Sunday, 31 January 2010

Various - The Matinee Grand Prix

A new compilation from Matinee Recordings starts with their Danish recruits Northern Portrait doing Stirling Moss. They come over all The Man From Delmonte, lovelorn and wistful, a beautiful sigh. Following that the fuzzy Boy In The Bubble Car by Strawberry Whiplash races along like The Shop Assistants, all girly yet tough and cute at the same time. The Lucksmiths were wonderful and all, but Get To Bed Birds is a bit pedestrian by their standards. The Electric Pop Group seem to be intent on turning into The Stone Roses, mainly vocal wise. That said, obviously Believers is a lovely little jangle. Danger Overboard by Amelia Fletcher’s latest band Tender Trap, is one with the staccato drums, pondering melody and Amelia sounding her usual lovely self. The chorus is endearingly amateurish, harking back to Talulah Gosh days. Simpatico do an Editors lite on Australian Idle, which surprisingly works pretty well. Its tender, ponderous and very darkly gothic early eighties sounding. Cats On Fire produce one of the loveliest tracks with The Hague, a gorgeously picked tune, high on melody quotient, and basically very simple. They remind me a bit of Kings Of Convenience on this one. Bubblegum Lemonade fittingly make bubblegum pop transplanted to the mid eighties on Cuts Like A Dream. I Keep To Myself by Maths And Physics Club is a bleepy, shuffly cute little indie popper and The Guild League’s Bookmark, is a maudlin show tune, that proves Tali White’s new band should outstrip his old. A marvellous collection that should inspire you to investigate the label’s back catalogue further.

The Matinee Grand Prix is out now on Matinee Recordings

Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Very Most - A Year With The Very Most

Idaho's The Very Most have compiled their seasonal EPs from last year to form an album, A Year With The Very Most. There's also an added bonus of a cover of Lake's Kite. The reviews I wrote of the EPs can be found below.

The album is out now on Indiecater Records
And to whet your appetite here are some free downloads:
April Is The Kindest Month
You're In Love With The Sun
Autumn Air

Hexicon – Something Strange Beneath The Stars

Hexicon is the work of Michael and Paul from Allo Darlin, and Something Strange Beneath The Stars is the first single from their debut album The Blossom Sighs. Although it features overly sweet vocals, it has lovely parpy brass, rudimentary drums and twee as anything melody, replete with nice harmonies and schoolkids chanting. There’s a slow, swaying bit where they sound like a fey Super Furry Animals which all adds up to a nice tune spoilt a bit by the vocals. The other track is Still Here, a gorgeous little alt indie country number, with some sweet sumptuous vocals, and a tune redolent of Goldrush.

Something Strange Beneath The Stars is out now on Haircut Records

Hexicon myspace is here

Saturday, 23 January 2010

The Wednesday Club – Katapult

The Wednesday Club are a quartet from Leeds, and this is their first album. Trust Thing is a chirpy little song, with an African spring to the guitar, but an indie pop heart to the melodies. Marks And Lines is a swayer complete with fun, silly lyrics. Faulty Orbital Shaker is a standard indie popper, but with lovely warm buzzing guitar lines, while Steven’s House is gorgeous and reminds me of The Chesterfields. European Veins is a pretty faithful take on early Jesus and Mary Chain, Kindred Spit spins off in another direction, the singing all oddball and spooky, while Hit By Teeth is sombre and reflective, a sweet sigh amongst the more upbeat stuff. Biscuit Cramps is a wobble headed shock start thing, Harper Lee a brief yet beautifully formed melody, Delomelanicon a deliciously sluggish thing and closer Citalogasm is a odd ride through an other worldly fairground. Ramshackle, yet lovely pop all round.

