Thursday, June 30, 2011

End of the month, so Spotify playlist time again. Tomorrow, our half year recce of the best albums of the year to date.

STN June 2011

And one of the occasional plugs on here for Yes It's Number One, about to celebrate twelve golden weeks of recapping the BBC4 1976 Top Of The Pops repeats and other stuff to do with the show's grand history. As a result we've seen more of this song than any decent man should.

Tracklist: HowAboutBeth - Robot Boy

Well now. We can tell you about HowAboutBeth - it's the soubriquet of Beth Mburu-Bowie, who's pretty much covered all bases - sung with Pink Floyd (!), studied with the English National Opera, toured with The Heavy and was briefly in the Pipettes. Describing the music from her experimental-pop Rabid Ballads project is a completely different matter without recourse to heading through a looking glass. Bjork's fantasy world/spirit of pop adventure is close enough, with Mburu-Bowie's softly soulful voice against what sounds like kalimba and all sorts of looped, dislocated effects and samples before synth strings make a late bid for grandiosity in the tranquil. Peculiar, yet unputdownable. And she tells us she has a song about R Kelly's illegal urination. More should be revealed with a proper release in the autumn; before then she plays Outside:Inside Festival, a day-long event acros Reading on 23rd July (also featuring Summer Camp, Alessi's Ark, Dutch Uncles, Pope Joan, Flashguns and Kid Carpet among many others) and Favela Chic, EC2 on the 27th.

Robot Boy (JAN 2011) by HowAboutBeth

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A grand day out: Sweet Beans Festival

Sweet Beans are some newish London promoters, Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane is their domain, and they're filling it for a day of their favourite people. Can't ask for much clearer than that.

Her Name Is Calla
The Calla live experience is as full of roaring peaks and delicate troughs as their music and general emotional state, epic in a way that you'd thought had been drilled out of that word by overuse. Sheets of chaos and pindrop quiet are natural bedfellows in a mighty live sound that will show why they're natural headliners for such an event. Tom Morris will earlier be giving his own broken emotional songs a solo set.

Tall Ships
The humble loop pedal has had a lot of airtime these last few years, whether KT Tunstall taking it to the mainstream through sundry solo guitarists confusing themselves right through to David Thomas Broughton's singularities. Tall Ships take it to the math-pop quintessence, looping intricate guitar parts and synth drones over clattering grooves that wander all over the shop in compressed gloriousness. They've recently been supporting We Are Scientists. Que?

Ecclesiastical suggestions be damned, except in occasional reference. Hymns are Samuel Manville, once of Blakfish, and Peter Reisner, never of Blakfish. They claim to be interpreting modern classical in the garage rock duo idiom. What that translates as is a precise rocket launch of noise and conviction.

ALSO: Lots of instrumental powerhouses, the sturm und drang of Talons, intense complexities of Brontide, the heavy elasticity of You Slut!, the twin engine assault of Nitkowski and the languid power of Rumour Cubes among them. The ever available Hold Your Horse Is, Jumping Ships and Ute are here, as is Shoes And Socks Off, while Nicholas Stevenson and Katie Malco are among the acoustic alernative.

Calendar: 10th July
Tickets: £15 from WeGotTickets

Tracklist: The Magic Lantern - Cut From Stone

One listen to the plaintiveness and cavaco (a four-stringed exotic relative of the ukelele) of The Magic Lantern and you'd be forgiven for imagining earnest tiny bearded young men in waistcoats. That's as maybe, but they're actually associated with the F-IRE Collective, as are Polar Bear, The Invisible and Kit Downes Trio, and debut album A World In A Grain Of Sand is produced by Brian Eno collaborator Leo Abrahams. Another listen to this cut reveals some delicate arrangements on underneath the insistent drum brushing - clarinet, cello - and some very English pastorialism.

Cut From Stone by The Magic Lantern - album preview by TheMagicLantern

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A grand day out: 1234 Shoreditch

A "future rock'n'roll" all-dayer with no end of corporate branding and heavy support from Vice magazine set in a park in Hoxton. It sounds like a living hell. Last year, with Peter Hook doing his Joy Division variety show, a 60s garage covers band featuring Bobby Gillespie, Glen Matlock and Zak Starkey, and These New Puritans managing less than half a song before technical snafus and rigid timeslots intervened, it might actually have been so.

