Thursday, May 29, 2014

Old, new and blue: J Xaverre, Beaty Heart, MOVIE

J Xaverre - A Guess, Rewind

Eleven years ago Pete Gofton put out These Acid Stars, a pop-format-screwing fried laptop folk album of quiet wonder. It's not fair to say he went quiet after that - in between then and now he released a further album as George Washington Brown, contributed to an STN compilation (as The All Golden), been in Frankie & The Heartstrings for a bit, done odd background duties on the Brewis brothers' various projects and, erm, been on Twitter a lot - but the name has been resurrected for a forthcoming album from which this track, available at a price of your choosing, emerges, the sound of irresistible acoustic summer pop spun round and round until it's so dizzy it's forgotten what and where it is.

Beaty Heart - Get The Gurls

The long gestating Beaty Heart album Mixed Blessings is finally out next week, and as a taster comes a track reworked from a version that surfaced in 2010 which with its tribal percussion and wordless vocals starts off like Islet on slow rotation, then throws in folk and vocal loops, sets the various layers off against each other and allows itself to rotate around various axes until reaching spiritual enlightenment. It does its job of creating intrigue for what the album will be like well enough. If you want to open your Christmas present early, though, it's streaming in advance.


First art school indie-funkers we've had for a while, the slow fade of Franz perhaps dimming the appeal and intrigue for a while. Their debut single is what you'd imagine Two Door Cinema Club might have sounded like before you heard them, an irresistably jerky beat to make pale kids dance. Classic throw-everything-at-the-wall self-made video too, potentially NSFW.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New band alerts: AUTOBAHN, Wakes, Nudes, Colour Me Wednesday


Another Leeds band who'll ruin their eyesight in those dingy clubs and DIY spaces their sound is set for, AUTOBAHN do as the name suggests have a motorik side but fall more between the first two Horrors albums with nods to the Birthday Party, swirling garage-goth heavy on the vocal reverb, pitched deep into the darkest parts of the psyche until the music breaks through into the light.

Wakes - Sidewalk Cracks

Lots of echo units employed here too, on the nostalgia-laced project by Somerville, Massachusetts' Tim Oxton that with a drum machine backing and subtle synth noises sounds like sepia-toned lo-fi surf being played through a cheap, slightly detuned radio speaker that's managed to cut away all the extraneous business. The ever reliable Shape Records are looking after the album Feral Youth, out next Monday.

Nudes - Crush

Coming to us via Art Is Hard's reputable Pizza Club, Nudes are one of Playlounge, one of Saturday's Kids and one of... someone else, and together they charge head down through the sort of stripped back, jerky wiriness that here resembles a lo-fi Wedding Present fed through a big distorting speaker.

Colour Me Wednesday - Sugar Coated

One suspects Colour Me Wednesday are too young to remember at first hand the Snakebite City series of compilations, which is a shame as, like The Tuts with whom they share members, their feminist-angled socio-politicised (their first single was entitled Purge Your Inner Tory) ragged round the edges indie-punk would have fit right in, carrying a lyrical weight alongside music made for jumping round a room to. This is from a forthcoming split EP with Spoonboy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Slow Club - Suffering You, Suffering Me

Hey, remember when Slow Club were a self-effacing, shamblingish acoustic duo with the back of a wooden chair and empty bottles for percussion? Having stepped up to Universal's Caroline International arm they now live it large and glamorous, and accordingly sound like the greatest pop band the modern POP! universe hasn't heard of - yeah, fatalism, but you read that Observer piece about how the Radio 1 playlist is decided now, right? The single (although third track made public, as is the way of things these days) from third album Complete Surrender, which still isn't out until July 14th, is a primary case in point, a brassy Motown belter encompassing Rebecca Taylor's most grandstanding vocal yet, parping sax and no apparent Charles vocal at all. They're on tour in July, where attempts to recreate an indelible big sound like this and still marry it off with the wisecracking and giggling we know their live shows for will be fascinating.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Covers band: Smash Hits 1978-2000

For STN's 3,000th post, a return to something we set running right at the start of the year. Taking as natural belief the idea that the NME covers Wiki page is the greatest on the internet we compiled as full as could be list of Melody Maker covers (on which there are still some gaps, and it's much under-read anyway)

This time, and only partially because we've been reading Mark Ellen's book, we chose an even faster route to checking the temperature of the day's pop culture - Smash Hits, listing all its cover stars from inauguration to 2000, when spinoff albums begin dominating eBay searches and the lack of early Noughties nostalgia leaves too many gaps, and anyway if you're that bothered about that era's mainstream pop you've probably still got those magazines anyway. Again, the filling in of all the gaps is welcomed, especially that 1986 outlier, or you could just admire the way that what we considered commercial sense at various times altered.

