Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Hotpants Romance – It’s A Heatwave

Hotpants No Chance has a decent if rudimentary tune, but three girls shouting over the top like troublesome toddlers is a bit much for me. Sugar Dip works a bit better, it’s still the same scratchy guitars, but the screaming seems more deranged and fits the tune better. The title track works even better still, it’s a virtual sugar rush through a mere 55 seconds. Shake has a cool chugalong tune, the vocals mumbled somewhat which helps. Effin’ + Jeffin’ is another decent one screaming its way by in a blur of fuzzy guitars.
The majority of songs aren’t very long at all, and the whole of this 12-track debut album passes by in just over 17 minutes. While the amateur ramshackle tunes and carefree/careless vocals of tracks like Blow My Fuse (and many of the others for that matter) are fine enough, they prove a tad too grating to my ears. But that’s just me; I can see enough charm in Hotpants Romance to suggest that many people will absolutely love them.

It’s A Heatwave is out now on Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records
Hotpants Romance myspace is here

The Loves – The Ex Gurlfriend EP

To start with, let’s get the conceptual element out the way. This is the first of three three-track EPs that The Loves are giving away free, to promote their forthcoming album Three. Why? Well it’s going to be their third album of course.
The title track is slouchy sixties pop with some laid back Duane Eddy guitar bits. It seems too cool to make much of an effort, but pulls off a cracking tune with some cool shimmies and great back up vocals. Johnny Angelo Blues is a sweet swamp blues where The Loves take a trip to the wrong side of the tracks and while not coming back smelling of roses, the trip has been a gas and produced something cool. Around & Around is a weird one after the other two, a half written scuzzy tune and some poor vocals. It does sound like one of the other band members sang this, and because it’s all free we’ll let this one slip by.

The Ex Gurlfriend EP is released by Fortuna Pop on January 12th, when it will be available as a free download from here
The Loves myspace is here

A Camp – Stronger Than Jesus

Stronger Than Jesus is a classy modern show tune in which Nina sashays down the stairs in some grand theatre before bursting into the chorus and breaking hearts and illusions in the process. There’s an odd moment where she tells us that love can “do you like a shotgun” and I’m not entirely sure whether she means this in a good or bad way. Whatever, it’s a beautiful tune full of pomp and circumstance and lots of much needed glamour. Niclas Frisk seems to have managed to harness the sparkle that Nina seemed to have lost in the latter years of the Cardigans and on Stronger Than Jesus he gives her a great platform to shine. This is the lead single of what promises to be a fine second album, called Colonia.

Stronger Than Jesus is released by Reveal Records on January 19th
A Camp myspace is here

And as an added bonus here is the weird yet wonderful video:

Swanton Bombs – Mammoth Skull

The debut EP by East London two piece starts with Shock, which is a weird thing, somewhere between the basic songs of The Research and the shuffly trendy pop of someone like Foals. It’s all juddery choruses and staccato rhythms. Turnstile I like better, mainly because it reminds me of The Spinto Band, chiming piano riffs, and a great sense of melody with some playful vocals. Moth And Moon Song is a big oompah tune, some weird and wonderful backing noises and voices. It’s a woozy waltz through a fairy tale land. After that Vanishing Point is a bit more straight forward, a spiralling tune that descends you into nothingness.

Mammoth Skull is released by Quiff Records on January 19th
Swanton Bombs myspace is here

Monday, 29 December 2008

Casador – The Puritans EP

Ok, it’s an EP in name but the version I have only has two songs on it, the CD version having an extra track. It is a modern view of the story of the sword of Damocles. When I tell you that Alessandro, he who is Casador, is an Argentine living in Italy whose parents moved to Europe to escape political persecution, then you have quite a back story.
Story Of Damocles starts with a buzzing radio, then moves into delicate backing and Alessandro’s gorgeous choral voice, sounding like Sigur Ros in a more relaxed moment. The piano sounds slightly funereal, yet somehow uplifting as it moves the tune along, like fog across a misty moor. Some lovely harmonica comes in towards the end to finish the song on a suitably maudlin note. The Puritans is more straight forward, a brooding pop song almost. Vocally there’s a touch of Colin Meloy this time, but with murk to the edges to keep it special. It’s an odd song, bubbling along not doing too much, but its great in its difference to most tunes out there. The EP is a good introduction to Casador and I’m looking forward to hearing what he does next.

The Puritans EP is self released and out now. You can listen to the tunes at the Casador myspace here and download them for free here

Jive White Boy – Knives That Stab Your Face

Jive White Boy is another solo artist masquerading under a potential band name, this being the chosen name of Brian Senesac from Portland. Jive White Boy’s music could be seen in a similar area to Bon Iver. On the title track that kicks off this album there is jangly backwoods strumming, tinkling percussion, despair ridden vocals, but a general welcoming bonhomie. Lost Sensation seems like an updated Simon & Garfunkel tune, at turns upbeat and down at heel. But mostly it’s the sad tale of loss the draws the biggest comparison with that duo. Slowly has a more gentle country feel to it, shimmering in the fading summer light. The Great Depression has a melancholic feel to it, but if this is the bad times, he provides a great soundtrack to it. Last Summer feels like it was a tumultuous time, the beats kicking the track along like its down and out, some accentuated vocalising sees storm clouds gather. Things We Don’t Talk About reminds you a bit of the intricate meddling of Sufjan Stevens, with a tune that sounds delightful but hides much more. 2031 is probably even more like the man, and maintains a somewhat medieval feel, sounding something like an old traditional folk tune. From the press release it appears that Brian believes the last track’s title to be the year of his death, and thus the album ends on a downbeat yet complex note.

Knives That Stab Your Face is self released and out now. Buy it from CD Baby
Jive White Boy myspace is here

The Endless Bummer – Donald Fagen Mixtape

The singer sings in a voice somewhere between Jeff Lewis and Kermit and the EP is kind of endearing despite this. In a similar way to Lewis the lyrics are more important than the tune, which on Baseball In China seems to be merely a keyboard demo and a drum machine. The chorus, which is just the title repeated over and over, works pretty well with this kind of minimalist music. Boring But Beautiful follows a similar format, but is sweet enough to get away with it. Herman Dune would be another worthy comparison to The Endless Bummer’s tunes. Rio Grande Sandbar, 2001 is somewhat barbershop while Mend My Bleeding Heart skips along like a lovelorn teen, and has the charm of someone like Jens Lekman.