The Raveonettes
Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo have kind of dropped back into the pack over their last couple of albums, now their monomanaical fuzzy garage with cheekbones schtick has been subsumed by so many others. They can still make a live racket, though, not only utilising the chemistry between the front two but recently incorporating two drummers.

Damo Suzuki
He is Damo Suzuki. The former Can leader now likes to play with scratch improvised backing for ages from what he terms his 'sound carriers' based on whoever's available. So basically freakouts, jamming stumblings and general shamanic pulsations. This is just a recentish example we found.

Fair Ohs
Having started off as a grotty sub-120 second hardcore fuzz band, Fair Ohs subsequently went all hi-life tropical. Given to wearing shorts and no shoes onstage as it apparently aids the dancing, their serrated version of Afropop plays off something slightly too together for slipshodness but nowhere near thought out to the last degree either.

ALSO: Clearly nobody has heard of most of these bands, which means we only have their self-penned bios on the official site to go on, which are rarely much of an outright clue to anything. As such Novella's idea they "sound like beach fatigue" comes with a warning siren, but who wouldn't be won over by Chapter Sweetheart's aiming high declaration of being "a musical collective brought to you from the streets of Hitsville that every so often bring you 20 minutes of fine and affordable live entertainment and a string of self penned recordings." (They actually sound like a car crash in progress) Otherwise Black Lips bring their ideas of fun, The Chapman Family wind everyone up, Echo Lake reverberate, Electricity In Our Homes hammer, Warm Brains are the new band of producer to the lo-fi stars Rory Attwell, The King Blues can fuck off, Two Wounded Birds do surf, Christian Aids and Becoming Real get the bloggers going and Lydia Lunch does what she does because she's Lydia Lunch.

Calendar: 9th July
Tickets: £22.50 from WeGotTickets

Tracklist: Boxes - Throw Your Stones

First things first - yes, it is him in the video. And her. And him. But forget that, this is a lovely thing by one vaguely mysterious entity from south-east London. Indebted to some degree to the Postal Service, of course, but with advancing armies of rewired synth and a big hook that stops short of flagrant Killers arena-isms while still sounding like a call to arms for the disabused.

Boxes - Throw Your Stones by Jax Management

Monday, June 27, 2011

A grand day out: Alcopopalooza III

First there was Alcopopalooza, then there was Alcopopalooza II, now there is another one of it. Alcopop!'s third annual second Saturday in July get-together, BBQ, DJs, a Mega Drive with NBA Jam set up, puts a load of bands in Brixton Windmill and a load of singers in its garden. This year also marks the label's combined fiftieth release and fifth birthday, for which they're also putting out a compilation CD on 4th July with accompanying jacket (!), the splendidly and all-encompassingly titled We Grew Up On A Diet Of Jurassic Park And Sensible Soccer (And All We've Got Left Is This Lousy Record Label).

Johnny Foreigner
Oh, you know. As of a couple of weeks ago album three/four/however many those Bandcamp compilations add was 95% recorded and 60% mixed - their approximations - meaning ample opportunities for Alexei to blow up his amp head again cannot be far away. Look, here's one of the new songs now.

My First Tooth
Northampton folk-pop collective MFT may on paper have made for surprising JoFo support (they're also touring with Athlete in July), but when we saw them in Milton Keynes at Easter despite no great musical similarity their energy and bounciness where you might not think much possible given the poignancy of the material.

Shoes & Socks Off
Tobias Hayes releases an album once every crescent moon, it seems. Number five will in fact be out in late summer/autumn, but with a proper lyric book also imminent it's not as if he'll be short of material to pick at the emotional scabs with in ire-driven stream of consciousness style.

ALSO: Alcopop! old stagers The Attika State and Ute, LightGuides, Jumping Ships and Delta/Alaska, none of whom we know anything about. Outside, as well as SASO, the draw is an acoustic debut for "two piece atheist rock band" Hymns, who we'll describe more in a couple of days.

