of a wallet. This one, out today, is about "someone spending hours freezing in a car on the side of the road, making excuses rather than facing confrontation with a lover waiting alone in a restaurant", and the artwork features the names of everybody who downloaded their limited edition acoustic EP and a booklet that can be coloured in, pencils enclosed. The music? Post-Foals Afro-edged guitars and rhythms, stream of conscious lyrics that still form a story of sorts and some sort of angular alt-pop triumphant march at the end.

Spring Offensive - A Stutter and a Start by PopNoodleRadar

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Must we fling this filth at our pop kids?

In an attempt not to just talk to ourselves about them all day, we've started a blog covering the BBC4 repeats of 1976 Top Of The Pops episodes (and presumably TOTP in general over time), Yes It's Number One. Go, add to your feed, whatever.

Tracklist: Girls Names - Bury Me

Difficult to know exactly where the Belfast trio fit in on the modern indiepop scene, not the sallow optimism of POBPAH nor the effortless janglers holding on for dear life. Spectrals' mining of the summer of love surf/beat boom is similar but Girls Names are less well defined, and while you can certainly see bits of Orange Juice, Wedding Present and Felt in them the noir-ish introspection places them just far enough apart while making it sound fresh in a not uncompetitive market. The distorted video aesthetic we saw when we first wrote about them is being maintained like one of those early J&MC clips, luckily with the lyrics on screen given the echo effect would normally give you no chance of making them out. Tough Love release their debut album Dead To Me on 25th April.

Girls Names - Bury Me from Philippa Bloomfield on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Tracklist: Daughter - Landfill

If we must have a load of folky singer-songwriters this year, much better for it to be represented by Elena Tonra than most Mumford-larynxed acoustic/uke wielders. Daughter's debut EP proper His Young Heart, released on Bandcamp on the 20th, is of a piece but subtly shifting, sweetly acidic around the physical concepts of love and hate, the idea of escape allied to wondering how she ended up like this, all rendered as honest self-discovery. The intimacy of the recording and richness of the language draws you in as long as you remember getting too close could be dangerous. The launch is at the Slaughtered Lamb in London on release date, with two Great Escape bookings and an appearance at Lounge On The Farm to come.

Daughter - Landfill (taken from the 'His Young Heart' EP) by ohDaughter

Friday, April 08, 2011

Tracklist: Red Kite - The Gathering Storm

The Cooper Temple Clause seem to have been forgotten these days, filed away as also-rans under the reams of Strokes/Stripes press that dotted 2002-2004, but their powerhouse electronically aided art-prog-punk deserves more. Certainly more than subsequent projects (Losers, White Belt Yellow Tag, being anywhere near Dirty Pretty Things, contributing to CSS' no good second album) would suggest, which is why it's still slightly surprising that the first three tracks to emerge from guitarist Dan Fisher's solo project seem so accomplished. It's folkier than you'd expect, maintaining its nervy composure as noise and strings build up around it. That it's probably the least obviously direct and Cooper-esque of the three bodes well.

The Gathering Storm by Red Kite (Daniel Fisher)

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Tracklist: Sons & Daughters - Silver Spell

Up til now Sons & Daughters have pretty much cleaved to one modus operandi, that is chiding attack dogs of roaring rhythm and bluesy claustrophobia. On their previous album, 2008's This Gift, they decided to go pop by bringing in Bernard Butler, producer to those who think they require a little less invention in their musical lives. Maybe as a direct reaction (Scott Paterson pointedly says in the press release "we sound better when we’re more minimal"), this first taste of May's fourth long player Mirror Mirror almost does nothing at all that could qualify as a hook or melody. It's forty seconds until we get something other than a synthesized whine and a clip-clopping noise, and after that it's Scott and Adele issuing a dire warning in nothing like harmony. It sounds like a modern goth record with the middle where the guitars and foreboding synth booming noises scooped out, leaving just the ominous chanting and an outline of the evil in the darkened woods.

Sons & Daughters - Silver Spell by DominoRecordCo

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Tracklist: Copy Haho - Dying Breed

It's now two and a half years since we first saw Stonehaven's finest - and bear in mind that Stonehaven is the claimed birthplace of the deep fried Mars bar, which sets a tremendously low bar - on one of their innumerable support tours and three this month since we first wrote about them. Since then we've had an EP (more than two years ago), a 7" somewhere along the line, a lot of tweets and an assumed gradual subsuming into the LC!/JoFo/Larkin/Danana social group. To quote the press release: "There are no exciting stories about master tapes thrown into the sea, for example - but do feel free to quote that as "…master tapes thrown into the sea…". The band are very excited about the amount of times they may have to answer "To be honest, real life things got in the way a bit" to such a query." Finally, though, news of an album, self-titled and out on June 20th, produced by Chem19's Jamie Savage through their own Slow Learner label. Musically they were much as they ever were, a typically Scottish forceful reappropriation of Pavement's iconoclastic slackerdom with extra cocksure introspection. This is a very good thing.

