Friday, September 28, 2012

Top 5 Records (September 2012)

1) in her gentle jaws - Depreciation Guild
2) afar - The Ice Choir
3) ashes and roses - Mary Chapin Carpenter
4) i was running - Alpaca Sports
5) Penguin Prison

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Psychocandies - you feel the sun (i kiss the floor) (Dufflecoat)

This is glorious noise. The Psychocandies' debut EP has razor sharp feedback straight out of the JAMC school married to atmospheric soundscapes. Harsh and gritty (8 track studio naturally) yet with a beauty amid the waves of noise and post-punk beats. The title track has a wave of screaming guitar noise amid beats that disappear into the ether. Its pretty awesome to be honest.

"A place in the sun" is a long continuous grind and howl that seems recorded in a nuclear bunker, or it seems so anyway. "You got no soul" has brutal industrial beats and slabs of guitar noise, deadpan vocals natch. The closer "Psychotic" reminds me of noise jams from the likes of Fushitsusha. Its fantastic and you need this in your life!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dot Dash - winter garden light (The Beautiful Music)

The second album from US (Washington DC to be exact) band Dot Dash is a indie pop/rock gem packed full of great melodies and post-punk energy both of which are really evident on the powerful opener "Faraway". A track I particularly love though "Countdown" with its jangly pop rush and great also is the robust pop of "Writing on the wall" which has a great melody and beat.

"The past is another country" has some great guitar work packed into a song thats over in an instant. "The Devil's road" has a great noisy fuzz grind to it. There are some truly great songs on here, Dot Dash remind me of some of the great US and UK indie rock bands i used to listen to but also have a freshness and style that marks them out as something special and new. Great album indeed!

"Winter garden light" is available now on The Beautful Music.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Nancy Priddy - you've come this way before (RPM)

Occasionally i get albums purely because of the cover, i admit female artists tend to appear on most of these covers but i am sure that is purely a coincidence. Nancy Priddy's album intrigued me though because the cover just looked that cool and very much of its time.

This album by the singer-songwriter came out of New York in 1968 and has an interesting mix of late 60s folk pop and jazz. Take the title track for example with its easy melody and instrumental flourishes or "And who will you be" with its horns and spacey beats.

At times the album is a little odd, but its a good odd. Nancy Priddy is the mother of the actress Christina Applegate by the way, according to the liner notes Christina was named after a painting which one of the tracks on the album is about.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

MV : "Magic" by Ladyhawke

Lets celebrate international talk like a pirate day, this video is a bit pirate-y me hearties!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Some Gorgeous Accident - sleep in symmetry EP (Dufflecoat)

Relaxed blissful C86 noise is Some Gorgeous Accident's forte, especially on this is collection of beautiful pop melodies. Though as the band are named after a Blueboy record that should not be a surprise to anyone. "See you shine" has all the hallmarks of a twee classic: a simple pop melody that builds up to a crescendo of razor sharp chords.
"Tracing Baguio" again is winning with its simple pop melody and shards of guitar noise. "Avenue" is again simple and effective, a dreamy classic. "Your gaze" is blissful shoegaze, drifting you away on a sea of pop noise.

This EP, which will be out on Dufflecoat Records in late September, is a bliss drenched classic.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pontoons - slow

When we reviewed Pontoons' great single "antidote" earlier in the year we said the album should be something to look forward to as well... well here it is, and it is (hopefully that makes sense!) Like the single the full length album is a great indie album with classic sounds wrapped up with earcatching tunes and intelligent playing.

The dreamy melancholy of "The first time" starts us off and then we are into the pacey pop thrill of "Shiver". Other highlights include the experimental 80s feel of "Persuade me" and the multi-faceted melody of "Leave the light on". "The path" is a bit of a departure being a gritty garage rock thrash but works well with the other (refined) tracks.

Closing things off is the extended track "Shaking" that builds and builds. Despite first forming in 1991 this is Pontoons first full length album (albeit for a lot of those years they were not active) but its worth the wait, brilliant!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Monks of Mellonwah - neurogenesis EP

Monks of Mellonwah have a sound that reminds you of grunge and alternative rock bands like the Chili Peppers (and "Neverending spirit" certainly has the feel of a song from the RHCP with atmospheric swirls of rock noise) but also classic 70s blues rock.
"Kyoto" is a more straight forward fast rock track and has plenty of energy and some great funky rock guitar. "You shine" is a brooding and epic rock masterpiece, my favourite song on the EP. The title track, which has some great rock hooks especially in the chorus, is a song about the development of atomic bomb, yes!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Five Day Week Straw People (RPM)

This was a concept album from the late 60s by a London duo, one of whom now runs Toni & Guy apparently, and some musicians from other bands including the singer John Du Cann from The Attack. The concept was the life of ordinary British people who work hard during the week and then let it all go at the weekend...

