Tuesday, July 31, 2012

MV : "Midnight confessions" by The Grass Roots

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Barrens

The Barrens' self-titled album is often dark, brooding and menacing like on "Claw remains" and powerful, dangerous such as on the rock attack of "Felt".

This is the first full-length album from New York based The Barrens and it runs from heavy grunge rock to lighter psychedelia, "Bottom of the well" is a good example of the latter which comes complete with cute handclaps.
I like them best on the darker heavier stuff though, "Face the eighth" for example with its booming beat and atmospheric guitar noise or on my favourite track on the album "Never knew" with its grinding rock melody and waves of guitar noise.

The Barrens' album is full of great atmospheric alternative rock power and its quite simply great! Its available as a digital download or as a vinyl LP on the band's Bandcamp site.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

MV : "Teletrips" by The Ice Choir

Friday, July 27, 2012

Top Of The Pops (30/06/1977)

Noel is here to introduce late June 1977's hottest sounds including...

T-Connection - do what you gonna do
We start off with some rather grainy and lo-fi film footage that gets played on a big screen in the TOTP studio as the audience dance funkily... well dance anyway. To be fair the audience seem more animated than usual, not that its hard.

Gladys Knight - baby don't change your mind
And straight into the MV played a couple of weeks ago. Two songs in and nothing studio based yet? The MV itself is one of those behind-the-scenes films of life of the Pips. You know the kind of film, everything is cool and fun and nobody has a cross word for anyone else, those arguments are strictly for the cutting room floor.

John Miles - slow down
Into the studio at last, fast disco based pop played by a motley crew. The band's dressing room must have not had a working light, that must explain the drummer's green PE kit, mind you he is a drummer... Noel thinks the song has #1 all over it, so i guess its peaking in the mid-20s then.

Jesse Green - come with me
Jesse has a bit of a wardrobe faux-pas as his shades, while cool, continually reflect the studio lights giving him the effect like he has some kind of white laser spot on his head. Hopefully the sniper won't fire.

Queen - good old fashioned lover boy
Repeat of the non-TOTP studio performance of an earlier show.

Cliff Richard - what happens when two worlds drift apart
Cliff croons a low-key piano led pop song. Sounds very much like a reasonable if a bit lifeless album filler track but not quite sure what its doing here. Its Noel's record of the week which of course guarantees it was a mighty hit that peaked at... #46, oh.

Legs & Co are in fetching black dresses to dance to the Detroit Emerald's "feel the need in me". The stage set has black and white lines that head off towards infinity giving the whole thing a somewhat surreal air.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer - fanfare for the common man
An Olympic tie in! Playing in an empty Olympic stadium somewhere a lot colder than the UK in July. I'm guessing its the Montreal 1976 stadium, didn't they just finish paying for the Olympics?

Hot Chocolate - so you win again
Hot Chocolate's first (and only) number one Noel tells us, after insulting them in the rather awkward segment from ELP's song. Its a good song though maybe flattered by the less than stellar competition at the moment.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Nature Set - if i crawl, you crawl EP (Dufflecoat)

Sheffield's Nature Set's second EP, which has been released on Dufflecoat,  has plenty of good hard fuzzy indie pop that will simply blow you away. "Albatross" has a great synth enhanced opening that takes us into an indie guitar stomp with layered female and male vocals, Nature Set really do have a great sound. "Avalanche" has an eerie lo-fi opening that moves into a frenetic retro 60s garage pop song.

"I am a planet" is really superb, fast and fuzzy with plenty of punk energy. "Hands" has a full-on fuzz pop noise attack. Finally "If you lived here you'd be home by now" has some great retro 60s organ sounds, twangy guitars and hand claps!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Boxed Wine EP

Boxed Wine's debut EP is available free on Bandcamp and is well worth a listen. You could describe their music as energetic and jangly fuzz, the lead track "Waste your time" certainly is. Its fast and fun and packing a great chorus.

Boxed Wine - "Feral" from Play With Fire Films on Vimeo.