Calendar: 9th July
Tickets: £9 from WeGotTickets

Tracklist: Red Shoe Diaries - The Love That You Read About

Belle & Sebastian is far too obvious a reference point for Nottingham's RSDs, but this opener of an EP out 11th July entitled When I Find My Heart... is a very specific B&S, that when Stuart first took a look at the expectant world outside and started writing pop songs for the kids. Shorn of his Thin Lizzy desires, that is, and with the ever present Felt influence more foregrounded. It races through on the joy of something just about reachable, fits in a trumpet voluntary, breaks down when appropriate for coos and handclaps, and generally sounds like the sound of a personal summer that it turns out otherwise might be better forgotten about.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tracklist: Wild Flag - Romance

Welcome back properly, Carrie Brownstein. You'd pretty much assume that there is Sleater-Kinney interest in this first proper taste of September's self titled debut album from the band, one which also features Janet Weiss, Mary Timony and someone else, even if there aren't the guitar heroine wigouts of their later material. Thank goodness. Instead it's slightly 60s garage-indebted clipped modern indie rock, as straight ahead as it can bear to be, tight and bouncy without being simplistic. Good to hear them back and revving to go.

Wild Flag - Romance by MergeRecords

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tracklist: Conquering Animal Sound - Tracer

Like Karin Dreijer Andersson if only given children's toys to rewire, Glasgow duo Conquering Animal Sound make involved, warm but spooked electronic lullabyes. Memories of Psapp and Mum may come to mind as fellow travellers in delicately menacing IDM gorgeousness, rattle and hum placed against Anneke Kampman's gossamer vocals as music boxes and toy pianos (operated by James Scott, who with his solo project The Japanese War Effort contributed to the STN album We Make Our Own Mythologies) worm in around the edges.


CONQUERING ANIMAL SOUND - 'Tracer' (official video) from Gizeh Records on Vimeo.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tracklist: Echo Lake - Another Day

In what's not exactly a sparse field Echo Lake might be unrivalled at the art of taking a glorious melodic pop song and drowning it in all the cathedral reverb they can muster. This time they're in Cocteau Twins go indiepop mode, Linda Jarvis' slightly more decipherable vocals than usual planted in the echo chamber, Byrds-precise guitar motifs around. Eventually it half-sleepwalks into a rush of feedback and hi-hat whereupon the whole thing uproots and floats off into the upper atmosphere.

Another Day by Echo Lake

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tracklist: Ralegh Long and The Primary 3 - In Formation

Taken from a new mini-album of full band odds and sods, Sprawl, and ahead of a tour with Thomas White (who has a new solo album imminent, naturally) in mid-July, Long has been working through his more contemplative piano-led side, something of a Syd Barrett inflection present in this closing track.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tracklist: Laurence Made Me Cry - It's Easy When You Know How

Laurence Made Me Cry is the slightly cumbersome nom de pop of Jo Whitby, Bristol raised, now based in Cardiff, trading in open hearted folky storytelling. Britain's not short of open hearted folky storytelling these days, but Whitby exhibits a melancholia in her vocal timbre, suggestive of emotions made of finest crystal, that means when she sings about "searching for a different story, one that has a happy ending" you can well believe it. Also, pro-am recorder. This is from The Rain Song EP, free off Bandcamp.

Its Easy When You Know How by Laurence Made Me Cry

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A grand day out: DOUBLEDOTBASH!

For that name to be standable at all you need to know this is the project of a Reading based collective (promoting, zines, CD-Rs) called doubledotdash!? (punctuation artist's own). In association with and at South Street Arts Centre and RISC they're putting on a day's worth of underground artists over three stages, such as...

Always different, always the same. That is if you consider the same to incorporate frequent crowd visits, quadruplet drumming and a set of songs that pull the rug out from underneath noise-pop, No Wave, psychedelia, krautrock, wired post-punk and everything else that breaks tunes into small pieces, gets pissed and attempts to rewire them from memory. Somehow they're currently esconsed making all this into album form. Extraordinary in all senses.

Darren Hayman
Hayman's on a solo tour at the moment to promote the latest in the Hefner reissue series, and in many ways the most controversial. He's not stinted on playing songs from Dead Media live since he picked up the solo baton but, as he sardonically notes of the analogue keyboard-led collection, "as time goes by more and more people some up and tell me how much they like it. Well, if you'd all told me at the time perhaps there'd be a sixth Hefner album".