Katapult is released by Odd Box Records on February 1st
The Wednesday Club myspace is here

Friday, 22 January 2010

Race Horses – Goodbye Falkenburg

As Race Horses are a band from Aberystwyth (although now residing in Cardiff), who write concept EPs and now release a debut album which is a collage of an old sailor’s memories, you’d expect them to be an interesting listen. That they are, but much, much more besides. Lead track Man In My Mind is a Super Furry Animals type pop moment, complete with xylophone crashing down the stairs to accentuate the heady pop rush. Cake combines Beatles early pop, with some of the psychedelia of the later era. At the end of the day, it’s the pop that wins through. Pony is effortlessly Welsh skewed sunshine surf pop, while Isle Of Ewe is off kilter upbeat folk, seen through a psychedelic sheen. Cacen Magmu starts dementedly, before turning into a brass comforted homefires pop tune, which alternates with Sgt Pepper Beatles. Glo Ac Oren is slow paced, reflective and with beautiful harmonies, Man In My Mind/In A Party Near You is harmony filled breakneck pop, lyrics jabbered ten to the dozen and Scooter reminds me of much maligned Liverpool band The Stairs, and a little if early Coral. Intergalatic Space Rebellion is a surf keyboard space instrumental and Captain Penelope Smith is ELO style odd psych, with a similar strange imagination and ear for a melody. Marged Wedi Blino is a light flavoured chirpy pop thing, which turns into a hymnal elegy, a suitably epic way to round off a fantastic album.

Goodbye Falkenburg is out now on Fantastic Plastic

Race Horses myspace is here

Allison Weiss – Allison Weiss Was Right All Along

After five releases from Athens, Georgia based singer Allison Weiss, she now delivers her first full length album. Lead track I Was An Island is a cute waltz through sun kissed times, a musical box equivalent of Evan Dando’s hippy acoustic moments. Fingers Crossed shows her thrashing out the starting gate, a west coast punk song mixed with a classic rush of blood Cali pop tune. From You To Me is sweet commercial alt pop, but July 25, 2007 is a high point, being a gorgeous little lo fi folkish tune. This shows off Allison’s voice in a lovely way, as it works so much better when restrained and gentle. Try To Understand is a Juliana Hatfield skewed pop thing, and then we’re back to the lovely acousticness of Why Bother, proving that this is what Allison does best. Yer Going Down is a rama lama blaster, while Ghost Stories is wistful and reflective. Let’s Leave picks up pace, a fun end to a lovely album.

Allison Weiss Was Right All Along is self released and out now. Listen to her music and buy her album from her website

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Run Toto Run – Catch My Breath

Lost and Lonely Singles Club issue the new Run Toto Run single, Catch My Breath. Things burble and squeak around Rachael’s vocals, a steam powered musical box of a melody. Her vocals are perfect for those who find Joanna Newsom too winsome, or Bjork too kooky. They have a lightness and a studied cool, but also a refreshing assurance of well mannered confidence. The Magic Arm remix adds a few electronic bleeps and gurgles and slows things down til it sounds like a space age Saint Etienne, with a touch of glowing aura. The Shoplifters remix is concentrating on the vocals, with minimal beats pushing things along, which works lovely.

Catch My Breath is released by Lost and Lonely Singles Club on January 18th
Run Toto Run myspace is here

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Field Music – Field Music (measure)

The Brewis brothers are back with a new album, a double no less, after diversions with The Week That Was and School Of Language. The album starts in subdued fashion, an eerily crawling song called In The Mirror. Them That Do Nothing falls somewhere between the jolliness of Wings and the odd craft of ELO, while Each Time Is A New Time is an updated Burning Down The House and then some. After the twisty, turny title track we get the churning Effortlessly. Clear Water is ELO chirpy headed brilliance, while Let’s Write A Book is funked up, how Prince would sound if he were a band from the North East. You And I plods delightfully like a languid and darker Fleet Foxes, The Rest Is Noise stalks the land and builds and builds into electro fountains, then bounces like an early eighties delight and Curves Of The Needle is a near narcoleptic arch star struck piece. The Wheels Are In Place is a euphoric rush, gushing with beauty, Precious Plans is tinkling sweetness and Share The Words is more funked up fun, a bounce in its step and an early eighties funk to its soul. The stirring epic oddness of It’s About Time rounds off a unique and rather good album.