01/11/78    Blondie
01/12/78    The Jam
01/01/79    Boomtown Rats
01/02/79    Elvis Costello
08/02/79    Rod Stewart
22/02/79    Debbie Harry
08/03/79    Phil Lynott
22/03/79    Lene Lovich
05/04/79    Jimmy Pursey
19/04/79    Poly Styrene
03/05/79    Billy Idol
17/05/79    David Bowie
31/05/79    Debbie Harry
14/06/79    Donna Summer
28/06/79    Gary Numan
12/07/79    Siouxsie Sioux
26/07/79    Buzzcocks
09/08/79    Ian Dury
23/08/79    The Police
06/09/79    The Specials
20/09/79    Secret Affair
04/10/79    Squeeze
18/10/79    Bob Geldof
01/11/79    The Skids
15/11/79    Gary Numan
29/11/79    Madness
13/12/79    The Clash
27/12/79    Blondie
10/01/80    The Pretenders
24/01/80    Sparks
07/02/80    The Police
21/02/80    The Buggles
06/03/80    The Jam
20/03/80    XTC
03/04/80    John Lydon
17/04/80    Madness
01/05/80    Siouxsie Sioux
15/05/80    Kate Bush
29/05/80    Terry Hall
12/06/80    Bryan Ferry
26/06/80    The Undertones
10/07/80    The Professionals
24/07/80    Splodgenessabounds
07/08/80    Bob Marley
21/08/80    The Beat
04/09/80    Ian Dury
18/09/80    The Skids
02/10/80    Gary Numan
16/10/80    The Police
30/10/80    David Sylvian
13/11/80    Debbie Harry
27/11/80    Toyah
11/12/80    Spandau Ballet
25/12/80    Joe Strummer
08/01/81    Terry Hall
22/01/81    Steve Strange
05/02/81    Suggs
19/02/81    Midge Ure
05/03/81    Duran Duran
19/03/81    Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
02/04/81    Sal Solo
16/04/81    Hazel O'Connor
30/04/81    Julian Cope
14/05/81    Department S
28/05/81    Stray Cats
11/06/81    Adam Ant
25/06/81    Kirsty Maccoll
09/07/81    Depeche Mode
23/07/81    Steve Strange
06/08/81    Debbie Harry
20/08/81    Annabella Lwin
03/09/81    Toyah
17/09/81    Gary Numan
01/10/81    Phil Oakey
15/10/81    Duran Duran
29/10/81    Fun Boy Three
12/11/81    Kim Wilde
26/11/81    Haircut One Hundred
10/12/81    The Human League
24/12/81    Clare Grogan
07/01/82    Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
21/01/82    Depeche Mode
04/02/82    David Sylvian
18/02/82    Heaven 17
04/03/82    ABC
18/03/82    Altered Images
01/04/82    Simon Le Bon
15/04/82    Bananarama
29/04/82    Nick Heyward
13/05/82    Yazoo
27/05/82    Toyah
10/06/82    Jennie Belle Star
24/06/82    Terry Hall
08/07/82    Soft Cell
22/07/82    Lee Thompson of Madness
05/08/82    The Associates
19/08/82    John Taylor
02/09/82    ABC
16/09/82    Mari Wilson
30/09/82    Martin and Gary Kemp
14/10/82    Culture Club
28/10/82    Peter Murphy of Bauhaus
11/11/82    Edwyn Collins
25/11/82    Japan
09/12/82    Kevin Rowland
23/12/82    Tears For Fears
06/01/83    Malcolm McLaren
20/01/83    Pete Wylie
03/02/83    Kajagoogoo
17/02/83    Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
03/03/83    Eurythmics
17/03/83    Paul Weller and Tracie
31/03/83    Clare Grogan
14/04/83    Thompson Twins
28/04/83    The Human League
12/05/83    JoBoxers
26/05/83    Stuart Adamson of Big Country
09/06/83    Leee John
23/06/83    Matt Fretton
07/07/83    Paul Young
21/07/83    Tracie
04/08/83    Duran Duran
18/08/83    Wham!
01/09/83    Heaven 17
15/09/83    Roman Holliday
29/09/83    Culture Club
13/10/83    Jimmy The Hoover
27/10/83    Roddy Frame
10/11/83    ABC
24/11/83    Jim Kerr
08/12/83    Duran Duran
22/12/83    Howard Jones
05/01/84    Eurythmics
19/01/84    Ian McCulloch
02/02/84    Marilyn
16/02/84    Madonna
01/03/84    Jon Moss
15/03/84    Paul Young
29/03/84    Nik Kershaw
12/04/84    Thompson Twins
26/04/84    Frankie Goes To Hollywood
10/05/84    Sade
24/05/84    Wham!
07/06/84    Spandau Ballet
21/06/84    Bronski Beat
05/07/84    Neil (Nigel Planer)
19/07/84    Boy George
02/08/84    Simon Le Bon
16/08/84    Howard Jones
30/08/84    Annie Lennox
13/09/84    Adam Ant
27/09/84    Wham!
11/10/84    Paul Young
25/10/84    Frankie Goes To Hollywood
08/11/84    Nick Heyward
22/11/84    Depeche Mode
06/12/84    Strawberry Switchblade
20/12/84    John Taylor and Julian Lennon
03/01/85    Wham!
17/01/85    Tears For Fears
31/01/85    Morrissey
14/02/85    The Power Station
28/02/85    Frankie Goes To Hollywood
14/03/85    Paul King
28/03/85    Dead Or Alive
11/04/85    Nik Kershaw
24/04/85    Nick Rhodes
08/05/85    Wham!
22/05/85    Style Council
05/06/85    China Crisis
19/06/85    Tears For Fears
03/07/85    Howard Jones
17/07/85    Live Aid
31/07/85    Boy George
14/08/85    Billy Idol
28/08/85    Duran Duran
11/09/85    Andrew Ridgeley
25/09/85    Nik Kershaw and Paul Young
09/10/85    Morrissey and Pete Burns
23/10/85    Simon Le Bon/Ian Astbury (double sided)
06/11/85    Jim Kerr
20/11/85    Wham!
04/12/85    A-Ha
18/12/85    Bob Geldof and John Taylor
01/01/86    'That Was 1985'
15/01/86    Bono and Maire Brennan of Clannad
29/01/86    The Alarm
12/02/86    John Lydon
26/02/86    Pet Shop Boys
12/03/86    Sigue Sigue Sputnik
26/03/86    Patsy Kensit
09/04/86    The Bangles
23/04/86    Five Star
