Friday, 30 September 2011

The Duke Spirit - Bruiser



It's been three and a half years since The Duke Spirit's exceptional second album 'Neptune' and six and a half since their d├ębut 'Cuts Across The Land'. With some bands this would indicate a struggle to come up with ideas. After the initial hype surrounding a new band – especially one with top 40 singles under their belt – there often follows a rushed second album, usually the result of record company pressure to strike while the iron's hot, to cash in on the initial flurry of publicity. This is the exact reason why so many artists careers are short, they don't have time to realise their potential and to make the records they want to make. They're spat out of the system if the subsequent releases fail to generate cash, which is the likely outcome of a half baked, hurried record.

Kudos then, to The Duke Spirit for sticking to their own plans rather than compromising their sound or the quality of their records. The time between albums has been well spent, the band have remained active, touring the UK and US and recording extra tracks for an American compilation album and for b-sides. Since last year, tracks from 'Bruiser' have been appearing online in various places. 'Everybody's Under Your Spell' was a free download single, followed by 'Procession', available for a limited time as a download from the Levi's website, 'Northbound' appeared on the 'Kusama EP', then 'Villain', also free, from Spin Magazine. The Duke Spirit have not been idle or struggling to come up with songs, they've spent long enough teasing us, now we get the finished article.

Opener 'Cherry Tree' thunders into action with the familiar thick, weighty production fans of the first two records have come to know and love, Liela Moss' rich tones repeating the refrain “I don't look back, why would you?” and suggesting they'd rather we didn't compare 'Bruiser' to past glories, but it's difficult not to. Despite the line-up reshuffle that followed 'Neptune' this is still unmistakeably a Duke Spirit album. The trademark fusion of blues, garage rock and soul has remained untouched. The lyrics are dark and ponderous, often lamenting unrequited love and missed opportunities. Songs such as 'Villain' and 'Bodies' suggest a trouble soul was behind their creation, in fact emotions are high and intense throughout. The piano led 'De Lux' being a particular highlight, it's one of the most beautiful ballads you'll hear all year. Single 'Everybody's Under Your Spell' is probably the album's key moment, distilling everything that's great about the band into three and a half glorious minutes.

So is 'Bruiser' a match for 'Neptune'? Well, not quite. Recent single 'Surrender' is The Duke Spirit by numbers, there is no great pop moment such as 'My Sunken Treasure' and overall this is a collection of songs rather than the complete, part concept album that preceded it, and it doesn't end with a raucous climax a la 'Neptune', instead drifting off into the ether with the pretty 'Homecoming'. If we take notice of the request not to look back and judge this in an objective manner, what we have is a superb record with a lush, full sound and some tremendous songwriting by a group who unarguably know what they're doing and exactly how they should sound. The Duke Spirit plough their own furrow, how and when they want to, ignoring current trends and outside pressure – something that's all too rare these days. Quite simply, they're one of the best bands we have. The next three years can't pass quickly enough.


The Duke Spirit - Everybody's Under Your Spell by buzzbands





The Duke Spirit's website

Buy the album.





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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Five For Free #17


TV Girl - Benny And The Jetts EP


San Diego duo TV Girl follow up last years stunning debut EP (also available for free here) with another corker. 'Benny And The Jetts' is more of their own brand of big beat indie-pop with sixties soul flourishes, when they finally get round to releasing an album is should be a classic. We're very excited about this band!



TV Girl on Facebook





Slow Down, Molasses - Light


The curiously named Slow Down, Molasses are a Canadian nine-piece band who describe their music as "sad bastard songs". By this they must mean "achingly beautiful, bleak, haunting soundscapes loaded with pathos". 'Light' is taken from their second album 'Walk Into The Sea' and is quite simply delightful.


Slow Down, Molasses on Facebook

Buy the album.





Big Troubles - Misery


Monday will see the UK release of the debut album from New York quartet Big Troubles. 'Romantic Comedy' is chock full of the kind of traditional indie-rock that doesn't go out of date. Recent single 'Sad Girls' (which proved popular when we posted it a few weeks back) is included, as is this free download - 'Misery'.

Big Troubles - Misery by Slumberland Records

Big Troubles on Myspace

Buy the album.





