Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Youth Lagoon - Cannons

Given they (he, actually, Trevor Powers of Idaho) sounds like the meeting point of Perfume Genius and Beach House, I can confidently say Youth Lagoon will be big online business. Album The Year Of Hibernation is out 21st November.

Cannons by Youth Lagoon

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sweet Baboo - The Day I Lost My Voice

Stephen Black, another one of those who likes to network and keep himself busy (he’s on the new Slow Club album among many other touring, recording and producing credits), has another EP, Girl Under A Tree, coming out on 19th September under his Sweet Baboo monicker. That means another set of offbeat lyrical ideas and just off-tune delicately chiming folk melodies, all with an underlying sense of dread.

Sweet Baboo - The Day I Lost My Voice by abadgeoffriendship

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pulco - Place Lid On Me

Pulco is Ash Cooke, who at the turn of the 00s was in the fabulous and much overlooked Cardiff-based post-SFA art-psych outfit Derrero, who sounded like this. Small Thoughts is actually his seventh solo album of scrapbook lo-fi experimental pop, interlaced with scrappy keyboards, found sound and spoken word and ambient passages it’s a highly singular work, often self-indulgent but openly all-embracing for its nuggets of odd melodic spark.

Minotaurs - Horsesshoes

South Shields sextet Minotaurs do a modernic Americana (actually, quite Canadian in tone, producer Arran Fisher having previously worked with Woodpigeon) thing better than most of their exports do at the moment. Laced with heartbreak and hopefulness, the accented male-female intertwining vocals are backed by the kind of charging, slow burn indie-folk that land somewhere between Fanfarlo and Okkervil River while burrowing completely their own emotional core. Horsesshoes (artist’s own spelling) is from debut album Eat Yr Hate, out 5th September.

Minotaurs 06 Horsesshoes by Cottage Industries

Katie Malco - His Face Is A Map

The tremendous Malco has split a limited edition acoustic CD on Alcopop! with Matt Emery of Stagecoach (like an acoustic Walter Schreifels or someone) and Warren Mallia of The Attika State (Turneralike, and the press release says that too). More evidence here of her burgeoning light touch with the female acoustic singer-songwriter thing.

His Face Is A Map - Katie Malco by alcopop

Fighting Kites - Conquers

Adventurously layered instrumental rock from North Londoners freed from the build and release overwhelmingness that most of its kin cleaves to in favour of circulatory intricacy. This is from a split EP with Broken Shoulder out on Audio Antihero in October.

Swedish Chef - We Eat Tons

I know nothing about Swedish Chef. Google for obvious reasons isn’t proving helpful, and when song title We Eat Tons is added all you get is links back to this stream. Hell, I was only looking at the Soundcloud account trying to find something else. So not the best aid - obviously if you know anything, please let on (EDIT: in fact, suspiciously, all the label let on is “it’s very good, and that’s all I’m going to tell you”) - but this is tremendous homemade electronic pop (not electropop) with a downbeat undertow, betraying more than a hint of Grandaddy’s heartbroken analogue pop thrills.

Swedish Chef - We Eat Tons by wiaiwya

T E Morris - Every Second, Forever

The third of Tom from Her Name Is Calla's home recorded acoustic folk with introspection solo EPs is now out. This is the title track and is very slightly more optimistic.

Mitchell Museum - Bring Out The Claws, The Claws Are Out

The fabulous psych-pop eccentrics have gone "on hiatus", though given the wording of their fare-thee-well blog post it seems the permanent version of that phrase. A couple of months after their last proper single their final offering is their version of a Hollywood ending, plenty of ideas and a slow, sad retreat into the distance.

Bring out the claws, the claws are out. by mitchellmuseum

White Wishes - Come And Say Hello

A likeable slice of Felt/Pastels-esque smartly introspective distorto-jangle. The kicker? White Wishes, which is one bloke, is/are from… St Petersburg! That’s the international cross-cultural exchange in action right there.

Monnone Alone - Pink Earrings

This name on the Fortuna Pop! fifteenth anniversary bill raised some quizzical eyebrows - in fact it’s the sort-of-solo project of Mark Monnone, formerly of Australia’s most undervalued the Lucksmiths. It’s not dissimilar to that band, maybe a little more basic in a Pastels vein, but still full of that sunshine melody so misleadingly difficult to really grasp.

