Monday, December 30, 2013

MV : "Ain't no pleasin' you (new acoustic version)" by Chas & Dave

Best song you'll ever hear, yeah?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Top 5 Records (December)

Amid the end of year list-fest the top 5 for December probably doesn't really amount to a hill of beans kid but lets tidy up the year's monthly charts.

1) Mary Chapin Carpenter - state of the heart
2) The Bordellos - Ronco revival sounds
3) Ruthann Friedman - Windy : a Ruthann Friedman songbook
4) Charlie Big Time - sale or return EP
5) Bob Dylan - the very best of

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Trip-TV's A-Z of 2013

Lets round the review of 2013 off with our A-Z of 2013. As always this is a playlist of some of the bands that have touched us this year, from A to Z. As always though we have no entries for Q (and a couple of other letters), some suggestions for cool C86 or synthpop bands that start with Q would be welcome. Have a nice end of year, back in 2014!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Trip-TV's top 10 songs of 2013!

We've done the best records but what about the songs? As before this is a list of stuff we liked this year so may not necessarily be from 2013. We've restricted ourselves to just the one song per artist so there is a bit more variety.

1) song of decision - Emily Bindiger
2) afar - The Ice Choir
3) someday my heart will beat again - The School
4) fallout - Neon Indian
5) every morning (and for the rest of our lives) - The Rosie Taylor Project
6) coastlands - Old Lacy Bed
7) hot chocolate - Tommy February6
8) tru feelings - No Rome
9) luminous - Slumbook
10) telephone - Alpaca Sports

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Longdrone Flowers - she's strangehead too EP

The Longdrone Flowers are now no more but have left behind a couple of EPs of which this was the second and an uncompromising journey through noise it is! "Quiet" stumbles along, the sound of chaos and brutal noise. "Wildfire and the non-story" is a grind, a delicious noise pop grind at that. A bit like a 60s psychedelic pop single played at 33 1/3rpm.

Finally "My sister Drusilla" doesn't play out of your speakers it erupts like some kind of precambrian soundtrack. I liked this track the most, its warped groove and undercurrent of danger most infectious.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Trip-TV's top 20 records of 2013!

Trip-TV presents its top 20 records of 2013, actually some of them are more correctly from 2012 and some are reissues from earlier times but hey 2013 is just a number! But anyway enough talk, lets rock...

1) The Ice Choir - afar
2) Emily Bindiger - Emily
3) The School - reading too much into things like everything
4) The Rosie Taylor Project - twin beds
5) Tommy February6 - Tommy candy shop sugar me
6) Flowers - when you lie
7) My Bloody Valentine - mbv
8) Veronica Falls - waiting for something to happen
9) The Kensingtons - black tag parade
10) The Wake - a light far out

11) Outerhope - no end in sight
12) Old Lacy Bed - little girl
13) Chairlift - something
14) Various - 94 Baker Street revisited
15) Pale Man Made - red box secrets
16) Slumbook - Slumbook
17) Various - recorded for Japan
18) Ruthann Friedman - Windy: a Ruthann Friedman songbook
19) Acid House Kings / Alpaca Sports - split single
20) Various - Lasting fun, forever young (Indonesia indiepop scene vol 2)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Bandcamp : Nanaki - all i want for Christmas is you

This is your Christmas hit.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Windmill Flexi 2

A flexidisc of 3 indie bands, the essence of indie pop? Personally i've always found flexidiscs a nightmare to get to play properly but they are fun (when they work) and have that same mysterious excitement as you get from Christmas crackers.

The music then from this 1991 flexi, Dreamscape's "strange story" is a lovely psychedelic drenched piece of pop, as you'd expect from the proto-Secret Shine band. Beautiful guitar over 60s organ and Rebecca Rawlings' lovely vocals. This is one of the best Dreamscape songs, up there with "Black flower".

Strawberry Story's "behind this smile" is a lo-fi indie thrash with female close harmonies over a fuzz guitar attack. Its lovely and frantic. Finally They Go Boom!! go all urgent pop rush with "She's like a dream" and it has some truly gorgeous pop harmonies. The essence of indie pop? The essence of life.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Raindrops - the story from the past (SEA Indie EP)

Raindrops' music is beautiful layered electronic pop with a shoegaze-y reverb effect that washes over the listener on this EP from SEA Indie. The music is glorious, "La peur" for example soars with its almost exultant astral pop sound. Its the sound of being adrift in the universe, celestial mood music.

