Monday, October 31, 2011

Katie Malco - Johnny

Third STN appearance in just over three months for Malco's poetic inhabiting of others and light folk-pop touch, here channelling Monkey Swallows The Universe in a joyous folk saunter completely undermined by its lyrics, written as a fated love song as might have been penned by Johnny Cash's first wife Vivian Liberto at the end of her tether. You wouldn't think there's members of Tubelord, Tellison and Tangled Hair involved, or conversely that it's produced by Snow Patrol sideman Iain Archer. Katie Malco And the Slow Parade EP is out 21st November, followed by an acoustic tour with Ross from My First Tooth, dates TBC.

Katie Malco - Johnny by alcopop

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Shimmering Stars - Not Growing Up

This is the other side of the split 7" that gave us yesterday's His Clancyness track, from a Vancouver trio whose idea of lo-fi indie is located within the spirit of 60s rock and roll for lovers where every vocal is crystalline and every guitar twangs. And then they get an electric current running between that and dictaphone-recorded scrappy garage rock, like a basement reanimated Roy Orbison.

Shimmering Stars- Not Growing Up by Splendour

Friday, October 28, 2011

His Clancyness - Carve A Peach

Busy times for Jonathan Clancy, with A Classic Education's debut album Call It Blazing out in America this week (December 12th here) and just off a European tour with British Sea Power. Next Monday his solo side contributes two tracks to a split 7" with Shimmering Stars, from which comes this likeably breezy while introspective porchlit mulling over of things that somehow got locked in a reverb chamber.

His Clancyness- Carve a Peach by Splendour

The Jonbarr Hinge - Body vs Brain

We shouldn't judge Croydon's Jonbarr Hinge on external factors when there's a fine sweep of music to be reviewed but yes, that's Ben Parker of Nosferatu D2/Superman Revenge Squad legend status (well, he is where this blog is concerned) as one of their two vocalists. They also feature members of The Wilderness Years and KTD, which may mean something to you. This outlet is more straightforward and streamlined, hints of Talking Heads and early 90s alt-rock's dark edges peeking through the anthems in search of a hook until deciding they'd rather remain elusive after all.

The Jonbarr Hinge - body vs brain by The Jonbarr Hinge

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Don Scannell - Mystery

Southern Irishman Scannell's debut single over here, out December 5th, is tricky to exactly place, multitracked Simon & Garfunkel-recalling harmonies, folkily arranged, low pitched vocals and squeaking acoustic guitar strings playing over alternately pounding and pretty piano parts and breakbeat inspired drumming that sounds like it's been beamed in from somewhere else entirely but just happens to fit.

Mystery by Don Scannell

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Evans The Death - Hello Seems To Be The Hardest Word

The rumbunctious indiepop tykes' debut album is out early next year on Fortuna Pop!, which has led to them appearing with Crystal Stilts, Comet Gain and Shrag at the Scala on November 2nd, one of F-Pop!'s three nights of 15th anniversary gigs (before that they play New Cross Inn tomorrow night). This isn't on the album which bodes well in a way, if they consider better things to be in their set than this ramshackle evocation of hurting that turns tail halfway through into a jangle blitzkrieg.

Evans The Death - Hello Seems To Be The Hardest Word by Fortuna POP!

Backyards - Heavy Handed

A Collection of Calamity Volume 3 is the latest in a series of free download albums of local talent compiled by Leeds rehearsal studio The Rock And Roll Circus. Previous volumes have included This Many Boyfriends, The Rosie Taylor Project, Wonderswan (are they still active, by the way?) and Just Handshakes (We're British); the latest collection, when not hair metalling, keeps average quality levels high, including something unreleased from Honour Before Glory and the aforeposted Post War Glamour Girls. From the new names to us we've picked out Backyards (the Soundcloud embed is from their own profile), controlled emotiveness with electronic burbling underneath and understated hooks heightened by violin and yearning above.

Heavy Handed by Backyards

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Wave Pictures - Sugar Maple Charcoal

Where It's At Is Where You Are Records are launching a new singles club in 2012, 7777777. Seven three-track 7"s by seven bands released on the 7th of seven months, each on a different day of the week, on vinyl for each rainbow colour with each pressed for 777 copies. Give John Jervis credit, he's going to see this one through to the bitter end. Allo Darlin', Help Stamp Out Loneliness and Shrag are to come, but the series kicks off with three new songs from David Tattersall's endless songbook. It's one of their more basic musical arrangements but there's a rousing trumpet accompaniment and some quietly conflicted lyrical concerns.

the Wave Pictures - Sugar Maple Charcoal by wiaiwya

Moscow Youth Cult - Iris

Finally a proper MYC release, this the title track from an EP out on download and cassette - yeah, they're back alright - on 14th November. It's 80s synth pop in chordal shape but put through endless warped sci-fi, mutant disco, AM radio reception, Radiophonic Workshop filters of disintegration so it now only bears the vaguest of resemblances to something so overplayed.