Shimmering Stars - I'm Gonna Try


Shimmering Stars hail from Canada - Vancouver to be precise - and make 60s pop influenced rough diamonds of songs. |The end of August saw the release of new album 'Violent Hearts', and taken from it is the short-but-sweet 'I'm Gonna Try'.

Shimmering Stars - I'm Gonna Try by hardlyartrecords

Shimmering Stars on Facebook





Kai Fish - Cobalt Cheeks


Making a solo album in the gap between your band's releases is the new black. Everyone seems to be at it. Mystery Jets bassist Kai Fish is the latest, his album 'Life In Monochrome' is out this week. 'Cobalt Cheeks' builds from gentle guitar and drums into something of an epic. On this form he's more than welcome to give up the day job.

'Cobalt Cheeks' is available on Kai Fish's website

Buy the album.





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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Big Match - Winston v Yadi


As loyal viewers of this blog - or just casual ones who only read this post here - will know, 2011's Confusion Contributors Challenge has pitted two rising pop stars head to head in a devastating, winner takes all 'Chart Off'. With three quarters of the year now lapsed, and the finish straight looming on the horizon, we now bring you an update of how the tooth and nail contest is progressing!


...............



YADI


Gloating banner hung *tick*; Team Yadi t-shirt on *tick* ; 'Gold' balloons inflated *tick*; Victory cake in the oven *tick*. Hmmm everything seems to be a place but I can't help but feel there's something important missing that I can't quite put my finger on....oh yes that's it - ANY ACTIVITY AT ALL FROM YADI!!!

It's with much regret faithful followers that I have to report that, at this moment in time, the Yadi march to victory is developing into the very dampest of damp squibs. Bizarrely it turns out that the biggest prerequisite to securing victory in a chart battle is to actually release something that people can buy, and to date no such item has been forthcoming. A stand alone single had been mooted for some point in September, but with the month all but slipped away, and our heroine off in Los Angeles working on more new tracks, it doesn't appear as if that release is going to materialise anytime soon. With hints from earlier this year, that she my be held back for a push in 2012, appearing close to the mark, things are looking glum at Team Yadi base camp, however let us not forget that the standard of her previous work (which if you're unfamiliar with you can get to know here) promises that if something can make it into the public domain before year end, she'll be right back in contention for a well deserved victory! For now though this dejected correspondent will hand you over to Kev, who will no doubt gloat about how fabulous Winston is, how she's done this amazing thing and that wonderful thing, and how she lives in a land where it rains platinum discs and the birds sing 'Locomotive' all day long..blah blah bloody blah!!

Yadi on Myspace





WINSTON


Trophy already in the cabinet *tick*.

Right, that's my checklist done.

Yes it looks like Yadi has suffered the same fate as Music Go Music did last year and not actually put any new music out. In truth, Alex Winston has hardly set the charts alight either, but this is partly due to choosing to release two chart inelligable EPs this year rather than singles. Winston's star continues to rise though, if you're reading this and thinking you haven't heard any of her music, well...you probably have without realising it. Last year's excellent limited edition single 'Choice Notes' has been the backing music to two major UK TV advertising campaigns, infact clips Alex Winston's music has been used on TV a hell of a lot. It's a canny strategy by Island Records to build up a fan base by putting the EPs out rather than normal singles and to subconsciously impregnate the nation's brains with her music unawares, ensuring the media know all about her. This appears to be setting things up to ride the tidal wave of new year hype in 2012 and begin a chart assault then. We won't really know who is most successful until this time next year when both are expected to have released albums. So, we're looking at a rollover, but team Winston goes into the second leg 1-0 up. To celebrate, here's the lead track from Alex Winston's 'Velvet Elvis EP' which was released last month.



Alex Winston's website

Buy the EP.




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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Out This Week


DJ Shadow - Warning Call (feat. Tom Vek)


DJ Shadow's first album for five years, 'The Less You Know, The Better', is out in the US this week with a UK release next Monday. New single 'Warning Call' is more of a rock/post-punk track than the hip-hop and electronica he's become known for. Featuring a strong vocal from Tom Vek (who's also been absent for far too long), this high octane stomper is one of his best singles to date.