07/05/86    Robert Smith
21/05/86    Madonna
04/06/86    Simply Red
18/06/86    Wham!
02/07/86    Ali and Robin Campbell
16/07/86    Jesus & Mary Chain
30/07/86    Hollywood Beyond
13/08/86    The Human League
27/08/86    Frankie Goes To Hollywood
10/09/86    Pet Shop Boys
24/09/86    'MONEY'
08/10/86    Billy Idol (plus 'The Smash Hits Book Of Personal Files')
22/10/86    Howard Jones and Ade Edmondson
05/11/86    Bob Geldof
19/11/86    Nick Kamen
03/12/86    Duran Duran
17/12/86    A-Ha
31/12/86    The Housemartins
14/01/87    Nick Berry
28/01/87    Swing Out Sister
11/02/87    Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot
25/02/87    Neil Tennant
11/03/87    Beastie Boys
25/03/87    Wayne Hussey of the Mission
08/04/87    Jon Bon Jovi
22/04/87    Robert Smith
06/05/87    Depeche Mode
20/05/87    Pepsi & Shirlie
03/06/87    George Michael
17/06/87    Curiosity Killed The Cat
01/07/87    A-Ha
15/07/87    Mel & Kim
29/07/87    Madonna
12/08/87    Pet Shop Boys
26/08/87    Five Star
09/09/87    Mark Shaw of Then Jericho
23/09/87    Wet Wet Wet
07/10/87    Bananarama
21/10/87    Rick Astley
04/11/87    U2
18/11/87    Philip Schofield
02/12/87    Wet Wet Wet
16/12/87    Rick Astley and Philip Schofield
30/12/87    Madonna
13/01/88    A-Ha
27/01/88    Tiffany
10/02/88    Bros
24/02/88    Johnny Hates Jazz
09/03/88    Wet Wet Wet
23/03/88    Pet Shop Boys
06/04/88    A-Ha
20/04/88    Philip Schofield
04/05/88    Tiffany
18/05/88    Climie Fisher
01/06/88    Bros
15/06/88    Rick Astley and Derek B
29/06/88    Carol Decker of T'Pau
13/07/88    Bros
27/07/88    Kylie Minogue
10/08/88    Brother Beyond
24/08/88    Morten Harket
07/09/88    Pet Shop Boys
21/09/88    Rick Astley
05/10/88    Brother Beyond
19/10/88    Kylie Minogue
02/11/88    Yazz
16/11/88    Wet Wet Wet
30/11/88    Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan
14/12/88    Bros
28/12/88    'What A "Wicked" Year?!'
11/01/89    Neneh Cherry
25/01/89    Yazz
08/02/89    Jason Donovan
22/02/89    Holly Johnson
08/03/89    The Reynolds Girls and Mark Moore of S-Express
22/03/89    Brother Beyond
05/04/89    Madonna
19/04/89    Wendy James
03/05/89    Kylie Minogue
17/05/89    Bros
31/05/89    Jason Donovan
14/06/89    Sinitta
28/06/89    Madonna
12/07/89    Pet Shop Boys
26/07/89    Bros
09/08/89    Neneh Cherry
23/08/89    Fuzzbox
06/09/89    Jason Donovan
20/09/89    Wet Wet Wet
04/10/89    Michael Hutchence
18/10/89    Siobhan Fahey
01/11/89    Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan
15/11/89    Wendy James
29/11/89    New Kids On The Block
13/12/89    Jason Donovan
27/12/89    '1989 Whatever Next...?!'
10/01/90    Martika
24/01/90    New Kids On The Block
07/02/90    And Why Not?
21/02/90    Matt Goss
07/03/90    Halo James
21/03/90    Black Box
04/04/90    Candy Flip
18/04/90    Jesus Jones
02/05/90    Jazzie B
16/05/90    Beats International
30/05/90    Adamski
13/06/90    Betty Boo
27/06/90    The Stone Roses
11/07/90    Craig McLachlan
25/07/90    Candy Flip
08/08/90    Bananarama
22/08/90    Betty Boo
05/09/90    Deee-Lite
19/09/90    Pet Shop Boys
03/10/90    Michael Jackson
17/10/90    Elton John and Adamski
31/10/90    Paul Gascoigne
14/11/90    New Kids On The Block
28/11/90    Vanilla Ice
12/12/90    Jason Donovan
26/12/90    Madonna
09/01/91    EMF
23/01/91    Seal
06/02/91    Vanilla Ice
20/02/91    Donnie Wahlberg
06/03/91    MC Hammer
20/03/91    Chesney Hawkes
03/04/91    Vanilla Ice
17/04/91    The Farm
01/05/91    Dannii Minogue
15/05/91    Chesney Hawkes
29/05/91    Cathy Dennis
12/06/91    Gayle & Gillian Blakeney
26/06/91    Donnie Wahlberg
10/07/91    Jason Donovan
24/07/91    Madonna
07/08/91    Dannii Minogue
21/08/91    Kylie Minogue
04/09/91    Marky Mark
18/09/91    Chesney Hawkes
02/10/91    Color Me Badd
16/10/91    Bryan Adams
30/10/91    Marky Mark
13/11/91    Philip Schofield
27/11/91    Take That
11/12/91    Dannii Minogue
25/12/91    'Most Triumphant! The Top 20 Stars Of 1991'
08/01/92    Jason Donovan and Philip Schofield
22/01/92    Kylie Minogue
05/02/92    Michael Jackson
19/02/92    Martika
04/03/92    Christian Slater
18/03/92    Luke Perry and Shannon Doherty
01/04/92    Right Said Fred
15/04/92    Cicero
29/04/92    Keanu Reeves
13/05/92    Luke Perry
27/05/92    Madonna
10/06/92    Kris Kross
24/06/92    Take That
08/07/92    Jason Donovan
22/07/92    Dannii Minogue
05/08/92    Christian Slater
19/08/92    Betty Boo
02/09/92    East 17
16/09/92    Kristian Schmid
30/09/92    Take That
14/10/92    Mr C from the Shamen
28/10/92    Tony Mortimer
11/11/92    Marky Mark
25/11/92    Take That
09/12/92    Kylie Minogue, Mark Owen, Jordan Knight
23/12/92    Take That, Wayne's World, Mr C of the Shamen, Madonna
06/01/93    Robbie Williams
20/01/93    East 17
03/02/93    David Charvet from Baywatch
17/02/93    Keanu Reeves
03/03/93    Richard Fairbrass
17/03/93    Mark Owen
