Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Round Up 1

This post marks the return of the round up, something that I used to do for singles on my old website. Due to an overwhelming amount of music being sent me, and time constraints in my personal life, some things will get full reviews, the rest covered in the round ups. It’s not necessarily any reflection on quality, merely what I think I can impart to the reader on each release. At least this way stuff that would have otherwise been discarded gets a few words in passing.

Maths and Physics Club have a new LP, I Shouldn’t Look As Good As I Do out on Matinee. Which, when you see them geekily crammed into an old Beetle on the cover, is as ironic as you like. It’s also virtually the perfect pop album. Ten tracks in length, sumptuous melodies abound, an effervescent atmosphere and a general cheery vibe. Those indie fans downbeat after the Lucksmiths split last year, and looking for a replacement could do much worse than Maths and Physics Club.

Also new on Matinee is Cats On Fire’s collection of old stuff called Dealing In Antiques. After kicking off with a cover of Your Woman that sounds like a cross between Kele from Bloc Party and Robert Smith fronting a crisp indie pop tune, the album features lots of lovely indie pop, beautifully sung. Although at times this can be a bit weedy and samey, when they do get it right it sounds great. Such instances are Don’t Say It Could Be Worse which reminds me of Ballboy, and They Produced A Girl which a more ballsy Drums.

Those who were The Wookies, are now Golden Hours. The first single under their new moniker isn’t a patch on their previous efforts. Pioneering is reasonably interesting, like a subdued and less frenetic Futureheads. Wash The Night Eyes is merely alt-80s ok-ness.

The second EP in a trilogy from Breton, Sharing Notes, is also out soon. It’s an interesting piece of work with lead track The Well falling somewhere between Gorillaz, Bloc Party and Scroobius Pip. The title track is pretty good dirty trip hop, while Episodes is like first album Foals, jittery and knowingly fashionable. Finally 15X is an annoying post-Rapture groove. Intriguing stuff, some good, some not so.

Finally Harper Simon releases Wishes And Stars off his debut album. It’s rather good, but a tad too much like his dad Paul for my liking.

The Cats On Fire and Maths And Physics Club albums are out now on Matinee Recordings

The Golden Hours single is out now on Broken Tail Records

The Breton EP is released by Breton Labs on 5th July

The Harper Simon single is out now on [PIAS] Recordings

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Tender Trap – Dansette Dansette

Tender Trap return with their third album, keeping up the four year gap between them. As befits a new, expanded line up which now includes Allo Darlin’s Elizabeth Morris, the album sounds much more rounded, with a fuller impressive sound. While the subjects are still very much teenage it sits very well with Amelia’s voice, especially on current single and top notch tune Do You Want A Boyfriend? Lead track Dansette Dansette is rather appropriately a slice of delicious sixties girl pop, while Suddenly is much more adult sounding luscious pop. It has confessional whispered and half spoken vocals and some lush backing vocals. Girls With Guns carries the most non threatening threat. It’s a rumble of almost rockabilly guitars and chiming percussion. These are the highlights of what is easily the best Tender Trap album yet, the majority of the songs being highly melodic gems.

Dansette Dansette is out now on Fortuna Pop!

Tender Trap myspace is here

Monday, 21 June 2010

The Lodger – Flashbacks

The Lodger are back with their third album, dealing out well crafted melodies with ease. If you like indie pop you’ll love this, especially if you’re one who looks back to the late eighties/early nineties with much fondness. They can be Going Blank Again era Ride (Back Of My Mind), The Brilliant Corners (Have A Little Faith In People) or a less idiosyncratic Orange Juice (Time To Wait). The End Of The Affair slots into some sort of middle ground, so fares best as it grabs your attention instead of making you wonder whom it sounds like. What can you say about the rest of the album? It’s thoroughly pleasant indie pop that I’d happily listen to again and enjoy. But is it something I’d dig out deliberately to play? Probably not. Nothing against it, it just doesn’t have that certain something that grabs your lapels and shakes you down. Which is weird as it’s also probably a cut above a lot of current indie pop around. This probably means it’s a grower, one worth persevering with to reap the rewards.