DJ Shadow "Warning Call" (featuring Tom Vek) by GrillMarketing

'Warning Call' is yours in exchange for a 'like' on Facebook

DJ Shadow's website

Stream the album in full

Buy the album.





Pallers - The Kiss


Sweden's Labrador Records come up trumps yet again. This week sees the long awaited release of the debut album by Stockholm duo Pallers. 'The Kiss' was first released as a single last year, but it's great to hear it again and soak up those laid-back beats and Giorgio Moroder-style pulsating synths. Hit the download arrow for a free download.

Pallers - The Kiss by Hypetrak


Stream the album in full:
Pallers - The Sea of Memories LP by The FADER

Pallers on Facebook

Buy the album.





Brett Anderson - Brittle Heart


Following the successful reformation shows this year, Suede have announced they will be heading in to the studio for a new album once Brett Anderson has finished promoting his new solo effort. We can only hope that the new material matches their early work. 'Brittle Heart' suggests Brett is starting to get his mojo back and has moved away from the piano ballads. In short - better than the last three Suede albums but not as good as the first two.

Brett Anderson - Brittle Heart by Cosmos Music Group

Brett Anderson's website

Stream the album in full

Buy the album.





Zola Jesus - Vessel


The prolific Zola Jesus has released her second album in thirteen months, and the press attention continues to mount, suggesting that her placing in many 'ones to watch' at the start of the year is fully justified. 'Vessel' - considered to be an album stand-out track - is more of the same desolate atmospherics that made her dark, trip-hoppy debut so good.



Zola Jesus' website

Stream the album in full

Buy the album.





OBLIGATORY RECORD OF THE WEEK

Warpaint - Billie Holiday (new version)


Also appearing on the start of year tips lists were LA's Warpaint who had just released their debut album 'The Fool'. This week sees the album rereleased in a deluxe format, and contains this new version of early EP track 'Billie Holiday'. This recording is even more hypnotic than the John Frusciante produced original, resulting in the band's most trance-like, otherworldly moment so far. Superb.

Warpaint - Billie Holiday (2011 version) by pmwtumblr

Warpaint's website

Buy the album.





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Monday, 26 September 2011

Butcher Boy - Helping Hands

This article also appears on www.soundsxp.com



For those new to Butcher Boy, they are a seven strong Glaswegian collective who make slightly twee, string laden indie-pop, shaded with sadness, about the pains of growing up and the awkwardness of relationships - all inspired by the city they live in. Remind you of anyone? It's all too easy to dismiss Butcher Boy as Belle & Sebastian copyists. It's also doing them a massive diservice as their third album,'Helping Hands', includes songwriting of the calibre that Stuart Murdoch (himself a fan apparently) has struggled to maintain on recent albums.

Instrumental opener 'J Is For Jamie' hints at the maudlin side of nu-folk with its swathes of cello, before giving way to the gorgeous 'The Day Our Voices Broke', a wonderful example of John Blain Hunt's complex and touching lyrics. The arrangements of the twelve tracks is nothing short of sublime, complimenting the soft melodies rather than overpowering them. The only downside is that a couple of songs are a little too flimsy for their own good, suggesting that if they'd stuck to just ten we could be looking at one of the albums of the year.

It's when the tempo is kept high that the music really comes alive. Recent single 'Imperial' adds a drum machine to the organic textures and the result is a real treat. 'Parliament Hill' and 'Russian Dolls' see the band sounding darker, adding more depth to the album, whereas the country-tinged 'I Am The Butcher' adds variety without seeming out of place. Overall, 'Helping Hands' is a triumph, but with a little more meat on their bones, Butcher Boy could be sensational.

Butcher Boy: The Day Our Voices Broke by Kalavas1

Imperial by DAMAGED GOODS RECORDS

Butcher Boy's website






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Sunday, 25 September 2011

Five For Free #16

Casimer & Casimir - Anne Cherchait l'Amour


Casimer Pascal is the frontman of Detroit oddpop duo PAS/CAL, and has teamed up with his nephew VJ Casimir Caruso to release a series of one-off tracks. Info on the project is emigmatically scarce but if the rest of the tracks are as good as the twinkling 'Anne Cherchait l'Amour' then they're on to a winner.