Field Music (measure) is released on 15th February by Memphis Industries

Field Music website is here

Matt Whipp – Trouble / So Long

Something a little bit different here. I know very little about Matt Whipp, and his Myspace page isn’t forthcoming either, but he asked me to take a listen to the songs on his page and write about them. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Trouble is a lovely delicate acoustic number, beautifully sung. It’s hard to stand out in the singer songwriter genre nowadays, and I’m not entirely sure what aspect of Matt enables him to do so. The voice definitely helps, being weary and lo-fi, yet rather endearing. On So Long his voice has a touch of a Brian Molko whine (not in a bad way though), and the melody burbles along in the background, moments accentuated by some fine picking bits. Good stuff, and definitely worth checking out further tunes.

Matt Whipp's myspace page is here

Friday, 15 January 2010

Vienna Ditto – Long Way Down

Vienna Ditto are a fairly new band, hailing from various places around the South East of England, and Long Way Down is their debut single. Singer Hatty sounds like Sophie Ellis Bextor, a good thing, trust me. She has clipped, well eloquent tones, sassy and cool. Musically there’s twanging, David Lynch guitars, Joe Meek space machine noises, a Nuggets garage rock vibe and proper rock n roll stalking guitars, like Duane Eddy. Hatty command your attention in this one, but ducks out for some cool guitar now and again. It meshes together perfectly into a very fine debut single. The additional demos contained here prove its no one off too.

Long Way Down is out now on Weird City Electric Company

Vienna Ditto website is here

NonMiPiacellCirco! – Just A Bunch Of Unresolved Cases

Sometimes music is just weird for the sake of it. The NonMiPiacellCirco! (it translates from Italian as I Don’t Like The Circus) album is most definitely weird, and wilfully all over the place, but is all the better for it. It’s an interesting and challenging listen, but one that remembers the melodies and ultimately rewards you. Lead track Archimedes is a lovely orchestral piano line and crooning vocals, chasing the melody around at slow pace. Imagine an Italian cross between a twee indie pop singer and Julian Cope and you’re getting close. V? is interesting, an incantation of lyric over an electronic hum. It’s dark and faintly disturbing. Taos Buzz is airport static with numbers of hours chanted over it, and then it changes tack to interference and metronomic rhythms. Step By Step, Side By Side is the Muppet Show played on kazoos and cheap Casio, while a gothic interloper intones over the top. Ghosts is another disjointed thing, started with a rather eloquent spoken word bit, before droney melodies lick in. Like Dying is a free jazz annoyance, while Sky Theory is broken hoovers and drills and ghostly words. Strange things abound, making Just A Bunch Of Unresolved Cases well worth a listen.

Just A Bunch Of Unresolved Cases is out now on Movimento Flaneur
NonMiPiacellCirco! website is here

Robin Aigner – Bandito

Brooklyn based singer Robin Aigner releases her fourth album, Bandito. Lead track Pearl Polly Adler is an olde worlde place where Joan As Policewoman strikes out with Rufus Wainwright. Its also very Regina Spektor, featuring delicately and strategically placed instruments and a deft touch coming in from somewhere in the mists of time, certainly nowhere like the present. Delores From Florence is semi sea shanty, a song sung in an inn to send sailors on their way, with tales of trips past. She’s the feisty inn entertainment. See You Around is a more straight forward song, but Robin’s beautiful voice holds you captivated. It’s crisp and even, yet full of character, a brilliant asset to the songs. Banjo led Annie And Irving is a trad backswoods tale come to life. Mediocre is smoky jazz country, it slides beautifully around a well worn club, but still comes over as classy. Get Me Home is a cool duet, like one of those lo fi songs where the singers banter with each other, back and forth, but a much fuller version. Great Molasses Disaster sees Robin in charge again, a lovely song to complete a fantastic album.