"Past boy" is the sound of a star forming. "Sin and its mesmerising beauty" (great song title) is moody and mysterious, spacey beats echoing from nowhere erupt into a kaleidoscope of noise. The pop noise is gorgeous, the dream at the centre of the pop. A trip to the stars and beyond.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Bordellos - Ronco revival sound (Daddy Tank)

The Bordellos it is said exist outside of current musical trends, so i liked them already before i even began to listen to their album. The title track is a lo-fi stomp through the musical landscape harking back to the musical past of Lennon, Elvis and er.. Glitter. A nostalgic jaunt clothed in noise and the unexpected, and thats just the start of the unusual journey through pop this album takes you on. "Tattoo heart" is a garage-y thrash as is the "Kinky dee" which indeed is a tribute to garage rock and a fine ramble it is too.

"Deborah" has an urgent quality to its acoustic backing. A very underground 60s sound that threatens to go off the rails a few times but manages to get to the end. "Fruitcakes" takes us on an experimental lo-fi noise journey, its laid back and terrifying at the same time.

"Temperature drop" takes us into Wake-like synth-pop territory, a haunting low-key song. Beautiful in its fragility and simplicity. On an album of unexpected twists and turns this was the best. You don't have to fit in, acres of indie landfill have made that mistake. Choose individuality, choose a proper alternative, choose The Bordellos!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jesus & Mary Chain - honey's dead

Or the Mary Chain go indie-dance. Released in the early 1990s this album perfectly captured the dance beats prevalent in indie at the time along with the earlier feedback drenched sound polished to perfection.

The album mixed cultured feedback noise with an infectious beat. Cultured? Well yes. A lot of bands at the time threw feedback at the audience to bludgeon them with a wall of noise (not that i am saying this is a bad thing of course). On "Honey's dead" the feedback is buried deeper and works into the song. Like a virus.

On this album the Reid brothers bought live drums back into the mix and the result is pretty fantastic to be honest. Songs like "Far gone and out" and "Almost gold" are epic pop songs. There are a few fillers but no dogs. The album still stands up as being one of the best indie albums of the decade. A hey hey hey!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

Postcode - the zebrATP EP

Long established Isle of Man band Postcode latest EP of zebracore is very fine indeed. Their first new music since 2010, the EP does all those wonderful alt-rock things like soar, shine and scorch and in plentiful quantities too. "Reds" and "Fairy hill" are glorious journeys through an atmospheric soundscape.

"Pavilion song" turns it up, waves of noise, its just brilliant. It has a retro 90s indie sound but also sounds back up to date. "Envy" is brooding and dangerous, exuding menace and erupting into slabs of guitar destruction. Its just amazing!

"Tregonwell" is sparser, folk-ier, then the previous tracks but also superb. Its a bit low-key but irresistible with it. "Sunfield" is noisy and thrashy, urgent and intense. Its slabs of noise underlie a terrific stomp of a song. Finally "Goodbye Minehead" is a bit of an emotional epic and the perfect way to end the EP.

I love it when you get sent an EP and YOU GET BLOWN AWAY when you listen to it. And i have been by Postcode, utterly fabulous.

Top 5 Records (November)

1) Emily Bindiger - Emily
2) Love - forever changes
3) Various artists - everything is fine (Filipino indiepop scene)
4) Brighter - demo recordings 1988-1990
5) The Ice Choir - afar

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Beatles - rubber soul (remastered)

Rubber Soul was one of the few Beatles albums i had bought before in the pre-mastered days (though i don't know whats happened to my old copy) and i remembered at the time i was a little disappointed with it. I think at the time i was a too little young to appreciate it, i wanted "I am the Walrus" and the like but really this is one of the best Beatles albums. One to truly appreciate now.

It was the last album before psychedelia began to feature in the fab four's music in any meaningful way but this a very modern album. Well crafted pop songs songs like "Drive my car" and music inventiveness like "Michelle" which is still one of my favourite Beatles songs of all.

Mostly though this album takes me back to the 1960s, or how i imagine it was (as i wasn't born). Listening to this album a few mornings ago in the car i drove up behind a Mark 1 Ford Cortina complete with fins. The feeling of nostalgia nearly overcome me.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Charlie Big Time - sale or return (Jigsaw EP)

Charlie Big Time's third EP released on Jigsaw Records has a warm and melancholic sound, delicate, multi-layered and rooted in fear, mystery and wonder. The sound of late city nights seen through a rain smeared window.

"A Sunday afternoon well spent" is simply wonderful, sounding like the closing credits of the best TV drama you never saw with its rich sound. The title track is more pared back and conveys joy through misery the way only indie pop can.

