Thursday, August 29, 2013

Elizabeth Morris - Optimism

Morris, pied piper figure of the current indiepop scene, is imminently moving to Italy. This doesn't mean Allo Darlin' are splitting, at least not imminently - in fact they've recently been recording their third album for release early next year, which from live outings sounds like the next step onwards, and have a handful of dates over the next couple of months. In the meantime Morris had written some more personal, piano-based songs while at home in Australia and wanting to get them down before leaving London recorded them (and a Wave Pictures cover) just two days ago chiefly on Darren Hayman's famous ship's piano for a four-track EP Optimism only available through Bandcamp. Spare, bruised and teetering on the precipice of emotional surety it's pretty clear these would never be full band songs but they bolster Morris' way with lyrical imagery and understanding what love is all about.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Superman Revenge Squad Band - A Funny Thing You Said

Longtime readers, if there are any left, will recall our coming over all unnecessary a few years ago about the lyrical greatness of Ben Parker through his two self-distributed albums and one EP as Superman Revenge Squad, a stream of consciousness set of abstractive self-lacerating observations and broadcasts from the slough of despond. After a few years away from that name ploughing a couple of other furrows he's formed a band, which while wrecking the minimal directness of those records does bring quite the colour palette with sax, cello and accordion worked in. Notably the band also includes Adam, Ben's brother and oppo in the still magnificent Nosferatu D2, and that almost relentless dynamism is as much the key as Ben's thoughts on the passage of time. The soon-come album There Is Nothing More Frightening Than The Passing Of Time is out 16th September in limited numbers and preorderable from the mighty Audio Antihero.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Let's Buy Happiness - Run

It's been a noticeably long time - fourteen months, in fact - since we last heard from the shimmering Geordie lovelies. Turns out, thankfully, that the most recent part of that time has been spent recording an album, titled Chants For Friends and out... soon. They've got a tour in October, of which more shortly, so maybe around then. Don't be fooled by the gentle acoustic lilt of the first half of its first taste, as once Sarah Hall's emotive voice starts echoing in and expressing self-doubt it looks set to lift off sooner rather than later, which it does with some trusty tremelo via a meander downstream. Less beauteous than it's letting on.

October dates:

4th & 5th Newcastle Cluny 2

6th Leeds Brudenell

7th London Hoxton Bar & Kitchen

8th Bath Moles

11th Banbury Also Known As (that's what it's called, apparently)

12th Sheffield Bowery

15th Manchester Night & Day

16th Sunderland Pop Recs

18th Aberdeen Tunnels

20th Glasgow Broadcast

21st Inverness Hootananny

23rd Edinburgh Sneaky Pete's

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Joanna Gruesome - Sugarcrush

It's looking like a very decent end of year for albums, and one real dark horse is emerging in the form of Joanna Gruesome's Weird Sister, out 9th September on home of the hits Fortuna Pop! We've already heard Secret Surprise; a steroid-enabled reworking of a song originally found on their 2011 self-released EP begins deep in dissonace country, cuts away to sweet vocal melodies while never quite letting go of the frantic rhythmic pace and post-Sonic Youth scrap metal yard blasts of proto-noise guitar, then slides into a coda two and a half minutes or so in that's frankly a right no-wave commotion. An aural cleanser and a statement of serrated intent alright.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Ten: great performances from The Tube

 All new features that aren't just tracks die an almost immediate death on STN but let's press on with them regardless. Simple enough, The Ten, we'd like to think reflecting the post-Buzzfeed clamour for lists (though not the post-Buzzfeed clamour for facile gifs, those can fuck right off) - irregular collections of ten things, whether it be a guest list or a load of links, like this first one, putting together ten YouTube clips from the most beloved part of Channel 4's 1980s cultural hand.

The Jam - A Town Called Malice, appearing on the first show on one of their last live appearances

Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Relax, the performance with which they get discovered, followed by a somewhat overdressed and outnumbered Jools gaining exact knowledge on their style

The Smiths - Hand In Glove

The Proclaimers - Throw The R Away. It's not in this clip but Paula Yates famously introduced it as "something really weird", though by the looks of her she can talk

The Art Of Noise - Close To The Edit in literal clown outfits with a mass of Fairlights, synths, samplers and a mixing console, Paul Morley adding comments as is his wont. It should however be noted the setup hadn't extended as far as replacing the audience with dummies.

Trouble Funk - Still Smokin' Tyne-side

Dexys Midnight Runners - There There My Dear, the infamous nine minute reworking with a talky bit in the middle and Kevin doing press-ups

The Redskins - Hold On/Keep On Keepin' On with a not totally successful interjection from a striking miner

The Fall - Smile/2x4 chosen and introduced by John Peel

Grandmaster Flash - The Message, performing some of the worst breakdancing ever committed to tape. That's not a real policeman at the end.

Friday, August 02, 2013

And the rest: His Clancyness/Islet/Mammoth Penguins

His Clancyness - Zenith Diamond
Just four and a half years or thereabouts since we first wrote about Jonathan Clancy's solo project he announces an album, Vicious out 7th October. Actually, maybe because it's now officially a trio, it sounds more in the A Classic Education wheelhouse than the drifting lilt of old, a chugging riff and driving motorik-ish rhythm pulling along an occasionally unwilling vocal, darker, psych-ier and punchier than what we'd heard before; that its producer Chris Koltay has worked with Bradford Cox and Liars makes perfect sense.

Islet - Tripping Through The Blue Room (Part II)
You imagine that when it came to recording Released By The Movement, out 14th October, producer Stephen 'Sweet Baboo' Black didn't so much do the intricate instrumentation setting up as scatter a few live mikes, press record and hope for the best. Sounding like it's been partially recorded through a wall, dark ambient washes, distantly obscured psychedelic sounds, tribal rhythms and no legible words at all, suggesting alongside first taster Triangulation Station that this may be an even more elusive record than Illuminated People.

Mammoth Penguins - Propped Up By Affection
Not a name you'll be familiar with but a voice you might, that being of Emma Kupa, most recently one third of Without Feathers but more notably late of Standard Fare and now of, well, a scrappy indie-rock trio, more raw and cocksure but with the questioning heart intact. Just a set of demos for the time being but they sound confident and ready for battle.

Rose Elinor Dougall - Strange Warnings

After a stint as part of the Mark Ronson charabanc and having watched her brother become the famous one with Toy it does seem a while since Dougall has been around but this first taste of a second album we know nothing else about yet is a fine step onwards from Without Why, warmly floaty psych-pop that runs on intricate understatement, laced with aereated synths on nodding terms with Stereolab before nearly disappearing down a technicolour plughole. Rose plays the Shacklewell Arms, London on August 14th.

Sky Larkin - Loom

We've been anticipating a third album for a while now and now we have confirmation - Motto (we've already heard the title track), 16th September, produced as usual by John Goodmanson and preceded by a week by this single, perhaps more immediate than usual but very definitely that quiet explosion of lyrical intrigue - it's about "presence after loss", says Katie - and dynamic wired hooks we've come to expect.

September tour dates? September tour dates, all except Sunderland and Glasgow with the promising much Radstewart supporting:

17th London Lexington
18th Leicester Firebug
19th Sheffield Harley
20th Sunderland Pop Recs Ltd (Frankie & The Heartstrings' gaff, that)
21st Glasgow Nice'n'Sleazy
23rd Leeds Brudenell
24th Southampton Joiners
25th Nottingham Bodega
26th Cardiff 10 Feet Tall
28th Aldershot West End Centre
30th Manchester Deaf Institute