Friday, December 18, 2015

STN albums of 2015 10-1

10 John Grant - Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

9 Chorusgirl - Chorusgirl

8 Sleater-Kinney - No Cities To Love

7 Nadine Shah - Fast Food

6= Trust Fund - No One's Coming For Us/Seems Unfair

5 Julia Holter - Have You In My Wilderness

4 Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

3 Algiers - Algiers

2 Haiku Salut - Etch And Etch Deep

1 Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell

Sufjan Stevens, "Should Have Known Better" (Official Audio) from Asthmatic Kitty on Vimeo.

And as is traditional here's our 2015 Spotify playlist, including a track from all fifty albums (apart from Two White Cranes and Grubs which aren't on there and can only lead us to think someone there owes Roxy Brennan money) plus a grab-bag of standout tracks from near misses, albumless singles, loose songs etc. As many as are on there of these (unedited random figure ahoy) 93 tracks:

Alimony Hustle - DWUW
Amateur Best - They Know
Animal Collective - FloriDada
Anna Of The North – The Dreamer
AUTOBAHN - Impressionist
Battles - Summer Simmer
Belle & Sebastian - Nobody's Empire
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - This Dark Desire
The Bitter Springs - Only Sour Grapes Are Free
Bruising - Emo Friends
The Catenary Wires - Intravenous
Cheatahs - Freak Waves
The Chills - Silver Bullets
Cloud - Sunshine Psych
Comet Gain - To The City's Core
Craig Finn - Newmyer's Roof
Daughter - Numbers
David Bowie - Blackstar
Diagrams - Phantom Power
Dilly Dally - Purple Rage
Drape - Replica
DRINKS - Hermits On Holiday
Du Blonde - Young Entertainment
Echo Lake - Waves
Elizabeth Morris - Historic Times
Emma Kupa - Consequences
Evans The Death - Enabler
Everything Everything - Regret
The Fall - Dedication Not Medication
Fever Dream - Serotonin Hit
FEWS - Ill
FFS - Piss Off
Foals - What Went Down
Froth - The Rat
Girls Names - Reticence
Gramma's Boyfriend - I Live My Broken Dreams
Grandbrothers - Arctica
Gwenno - Y Dydd Olaf
Heavy Petting Zoo - Isabelle
HeCTA - Sympathy for the Auto Industry
Idles - The Idles Chant
Jamie XX - Loud Places
Jilk & Haiku Salut - Periscopes
Johnny Foreigner - Flooding
The Jonbarr Hinge - Ballbarian
Kiran Leonard - Pink Fruit
Laura Groves – Committed Language
The Leisure Society - The Fine Art Of Hanging On
Lone Wolf - Bleak Technique
Lord Huron - The World Ender
The Lucid Dream - Cold Killer
The Maccabees - Marks To Prove It
Man Of Moon - The Road
Maribou State feat. Pedestrian - The Clown
Martha - Chekov's Hangnail
Matthew E White - Fruit Trees
Meilyr Jones - How To Recognise A Work Of Art
Mercury Rev - The Queen Of Swans
Mew - Satellites
Model Village - Time To Share
Modest Mouse - Lampshades On Fire
Novella - Land Gone
Oh Peas! - Learning To Love You Less
Oscar - Daffodil Days
Ought - Men For Miles
Outblinker - Pink
Palehound - Molly
Peaness - Fortune Favours The Bold
Pinkshinyultrablast - Umi
Public Service Broadcasting - Go!
The Radio Dept. - This Repeated Sodomy
Rival Consoles - Afterglow
Roxy Rawson - Nothing Was Left
Savages - T.I.W.Y.G.
Sharon Van Etten - I Don't Want To Let You Down
Simon Love - The New Adam & Eve
Spectres - Family
Spoilers - It Would Be Nice
Stanley Brinks & the Wave Pictures - Berlin
Supermoon - New Boy
Swahili Blonde - Discover Aurora
Sweet Baboo - Got To Hang Onto You
T-Shirt Weather - (Don't) Hold Your Breath
Telegram - Inside Outside
Tindersticks - We Are Dreamers
TVAM - Porsche Majeure
Vienna Ditto - Long Way Down
The Wave Pictures - I Could Hear The Telephone (3 Floors Above Me)
Widowspeak - All Yours
Wire - Octopus
With Luck - Garnethill
Yak - Hungry Heart
Youth Lagoon - Hghway Patrol Stun Gun

Thursday, December 17, 2015

STN albums of 2015 20-11

20 Death And Vanilla - To Where the Wild Things Are

19 Robert Forster - Songs To Play

18 The Drink - Capital

17 Beach House - Thank Your Lucky Stars

16 Laura Marling - Short Movie

15 Colder - Many Colours

14 Joanna Gruesome - Peanut Butter

13 Other Lives - Rituals

12 Lonelady - Hinterland

11 The Spook School - Try To Be Hopeful

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

STN albums of 2015 30-21

30 The Mountain Goats - Beat The Champ

29 Panda Bear - Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper

28 Low - Ones And Sixes

27 TRAAMS - Modern Dancing

26 Lone Wolf – Lodge

25 Summer Camp - Bad Love

24 Protomartyr - The Agent Intellect

23 C Duncan - Architect

22 SHOPPING - Why Choose

21 SOAK - Before We Forgot How To Dream

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

STN albums of 2015 40-31

40 Girlpool - Before The World Was Big

39 Blur - The Magic Whip

38 Two White Cranes - Radisson Blue

37 Grawl!x - Good Grief

36 Landshapes - Heyoon

35 Marika Hackman - We Slept At Last

34 Ralegh Long - Hoverance

33 Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts - Manhattan

32 Post War Glamour Girls - Feeling Strange

31 H Hawkline - In The Pink Of Condition

Monday, December 14, 2015

STN albums of 2015 50-41

For various reasons there's not going to be the usual mini-essays for each entry this year so it's basically a week's worth of one of those illustrated listicles they have now, but if the example tracks sound good you know where to find the full albums and details thereof.

50 Tigercats – Mysteries

49 Darren Hayman - Florence

48 Deradoorian - The Expanding Flower Planet

47 The Acorn - Vieux Loup

46 Mammoth Penguins - Hide And Seek

45 The School - Wasting Away And Wondering

44 Guy Garvey - Courting The Squall

43 Grubs - It Must Be Grubs

42 Totem Terrors - Hard Science

41 Micachu & The Shapes - Good Sad Happy Bad

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Drink - The Coming Rain

Things have slowed up around here as the number of things we can post has slowed up just as dramatically as the number of readers. Don't worry, there'll still be far more end of the year gubbins than you could ever handle regardless. And as it stands The Drink's upcoming album Capital, out on the 13th, may well be in the album of the year big rundown if this serpentine, barbed slinkiness is any guide.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Old reliables: Johnny Foreigner and Martha

Johnny Foreigner - Flooding

Alcopop! are putting out at split 12" - yellow, of course - with Dog Knights Productions featuring Playlounge, Doe, Doctrines and two new songs from these old peculiars, from which we've picked the second and its self-examination to crunchy compacted riffing.