"Pitiful, delightful and alarming" has a feeling of fragile hope amid the hopelessness buried in the simple delicate melody. "From the cradle to the bar" closes a superb EP of melancholic pop joy.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Salient Braves - somewhere sordid (Dufflecoat EP)

The Salient Braves claim they are "purveyors of tuneful indiepop" so is that true? Oh yeah, classic indie guitar pop tunes abound here on this EP released on Dufflecoat (also available digitally). Title track "Somewhere sordid" ticks all the right boxes sonic wise and is a rollickingly good tune.

"I'm alright now" is a lovely pop song about being in a cult, brainwashing never sounded so cute. Great lyrics feature throughout this EP and coupled with an indie pop backing without pretensions you have the ingredients of a very good EP indeed.

"Out to lunch" is another fun indie thrash, there is a great cover of "Waterloo sunset" too. How the EP has been recorded is a lot behind it but listening to the Salient Braves you feel like they are playing in your kitchen (or car boot depending on where you are listening to the EP!) Its intimate and democratic pop music, light years away from... you know.

Anyway "Chance" finishes off the EP with another honest indiepop flourish. What a great EP!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Icona Pop - this is

The second album from the Swedish synth pop duo, and pretty pop-tastic it is too. Full of high octane high energy electro pop like the Chari XCX collaboration "I love it" (which has become a pretty big hit advertising phones and the like). It is the lead track and sets the scene for the album, noisy synth pop, dance beats, dual vocals. Its quite JPOP sounding in many ways especially on "We got the world" which reminds me a lot of JPN.

"All night" and "Light me up" have great pop hooks, though it does get a bit shrill at times. "On a roll" has some lovely retro synth beats.

Its got plenty of great tunes, stacks of great energy, but ultimately... its a bit empty. Its bubblegum and disposable, but fun with it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mumbly - mumblybule (Dufflecoat EP)

Mumbly was a pop band formed in Paris in the early 1990s by Michaël Korchia currently of Watoo Watoo. After releasing an album in the late 90s Mumbly began work on some new tracks... then split up and the tracks have remained unreleased and unfinished until... now! So what do Mumbly sound like? Well quite a classic 90s indie sound with jangly guitars and slightly detached and deadpan vocals. A well tried and well liked classic combination influenced by bands like Heavenly and The Smiths, and so well done here.

"1, 2, i lost you" is urgent and compelling with some lovely guitar work over and in the melody. "Run away" is a joyous jingly pop rush. "Picture of a lost friend" slows things down a lot and is a lot more atmospheric and builds into a superb pop song. "New luc" has a lovely acoustic driven vibe. "Troisième étage" is a twee pop masterpiece. Finally a home demo of "Winter" completes what is a superb EP of classic pop highs that is finally here after 15 years from first tracks to final mix!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Depeche Mode - speak and spell (Mute)

Hard electro gods nowadays but a lot more poppy when they released this, their debut album, back in 1981. Its a masterpiece, simple as that. A mixture of poppy thrills, lovely hooks and early electronic experiments, but in a good way. Some contemporary albums that explored what the new electronics and synths could do are largely unlistenable, this is not. Far from it. However its not perfect, being elevated by the excellent singles...

"New life" is a bit cloying though, it has some nice bleeps and melodies but the vocals and chorus are a bit insipid. Lets move onto "Puppets", now this is a fantastic song. It still has the poppy sound but an undercurrent of darkness, the grim edge of the early 80s synth soundscape. Its the sound of being trapped in TRON forever, endlessly de-ressed by a techno-fascist madman.

The song that follows it "Boys say go!" is hard to define, its a poppy mash thats both annoying and intriguing in equal measure. "Whats your name?" is similar, at first listen its a bit throwaway but the ambiguity is appealing. The singles "Just can't get enough" and "Dreaming of me" (their debut single) are among the album's highlights, solid pop tracks. The latter has always been one of my favourite DM tracks, raw untidy synths promising so much, which was delivered too. The version on my album is the extended cold end version with its slightly haywire ending, excellent. Maybe this is an album of good singles tracks and the odd track highlight like "Puppets", a bit unfair but some of the album tracks are a bit unmemorable. But when the singles are so good who cares?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Franny & Zooey - bananafish (Dufflecoat EP)

Franny & Zooey is an indie pop band from the Dominican Republic, have just released a CDEP on Dufflecoat Records and they sound like this: jingle jangle indie pop with heavy 60s influences, they sound great then! "Things I know" has surf-esque guitar edges and a juicy pop melody, coupled to lyrics of menace. A great if mysterious and fun combination.