Monnone Alone - Pink Earrings by Lost And Lonesome

Theme Park - A Mountain We Love

Watch yourselves, wiry tropical-ish pop syncopated oddness with Talking Heads overtones is beginning to look like it’s going to be the new lo-fi shoegaze pop blogwise. Theme Park, a London band fronted by twin brothers, know their David Byrne, early New York/Ze Records early 80s disco-not-disco, Factory Records rhythmic dance and skew-wiff post-punk references and can put them all to use on this sleek piece of percussive dark nouveau post-punk. Conversely the other half of their double A side, Wax, sounds like Metronomy produced by Martin Hannett. This is out on new Transgressive spin-off imprint paradYse on Monday and they have dates with Summer Camp (whose Jeremy Warmsley has recently been producing further work of theirs) in November.

A Mountain We Love by Theme Park

Carousels - Here To Me

Oh look, a band who sound a bit like My Bloody Valentine, except with a hazy female vocal, so let’s split the difference and call them Slowdive. Actually that’s hugely unfair on the Guildford duo - well, obviously it is, I wouldn’t be posting about them otherwise - because their guitars don’t drift, they pound and fuzz and make the road far rockier. There’s some very interesting stuff going on between the margins, not least the computerised bleeps throughout, the handclaps halfway through and the bursts of Bo Diddley-on-heat guitar. Their only other available demo, Sleep, starts exactly the same way as Brakes’ Ring A Ding Ding and then disappears into its own skewy reverie.

HERE TO ME by Carousels

A Classic Education - Baby, It's Fine

The current first page of Google hits for this first single from A Classic Education’s first album proper Call It Blazing (out October 25th) variously describes them as both fuzzy garage-pop and chillwave. They’re neither, really, though this is more the former than the latter, perhaps more direct and janglified than those who’ve become accustomed through the last 2-3 years of STN support would expect. They toured the US with British Sea Power last year and that band’s bouts of melodic attack mode are probably closest.

A Classic Education - Baby, It's Fine by A Classic Education

Friday, August 26, 2011

CANT - Believe

CANT is Grizzly Bear sonics alchemist Chris Taylor’s solo project (album Dreams Come True out 13th September in America) which shares its glistening, woozy layers and sense of displacement with Twin Shadow. Not unreasonable, given Taylor produced that album.

CANT - Believe (taken from Dreams Come True - Terrible Records / Warp Records) by Warp Records

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Adam Donen - Sickle Moon

From a second album out in October called Vampires. It comes in the wake of a spiritual crisis, oscillates between intimate and overmanned and is generally uncomfortably open and broken in its poetry. So, business as usual. Actually it’s a lot more openly classical and orchestral, like a gothic Leonard Cohen.

Sickle Moon by AdamDonen

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Love Inks - Be Brave

Following a not bad album, a new song from Texas’ most minimal. The voice is naggingly familiar (from being pretty much the same as someone else’s I can’t currently place), the song like the XX covering Mazzy Star having accidentally bumped the drum machine speed up a notch just before recording. The other side of the double A side on which this appears is a cover of David Essex’s Rock On, which is minimalist and echoey and hence sounds a lot like the original.

LOVE INKS "Be Brave" by HellYes

Friday, August 19, 2011

Let’s Buy Happiness - Dirty Lakes

Three from three for LBH singles, less twinkly than Six Wolves and less hurried than Fast Fast but still working to their strengths - shimmering, propulsive, chiming, Sarah Hall playfully exulting atop.

Let's Buy Happiness - Dirty Lakes by letsbuyhappiness

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Veronica Falls - Bad Feeling

First really impressive thing I’ve heard of them, I think. This is the single from an album that’s been worked on by the reliable Guy Fixsen, which seems to have shaped them up. Can’t decide whether it’s most like great lost 7” on Flying Nun or the sort of 1967 spooked freakbeat record that now makes hundreds on the collectors’ market.

Veronica Falls - Bad Feeling by Slumberland Records

White Town - She’s A Lot Like You

Jyoti's new single is the sort of handclap-encrusted mad-about-the-girl Sarah Records summer fun spot rather too much of Indietracks takes as its own. So obviously that’s where Jyoti filmed the video. (I’m not in it. I’m quite glad of that. Elizabeth Morris of Allo Darlin' is, though, and you have heard their new single, right?)

