Friday, 18 February 2011

Five For Free #2

Five of the best free downloads knocking around this week.

1) Foster The People - Helena Beat



This EP is the second release from LA's Foster The People, and includes last summers' 'Pumped Up Kicks' single, as well as 'Helena Beat' which may be even better. If you weren't too keen on the last MGMT album and are getting bored waiting for new material from Empire Of The Sun and Passion Pit, you could have a new favourite band.

Free download: Helena Beat

Foster The People website

Buy the EP.


2) Treefight For Sunlight - What Became Of You And I / Facing The Sun




In a similar vein are Danish four-piece Treefight For Sunlight. Combining elements of the bands mentioned above with a mid 60s twist (The Byrds, The Turtles, The Hollies can all be heard in the mix).
Their debut album was out as download or import CD this week. Pick up a couple of the singles from the LP for free.

Download: What Became Of You And I

Purchase info and a free download of 'Facing The Sun' can be found on iTunes

Treefight For Sunlight on Myspace


3) The Lines - Circles



There have been many attempts in the last few years to revive the Great British Lad Rock Band. So far these have ranged from the boring (Beady Eye, Brother) to the ridiculous (The Courteeners, Twisted Wheel). But there are glimmers of hope, not all of Morning Parade's songs are bad. Some are very good! The same goes for The Lines. 'Circles' has a bit of clout, and if they have more of these up their sleeves they're on to a good thing.

Free Download: Circles

The Lines website


4) Metronomy - She Wants




Metronomy's 2008 minor breakthrough album wasn't the easiest record to get in to. How good it was only became apparent after repeat listens and quite a large amout of time. No such problem with the funky new single from forthcoming 3rd LP 'The English Riviera'. The band have been going for over a decade, maybe they're finally about to enter wider public consciousness.

Grab it free over at Metronomy's website

Metronomy on Myspace

Pre order the album.



5) Cat's Eyes - Not A Friend




Cat's Eyes are the side project of Faris Badwan from The Horrors, who's teamed up with Canadian singer Rachel Zaffira. They have an EP out on Monday but are giving this non EP track away as a free download. It's a lovely, maudlin, 60s style lament. The EP also sounds exceptionally good. Side project of the year?

Free download: Not A Friend

Cat's Eyes website



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Monday, 14 February 2011

Singles Out This Week

The best 5 new single releases:

Frankie & The Heartstrings - Hunger


Sunderland's 'next big thing' come good with a rerecording of early track 'Hunger'. Expect more spikey, quintessetially British guitar tunes when the album of the same name arrives next week. Check out the video.





Frankie & The Heartstrings website



Mirrors - Into The Heart



Another rerecording of a previous release, this time from Brighton quartet Mirrors. Their album has been recieving many plaudits, and this single is what Hurts would sound like if they were any good. Check out the video.



Mirrors website



Maps & Atlases - Living Decorations



Album 'Perch Patchwork' was one of 2010's unsung heroes. Inventive, solid and unlike much else out there (the closest reference point might be TV On The Radio). New single 'Living Decorations' can't sum up the band in 3 minutes, so have a listen - then check out the album.



 Maps & Atlases on Myspace

Buy the single





Alex Winston - Sister Wife EP


Alex Winston should be the pop sensation of the year. This debut EP shows why, positioning her as a more chart friendly Kate Bush. Slightly saccharine yet sophisticated and mature folk inflected pop. Includes last year's excellent US only 7" single 'Choice Notes'.

'Locomotive' video:



Free download: Choice Notes

Free download: Sister Wife

Alex Winston on Myspace



OBLIGATORY RECORD OF THE WEEK

The High Wire - Pump Your Little Heart

Single review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com/

The High Wire wrap up latest album 'The Sleep Tape' with the release of this yearning, life affirming dreamscape. The band claim this to be their favourite song on the album and it's hard to disagree (although they might like to listen to 'It's No Secret' again, just to be sure). 'Pump Your Little Heart' evokes the feeling of twilight optimism, the time where the reality of everyday life gets brushed aside temporarily and all appears warm and cosy. 'The Sleep Tape' may have conjured up a lush, drowsy hinterland, but what we can expect next remains a mystery following this tweet from the band recently:
"the high wire in the studio trying to combine tinie tempah with spacemen 3. actually sounds v mighty boosh!?"
Intriguing, we await the results!