Free download: Anne Cherchait l'Amour





Jacuzzi Boys - Automatic Jail


Miami garage-punks Jacuzzi Boys released their new album 'Glazin'' at the end of last month or Hardly Art Records. Keeping things simple, 'Automatic Jail' is the same kind of primal, punk fun that The Ramones were making 35 years ago, and it sounds just as fresh too.

Jacuzzi Boys - Automatic Jail by hardlyartrecords

Jacuzzi Boys on Myspace

Buy the album.





Netherlands - Something Or Nothing


Netherlands (actually British and not to be confused with the rock band of the same name) could be a name you'er hearing more of soon. 'Something Or Nothing' is their debut and was produced by the same team as Anna Calvi and The Big Pink. This gorgeous acoustic number is yours for the price of an email address.

Netherlands - Something Or Nothing by Netherlands

'Something Or Nothing' is available from Musicglue

For more info or to pre order the 7" head here.





Wise Blood - Nosferatu


This single from Wise Blood's recent EP, 'These Wings' (released earlier this month on Dovecote Records) is drenched in echo and haunts the dark, nocturnal hinterland between post-punk and witch house. Spooky and oddly euphoric at the same time. Hit the download arrow and it's yours.

Wise Blood - Nosferatu by Dovecote Records

Wise Blood on Myspace

Buy the EP.





Family Band - Again


This emotive new track from Family Band was produced by Grizzly Bear's Dan Rossen as part of Weathervane's Shaking Through series. It's powerfull stuff, if they keep this up they could soon be recieving the same kind of plaudits as their producer's band.

Family Band - Again by wvmusic

Family Band's website





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Saturday, 24 September 2011

Howling Bells & My Tiny Robots Single Reviews

These articles also appear on www.soundsxp.com


Howling Bells - Into The Sky


After two excellent and well received albums, Howling Bells took the eyebrow raising step of enlisting The Killers' Mark Stoermer to produce their third. 'Into The Sky' is the first single to be taken from those sessions, it's fairly conventional and thankfully produced without too much of the stadium sheen some had feared. It's unmistakeably a Howling Bells track, yet something seems to be missing. The vocals are as sweet as ever, the driving drums and bass are in place, the chorus is powerful and catchy, but somehow 'Into The Sky' fails to engage in the way that the likes of 'Low Happening' or 'Into The Chaos' have done in the past. Pleasant enough but there's a slight sense that Howling Bells are simply going through the motions.



Howling Bells website

Buy the single.






My Tiny Robots - Rock Bossa Nova Fourbeat Black


It's set to be a busy end to the year for My Tiny Robots. The Edinburgh quartet will be releasing three singles in the coming weeks, but before that they're offering up 'Rock Bossa Nova Fourbeat Black' as a free download single to get you in the mood. Mixing stuttering beats and noodling analogue synths with a more traditional guitar-pop structure, 'RBNFB' is inventive, arty and playfull. The lyrics chop insanely between subjects including beards, the Dead Sea scrolls, fires in holes and gypsies. Quite what it all means is anyone's guess, but one thing's for certain – My Tiny Robots have set themselves a tough challenge if the forthcoming singles are to match this.


My Tiny Robots website




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Thursday, 22 September 2011

Five For Free #15

Wye Oak - Holy Holy


First up is Baltimore duo Wye Oak who offer us this wonderful, pounding free track 'Holy Holy', one of the highlights from their fourth album 'Civilian' which was released earlier in the year. Wye Oak break from the mould of guitar, drums and vocals boy/girl duos we've seen so much of post White Stripes, incorporating a greater amount of instrumentation both live and in the studio. Well worth going to see.

Wye Oak - Holy Holy by cityslang

Wye Oak's Website

Buy the album.





Mint Julep - Aviary


While we're on the subject of boy/girl duos - the Portland husband and wife duo Mint Julep (named after a cocktail) are set to release a new album, 'Save Your Season', in November. The first track released from it is the gorgeous, dreamy, upbeat ambience of 'Aviary'. It will most certainly brighten things up as the nights draw in.

Mint Julep - Aviary by Anorak London

Mint Julep on Myspace

The album will be available to buy from Unseen.





