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)