Bandito is self released and out now

Robin Aigner's myspace is here

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Lost Boy Scout – Stag

Following the demise of his band And What Will Be Left Of Them, Peter Adams releases his debut solo album on Pop Art London. It’s the first of a mooted four in a year. Lead track Baby, Put Down The Hammer is like a one man Futureheads, not quite as frenetic, but similar in spirit. Star Signs is a snotty punk pop tune, in which at times he unleashes psychotic vocals, but mostly it’s a pleasant fast melody. Poor Birdie is sparser and funkier, a welcome change of pace, with a nice repetitious chorus and the best thing so far. Rory Storm & The Hurricanes is so catchy and reminds me of something I can’t place, so I spend most of the song being bugged by that. Bedlam buzzes and fuzzes and jerks all over the shop in an Archers of Loaf way. After a couple of standard tunes, Guitar In My Hands come on all balladeering with a wry glance, but bursts into Wedding Present style guitar thrashes at times, then back to strumming like nothing happened. We Need New Words To Describe The Effects Of Holding Hands In The Rain is a sweet acoustic ballad to round off a fine album.

Stag is out now on Pop Art London

Lost Boy Scout myspace is here

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Nils Frahm – Wintermusik

Berlin based Nils Frahm had originally intended Wintermusik as a Christmas present to family and friends, until Erased Tapes heard it and decided to put it out. Lead track Ambre is a beautiful chilling piano piece, straight out of The Nutcracker. It’s gorgeous in its tinkling beauty. Nue is musical box finesse, tip toeing its way tenderly around a snow covered countryside. Impending doom sets in, before escape; the piano hurries along, heralding brighter moments. The sparkling beauty of Tristana moves like a stop motion snow drift, covering all in its path, as demarked by the low notes amidst the sparkles. It doesn’t stray far from the path in over 17 minutes, but doesn’t once get boring. Gorgeous stuff indeed.

Wintermusik is out now on Erased Tapes

Nils Frahm myspace is here

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Olafur Arnalds – Dyad 1909

The latest album from Icelandic composer Olafur Arnalds shows no sign of a let up of quality. This one is a score to choreographer Wayne McGregor’s latest dance piece. Opening track Fra Upphafi is less than two minutes, heralding the storm clouds. Lokadu Augunum (Dyad 1909 version) is the solemn sight of a funeral plodding through a grey village. Brotsj√≥r is cracking industrial machinery on the outskirts of town, men slaving away on long shifts. Vid Vorum Sm... (Dyad 1909 version) really serves as a mid album intermission, passing from one side to the next. 3326 bobs and weaves around some beautiful violin playing, the first point of liveliness on the album. It then whips up into a frenzy like a shipping boat being tossed around in a storm. Til Enda features a maudlin violin picking its way through some shuddering electro beats and works pretty well. Finally …og Lengra is a rather sad, sombre end to the album.

Dyad 1909 is out now on Erased Tapes
Olafur Arnalds myspace is here

Paper Planes – The Sway / Disconnected I Know

Paper Planes follow up their debut single with a new double a side on 7 inch and download. The Sway is a jabbering punk pop tune of Alt American stock. Its blink and you’ll miss it, but features a rather cool breakdown, where Jennifer does a dramatic spoken word bit. Disconnected I Know is much better. Its a lovely thing, reminiscent of Belly, three minutes of lovely alt pop, rather catchy and makes me pine for the mid nineties.

The Sway / Disconnected I Know is a joint release on Lucky Number Nine and Say Dirty Records on March 1st

Paper Planes myspace is here

Secret Rivals – What Fists Are For

The new EP from Oxford’s Secret Rivals arrives at the start of the new year. Break Song 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. On Afraid Of The Dark, there’s a touch of Eddie Argos to his vocals. Its a tinny indie racket, fun, rather anaemic, but something akin to The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. For the last track We’re Not Leaving there are more spindly guitars and another brief tune. It has a lovely melody, but maybe they need more tricks up their sleeves. However when it comes to indie pop bands, such as the Wedding Present, maybe familiarity breeds love.

What Fists Are For is out now and available from the band's myspace

The Man From Another Place – The Loneliest Cowboy EP

The tracks here suggest they were written as incidental music for a film and as such seem a little weird as stand alone pieces. They are mainly tinkling little piano pieces. Its an interesting listen but I’d much rather hear them in a context such as that. They have some wonderful titles including A Recluse Goes Ice Skating, Iys and The Loneliest Cowboy. The High Llamas are an obvious comparison, the way they melded Beach Boys harmonies into something brittle and pretty. Guess Who’s Back In Town is like said band doing a Christmas record, while Spelunking (Part 1) takes the same template and robotically funks it up. An interesting little EP.