Shield Your Eyes
A new split 10" with That Fucking Tank and Kong plus news of a fourth album currently being mixed helps bolster the trio's reputation as among our most prolific, not to mention most weirdly frenetic. Almost free jazz in math instrumental form, they rub shards of musicianship up against each other in a wildly atonal but somehow gripping form. Also, occasional growls-for-vocallist Stef Ketteringham has been known to cut strings off his guitar between songs rather than take the coward's way out and retune.

ALSO: So, so many bands with curious names. Among the notables Minotaur Shock is the name under which David Edwards records wandering acoustic electronica latterly for 4AD, Hannah Peel received many positive notices for her post-Newsom sinister folk and Rozi Plain is a plaintive scion of the Fence Collective.

Calendar: 2nd July
Tickets: £17.50 from WeGotTickets

Tracklist: Slow Club - Two Cousins

For the vernal equinox, a pair who are usually rays of indie sunshine. See, we do actually throw this together and become desperate for some sort of hook. So what can we expect from Slow Club phase two, apart from the sensation that Charles and Rebecca look ever more like members of completely different bands? The second album Paradise is out September 12th - it would have been out by now but Rebecca fell ill late in recording - and is promised to be more expansive. This evidence comes across as less a positive jam as preferring to take their sweet time drawing out the emotion, holding back until letting the trademark desperate harmonies loose on one of the many involved choruses. Doesn't seem to be any guitar on it either, preferring piano or tinkly keys.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tracklist: The Wind-Up Birds - Meet Me At The Depot

The phlegmatically articulate anger of Paul Ackroyd would, let alone Peel, have been all over the Lamacq Evening Session a decade or slightly more ago. Recorded by Whiskas (Honour Before Glory), their new single acts as a northern counterpart to the much loved by few Bitter Springs or the much loved by slightly more I, Ludicrous, taut, slightly scrappy proper indie framing ire-fuelled dreams of better things pitched against apathy.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tracklist: Hyde & Beast – (And The) Pictures In The Sky

Ooh, stand back, it's a supergroup of two drummers! And at that one is of a band who split up years ago, the Golden Virgins' Neil Bassett, and the other is in a band known for harmony vocals, the Futureheads' Dave Hyde. They've recorded an album with the ever proficient David Brewis, from which this first taste suggests a low-key wired harmonic blues-rock take that sounds not unlike the Golden Virgins in a way.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tracklist: Shirley Lee - Maidenhead

A new track by the man who gave this blog a name? Yeah, colour us interested. Winter Autumn Summer Spring, Lee's second album while Spearmint are on hold, is a thirty track double concept set about "a couple heading from Britain to San Fransisco to marry. At the same time a stranger is making the same journey to end his life at the Golden Gate Bridge, their paths cross and the story unfolds through the album." Oh Shirley, you and your big concepts. Rather marvellously, this downbeat, spare consideration of mortality which opens "I think about death because that's what men think about" is track one.

Shirley Lee - Maidenhead by Sturdy Records

Bonus material: Shirley also likes a good list in a lyric, as exhibited in last month's self-explanatorily (especially if you know the John Walters dedication story) titled single An Old Cricketer (For John Peel).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tracklist: Young Liar - Can't Do Attitude

It's becoming something of a banner year for guitar-based instrumental post-rock-not-post-rock. Newcastle's Young Liar go the darkly emotive EiTS-via-Maybeshewill (without the keyboards) route of distortion symphony, building and releasing, flexing and tensing up across five and a half minutes of intricate motifs and overpowering rushes. The whole EP isn't out for a couple of months yet but this is a highly promising early dispatch.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tracklist: Grace Petrie - Iago

Leicester-and-currently-Sheffield's Petrie has opened for Billy Bragg and Frank Turner and toured with Emmy The Great. All of this leads somewhere, that is to say someone who plays acoustic with the coiled anger of pre-Springsteenisms Frank Turner and writes with thoughtfulness infused with the political ire and genuine heart of Bragg. Her album Tell Me A Story is bookended by a hope-for-fellow-man folk anthem in waiting and the specific namechecking protest song Farewell To Welfare, which for pretty much every review you've seen has overshadowed the directly heart-rending sentiments in the middle like this.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tracklist: Mary Hampton - Honey In The Rock