Iris by Moscow Youth Cult

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beaty Heart - Slush Puppy

Panda Bear orchestrates a jungle setting drum circle, Chad Valley sets the pace, Boards Of Canada watch from the shade. It's the lead track from an EP out next Monday.

Beaty Heart - Slush Puppy (Official Video) from BEATY HEART on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fixers - Majesties Ranch

It sounds like Fixers.

Oh, right. Well, it sounds like the Beach Boys (now, Surf's Up) and Animal Collective (now, one of the tiny bits when they do sound explicable) and like every 60s psychedelic beach party OF THE MIND. It's from the EP Imperial Goddess Of Mercy - yeah - out December 5th.

Majesties Ranch by Fixers.

Eugene McGuinness - Lion

One hesitates to say McGuinness has been hiding his light securely under an oversized bushel, but over the last couple of years he's been limited to playing in Miles Kane's band. Back under his own curiosity shop of psych-indie ahead of new year's third album. His world is where lyrical conceits mean nothing and everything simultaneously and where melodies are put in a box with rough reflective sides and given a hefty shake. Watch that ending.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Imaginary Friend - Lost At Sea

Liverpool's Imaginary Friend claim shoegazers and Slumberland's lo-fi roster as prime influences, but the band they most remind us of is loing-serving London louche lizards of garage rock'n'rollers the Flaming Stars (and to some extent their brothers in law Gallon Drunk) Organ-led tales from the bar-room floor are delivered with subtle grace and melodically melancholic dreaminess. They've got loads of songs on their Soundcloud of this piece, introverted swagger without arrogance or overdue grandiosity.

Lost At Sea by ImaginaryFriend.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ice, Sea, Dead People - Ultra Silence

Teeth Union only came out in September but already ISDP are moving on. Not that far moving all told, admittedly, as it's still a compacted noise-punk confection sounding like everyone is at each other's throats involving insectoid guitar flurries, bass that could effective piledrive through the woofers and Craig Sharp bawling a largely limited number of words like his very existence depends on it. Download it from here if it doesn't bugger your browser.

Fanfarlo - Deconstruction

Still no second album date, title or further details, but we've now heard two tracks from it. I hope this is going somewhere, hype that lasts this long often gets forgotten. This is more rooted in what we heard from Reservoir then Replicate was and in certain light as surface Arcade Fire-y as that album could be, albeit in a different way now referring to the middle bits of The Suburbs. Meaningful synths ride coat-tail, male/female vocals coagulate on the chorus and the whole thing has a forward motion sense of purpose.

Deconstruction - Fanfarlo by ATL REC

Fanfarlo - "Deconstruction" from stereogum on Vimeo.

We Are Augustines - Book Of James

If Meursault had less overt electronics and more Springsteen albums, and had a less full-throated and more American growl vocalist, they'd be like Brookyln's We Are Augustines. You don't need to know this is about the singer's suicidal brother, that's flim for the magazines to pick over, but the David Newfeld-produced track has a level of existential emotional whirl the Antlers synthesised and this picks over in an insistent build and restriction that never strays over the top.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

August Actually - Lost At Sea

August Actually are a six-piece folk-pop outfit who specialise in songs about seafaring, being as they're from the glorious seaside resort of, um, Nottingham. The amount of melodica and jaunty acousticity may put them squarely in the indiepop bracket - they've supported Darren Hayman and the Wave Pictures and are to play with Standard Fare, Bearsuit and MJ Hibbett in impending weeks and months - but buoyed by an expansive sonic palette that comes of having violin and trumpet playing members (much like old friends and fellow East Midlanders My First Tooth, actually), creating a sweep of folk melody and storytelling, heartaching lyrics. Songs From The Lighthouse EP is out on November 5th.

Lost at Sea by August Actually

Friday, October 14, 2011

TOY - Left Myself Behind

Tremelo arm frenzy guitars, doomily offhand vocals, distinct taste of Psychedelic Furs... if you didn't know TOY are tour supporting the Horrors at the moment you'd probably have guessed. Shoegaze as it is, this debut single (via Heavenly, tellingly) is though more Sea Within A Sea disturbed motorik noise than Skying's stadium drone, its length and cockeyed build resolutely parking its swirling, trembling guitar shapes and absorbingly lengthy breakdown outro within psych/post-punk darkness. Factual plot point: Rose Elinor Dougall's brother Tom on vocals.

HVN233. A - Left Myself Behind by heavenlyrecordings

Johnny Foreigner - 200X

When Alexei said there'd be some more reflective moments than their usual pedal battery (of which, it should be stressed, there's still plenty) on Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything, this is the sort of thing he meant - Kelly on lead vocals, Junior's little keyboard and drum machine set-up pushing things forward. Two launch gigs have been announced - London upstairs at the Garage November 12th with Stagecoach, Screaming Maldini and Echo Lake, then Birmingham Flapper a day later with the pretty much spot-on support line-up of Stagecoach, Screaming Maldini, Calories, Ace Bushy Striptease and Richard Burke.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness

Other, lesser bands would have gone epic on the chorus, rather than built up in controlled emotional catharsis as they go along. Meanwhile Gareth manages to sound simultaneously superior and broken. For something constantly trailed as the big break-up record this title track does sound really quite upbeat in the Canadian/Arts & Crafts pile-on sense people referred to when they first emerged. You know the finer release details.