Martha - Chekov's Hangnail

And Pity Me's own have new material coming out on a split vinyl too, a 7" with Radiator Hospital to mark their joint tour that starts at the end of October, choc full of power-pop hooky charge, accented harmonies and existential anguish.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Tessera Skies - Such Great Heights (Raindrops)

No, not a Postal Service cover but a continuation of the Newcastle trio's record of putting out one great track a year. A single released on the 16th, this is notably far more filled out than their previous crystalline sound, filling out their space atmospherics with emotive, stratospheric build and big sweeping Fripptroniced guitar sounds.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

And more again

Tindersticks - We Are Dreamers

Tindersticks' tenth album, The Waiting Room out - oh lord - 22nd January 2016, arrives with a great amount of bubbling restraint even by their standards. Savages' Jehnny Beth pops by to offer counterpoint to Stuart Staples' always reliable baritone. They may have settled into their particular groove but they're still wriggling around in fear of the human condition within it.

Tindersticks - We are dreamers! from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Post War Glamour Girls - Cannonball Villages

From the second half of their two-part Feeling Strange album, out 30th October, a return to a default doomy state over eight and a half heavy minutes of shuddering shards of guitar noise, barely pent up rage born of frustration.

The Spook School - Binary

The big obvious pop hit from second album Try To Be Helpful, out 9th October, ever since they debuted it last summer, informed lyrically by gender norms and singer Nye Todd's trans identity and musically by a joyful rush of pop-post-punk.

Bruising - Emo Friends

Touring with Los Campesinos! in November ahead of this 7" out on the 20th, the Leeds duo trade in misleadingly coy west coast harmonies and Breeders-recalling fuzzed up summer riffs.

Freddy Lobos - I'm Fucking I'm Free

Huge Part Chimp-recalling riffs and anxious quiet-loud dynamics drive the debut offering from a band featuring some of Ex Comets and (soon to become extinct) Maybeshewill's John Helps.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Gramma's Boyfriend - I Live My Broken Dreams

Following on from her STN Top 50 of last year album Last War, Haley Bonar has formed a side-project band that takes her dark power-pop leanings into spiky new wave dance-punk directions like Devo fronted by Throwing Muses, Bonar developing an unhealthy-sounding snarl alongside. Album PERM is out October 9th.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Everything great that happened since we went to End Of The Road and now need to catch up on

The Drink - No Memory

A second album less than a year after their debut, Capital out 13th November, here the trio aim for a beguiling kind of motorik pastorialism, bursting from semi-drone into outbreaks of colour, folky mini-solos to the fore.

Dilly Dally - Purple Rage

Dirty and angry, like a post-grunge intersection of Breeders/Veruca Salt controlled rage and prime Siamese Dream Smashing Pumpkins forcefulness, Toronto's Dilly Dally see anger as an energy, cementing Katie Monks as a sheer unfuckwithable presence. Debut album Sore is released 9th October.

Darren Hayman - Nuns Run The Apothecary

Hayman's first truly solo album Florence, out 6th November, was recorded at Elizabeth Morris of Allo Darlin's Firenze flat in the depths of last winter, providing a sparse backdrop for his thoughtful, detailed observational style that sees his recent politicised leanings take a breather in favour of the elegance of personal beauty.

The Radio Dept. - This Repeated Sodomy

A very Radio Dept title and a very Lesser Matters sort of Radio Dept track, less than two and a half minutes of chiming distorted guitars and quietly charged/cynical lyrics. It might qualify as a summer sound but they're too keen to make things wonky for that.

Chorusgirl - Oh, To Be A Defector

We wrote about Chorusgirl initially at the end of July, where we described them as "tak(ing) up the female-fronted fuzzbomb art-pop baton that the Darling Buds, Lush and the Long Blondes help patent - jangling guitars carrying along a bucketful of big hooks, Silvi Wersing's strident, cool-as vocals, joy camouflaging the pain". And as Fortuna Pop! pick them up for a self-titled album out 13th November that about carries it here, art-noir cocksure in its internalised pain.

Alimony Hustle - BNOC

We introduced you to the Bristolians back in March; now having announced some support dates with Trust Fund their new single is all focused anger both pointedly lyrically and in their huge sound for a duo.

Trust Fund - Football

Speak of the devil, Ellis and co's second album of 2015 Seems Unfair is out October 30th, again with MJ on recording duty, again expressing personal doubt and failure of basic humanity codes through the medium of barbed jangle.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

SHOPPING - Straight Lines

Looking back, it seems the only time we've featured SHOPPING on here before is when we put their debut album Consumer Complaints in our top 50 albums of 2013 (number 33, to be precise) We're suckers, you may have noticed, for itchy tripwire post-punk jerkiness, and this from second album Why Choose, out 2nd October through FatCat, is a perfect demonstration, spiralling frantic post-punk guitars of a Slits/Au Pairs stripe holding on for their lives to Gang Of Four-influenced duelling vocal lines and a fragmentary sprint of a rhythm section. All very passive-aggressive on the dancefloor tonight.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Amateur Best - They Know

As Amateur Best, Birmingham-based sometime Chilly Gonazles collaborator Joe Flory makes classic warm electronic pop that suggests there's something going on amid the layers under the glistening synth hooks up top, like a shaken East India Youth attempting to straighten out. The vocals on this single from second album The Gleaners exhibit a quietly soulful melancholia bordering on paranoia, something that knows it could be a lot more obvious and hit-making than this melodically but would rather play in the deep end.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Beach Fatigue - Drunken Grrrls

No, not a Kathleen Hanna/LCD Soundsystem combination, and not a new band either - it's our old friends from down south Wales Heavy Petting Zoo, who've changed their name through growing embarrassment at their old monicker and ahead of a now eponymous self-released debut album. (Yes, they still have the dancer.) Ahead of all that comes this single on 30th October which reinforces the dirt cool they do best - intensifying surf guitars, Nuggets garage darkness, Amy Zachariah​'s strident vocals that mock, stare down and dare you to turn away.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

TRAAMS - Succulent Thunder Anthem

You know sometimes you can just tell a band has realised what they're good at and acted accordingly? TRAAMS' first album of retro-modern college rock pricked the attention, but the first taste of its follow-up Modern Dancing out... what? 13th November? We might all be dead by then!... anyway, it takes very familiar tropes and makes them into something vital, an urgent charge of shoegaze tremelo, pained deathly new wave-esque sing-shouting and a runaway HGV of a chorus thrust.