Brightonian Hampton has been around for a few years - in fact her only full-length album, My Mother's Children, was at 43 in our albums of 2008 list - but Rough Trade have picked her up for a one-off 7" out July 4th. It's as sparse and unsettlingly personal as her previous work, a fragile and oddly unnerving work that borrows from a very English coastal folk lineage, constructing its own gothic folk tale ecosystem. Lovingly warm and hairs-on-end cold simultaneously.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A grand day out: Glaston-Ferret

No, it's not a great name, but at least the Mad Ferret pub in Preston has a reason for it - it's the weekend of Glastonbury, see, "set up to combat the varying degrees of impossibility of getting a Glastonbury ticket these days". To commemorate they lay real grass inside the pub, which is surely a health hazard in waiting, as well as hay bales and sales of ice cream and scrumpy. Oh, and bands.

The Victorian English Gentlemens Club
The Saturday night headliners always were a storming live proposition, but warming up for their out this week third album Bag Of Meat the trio seem to be turning it up a notch, both in presentation - Crusaders garb, bakelite telephone receiver as second mike, creepy mannequin at the front of the stage - and in sound, manic and dynamic in equal measure. A right racket, basically.

The Voluntary Butler Scheme
We don't know whether Rob Jones plays with a band these days but it's more fun for everyone but himself if he's alone with his keyboard stand-cum-bureau covered in noisemakers, toys and some very important and overused loop pedals. Second album The Grandad Galaxy, out July 18th, sends his stylistic radar haywire, from hip hop and J-pop to 50s rock and roll.

Race Horses
The Sunday headliners are a good old-fashioned psych-indie outfit of the Gorky's lineage, not unreasonably as they're from Wales too, Aberystwyth to be precise. And like many a good late 90s Welsh band they might start in psych-indie circles but their radar soon weaves all over the place and ends up existing well outside the current state of things.

ALSO: emotive, expansive elegance from Tigers That Talked, twisted melodies from Polytechnic fallout Driver Drive Faster, jangling psych oddness from Hey Sholay, spiky Brightonians We Walk In Straight Lines, The B Of The Bang, The Retrospective Soundtrack Players and a lot of people whose names we don't know.

Calendar: 25th-26th June
Tickets: £5 per day, £8 the weekend

Tracklist Special: Indietracks Compilation 2011

Today's selections are taken from this year's Indietracks compilation, forty tracks from artists playing the festival this year, available on a pay-what-you-like basis but with the caveat that all money goes to the upkeep of the Midland Railway Trust, who keep the centre at which this most excellent of festivals takes place running year after year.

Alongside Edwyn Collins, Jeffrey Lewis (who has an unreleased demo on the album), Jonny, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names and Herman D√ľne, the Hidden Cameras are one of this year's big draws. The Mild Mannered Army is a new version of 2001's swooningly defiant The International MMA, featuring glorious strings recorded live at Shoreditch Church in 2010.

Pocketbooks have been around and none more jangly for some years on the scene, but if this first taste of second album Carousel, out later in the year, is any guide they've stepped up a gear into the sort of pastoral rheumy-eyed melancholia Camera Obscura wouldn't blanch at.

Haiku Salut are three females from the Peak District and thereabouts, all once of the Deirdres, whose DIY instrumentals with organ, percussion, loops and here accordion are Left Bank baroque meets retro-futurist. Snaffle is borrowed from How We Got Along After the Yarn Bomb, an EP out in August.

It's the indiepop unified scene that makes the festival what it is and Pete Green's been near the forefront of it for ages. His band The Sweet Nothings, making what we think is their recorded debut, provide The Day Of The Popshow, a tribute to these days of our lives.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tracklist: (STN goes north, runs into) Runaround Kids - No Dreams

As you may know, we were at the inaugural Long Division festival in Wakefield on Saturday (we're aware it technically ran Friday to Sunday, but we have limits). The first thing to say is congratulations to Dean, Chris and everybody else involved in the largely excellent organisation. Yes, there was the odd issue with too big a band in too small a venue (cf Wave Pictures in a pub back room, the queue nearly back to the front door) and we hope what seems from all accounts to be a security overreaction that brought the Wedding Present's it has to be said slightly underpowered headline set to a lengthy pause (in the only venue the festival didn't supply their own people for, according to the organisers) doesn't affect the chances of a licence being granted for next year. That aside, everywhere ran pretty much to time, the venues were approachable and within short distances, there were no other major organisational issues on the day that we saw and it genuinely looked like everyone was in the best of spirits. Even the predicted rain pretty much held off.

