Saturday, 26 September 2009

Lulu & The Lampshades – Feet To The Sky

The duo that are Heloise and Luisa form Lulu & The Lampshades and this is their debut single. Feet To the Sky skips along like The Divine Comedy’s National Express powering some kook pop, like Regina Spektor. Its very cool and quirky but you can’t help feel we’re being spoilt in this genre at the moment. It ebbs and flows and tinkles like some out there nursery rhyme. Rose Tint is more of the same, entirely laudable but nothing to get me incredibly excited.

Feet To The Sky is released by Voga Parochia digitally on October 18th and on 7" on October 26th

Lulu & The Lampshades myspace is here

The Humdrum Express – The New Doctor Who EP

The one man Humdrum Express steams into town with a new EP. The rickety sound of the title track harks back to the days of C86, but one of the clattering lesser lights like McCarthy. This is intended as a compliment, and a refreshing change from the others influenced by that era, who are fey to a fault. Message Board Hooligan appropriately manoeuvres through the shadows deftly, delivering a minimal haunting chorus. The snot nosed Dumbing Down For The Masses is a scatter punk broadside at modern celebrity culture, despatched in two minutes, about the attention span of people today. Finally Carry On Curmudgeon is an excursion into dub lite expertly done. The New Doctor Who EP shows an artist broadening his repertoire further and getting better with age.

The New Doctor Who EP is out now and available to buy here
The Humdrum Express myspace is here

Friday, 25 September 2009

Golden Silvers – Please Venus

In which Golden Silvers follow their True Romance album by picking up the torch dropped by the Super Furry Animals, delivering a superbly languid piece of sunshine liquid funk. There are squiggles of other wordly synth, Beatles harmonies and less is more victory. Lily The Lover is where electro pop meets stuttering industrial and Christmas tunes. Rather odd, but nicely affecting and a great anti-chorus. Locked Up My Head is straight forward disco funk, with a pulsing beat. You still can’t help but be reminded of Gruff Rhys, but that’s mainly the vocals. Queen Of The 21st Century is fun, harmonic leftfield pop, a buoyant tune showing Golden Silvers more straight forwardly melodic side.

The EP is out now. Golden Silvers myspace is here

Dear Landlord – Our Wings Are Fluttering In The Nest

Dear Landlord is primarily Michael Docherty, based in Oxford, plus a rotating cast of assembled players. Snowdrift is more like the pleasurable rinky dink of old, mainly because a much rougher version appeared on the last EP. This one is much more restrained but much better for it, with a sly nod to Kanye West at the end. I often find myself reminded of the rambunctious old Dylan when he kicks free when I listen to Dear Landlord. Maybe this is the inherent folk stylings, the bunches of instruments melding into one gorgeous whole. Identical Hearts is a measured thing, initially reminiscent of the Go-Betweens studied but unaffected cool. It’s a marked move on from the frantic tunes of the previous EP, even when the trumpet makes the melody throw its head back and arc upwards in triumph. It’s a slow burning beauty. Steve Goodman sounds like a fleshed out Lonnie Donegan to start with, before stretching out into probably the most happy and best track here. It’s joyous, yelling and sounds like a wheeling band at the best hoe down in the world.

The EP is out now and available from the band, here

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Basement Jaxx – Scars

This is certainly the album of the guest artist. This may be true of previous Basement Jaxx albums, but I’m coming in fresh to their long players, and can’t be bothered to look back. Kelis and Chipmunk crop up on the opening title track, a weird pulsating thing that sounds like some otherwordly Guinness advert soundtrack. Raindrops is the cracking lead single that you’ve probably heard already, a euphoric rush of a chorus, tinkling and raving it to the sky, a festival anthem if ever there was one. She’s No Good is a decent funky number featuring the vocal talents of Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed, but is really one of his numbers with them assisting. Saga features Santigold for some average ska and Sam Sparro pops by to flex his vocal chords on a pumping dance tune. Twerk features Yo Majesty and is a hip-hop meets dance thing, squelchy and with bits of Maniac in it. There’s a little too much going on, but it’s a fun effort. Day Of The Sunflowers is as wonderfully ice cool robotic electro pop as you’d expect of a tune featuring Yoko Ono, while What’s A Girl Gotta Do is the Muppet Show theme versus latter period Noisettes. After a couple of nondescript noodles we finish with the afro funk cool groove of Gimme Somethin’ True. Scars is as eclectic as ever, with a few targets hit dead centre.

Scars is released by XL Recordings on September 21st
Basement Jaxx website is here

Golden Glow – Adore Me

Uh-oh, here’s someone else who wants to be Joy Division. In this case it is Golden Glow, who are one Pierre Hall. Adore Me is a decent little tune, but one that wants too much to be someone else for it not to annoy a little, especially as the vocals don’t live up to the music. The Cure is a disappointing trudge through the eighties alternative style, although Streetlighter is better, this time aping early New Order awkwardness. Hopefully next time the influences will be absorbed into something new, not just reproduced.

Adore Me is out now for free download at Spanner Records website, here
Golden Glow myspace is here

Secret Rivals – Break Song / Get Famous

The first thing in a while from to be sent to me from the Oxford underground, Break Song is Secret Rivals debut offering. It summons up the Wedding Present’s flailing guitars, yelped backing vocals and at times sounds like a frenzied version of Lost In The Supermarket by The Clash. It’s a shame it’s fairly badly recorded, but the spirit sees it through. Flip side Get Famous sounds like Bis taking on the Huggy Bear manifesto. It’s the better of the two tracks because it suits the lo-fi recording and careers wonderfully all over the shop.

The single is out now and available as a free download from the band's myspace page here

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Olafur Arnalds – Found Songs

This is a collection of 7 songs composed in 7 days and previously issued as free downloads via Twitter. Erla’s Waltz is a maudlin piano piece that ebbs and flows gently. Raein plods by, sounding very like Chopin, or so I’m told by my wife. Romance passes by, in the twinkling of an eye, while Allt vard hljott is an arcing sumptuousness of strings, like the sadness of the princess locked in the tower. Lost Song is another maudlin beauty, although there is a certain amount of repetition creeping in now amongst the songs. Faun is a tip toeing medieval elegy, as downbeat as normal, but different in tone. Ljosid finishes things off in predictable, but lovely fashion. If you’re an Olafur fan, there’s much to love here.

Found Songs is out now on Erased Tapes
Olafur Arnalds myspace is here