Dying Breed by copyhaho

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Tracklist: Bibio - K Is For Kelson

Nothing to do with the former Future Of The Left bassist, Warp Records artist Bibio is the project of Stephen Wilkinson, whose last proper album Ambivalence Avenue was a surprise top 20 entry in our UK blogger albums of 2009 poll. Taken from follow-up Mind Bokeh, out this week, the track boasts instrumentation including 'Wine and Whisky Bottles filled with water', 'Brandy Glass' and 'Chinese Silk Fan (as kick drum)'. It also features the sort of funk keyboard that went out with the Commodores and a hats off to Peter Frampton talkbox, but if it is retro inspired it's a retro that's not inspiring modern musicians enough. Around it is a rhythmic sunshine pop through the giddy prism of wide open plain airiness but with intruding weirdness reminiscent of Caribou when he was still Manitoba.

Bibio - K is for Kelson (taken from 'Mind Bokeh') by Warp Records

Monday, April 04, 2011

Tracklist: Gallops - Joust

Wrexham's finest (though admittedly their competition is K-Klass and Andy Scott from The Sweet) have been compared to Battles more often then they'd ever like to be reminded by smartarse bloggers, but that's what you get with cymbal-happy metronomic drummers, squelchy electronic pulses and obliquely racing Kraut guitars. Here they apply dirty great steel toe cap boots to the formula, smashing all over the first minute and a bit before racing away in the motorik on ice style to which they've become accustomed. Then it all becomes very technically complex as guitars evolve into a state of pure math before some stop-start carry-on at which everything turns into an Errors-ish digital playground. All very synthesized rigid mania, and all very exciting for their ongoing prospects. It's out on limited edition 7" in mid-April.

Gallops - Joust by bloodandbiscuits

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Tracklist: Kytes - There's Milk On My Lips

Not to be confused with underachieving glacial post-rockers Kyte, Kytes play the post-hardcore card with math riffage intricacy and balls-out determination and dynamism. That Sam Manville formerly of Blakfish and now of †Hymns† has been involved in its getting this far, even if just in mastering, isn't outlandish given the obvious and admitted influence, but here is a band unafraid to crash its razor-tipped walls of guitar into each other with the ferocity of a Jawbreaker or of throwing structural norms all over the place. Discordant sensibilities performed as if entirely naturalistic.

Tracklist: Crushing Blows - Nightworker

There's something of the Les Savy Fav - the offbeat post-punk rush, not quite the large bearded man half-dressed as a burlesque sailor - about Derby duo Crushing Blows, who are as comfortable holding back and slowly building as they are picking out a relentlessly intricate math-Pixies riff. While they're not as full-on as most guitar-drum duos, the throbbing waves of rhythmic pushing on and spidery expanding horizons of the guitar build layers of mesmerising intrigue. There's a whole EP downloadable for free that's all really strong.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Tracklist: Shibuya Crossings - At Eight In A Spanish Bar

Shibuya Crossings are from London, which should be noted as their single-minded dedication to 90s US liberal town road trip stereo college rock makes Yuck seem like the Copper Family. The ever-present Pavement are there, but dig deeper and the influence of early Weezer, Sparklehorse and Superchunk is there in the summer backing harmonies and the Big Star chime of the guitars. And what could be more awkward teenage fumbly through the youth drama prism then a song about a failed date and the sensation of thinking you're being watched by everyone else in the bar?

Shibuya Crossings - At 8 in a Spanish Bar by ShibuyaDec

Tracklist: The Focussed Distraction - Misery Jukebox

The Focussed Distraction is one bloke from Guildford, Jon McLeod, a guitar, some loop pedals and an effects box. With that minimal a set-up the lyrics are key, and McLeod's are wracked by loss, barely focused mounting anger and pretty much what the title implies, something aided by his straining vocal style.

Misery Jukebox by The Focussed Distraction

Not much to say about him thus far, so as an added extra here's his fine reworking of West End Girls.

West End Girls (Pet Shop Boys cover) by The Focussed Distraction

Friday, April 01, 2011

Tracklist: Jordan Bolton - Control

Here's something that arrived in the STN inbox with little side and flair, almost apologetically wanting coverage, which of course is where the better surprises spring from. Bolton is an 18 year old singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist from Manchester claiming influence from Beck, TV On The Radio and Saul Williams. This is one of those tracks where the influence is naggingly familiar (and college American) - a little Modest Mouse or Sunset Rubdown, maybe - but not so much that it overshadows the bass-driven, organ soloing propulsion and self-questing lyrics. Keep a eye out.

Control by Jordan Bolton