The Man From Another Place website is here and myspace here. Go to either to buy the EP.

Loopy – Doing Somersaults

Loopy don’t change much. They don’t need to and probably never will. They write fab pop songs, indie pop in style and very English sounding. There can be a sneer to the vox at times, but only in a quirky affected way. The title track is Inspiral Carpets and organ led sixties pop. Found By You is dad rock, but weirdly a touch of Americana saves it, Twenty One is a harder Housemartins, rocking out but with a reflective break down, and Love The Way is a ukulele and glockenspiel led twee pop rhyme, rather fine indeed. Hearts Pumping is an over earnest way to finish another good album

Doing Somersaults is out now and available from the Loopy website

Giorgio Maggiore – Radioanima

And this is Giorgio’s fourth album, from 2008. Swathes of synths cut across the start of the title track, like a slowly moving ice shelf in the sped up camera sequences. As the title track comes in three parts, I assume this is Tempeste Elettromagnetiche. The Radioanima segment of the track is like a particularly strident Edwyn Collins in a rather gothic mode. Isofrequenze is the final segment, a minimal instrumental piece. Liberi surprises with a more routine indie song with gothic tinges, but has some lovely singing and chiming restrained guitar. After another orchestral piece, Speranze Tradite, we reach La Porta a plodding track, in his now familiar gothic style. Ricordi Improvvisi is a lovely searching, solemn piano instrumental; Inno is lost alone in space psychosis, eerie and unsettling and on Wie Wird Meine Zukunft? he does a deathly slowly Get Back steal, set to morbidly feeling lyrics. The rather beautiful understated epic Pensieri Immortali closes proceeding on an interesting and at times lovely album.

Giorgio Maggiore's website is here and myspace here

Giorgio Maggiore – Dentro Ai Tuoi Sogni

Milan based Giorgio Maggiore sent me his third and fourth albums, and this one is his third from 2007. It starts with the windswept understated mod of Bagliori Di Luce. The plodding, discordant at times, Illustre Sconosciuto is funereally drab, ghost like and eternal. It picks up a bit around seven minutes when the vocals come in, intoning sombrely and making things more downbeat, but more complete. Divertente is a slow motion electrical storm and a spooky face at the window, while Mi Ascolterai? is in a very similar vein too. Il Sogno Infinito is tinklingly gorgeous and sparse, a sprinkling of snow over the landscape. Il Tuo Flore Vero is like some eighties alt band gone minimal in the African desert and to finish proceedings La Grande Bolla is a drunken epic, where ten minutes pass slowly indeed.

Giorgio Maggiore's website is here and myspace is here

The Millipedes – Shake Your Bones

The Millipedes are a bit of an underground Sheffield super group, and their debut album comes out on Odd Box across three 7 inches and a CD that contains all the vinyl tracks plus one additional one. Lead track Make Something Happen is The Woodentops go rockabilly, with a sinister twist. Married To The Wolfman makes good use of the overlapping male and female vocalists, it sounds like a spook rock pastiche, but a good one at that. Humans Of Earth mines the garage rock seams in a better way than Inspiral Carpets did, keyboards surf the tune along and a commanding female vocal, courtesy of Dolly Gripp, holds your attention. Hey Boy is a cracking, rattling, scrawny rock and roll number, Do Do Do Dare Dare Dare is a weird skanker, while the rock n roll is back for Zombies. Never Wanted To Go is a rather sweet swinging ballad duet, while You’re Too Much closes the album in suitably raucous fashion.

The Millipedes myspace is here

Shake Your Bones is out now on Odd Box Records

Friday, 8 January 2010

The Half Rabbits – Of This City

Oxford quartet The Half Rabbits issue another single, the latest in a long line that has steadily improved with time. Michael’s voice has changed, now a clearer sound replacing the darkness of yore. Of This City still has Editors tones, but is a rather more ebullient beast, snapping and snarling, with popping drums and steely guitars. We’ll Sleep Again has electro industrial shards of guitars and a grandiose gothic chorus. It’s the best track and the catchiest. Birthday Song completes the single, and is a dark acoustic James style ballad.