Donald Fagen Mixtape is out now on Wee Pop!
The Endless Bummer myspace is here

Little My – Little My’s Seventh

Little My do that kind of rickety indie pop, exceedingly twee, with whimsical vocals, high glock content, recorders, etc. In the wrong hands this can sound cloying and irritating, but not in the experienced hands of Little My. Even when they’re singing about having someone Sellotape My Hands, as they do on the lead track its exceedingly cute and adorable. And yes, all the above elements are present and correct on this track. Forever (Not) Yours has a wobbly keyboard line that makes you feel seasick, while the male and female vocalists converse with each other. Leaves Nothing is a shy shuffling in the corner creature, while Guess Who is an extremely twee Los Campesinos! This is available on a blue vinyl 7” that comes in the cover above or a 3” CDR, which comes in a blue cover replete with a different card from the Guess Who game.

Little My’s Seventh is out now on Wee Pop!
Little My myspace is here

Ray Brower – Aye Aye Clich

Ray is not one person, but four, and this is their debut EP. She Make Me She Do is squalling garage rock; you can practically hear the band throwing themselves around the studio while they were recording this. Drums build in the bridge before they throw themselves back into it. Musically its nothing grand, but it has all the passion it needs and then some. CVF drops some depth charge keyboard noises, a sludgy guitar line and some desperation vocals, it explodes now and again, but isn’t a patch on the lead track. Come To My Disco is similarly crazed and shonky, as is Stuck Between Rock N Roll. Both are mercifully brief, just how garage rock should be for maximum effect.

Aye Aye Clich is out now on Wet Nurse
Ray Brower website is here

Various – The Matinee Hit Parade

Released to celebrate ten years of Matinee, this collection merely serves to underline what a strong roster that Matinee Recordings have, virtually no squad players in a team of this quality. It’s difficult to pick anything out of such greatness, but at a push I’d go for Would-Be-Goods sumptuous Temporary Best Friend and the near perfect pop of The Lucksmiths Good Light. But then there’s the delicate and deliberated My Only Inspiration by The Electric Pop Group, which is pretty great too, as is Clay Hips china like Failure. Anyway, you can see my problem. Even the bands I haven’t got round to mentioning are still good, its just they face stiff competition. Then you get The Hermit Crabs doing their delightful girl led thing with Sophia, The Guild League showing off the wonderfully woozy Call To Prayer, Strawberry Whiplash who fuzz it up with Summershine and The Pines, whose Train To Wycombe is like hearing choral singing on a sunny afternoon. Magnificent stuff.

The Matinee Hit Parade is out now on Matinee Recordings

The Hermit Crabs – Saw You Dancing

Here comes more Scottish indie pop courtesy of Matinee Recordings, the time in the form of the debut album from The Hermit Crabs. I can’t quite work out what to make of Melanie Whittle’s voice. It’s twee, but more than a little cloying. However there are moments, such as on Goodbye My Friend, when it sounds absolutely beautiful. A real marmite voice, but in this case I’m the one who loves it and hates it at the same time. There’s a moment in opening track Tonight when some discordant strings matches it for fingers down the blackboard nausea. But then on the aforementioned Goodbye My Friend, the gorgeous backing vocals set it off delightfully. Closet Fan is gentle and affecting, but doesn’t have the cutting edge it probably needs. It’s damn close though. On Lean, Free Summer you start to get the impression that it’s the whimsical lightweight tunes that the band does better. Bad Timing is an interesting oddity, a slight Mexican feel to the tune. After that’s its back to the tuneful whimsy, with a couple of the album’s better tunes, Friend’s Folk Festival and Feel Good Factor. A decent start and ones to watch.

Saw You Dancing is out now on Matinee Recordings
The Hermit Crabs myspace page is here

Strawberry Whiplash – Who’s In Your Dreams EP

The title track has the requisite fuzz, slouching and dragging its heels while female vocals try gamely to inject some life into the tune. It’s indie pop by numbers, without the feeling. The vocals are a tad grating too. On the whole it’s an inauspicious start to the debut EP from Glasgow’s Strawberry Whiplash. It Rains On Other Planets is better, but still a rather flimsy effort. If you like your pop very twee with seemingly affected vocals, you’ll like this. And there’s nowt wrong with that at all. Promise is shown too as the songs keep on getting better as we progress through the EP, with My Day Today and Factory Girl reminding me of Heavenly, which is some sweet pop indeed.

Who's In Your Dreams EP is out now on Matinee Recordings
Strawberry Whiplash myspace is here

Would-Be-Goods – Eventyr

Eventyr means fairytales or adventures and is also the fifth album from Would-Be-Goods. Jessica Griffin has an arty, cool as anything voice, and shows it off delightfully on lead track Sad Stories, a headrush of indie pop. It has elements of Nico to it, in this case if she was reborn as a C86 pop idol. The Ghost Of Mr Minton exists as if it was in a supper club in Victorian Britain, mysterious and beguiling. In Bohemia reminds you of Stereolab at their most upbeat while The Girl At Number 7 is a brief classic girl lead indie, a bit like Heavenly. Venusberg is well matured pop, effortless and with a Gallic tinge and Melusine carries on in a similar vein. Again we find that Heart of Tin, with its minimal guitar backing and aloof icy vocals, is very much a softer Velvet Underground and Nico. Pleasure Island has a Johnny Cash rattling rhythm, but also a delightfully driven pop bent that cannot be denied. Baby Romaine is another example of carefully laid back continental cool pop, Jessica’s icy vocals topping it off nicely. Enemies Of Promise has medieval sounding keys, but is still the same great studied pop before the album ties things up by going through the motions with A Professor Momtchiloff Mystery. Despite the disappointing ending, it’s still a rather fine album.

Eventyr is out now on Matinee Recordings
Would-Be-Goods myspace page is here

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Bubblegum Lemonade – Doubleplusgood

Next up we have the debut album from Scotland’s Bubblegum Lemonade, the home to delightful indie pop for some time.
On lead track A Billion Heartbeats, imagine the impossible cool of the Mary Chain, with surfing keys and a delightfully lolloping fuzz pop tune and you’re somewhere close. Then you have Beautiful Friends, which shimmies and throws its fringe around. The majority of the songs are two minutes something long, which seems a perfect length for a band dispensing carefully crafted bubblegum pop with ease. There’s a great instrumental break on Tired Of Sleeping, which is otherwise a fine jangle pop tune. Last Time I Saw Andrew is like a fuzzy hangover feeling, disorientating but somehow sweet. The realisation dawns on Penny Fountain that there is a certain similarity to the bands songs. Some are straight pop songs, other a little rough around the edges, but ultimately they’re all pretty great tunes. Because of this you find they’re a band that can get away with writing a whole album of similar songs, but due to the high quality control it’s immensely listenable.