Grubs - Windwaker

Grubs are Roxy of Two White Cranes and now Joanna Gruesome, Owen always of Joanna Gruesome and Jake of being Jake, and they make scrappy short bursts of ADHD indie-pop rush that let on more than they seem. Their debut album It Must Be Grubs, out 11th September, is eighteen minutes long, which seems about right.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Chorusgirl - No Moon

Emerging as one of the breakout stars of this weekend just gone's Indietracks (much as Indietracks can truly have a breakout band, but you know what we mean), Chorusgirl take up the female-fronted fuzzbomb art-pop baton that the Darling Buds, Lush and the Long Blondes help patent - jangling guitars carrying along a bucketful of big hooks, Silvi Wersing's strident, cool-as vocals, joy camouflaging the pain. Their contribution to Odd Box Records' 100 Club series (already sold out on vinyl) sounds radio ready, if radio was ever interested in radio-ready guitar pop any more.

Post War Glamour Girls - Felonious Punk

Great title. No idea what's going on with this new track, either in intentions - introduced with no content it's possibly a track from a new album or EP - or in sound, as the brooding dam bursts into something ultra-distorted and actually not too far in noisy riffola scope and undercurrents of electronics from Muse. Sorry, guys. On top of all that James Smith's dark fury at everything else remains thankfully undiminished.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Gun Outfit - Gotta Wanna

We've written about Olympia, Washington's Gun Outfit on and off over the years, usually commending their lo-fi streamlined attack in the ballpark of Sebadoh and No Age. Yeah, well, forget all that for the first single from their fourth album Dream All Over, out 16th October, as they've moved to LA and gone all Nancy and Lee, set out in the dust-swept canyons and night-time creep of an imaginary outlaw western as singer-guitarists Carrie Keith and Dylan Sharp twang, shuffle and sort of harmonise after berating each other's fortunes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

DRINKS - Laying Down Rock

A quick one as we need to catch up - the second single from Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley of White Fence's collaboration, a purposefully awkward jigsaw piece of riff repetition-based west coast psychedelia.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Grandbrothers - Arctica

Grandbrothers are two men from Germany, one a jazz pianist, the other involved in synth construction who found a way to control every part of a grand piano, metal, wood and strings inclusive, via especially constructed electromechanical hammers controlled via laptop and associated gizmos to manipulate those sounds on debut album Dilation. It's much more interesting than it sounds, here like a Philip Glass suite looped and glitched in intriguing ways.

Monday, July 06, 2015

The School - Do I Love You?

Frank Wilson's Northern Soul stomper is famous for its rarity in original pressing form (obviously it's all over compilations these days), which makes the prospect of an female perspective answer song an intriguing one. The Cardiff multi-handed retro-pop classicists who headlined our Indiepop Alldayer back in March go for it in much the same timeless talc-on-the-Casino-floor style on the single from their third album Wasting Away And Wondering, due in September.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Twenty years of recommended listening

For no special reason, we decided to extend the 20-track year-specific Spotify playlists we put together to celebrate STN's tenth anniversary in April back another ten years. So, with those original compilations appended, presenting two decades of STN-approved music:

1996 part one
1996 part two
2000 part one
2000 part two

Ten Years Of STN (no artist replicated over these lists)


Friday, July 03, 2015

Christian Fitness - The Harder It Hits

Christian Fitness, remember, is what Andrew Falkous does by himself (drums aside) between Future Of The Left albums. A second album, he says, is due within the next couple of weeks; in the meantime a song a subtle distance away from FOTL's usual load, featuring nasal falsetto vocals, shredded delay pedal guitars, disco percussion handclaps and a hook that you'd almost call commercial. Plus obtuse ire-filled lyrics, obviously.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Trust Fund - Dreams

A MJ-produced standalone single ahead of a prospective second album this year from Ellis and co, a slightly more streamlined and early-Weezer-in-a-cellar indebted sound sees Alanna McArdle sharing the vocal duties on a fun-sized charging summery pop belter laced with requisite undercurrent of self-doubt.

Haiku Salut - Hearts Not Parts

Derbyshire's rustic instrumental exploratory unit's second album Etch And Etch Deep, out 31st July, sounds like it's expanding their palette into more pastoral, mistier territory while still sounding like a runaway folk junkshop on wheels crashed into an electronics display. Setting off at a fair accordion-led lick it eventually settles into minimalist Mum-like territory where the interesting things going on around the edges make up for the airiness in the middle, before a refuelled charge that the press release fairly accurately describes as "drum'n'bass being played on an army of glockenspiels". There's even vocals, albeit ghostly background wails. The album's London launch, at the Lexington on 9th August with support from Owl & Mouse and Two White Cranes, seems like a bill and a half.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Recommended listening: 2000-2004

It's halfway through 2015, a time when other blogs are slinging together lists of the best stuff they've heard so far this year. So quickly, here's a non-comprehensive selection of artists whose albums of the last six months we've really enjoyed and admired. Girlpool, Grawl!x, Ralegh Long, Panda Bear, Lone Wolf, Trust Fund, Landshapes, Algiers, the Mountain Goats, Courtney Barnett, Marika Hackman, Summer Camp, SOAK, Lonelady, Nadine Shah, Tigercats.

That's that done. Now, do you remember back in April we celebrated STN's tenth anniversary with ten year-by-year 20-track Spotify playlists? Well, we enjoyed doing those, so we decided to carry on right back to the start of the century. So here for the half-year hell of it are selections for 2000-2004, two separate collections for 2000 as we couldn't bare to lose more than forty tracks from what was a bountiful year for such goodness. And yes, doubtless we'll do more of these for 20th century years in time. We're like that.

2000 part one
2000 part two

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Swahili Blonde - Discover Aurora

LA's Nicole Turley's previous albums have included input from Viv Albertine, John Frusciante, Duran Duran's John Taylor and Devo's Alan Myers, which suggests a certain eclectic sense of adventure, but the Deities In Decline EP out July 21st is entirely performed by herself. Written as a song of personal inspiration for her goddaughter, it plants its flag initially in the world of early 80s processed electro-disco while wandering around picking up weeping strings, plaintive piano, occasional surging guitars and Afrobeat rhythms, eventually sounding not unlike Warpaint were they on Ze Records.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Two White Cranes - So Much Water, So Close To Home

Roxy Brennan's spare up close and honest to a fault style made an itching, immediate impact on last year's sort of self-titled debut album proper. Since then she's been involved with what seems like endless guest appearances and sideperson recruitments - in fact she's just joined Joanna Gruesome - but a second solo album is on its way, Radisson Blue out 1st August. Its opening track is loosely inspired by a Raymond Carver short story of the same name and features a slightly scrappy fuller band backing seeming not unlike previous collaborator(s) Trust Fund to fill out a song about the power of words in fiction but beneath the surface also is about more personal longings.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Slum Of Legs - Doll Like