"Fool of myself" is a nice ballad with a classic girl pop feel and lovely guitar work. "Ex lovers" is very retro surfy rock and roll in feel. The song itself is of losing love, it would sound perfect while sat at a table at a retro disco everyone else dancing apart from you.

"Paola y José" is more upbeat and is a joyous pop treat. Finally "Like in the movies" has a spacey retro guitar line, being quite laid back its different from the rest of the EP but a great way to end this lovely selection of songs.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Top 5 Records (October)

1) Various artists - Everything is fine (Filipino indiepop scene)
2) Ruthann Friedman - Windy : a Ruthann Friedman songbook
3) Emily Bindiger - Emily
4) My Bloody Valentine - eps 1988-1991
5) Various artists - Lasting fun, forever young (Indonesia indiepop scene vol 2)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sensitize - falling through

The early 90s were littered by countless indie pop/rock bands who released the odd single then sank without trace. Sensitize were one of these bands who produced decent enough music and "falling through" is a pretty good single full of noisy energy with a cracking chorus and nice guitar work but... how did they stand out from the dozens of other indie bands at the time? To be truthful they didn't, their single was good but so were 4-5 others that week at least. Its a shame but not everyone can win.

I'm glad this single survived in my collection from 1992 though. Its not iconic. Its not genre defining. Its just a good song and sometimes that just what you want. Good feedback drenched cover of "Teenage kicks" too.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Warriors OST

Not content with being one of the best films of all time, the soundtrack of the late 70s NY gangs epic The Warriors is also one of the best soundtrack albums of all time. A pulsating mix of hot and heady funky pop and rock such as Arnold McCuller's insanely catchy and dancey "Nowhere to run". Energetic and messy (in a good way) it is just one of a number of superb tunes.

Johnny Vastano's "You're moving too slow" is a steamy boogie woogie stomp you could imagine rocking many a honky tonk. Kenny Vance's "In Hanana" is nicely slinky and fun. Joe Walsh's "In the city" which played over the film's closing credits in a wonderful poignant rock track, slabs of blues rock and 70s rock-esque big vocals. Genya Ravan's "Love is a fire" is a sultry funky rock epic that throws the kitchen sink at you, leaving you as breathless as the vocalist at the end. Superb collection of songs, soundtracks can sometimes be throwaway, this one is essential.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

This album, released in 1967 followed Sgt. Pepper (you have heard of that i'm sure), and originally was a pair of EPs containing songs from a film Magical Mystery Tour. Later it was filled out into an album by including some singles from 1967. Oddly this accidental album is maybe one of the best Beatles albums you can get as it includes immortal songs like "Strawberry fields forever", "Penny Lane" and "I am the walrus".

Its a psychedelia tour de force therefore and much better received than the film was. Despite the amazing singles included to pad the album out one of the best tracks is from the film soundtrack "Your Mother should know" is a typical piece of McCartney retro nostalgic nonsense and is terrific.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Brighter - demo recordings 1988-1990

Ah Brighter, the band that encapsulates the fragile glory of twee pop to some and the banality of it to others. I am firmly in the former camp, to me Brighter so often produced perfection in the early 90s. So "demo recordings" then, not that they sound too different from the definitive Brighter studio recording sound. A little rougher maybe around the edges, but that kind of suits Brighter...

As far as i can tell none of the songs (or final versions of) appeared on Sarah releases though a good number appeared on the brilliant Matinee compilation "Out to sea" collection, though not all the songs do.

"Wallflower" has a simple pop beauty to it. "Sunburst" sounds like it was recorded in a phone kiosk but still has an irresistible urgency to it. "Top of the world" grinds its way to your heart despite nearly falling apart a few times. "If i could see" is totally wonderful and one of Brighter's best ever songs, a jangle of pop delights and a delicate joy. One song i definitely haven't heard today is the somewhat haunting instrumental "Painted angels".

If you love Brighter you'll love this, if you don't... well... your loss.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Moments - shining eyes (Dufflecoat 7" single)

Dufflecoat Records have a knack of finding sparkling pearls in the mighty ocean that is indie pop. The Moments is another pearl, and a Japanese dose of twee. Delicate and sweet jingle jangle starts off "Shining eyes" moving seamlessly into shy restrained vocals. It ticks the twee pop box, in fact it draws a box inside the twee box and ticks that.