Doubleplusgood is out now on Matinee Recordings
Bubblegum Lemonade myspace is here

Sunday, 21 December 2008

The Lucksmiths – Spring A Leak

The Lucksmiths are one of those bands that, aside from numerous albums, scatter their catalogue far and wide across b-sides, sessions, demos and compilation albums. Add to that covers and remixes and there’s a mighty amount of stuff for your completist to get hold of. Handily this is the third of such compilations, 45 songs spread across two CDs.
It’s amazing some of the stuff on here. Take Point Being for instance, a sumptuous pop song cast away on a b-side. The live radio version of Synchronised Sinking reveals a much feistier side to the band as they rattle through the song, like The Go-Betweens with fire in their belly. Another live radio session song stands out, The Year Of Driving Languorously, this time showing the acoustic beauty of their songs. The songs on the whole sound fairly simply structured, but they all have such wonderful melodies and hooks it’s impossible to resist. Sometimes simplicity is best, and provides all you need. You have got to love the gorgeous cover of The Smiths' There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, sung as a duet with Karen Morcombe, something that gives it a nice edge. Macintyre shakes and rolls, a definite fifties rock n roll influence present. The solemn The Winter Proper makes you shiver with sadness, while Get Well Now is similarly downbeat and sympathetically solemn. The twinkly Deep Sea Diving Suit is another great cover, this time of a Magnetic Fields tune. Punchlines has a little bitter bile in the vocals and a rockier tune than usual, barrelling through. The Hydroplane remix of I Prefer The Twentieth Century is ace, the hollow drums providing the backline, further industrial noises come from a buzzing synth, making the song unlike anything else the band has done. The live version of Smokers In Love is a rattling good number.
From Macauley Station starts the second disc, a plaintive yearning to get away from the place. It’s followed up by a downbeat version of The Bee Gees song I Started A Joke. How To Tie A Tie shakes and has weird echoes that make it sound like Joe Meek got hold of a sixties girl group. That this was remixed by Pipas should explain its idiosyncrasy. Rue Something is a little waltz like, while Off With His Cardigan shows the bare bones of what they’re about, a great pop tune stripped back to its skeleton. Up is a jaggedy, jangle fest, sprightly and lively and Boat is an end of history comedown blues. The cover of Dolly by The Sugargliders chugs along with Wedding Present third album harshness. The remix of Transpontine by Andrew Kaffer starts with backwards slips in time, before releasing a segment of the song, which the weirdness then tries to drag back under, succeeding eventually in the ghostly static.
This compilation is a long old ride, but one full of many treasures, so worth taking.

Spring A Leak is out now on Matinee Recordings
The Lucksmiths myspace is here

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Northern Portrait – Napoleon Sweetheart EP

Copenhagen’s Northern Portrait release their second EP, and it’s an absolute classic. Lead track I Give You Two Seconds To Entertain Me reminds me of delightful forgotten gems, like The Man From Delmonte and Trashcan Sinatras. It’s in the shimmery, sparkling guitars and the way the singer half croons, his voice equal parts optimism and sadness. The perfect pop of this, the lead track is another cause for a delve into the deepest recesses of my indie pop memory. A gorgeous start. Sporting A Scar shows a more reflective side, it’s coy and self-effacing, but is still rather beautiful. In An Empty Hotel brings to mind the Morrissey croon and Marr gentle jangling, or even a restrained Jake Shillingford from My Life Story. Our Lambrusco Days is pared down to just voice and delightfully jangling guitar, which proves just as effective as the full band. It’s a really superb EP, especially for only their second release.

Napoleon Sweetheart EP is out now on Matinee Recordings
The Northern Portrait myspace is here

Math And Physics Club – Baby I’m Yours EP

This is the latest EP from Seattle’s Math And Physics Club, a band who have many more Anglo influences than ones from their home town. The singer has a lovely laid back way of singing, and the title track is a delightfully crafted little indie pop song. By the time you get to Nothing Really Happened you realise how crisp and tightly defined their songs are, they have a well rounded tunefulness like the Lucksmiths. In This Together is probably the best tune; some sighing strings feature, there is a gentle tune and some fantastic ba-ba-bas. Do You Keep A Diary is a lovely moment which you’ll want to take home with you, as you should this gorgeous EP.

The Baby I'm Yours EP is out now on Matinee Recordings
Math And Physics Club myspace is here

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Various Artists – A Very Cherry Christmas vol. 4

I must start this review by offering up the fact that I’ve deliberately shied away from Christmas songs in recent years. After the first of these Cherryade compilations came out there seems to have been an increasing deluge of Christmas songs every year, all writing about a season I don’t much care for. So rather than a critical analysis of every track, I’ll point out the things I most like about this, because my viewpoint on the others may be somewhat jaded.
Hallelujah Carol by Fever Fever is suitably ramshackle and falling apart at the seams while Very Most’s Christmas Came November 4th is very twee, but nicely festive with bells and sweet female backing vocals The same goes for Little My’s Xmas Song, replete with recorders, bells and glockenspiels. For a change of tack Tyrannosaurus Rex For Christmas by The Lovely Eggs is a repetitious, droning nursery rhyme concerning having dinosaurs round at Christmas. Perfect Christmas Snow by The Gresham Flyers is a lovely crooned number, understated yet dramatic in a manner similar to Richard Hawley and Santa de la Crux by The Bobby McGee’s is their usual idiosyncratic self, telling odd Christmas related tales over a whimsical tune. Ste McCabe pulls Christmas apart on Christmas Time For Sanctimonious Swine while The Seven Inches’s 12 Days Of Christmas sounds like it was recorded on a drunken Christmas Day post the Queen’s speech, which is a good thing indeed. Alarm Bells by Detox Cute & The Beauty Junkies has all the beauty of a crystal clear St Etienne while Shout For Trout by the Fountain is a doomy computer game driven tune.
Which is quite a list when you look at it and it seems I have been proved wrong. Again.