31/03/93    East 17
14/04/93    Christian Slater
28/04/93    Let Loose
12/05/93    Chris Evans
26/05/93    Dieter Brummer from Home And Away
09/06/93    Pet Shop Boys
23/06/93    East 17
07/07/93    Take That
21/07/93    Joey Lawrence
04/08/93    Debbie Gibson and Craig McLachlan
18/08/93    Bad Boys Inc
01/09/93    Toby Anstis
15/09/93    Will Smith
29/09/93    Bad Boys Inc
13/10/93    Gary Barlow
27/10/93    Christian Slater
10/11/93    Zig & Zag and Andi Peters
24/11/93    Brian Harvey and Wolf from Gladiators
08/12/93    Take That
22/12/93    Mark Owen
05/01/94    Eternal
19/01/94    Robbie Williams
02/02/94    Dean Cain
16/02/94    Chris Evans
02/03/94    EYC
16/03/94    Brian Harvey
30/03/94    Robbie Williams and Mark Owen
13/04/94    Stephen Dorff
27/04/94    Mark Owen
11/05/94    East 17
25/05/94    Bad Boys Inc
08/06/94    Melissa George
22/06/94    Take That
06/07/94    Ant & Dec
20/07/94    Sean Maguire
03/08/94    EYC
17/08/94    Eternal
31/08/94    Mark Owen
14/09/94    Tony Mortimer
28/09/94    Keanu Reeves
26/10/94    Let Loose
09/11/94    Sean Maguire
23/11/94    Andi Peters
07/12/94    Boyzone
21/12/94    '94 review of the year'
04/01/95    Take That   
18/01/95    Tom Cruise
01/02/95    Stephen Gately
15/02/95    Jon Bon Jovi
01/03/95    PJ & Duncan
15/03/95    East 17
29/03/95    Winona Ryder
12/04/95    Jim Carrey
26/04/95    Chris Evans
10/05/95    Anna Friel
24/05/95    Michael Jackson
07/06/95    Jon Bon Jovi
21/06/95    Deuce and Brian Harvey
05/07/95    Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer
19/07/95    Chris O'Donnell
02/08/95    Robbie Williams
16/08/95    Blur
30/08/95    Oasis
13/09/95    Eternal
27/09/95    Jarvis Cocker
11/10/95    Louise
25/10/95    Blur
08/11/95    Robson & Jerome
22/11/95    Take That
06/12/95    PJ & Duncan, Ronan Keating and Stephen Gateley
20/12/95    'Review of the year'
17/01/96    Zoe Ball
31/01/96    East 17
14/02/96    Babylon Zoo
28/02/96    Take That
13/03/96    Boyzone
27/03/96    The Bluetones
10/04/96    3T
24/04/96    Oasis
08/05/96    Blur
22/05/96    Ash
05/06/96    Darren Day
19/06/96    Mariah Carey
03/07/96    Gary Barlow
17/07/96    Robbie Williams
31/07/96    Eternal
14/08/96    Ant & Dec
28/08/96    3T
11/09/96    Peter Andre
25/09/96    Mel B, Mel C, Ant McPartlin, Shane Lynch, Louise Nurding and Zoe Ball
09/10/96    Spice Girls
23/10/96    Boyzone
06/11/96    Mark Owen
20/11/96    Louise
04/12/96    Spice Girls
18/12/96    Peter Andre
01/01/97    Backstreet Boys
15/01/97    Ronan Keating
29/01/97    911
12/02/97    Ant & Dec
26/02/97    Peter Andre
12/03/97    Spice Girls
26/03/97    Boyzone
09/04/97    Kavana
23/04/97    Spice Girls
07/05/97    Damage
21/05/97    Peter Andre
04/06/97    Hanson
18/06/97    911
02/07/97    Boyzone
16/07/97    Backstreet Boys
30/07/97    Peter Andre
13/08/97    Spice Girls
27/08/97    Kavana
10/09/97    Hanson
24/09/97    911
08/10/97    Spice Girls
22/10/97    Peter Andre
05/11/97    All Saints
19/11/97    Hanson
03/12/97    Backstreet Boys
17/12/97    Five
01/01/98    Hanson
14/01/98    Backstreet Boys
28/01/98    Aqua
11/02/98    Kavana
25/02/98    Spice Girls
11/03/98    Nick Carter
25/03/98    911
08/04/98    All Saints
22/04/98    Ronan Keating
06/05/98    Cleopatra
20/05/98    Backstreet Boys
03/06/98    Five
17/06/98    911
01/07/98    Spice Girls
15/07/98    Aqua
29/07/98    Kavana
12/08/98    Five
26/08/98    All Saints
09/09/98    B*Witched
23/09/98    Billie Piper
07/10/98    Steps
21/10/98    Five
04/11/98    Boyzone
18/11/98    Steps
02/12/98    B*Witched
16/12/98    Boyzone
30/12/98    Spice Girls
13/01/99    Five
27/01/99    Ronan Keating
10/02/99    Steps
24/02/99    Robbie Williams
10/03/99    Five
24/03/99    Billie Piper, Edele from B*Witched, Cleo from Cleopatra, Claire from Steps
07/04/99    Westlife
21/04/99    Backstreet Boys
05/05/99    Geri Halliwell
19/05/99    H from Steps
02/06/99    S Club 7
16/06/99    Adam Rickitt
30/06/99    Steps
14/07/99    Five
28/07/99    Ronan Keating
11/08/99    Westlife
25/08/99    A1
08/09/99    Steps
22/09/99    Stephen Gately
06/10/99    Christina Aguilera
20/10/99    Westlife
03/11/99    Geri Halliwell, Brian McFadden, Lee from Steps, Dane Bowers and Scott from Five
17/11/99    Ronan Keating and Emma Bunton
01/12/99    S Club 7
15/12/99    Backstreet Boys
29/12/99    A1
12/01/00    Shane Filan
26/01/00    H from Steps
09/02/00    Faye Tozer with Ant & Dec
23/02/00    Britney Spears
08/03/00    Ben Adams of A1
22/03/00    Westlife
05/04/00    S Club 7
19/04/00    Britney Spears
03/05/00    Westlife
17/05/00    S Club 7
31/05/00    Girl Thing
14/06/00    Steps
28/06/00    Ronan Keating
12/07/00    Five
26/07/00    Samantha Mumba
09/08/00    A1
23/08/00    S Club 7 boys
06/09/00    N-Sync
20/09/00    Kian Egan
04/10/00    Ritchie Neville
18/10/00    Steps
01/11/00    Westlife
15/11/00    Backstreet Boys
29/11/00    S Club 7
13/12/00    Westlife

