Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Hilary Woods, Slow Skies, Primetime, Hallie & The Annies

Hilary Woods - Flames

Last year Woods was trading as The River Cry and made a tremendous but overlooked album; back trading under her proper name with Night EP, out September 18th, the sound has been fleshed out from that very atmospheric, minimal sound a little, bringing in an undulating rhythm while retaining the need to give everything space to breathe, all while still introspective and reverberating within its intimacy.




Slow Skies - Ice Field

From one icy Dubliner voice to another, and funnily enough we were just wondering the other day what had become of the duo since their last EP came out last May. The answer seems to be that they were making a new one, Keepsake, out at the end of the month, from which this delicate wander across audial floes comes, placing Karen Sheridan's fragile vocal at the centre of a shimmering waking dreamscape.




Primetime - Tied Down

Right, that's more than enough glaciality. Primetime are from the Raincoats/Kleenex school of all-female post-punk effort-over-technique angularity, a sound and approach we're starting to hear spread again of late (Ravioli Me Away, No Ditching, Colour Me Wednesday) so much so that it'll officially become a scene soon. From a self-titled 7" EP that came out in July comes a scratchy, unrepentantly direct strut with hidden hooks to spare.




Hallie & The Annies - Anytime

H&tA's, as nobody will ever call them, is a name that's been bandied about in indiepop circles over the summer months still with some confusion about who's actually in them. Ellis who is Trust Fund is one, it turns out, appropriate as the Bristol-based outfit's latest recording is as on the verge of falling apart as much of his work, a soft shoe shimmering jangle that in its luscious twang and dark-hued harmonies betrays an influence from the Dunedin Sound.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Tigercats, Golden Fable, Ex Comets, yr friends

Tigercats - Junior Champion

First confirmed release for 2015! East London's infectious dreamers have signed to home of the hits Fortuna Pop! and will have second record Mysteries out in January. Well ahead of that, notice is served that they've grown up a bit, recruiting Paul Rains of Allo Darlin' as extra guitarist and bringing in a flute melody and triumphant sax parts from Terry Edwards (bringing his number of guest collaborations further into the low thousands) on a sophisticated shuffle that's still identifiably them, namechecking Bobby Fischer en route.




Golden Fable - Armour

A second album that will be out this year is Ancient Blue, out 10th November, which on this evidence sees the north Walians develop a bit of muscle behind Rebecca Palin's familiarly, enchantingly sprite-like vocals, electronics dialled back in favour of uneasily vibrating guitars, flirting in the process with darkwave or Low at their most jagged.




Ex Comets - Old Cool Red

Remember We Three And The Death Rattle? Among our tips for the year this January, they've already put that identity aside, doubled their numbers, claimed to be from Groom Lake (Area 51 to you) and emerged with a debut single, out on the 22nd, that reminds us of lost mid-00s art-rock conceptualists The Be Be See. In terms that other people might understand that means sci-fi synths, surf guitars, harmonies and underlying menace and dreaminess alike.




yr friends - Malibu

Yep, Alexei Berrow's got rent arrears/an overdraft/a council tax bill/all of the above and more* so he's got a new solo EP out. And yep, it's a Linkousesque Hole cover. Of course.

* based on previous assertions

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hookworms, Zola Blood, Casual Sex, Everything By Electricity

Hookworms - The Impasse

Regular readers will know how much of a possibly certifiable weakness we have for tracks 'recorded by MJ' at his Suburban Home studios in Leeds, but we haven't written so much about those tracks he records with MB, JN, SS and JW. Altering that state of affairs is this monster from second album The Hum, out 10th November, a wall of aggressively focused noise that with MJ's familiarly roaring over-reverbed vocals sounds tailor made for blasting the paint off venue walls.




Zola Blood - Meridian

We now have faces and names for the once-anonymous band, but in a musical sense their second track remains elusive. Possibly illusive too, given the way its beats push on and attempt to keep it perky as the synths tune downwards and the guitar plucks its way to the depths.




Casual Sex - A Perfect Storm

OOH, CAREFUL GOOGLING THAT NAME, SIR! We'd put 'Glasgow band' on the end, that'd help. After a year spent touring with Franz Ferdinand and playing SXSW comes a 7" on the Sandberg brothers (of Wake The President fame)' We Can Still Picnic label that has the poise of playful art-rock with the riffs of a touring monster and the beat of a Casio.