A Very Cherry Christmas vol. 4 is out now on Cherryade Records

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Mistys Big Adventure / Flipron - Oxford Academy - 14.11.08

Make no bones about it; this isn’t the coolest ticket in town tonight by a long shot. That would probably go to the show downstairs featuring Mercury Rev and Howling Bells. One upside of this is that because nobody is bothered by cool, there is a ridiculous amount of unashamed fun to be had tonight.
Take Flipron for instance. They have a bass player that looks like a cross between Herman Munster and Mick Fleetwood, a short ass singer with Marty Feldman eyes and silver shoes, and music that could easily be described as Borderville for The Levellers set but they are great.
Mistys Big Adventure work on similar principals, so make good touring mates. Firstly there are eight of them crammed on stage, including a dancer, more of whom later, and some great brass. Grandmaster Gareth, a curious looking man in fisherman’s cap and full beard conducts proceedings.
They kick off with an instrumental that’s an odd cross between calypso and an old kids TV show theme tune. Following that they launch straight into I Can’t Bring The Time Back, which marks the appearance of Erotic Volvo, which is a man in blue face paint and a red cloak with inflated blue hands attached to it, who will lead us in the dancing. This is a key element tonight; the audience ready to let go and eager to copy his dance movements or to chase him round the floor when he jumps into the crowd. The brass is another key thing, used sparingly and intermittently, sometimes in a call and response fashion. Gareth’s laconic vocals remind you of an understated Eddie Argos from Art Brut, his storytelling style offsets the music perfectly.
This fantastic show by both bands is a result of laughing in the face of adversity, as the promoter had run off with all the money, causing half the tour to be cancelled. They say out of these moments come great art, but now it appears the birth great dumb fun also.

This review was originally published in the December issue of Nightshift. Download the magazine here

Sunday, 7 December 2008

The Electric Pop Group – Sunrise EP

Sweden’s The Electric Pop Group make their debut on Matinee, two years down the line from their debut album.
I Could See The Lights is very jangly, sun kissed pop, which barely lifts from its slumbers during its duration. This Is The Town is similar sounding, the singer sounding pretty tired and non-emotional. Moving on to Summer’s Day it flags up the problem with this EP. For all its crystalline beauty, it is all too similar to the other tracks. It’s bearable over the course of a four track EP, but would be a whole different kettle of fish over an album’s length.

Sunrise EP is out now on Matinee Recordings
The Electric Pop Group myspace is here

Bubblegum Lemonade – Susan’s In The Sky EP

The delightful warmth of fuzz pedal and slight feedback welcome you into the title track of this, the second EP from Scottish youngsters Bubblegum Lemonade. You can practically hear the swaying of foppish haircuts on this surf pop gem. Surfin USB is even more gentle and laid back, strolling along in an effortlessly cool way. Just Like You is the best yet, buzzing along delightfully as does the final track, and Big Star cover, Holocaust. They may not have many strings to their bow, but they use them rather well.

Susan’s In The Sky EP is out now on Matinee Recordings
Bubblegum Lemonade myspace is here.

Katie Malco – Four Goodbyes

Katie has a very good, country styled voice and some good songs, but it’s not really enough to carve a niche for her in today’s market. I’m sure that supported by the push of a big label she would succeed, but on a small label such a Skyeyesea Records she’s probably doomed to fail. It’s not their fault or hers, just indicative of the sad state of the music industry nowadays.
Still, the music doesn’t grab you as something that demands to be heard, so maybe she is as much to blame, and is kind of unlucky with the breaks. As long as she’s happy with writing good songs for a passionate but small audience, she’ll be fine. As she should be.

Four Goodbyes is released on 15th December on Skyeyesea Records
Katie Malco's myspace is here

Dax - Overnight Sensation

The third album from Southern Indiana’s Dax arrives five years after his last, in which time he has been off fronting metal band De-Hydrated.
Dax has a strange voice, somewhere between American hillbilly and Scandinavian eccentric. Therefore opening track Thirty Something sounds something like a cultured version of Kings of Leon doing soft metal. Man Overboard seemingly wants to rock the fuck out, but holds back and settles for some relaxed southern rocking. Where I Belong seems to find its level, Dax’s gentle growl giving the song a warmth befitting of its nature while The Deep End continues from the point Where I Belong left off, and is very similar in nature to the preceding song. The Painter is more melancholy and works much better but Memorize My Love is a horrid MOR ballad and Breakfast at Teffany’s is a cliché ridden southern rocker. It then carries on downhill with I Remember being a big old knackered belter although Much To My Chagrin is a bit better with some nice organ features, but the vocals seem to be trying a tad too hard. The final track Closer is another cliché ridden boogie.

Overnight Sensation is released on December 16th on Haight Rite Records
The Dax myspace is here

Witches - EP

Oxford’s Witches put out an EP to tide people over as they wait for their second album, which is currently being recorded. Some of these tracks may appear on that album, some may not. And those that do may be in a re-worked form, so its worth trying to get hold of this EP.
There’s A Darkness has some beautifully beguiling vocals set over some maudlin wassailing music, there are some spectral moments and steady drums and sawing strings. After a solemn start Stammer kicks things into life, Dave finds he’s struggling to keep up with the rattling tune, which feels incredibly disorientating thanks to some electronics and keyboard trickery. Leave has plenty of gloomy portent, the dark moments being offset by a shivering quiet spell, before it kicks back in with a burst of the ever vital trumpet. Church Beds finds some medieval sounding music providing the bed for some suitably despairing sounding vocals building to a grandiose church organ solo and finally we have B O K, which is quite different, double tracked vocals and lots of minimal electronics featuring heavily in the tune, which at points becomes almost industrial.

The EP is out now, but appears to have been just a giveaway at a gig. However you can listen to it here
Witches website is here

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Video Nasties – Albatross EP

The title track is a whirling rock beast; the band fronted by someone who you would imagine is a cross between Lux Interior and Iggy Pop. It calms down in the middle, centres itself and swaggers beautifully before launching into a spirited ending.
Heart & Bones is a little more straightforward and easy on the ear. Its like The Killers could be if Brandon Flowers grew a spine and developed a slightly more psychotic singing voice. Break is excellent, like The Mary Chain taking over a church and commandeering the organ to play to the congregation. Man continues in this splendid vein, more chugging dark pop. It’s weird that they saved the best for last, but at least it’s on there.