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Ten: Alcopop! Records' favourite mailing list gifts

Seven and a half years in, Alcopop! has reached its hundredth release. The AIM Awards Small UK Indie Label Of The Year 2013 have been responsible for releases by the likes of Johnny Foreigner, Fight Like Apes, Radstewart, My First Tooth, Katie Malco, 4 Or 5 Magicians, Screaming Maldini, Her Parents, Stagecoach, The Crimea, Sam Duckworth, Brawlers, Gunning for Tamar... you get the picture.

They're just as known for their inventive approach to packaging new releases, having issued records on scarves, frisbees, a treasure map and perhaps most famously a compilation with accompanying fixie bike. So what are they doing for this big release occasion? Well... erm... they're re-releasing this.

Yep, Len's number 8 single and quintessential summer anthem but for the fact it was released in the UK in December 1999 is coming back out on limited edition t-shirt, branded sunglasses and cassette.

Given that love of new ways of delivering music, when we asked Jack PoP! for a Ten list it fits that... oh, let him explain.

When Simon asked me to knock up a Top 10 list of ‘musicy things’ there was only one choice of response. But when I realised I was going to have issues thinking of 10 songs I liked referencing dinosaurs, I knocked together this rubbish instead.

In loving memory of 3 Alveston Place, now deceased, here’s my top 10 things that monied record companies sent penniless indie fans during those golden days of physical correspondence… From 10 upwards:

10) Urusei Yatsura Slain By Elf postcard. Yeah sure it was only a postcard, but it was phenomenal! Flaming guitar, awesome font, band that were a little too edgy for your parents to even get. Massive!

9) I loved the work and effort that went into the promo Medal Fanzine that was sent out to those lucky enough to be on that mailing list. I fear issue 2 never saw the light of day though.

8) I once received a Kula Shaker 7” singles box in which I was to collect and preserve all my Kula Shaker singles. I didn’t bother much post-Grateful When You’re Dead... Might have even paid hard earned cash for this, but it did look lovely.

7) The Crocketts newsletter which was all printed in lurid blue, looked like it had been scrawled by a child and referred to tour-partners The Levellers as a ‘bunch of tree hugging hippies’. This was ace!