The Lodger's website is here

Flashbacks is out now on Slumberland Records

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Various – Fast Forward: An Indie Music Companion To World Cup 2010

Indiecater Records have taken about the mammoth task of putting together a World Cup compilation, featuring bands representing in the form of song the 32 teams in this years World Cup. Thankfully most of them haven’t taken this too literally and have put forward a loose interpretation. Let’s see if we can get through them all. Cop On The Edge commence proceedings, representing South Africa with a fun cheesy tune, which sways a bit like Hammond led garage pop and reels off a list of notable South African sportspeople. According to the chorus they’re ‘gonna win the cup for Charlize Theron’. Mad claim undoubtedly, but a fun sunny pop tune anyway. Standard Fare give their song a Mexican tilt, but it’s not a patch on the top quality pop of their recent debut. It’s still good but a bit twee. Showstar provide a rabble rousing Uruguay, while The Very Most have playfully called the French tune Irlande, and it’s another one of their sumptuous summery pop tunes. The Dirty 9sBallad Of El Diego is suitably grandiose and a tad operatic in its celebration of Argentina, with a little of The Divine Comedy at their most knowingly overblown. Grand Pocket Orchestra’s Nigeria is fantastically like a drunk version of something from The Lion King. The South Korean song is Pearse McGloughlin’s quite beautiful rolling piano ballad Jongmyo Shrine, while At Last An Atlas do a pondering electro buzz tribute to Greece, a bit like The Research being quietly electro shocked. Detox Cute’s England song is suitably twee and toothless and Boca Chica do a lovely French sung Algerian song that combines flute and a walk by the Seine. It’s very bohemian and delightful. Lightholler do Slovenia in a misty eyed European movie way, Betty and the Cavalero do Meet Me At The Red Light for Germany as a gentle squeeze like Duke Special and Sleep Good’s Australia is an instrumental bouncy Saint Etienne. Hunter Gatherer’s Serbia buzzes with the intent of a darkest Europe industrial electro thing, but never really carries through its threat. The Invisible Clock Factory do Ghana, in a similarly minimal but unexciting way. Their way is repetition why is cool, but nondescript. Burning Codes present Holland as a half hearted spiritual, Cleemann’s Princes Of Denmark is a wonderful soaring alternative eighties pomp tune and Goatboy give us a squelching romp for Japan. Spirit Spine’s Cameroon song continues the instrumental theme, a rousing glitch fest bringing it home. Le Man Avec Les Lunettes do a gorgeous summery twirling Sufjan Stevens style thing for Italy, while Harry Bird does Paraguay as a baby Bob Dylan. Adam and Darcie do some swoonsome girl pop for New Zealand and Escape Act’s Slovakia evokes a trip to the host nation in an updated by Paul Simon kind of way. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin do Brazil in their alt folk way, but it sounds tossed off at a minute and half of little in the way of ideas. Francis Bacon’s Ghost do a suitably dark and sinister reeperbahn slow trudge in the form of Kim Jung II for North Korea, Storkboy Choons provide Ivory Coast with a rattling lights housey instrumental and Tap Tap represent Portugal with strained vocals and a brittle tune, but a lovely happy melody and some squirming guitar lines. The Yellow Melodies Spain song is like power pop early Beatles, while Candy Claws ethereal Swiss tune, is a bit too featherlight to carry anything off. My Brother Woody do Honduras in the style of Athlete and a band that have never heard of football before and got their thoughts about it off the internet. Finally Manwomanchild provide an excellent climax in the style of a europop Denim as a tribute to Chile. What seemed an expansive and ambitious project has reaped dividends in a big way.

Fast Forward: An Indie Music Companion To World Cup 2010 is out now on Indiecater Records and can be bought from their website