Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ides - Crybaby

Ides is Alanna McArdle, who is in Joanna Gruesome and used to be in Evans The Death, thus carrying impeccable indiepop credentials as far as STN is concerned. Those credentials should be almost completely ignored, as this incarnation is McArdle lightly reverbed, a gently strummed guitar and the weight of the world on her shoulders, emotionally draining/drained and entrenched in deeply personal angst/anger, the sudden arrival of a heavily feeding back electric guitar to complement the strumming suggesting a very definite kinship with early Cat Power, simultaneously enigmatic and uncomfortably close and open. An EP, Songs About Love​/​Hate, is out on April 10th.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cloud Boat - Youthern

Well, this is a slight left turn from the couple of decaying electronic patchworks we've heard from Cloud Boat before. The advance single from album Book Of Hours out May 27th it's within the James Blake framework of plangent, quivering self-examination against minimalist part-electronic backing but the more apparent nodding terms seem to be to John Martyn, the rich self-harmonised vocal telling of ultimate fatalism eventually set against trembling delayed guitar and tellingly not a lot else. Some fascinating effects dotted about too.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Slow Skies - On The Shore

Yes, yes, this has been on plenty of blogs already in the last few days, I know, but slow and steady wins the race. Besides, the Dublin-based duo of Karen Sheridan and Conal Herron were one of our tips for the year having already bewitched with their Daughter-comparative intimate dreamstates. From the Close EP, out May 4th, comes just such a graceful delicacy, Sheridan's inherent wistfulness building on the charm of her just slightly off phrasing, while behind her lies a construction that believes in doing the most to create an aura with the most minimal material, solitary guitar chimes and occasional galley drumbeats washing over the rocks at sunrise on the imagined titular shoreline.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Vienna Ditto/Witch Hunt/Thirty Pounds Of Bone

Vienna Ditto - Liar Liar

Atmospherically dark rockabilly always grabs our attention and so it is with this duo, smoky voiced blues-hewn temptress Hattie Taylor working against a fulfilling but never crowded template of spaghetti western twang, insistent percussion and the odd globule of rumbling, springy electronics filling in the gaps, sounding quite like lots of touchstones without directly copying any of them.

Witch Hunt - Crawl

Another duo with a singer exuding both sinister menace and siren-like allurement, Witch Hunt are another of those seemingly endless Leeds bands who'd get lesser people going on about dark satanic mills at length. This second single is all about atmospherics, picking out guitar notes in a swirling reverb vacuum as a bewitched Louisa Osborn evokes Polly Harvey warning all who hear not to get too close. Busy spring ahead for them with appointments at Liverpool Sound City, Live At Leeds, Long Division and Communion.

Thirty Pounds Of Bone - Home Faring

Not a duo and not really darkly allurring either, but this blog is a land of contrasts. Johny Lamb first came to our attention four of five years ago with a bewitching, eclectic take on stormtossed coastal folk, largely derived from his Shetland upbringing, that's grown all the more traditional over time. His forthcoming third album I Cannot Sing You Here But For Songs Of Where, out 6th May, sees him readopt the trusty accordion and what may be uillean pipes for a rumination on relocation/dislocation.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Post War Glamour Girls - Jazz Funerals

Now signed to I Like Trains' own ILT label, James Smith still sounds like Nick Cave on the whisky shots and everyone around is falling into line late 80s output-wise, the brooding shimmer having turned full-on soused Bunnymen death march, Smith demanding "scatter my ashes by the coffee machine" in the midst of chunky delayed guitar sounds marching towards a chorus borne of internalised desperation and the ever present threat of pulling down the pillars and crushing everyone inside. The B-side is a cover of Robert Palmer's Johnny And Mary. But of course.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Haiku Salut - Glockelbar

The countdown is well and truly underway for STN's second annual running of the Leicester Indiepop Alldayer this Saturday at Firebug (tickets from here) Among those playing are Haiku Salut, whose genre-straining multi-instrumentalism is likely to be quite something, and two days later their debut album Tricolore is released. From it is derived this stew of glockenspiel, accordion and warped beats coalescing into something playful and more enchanting than its parts suggest.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The River Cry - Sleep Baby Sleep

Recorded in an old schoolhouse on the south-west Irish peninsula in the depth of winter just (allegedly) gone, there's a big touchstone to For Emma Forever Ago in the spaciousness of Dubliner Hilary Claire Woods' sparse piano laments and not that much else in the way of instrumentation, her tender vocals brushing up against the almost seeming field recorded songs to affecting ethereal effect. Oh yeah, this is the same Hilary Woods who used to be the acknowledged pin-up bassist in JJ72. But seriously, try and overlook that. Buy and stream from here.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Ice, Sea, Dead People - If It's Broken Break It More

Craig from longtime STN favourites (and we put them on once) ISDP says second hand of this that "it’s quite “melodic”, apparently?" Well, the churning centrifugal bass, razorwire guitar and halfway entrance of darting synth programming sound like the melody's been roughed up by scallies, strapped inside a barrel and rolled down the face of a gorge, so not really all that much. This is the title track from their second album, out April 22nd on Lost Toys Records.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

These Monsters - Harder And Faster

Leeds' These Monsters used to be a sax-enabled, largely instrumental post-prog-post-rock-post-hardcore outfit, when having so many conjunctions were the only way to keep them down. Slimmed to a trio they return with a new album, Heroic Dose ("a quantity of a recreational drug sufficient to achieve the maximum possible psychedelic or psychotropic effects"), on May 13th and a revitalised sound, more direct, more vocal and fuller on in the intense, goggle eyed pursuit of crashing into a wall with reason, like Kong or the late Blakfish with third eye reddening and a Standard rocket up their collective arses. They've just supported The Bronx on tour, for a reason.