The Naturals

Like pretty much every abrasive guitar band I’ve written about lately The Naturals, from Bristol, have mathy guitars and rushes of noise and distortion. There’s real determination in their pummelling post-hardcore riffs bent out of shape, though, that makes this just released single Kilkeel worth so much more.

Post War Glamour Girls

A chicken in a basket circuit crooner who discovers he’s become suffused with late 90s Nick Cave preoccupations overnight. Then he becomes angry until he and his band collapses. Such is Crrreep (yes, like that) by Leeds’ Post War Glamour Girls, who are releasing a single which isn’t this on Sturdy Records (the Wind-Up Birds) in October.

Crrreep by Post War Glamour Girls

Prince Edward Island

...are from Fife, and their debut album This Day Is A Good Enough Day is out on the 29th. I need to investigate the rest of it but this is a very promising track one, You Look Like I Need A Drink. It’s not only the proudly won Scottish accent that… well, yes it is, but it neatly bisects Frightened Rabbit’s paranoid grandeur with Ballboy’s storytelling from the ditch with splendid song titles. According to their PR telly annoyance Steve Jones thinks “the swear words are all in the right places”.

Prince Edward Island- You look like I need a drink by Soundandvisionpr

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tracklist: Other Lives - Tamer Animals

Having already given us Colourmusic's blitzkrieg album this year, Stillwater, Oklahoma ups its batting average for 2011 with Other Lives, currently over here and at Green Man this weekend (and End Of The Road a fortnight beyond that) ahead of an August 29th release for their debut-to-this-territory album, also Tamer Animals, on the beleagured PIAS. We saw their first UK date ever at the end of last week and were mightily impressed by their post-Grizzly Bear sweep of keyboard textures and multi-instrumental washes, a lushly arranged chamber odd-folk in which every layer, voice and instrument adds something to the cinematic scope.

Other Lives - Tamer Animals by Stayloose

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tracklist: Ute - Brother

Eclectic AlcoPop!-signed mainstays of Oxford, Ute are a folk band but not in that way. The careful acoustic and plaintive vocal at the start may suggest otherwise, but as it sways and drums crash in every so often it turns into something less peaceable and more haunted. There's wordless choruses but layered and melodic rather than radio-friendly crescendo.

Brother by alcopop

And the other thing is Ute don't always sound much like this. Sometimes, as on the B-side, they get upwards of 30 mates along, including agents of the Blessing Force bunker and a number of Spring Offensive, and maximise/magnetise the backing for a proper communal moment. Photos were taken, and the CD is being released encased in a photo album. What did you expect from an Alcopop release, a jewel case?

Brother (Featuring Oxford Hearts Live) by alcopop

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tracklist: Clock Opera - Lesson No. 7

More of Guy Connolly's 'chop-pop', this time with a new found urgency. Where Belongings took its time to make full impact, this time a sonorous baritone vocal leads into a jumpy rush of cracked falsetto with more than a hint of emotional paranoia and eventually layer upon layer of percussion, copy and paste microscopic synth noises, and unsourceable noises. The slow build intensity eventually coalesces into hammering on the walls in frustration. It's out first week in October accompanied by a Tom Vek remix. Oh, suddenly the boy's a workaholic.

Clock Opera - Lesson No. 7 (Full Version) by clockopera

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tracklist: Artery - Civilisation

Artery appear somewhere back in the books when UK post-punk is analysed but they turn up regularly enough in turn of the 80s Sheffield retrospectives, had a Festive 50 number nine and Jarvis Cocker, who briefly employed some of them in Pulp's early days, once said of them "without their inspiration a lot of what took place in the intervening years probably wouldn’t have happened. Sometimes you see something and it opens a door somewhere in your head. I hope this does the same for you." This is described by the PR as "their first original material in over 20 years", suggesting they don't think much of their 2009 EP. Like the not dissimilar Gang Of Four's return album their first single after reformation, from a forthcoming album of the name, sounds more studio-bound and loud but little less spiky and darkly dystopian, Mark Gouldthorpe's proudly, pointedly accented lyrical barbs about recession, war, politicians and consumerism seeing only a darkness as the bass probes and staccato guitar richochets.