Albatross EP is out 15th December on Dead Again Records
Video Nasties myspace is here

Gramercy Arms – Shining Bright

Shining Bright is a single lifted from the patchy, but on the whole good self-titled Gramercy Arms album, expanded to an EP with a remix and some non-album tracks. Shining Bright is a good example of the songs to be found on said album. It’s a nice piece of relaxed West Coast pop, all shimmery and reminiscent of long summer days. Walking Around is more laid back, it saunters around the place, sounding like one of Lawrence from Denim’s more reflectful moments while Fell Apart 10 is a beautiful languid country duet. Things fall away after that, the Shining Bright remix doesn’t alter the original much and the closing instrumental Laramie is fairly nondescript.

Shining Bright is released on 1st December on Reveal Records
Gramercy Arms myspace is here

Battle For Prague – We Could Be Anywhere

We Could Be Anywhere is the debut EP by Birmingham’s Battle For Prague and it’s a damn fine start. Lead track Hundred Feet Below is like a languid version of Kings Of Leon, which is no bad thing. The less frantic type of tune lets the melody wash over you in a lovely way as guitars spiral the tune upwards, the drums anchoring it in a stabbing fashion. I See A Ghost is deliberately cautious, the singer moaning spectacularly about how he knows our secret, putting us on the backfoot as the song swells back into life and soon he’s wailing it from the rooftops. The Wetlands is more standard fare, chipping angular guitars keeping the song balanced, and the tune sounds a little like Buffalo Tom at times. Car/Plane/Boat brings us back round to where we started, similar in feel to the initial track, but with a bit more verve.

The We Could Be Anywhere EP is self released and out now
Battle For Prague myspace is here, where you can buy the EP

Saturday, 22 November 2008

The Dropzines – Celebration Of Sorrow

Three years down the line from Between Sheets And Walls, comes their second long player Celebration Of Sorrow. This builds on the foundations laid by the first album and then some.
Cigarette Sun is a great opener, it’s catchy and upbeat, but goes through a bunch of different emotions, blissful, joyous, angry and much more besides.
Now That I’m Aware is celebratory, ramshackle and reminds me of a crazy Decemberists, My Little Red Book is a faithful but wild cover of the Bacharach original and Denmark is more laid back to start with, but then turns into a gritty pop song.
Playschool Guitar starts off all elementary school song, but carries on in that vein lyrically, a bit like a feistier They Might Be Giants. Some Of Everything ebbs and flows beautifully like a light version of Buffalo Tom, All Quiets Down is at turns a drunken sea shanty and a lovely country West Coast tune while Dinner Pills and Dancing is reminiscent of the Levellers at their most celebratory. Take That Now! Is classic power pop, Come On The Run shakes and shudders, brimming with confidence, a classic swagger to its melody while Madeline, Caroline and Nembutal is another song that reminds me of The Decemberists, main vocally but also in the persevering, nagging music. To finish all this up Not Surprising is a rollicking way to close the album.

Celebration Of Sorrow is self released and out now.
You can buy the album from The Dropzines website, which is here.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Brightblack Morning Light – Motion To Rejoin

The second Brightblack Morning Light album doesn’t start well, after a short introductory track you get Hologram Buffalo, which despite the great name is a shuffling quasi jazz track, and was no doubt recorded in a suitably smokey room.
And so it goes on throughout the whole album. Gathered Years sounds virtually the same, barely rising out of its slumbers through the whole eight minutes it bothers us with its presence. Most of it is thoroughly dull. Another Reclaimation is slightly more interesting in a druggy, hypnotic way, but that’s only compared to the boring nature of the rest of the album. Sorry to become repetitive, but it seems somewhat apt given the music contained herein, but this must be the dullest album I’ve ever heard.

Motion To Rejoin is out now on Matador Records
Brightblack Morning Light myspace is here

Johann Johannsson – Fordlandia

Fordlandia is Johann’s fourth full length, and the second in the technology and iconic American brand names trilogy, following on from 2006’s IBM 1401, A User’s Manual. The title track sets the tone, ambient and beautiful, hardly noticeable yet omnipresent, and before you know it its glacially coursing through your veins and your heart.
Melodia (I) is cyclical and hypnotic while The Rocket Builder (Lo Pan!) is string laden and becomes very sinister and doom bringing. Fordlandia – Aerial View sounds quite Christmassy, but in a sad sad world indeed. Melodia (III) is a lovely piano interlude that makes it sound like the storm clouds will break any minute and Chimerica sounds like a church organ and gives you that spooky feeling when you enter a church, its cold and the organist it playing away to himself. Its just like you’re intruding. The Great God Pan Is Dead again sounds religious, its funereal pace and elegiac choral singing lending a sombre tone to the tune. Melodia (Guidelines For A Space Propulsion Device) trundles along, never going anywhere but sounding lovely nonetheless. It does burst into life a couple of minutes before the end of the nine, becoming a swirling maelstrom of strings. The fifteen minute closing tale of How We Left Fordlandia is a slight disappointment, never really going anywhere but it doesn’t detract from what is a very fine album.

Fordlandia is out now on 4AD
Johann Johannsson myspace is here

Arctic Circle / Winston Echo / The Mountain Parade - Port Mahon, Oxford - 06.10.08

Here's a review that was published in the November issue of Nightshift, the local music magazine here in Oxford. If you want to read the magazine online, which you really should, go and have a look here.

Arctic Circle / Winston Echo / The Mountain Parade
Port Mahon

Tonight sees the welcome return of MyAnalog as a promoter, for how long or how frequently is anyone’s guess, but it’s good to have them back however fleetingly.
The Mountain Parade number 9 or 10 tonight, which is far more people than they actually need to create the noise they do, but it’s all part of the fun watching them squeeze onstage. It takes a couple of songs for them to get into their stride, but when they do its delightful stuff. It’s the horn section that makes the songs special, cushioning the tunes and gently ushering them along. This is over-populated folk-pop at it’s best, they have some cracking tunes of which Shackleton Bewley and the climatic Skyscraper are the best.

Winston Echo is a funny fellow. Rather sweet and bewildered onstage, yet slightly terrifying off it. You wouldn’t imagine such a frail yet tender voice to come out of such a man, but it does. Singing his set off mic makes people pay more attention and renders things still more lo-fi. He’s a troubadour with a funny tale to tell and some deft, witty lyrics. Bureau de Change proves the highlight and provokes a singalong and to quote the man himself, he really is a “millionaire in yen”.

