Wednesday, July 31, 2013

MV : "The ground came up to meet us" by The Kensingtons

From their new EP on Dufflecoat, brilliant EP and song!

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...

Monday, July 29, 2013

MV : "Themesong" by Ang Bandang Shirley

Nice video by one of my favourite bands at the moment.

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.