Artery - Civilisation by Bright Lights PR

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tracklist: Race Horses - Benidorm

Around last year's debut album there was some talk that Aberystwyth's Race Horses' psych-surf could fit them into the Welsh oddity space left untended when Gorky's split. Gleefully eclectic, this first new material since then is more immediately widespread approachable, with hints of pre-Moroder Sparks (via, erm, Euros Childs solo) and the hi-hat and synth-strings of early 80s pop-disco production. No, stop that, it's by no means as overwhelming or blatantly neon-signed obvious as most do in that sphere. Hell of a set of hooks too.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Tracklist: Dent May - Fun

First time we came across May he was demonstrating with no little zest His Magnificent Ukulele. No fun-size stringed instrument this time, more a reach for those ubiquitous just-second-hand synth sounds. Not like that, though - like his label bosses at Paw Tracks May takes Beach Boys sunshine pop production values into a much more psychedelic place, one where wheezing, shimmering keyboard patterns and cheap beats, like Still Corners getting their 808 on, frame a luxuriant lay back in the sunshine. Check how he also throws the peaceful summer jam vibes off course with a clanking solo.

Fun by Dent May

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tracklist: Loney Dear - My Heart

Over six albums Emil Svanängen's consistency in effortless folk-pop radar terms has picked up a few stray objects and been jolted off course. This first cut from October's latest LP, Hall Music, sees him stick somewhere akin to what he does best, using his quavering vocal to consider where his life's optimum has gone. It sounds both fragile and grand, Svanängen's directness layered on with chamber strings, muted horns, tubular bells and synths arpeggiating above and buzzing underneath. Even as the production consumes the air somehow he remains pleadingly introspective.

Loney Dear - My Heart by theswedebeat

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tracklist: Remember Remember - John Candy

Glasgow's Remember Remember, signed to the label of and having been tour support for Mogwai, share DNA with Tall Ships in the way their ever tightening riffs loop back on themselves and create an ever evolving Mobius strip of Steve Reich-meets-the-Kinsellas precise noise and confusion. There's little shred of post-hardcore here, though, more in hock to Tortoise's layering, buffeted ambient motorik and Brian Eno's ideas of pitching soundscapes. Building and dropping away to disorted, cymbal crashing peaks and from drawn out passages of anticipation while remaining fundamentally repetitious underneath, it ends by breaking through the white noise wall into a bliss marked by that same needling central conceit. Marvellous.

REMEMBER REMEMBER // John Candy (Radio Edit) by TheArtOf...

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Tracklist: I Break Horses - Winter Beats

An optimum lesson to bloggers here - don't sleep on a track, eventually everyone will post and play it and you'll lose traction. I Break Horses are a duo from Stockholm, signed to Bella Union, who we were always going to post about eventually, such is the pull of their crisp dreampop, the gauze punctured by warm layers of insistently glowing synth that build ambient traction waiting for the right moment to break through. It instead takes its own sweet time in doing so, the wordless chorus and syn-drums not too far from Beach House. Then it breaks down. And then it breaks through into the white before accelerating and dipping for the line.

I Break Horses - Winter Beats by Bella Union

Monday, August 08, 2011

Tracklist: Runaround Kids - Can't Lose Lover

Sorry, is there some reason why the acutely interlocking indie guitar set aren't all over Runaround Kids long before now? Their debut album Linked Arms, out today and orderable through Bandcamp, is clearly hewn from the same streets as The Cribs - literally, they're also a trio from Wakefield - but takes them in the direction marked 'young noisy British band who mainline early 90s US college rock' - Copy Haho, Tubelord, Stagecoach, Calories. Basically they're Johnny Foreigner tour supports in all but actuality (further proof of possible connections: when we saw them at Long Division 71.4285% of Los Campesinos! were in our eyeline), and there's nothing at all wrong with that if it means a band of melodic vulnerability and fuzzy, straight to the point energy. It's translated into their raucous live show too, shown off tonight at the Bull & Gate with the hype band of weaker men Bos Angeles, then York Tuesday, home on Friday, Liverpool on the 20th and towards the end of August Leeds Festival as part of Thursday night's Dance To The Radio shindig.

Can't Lose Lover by Runaround Kids

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Tracklist: Jens Lekman - An Argument With Myself

Oh you're so perplexing, Jens. The title track from an EP out September 19th, four years on from Night Falls Over Kortedala, sees Lekman switch out the warped AM radio stylings for Graceland references, because clearly there's not been enough busy hi-life recently. Lyrically he's still as bemusing as ever, considering photos left in pockets and writing on petals as his schizophrenia tells himself to fuck off.