Everything By Electricity - Abyss

Straight out of the synth-dreampop handbook, if held upside down, comes a London trio sporting a wash of plangent synths, pulsating beats, a rush of treated guitar and a vocal that's not too distance from Jonas of Mew's awkward falsetto. It doesn't shimmer as much as flood.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Joanna Gruesome, Interpol, Tyrannosaurus Dead, Broken Arm

Joanna Gruesome - Psykick Espionage

Starting to suspect JoGru aren't going to release any more albums, just loads of new tracks on split singles. This one is with Perfect Pussy, and while no release date has yet been confirmed it'll feature a new track and cover by each on 7" plus a 24 page comic book. It's another reliving of their sweetness in the melee crossed with bug-eyed anger with subtlety, beginning like a runaway freight train with Alanna clinging on like here and now it means everything to her, and it probably does.




Interpol - Ancient Ways

Haven't heard them in this form for a while ahead of new album El Pintor, out 8th September. Paul Banks' lyrics are as inscrutable as ever, the noise around him focused, vaguely throbbing and pleasingly itchy driven by a rolling bassline gathering plenty of moss.




Tyrannosaurus Dead - Local Bullies

T-Dead have already been down the JoGru split route and have progressed onto an album, Flying Ant Day, out 3rd November via Odd Box. Produced by the usually reliable Rory Attwell, this switches from quiet wistful verses borrowing from the early 90s US underground to huge loud messy chorus, all while retaining misleadingly sweetened boy-girl harmonies. And it namechecks the RSPB.




Broken Arm - Guilty Conscience

Speaking of much-admired knob twiddlers, seriously, can MJ* consider putting us on commission at least if we're going to write about so many records he's recorded? From Leeds - the city they're all calling "the new Cardiff, at least as far as the number of new bands from there STN are featuring goes" - Broken Arm's debut album Life Is Short is coming out on 15th September via natural home of noisy dissonance Gringo Records, lashing on the power chord riff and then after a Mudhoney fashion slathering it in sludge, distortion, outbreaks of noise and short temperament.




(* Who of course also produced Joanna Gruesome's Weird Sister. See, everything's connected. Except Interpol. Bastards.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Before it's too late: Post War Glamour Girls, Heavy Petting Zoo

Post War Glamour Girls - Lolong

The other half of a double A side for the Too Pure Singles Club - we covered Gustave back here - finds PWGG going full goth, or at least a point somewhere between Bauhaus and the Gun Club. Billy Mason-Wood of Blacklisters takes up co-vocals, the band explaining the concept of the 7" thus: "Billy plays the part of 'Lolong' who is the largest crocodile in captivity and he's having a conversation through the bars of his cage/prison cell with 'Gustave' who is the suspected largest crocodile in the wild and trying to convince him that he should help him escape and they should work as a team." Right you are, then. PWGG are touring in mid-September, including on the 23rd a date for our promotional arm at Leicester Firebug.




Heavy Petting Zoo - Inherent Vice

Their Too Pure Singles Club 7" has been out for weeks but we've just realised we never wrote about the B-side, and given Nemone played it on 6 Music today and we've just seen them slay at Green Man ahead of a BBC Introducing stage slot at Reading (Sunday) and Leeds (Friday) - says here they clash with You Me At Six, The Kooks and Boys Noize, so it's not like you'd be missing anything - better late than never. Waltz tempo, spy guitars, Amy coming on with menaces, a cocksure swagger with a sharpened switchblade behind the back.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Allo Darlin', David Thomas Broughton, The School, DELS

Allo Darlin' - Romance And Adventure

The first single from third album We Come From The Same Place, out 3rd October, shares a title with a Josie Long show, which may not be a coincidence, not just because of a mutual admiration but Elizabeth Morris' lyrical worldview sharing a certain faux-naive belief in the restorative power of companionship through adventure. The song chimes effervescently like something assured in its essential indiepop timelessness, just like their songs tend to.



David Thomas Broughton & Juice Vocal Ensemble - In Service

The second taster for Sliding The Same Way, out 22nd September, the collaboration between Otley's sonorously beauteous surrealist and the experimental acapella trio is as uneasy, in a good way, as you might expect as Broughton gets involved in a tragic pub brawl and Juice dissonantly ululate.



The School - Just Let Me Be Here

The B-side, actually, of the Cardiff post-retro octet's contribution to WIAIWYA's 7777777 singles club, but it's the side we prefer so there, as there's something that suits the season about their not actually girl group but melodically inclined that way sweetness and light that isn't that sweet or light.



DELS - RGB

Man the lifeboats, STN's going to write about some rap! Kieren Gallear has been trading as DELS since 2010; second album Petals Have Fallen, out 3rd November, showcases his peculiarly urgent yet laidback style and headspinning lyrical Mobius strips. Michacu and Kwes are at the production desk for this track which essentially means the beat stops, starts and turns off into a different road type and the bassline sounds like a malfunctioning carburettor.