B-side "Past light" is even better, it shimmers and shines with a beautiful guitar line. In the real world twerking and other nonsense gets the attention, in a better world gorgeous melodies like this would instead.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Milk - oubliette

Razor sharp guitars screech, driving bass rumbles, then spacey beats drive us on into a wail of elevated guitar noise that propels you into hyperspace. Whew thats just the first track too of this EP released back in 2010 "William Posters", a terrific piece of shoegaze noise.  The track that follows "South Audley Street" is like chalk and cheese, sparse and atmospheric but no less wonderful. "Stars and the sea" experiments with light and shade.

The title track jangles along urgently before exploring plateaus of power rock and noise heaven. An epic of a track. Finally the "The long division" is an atmospheric acoustic treat. Noisy, experimental but still accessible, a really enjoyable EP.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

EEC Punk Rock Mountain

"We should be out boozing. And pogoing. Its Saturday night innit?"
And so begins this Sarah Records bootleg containing songs from all your favourite Sarah pop bands. The Orchids' "bemused, confused and bedraggled" starts us off and is very well recorded, the band being in fine form too. Added whoops adds to the fun and the pop thrills.

The album recorded Sarah bands on the 1st of July 1991 in six concerts across the world which began and ended simultaneously, to commemorate the Bristol indie pop club which closed in 1987. Gentle Despite's "if i touch" sounds great, waves of scratchy guitar noise backing the downbeat vocals. The lo-fi-ish sound quality adding not detracting. The Wake's tracks suffer a bit from the patchy recording, but the somewhat far-away feel of the vocals adds to the intimacy.

The Field Mice sound a bit off but still put on a decent pop show with their two tracks including a frantic "coach station reunion". Well maybe you had to be there, but if you couldn't be then this is a lovely addition to your Sarah indie pop mountain.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Top 5 Records (September)

1) Various - Recorded For Japan
2) My Bloody Valentine - EPs 1988-1991
3) Kippington Lodge - shy boy
4) The Olive Shoots - anteros
5) Kenny Feinstein - loveless: hurts to love

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Twin Cabins (Dufflecoat)

Twin Cabin's EP on Dufflecoat is a beauty of sometimes asymmetric dream pop. "Pier cafe" is a bit of a shamble, but joyously, with guitars that sound like they are made from the Moon. "Lake Love" adds no-fi electronics, harsh beats and a haze of fuzz. Its a bit crazy and beautiful too, like the old Birmingham Central Library that masterpiece of brutalism before it was replaced by a cakebox.

"Cool kids" sounds like the kids are trapped in a psychopath's dungeon lair. Out of control electronics crash amid distorted dreamy guitar noises sounding a bit like Stuxnet taking control of the end of the world. "With benefits" is quite crazy, a jumble of noises and half-heard tones and sheer joy. "If you could" is a bit nursery rhythm at the start, before exploding into another noise fest.

It can be a bit odd yes but also beautiful. Amid the chaos is a pure beauty. Love it!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Amida - are you on fire? (Dufflecoat)

Amida's 7" EP for Dufflecoat Records is poppy and punky. Side A's songs "Are you on fire" and "Uncross your fingers" are short and energetic guitar pop thrash with catchy melodies and an infectious urgency.

On side B things are more varied but no less lovely, "Absolute reality" has some lovely pop tones as it sweeps along. "Soft spot for Catholics" is more mellow with a minimal guitar backing. Finally "Hoods chapel" ends the EP with a stomping upbeat number. Amida do not break new musical ground but do the basics oh so well, and quickly.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Love The Unicorn - sports (Dufflecoat)

Rome-based Love The Unicorn have just had this EP re-released on Dufflecoat Records. Love The Unicorn have an interesting sound, a little dreamy but shot through with piercing guitar chords driving the melodies as well as a shimmer of noise and joyful pop tones.

And there are some great pop moments on here, "Girlfriend" is a great sound with an interestingly varied melody, a great chorus and some juicy guitar chords. "Toulouse" also has some interesting synths to give a bit of a spacey edge to what is another good indie pop song.

My favourite song though is "Ghost and believers" which throbs with guitar noise and has an infectious melody that you don't want to end. Great indie pop record!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Olive Shoots - Anteros (Dufflecoat)

The Olive Shoots have a marvellous sound on this new EP available from Dufflecoat Records, that sound is big with pop hooks and synths in abundance. "Heaven is on the fire" swirls with electric pop noise, a synergy of indie pop, retro synths and big 80s electric pop. A mix that wins in so many ways on this evidence. "Gynaecology" shimmers with a potent electric buzz over which vocals swish and float interspersed with atmospheric pop. It reminds me a bit of Curve in some ways.