I Break Horses - Load Your Eyes


Experimental, shoegazey Swedes I Break Horses proved very popular when we posted a track from their stunning debut album a few weeks back, if you're yet to investigate further, get on the case! You can start by checking out another album track - 'Load Your Eyes' by streaming or downloading it below.

I Break Horses - Load Your Eyes by pmwtumblr

Free Download: Load Your Eyes

I Break Horses website

Buy the album.





Younghusband - Nothing, Nothing


Formed last year, London quartet Younghusband have already graced a few festival stages, showing off their catchy, expertly put together fusion of electronic krautrock and pop melodies. A double A-side single was released in the summer, check a cut from it - 'Nothing, Nothing'.

Nothing, Nothing - Young Husband by GreenManFestival

Younghusband's website

Buy the 7".





Trailer Trash Tracys - Dies In 55


We'll finish off with this delightful, sparkling, melodic track from Londoners Trailer Trash Tracys. This lot are well worth keeping an eye on, their album could be very special indeed. There will be a new single in a few weeks, but in the mean time have a listen to their latest, the incredibly lovely 'Dies In 55'.

Trailer Trash Tracys - Dies In 55 by DominoRecordCo

Trailer Trash Tracys on Facebook



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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Wooden Shjips - West

This article also appears on www.soundsxp.com



It has been said, often erroneously, that certain bands essentially make the same record over and over again. The Cramps, AC/DC, Bo Diddley and Snow Patrol to name but a few. With the latter it seems to have been a case of find what sells and repeat, yet the other three are considered credible and highly influential artists (and to those who care to explore more deeply, far more diverse than at first meets the eye).

Diversity doesn't seem to be a word that's in Wooden Shjips' dictionary, and thankfully selling out is also something the San Francisco quartet choose to avoid. 'West', their third album proper, very much sticks to the blueprint laid down by its predecessors, and is all the better for it. 'Black Smoke Rise' is reminiscent of The Doors with its swirling organ and vocals that sound like an indecipherable Jim Morrison, 'Crossing' is a funky take on Spacemen 3's epic drones, repetition is key throughout; the familiar, insistent bass lines and rattlesnake percussion underpin each track, driving the seven curiously danceable, psychedelic grooves like a metronome.

'West' isn't merely a case of “if it ain't broke don't fix it”, it's more an exemplary understanding of the psych/drone genre, picking elements of the past and combining them to forge their own identity. Wooden Shjips have made the same record again. If this makes them one trick ponies then so be it. But, boy, what a trick.

Wooden Shjips - Lazy Bones by www.ohfancy.de/blog


Buy the album.




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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Out This Week

Ivy - You Make It So Hard


Sometimes you can miss out on a band, they can completely pass you by. New York trio Ivy formed in 1994 and have been releasing indie-pop albums ever since, plus much TV and film work, yet somehow I'm hearing them for the first time. Well, good things come to those who wait, and I'm pleased to report that new album 'All Hours' sounds like a corker. Grab a freebe below.

IVY - Make It So Hard by nettwerkmusicgroup

Free download: You Make It So Hard

Ivy's website

Buy the album.




The Rifles - Coming Home


Also gracing the nation's record stores this week is 'Freedom Run', the new album from The Rifles who seem to have gathered a large cult following on the sly. The laddish tendencies of some of their earlier work seem to have (thankfully) disappeared, leaving behind a very decent indie-rock band. Wider recognition may be coming their way.


Free download: Coming Home

The Rifles' website

Buy the album.




Regina - Unessa


On the whole, Sweden overshadows the other Scandinavian countries on the decent-bands-per-head-of-population ratio, but every country has its great bands. Regina are Finnish and make rather exquisite electro-pop. Their second album 'Soita Mulle' is out this week and free taster Unessa(it means 'asleep' in English) is pretty much perfect, like a laid back Stereolab.

Regina - Unessa by 7Johnk7

Regina on Myspace

Buy the album.