Not every band affecting the sort of DIY sound that sounds like a faux-mess that's going to fall apart with the slightest distraction pulls it off in a way that makes you want to listen to them more than once. Brighton post-post-feminist indie-noiseniks Slum Of Legs very much can, spending their second single, described as "a call to action... a fight for gender identity and acceptance", throwing everything from triumphant hollering chorales to wandering Velvetsy violin via twiddly messed up electronics at a wall of fuzz and pulling it off through absolute conviction and righteous defiance to an end. A full throttle live act, their next gig is with potential spirit animals, supporting the reformed Prolapse - note to any professional writers looking in, why aren't you covering the Prolapse reformation dates? - in Brighton on the 23rd.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Outblinker - Pink

When the "radio edit" is nearly five and a half minutes long you're on to something, and for once that thing is good in this case. Outblinker, made up from assorted Glaswegian noise, art-rock and DIY outfits, are presently working with Benjamin John Power of Fuck Buttons, and it's their sculpted fried electronic noise that comes to mind alongside spiralling kosmiche and the striding analogue keyboard armies of Holy Fuck. A very promising starting point.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Totem Terrors - Big E/Lies

Max and Rosie's second album of wiry (and sometimes Wire-y) distorto-post-punk Hard Science is out 29th June, picking up pretty much where their spare sonics left off, namely in a ditch - chanted duelling vocals, sinuous riffs that turn chaotic every so often, throbbing guttural basslines, industrial drum machine, nodding at Steve Albini, Swans, Pere Ubu and the Fall's three R's (repetition, repetition, repetition)

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Girls Names - Reticence

Belfast's Girls Names have always been inclined towards the psychedelic and the damaged garage bands, but here they've veered towards what John Robb termed the Death To Trad Rock movement of the mid-80s, the movement that ran alongside C86 in indie circles of awkward, dirty post-post-punk noisemakers. While there's something of post-punk and pre-goth European iciness here too, it's all in the slashing, discordant guitar sounds over agitated rhythms, and it bodes very well for third album Arms Around A Vision when it's released in... October! The year's going too quickly.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

C Duncan - Garden

Christopher Duncan's multitracked acoustic lushness continues to evolve and take on a full spectrum of pastel colours on this new single, which explodes into psychedelic life like few properly manage to pull off, replete with a guitar solo journeying into space at the end, while the harmonic Duncans underneath remain able to convey the emotions in simple fashion. Intricate without overcomplicating matters, it's brighter than most of what we've heard from him so far while conveying an undertow of doubt, a sunshine pop Mark Hollis in waiting. Recorded in his bedroom, it'll be fascinating to see how this works live supporting Admiral Fallow in June and then Belle & Sebastian at Somerset House come July, the month (17th) in which album Architect is released.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Man Of Moon - The Road

Teenage Edinburgh duo Man Of Moon have been touring with The Phantom Band recently, which is as good an entree as you'll have into their boldly standing-out statement of a debut single, a strutting, lightly shimmering, slowly enveloping slab of dark kosmiche produced by Frightened Rabbit keyboardist Andy Monaghan that strides forward where others get stuck in repetition.

Friday, May 15, 2015

AUTOBAHN - Immaterial Man

The death-motorik Leodensians have reached album stage, Dissemble out 21st August. They're a band who on this form know their touchstones, reaching out to the Horrors/Toy brigade on one side with the build and swirl and on the other the point at which the Batcave meets Factory - the bass sound and gothy vocal reverb are pure Martin Hannett touches. Developing from pensive to full throttle, they're post-industrial in more ways that one.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Telegram - Aeons

Always a toss-up whether new Telegram tracks are actually singles or just something they're throwing out there but this is definitely the former, out 10th July and preorderable through PledgeMusic so they can finally afford to make an album. A more brooding take on their motorik glam it sways, forces its way through, breaks down and builds back up to a noise-out climax just as we're becoming used to.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Peaness - Fortune Favours The Bold

Yep, Peaness. The international drain of band names continues apace. Apart from being three women from Chester we don't know a lot about them but we can tell you this first track of theirs to go out to the world but we know we like this almost surf-pop cut reminiscent of a janglier, landborne Waxahatchee, laden with effortless harmonies and sharp, indelible hooks, not to mention the cocksureness of youth and the dream of escape.

Friday, May 08, 2015

The Jonbarr Hinge - Ballbarian

Let's get back into the swing of things after the anniversary business, then, as we've been meaning to post a track from Ben Parker's (other) other band's new album Broken Ribs, Broken Records for a while. Almost a more straightforward, garagey, less wordy take on Nosferatu D2 and the Superman Revenge Squad Band's ennui-driven seething.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Ten years of STN: 2014

What a short, strange trip it's been. Songs 181 to 200 inclusive of this trawl through the first decade of STN's existence, and we hope you've enjoyed it. Or read it.

Direct link

Lonelady - Groove It Out
tUnE-yArDs - Water Fountain
Martin Carr - The Santa Fe Skyway
St Vincent - Birth In Reverse
Hayley Bonar – Kill The Fun
Martha - 1967, I Miss You, I'm Lonely
Firestations - Never Closer
Post War Glamour Girls - Sestra
The Drink - Microsleep
Acollective – Happiest Of All Memorial Days
Weyes Blood - Some Winters
Grawl!x - Atlas Bear
FKA Twigs - Numbers
R.Seiliog - Ostisho
Hookworms - On Leaving
The Wind-Up Birds - There Will Be No Departures From This Stand
Trash Kit - Medicine
Ravioli Me Away - Cat Call
Cosines – Out Of The Fire
Perfume Genius - Queen

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ten years of STN: 2013

Year eleven begins with us still in tenth birthday mode, like a hopeful child who refuses to take down their birthday cards because while there's still some semblance of commemoration real life cannot yet start again. 2013, then, in bite-size form.

Direct link

Islet - Carlos
Mowbird - Happy Active Horse Organ
Hooded Fang - Ode To Subterrania
Spectral Park - L'appel Du Vide
Vampire Weekend - Step
Youth Lagoon - Dropla
Summer Camp - Two Chords
Sky Larkin - Motto
Joanna Gruesome - Sugarcrush
Jetplane Landing - Beat Generation... Ha!
Telegram - Follow
Withered Hand - Heart Heart
And So I Watch You From Afar - Big Thinks Do Remarkable
Kiran Leonard - Dear Lincoln
Georgia Ruth - Week Of Pines
Shhh...Apes! - Painkiller
Haiku Salut - Los Elefantes
A Little Orchestra feat. Model Village - Josefina
Marika Hackman - Bath Is Black
Nadine Shah - Dreary Town

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ten years of STN: 2012

Well, today's the day - 29th April 2005 was the date of the opening post on Sweeping The Nation. In some sort of mission statement we pledged "little beating around the bushes, but probably quite a bit of prevarication", and we've kept as true to those words today as we were back then. There may well be more consideration given to this past decade in time, but as for now and with passing due thanks to everyone who's committed themselves to reading and listening to the bulk of what we've posted about in the 3130 posts before this one we've got a daily feature to continue with, so here's twenty tracks that sum up where this august body was during 2012...