Of This City is out now and available from the band here

Thursday, 7 January 2010

French For Cartridge – Oooh!

Take some modern interpretive dance music, waltz time signatures, Bjork, Willy Wonka and Japanese culture and you’re some way to describing Oooh! To be honest, even then you’re not close, it’s weird and wonderful and unlike anything else I’ve heard for ages. For that alone it should be applauded, but its rather lovely too remarkably. Picture Negative is therefore surprising in its normality, Henry not matching Catherine’s vocals of the previous track. He’s good though, a mellow croon to go with the sparkling Clearlake style tune. It’s well crafted pop, with a little odd quirk, from this European duo.

Oooh! is out now on Dinner With Daisy Records

French For Cartridge website is here

The Funeral Suits – Now We’re Moving Now We’re Free

Another Irish band, this time a trio from Dublin. On Now We’re Moving Now We’re Free we get a distant hum of keyboards, a lost in space vocal and a pedestrian tune. Its not sure whether to be a straight forward pop tune, or something weird and mystical and therefore sadly falls somewhere between the two. The Crimes Against Remix of Florida is fey industrial electro indie, curious enough, but more like a Death Cab For Cutie experimental offcut.

Now We’re Moving Now We’re Free is self released and available from the band's myspace

Heritage Centre – Sidney Maxwell Williamson

The third release from Ireland’s Heritage Centre sees them in familiar territory. Opening track Stolen It Twice is peak period Idlewild, the time when their rock and melody was perfectly balanced. It’s a fairly unassuming yet heartfelt tune, and one you can imagine yelling along to at a gig. Throw Stones; It’s Easy follows in a similar vein. Free Out Here is lighter and carefree, but it seems now that Heritage Centre have found their identity after some searching on previous releases. It’s a good personality, and Free Out Here is the more commercial side (not a bad thing at all) of it. Whatever is an over reaching scrawl, with scruffy edges. To the aforementioned influence add The Smoking Popes, whose influence is across a bunch of these tracks. Space And Time is the real gem though, a reflective slow paced end of the century blues. It’s Brian Molko all heart strung and wired out fronting an interesting side turn b-side Blur.

Sidney Maxwell Williamson is out now and available from the band's myspace here

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Holly Miranda - The Magician's Private Library

Here’s the debut from Holly Miranda, a 27 year old with many TV On The Radio connections it seems. The Magician's Private Library kicks off with recent single, Forest Green Oh Forest Green. I’ll confess, first I heard this song I hated it, but now its grown on me. It still sounds like Imogen Heap meets ELO, but now the better elements of those acts are pulling through, along with a smattering of Flaming Lips and some general oddness. Things go downhill a bit after that, with Joints taking six minutes to achieve little other than a burble. On Waves Holly showcases her remarkable voice, over an organ hum and bass bounce, rippling above it ethereally. Slow Burn Treason is drab moonscape musical feeling with over emoting voices, Sweet Dreams is a second rate Kristin Hersh over a shuffly tune, only cheered up by some parps of brass and Everytime I Go To Sleep is a half hearted Joan As Police Woman. The final three tracks pass in a similar nondescript fashion. For something that offered such early promise The Magician's Private Library is quite the disappointment.

The Magician's Private Library is released on February 22nd on XL Recordings

Holly Miranda's website is here

Thunder Bunny – Demons

The debut Thunder Bunny EP kicks off with It Reminds Me Of Walking Away, three minutes of spaghetti western regret. It’s mainly harmonica and rhythm track, and a few mumbled lyrics. I Am The Arm swirls and seethes but doesn’t go anywhere, while Lollipop is Flaming Lips lite, buried under fuzzy round the edges guitars. Wonder Brian could be a continuation of I Am The Arm, instrumental and dull. And then Sleepy Head picks things up; coming on like a lackadaisical cross between Slowdive and Chapterhouse It’s wonderful in its shoe gazing beauty. Finally This Crown I Wear Is Hollow And Made Of Filth is a shuffling acoustic afterthought. There’s a good single in here, and promise of better things to come.