Musically there was, of course, a great Los Campesinos! set, very much one from a band doing the summer circuit knowing they have a whole new set of songs ready to launch, but little the worse for that. It occurred to us as the floorboards became spring loaded that LC! gigs are, when you stop and think about it, becoming pretty weird. A room full of well lubricated kids, all with arms aloft, at least a couple of whom are trying to crowdsurf, indulging in a collective shoutalong to a heavy treatise on the death of love replete with imagery about being dropped from a plane and "given the option of dying painlessly in peace at 45". Elsewhere what we saw of the Wind-Up Birds confirmed their cynical outsider greatness (new single to be Tracklisted very soon) and that national cult status is overdue, Emma Pollock's command of offbeat melody really needs digging out from the shadow cast by the Delgados' catalogue and at the first gig of asking The Birthday Kiss are showing plenty of promise. Also we have it first hand that Darwin Deez seems to really like Napoleon IIIrd, even if the sound mix on the vocals didn't.

Plus, as press, we got given a lanyard.

And then there was the coming glory of hometown heroes Runaround Kids. They played Reading & Leeds at BBC Introducing's insistence last year and on this occasion they left the 200 capacity The Hop as packed as just about humanly possible, or at least such as it can under fire safety regulations. Even with all the windows and doors open it still felt like the oxygen was being fast sucked out of the room. Their power trio set-up takes its cues from the same well of American college rock fuzziness as Copy Haho and Tubelord (not unreasonably they supported Johnny Foreigner in April in that same place, and we think all of LC! were watching - half of them were standing next to us), slamming riffs and hooks into each other, taking longer time over songs to deviate at quieter hue from the straight ahead punchy path. We are going to have to watch these very closely because they could turn into something enthralling. In the meantime this is their single from last September, No Dreams.

No Dreams by Runaround Kids

Tracklist: Zaza - Your Race

Zaza, of whom the little we can source tells us are from Brooklyn and a trio, came across our radar via Kip Berman of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, a band who were early supporters but not much of a guide to what their album Sacred Geometry sounds like. Darkly ambient, employing synths that coast along the rattling programmed beats. TV On The Radio are an immediate comparison point, the arrythmic exercises of their earlier releases imbued with a certain bleak soul, added to which is the odd shoegaze wash and electronic pulse. The whole album is $10 via Bandcamp and is worth at least a cursory check.

03 Your Race by zaza

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tracklist: Washed Out - Eyes Be Closed

So we're onto post-chillwave now, are we? Ernest Greene steps out of his bedroom and onto Sub Pop for July's debut album Within And Without, recorded with Ben Allen, who works pretty much with any New Yorker looking for the significant ethereal other. And that's pretty much how Eyes Be Closed goes, more distinct and less outwardly heat-hazed than before but still coasting on spacious layers of cloud sounds. Enveloping, in a word.

Washed Out - Eyes Be Closed by subpop

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tracklist: The Bandana Splits - Sometimes

Po-mo takes on retro girl group tropes are hardly the music world's newest invention - indeed you could argue it was a seam being mined as far back as the Three Degrees, who formed at the time when the Supremes, Shangri-Las and co were on top but didn't go international for nearly another decade. Brooklyn trio The Bandana Splits may have the Andrews Sisters styling dead on but something about their August-due debut wanders beyond those pre-set boundaries with killer harmonies, Northern soul-inflected production and general effervescence, not to mention that hidden away in the trio is Dawn Landes, who released a well worth the effort album in 2008's Fireproof.

Bandana Splits - Sometimes by saltlands

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tracklist: Evans The Death - Threads/I'm So Unclean

Not often, as in not at all before now, we post two tracks on the same post, but as this is a double A-side out 4th July on the mighty Fortuna Pop! we feel justified. Additionally it's a band we're seeing great things in the future for, Clapham/Chelmsford's Evans The Death exhibiting two songs crashing none-shall-pass C86 that roared that total four and a half minutes. The first features a feedback frenzy just under the crust and actually appears to be about the titular nuclear war drama, the second a frantic garage college rock juggernaut that gets a shot of downers before it can go too far into its spasms. All the while, Katherine Whitaker emotes plantively with the best of them.