Jens Lekman - An Argument With Myself by DOJAGSC

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Tracklist: This Many Boyfriends - Young Lovers Go Pop!

An unlikely current resident of 6 Music's playlist, the latest from the self-referencing Leeds youths is one of those elegantly scrappy records that only ever sounds at home on coloured 7". The guitars are set to rough hewn jangle through a fuzzbox, the chorus lifts off into wordless arms aloft joy and all is generally pastel coloured and wide beaming.

Young Lovers Go Pop! by This Many Boyfriends

Friday, August 05, 2011

Tracklist: Widowspeak - Gun Shy

What with the cinematic score poise of Lana Del Ray yesterday and all the surf love of late there seems to be something of a hip-swinging 1950s throwback sound emerging into modern buzz band-dom, maybe because it's the one area that hadn't been mined much before recently. From a recent 7" on Captured Tracks produced by Woods' Jarvis Taveniere, backed with a not entirely out of character cover of Wicked Game, the Brooklynites have a woozy take on adding wistfulness to David Lynch-like twanging guitar dustbowl nirvana, fronted by Molly Hamilton's quite Nina Persson-like cotton wool wrapped seductiveness.

"Gun Shy" by Widowspeak by forcefieldpr

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Tracklist: Lana Del Ray - Video Games

What's this? This, the song of which Caitlin Moran says "when it's this hot all I can do is listen to this over and over again", is Lizzy Grant originally of Lake Placid, who fancies herself as the "gangsta Nancy Sinatra". Other accounts peg her as either the next big teasing shiny pop star or some sort of Nicki Minaj for red spotlights, and this video received a viral push from Skream, but her own description of "Hollywood Sad Core" will do for now. Styled like Bardot and singing like an ingenue, gorgeously gloopy cinematic strings rise and fall over smoky cadences with a hint of vibrato and a lot of love-as-dependency cares on her shoulders landing somewhere in the Feist/Spektor ballpark. Dark rumours circulate, by which we mean Guy Chambers involvement on other tracks, ahead of a planned EP in September but it's hard to see what she could more comfortably suit, slipping in between Cat Power's zonked-out reflectiveness and creamy Hollywood endings.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Tracklist: Yr Friends - How You Feel Every Night (Probably)

Yr Friends is Alexei Berrow on his own and... yeah, that'll be comfortably enough for Tracklisting. yr friends have been lying to you is a four track release, one of which is an Irving Berlin song. Berrow dedicates it on Facebook to "Equita, debt recoverers and bailiff agents for Birmingham City Council". Musically? Those who've been concentrating, specifically on the "country band with pretensions" circa We Left You Sleeping And Gone Now, will know his love for Wilco, Sparklehorse and such woozy lo-fi Americana, recorded straight to tape in small rooms with variously mixed echo, self-examining and finding the patient variously deficient, this track inspired by a Brothers Grimm story. As for JoFo? Album in November (same month as Los Campesinos!' newie), which might harbour 18 tracks.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Truck stops here: Truck Festival review

Actually written for someone else, hence the comparatively formal tone, but they didn't want it and we'd written too many words to abandon it. Anything you want expansion on, comment/tweet. We saw Young Knives and the Go! Team too but had nothing special to say about them

The most aesthetically pleasing thing about this fourteenth Truck Festival was that it still felt like Truck Festival. There were times over the last few months when it looked like it might not, the extension to a third day accompanied by a raising of capacity by 3,000 to a total 8,000 and the weekend ticket price likewise to a pound under the £100 barrier, up £39 on the face value of three years ago and just in time for a much reported downturn in general festival business. Days before the event a 48 hour £40 weekend ticket offer turned up on Groupon. It had meanwhile been noted the traditionally heavier bands in the Barn had been largely cut out, as had the Barn itself apparently for safety reasons, while the main stage was a great deal folkier than usual. Had the Bennetts misjudged their audience in exacting a seeming demographic shift? Caught between identities, what sort of straits had this most amenable of hipster garden party communities ended up in?