"Psyche" is more overtly retro, at times sounding like a lost 80s pop track. Thats a good thing by the way. Finally the title track takes us down a more esoteric pop road, infinite synths taking us into the nexus of indie pop and video game interlude music.

A truly wonderful EP, one of the best of the year. Inventive, electric and above all a gorgeous pop adventure.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

MV : "New you" by My Bloody Valentine

Right my little holiday (actually series of DIY jobs) is over, back to blog business next week!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Top 5 Records (August)

1) Emily - Emily Bindiger
2) the memory of a smile - Skittle Alley
3) Tommy candy shop sugar me - Tommy February6
4) black tag parade - The Kensingtons
5) erasing memories - Various

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kenny Feinstein - loveless: hurts to love

Root-folk covers of indie rock classics are nothing new, Johnny Cash's "hurt" for example, but Kenny Feinstein has taken it to another level by taking all of MBV's classic and immortal album "loveless" (plus the song "Swallow") and covered it in a "bluegrass punk" style, and it is pretty amazing to be honest. Instead of swirls of guitar feedback noise on "Only shallow" we have a delicious acoustic backing to the pop thrill of that track. Its beautiful like the original track but in a different yet familiar way. Its like an echo, a parallel universe, one as wonderful as our own.

"Soon" replicates the mysterious feedback noise loop with expert picking over a mellow yet intricate melody. Rediscovering these well-loved MBV tracks in this way is a total joy. A lot of thought and care has been put into how to replicate what is still one of the ultimate engineered soundscapes in an organic way. "Loomer" is an example of that, using vocals and instruments to replicate the sounds in an amazing manner.

The acoustic feel adding a darker edge at times, a new dimension, another umpteen layers of depth. Its not a cover album really, its a re-imagining... from another planet.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Depreciation Guild - nautilus

The start of the Depreciation Guild journey, their debut single which was released by 8bitpeoples. Somewhat rawer to match their first album which had a heavier chiptune influence (courtesy of the NES 2A03 sound chip apparently). "Stuck pig" though is quite a standard indie pop song with guitars to the fore. "By sundown" has waves of 8-bit noise mixing with the fuzzy guitar line. "Nautilus" also appears on their debut album in a similar guise. A moody piece of dark electronic music that draws you in then whacks you with a potent guitar attack. So much more was to come but this was a brilliant start.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Syd Barrett - the madclap laughs

Syd Barrett left Pink Floyd in 1968 and this was his first solo album released in 1970 (though it included 2 of his former band mates playing and producing), he left the Floyd following increasingly unpredictable and strange antics especially on stage. As you can imagine his solo album is quite a strange experience too, asymmetric and unpredictable... and with some great tunes too. Plus some stuff that might be best described as "less than great". Thats in the minority though.

Tracks like "golden hair" have mysterious lyrics and a delicate fragility about them, the songs sound like they are on the brink of collapsing. "No good trying" sounds like two songs competing at the same time, sounds clashing and jarring, yet its held together by Syd's individual singing style and voice, its one of the best psychedelic songs ever. "Terrapin" meanders with random tempo changes.

When "The madcap laughs" is good its amazing, when its not so good its... well its not terrible. The outtakes and demos added to the release may stretch your patience a bit though.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Top 5 Records (July)

1) recorded for Japan - Various Artists
2) afar - The Ice Choir
3) Emily - Emily Bindiger
4) in her gentle jaws - The Depreciation Guild
5) Penguin Prison

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Outerhope - no end in sight EP (Number Line)

Delicate dream-pop sounds drifting off into the ether, thats what Outerhope sound like on this EP which is available as a free download here. "Lost year" is laid back and restrained, beautiful pop tones almost lost in the mist but sparking mystery and nostalgia. "No end in sight" is a bit more upbeat (well slightly) and has a catchy melody over a layered pop journey.

"Hear the days go by" has some heavenly synths, its another laid-back layered intelligent pop track. A ethereal soundscape thats the perfect track to watch the stars by. Finally "Pale as the day" is more acoustic and reflective. Its on that lush end of the dream-pop spectrum, sequencers and sonic layers and totally lovely. Its like a Summer evening, sitting out in the cooling air.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Skittle Alley - the memory of a smile (Dufflecoat)

The latest Skittle Alley EP for Dufflecoat, a collaboration with Richard Earls, continues the sweet twee pop way of earlier releases. A pop sound thats mellow and refined, tones that are acoustic and rich, melodies that glow with summer warmth and relaxed but catchy pop hooks, words that envelop you and sweeten your soul... this EP is a gorgeous production.