"Molly" is the highlight though with some great melodies and beats going on. "Oh no!" is another great track, frenetic but the song is held together tightly, really great work by a band who only formed last year. "Summer wine" closes the EP with some tasty guitar licks. Really good debut EP.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Drunksouls - revolution

French independent band Drunksouls' music is a mix of styles with reggae, hiphop and rock mixed with punk attitude, funk and a love to experiment and play around with different influences. Their first LP was downloaded over 100000 times and this album looks set to continue their success.
Picking out some highlights, "Drifter song" which starts the album off is so infectuous and funky you can't stop listening to it over and over again. "Sullivan Song" sounds great with mad keyboards and an almost Two-Tone feel to it. "Happy death day" is a bit melancholic and has some nice horns.

"The end" is one of the most experimental on the album, with some crazy synth sounds and a slinky reggae beat. "Supermarket" is frenetic and races along amid a sea of funk and tasty keyboards. The title track "Revolution" has some interesting sounds amid its rock-rap attack.
"Uniform" which closes the album takes things down in tempo and feel being quite reflective before erupting into some tasty guitar work but keeping a powerful message, light and dark like much of the album.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

MV : "Avalanche" by Nature Set

EndAnd - adventures of fi in space

What great rock noise EndAnd, a trio from Brookyln, produce on this album that brings together two earlier EPs. Punk, thrash, grunge, hard psychedelia, heavy rock this has it all, mixed in a lo-fi blender. Its all a tremendous ride, experimental yet accessible.
Lets start with "Far in between", a great alternative rock track, driving grinding guitars a-plenty and a pounding beat and gutsy vocals. "Labor force" is almost funky and jazzy at times but also plenty of guitar thrash too. "So what now" reminds me of some great 90s noise with waves of feedback before ending abruptly like a BOSS!
"Commando" is a more conventional heavy rock track with some great guitar widdly work amid the power verses. "Dawi" is much more experimental with noise effects taking us into a lovely junkyard rock melody. From space rock to skank in just a few seconds.

"Sweet" reminds me of 90s US alternative rock again. Its fault this collection of songs as there is some great stuff here but sometimes it does sound, as it is, a collection of 2 EPs. A full-length album with a unified style would be interesting. Standout is Commando but there are a lot of other highlights too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Radio Fallout - vox e tenebris

The third release by US indie rock band Radio Fallout and their first full-length album, "Vox e tenebris" is due out in September 2012 and it is certainly worth waiting for. "I want to be alright" is a good rollicking opener, you can probably detect elements of bands like Weezer or the Food Fighters but Radio Fallout are their own guys and this album has a lot of quality to it. The title track "Vox e tenebris" ups the noise quotient to great effect, guitar fuzz married to a high-octane tempo.
"Falling in" is a bit more toned back and shows off a definite pop sensibility amid the indie rock noise, its a very listenable track, quite retro and modern at the same time. "Hour of darkness" is a lot heavier, sinister beats moving into a razor sharp guitar attack, quite Nirvana-esque in many ways. What i like about Radio Fallout is that they arn't afraid to mash up the styles and tempos a bit, following on from the rock noise of "Hour..." is the lighter, almost mellow, "Summer Sun".
Overall its a great album with a number of really good songs and a good mix of them. Kinda old skool alternative rock sound bought up to date.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Top Of The Pops (16/06/1977)

Kid Jensen presents our shot of rhythm and rock (i'm sure that sounded a lot better in rehearsal).

John Miles - slow down
A "disco smash" according to Kid, i prefer to call it some rather frenetic 70s soft rock. John Miles has a nicely sinister tache and tries some vocal effects using a pipe that hopefully wasn't used to give someone a stomach pump earlier. Its all a little disjointed.

Olivia Newton-John - Sam
A pleasing ballad, a bit bland but well performed. The sort of song and performance you got on a 70s comedy variety show. Half expected Eric and Ernie to come on.

Hot Chocolate - so you win again
Hot Chocolate are always good value, though this isn't their best song. Its performed decently but is a bit of a plodder.

Queen - good old fashioned lover boy
Kid makes a lame Jubilee link to Queen (geddit?) We see Freddie at the joanna and some typical Queen fare. Again not their best song but OK.

Archie Bell & the Drells - everybody have a good time
What kind of "good time" is this Archie considering your group's dance routine seems to consist of synchronised crotch thrusts towards the audience?

Legs & Co (plus some male friends) are on hand to dance away to Bo Kirkland & Ruth Davis' "you're gonna get next to me", all looks a bit of a rip from Soul Train.

Foster Brothers - count me out
More 70s soft rock, with a vague country feel. More dodgy taches too, they much share a barber with John Miles.