'It's No Secret': 



For a free download of 'Hang From The Lights' head over to The High Wire's Myspace




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The Sound Of Confusion on Myspace

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Five For Free #1

The five best free downloads from the past few days.

1) The Raveonettes - Forget That You're Young



A new album from everyones favourite Danish fuzzed out rock n' rollers is always an event worth noting. 'Raven In The Grave' is out on the 4th of April with the single 'Recharge & Revolt' shortly before. To tide us over til then The Raveonettes have made album track 'Forget That You're Young' available for free.
Understated, twangy and containing a very sweet vocal from Sharin Foo - the rest of the album may contain frenetic scuzzy garage, but hearing this quite tender first track is a very pleasent surprise.
The Raveonettes work rate is incredibly high by most band's standards, 'Raven In The Grave' coming only 18 months after previous LP 'In And Out Of Control' and just 6 months after Sune Rose Wagner's solo album. He's been sqeezing in a bit of production work too...

Free download: Forget That You're Young

The Raveonettes website



2) Dum Dum Girls - He Gets Me High


2010's 'I Will Be' album brought Dum Dum Girls some deserved attention as an integral part of the US lo-fi scene. They've announced the release of a brand new EP 'He Gets Me High' on Sub Pop records on February 28th (UK).
Richard Gottherer (known for his work with The Angels, The Strangeloves, Blondie, The Go Gos and The Raveonettes to name but a few) shares production duties with The Raveonettes' Sune Rose Wagner. The result is probably the best track the band have made, sharing early 60s pop sensibilities with the energy and fuzz of the producers' previous material. I can't wait to hear the cover of The Smiths' 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' which will also be on th EP!

The title track is available to download from Stereogum

Dum Dum Girls website

Pre order the EP.


3) Asobi Seksu - Trails




Some bands just deserve to be far bigger than they are. Hailing from the musical hotbed that is Brooklyn, Asobi Seksu most certainly fit into that category. 5th album 'Fluorescence' is out this Monday and you can grab lead track 'Trails' below. It sounds like School Of Seven Bells remixing The Cocteau Twins - i.e. a very very good thing.
Check out Paul's review on soundsxp.

Free download: Trails

Asobi Seksu on Myspace

Pre order the album.


4) Cold Cave - The Great Pan Is Dead




2009's 'Love Comes Close' was, despite critical acclaim, criminally overlooked. So to kick off the campaign for new album 'Cherish The Light Years', Cold Cave have gone straight for the jugular with a slab of industrial-electro-goth, seemingly engineered to pummel your ears to mush. All bodes well for the new record, hopefully the world will take more notice this time around. It's out April 5th.

Free download from Cold Cave's website

Cold Cave on Myspace

Pre order the album.


5) Low - Try To Sleep




Nearly 20 years into their career and Minnesotan trio are still on top of their game. People often complain that 'slowcore' (as they'd hate to be called) bands are boring. Low have been consistently proving that beauty can be found in the simplest of arrangements and that the cliche 'less is more' can work wonders in the right hands. This first track from forthcoming album 'C'Mon' is everything we've come to know and love about Low, and up there with the best of their backcatalogue.

Free download and pre order info at Low's website

Low on Myspace


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Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The Go! Team - Rolling Blackouts


Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com/



The Go! Team's debut appeared in 2004 and was one of the most original and refreshing albums of the decade. Two and a half years later they released a follow up which was... pretty much the same thing only not as good. So a further 4 years down the line we get a third, 'Rolling Blackouts'.
How much has their sound changed in that time?
Horns (lots of them)? Check. Drums (lots of them)? Check. Schoolyard chanting, songs that could be from the soundtrack to a 70s cop show or a Western movie, old school hip hop breaks, 80s electro, a huge cacophony of meshing styles which has no right to work but does? Check, check, check, check, check.
If they've made essentially the same record again why should people still care?
For starters there aren't any other bands out there doing quite the same thing, certainly none doing it so well. Rather than the cut-and-paste patchwork of 'Thunder, Lightning, Strike', 'Rolling Blackouts' sees The Go! Team working as, and sounding more like an actual band, subsequently making this s their most complete album to date. Notable guest spots include Satomi Matsuzaki from Deerhoof, Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast and Dominique Young Unique – all of whom blend in perfectly.
Time will tell whether anything here will match the majesty of 'Bottle Rocket', 'Ladyflash', Doing It Right' and the like, but there are strong contenders in the form of 'Buy Nothing Day', 'Apollo Throwdown', 'Voice Yr Choice' and 'Back Like 8 Track'.
Above all this album is a blitz and a hell of a lot of fun, the musical equivalent to a massive bag of Haribo.
If rumours are to believed 'Rolling Blackouts' could be The Go! Team's swansong, in which case it's a fitting way to sign off. An absolute triumph.