Direct link

Clock Opera - Belongings
Tall Ships - T=0
Why? - Sod In The Seed
Golden Fable - Sugarloaf
Gulp - Game Love
The Invisible - Protection
Internet Forever - Pages Of Books
Future Of The Left - Polymers Are Forever
Threatmantics - Wazoo
Savages - Husbands
Cheatahs - The Swan
Tigercats - The Vapours
This Many Boyfriends - Tina Weymouth
Willy Mason - Restless Fugitive
Darren Hayman and the Long Parliament - We Are Not Evil
Jack Hayter - The Shackleton
Allo Darlin' - Tallulah
Tessera Skies - Soliloquy Of An Astronaut
Minotaur Shock - Janet
Toy - Kopter

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ten years of STN: 2011

You know this by now. We're up to year seven in STN's Rock'n'Roll Years, 20 tracks to represent those twelve months via Spotify with a tracklisting for the uninitiated to be highlighted underneath. Are you being entertained yet? Relive the whole set through the tag

Direct link

PJ Harvey - The Glorious Land
Beth Jeans Houghton - Dodecahedron
Daughter - Run
Sam Airey - The Blackout
David Thomas Broughton - River Lay
Marques Toliver - Charter Magic
Other Lives - For 12
Low - You See Everything
I Break Horses - Winter Beats
Bibio - K Is For Kelson
Maybeshewill - Red Paper Lanterns
Mogwai - Mexican Grand Prix
Roxy Rawson - Fingers
Cults - Go Outside
Colourmusic - Yes!
Wild Flag - Romance
Help Stamp Out Loneliness - Record Shop
Race Horses - Benidorm
Dog Is Dead - Glockenspiel Song
Half Man Half Biscuit - Rock And Roll Is Full Of Bad Wools

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ten years of STN: 2010

Into the 2010s now on our odyssey through a decade of Sweeping The Nation in what might have been once termed mixtapes. Twenty more tracks, tracklisting for those unable to see it or who crave suspense in their lives whited out underneath.

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The Fall - Bury Pts. 1 + 3
Archie Bronson Outfit - Magnetic Warrior
Everything Everything - Schoolin'
Napoleon IIIrd - The Unknown Unknown
Yeasayer - O.N.E.
Janelle Monae feat. Saul Williams - Dance Or Die
Katy B - Katy On A Mission
Lone Wolf - Keep Your Eyes on the Road
Gruff Rhys - Shark Ridden Waters
Beach House - Norway
Warpaint - Undertow
Let's Buy Happiness - Six Wolves
Rose Elinor Dougall - Find Me Out
Los Campesinos! - The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future
British Sea Power - Zeus
Mitchell Museum - Warning Bells
The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio
Standard Fare - Love Doesn't Just Stop
Edwyn Collins - Losing Sleep
No Age - Fever Dreaming

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ten years of STN: the offcuts

That is to say, twenty songs that might have made it to our daily year-by-year playlists except whether through streaming intransigence, never getting beyond DIY/demo stage or just not playing ball none of them are on Spotify, surprisingly so in at least a couple of cases, but they're all by artists who we love(d), cherish(ed) and support(ed) via the blog so in this time of rememberance they too deserve recognition. Two of them are linked to abandoned Myspace pages!

Proton Proton - Plates (2005)
Fashoda Crisis - The Berry-Brown Face of Robert Kilroy Silk (2011)
Mega Emotion - B R A I N S (2013)
My Bloody Valentine - In Another Way (2013)
Moscow Youth Cult - Girls Of Boredom (2010)
Picture Books In Winter - Horizontally I Am Champion (2008)
Broken Social Scene - 7/4 (Shoreline) (2005)
Adam Donen and The Drought - Five Minute Zeitgeist (2008)
GoodBooks - Walk With Me (2007)
A Classic Education - Stay, Son (2008)
Jonquil - Lions (2007)
Gossamer Albatross - The Ground Will Take Us Down (2008)
Anathallo - Hanasakajijii (Four: A Great Wind, More Ash) (2006)
Rhosyn - Glass (2011)
Trips And Falls - And in Real Life He Wears Corduroy Pants (2010)
Meursault - Crank Resolutions (2010)
Bill Callahan - Small Plane (2013)
Shy And The Fight - All That We See Or Seem (2012)
Trust Fund - Reading The Wrappers (2014)
The Understudies - Everyone Deserves At Least One Summer Of Love (2013)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Ten years of STN: 2009

Year five of our trawl through the ten year back catalogue of the blog ahead of next Thursday's anniversary, today alighting on twenty songs which forever now will mean the last year of the Noughties. Again, highlight to get the textual playlist.

Direct link

Ebony Bones! - The Muzik
Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is The Move
Wild Beasts - We Still Got the Taste Dancin' On Our Tongues
The Phantom Band - The Howling
Emmy The Great - First Love
Hello Saferide - Anna
Laura Marling - Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)
Bat For Lashes - Moon And Moon
Graham Coxon - Sorrow's Army
Broken Records - Slow Parade
The Low Anthem - Charlie Darwin
The Leisure Society - The Last of the Melting Snow
Gabby Young & Other Animals - We're All In It Together
The XX - Islands
Stairs To Korea - Boy Bear It In Mind
Super Furry Animals - Inaugural Trams
Seeland - Library
The Horrors - Sea Within A Sea
Dananananaykroyd - Some Dresses
Nosferatu D2 - 2 People, 0 Superpowers

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ten years of STN: 2008

Something we maybe should have mentioned earlier as we continue counting down the STN Years is that we've applied a one song per artist rule for the entire project, because otherwise we'd get bogged down pretty quickly. So if your favourite hasn't turned up, we hate you just hold on. Today, twenty songs that to us represent what we were doing here in 2008, with the text playlist magically appearing via highlighted selection underneath.