Thursday, August 07, 2014

Worth the wait: Maybeshewill, Slum Of Legs, Wyldest, Flowers

Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

The title track of their fourth album out August 28th finds them in less brooding, almost bouncy mood by their usual standards. There's still the gradual post-rock build, twinkly breakdowns and big anthemic explosions, but in between come brass fanfares, stuttering electronics and politi-folkie who we don't think we've somehow ever mentioned on here before Grace Petrie on the very un-Grace Petrie-seeming instrument of accordion. They're touring China next month. Stitch that, Wham!




Slum Of Legs - Begin To Dissolve

We're tempted to think that the Brighton sextet are the Desperate Bicycles of post-riot grrrl or somesuch, DIY righteousness held together by audio string, but inevitably that's the trojan horse under which everything - metronomic drums, violin solos, lo-fi fuzz, lyrics based on curiosity and questioning - gets thrown in until it sounds like the Fall with a female singer deliberately smashed up and pieced back together skew-wiff, at which it collapses in on itself. A fascinating, singular debut single.




Wyldest - Wanders

Known as Wildest Dreams until... well, this upload, the duo recently won the Green Man Rising competition to open the main stage next Friday, following the great Haiku Salut's triumph in the same competition last year. Wyldest deal in tingling dreampop of a Beach House/I Break Horses stripe with a hint of Warpaint, drifting guitar lines and woozy synth effects sustaining a floating vocal in mid-air.




Flowers - Joanna

The first single from the trio's debut album Do What You Want To, It's What You Should Do (out 8th September on Fortuna POP!) sheds the fuzz and feedback of their earlier recordings and gigs - no doubt producer Bernard Butler's doing - to emerge as a more earthbound Sundays, lifted by the emotive upper register of Rachel Kenedy.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

This just in: Joanna Gruesome, Maybeshewill

Joanna Gruesome - Jerome (liar)

We're off to Indietracks this weekend, as you might have reasonably imagined, where one of the big draws is going to be JoGru's increasingly manaically ferocious presence. They and Trust Fund - he/they are there too - are releasing a split 12", three new tracks each, on 22nd September, this first taste of which harks back to their earlier EPs as Alanna and Owen sort of harmonise over elasticated fuzzbomb pop-post-punk which occasionally breaks free and surges like a sudden mini-typhoon.




Maybeshewill - In Amber

Stratospheric post-rockish guitars and stately electronics have served Maybeshewill well enough for three albums, by and large, but the first track to escape from fourth full-length Fair Youth, due 25th August, feels like a further step upwards in ambition, all peaks and troughs, minimal piano and subtly heroic strings and brass aid the slowest of builds to something that in refusing to quite become enormous just for the sake of it might resemble synesthesia of ice floes. Maybeshewill are playing out too this weekend, at Tramlines.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Menace Beach, The Rentals, Martin Carr, Echo Lake

Menace Beach - Lowtalkin'

Ah, where would we be without shouty lo-fi? A fuzzed out 103 seconds half of which seems to be a clanging solo that dissolves into appropriate chaos, it's half of a double A side out 1st September, and that'll be Alanna McArdle off of Joanna Gruesome on backing yelling.




The Rentals - 1000 Seasons

Matt Sharp left Weezer in 1998 but seems destined to be defined by having been in that band rather than the angularity of the band he on-off leads - indeed the story of Blur's post-Britpop transformation neglects how much Damon hung out with Sharp and guested with the band around that time. They're back with third album Lost In Alphaville, out 8th September, from which comes this typically fuzzpop bomb.




Martin Carr - The Santa Fe Skyway

We first wrote about this song nearly three years ago when it was in demo form. Not the most protestant of work ethics, is it? Anyway, here's the version that'll be on album The Breaks come September 26th, now swelled into a huge sunshine pop arrangement with a hint of 1980s US TV theme.




Echo Lake - This Year

Echo Lake emerged with an intriguing dreampop album, Wild Peace, in 2002, though the sudden death of their drummer stymied its promotion and prospects. This first release since then, which will appear on Marshall Teller Records label sampler Broken Record Vol. 1 on 18th August, breezes by with stabs of shoegaze guitar to disrupt the Slowdiveish mood, less droney than before but still liable to plunge down a psychedelically patterned sinkhole.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Spearmint - Tony Wright

Ahead of the festival this weekend, this year's Indietracks compilation is out with its usual remarkable value for money, 56 tracks for a minimum £2 with all proceeds to the Midlands Railway Trust. On there is this track, not one we recognised... until we found out it's from an album, News From Nowhere, that came out in May. There's communication at work - the very band whose song we named the blog after and we didn't know they'd released their first album in eight years until chancing across this two months later. Certainly sounds like a band on their usual form, Shirley Lee's treatise on growing up and leaving behind the certainties of youth through the value of the meaning of music framed through what appears to be a student love of Terrorvision. Each to their own.