"She will not be there when you call" is probably the highlight of the EP with its beautiful pop message but "Noughts and ones" also scores highly with its sweet melody, reminding me of The Field Mice and other Sarah sounds.

In truth all the songs are lovely and should be mega pop hits, maybe they are in a parallel universe somewhere...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tokyolite (SEA Indie)

Indonesian band Tokyolite are quite distinct from most bands in the SEA Indie scene. Which is good as we need variety in life, they are funky instead of jingly jangley. They go more for mellow groove jams than Cardigan-esque tunes and this single is a great piece of distinctive music. "Move it" has a great chilled vibe that underpins a melody and feel that is both funk pop and indie pop.

"Never want" is even more chilled out and mellow, breathy vocals over a slinky guitar line. "Hello" is another laid-back funk pop journey with an R&B feel. Great pop for a hot sunny day, or any day. Especially a day of travelling. Available as a free download from the SEA Indie website.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Kensingtons - black flag parade (Dufflecoat)

Ah some good old indie pop thrash, fuzzy and noisy mixed into some lovely pop grooves. "The ground came up to meet us" and some pleasingly retro vibe to it. The title track is jingly jangley and has some lovely guitar to push along a very Sarah-esque pop song. Like all the best songs you can hear the influences but they are put together to produce something new and lovely.

"I wonder what she's doing now" is a bit more low-key but thumps along, great chorus too. "Ray of fucking sunshine" brings the tempo down a bit from the pop thrash thats gone on before. Beautiful pianos and a breathy vocal track. "Groovy little thing" sounds a bit Gentle Despite at the start with some gorgeous sounds. Indie pop at its finest you know? Finally "This town" concludes the indiepop thrills with a driving track at times atmospheric epic and at others a wall of chainsaw guitars. Absolutely fabulous EP.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Black Clouds - better days

The Black Clouds are a true DIY indie band, unsigned and doing everything for themselves. Including producing their own records using their own studio and funding their own tours (and touring a lot).  Their sound on this album which is their second could be said to be a bit of a throwback to early 90s grunge, "No reason" for example roars along like a Nirvana track. But why not, its a great sound to explore. The song is pretty awesome in fact.

"Defective mind" alternates between rumbling rock noise and razor sharp guitar attacks but underpining both is a solid and catchy melody. "Stalemate" and "Whereabouts unknown" are also good solid rock songs. "Seen better" rages along full of grunge energy and harsh guitars. There are a lot of good songs on here, and masses of grunge. My only criticism is that the album is maybe a bit lacking in variety but if you like a bit of grunge and loved the early 90s then this is for you.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Beijing - night

From New Haven, CT in the USA Beijing play guitar heavy emotional indie rock. Dark and melancholic like Smashing Pumpkins, "Night" is Beijing's full-length debut following on an EP in 2011. "Night" is full of songs with wailing guitars, big choruses, gutsy vocals and alternative noise. Its quite a 90s sound in many ways but doesn't sound dated, its very fresh indeed with plenty of great songs.

"Broken glass" and "Into the rain" are shining examples of their sound, structured melodic epics both of them. A heavier song is "Violent" which hits you with slabs of hard rock noise, terrific! One of the standout tracks is the opener "Acrobat" which can best be described as an alternative rock epic with waves of feedback and melodic doom. Great start to a great album, check it out and enjoy (you will).

Available as a free digital download or as a CD, check the Bandcamp page.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Castle Forever - gathering dark (Pebble)

This is the first EP from The Castle Forever used to be known as The Cavalcade and a great band they were (one of the bands to get me back into indiepop to be honest) but now they have returned with a new name and an updated sound that does away with the drum machine and adds elements of folk and psychedelia to their lovely pop sound.

"A map of hearts" is a great low-key pop song, it meanders along with a real 60s psych-folk feel.  "Warm rooftops" is rawer, adding a fuzz layer to great effect. "You and your friends can go to Hell" shows that you can create a rich sound texture with even the most basic of set-ups, a song of simple but pure joys. "Bye bye grey sky" probably harks back mostly to their earlier sound as The Cavalcade, a more straight forward pop song with lovely shimmery guitar flourishes.