Direct link

The Indelicates - New Art For The People
Mystery Jets - Young Love
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - We Call Upon The Author
Wire - One Of Us
Johnny Foreigner - Salt, Peppa And Spinderella
Fanfarlo - I'm A Pilot
The Long Blondes - Century
Portishead - The Rip
The Chap - Fun And Interesting
Parenthetical Girls - A Song For Ellie Greenwich
Fujiya & Miyagi - Knickerbocker
Holy Fuck - Lovely Allen
Three Trapped Tigers - 1
Zombie-Zombie - Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free
Arthur & Martha - Autovia
Micachu - Golden Phone
dEUS - Slow
The Walkmen - In the New Year
The Wave Pictures - Instant Coffee Baby
Her Name Is Calla - New England

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ten years of STN: 2007

Remember the heady, crazy days of 2007? To continue our tribute to ten glorious years of STN, twenty of its finest represent that year in the Spotify playlist below, and again if you highlight that big block of white empty space below it it becomes something else entirely.

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Battles - Atlas
Panda Bear - Comfy in Nautica
Robyn feat. Kleerup - With Every Heartbeat
Crystal Castles vs HEALTH - Crimewave
White Williams - New Violence
BARR - The Song Is The Single
Field Music - In Context
Cats On Fire - I Am The White-Mantled King
Strange Idols - She's Gonna Let You Down Again
Wake The President - Remember Fun?
Those Dancing Days - Hitten
Au Revoir Simone - Fallen Snow
Lucky Soul - The Great Unwanted
Okkervil River - John Allyn Smith Sails
Jens Lekman - A Postcard to Nina
The Acorn - Crooked Legs
Piano Magic - England's Always Better (As You're Pulling Away)
Burial - Archangel
Liars - Plaster Casts Of Everything
Blood Red Shoes – I Wish I Was Someone Better

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ten years of STN: 2006

It's STN's tenth birthday next week, so we've put together ten year-by-year twenty track Spotify compilations to give an overview of the sort of records we were keen on in that particular year. Here's number two for its first full year, and we can only apologise.

Direct link

Experiment time! Highlight the space below for the playlist.

MJ Hibbett & The Validators - The Lesson Of The Smiths
Camera Obscura - Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken
Cat Power - The Greatest
El Perro Del Mar - God Knows
Broken Family Band - It's All Over
The 1900s - Bring the Good Boys Home
Hot Chip - Over And Over
Jeremy Warmsley - I Believe In The Way You Move
Midlake - Young Bride
Caribou - Hendrix With KO
Scritti Politti - The Boom Boom Bap
Guillemots - Trains To Brazil
Clinic - If You Could Read Your Mind
Tokyo Police Club - Nature Of The Experiment
The Thermals - A Pillar Of Salt
The Playwrights - 21st Century Kaspar Hauser
Sondre Lerche - Airport Taxi Reception
TV On The Radio - Wolf Like Me
Grizzly Bear - On A Neck, On A Spit
iLiKETRAiNS - The Beeching Report

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ten years of STN: 2005

"This song is dedicated to some of the best bands in the country..."

On April 29th 2015 Sweeping The Nation will turn ten years old. It’s been a hard old journey to get this far, full of disenchantment with the way both blogging and music were going, but we’re going to make it.

What more fitting way to celebrate the milestone, then, but with an overwrought and overthought series of playlists? To be exact, over the next ten working days we'll be posting a 20-track playlist a day, each of them featuring some of the best songs to have come through our office between the start of 2005 and the end of 2014. We've taken out some of the big obvious stuff, mixed it up a bit, been forced to drop some really good records that just aren't on Spotify at the moment and used our ninja mixtaping skills for a better listen. Think of it as a Garry Mulholland-style trawl through the thick edge of cool music culture, only half-arsed and with nothing like a representative taste of fashions, genres and cultures. And hey, it fills the time.

And by the way, had we been more appreciative of SEO back then the blog wouldn’t have such an obviously cribbed title.

Direct link

M.I.A. - Bucky Done Gun
The first record ever written about on STN, and a track that with its Rocky slicing is as much a call to arms as anything else we've written about

CSS - Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above
Wine and bed and more and again. Didn't know their strengths, which invariably meant a punked-up second album swiftly followed by obscurity

Patrick Wolf - The Libertine
Has there been a more frustrating pop auetur in the last ten years? Big chorus and hook surrounded by florid vignettes

M83 - Don't Save Us From The Flames
Before the brief backing music ubiquity, the ghostly synths got overloaded

Pagan Wanderer Lu - The Memorial Hall
AKA Andrew Paul Regan, one of those we've stuck by through these years for the fairly obvious reason that his records always come at ideas from odd angles

Broadcast - Black Cat
Nobody really thought about things in the way they did, and post-Ghost Box what would have happened had Trish Keenan not passed on would have been fascinating

The New Pornographers - Sing Me Spanish Techno
Big brassy power-pop. Every New Pornographers album contains one amazing moment; this was Twin Cinema's, and it might have been the best of all

The Go-Betweens - Here Comes A City
An object lesson in how to reform a working relationship and pick up in just the way you left off. Grant McLennan another great loss of the decade

Sons And Daughters - Red Receiver
From the Glaswegian set they never quite received their due but The Repulsion Box was an overloaded red-lit sweatbox in sound

Sleater-Kinney - Entertain
Righteous fury and HGV riffage. How did it take them this whole ten years to gain their widespread due?

The Lucksmiths - A Hiccup In Your Happiness
Picking up the Go-Betweens' striped sunlight sound and turning it inwards, they should soundtrack every midsummer existential crisis

The Spinto Band - Oh Mandy
Well ahead of ukelele trends, they're still around but never recaptured their wistful moment

Sufjan Stevens - Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Stepmother!
He only did two states! The slacker. Never trust him with anything

The Mountain Goats - This Year
Teenage John Darnielle escaping his abusive stepfather for a while to spend time a girl not doing much except underage drinking. A tiny story in an overgrowing narrative

Jeffrey Lewis - Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror
In which our narrator is sparked by seeing someone who might be Bonnie Prince Billy into an extended self-searching quest as to whether DIY life is really worthwile. Doesn't end well for Lewis

Prefuse 73 feat. El-P & Ghostface Killah – Hide Ya Face
Yeah, alright, we really dropped the ball over the years on our affection for skewed rap production just as it became mainstream. Scott Herren isn't a hip-hop producer, which makes this more interesting

Girls Aloud - Biology
Ah, the failed poptimist's easy get-out. But it's great, isn't it?