Evans the Death - I'm So Unclean (Fortuna Pop!) by Independent Label Market

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Tracklist: Zulu Winter - Let's Move Back To Front

Hark, the second of the post-Wild Beasts bands. Musically it's all there - chiming guitars, restless quasi-metronomic drums, everything we wrote about Talkers on Monday except these actually do have a singer who likes a falsetto swoop. Clipped and clean, there's a certain funk element to the way everything tightly meshes in circular staccato while pushing forwards, building (is that brass in the mix?) to an eruption it deliberately never quite reaches. This is their very first public track. They're heading places fast.

Let's Move Back to Front by Zulu Winter

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Tracklist: The Rosie Taylor Project - Sleep

It's been a while - early 2009, in fact - since we last heard from the Leeds outfit that prefigured the indie-folk explosion while doing it a lot better than most. The first release from forthcoming second album Twin Beds, produced like their previous material by Wild Beasts' knob twiddler of choice Richard Formby, is full of steadily shuffling melancholia, reflective but never overbearing even if it slides towards maudlin, leaping into action with a trumpet solo and the warmest of harmonies.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Tracklist: Paisley & Charlie - Stone Lions

We've been following Paisley Pattenden and Charlie Darling for a while now, at least since they were trading as Detox Cute & The Beauty Junkies. Not closely enough to notice that this came out a month ago - genuinely, we had this week written down as release date due to an awry PR email - but better late than never and all that. The reason why it's better to write about this single at some stage is that it's a sumptuous, romantic piece of coastal ennui in the morning dew/summer rain that reaches out to Bobby Wratten in Trembling Blue Stars mode, Bob Stanley's arch lounge pop sample collection (and sentimentalism of London) and a nod at the Sundays' Here's Where The Story Ends.

Paisley & Charlie -Stone Lions by StephenHarvey

Monday, June 06, 2011

Tracklist: Talkers - Lido

Hark, the first of the post-Wild Beasts bands. Musically it's all there - vaulting, chiming guitars, restless drums, even a song in their set called All The King's Horses - although the vocals are somewhere in the mid-range (very reminiscent of someone we can't quite place, in fact - anyone?) and the chorus is joined by an arms aloft kind of synth swell. Led by a couple of brothers from south London via Somerset, the song evolves into something quite summery catchy and charmingly off-kilter.

Talkers - Lido by Three New Ideas

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Watch the Sunday gang (not) in Harajuku

Your Sunday afternoon viewing, or of whenever you see this link, is a BBC Scotland documentary made in 1999 on Belle & Sebastian. Making a documentary about a band who by and large still wanted to exist in the shadows is something of an undertaking so it ends up quite piecemeal, here a Ray Brooks-voiced, Duglas T Stewart from BMX Bandits-penned cartoon strip of their backstory, there the interviews with whichever members that would come forwards (none of whom are Stuart. Or Isobel. Or Stevie) and associates. Literally, in Alan Rankine's case. Directorial quirks include extreme close-ups of Mark Radcliffe's face. Archive recordings contain Isobel attempting a joke.

And if you've still got time after that, for as long as it's up on iPlayer you must see Friday's BBC4 documentary Bird On The Wireless, Annie Nightingale reflecting on 40 years on Radio 1 and the pop culture that ran parallel.

Tracklist: Ofeliadorme - Naked Evil

Nearly two years ago we wrote about Bologna's Ofeliadorme (possibly Ofelia Dorme, not even they seem entirely sure) as "lilting but not quite lulling anyone into false senses of security". Since then, with February's advent of album All Harm Ends Here, they seem to have developed a sparse, karmic stillness, somewhere between Low's slow motion panic and Blonde Redhead's river of golden dreams, matched to Francesca Bono's Chan Marshall-esque voice.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Tracklist: S.C.U.M - Amber Hands

Groovy, doomy music. It's a great signifier for all sorts of records as long as you don't let on that it was coined by Clive James to describe the BBC Election '74 theme. It suits S.C.U.M., unarguably the best band to feature the brother of one of the Horrors, to a tee. In fact they come on much like the Horrors after too much Jesus & Mary Chain, epic vocals over forceful synth drones and the barely hidden intention of taking us all down with them. You can see the phalanx of onstage flickering strobe lights in your mind's eye.