Arctic Circle have a lot to follow, but trump the lot. They’re nowhere near as lo-fi as I expected, but exuberant, funny and multi-faceted. Sometimes they’re a little like Los Campesinos! with the more irritating bits taken out. Other times they’re layering loads of noise over the end of a song. The other thing that sets them apart is that usually acts with two vocalists have one that’s noticeably stronger than the other, but not in this case. They swap over regularly and seamlessly; he more laid back and tender, her more hyper and excitable. They make the kind of crazed ramshackle pop that sounds like pots and pans rattling in a kitchen too close to the railway line as a train goes past. They make me smile, which is the best thing of all.

Bricolage – Turn U Over

Here we have more Glasgow indie talent, in the form of Bricolage, releasing their fourth single and the lead one off their forthcoming eponymous debut album. Turn U Over reminds me of the cool white boy soul of Orange Juice but with more swagger and even a little venom. The singer’s croon is awesome. B-side Night Falls With Vertigo is juddery and racing with a head rush of excitement coursing through its indie veins.

Turn U Over is out now on Slumberland Records
Bricolage myspace is here

Sexy Kids – Sisters Are Forever

After the demise of The Royal We, out of the ashes and Glasgow come Sexy Kids with their debut single Sisters Are Forever. It has a pulsating indie electro pulse, a skinny rattling guitar line that has a tinny echo, and some cool as anything female vocals. B-side Drown Me has another spindly guitar line, some cool la la la bits and a brittle tune. Not as great as Sisters Are Forever but fine enough in a knocked off way.

Sisters Are Forever is out now on Slumberland Records
Sexy Kids myspace is here

The Shortwave Set – Glitches ‘n’ Bugs

The lead track on the single is an edit of Glitches ‘n’ Bugs, which is reminiscent of the ice cool glory of Black Box Recorder. It sounds like the band is tramping triumphantly along a gravel path, a tireless journey to reach the end, but one that is hard work. Somehow they manage to make this sound very cool indeed and effortless. Homesick is a beautiful slice of trip hop, some elegant scratching going on too. They cover Grace Jones’s Slave To The Rhythm in an electronic despair fashion, but it’s not a patch on such a fine original unfortunately. The Mungolian Jet Set remix of Glitches ‘n’ Bugs is not bad, but seems to rely heavily on late eighties baggy beats and is overlong at more than nine minutes. The Marshmellow Mike Remix is much better, it bounces nicely with the vocals much more to the fore in the mix, nice and crisp and even.

Glitches ‘n’ Bugs is released on 8th December on Wall Of Sound
The Shortwave Set myspace is here

Neon Neon – Dream Cars

Dream Cars sounds like something from the eighties, which is obviously the intention, the Dream Cars in question being DeLorean’s futuristic craft. It has expansive bits in the chorus that mark the advancing technology and churning verses that sound like the machinery driving the dream and the song.
There are four versions of Dream Cars here, the Radio Edit and Album Version being identical apart from length.
New song Mr Right is a minimal chug, a little like Kraftwerk, but not cold enough to work. It sounds a bit half baked. The Motor City Mix of Dream Cars, although a little more glacial, just sounds like it has had all the life sapped out of it. The Dream Drums Mix is much more interesting, if not a resounding success. It turns it into a disorientating techno lite tune.

Dream Cars is released on 8th December on Lex Records
Neon Neon myspace is here

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Saint Solitude – Disaster Stories EP

Saint Solitude is one Dup Crosson from Asheville, NC and as far as I can tell this is his debut EP. Heroes Turned To Whores, the lead track, starts off at barely a whisper, before trickling gently into life. Vocally it’s somewhere between a sneer and despairing sigh, and this echoes the way the music builds and threatens to burst into life, before dropping back down to its gentle pace again. Saints & Soldiers repeats the swelling and dropping trick, but a different kind of way. Dup sounds adrift at sea, and he’s not sure whether it’s a good thing or not. The melody is spectral, drifting and sometimes grandiose. Join The Light is more spindly and straight forward while The Laugh Track is sung over magical music box backing, and is a really beautiful song, that transports you to some enchanted forest where the hero plays a piano in the clearing. Coming to the final track, On A City, he sounds much more relaxed, and plays out a sweet laid back melody.

The Disaster Stories EP is self released and out now.
The Saint Solitude myspace is here.

The Lucksmiths – First Frost

This is album number eleven for the Lucksmiths and the quality shows no sign of letting up.
It starts with The Town & The Hills, a whimsical tune with boy-ish sounding vocals and a carefree air, complete with some sweet brass to lead the song out. Good Light is more upbeat, as the guitar chips out a tune. A Sobering Thought is a coy cousin to Belle & Sebastian’s The Boy With The Arab Strap, while California In Popular Song has twinkling folky guitar and vocally is a sigh to Californian times. South-East Coastal Rendezvous is a lot like their closest neighbours, Belle & Sebastian with a fuzzy warm feel.
The National Mitten Registry is beautiful, sparse and sombre, the choral group singing and short lines make it sound like a beautiful wake. Day Three Of Five manages to be melancholic and chirpy at the same time and Never & Always is what the band do best, cracking pop like The Go-Betweens, but with an even more romantic lilt. Lament Of The Chiming Wedgebill is a lovely male/female country duet while How We Met is downbeat, minimal and achingly sad and Song Of The Undersea and Up With The Sun are simply cool pop songs. Pines is laid back, melancholic and rather sad. Quite simply, this is the best form of guitar derived pop imaginable.

First Frost is released on 8th December on Fortuna Pop!
The Lucksmiths website is here.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Everything With You

Many column inches have been written about The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and on the evidence of this, their new single, it’s deservedly so.
On Everything With You they have a shambling Jesus & Mary Chain style cool as anything attitude, coupled with the cutesy edge of some of the best shambling bands. It’s effortlessly cool in the way that someone like Ride were. I bet The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have great haircuts too.
They also have an eponymous song, just like all the great bands, which features here on the b-side. It has a great big chiming melody, stabbed chords permeating the song’s sweet heart and a graceful and gorgeous air about it.

Everything With You is released on November 27th on Fortuna Pop!
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart website is here.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Young Sensation – Beautiful Noise

That Young Sensation’s second single comes on a lovely mint green 7” wins them many points from the start. The music wins them many more.
Beautiful Noise is all bouncy, chipping guitar and a vocalist who at times sounds like a cross between David Byrne and a preacher. It’s the way he sometimes yelps evangelically into a line that does it. There’s some lovely backing vocals, whether wordless and interjected, or questioning.
Happiness is more of the same, yet this time it twinkles like The Spinto Band and has a fine see-sawing tune. Again there are great backing vocals and this time there’s a rather odd speaking in tongues mid section.
It’s a very fine single, and one you should own without doubt.