Saint Etienne - Milk Bottle Symphony
And so in a different way is this, taking leads from the Annie record of a year earlier as it draws pen pictures of morning home life, suburban and urban simultaneously

Final Fantasy - This Is The Dream Of Win And Regine
Owen Pallett can made the smallest details sound huge and the most heroic violin solos sound sad. And we know Funeral came out in 2005 in the UK, but it's too obvious

William Campbell & Kevin MacNeil - Local Man Ruins Everything
Singer with briefly feted Astrid and Outer Hebriden poet combine for extended acidly nostalgic soliquoly. How all mixtapes should end, maybe

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Summer Camp - Bad Love

The title track to album number three, four if you count the Beyond Clueless soundtrack, isn't hazy retro, disco or really anything they've explored in great detail before. It nods at current pop while still mired in the world of analogue synths, the squelchy electro bassline gives you something to dance to and Elizabeth feels sorry for you if you think you can't deal with her. Bad Love the album is out 25th May.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Girls Names - Zero Triptych

You always fret whenever a band returns with a track they proudly claim is eleven minutes long and in three parts but Girls Names pull it off with this 12" out May 11th. Give it a while to work through the electronic fuzz and hang on as it blasts into the stratosphere in a not-un-Toy-like manner, infused as much with post-punk darkness as the psych-Kraut-shoegaze fun.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Catenary Wires - Intravenous

Having done thirty years' service to indiepop through Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research and Tender Trap, Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey moved out to the countryside and ended up writing and recording a set of songs that remain minimally acoustic while still sumptuously put together, influence somewhere between the great country duettists and the Magnetic Fields. Album Red Red Skies is due 1st June.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Roxy Rawson - Bouncing Boots

We were wondering just recently what had become of Rawson, a Parisian conservatoire trained violinist and pianist raised in Hitchin and now based in San Francisco Bay with a leaping, swooping vocal style whom we first wrote about not much short of four years ago and pretty much never heard from again... until now. Turns out that after a Pledgemusic campaign in 2012 she fell ill for a while, her upcoming album Quenching The Kill charting her journey from darkness into hope. Drama and ambition are here in spades, plucking out emotive imagery and vulnerability with the innate knowledge that better is on its way. If this is how that early promise is being fulfilled the album might well be one not to sleep on.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Post War Glamour Girls - Southpaw Stance

A little less claustrophobic, a little more skyscraping, just as lost in hope terms, PWGG's first new material since last year's glorious Pink Fur album (a split 7" with Battlelines) might have a big hook, chorus, solo and all that but still comes on spoiling for a fight, unyielding in its abstractfully dark outlook.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Alimony Hustle - DWUW

The very new Bristolian duo - and we know we've expressed problems with duos in the past but they're a lot more subtle than most - have something to say on their Gutter Gutter Strike Strike Gutter Gutter EP and a wellspring of tightly wound emotions based on guilt, regret and being let down to say it within. At one British remove from the Tanya Donelly/Kristin Hersh open-sore blueprint, Leah Pritchard's dynamically emotive vocal propelling a melodic acidity which eventually produces the sort of riff that emerges from nowhere to batter at the door.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lord Huron - The World Ender

The second taster of second album Strange Trails sounds when put into words much like the first, that is to say first wave rock'n'roll refracted through the gaps in the striped high sunlight. It rattles, it basks in the heat and it coasts along entirely sure of itself. No wonder, given the lyrical reincarnation theme.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Joanna Gruesome - Honestly Do Yr Worst

Ah, the most glorious of all the abbreviations. Second taste (and first single) of second album Peanut Butter, out 11th May and promising both "jangle pop" and "drone organs" almost as if they know us, clocks in under the two minute mark and still finds time enough to wrongfoot the listener, styling out as a natty harmonised summery power-pop cut before the noise and anger comes in as if it were merely a hookline.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Acorn - Influence

It's nearly five years since Ottawa's expansive, investigative folk-futurist MVP Rolf Klausener and friends put out the second Acorn album No Ghost. Having reconfigured his approach since a new record, Vieux Loup, is finally due in the spring, from which comes this electronically inclined workout, a deep old electric bassline and floaty synths rubbing up against a pensive vocal, conflicted lyrical self-examination and guitar strums that could best be described as minimalist.

Heavy Petting Zoo - Isabelle

Just in time for St David's Day our favourite Swansea surf-garage kids return with a single that forms part of The Joy Formidable's Aruthrol singles club (this is Aruthrol C, out on 7" 26th March). Weighing in well under the two and a half minute mark the propulsion is car chase sequence ready, the guitar shudders and charges and Amy Zachariah tempts the unwary onto the rocks. Oh, and if you're quick and in Cardiff they're playing Clwb Ifor Bach early this evening as part of a festival to mark the saint's day.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Comet Gain - To The City's Core

Last year's Paperback Ghosts album was autumnal and bucolic; its follow-up EP is distorted and psychedelic. This, new Comet Gain followers, is what they do. There's a whirring Farfisa, Rachel Evans' damaged call-outs, a rippling guitar solo, something that almost qualifies as a breakbeat and a rock'n'roll going wrong underlay. Comet Gain headline what looks like a remarkable alldayer at London's Shacklewell Arms on 7th March with Withered Hand solo, Tigercats, Simon Love with A Little Orchestra, Evans The Death, Darren Hayman, Pete Astor (The Loft/Weather Prophets) and Bill Botting (Allo Darlin')

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cloud - Melting Cassatt

Tyler Taormina describes Zen Summer, his second album as Cloud out April 7th, as intending to "help those experiencing the anxiety associated with a state of flux. I wanted it to envelop the listener completely, and for them to realize that things would be alright in the end". He's certainly throwing himself into the picture as this sounds like Why? gone dreampop, confessional lyrical flow in a wavering voice over floating textures and misleadingly genteel backing.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fever Dream - Serotonin Hit

East London trio Fever Dream do that whole shoegaze do but with a dark post-punk undertow in the melody lines and structure, meaning they're not just another band turning on the distortion pedals and hoping for the best. Indeed clocking in at under three minutes it reminds us more of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! or Sonic Youth's more commercial excursions, fuzz brandished with quiet malice. Debut album Moyamoya is out April 27th; they play STN's Leicester Indiepop Alldayer at Firebug on March 21st.

Telegram - Inside Outside

We've now posted four Telegram officially released songs but this, on Dan Carey's Speedy Wunderground project, is only their second official release. It's more straight psych-indie than the glam-motorik elements of those tracks but it's still supercharged, compacted carried-away pop and seems like it means everything to them to get it out there.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Nadine Shah - Fool

If Shah sometimes seemed an observer on her first album, the second taster for Fast Food, out April 6th, sees her jump right into the action and belittle a hip poser and two-timer, aided by a raw, minimalist guitar line that sounds like an active radar station. Deliciously malevolent.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Du Blonde - Black Flag

So this is the new, fully renovated Beth Jeans Houghton - prowling guitars and heavy staredown vocals that stay this side of rock-chick-for-the-sake-of-it through genuine viscerality and poise. It feels like a release. Jim Sclavunos produces, which makes sense. Album follows in the spring.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lord Huron - Fool For Love

Ben Schneider always seems to make the records he fronts in a heat haze, his 2012 first album Lonesome Dreams driven by sunshine pop and trial percussion. The first taste of second record Strange Trails sounds more like Eddie Cochrane's spirit has infested the studio, early rock'n'roll melodies drifting in and melding with the prevailing, colours-running atmosphere that's equal part Beach Boys' influence on Panda Bear and the last vestiges of chillwave.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wire - Joust & Jostle

Seems very wrong that Wire are releasing a self-titled album, but here we all are. Out April 20th, their thirteenth studio album was almost entirely previewed on the road as with much of their earlier albums, the rest of the tracks brought in afresh by Colin Newman and reacted to in the studio spontaneously. Again much like "classic" Wire, much as the band would hate that term, it careers along with a rhythmic charge and half-hidden acidity, and is all done not much over two minutes in.