6) Hundred Reasons/Douglas split EP – Massive marketing budget – brilliant work! This would be higher, but for the fact I didn’t sell it on eBay when it was worth circa £50. It’s not any more. Great stuff though.

5) That fold out A vs Monkey Kong banner poster! A truly splendid thing, and one that got me proper jazzed about the forthcoming record. They looked GREAT on your wall, at the top – holding fort over all your other postcards.

4) The very brazen Rialto double CD exclusive ‘fan only’ cardboard slip case. Last single off the record, pretty gentle with approximately zero radio potential. “Who’s going to buy both copies of the CD” a terrified A&R must have thought after spunking a shit tonne of money on Lord Louis and co. No one but me was the answer, as I was suckered into buying both parts of the EP to put into my special package. Clever!

3) 3 Colours Red Christmas Card with a personal message from Chris and all the boys inside. The signatures were printed, but it was still a very nice gesture. I believe I took this into school, such was my pleasure.

2) The Hundred Reasons VHS video for If I Could. WHAT PROMO BUDGET DID THIS BAND ENJOY that everyone on their mailing list got a free VHS promo through the post. This made my life at the time.

1) The heat seeking Symposium postcard for Drink The Sunshine that literally ‘global hypercoloured’ in your clammy hands! Amazing, and I went on to buy every single 7” Symposium ever released – so I guess that’s proof that direct marketing really works! THE BEST.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Jungle, Talons, Horse Party

Jungle - Time

Since we last saw Jungle we've all leant who they are - just two blokes, really - and they've announced an album out July 14th. Less obviously set for prime-time than Busy Earnin', it still sounds like Return To Cookie Mountain as re-produced by The Invisible, which is a very good thing.

Talons - The Wild Places

Hereford's Talons pricked up ears back around 2010 with their dramatic and elegaic dual violin boasting take on post-rock. On the first taste of second album New Topographics, out 4th August on Big Scary Monsters, that's taken to the next level with movements that would class as Hollywood score-grandiose were they not so keen to instead lay waste to all the skyscraping noise monuments around them.

Horse Party - Inbetween

The US 1993 revival continues apace with a Bury St Edmunds trio whose new single from recent album Cover Your Eyes nods at the Breeders, flirts uncomfortably with the northen grunge revival and ends up in a grimy DC basement.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Ten: non-anthemic songs about football

You'll have noticed there's a World Cup on the horizon, and with it the usual set of piss-poor 'anthems' called things like Do It For England by the sort of bands who refer to themselves as "real music" and are doubtless veterans of unsigned band national competitions. That sort of endeavour, coupled with the traditional bellowed squad song, has given the football-related record a bad name it doesn't always deserve. These ten include nothing very obvious - so no Three Lions, World In Motion, Back Home or (How Does It Feel to Be) On Top of the World?, except that last one was never getting in - nothing strictly club-specific and nothing remotely chantable. At least under their own terms.

Cornelius - Ball In Kick Off
It's got 'kickoff' in the title, of course it's first. Being Japanese maybe we can let Keigo Oyamada off for misinterpreting the sample of Brian Glover from Kes, though maybe someone could have had a word before he quoted it in the title.

The Fall - Kicker Conspiracy
Marble Millichip. Video partially filmed at Burnley's Turf Moor.

The Hitchers - Strachan
Alright, this is not just a tribute to "the tiny wee Scotsman with the copper-coloured hair" but to a specific Leeds side, but on a broader level it's also about the sitcom image war of the sexes of football against everything else on television. For further details, watch Points Of View during the World Cup.

Half Man Half Biscuit - Friday Night And The Gates Are Low
Any amount of HMHB could have gone in here, and in other lists might have done, but for quite a while this was their only song actually about football rather than referencing a small part of it, named in honour of how their Tranmere Rovers used to play home games on a Friday night.

Tackhead - The Game
Adrian Sherwood would go on to make the link more explicit with Barmy Army, but only one of his identities, the part-American industrial funk collective, got Brian Moore into the studio to do their calling. We'll come back to Sherwood later.

Billy Bragg - God’s Footballer
Bragg, like Sherwood, is a Hammer by favouritism but was fascinated by the story of Peter Knowles, the Wolves striker who was one of the country's most reliable scorers when he suddenly quit the game in September 1969 to devote his life to being a Jehovah's Witness

Los Campesinos! - Every Defeat A Divorce (Three Lions)
Gareth's lyrics have of late taken an deep dive into football symbolism - A Portrait Of The Trequartista As A Young Man, "Bela Guttman of love" - but this is their only song about football. Being late period Los Campesinos!, it's a song about watching England go out of major tournaments after the investment of regular personal belief, allied to depression, heartbreak and everything else their most maudlin songs reference.

Edmundo Ros - Football Football
Calypsoes about sport were common in the early days of the form's influx to Britain, most famously Lord Beginner's cricket odes, but football grabbed the bug too, most famously with Edric Connor's Manchester United Calypso, most infamously with the very white northern Leeds United Calypso, but originally with this from 1953 as the man credited with popularising Latin American music in the UK attempts to settle a pub argument about the nebulous concept of the "best team".