This is the first of what should be a trio of EPs coming over the next few months, there is some great pop music in store thats for sure.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Beatles - revolver

If i was going to pick one Beatles album for my desert island exile then it would likely be this one. From the driving rock and roll pop of "Taxman" to the rich sounds and touching whimsy of "Eleanor Rigby" to the psychedic awakening of "Tomorrow never knows" this album has it all. Even some Ringo-esque nonsense in "Yellow submarine"...

Sgt. Pepper was still a year away but this was the prototype and the sign of things to come in the Beatles, in rock and Western civilisation in general in the next few years... Oddly enough that probably isn't hyperbole. Revolver has been called one of the first psychedelic albums and is up there with the likes of Pet Sounds. The drugs were still working, everything stays just the right side of weird.

Monday, July 8, 2013

MV : "Sugar sugar" by The Archies

Dating back to 1969, an animated musical segment first shown on The Archies' own CBS TV show.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bandcamp : MILAGROS - for ever

Haunting and mysterious, especially at the start when you wonder quite what is going on but stick with it, its worth it.

MV : "Only in my dreams" by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

Love the hair!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Flowers - when you lie EP (Cloudberry)

Flowers are a new-ish band just making their way in the wacky world of pop. I saw them live earlier in the year, to be honest i hadn't heard of them before, but they genuinely blew me away with their fuzzy indie pop over a female vocal at times strong but always fragile. The title track is all garage-y and raw, sounding like it was recorded in someone's shed and probably was, no matter as it has a pop hook to die for.

Another wonderful track is the jangley and echoey "Watch and wonder", the sometimes howling vocals washing over the rough-edged melody. "You held my hand" has a real 80s post-punk feel to it, beats that hiss off in all directions and guitars that rumble from the depths. Amazing debut. Harsh but beautiful.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Jackie DeShannon - put a little love in your heart (RPM)

Jackie DeShannon was a very active singer-songwriter in the 1960s and 1970s. She's gained a fair deal of success including supporting the Beatles on their 1964 US tour without becoming a megastar however she has built up quite a decent back catalogue.

This her album from 1969 includes her big hit "Put a little love in your heart" which became a gold single and her only top 5 hit. Like many of her songs this has a certain something about it, a fairly standard late 60s pop song maybe but with some soul and feel to it that helps elevate it above the field.

Its a real album of its time, with a folky feel to some numbers, all beautifully performed by Jackie who has a great voice full of warmth. This is an RPM reissue so plenty of extra tracks too including an amazing medley "You keep me hanging on / Hurt so bad" which takes two well known songs and produces something new and fresh from the merging. There are a couple of Christmas songs on here too which happily veer the right side of kitsch.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Top 5 Records (June)

1) february & heavenly - Tommy February6
2) twin beds - The Rosie Taylor Project
3) afar - The Ice Choir
4) there and back again - Phil Lesh & Friends
5) tiny machine - The Darling Buds

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Recorded For Japan

Recorded For Japan was a charity album (digital) with the proceeds going to the Red Cross helping the recovery and reconstruction effort in the recent major earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011. It also includes some really interesting and often great tracks from underground electro-pop and indie artists.

Highlights include Chairlift's cover of Propaganda's "The chase" which is space-y, bass-y and cool-y. Atmospheric heavenly synths amid a crunchy bassline melody. Acrylics' "Sparrow song" is also space pop, ethereal and atmospheric yet also fundamentally simple. This blog's favourites The Ice Choir also provide a delicious hard mix of "Two rings".

R. Stevie Moore is joined by members of MGMT for the psychedelic glory of "You are too far away from me" which drifts away after a fairly straight forward opening into a meander through widdly guitars, samples and space echoes. Its all good, and for a great cause of course, but the music was brilliant anyway, how could you resist it really?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Phil Lesh & Friends - there and back again

A former Grateful Dead member's solo album then, well these days with this kind of release you can expect thoughtful and intricate adult rock... and this is exactly what you get here with the Dead's bassist Phil Lesh who here works with the likes of Warren Haynes from the Allman Brothers, who wrote some of the songs on here.

"Patchwork quilt" is lovely and a highlight of the album or indeed any album, reflective and soulful and dripping with tasty guitar and keyboards. "No more do i" is complicated and bluesy, a nice song.

Another great song is "Night of 1000 stars" which is a great uptempo number with some 70s widdly guitar and atmospheric piano in the mix.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Retro Cover : Peter Reeves - the way i see it

He looks the epitome of late 60s style, but what is the way he sees it, and what is "it" exactly? We just imagine what it is he is peering at... but knowing the late 60s it could be anything! Original from here.