Recorded in a few hours (and sometimes you can tell, often very rough around the edges) it has some truly great moments. Take the shambling trippy "Sunday morning" that conveys the morning after the night before really well. "Postman" starts with some great psychedelic noises before clicking into a poignant bluesy number. "Five day week straw people" is one of my all-time favourite psychedelic tracks, dreamy and asymmetric yet still with a great tune.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Top Of The Pop (28/07/1977)

Noel is here and we're straight into a song - no credits, music nada. It just feels a bit weird, like we've missed the first minutes of the show, anyway...

Steve Gibbons Band - Tulane
And what a way to start the show, well if you like a bit of country rock boogie woogie. Hey i don't mind and Steve is in good voice. The audience also seem more animated than usual, maybe they are sending electric current through the floor?

Noel introduces the chart run down, the Detroit Emeralds providing the music backdrop to the likes of the Sex Pistols and Olivia Newton John. Not sure its working.

Boney M - Ma Baker
In Interwars Period outfits to match the gangster era theme of the song (well vaguely) but the same pop funk fun. The performance seems taken from elsewhere as the audience are all sat down but are clapping which puts them ahead of the usual TOTP crowd.

Showaddywaddy - you got what it takes
This band must have been the favourite of 1970s TV engineers, their different coloured suits must have been very handy when tuning in a TV. What interests me about this lot is that there are so many of them in the band and on stage yet their sound is so traditional and safe. Its like they were formed as a job creation scheme.

Legs & Co. are in a car that looks like it could have been in Death Race 2000 to perform Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers' "Roadrunner". The "dancing" mostly consists of headbanging on the back seat.

Bob Marley & The Wailers - Exodus
Cool people shake their stuff on stage.

Dana - its high time you put some words together
From Bob Marley to Dana... thats the magic of Top of the Pops! Typical light entertainment fare, almost expect to see Morecambe & Wise messing about in the background. There is a bit of a country feel to it though which actually makes the song very up to date... Noel says it'll keep the Dana fans happy. Bit of a back-handed compliment eh?

Emerson, Lake & Palmer - fanfare for the common man
Prog rock in an Olympic stadium. Couldn't happen here... or could it?

Rita Coolidge - we're all alone
Same film footage as a couple of weeks ago. Noel makes the lamest joke ever about the Wirral. I wonder if he did it for a dare.

Thin Lizzy - dancing in the Moonlight
A nice spot is a couple dancing real slow and romantic at one end of the stage. Noel is astonished his prediction that their last song would go to #1 didn't work out. Funny that, his predictions usually are spot on. Yeah right.

Donna Summer - i feel love
Donna isn't here so instead we get large pictures of her for the audience to dance in front of and Legs & Co. gyrate in their car from earlier. Oddly its all very retro-futuristic.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Bloody Valentine - loveless (Remastered) (Sony)

21 years ago My Bloody Valentine released "Loveless", an album that has gone on to become one of the icons of shoegaze and indie noise and one of the best albums of the 1990s. It was My Bloody Valentine last full-length album but here finally is the follow-up... a remastered version.

Its all here as before, updated by Kevin Shields, only better : the waves of noise, the drones, the whale noises, and some amazing indie rock moments especially "Only shallow" and "Soon" which bookend the album. In between noises and a soundscape that were beyond many people's imagination (although personally i can imagine quite a lot). You actually get Loveless remastered twice on 2 CDs, once from the original tapes and then again from DAT tapes.

My ears arn't good enough to tell much if any difference to be honest between the 2 CDs... all i can tell is it is a work of genius.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ladyhawke - anxiety (Island)

Ladyhawke's second album after a 4 year gap and times have moved on. Ladyhawke has moved her sound away from a retro synth laden pastiche of great late 80s pop on her great debut to something altogether harder and rockier and more refined in direction. Whereas her first album was a little patchy "Anxiety" is pretty full on straight off the bat with the driving pop-rock of "Girl like me".

Highlights are a-plenty and include the blistering power-pop of "blue eyes" and the power of "black, white and blue". At times maybe it feels like Ladyhawke has moved on from the 80s to 90s Brit Pop though there are also 80s and psychedelia influences in the mix. There are also plenty of amazing pop hooks in that mix.

I can't deny i do miss the "old Ladyhawke sound" a bit but she was probably right to move on. The 80s can be a great decade to dip into but its very easy to become entrapped by the cliches. Overall verdict then, brilliant. Its in the running for one of the albums of the year.