Novella - Land Gone

Novella started off as a blurry lo-fi band, shifted line-up, moved the sound tunnel sideways and are now a propulsion machine, in the Toy ballpark via a dose of Lush, with the insistency of the motorik beat and the extra element of the keyboards reflecting off and shifting around the sinuous, relentless rush of the flangey guitars. And then there's a sort of rock-out ending. Not unsurprisingly given those influences, Joshua from the Horrors co-produced their debut full-length Land, out 11th May.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Joanna Gruesome - Last Year

If it isn't broken... break it? The first track* from Peanut Butter, out 11th May, features things you'll recognise - Alanna shouting and then (almost) sweetly harmony singing, fuzztoned divebomb guitars - and little things that demonstrate how they're moving on, more of a sense of control and a pinpointed anger in the lyrics. Still among the most exciting we have.

(* except the album also features Jerome (Liar) and Psykick Espionage from their recent split singles)

Monday, February 09, 2015

Lone Wolf - Give Up

Paul Marshall's third album The Lodge, out May 11th, would seem to be very deliberately different to the expansive melodramas of the first two. That's because he's in a very different headspace to then, having first vowed to give up making music at all, then having an anxiety-related breakdown before deciding to put it all into one final push, recorded in the now defunct converted barn studio commemorated in its title. Piano pushed to the forefront, the results land in that heart-on-sleeve, silence-as-telling-feature area between Mark Hollis and Perfume Genius by way of Wild Beasts' minimalist moments, continuing the "warmly bruised voice tell(ing) tales of internalised pain and the confused psyche" we referred to on The Lovers just over two years ago but sounding even more fragile and willing to break down the human psyche.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Spoilers - It Would Be Nice

Spoilers feature former members of Ice Sea Dead People, who we liked a lot (even if we did seemingly miss their split announcement in November), Great Cop, who we were vaguely aware of, and Grass Giraffes, who we've never previously heard of. Bearing the magic words "recorded by MJ", their debut three song cassette heads for the garage jugular, certainly unafraid of ISDP-style manicured noise when it suits but without compromising the fulsome charge.

Froth - The Rat

No, not the Walkmen song. We first came over all unnecessary regarding Glasgow sextet Froth as far back as July, and their first properly recorded EP The Eterniturtle, released a couple of weeks ago, moves them on from something merely scrappily endearing into something a lot more confident in its post-punk swagger, unafraid to be brooding or openly dark, maximising their sound and pure rush in a manner that will bring a rush to those who treasured the late Shrag.

T-Shirt Weather - (Don't) Hold Your Breath

T-Shirt Weather are from the Durham stable that gave us Martha and plow a not unfamiliar furrow of intelligent buzzsaw pop-punk with a message, a vocal crosstalk and a melody more press-worthy bands would give their advance up for. This is half of a double A-sided cassingle (hey!) out 23rd February.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Evans The Death - Enabler

Well, this feels like a restatement of intent. EtD have explored noise-pop before but never quite with the taut, muscular force of this single from second album Expect Delays, out March 9th. It makes its mark and then dissipates in a hail of feedback, just like you'd want it to.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Supermoon - New Boy

Neil Pennycook put the shapeshifting wonder of Meursault to bed last August and, bar a pause for the ace Bastard Mountain album, got to working on his own material once again under the Supermoon name, less filled out and more suited to devotional church service atmospherics than sonic cathedral but no less heart-on-sleeve emotive, beating heart melancholic or inventively arranged, and that distinctive voice is as strong as ever. From an EP of early recordings, try this example.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Mountain Goats - The Legend Of Chavo Guerrero

Good news for everyone who likes a good Mountain Goats concept album, because LP number fifteen Beat The Champ (out April 13th in the UK) is solely about professional wrestling. Or more precisely a refraction of John Darnielle's "avenue of escape when I was a kid", so presumably not really a professional wrestling story arc at all if we're any judge of the man's back catalogue. Except (and indeed) this track actually is about Chavo Guerrero Sr, Texas and LA-based multiple local champion of the late 70s and 80s and Darnielle's squared circle hero as something to cling to against his afore-written about abusive stepfather.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Landshapes - Moongee

Landshapes have been around for a while in a couple of guises but they've never sounded quite as sure of themselves as this from their second album sessions. The electronic bass seems to slither as much as pulse, the rhythm pushes and progresses as if in a hallucinatory trance and guitars attempt to break free of their shackles while Luisa Gerstein is hypnotic atop. It's quite something.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mew - Satellites

Frankly, it's been too long - they've been talking about new material since being involved in a music-shifting app nobody understood that was released in September 2013. Continuing a proud tradition of poor album titles this one is called +- and is produced by Michael Beinhorn, who did the duty on And The Glass Handed Kites and helps the band return to that era's ambitious arena-in-miniature forward momentum with obtuse lyrical concerns.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Jilk & Haiku Salut - Periscopes

Jilk is a Bristol-based electronic collective who fuse glitches with ambient soundscapes and you know who the currently second album-bound Haiku Salut are, DON'T YOU. Coming together in the name of remixing they instead collaborated on a single out February 9th, wherein awry, airy washes of sound both found and synthesised shape themselves around the stutters and pinpoint arrangements we know the trio for, eventually invegilating their way in and setting off sparks and creeping down ambient-psychedelic paths.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Echo Lake - Waves

The shimmering, hypnotic post-shoegaze beauty of Echo Lake was getting quite some attention around their debut album in 2012 until the death of their drummer necessarily halted their momentum. Back on March 2nd with second LP Era, the single pounds on the walls and shapeshifts beneath but expands its horizons over six and a half minutes of poised noise and beauty.

Yak - Hungry Heart

Yak are one of those hyped London bands we hear so much about these days, replete with connections (something to do with Peace's social circle) and a hip label behind them (Fat Possum, putting this out on 24th February). None of which seems to matter once disappearing down the wormhole of this psych-out, reminiscent of nobody so much as 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster reined in a little, with a guitar sound that shudders and careens out towards space, a thick old bassline and a boggle-eyed chorus.