Beautiful Noise is out now and available from the band's myspace

Deerhunter – Microcastle/Weird Era Continued

Atlanta’s Deerhunter release Microcastle, their second album, accompanied with a whole extra album, which the band say is an album in its own right and not just a collection of outtakes.
But firstly, the main album. Microcastle starts with a short instrumental, a tried and tested trick to get the listener into the right frame of mind. This makes me expect something epic and shoe-gazey, but come Agoraphobia it appears the band are more like a gentle Pavement, all rough edges shorn off. Moving on to Never Stops, you can sense a kindred spirit to bands like Midlake, the blissed out American backwoods vibe present and correct. Little Kids is the sound of rain gently splashing against a basement window in summertime while the title track is a blissful dream until it bursts into a fuzzy life a minute from the end. Calvary Scars scratches around, looking for signs of life. That’s followed up with a couple of tracks, Green Jacket and Activa, that don’t work well alone, but form an important part in the mid passage of the album, giving it a ghoulish air and moving it on to Nothing Ever Happened. This track locks into a repetitious groove, which makes your head spin. Saved By Old Times has some crazy Julian Cope style proclamations, and a sense of the band offering themselves up to the past. Neither Of Us, Uncertainly creaks and groans under the weight of its own bones. Twilight At Carbon Lake couldn’t be more aptly named, as it twinkles and sighs, barely above a whisper eventually ending up a shimmering wake.

As it turns out, the second disc is infinitely inferior to the first. They may not have set out this way, but the abundance of instrumentals and sketches renders it so.
There is some good stuff though. Backspace Century is all splashing drums and a drone like melody, Operation spins in short cycles both melodically and vocally before building to a gravely, sombre break and Slow Swords is a glacial, mechanical instrumental. The rest deviates from nondescript psychedelic sludge, to noodly snippets of nonsense, pointless jiggy instrumentals and overly drugged tunes.

Microcastle/Weird Era Continued is out now on 4AD

The Deerhunter myspace is here

Findo Gask – One Eight Zero

Wonderfully this EP kicks off with yearning vocals, like the Associates and more recently Wild Beasts. There’s a lovely Scottish lilt to the vocals, which is accompanied by some surging electro pop, upbeat and squelching. One Eight Zero is an infinitely danceable and ridiculously catchy pop tune, complete with an old skool breakdown in the middle.
Jigsaw is a little more fidgety, a little unsure of itself, but somewhat religious sounding, near to spiritual. Nubo with its brass, fall in with the Beirut crowd, yet still retains a bounce to make your feet itch to move. The Ripped Speakers mix of One Eight Zero, sounds just like that at times, clips of the song rattling around inside a wastepaper bin. Other times it reminds me of the descending beats that The Flaming Lips utilised so well on At War With The Mystics and that’s rather good indeed. About half way through the song picks up somewhat, kicking out some crazy beats, some cool bloops and bringing bits of vocals back in.

One Eight Zero is released on December 8th on Angular Recordings

The Findo Gask myspace is here

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Night’s Bright Colors – First Set Fire To The Stars

Jason Smith is Night’s Bright Colors, and First Set Fire To The Stars is the final album in his Hospital Quartet cycle, after four albums and eight years. Contextually its an odd point for me to come to Night’s Bright Colors, but First Set Fire To The Stars works fine as a stand alone album.
After a mystical instrumental intro, lead track Eastern Thought surprisingly bursts into a very melodic indie pop tune. It’s very well constructed and sung gently in a cutesy voice, warmth exuding from every pore. Following that Collide has some twinkling rhythms and a really spacey airy feel, somewhere between Air and the Lightning Seeds. This Romance continues the jolly air to the album; you can feel the music bopping around with a smile on its face. Its all fairly basic stuff, but no one can ever undervalue the importance of simply writing good tunes above all else. It’ll never be fashionable, but it never needs to be.
Portland is close to drifting into hippy territory, but in this man’s hands, that no bad thing. Change The Colors, is hypnotic, almost hymnal, while Blue Eyes has elements of Fleet Foxes to its spiritual feel. Some lovely classical sounds on Heaven-Proof segue into the lullaby of Inverness, then Catacombs has a mysterious far eastern feel and Our Sky is brittle indie pop. Dark Summer sounds like the end of times, but it’s a good send off and Recessive Traits is like the afterlife, a light fluffy world it inhabits. It’s a good closing album to the cycle, and one that warrants further investigation.

The album is available to download for free from Jason's website

Monday, 27 October 2008

Sick City Club – Thought She Was Leaving

Thought She Was Leaving, the debut single from Brummie indie rockers Sick City Club has a catchy chorus and a general upbeat feel. However you can’t help feel with music like this they’ll fall into a select group of acts, like Puressence and Molly Half Head, who create well crafted indie rock, but will be only be loved by a minority. That said, with the love that they’ll get from that fanbase, it may be enough, as long as they don’t set their aspirations too high.

Thought She Was Leaving is self released on 1st December

Sick City Club myspace

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Cause Co-Motion! – It’s Time!

Cause Co-Motion! take time out to compile their singles from the last four years, which were previously available on the indies What’s Yr Rupture?, Cape Shok, Can’t Cope and Slumberland.
Proper shambly C86 style pop, as done by early Soup Dragons, BMX Bandits et al is in evidence on Only Fades Away the opening track. Second track Baby Don’t Do It is tinny and harsh yet exuberant and fun! All the songs scream pop; all last around 1 minute 30 and aren’t built to last. This Just Won’t Last has more coy vocals and shambling ethics, This Time Next Year is all spindly guitars, while Take A Look is a dead ringer for early BMX Bandits. Which Way Is Up? is snotty and impatient and Don’t You Know? is a cut above, hollow sounding and rumbling, sounding like its bounding down the wrong side of the tracks. Say What You Feel carries this on somewhat scuzzy and tinny guitars bearing a certain menace. When Will It Finally End? chips away at you and Who’s Gonna Care? is a ring a ding ding little tune. You Don’t Say feels more structured and restrained, but works well for it and finally Cry for Attention that closes the album is more of a whimper.