Lanterns On The Lake - Keep On Trying


Newcastle sextet Lanterns On The Lake describe their sound as “sparkly cinematic pop”. Following a series of self-released EPs, they have signed to Bella Union who put out their debut album-proper this week. 'Gracious Tide, Take Me Home' is, well, sparkly cinematic pop! Keep On Trying is quite beautiful as it washes over you. Lantern On The Lake do exactly what they say on the tin.

Keep On Trying by Lanterns on the Lake

Free download: Keep On Trying

Lanterns On The Lake's website

Buy the album.




OBLIGATORY RECORD OF THE WEEK
Shonen Knife - Rock 'n' Roll Cake


Shonen Knife have been making noisy pop-punk for thirty years now and show few signs of mellowing. Latest album 'Free Time' was released last year in their homeland and this year in the UK. And what a fine racket it is! Breaking through the scratchy noise is this quite fantastic indie-pop track Rock 'n' Roll Cake, now out as a free download single. Warning: like cake, this track is delicious, slightly addictive, very sweet and probably bad for you. Download it ASAP.


Rock'n'roll Cake by Shonen Knife

Free download: Rock 'n' Roll Cake

Shonen Knife's website

Buy the album.




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Monday, 19 September 2011

EVOL - Close EP

This article also appears on www.soundsxp.com



Glasgow's EVOL formed only last year and are already on their second EP. 'Close' displays a range of influences from the forbidding guitar soundscapes of Mogwai (Open) through to PJ Harvey at her most ferocious (the pulsating Tired) and a whole range of 90s alternative noise-makers, from grunge (Witchtrain borrows heavily from Hole's Plump) to epic post-rock (Close).

It would be easy to lump EVOL in with other grunge revivalists such as Yuck, but in truth they're a little more diverse and a little too dark. This EP sounds like a stepping stone on to great things to come rather than the finished article, although it's still a thoroughly enjoyable ride. The intensity of the racket they make and the powerful female vocal are signs that they may be compelling live experience too. Ones to keep an eye on.

WITCHTRAIN by Evol Glasgow

TIRED by Evol Glasgow

EVOL on Facebook

Buy the EP.




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Saturday, 17 September 2011

Five For Free #14

Five more free tunes!

Dead Models - Rosy


London based Dead Models are set to release their debut album 'It's Not Love' this month. If this summer's EP is anything to go by it should be filled with fantastic indie-pop nuggets, such as the joyous rush of this free taster, Rosy.

Rosy by deadmodelsband

Dead Models on Myspace

Buy the single.





Snakes Say Hisss- Comes And Goes


To Brooklyn yet again. Snakes Say Hisss make wonderfully off kilter synth/guitar/pop tunes, mixing the genres to make their own unique sound.  Comes And Goes is almost minimalist in sound, yet oddly er, maximalist at the same time, making them virtually impossible to catagorise, which is no bad thing.



Snakes Say Hisss on Myspace




Little Green Cars - My Love Took Me Down The River


You probably haven't been wondering what a collaboration between Florence & The Machine and The Duke Spirit would sound like, and neither have I. However, if I had to guess the outcome of such a match up, I'd bet a couple of quid on it sounding not unlike this fabulous track by Little Green Cars.

Little Green Cars - My Love Took Me Down To The River by franciscoo21

Little Green Cars on Myspace





Fort Lean - Beach Holiday


"Fort Lean is about getting too drunk at your own picnic. Fort Lean is about leaving the city. Fort Lean is a place where you can still see the skyline but you can’t hear any cars and you can put all your stolen wine in the stream to keep it cool and when the fire dies out you can see some stars and not too many airplanes."
They may talk crap but they make bloody brilliant tunes. Oh yeah, and they're from Brooklyn.


Fort Lean on Myspace

Buy the EP.




Library Voices - Generation Handclap


Canadians Library Voices released their album 'Summer Of Lust' last month, hopefully it sells well if royalties are to be evenly distributed between the ten strong collective! It certainly deserves to, mixing influences from 60s beat groups through C86 and upbeat indie-pop. Check out free single Generation Handclap.

Library Voices - Generation Handclap by Nevado

Library Voices website

Buy the 7".