As it happened, any paradigm shift apart from the aforementioned was negligible. The main stage being shifted into an adjoining field may have been for extra space reasons but provided much better sight lines, only added a couple of minutes to walking time and cut down on noise bleed between stages. The new second stage tent was comfortably big enough for most of the time, the kids' activities and theatre tent were unobtrusive and surprisingly great weather helped the traditionally friendly atmosphere prevail. The Rotary Club were still there with their minimalist takeaway menu (burger, veggie burger, bacon roll, chips), traffic at the bars still flowed freely and nowhere got really crowded. Of course, the latter especially comes with that attendance caveat. Had it actually sold out - no hard figures, but I'd be surprised if they made it too far past the previous capacity - you might have feared for what it meant for camping space and amenities, food outlets and so forth, and at times it did feel a little empty for all the new space and that it seemed to be full of university kids and nuclear families with little in between.

On to the music. Friday's quality laurels were walked away with by Transgressive Records, the first of three curators of the new Clash Stage (presumably named for the magazine, though there was no visible branding). After Gaggle's reliably beaty-shouty thing kicked off the whole weekend, Marques Toliver set an early, very high water mark. With just a violin, autoharp and glockenspiel to hand and a huge scarf around his neck, the virtuoso Brooklynite gave full rein to his impassioned soulful voice and rhythmic playing, drawing every last drop of vulnerable stricken drama from his compositions. And then he drops in a bit of 'No Scrubs' just to keep us on our toes.

Toliver later joined Mechanical Bride, Lauren Doss casting aside the buffed to a shine sound of her recent album for something more intimate and on edge. Peggy Sue's darkly poised harmonies followed, a couple of new songs suggesting a more raw, raucous second album come September, before Liam Finn embarked on a one-man mission across the songwriterly span from slow Laurel Canyon-like harmonies to frantic, distorted psych-outs, culminating in his maniacally careering across the edge of the stage, effects pedal in hand, before taking to his own second drum kit and beating it to within an inch of its life before eventually collapsing backwards off the stool.

Such theatrics aren't what you'd get from Johnny Flynn, but around the time of his emergence you similarly wouldn't have expected his set to be littered with mass girl screaming as if One Direction had showed up. Such is the pull of the current commerciality of folk, though, that such a reaction is what he's bashfully regarding after every song. Graham Coxon left that world of teen acceptance behind years ago and his new songs tend towards the clangingly garagey, which doesn't entirely suit the couple of cuts from The Spinning Top but goes well enough with his older material, 'Freaking Out' inevitably taking off.

Before leaving Friday alone a word for headliners Bellowhead's high energy trad folk reels, cementing their position as a live act to savour, and in the BBC Introducing-curated tent the locally popular Spring Offensive, whose wiry, dark post-punk shapes can seemingly take on bleak futility or intense surges as equal partners.

That same stage, a smaller tent right next to the main camping area, for Saturday belonged to Blessing Force, Andrew Mears booking the stage and filling it with artworks, looping videos and vocal cut-ups between bands. Obviously you could see most of the bill's make-up coming a mile off but everyone seemed to be spurred on to great things by the friendly competition, from the opening Fugazi/Mclusky hardcore jolts of The Cellar Family at the start of the day to ODC Drumline vs Coloureds' post-midnight throwdown spearing glitch-hop against a martial four-drummer assault. In between Solid Gold Dragons introduced Arthur Russell-like future funk-disco to math-pop, Wild Swim gave a valiant go to introducing theatrical harmonies to drum and bass rhythms, Jonquil unleashed more of their tropical pop development, Rhosyn's lush strings and Rose Dagul's emotive warmth cemented their role as the avant-pop Brodsky Quartet, and Trophy Wife garnered the most human traffic and rewarded that interest with a pulsatingly propulsive math-electro-disco of their own quiet dynamism. As we approached midnight the tent turned into a pulsing sweatbox, or as close as an oddly third empty tent got, to the euphoric peaks and joyously creative washes of Chad Valley. Hugo Manuel's second shift of the day, and he and his colleagues can continue to be very proud of what they're achieving.