Cause Co-Motion! myspace
It's Time! is out on Slumberland Records on October 28th

Crystal Stilts – Alight Of Night

Crystal Stilts are yet another band from the fertile breeding ground that is Brooklyn and this is their debut album.
Lead track The Dazzled kicks things off in a wonderfully sleazy way, world weary and careless. Sluggish in other hands, but not in these. They follow that with Crystal Stilts, the song, which is very Jesus & Mary Chain, with a twang of Duane Eddy guitar. The drums are a keen point, especially on this song, being limited and supplying only the necessary beat.
Graveyard Orbit has a suitably downbeat shuffle, but with some gentle organ and almost crooning vocals, Prismatic Room is graceful, having lovely guitar arcs and swelling keyboards while The Sinking is more upbeat and rattles along nicely. It shows how in thrall they are to the Mary Chain, but not in a bad pastiche way.
Things sound different on Departure, which is a bit drony, a little Joy Division. Shattered Shine has a bit of the Velvets and some nice mouth organ, while the drums kick Bright Night along nicely, although the vocals are a bit irritating on this, being too moany. By Spiral Transit the vocals and music are becoming ghostly, floating off into the ether and The City In The Sea closes proceedings, one final sigh before the end.

Crystal Stilts myspace
Alight Of Night is released by Slumberland Records on October 28th

Various – Be True To Your School

Compilations are funny things. They can be a place for new discoveries, finding old favourites again, but most of all inconsistent. A trip into the vaults of Fortuna Pop! however, produces many more gems than duff tracks. Over 25 tracks the hit rate must be about 90% and to be honest, there’s nothing absolutely awful here.
For a mere £4.99 you’ll find Tender Trap, which is Amelia Fletcher and cohorts doing what they do best, the Belle and Sebastian like Blinky by Sodastream, the excitable juddery pop of Itsuko Got Married by Bearsuit and the Gallic pop meets Pizzicato 5 sounds of Cannonball Jane’s Take It To Fantastic. The Loves best bubblegum pop moment Xs and Os is here, as is T Shirt Weather by the best pop band around, The Lucksmiths.
On the other side of the coin you have the gritty country of Yvonne by micktravis and the downbeat and dishevelled Rob A Bank by The Butterflies Of Love. MJ Hibbert’s Work’s All Right is rough around the edges, fuzzy and funny, while Too Old by Would Be Goods reinvents Nico. There are enough reasons already to get this, and I haven’t even mentioned the great pop by Milky Wimpshake, Comet Gain and the childish fun of I’m A Tiger by International Strike Force.

Be True To Your School is released on 24th November on Fortuna Pop!

The Lorimer Sound – Greenstreets

Greenstreets is the latest release by Chicago’s The Lorimer Sound, a lovely little EP for your delectation.
Lead track Brooklyn Bound is as well crafted as something like The Lucksmiths, the jolly bounce of it also sounds like The Brilliant Corners in places. Kristine’s vocals are delightful, sweet but not overly so. Block Party is twee rockabilly, a gentle rumbling instrumental while Through The Park has vocals that are slightly too twee and distract too much from the great indie pop melody running beneath. This track is too good to not spend time mixing it again. Photograph that follows proves they know how it should be done.
A guest vocalist is introduced for Notre Chanson En Francais, which is suitably Gallic and effortlessly cool. Amy’s spoken vocals just add the final touch to a cool song.

The Lorimer Sound's myspace is here

Greenstreets is out now on 3" CD with gorgeous packaging on Wee Pop!

Megamoog – Icicle

Megamoog are a duo from San Francisco, Phoebe joining Megan last year after she’d spent years doing Megamoog solo.
A sparse keyboard and a cymbal tish make up the melody behind Megan’s gorgeous vocals on Icicle, a delightful little tune about the world of boys and relationships. Tease has a sweet little gentle guitar line, with a processed minimal backing. The subject seems similar, but then aren’t all the best songs about boys and girls? Personally I like Eleanor best, the beats and keyboards seem more well rounded, the melody is the best one and Megan sings much more sweetly.

Megamoog's myspace is here

Icicle is out now on 3" CD with beautiful packaging on Wee Pop!

The Humdrum Express - What A Carry On! EP

Two albums into his solo career and The Humdrum Express is back, this time with a free EP of new stuff, reworked oldies and a cover.
Lead track What A Carry On! is a little gothic, but reminds me of Magazine or Wire more so. It’s a branch out from his previous stuff, but a smart move, and a sound that suits him well.
The reworked The Way It Goes is rendered into a sweet little nursery rhyme. Cool as that is, much better is Stay In Bed All Day, which is given an Electro Mix. This finds some robotic effects and fine beats over which snippets of vocals float. It provides a nice new slant on his work and let’s hope more work is done in this direction. I for one would like to hear an instrumental version of this track.
Vocally Tom Morgan’s The Outdoor Type, as made famous by The Lemonheads, is rendered faithfully but there’s an air about it that inflates the tune and gives it room to manoeuvre. In this slightly-delic style it probably hits closer to the heart of the song than any of the previous versions.

Contact The Humdrum Express for a free copy of the EP via his website or myspace

Amadou & Mariam – Welcome To Mali

Something a bit different and unusual here. It’s African music, but highly influenced by all sorts of other flavours. It doesn’t help the casual listener that there’s some weird synthesised vocals on opening track Sabali that are highly irritating to say the least, and which draw away from a rather nice spacey electro tune. Ce N’est Pas Bon works much better, the African music is toned down for Western consumption, yet it still takes you to a place in the desert, dark yet welcoming.
Following that, Magosa shakes and shimmies nicely, Djama has a sweet reggae lilt to it, Djuru has an oriental vibe to it while Je Te Kiffe has a laid back hip-hop feel infusing the music. Masiteladi is upbeat and bouncy, and has a cautious celebratory thing going on. The rhythm is like slowed down drum and bass. Compagnon de la Vie and Batoman are much more traditional, more like what I was expecting. The former locks into a groove and sways to the rhythm as male and female vocalists share the words around, weaving in and out effortlessly. Unissons Nous has the funk, and wants to set off running, but reigns itself back in constantly and I Follow You is graceful, with almost a classical air the way the strings give it an amazing gravitas.
I love getting treats from unexpected sources, and this is another one.

Visit their website here

Welcome To Mali is released on 17th November on Because Music

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Various - Just A Minute

I've just published a review of the new compilation on Filthy Little Angels over on Indie-mp3 and it can be found here