Saint Etienne - The Official Saint Etienne World Cup Theme
Most people are aware of The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme, which apart from the title doesn't actually reference football and was originally intended as a baseball theme, but oddly fewer of the B-side, named in its tribute, of the 12" of Only Love Can Break Your Heart, wherein Stanley and Wiggs conjure jittery synth house around Peter Jones samples.

Primal Scream, Irvine Welsh & On-U Sound - The Big Man And The Scream Team Meet The Barmy Army Uptown
And finally Sherwood returns with some friends for an unofficial Euro 96 anthem where dub, psych, big riffs and Screamadelica rips wend their way around a Welsh monologue of no little brooding sarcasm.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Weekends away 2014 round-up: Dot To Dot, Bushstock, Dinefwr, Camden Crawl

Dot To Dot

WHAT? Venerable multi-venue tri-city shindig now in its tenth year (though doing nothing to celebrate the fact) showcasing big names, major label development deal potential future big names, a few surprising imports and underground bands, and so forth

WHERE? Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham

WHEN? 23rd, 24th and 25th May respectively

HOW? £22 apiece

WHO? Courtney Barnett, Drenge, White Lung, Real Estate, Wolf Alice, Honeyblood, Sivu, We Were Evergreen, Fickle Friends, Superfood, Young Romance, Luke Sital-Singh, The Bohicas, Slaves, Years and Years, Ezra Furman, Horse Thief, Stats, Peace, Indiana, Kyla La Grange, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Jaws, Famy, Drowners, God Damn (Check listings as not all bands play everywhere)


WHAT? Communion's annual get-together

WHERE? St Stephens Church, Bush Hall, Defectors Weld and The Sindercombe Social, Shepherd's Bush

WHEN? 14th June

HOW? £27.50

WHO? Peggy Sue, The Felice Brothers, Farewell JR, Luke Sital-Singh, Honeyblood, Fickle Friends, Chloe Howl, Amber Run, Big Sixes, Blaenavon


WHAT? A high quality music stage tacked onto a literature festival (among the non-musical end of the bill: Daniel Kitson & Gavin Osborn, Bridget Christie, Viv Albertine, Shaun 'Letters Of Note' Usher, Laura 'Everyday Sexism' Bates, Jeremy Hardy and James Endeacott)

WHERE? Dinefwr Park and Castle, Carmarthenshire

WHEN? 20th-22nd June

HOW? £65 online or from the park, Spillers, Literature Wales in Cardiff, Carmarthen's Tangled Parrot or Ticketline, Cardiff

Gruff Rhys, Sweet Baboo, Cate Le Bon, Trwbador, Alexis Taylor, Charlotte Church, Adrian Edmondson & the Bad Shepherds, Richard Dawson

Camden Crawl

WHAT? Loads of bands in and around Chalk Farm Road, A&Rs drawn at dawn

WHERE? 21 venues around the titular area

WHEN? 20th-21st June

HOW? At the moment, just under £50 for the weekend

WHO?Johnny Foreigner, Haiku Salut, of Montreal, Laetitia Sadier, Tall Ships, Au Revoir Simone, Jeffrey Lewis & The Jrams, ABC (!), Steve Mason, Atari Teenage Riot, PINS, Shopping, Girls Names, Novella, Mouse On Mars, Brawlers, PAWS, Nai Harvest, Yuck, Younghusband, Phil Hartnoll, Brontide, Slaves, Alexis Taylor, Woahnows, Big Deal, Mazes, The Crookes, Black Moth, The Field, Dignan Porch, Dry The River, Laurel Halo

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mid-May marvels: Remember Remember, Comet Gain, White Lung, General Sherman

Remember Remember - Magnets

The Glaswegian collective's third album Forgetting The Present, to be released on 30th June through Mogwai's own Rock Action, takes their working the principles of repetition and minimalism into post-post-rock further into tinkling, evolving landscapes, nine and a half minutes that would qualify as almost pastoral were it not for the overhanging loops of hidden doom.

Comet Gain - Long After Tonite's Candles Are Blown

Obligatory mention. Already capital dreamers well enough, their seventh proper studio set Paperback Ghosts, out on July 7th via Fortuna Pop!, is described as being inspired by "the psycho-geography of walks in North London woods and in the forgotten grey hinterland of the city’s back streets", which just sounds like much of what they do anyway. isn't one of their northern soul blowouts but a melancholic, countrified jangle in the romantic line that connects Felt, Trembling Blue Stars and Jack. As ever, David Charlie Feck deploys the lyrical sweep of tenderness and dreams.

White Lung - Face Down

A third video from the still forthcoming Deep Fantasy album still finds them richocheting between their hardcore past and a melodically distorted take on knife-sharp punk-pop, incorporating heroic mini-solos and Mish Way still daring all-comers to take her on. Also features flaming scarecrows. They're playing Dot To Dot over the bank holiday weekend, somehow.

General Sherman - The Stress Vulnerability Model

General Sherman are from Middlesbrough and don't really sound like you're imagining from name alone. Instead theirs is a daydreaming, warm drifting and very English folk built on fingerpicked guitar, swaying violin, occasional woodwind and male-female vocals, the hint of something other going on underneath gradually becoming apparent well before the thing gets rudely upended by bursts of big power chorded guitar. Album Get Down With General Sherman is out 6th June.