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Friday, 16 September 2011

Sad Day For Puppets - Shift Another Color

This article also appears on www.soundsxp.com


To coincide with November's Japanese tour, Swedish five-piece Sad Day For Puppets are set to release a compilation of rarities, b-sides and new versions of tracks from their debut EP 'Just Like A Ghost'. Available digitally worldwide (and with a CD exclusive to Japan due in October), 'Shift Another Color' is more than just a tying up of loose ends for completists, it also acts as a great introduction for those new to SDFP's sparkling melodies and squalling shoegaze guitars – matching the quality of their two studio albums thus far, whilst also being a concise seven tracks.

Last year's stand alone single Again opens proceedings in grand fashion. Few bands could afford to not include a song of such calibre on a studio album, and the same can be said of 2009's double A-side When You Tell Me That You Love Me/Withering Petals And Dust, the former of which appears twice here; the heartbreakingly tender original version and the blistering, surging rework. Three previous EP tracks are also given the walls-of-guitar makeover. Set Alight is the most successful, the injection of sonic steroids boosting what was already one of their finest moments, whilst Big Waves is also improved by a less drastic facelift, retaining the fragility of the original. Less successful is the beefed-up remake of Hush which loses some of the soul and sweetness of its 2008 predecessor.

On the whole any criticism of 'Shift Another Color' is nitpicking, there isn't any filler here and the compilation of these recordings is useful and worthwhile rather than a fan-exploiting cash-in. It also marks a transition for the band, the lullaby-like melodies remain intact but are being increasingly coated with layers of guitar which are more than worthy of comparisons to the likes of My Bloody Valentine or Dinosaur Jr. SDFP are gradually evolving, honing their sound, and the fact that they're still relatively unknown is criminal. Bring on the next album.

Set Alight 2011 Sad Day For Puppets by HaHa FONOGRAM


Sad Day For Puppets 'Big Waves 2011' by Sonic Cathedral

Sad Day For Puppets on Myspace

Buy the album





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Thursday, 15 September 2011

Out This Week

Five choice new releases!

Caveman - Decide


Rarely a week passes without a mention of the musical hotbed of Brooklyn. Such was the demand for Cavemen's debut album that they've released it early as a download. A pysical release will be available later in the year. The four members got together to make top quality, traditional indie-rock after being dissatisfied with the respective bands they were in. Surely they can be satisfied with this.

Caveman - Decide by GirlieActionInge

Free download: Decide

Purchase info and another free download are available on Caveman's website

Stream the album in full





St Vincent - Surgeon


Experimentalist (with the emphasis on 'mental') Annie Clark, AKA St Vincent,  releases her second album 'Strange Mercy' this week. The reviews have been amazing and the signs are all there for a breakthrough of sorts. Having spent time as a member of the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens' band, she seems to be having a lot of fun making her own wonky concoctions, and long may she continue.

St Vincent - Surgeon by snipelondon

Free download: Surgeon

St Vincent on Myspace

Stream the album in full

Buy the album.





Girls - Vomit


San Francisco's Girls seem to have less fun, but rarely has lonliness and hopelessness sounded more uplifting than on Helhole Ratrace from their 2009 debut. Back with a second LP and emotions are again running high, as exemplified on the freebe Vomit. Girls once again  look destined to be highly ranked in the end of year polls.

Girls, "Vomit" by The FADER



Girls on Myspace

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Miracle Fortress - Miscalculations


'Was I The Wave?', the third album from Montreal trio Miracle Fortress has been available on import for a couple of months but now has a full UK release. Current single Miscalculations is a lovely piece of electro/indie-pop. A second free track is available on their website.

Miracle Fortress - "Miscalculations" by indiemusicfilter

Free download: Miscalculations

Miracle Fortress' website

Stream the album in full

Buy the album.




OBLIGATORY RECORD OF THE WEEK

S.C.U.M - Whitechapel


It's taken a while for S.C.U.M to get around to completing their debut, but it was time well spent. The Londoners have perfected their brand of dark, psychedelic post-punk and created a unique (and rather wonderful) sound. The menacing intensity and throbbing base shine brightest on the single Whitechapel. You can stream the edited single version below - but it's not a patch on the full album version so give the whole thing a spin.

S.C.U.M - Whitechapel (Single Version) by Mute UK

Stream the album in full

S.C.U.M on Myspace

Buy the album.




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