S.C.U.M - Amber Hands by Mute UK

Friday, June 03, 2011

Tracklist: Tom Morris - Golden Hawk Too Far Away

Something spare and downbeat to end this fun warm week, just as it should be in nobody's world but ours. Morris, singer in Her Name Is Calla, has a solo EP An Ocean Is Enough To Love out on 6th June, from which comes this immaculately unoverdubbed, painfully minimal acoustic skin sore rubbing.

Golden Hawk Too Far Away by T E Morris

Thursday, June 02, 2011

28 tracks from May, for our money the best of these monthly Spoti-sets we've put together:

STN May 2011

Tracklist: The Miserable Rich - Anything's Possible

The Miserable Rich have been around on the fringes of the chamber folk Wilkommen Collective for quite some time now but October's third album threatens to take them to new cinematic heights. This first taste was written on the night of 30th January after the band learnt of John Barry's death, their resultant recording influenced by both his certain Mediterranean champagne flute clinking glamour and, it says here, his sexual reference points, being about a dead lover attempting to rekindle his relationship with a living ex-partner. Easygoing but with depth.

The Miserable Rich - Anything's Possible by BAM!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A grand day out: Bushstock

The Communion club nights have been operational in London since 2006. Run by Ben Lovett (one of the & Sons) and Kev Jones, the international network has now expanded to nine monthly nights over three continents and a label that has just issued The Flowerpot Sessions, 23 tracks recorded live over a week in the now defunct Kentish Town venue. To celebrate Communion are taking over four Shepherds Bush venues - St Stephen's Church, Shepherds Bar, The Goldhawk and Ginglik - for a Saturday and putting on thirty or so of their favourite people, including...

Having been at the back of quite a long queue outside Nottingham Rescue Rooms on Sunday, we can confirm that Guillemots, for as far as they've drifted from a mainstream that was only ever tentative towards them until Fyfe did that advert cover, are still hugely popular. No wonder, they've always been an inventive live act, the layered opulence and power ripped into by MC Lord Magrao's guitar white noise.

Peggy Sue
As you'd expect from the backgrounds of the people behind Communion there's a pop-folksy tinge to a lot of this bill, full of the sort of people who a couple of years ago were touted to become big by people who didn't really know what pop kids wanted any more. Peggy Sue's album Fossils And Other Phantoms was too fragile for mainstream acceptance, too much excoriation of tangled love. Highly promising, it was, and they break off from preparing a second full-length to join in here.

Marques Toliver
The Toliver backstory, a hugely talented New York busker thrust into the Brooklynite limelight and from there allowed to deliver his classically trained abilities to the world, features some strange and unexplained diversions - Kyp Malone booked him into a studio immediately upon seeing him? He was given the money to move to London by Daisy Lowe? Whatever, it's the music, stupid, and Toliver's richly soulful voice, cracked writing and mastery of the violin and loop pedal make him stand out some distance.

Kill It Kid
Just shy of their second album, Kill It Kid are a heck of a live force. Their delta blues stomp and Chris Turpin's almighty grit-hewn voice are imperious enough on record, but in person the raucous, crashing dramatics take on no end of edge and passion.

Things are taking off for Elena Tonra; with support from Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq, Huw Stephens and Tom Robinson behind it Landfill, the lead track from her His Young Heart EP, got playlisted by 6 Music and she has a track on the Communion CD on the front of the current Mojo. Seems her emotionally raw and intimately haunting tales are striking all sorts of chords. She's on first in the church at 2pm, far too much down the bill for where she's heading.

ALSO: Australian psych-folk fast risers Cloud Control, odd bod psych-electro-quirk-folkie-MC King Charles, Anglo-American harmonisers Treetop Flyers, Lamacq raves Tom Williams and the Boat, rousing Dananananaykroyd support Flashguns. Is there really a band called Cattle And Cane?

Calendar: 4th June
Tickets: £27.50 from MusicGlue

Tracklist: Tellison - Say Silence (Heaven & Earth)

Let's not pretend there aren't amounts of pre-eyeline emo about Tellison's take on the American underground jaggedness, but the Hamlet-quoting punch of power-pop punk has real bite of its own, especially on the distorted mini-stadium roar of the chorus.