Hello Sadness by Los Campesinos!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Breton - Kensington System

Darkly intriguing audio-visual extravaganzists Breton have kept it softly softly for much of this year after a growing wave of hype in 2010, but this forthcoming half of a double A side from an album out in February (recorded in Sigur Ros' studio, whatever that adds) restates their claims. There's surging and cresting bass tones. There's progressions from dark to light. There's strutting Madchester-like assertiveness. There's electronics pushed into the red. There's a bit that sounds like the Tom Tom Club trying to play the old Rugby Special theme from memory. Pisses on Wu Lyf, obviously.

Kensington System by bretonlabs

Opposite Sex - Sea Shanty

Opposite Sex are based in Dunedin, a city that in its day spawned and named an entire genre. While their psychedelia listening and understated indiepop cool are spiritual descendants of that brigade, their metier lies in absurdist flights of fancy drawn from weird, lolling melodies that hang on to themselves for dear life. By the label's account their album, out November 7th, is all over the place but for now it's a Weimar sea shanty as Jad Fair might have written and Alison Statton might have sung.

"Sea Shanty" by Opposite Sex from Ian Henderson on Vimeo.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny - Liliputt

It's not clear whether Beth is taking the full band name on for all occasions now, but it fits in with her proclamation that she doesn't want to be seen as a folk mistress any more. You'd be forgiven for thinking she was still in the land of the mystical for the first minute of this first single from January's album Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose and as a result being slightly concerned, but after that the marching beat and sympathetic strings take it into theatrical areas without ever being too full of itself. What remains is Houghton's octave hopscotching vocal range and a sense of qualitative unease.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Tommy Toussaint - Summer USA

I believe they call this sort of thing a 'summer jam' these days. Toussaint is the alias of one Jesse Thompson, a Dent May collaborator, which borrows DIY tricks and applies them to sighing Brian Wilson melodies and synthpop dream-darkness akin to a four-track Lykke Li backing.

Tommy Toussaint - Summer USA by make-mine

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Truckers Of Husk - Dear Malcolm Sullivan I Hope You're Alive?

Bridging some sort of gap between experimental pop, Three Trapped Tigers-like electronic probing and math-pop angularity, the long serving Cardiffians who now count ex-Jarcrew/Future Of The Left loon Kelson Mathias among their number bring out a 12" vinyl only album, Accelerated Learning, on October 24th. This is a freely downloadable example of their craft, sounding linear in progression for a while and then allowing everything to collapse into and on top of itself while still attempting to sound like it all makes sense.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Mozart Parties - Black Cloud

Mozart Parties is Lake District-based James Bennett, a man judging by his sentiments here who feels weighed down by a lot. Musically, while none more hip hidden sunny harmonies and dreampop production are often sighted, that manifests itself in a looping metallic clang riff, a Peter Hook-esque bassline and a voice that is as optimistic and casual as the emotions it describes aren't.

Black Cloud by Mozart Parties

Mozart Parties - Black Cloud from rob heppell on Vimeo.

Sound And The Urgency - White Kids

Portland's Brian Senesac isn't the first to hit upon melding acoustic guitar lament with skittish synths and beats post-Postal Service but there's something about his application and depth which makes his seem more purposeful. You'd certainly have to go far to find someone more cynical about college kid mall rats and how they end up doing what bad they do.

Sound and the Urgency (teaser 1) by Sound and the Urgency

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Jeffrey Lewis - Cult Boyfriend

It's been a while since we've heard Lewis bemoan his personal standing, and this suggests it's because he's stopped worrying about making a proper mark on the world and accepting his style is not one for mass consumption. The grammatically suspect A Turn In The Dream-Songs, featuring help from members of the Wave Pictures (Obviously), the Vaselines, Au Revoir Simone, Misty’s Big Adventure and Johnny Flynn's Sussex Wit, is out October 10th.

Weird Dreams - Holding Nails

If the Go-Betweens had worked with early New Order they might have turned out a little like this lushly warm single on the often reliable Tough Love, out on Hallowe'en. It definitely has the feel of a great lost 1982 indie single, when Byrds jangle and harmony vocals were still far from being cliches so could be played with fun freeness rather than pointed at seriously.

Weird Dreams - Holding Nails (single version) by Tough Love

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Rotifer - Canvey Island

Produced by Wreckless Eric, released on Edwyn Collins' new label AED and featuring Darren Hayman in his band, Robert Rotifer has plenty of literate support for his storytelling style. On this first single from forthcoming album The Hosting Couple there's a deliberate nostalgia, based on real events from his youth of his first trip to England from his native Austria, emphasised by the sepia-tinged sway that sounds about right for this sudden heatwave, even if big drums are determined to stomp all over the ending.

ROTIFER - Canvey Island by Analogue Enhanced Digital