Rolling Blackouts trailer:



Buy Nothing Day:



Free download: T.O.R.N.A.D.O

The Go! Team on Myspace



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Monday, 7 February 2011

Tennis - Cape Dory

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com/



Yachts and music. It's not all J-Lo and Duran Duran you know. The story behind the debut album by Tennis has been well documented since the first demos hit blogland in the summer. Each one of the previous tracks are included here, rerecorded, tarted up. If 'tarted up' can mean 'sound like a batch of long forgotten early 60s classics, discovered in the dusty corner of a defunct record label's vault' that is. Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore make seemingly effortless work of crafting the kind of timeless melodies that the likes of Phil Spector and Brian Wilson drove themselves insane trying to create.

There's little on 'Cape Dory' that hasn't been done before, it certainly borrows from the past and makes no effort to hide the fact. Guitars twang with the treble of a lo-fi Duane Eddy, slightly fuzzy, distorted vocals coo as romantically as The Shirelles trying to impress the boy of their dreams on prom night, no song outstays its welcome (the longest track clocks in at a mighty 3 minutes and 12 seconds) and the entire album is impossibly pretty without ever making you reach for the sick bag. The tropical tint (and the fact that's it's essentially a concept album(!) about sailing) sets it apart from the rest of the current crop of throwbacks. Imagine Beach House after a heavy night on the Lilt and you're halfway there. A delight from start to finish.

Stream: Marathon

Free download: Take Me Somewhere

Tennis on Myspace

Buy the album.


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Sad Day For Puppets - Sorrow, Sorrow



Sweden's finest Sad Day For Puppets release their new single 'Sorrow, Sorrow' today on 7" and download from Sonic Cathedral records. It comes backed with a new version of 'Big Waves'. Hear both tracks below.




Stream: Big Waves


Catch them on tour in the UK this month. Sad Day For Puppets will be playing

7th Feb: Moho Live - Manchester
8th Feb: The Social - London
9th Feb: Proud Camden - London
10th Feb: The Callars at Eastney - Southsea
11th Feb - Birmingham Flapper - Birmingham
12th Feb: Jam - Brighton

If you haven't heard latest album 'Pale Silver &Shiny Gold' yet, get on the case!

Album review by KevW.



"The second album from Sweden's Finest is a more concise offering than Unknown Colours, but retains all the ingredients that made their d├ębut one of the highlights of 2009:
Dual guitars combining to create the kind of squalling harmonics that Dinosaur Jr. themselves would be proud of ('Such A Waste', 'Shadows'); catchy as hell guitar-pop tunes ('Touch', 'Fuzzy Feather'); Anna Eklund's chiming, almost child-like voice, perfectly suiting melodies that are, at times, nursery-rhyme pretty ('Sorrow, Sorrow', 'Tingle In My Hand'); and slower, more tender moments such as 'First Time' and the achingly sad 'Beads'.
2010 has seen numerous echoes back to early 90s American alt. rock bands, but where Wavves, Best Coast, No Age and the like are in thrall to Pavement, Sonic Youth and the Sub Pop back catalogue, SDFP know that 4AD was the label pumping out the best records of that era - Pixies, Breeders, Throwing Muses and (most underrated of all) Belly were all more interesting than the college rock scene. And it's probably Belly who are the closest cousins to what we have here - but re-imagined with J. Mascis on guitar duties and lyrics that make sense!
On the outside Pale Silver And Shiny Gold gives the impression of being an eerie, dark record - from the cover (above) to the song titles ('Sorrow, Sorrow', 'Shadows', 'Such A Waste', 'Monster & The Beast'), and there are points where this is true, especially on the harrowing 'Anne Says Pt. II'. It's a more diverse affair than that though, often full of hope, light and optimism. Several songs mention 'sorrow' but the first of those mentions comes in the album's opening line and just about says it all: "Sorrow, sorrow/Come back tomorrow/I've got no tears for you today". The Best Band In Sweden are more unique than the frequent comparisons would have you believe, and once again they've made a terrific album - one of the finest of the year. Nothing at all to be sorry about here."
Download 'Monster & The Beast' for free here.

Sad Day For Puppets on Myspace

Buy the album.


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