Demons is released on 14th March on Edition 59

Thunder Bunny myspace is here

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Charlie Barnard – Hallucinations and Delusions

Skyeyesea Records reissues Charlie Barnard’s debut album, after putting out his most recent, Ivory Serpents & The Starving Tree. Charlie sneers his way through opening track Childhood’s End, a song that’s as intimidating and end of the world as the title would suggest. It’s a brooding fuzzy thing, never lifting its head from its slumbers, taking pot shots from below. Alison My Queen Of Diamonds is Miles Hunt style snarly acoustic, while She’s Friends With Fairies is a little less in your face, a neat psychedelic hum. Regrets Of A Spaceman is Babylon Zoo post fame comedown, while Candy Flip and Rona mark the loss of the sneer, and are much more interesting albeit straight forward acoustic tunes. Sundial is hazy psychedelic, showing the album to be getting better as it goes on. It’s more a vibe than a song, but works really well, soaking into your mind and psych. Oblivion ramps it up from there and completes the album with some fuzzy guitar and intricate picking.

Hallucinations and Delusions is out now on Skyeyesea Records. Although according to their website they have now ceased to be. Best go through Charlie's myspace to find out more, here.

Cats For Peru – Attack Of The Pitching Machine

A couple of years into their existence sees Cats For Peru issue their debut album. Opening track Manifesto finds a band still in thrall to the epic bombast of early Radiohead, Love In A Lift is all skittering nowness mixed with the Vines effervescence, while Slight To The Right and Cutting The Bridges In Half move back to the over reaching archness of Manifesto, but the latter does have a classy sigh to it, albeit one already done by bands like the Longpigs and their ilk. And so on and so on goes the album. Things shimmer slightly and bounce along nicely and come on all grandiose at times, but nothing really hits home as anything new or exciting. It’s not bad as such; just nothing I haven’t heard before and done much better.

Attack Of The Pitching Machine is out now, a joint release by Thee SPC and Phantom Power Records

Cats For Peru website is here, where you can get free downloads of Asleep In Monaco and The Bearded One and make your own mind up about them!

Adam Green – Minor Love

Album number six starts off with Adam in reflective mode, like a lo-fi Richard Hawley in a deserted seaside ballroom on Breaking Locks. Give Them A Token shows off Adam’s qualities best, a shuffling song which is unassuming and coy, while the vocals are merely shrugged off. Buddy Bradley is Adam fronting end of the line dancehall Specials, What Makes Him Act So Bad raises the tempo slightly with a rattling cheap guitar sound and Stadium Soul is an eerie, haunting tune although Adam’s childishness can’t help poking through in some of the instrument choices and noises. Cigarette Burns Forever is one of his better songs, a delightful little wrap around tune just shy of two minutes. Boss Inside is lo fi Nick Cave, Oh Shucks is a ramshackle bit of fun, while Don’t Call Me Uncle unsettling trad folk. You Blacken My Stay completes the album in downbeat fashion. Not one of Green’s best on initial listens, but still a good one.

Minor Love is released on January 11th on Rough Trade

Adam Green's website is here

Friday, 1 January 2010

Blue Roses – Does Anyone Love Me Now? EP

Laura Groves, the Blue Roses singer has a beautiful voice, somewhere Joanna Newsome and a more traditional folk singer. Call it ethereal if you will, but it transcends the gently plucked melody and harp swathes of Does Anyone Love Me Now? the title track of this EP and one which is taken from their recent album. She stretches her voice just enough to still sound wonderful, and knows how far to go with it, unlike that awful Florence of Machine fame. A live version of Doubtful Comforts with Grammatics is rather nice, breathy and spacey, the male and female vocals existing wonderfully in harmony. The cover of Irma Thomas’s Anyone Who Knows What Love Is is a gracious beauty, shimmering in a sixties half light and First Frost Night makes up the numbers in a Cocteau Twins off cut way, but is still well worthy of inclusion.

Does Anyone Love Me Now? EP is out now on XL Recordings
Blue Roses website is here