Back out in the fields Gruff Rhys stretched out a 90 minute set of pastoral oddness. Employing capable surf instrumentalists Y Niwl as his backing band lent a certain extra swing to much of the set but it was always in Rhys' own image, creating a looped white noise coda for 'Cycle Of Violence', lending one song six seperate key changes and ending with all 20 gripping minutes of 'Skylon!' Rhys' common touchstones of psychedelia and Brian Wilson are things Fixers know all about and Jack Goldstein entered into the spirit of the occasion by delivering the whole set while wearing a sea captain's hat and huge false beard, but their own main stage set never quite took off or made much sense of the myriad layers of their recordings. For proper eclecticism and knowledge of working a crowd we had to look to Wowtown's favourite mad scientist son Thomas Truax, exiled to the cabaret tent with his homemade instruments and odd ideas for songs but captivating a steadily growing audience, one he took the opportunity at one point to walk amongst and circumnavigate the outside of the tent singing and playing a now unplugged guitar. Even earlier on the main stage Richmond Fontaine's Willy Vlautin had held court for 45 minutes with just a guitar sideman and a stack of densely literate low-life vignettes, those from September's tenth album The High Country just as strong and intricately painted.

You know just what you're getting with Edwyn Collins after thirty years or so as a recording artist, but quite aside from being pleased he's still here with us to deliver these songs which over that time have barely sagged in quality, his presence and richly subtle vocal ability seems undimmed. There's a lot of love for him in return, the announcement of 'Rip It Up' nearly taking the roof off the Clash Tent (Heavenly being the day's sponsors, later bringing along Saint Etienne), 'A Girl Like You' quickly filling any gaps left therein. A triumph.

Sunday brought the hottest weather of the weekend and its only real bunching up of stage clashes, meaning having to abandon a succulently ethereal Treefight For Sunlight set (thereby missing what seems to be a faithful cover of 'Wuthering Heights') to take in the epic alternately blissful and thundering dynamism of Maybeshewill, then straight right across the site for the more in keeping with the weather nuanced country folk of Caitlin Rose.

Despite such running around Dean Wareham doing Galaxie 500 songs still lost out to the singular live entity that is Islet. Since last summer's festivals they've gained a member, lost half their second drumkit and added extended bits to their songs, not least 'Jasmine' doubling in length with a motorik throwdown. Otherwise they're still much the same, Mark Thomas circumnavigating the front of stage barrier and jumping up and down on top of an amp while sundry temporary drummers utilise the low hanging lighting rig for extra percussion and their all too easy to overhyphenate noisy genre stew percolates. Before any of the above Edinburgh's Mitchell Museum proved themselves one of our better kept secrets, collapsible offbeat Flaming Lips psychedelics on a lo-fi budget, while later on Electric Soft Parade, who headlined Truck in 2005, downsized to the stage looking back with 'There's A Silence' from their hitmaking days and forward with some new songs majoring on heavier Big Star-like qualities.

The Clash tent was left in the capable hands of Bella Union for this day, again spoiling us with quality. Alessi Laurent-Marke's quirky charm ties in with the whimsically unforced quality of her songs as Alessi's Ark, even if she had to stop one of them as her wristband had got in the way of her fingers. Philip Selway should do this more often, his intimately fretful songs set to a pulsing beat, sentimental but not slushy. With only the organisers' own band The Dreaming Spires to follow John Grant is most people's last act (ours included) and despite more than a year touring Queen Of Denmark he still sounds as fresh as someone with this amount of personal weight invested in these songs can, breathing new life into them with his crystalline cracked vocals. As the sun sets on Steventon for another July Sunday it proves that there may be troubles ahead but something about the atmosphere and ethos of such a well developed festival will always win out.

Tracklist: T E Morris - Trust

If you were concentrating last time we posted something by him you'll know that that's the formal name under which Her Name Is Calla's Tom Morris puts out home recorded, very close miked, all acoustic, rarely comfortable solo recordings. A new EP, Moon, out at the end of August, continues in much that vein, broken and desperate for company. Meanwhile, "There will be some important news regarding Her Name Is Calla very soon". Sounds ominous.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Tracklist: Pinkunoizu - Time Is Like A Melody

New signings to Full Time Hobby, Copenhagen's Pinkunoizu cite Akron/Family and Jim O'Rourke as influences, and it's in that core of experimentally freeform psych-folk they dwell. If the recording of the vocals will lead to knee-jerk Fleet Foxes comparisons (oh, it will, it will) the music around it - crosshatched rhythms, bits of kalimba, a wailing guitar solo, nods to Animal Collective's campfire oddness - is far from being able to tastefully restrain itself. Swirling and uncoiling and endlessly fascinating.

Time Is Like A Melody by fulltimehobby

Time Is Like A Melody from Pinkunoizu on Vimeo.