Robin the Frog - half way up the stairs
The same film as last time, its hard to get up the stairs when a man has his hand up your bum i guess.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - anything thats rock and roll
Wow indeed it is Tom Petty, this is not a very good song or performance though. Jet lag?

Kenny Rogers - Lucille
Rod has gone off back to his private skin-tight trouser shop and our new number one is by the teddy bear of country singers Kenny Rogers. He sings in a stage set bar just to emphasise the fact the singer meets Lucille in a... you know... bar.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Francis Bowie EP (Interscope Digital)

Danish creative powerhouse Francis Bowie has tired of the idol pop scene and seeks to return "intelligent pop music" (pop music which actually says something) to the fore, his excellent modern synth pop EP is a stunning example of the music he champions.

All the tracks on his EP are wonderful modern pop songs, "Wasting my time" with its dark synth opening perfectly mixes music which at first listen is light with a dark foreboding undercurrent, at times like Depeche Mode hijacking a late 80s SAW pop act.

"Endlessly" is a bit lighter, with a lovely melody. "Sunny day" has some classic synth pop moments reminding at times of acts like the Human League, like the other tracks its a very layered song that rewards repeated listens, you'll keep finding something new to appreciate. "Silly and crazy" is a slow dance at a dark disco.
Also check out his single "I feel so alone" a more straightforward but still very infectious pop song. Francis' songs are catchy, quirky, unpredictable, at once familiar and unexpected. Just my kind of pop music really.

Francis Bowie's EP and single is available on his Bandcamp site.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Air Balloon Road (Sarah)

Some records can leave you cold, some give a momentary relief from harsh reality, others can take you to a whole new world and if you are lucky you never ever leave. Such as happened to me when i bought the Sarah Records compilation Air Balloon Road many years ago, it introduced me to the mysterious world of twee pop and C86, and i've remained ever since.

Sarah released periodic compilations of the pick of songs from their singles (well their pick anyway, some great songs never made it), Air Balloon Road covers the early period of Sarah and includes the early classics like the Sea Urchins' blissful pop song "Pristine Christine" which of course was the very first single on the label as well as wonderful tracks like The Field Mice's melancholic "End of the affair" and The Orchids' "Its only obvious". Wonderful indie pop tunes which sound as fresh today as they did in the early 90s.

"Darkest blue" by Gentle Despite is another favourite, plus don't forget Another Sunny Day and Brighter, The Golden Dawn, Action Painting, the pop trash of 14 Iced Bears' "come get me"... well all 23 tracks are just essential. This is probably as close as you could ever get to something as banal as "The best of Sarah", although there were many other great songs to come this is truly a document of a golden age.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

She's So Rad - in circles

She's So Rad marry shoegaze noise with electronics and the result is quite something. Almost simultaneously familiar and new, pop glorious and experimental.

"Iceblock" has a driving guitar pulse but married to an uplifting chorus, the effect is mesmeric and powerful. "Circles" is a more straightforward rock song with plenty of noise and jangly pop joy. "Videos" drives along with an electronically enhanced beat and feedback noise pierced by beautiful guitars.

"Fourtrax" is more experimental, slabs of noise. "Georgie's Song" stands out by being a much lighter, melancholic track but beneath the gentle melody you can feel the undercurrent of noise menace. "Lights" is simply magic, waves of feedback producing what can only be described as a melody of sheer beauty.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Top 5 Records (June 2012)

The top 5 records played in Trip Towers...

1) Signs of a perfect disaster - Sea Dweller

2) The Proctors / Apple Orchard Split EP
3) Anxiety - Ladyhawke
4) Something - Chairlift
5) Through the night - Ren Harvieu

Monday, July 2, 2012

Maple Leaves - robots (Mute Commuter)

The new EP by the wonderful Maple Leaves brings more rooty pop joy such as on the title track "robots" which has a joyous perfect folk indie pop melody when it gets going along with its organic yet machine sounding beat. "Missing parts" adds some flute, some nice male-female vocal interchange. Like "robots" it is a very human song full of warmth and feel.

"Those arms" soars with atmosphere, the perfect song to listen to while gazing across a barren yet beautiful landscape perhaps, must try it. Every track is crafted to perfection and so very very listenable. Its something more than much of the music scene, its got some heart. In a world plagued with fakery and illusion this is the reality you really deserve.