Monday, May 12, 2014

This is pop: Tuff Love, Deja Vega, Eugene McGuinness

Tuff Love - Flamingo

The Glaswegian trio, part of the Lost Map family, play three minute fuzzbombs not too far from a more blissed out Spook School, tracks that could have been anthemic had it not wanted to go and wander off amid the bracken for a bit instead. Also the video stars and is co-directed by Josie Long, which counts for quite something.

Deja Vega - Sleep

Bringing the Bunnymen brood to that whole nu-psyche explosion, Cheshire's Deja Vega sound like Kasabian if Kasabian actually sounded like the non-Gallagher bands they always cite as influences, screaming vaguely Middle Eastern guitar lines, driving basslines and not a little backlit goth.

Eugene McGuinness - Godiva

Having teamed up with producer Dan Carey for fourth album Chroma, out July 7th, McGuinness has returned to the twisty, scuffed up melodic guitar pop path of yore, taking a harmonic melody and subjecting it to distorted thrills.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Weekends away 2014: Lunar

WHAT? Leftfield approach to a folk festival in Nick Drake's home town

WHERE? Umberslade Estate, Tanworth-In-Arden, Staffordshire

WHEN? 6th-8th June

WHY? A satellite event of the sainted Moseley Folk Festival, Lunar was established two years ago, took a year off and now gets it together in the country with all manner of extra activities, from mask making to African drumming workshops to Afro-Caribbean traditional storytelling to Northern Soul dance lessons. And on Saturday morning, listen to Nick's own scratched copy of Pink Moon on the Drake family gramophone! Yeah, I know.

HOW? £89 weekend

FRIDAY: British Sea Power, Tim Burgess, Toy, Money, Don Letts DJing

SATURDAY: Donovan, Temples, Linda Perhacs, Laura J Martin, Goodnight Lenin, Victories At Sea, Seeland, John Renbourn and Wizz Jones, Andy Votel DJing

SUNDAY: The Polyphonic Spree, Lanterns On The Lake, Misty's Big Adventure, Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, The Magic Band, Pram, Scott Matthews

Friday, May 09, 2014

Friday feelings: Vienna Ditto, Bastard Mountain, Gold-Bears

Vienna Ditto - Feeling Good

This shouldn't have worked on us. The press release claims they're set aside from "pretentious shoegaze, indy-pop smush", which is basically all we post these days, and then compares the duo to Portishead, The Knife and Jack Nitzche, all of which are far wide of the mark. In fairness we did actually write about Vienna Ditto just over a year ago commending their merging of rockabilly twang, rumbling electronics and insistent percussion, and this new single out 9th June... well, much the same description applies in a track that has something of the dirty garage voodoo about it. Bet they're a great live band. Oddly it also reminds us of this forgotten near-hit from 1999, if not so big beat or novelty (or male, or Del tha Funkee Homosapien-referencing. What a strange time 1999 was)

Bastard Mountain - Swam Like Sharks

Another song from the forthcoming Song, By Toad all-stars collaborative album Farewell, Bastard Mountain, out 12th May. This is written by Jill O'Sullivan of Sparrow And The Workshop with lead vocals by Neil Pennycook of Meursault, so of course we're interested, especially in something that sneaks twanging country guitars into an oppressive slowcore background and pained acoustic lament upfront.

Gold-Bears - Yeah, Tonight

Atlanta's Jeremy Underwood is the mainstay of Gold-Bears, irrepressibly hooky power-punk-pop that uses Superchunk and the Wedding Present as touchstones. New guest vocalist to the stars Emma Kupa pops up on the opening track from Dalliance (see, Weddoes in effect), their new album for Slumberland Records, a rushing, sharp pop song with teeth filed into fangs.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Midweek marvellousness: The Hics, Owl & Mouse, Acollective, Laura Groves

The Hics - All We'll Know

These South Londoners were taught music by Dave Okoma of The Invisible, it says here, which accounts for the urgency and the multilayering of this take on post-XX *and* post-Burial downtempo electronics that seem completely filled out despite being carefully sparse underneath, a real 3am rainy vibe with male-female harmony vocals seeming octaves apart. We might be quite late to this particular bandwagon, they're already XOYO size in London (June 24th), have Zane Lowe and Gilles Peterson full support and appear somewhere within Grand Theft Auto's myriad radio stations, but it's still the off-centre slipperiness that intrigues.

Owl & Mouse - Don't Read The Classics

Yes, a ukelele as lead instrument. Sit down. In the couple of years since Hannah Botting's first EP under the name she's formed a band around her but kept her pureish vocal and yearning writing nature intact. This almost too delicately poised self-examination in the face of misplaced trust is from Somewhere To Go EP, out via Fika Recordings on 23rd June.

Acollective - OTM

Almost certainly not what you'd expect from a Tel Aviv baned who sharpened their craft playing in the streets and have just signed to Alcopop! Recordings. In fact, it's hard to pin down exactly what they are, as a Massive Attack-recalling intro explodes into technicolour, frenzied life instead, still based on foreboding beats and sentiments but at the top line unsettled in a different, more Ritalin-based way, making previous Flaming Lips supports more explicable. Second album Pangaea is out July 7th, and if you're off to Truck in July they're opening the main stage on the Friday.

Laura Groves - Friday

After piecemeal released with Nautic and her own EP last year the former Blue Roses has denoted this as a home recorded demo but it sounds in its gorgeous arrangement like it's there already, liquid piano and multitracked airy vocals suggesting Laura Nyro.